Paddling Hard

Little duck has been paddling furiously underwater while keeping a relatively calm exterior in class. 😛

Am up to my head with TESOL assignments and work and everything else, with an extremely bad back and neck for the past two weeks.

Keep me in your prayers so that my back and neck heals soon, my work gets completed and I get to write again! 

Toodley-loo!

Rachel

Healthy Eating with Rachel

HAHA.

I probably had you rolling your eyes or going tsk-tsk reading the header. 🙂

Healthy and Rachel make a fine juxtaposition indeed. 😀

Anyways, I do try to eat healthier for breakfast.

My usual/most convenient options

1. Two soft boiled eggs

2. Sprouted seven grain bread with a thick layer of peanut butter.

3. Yogurt and muesli

4. Bircher muesli

Bircher muesli is prepared by soaking rolled oats overnight in a mixture of juice and yogurt or milk.

Since I have an aversion to milk, I decided to soak mine in a little yogurt and cultured milk (Vitagen/Yakult).

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I added in some chia seeds (which are high in Omega 3 and iron) and raisins (which become so plump and delicious after being soaked overnight) into the oatmeal and yogurt mixture. Leave the bowl covered overnight in the refrigerator and enjoy a cold bowl of oatmeal the next morning.

Accepting the Way God Made Me!

I’ve often been mistaken for Malay, Thai, Filipino or of mixed parentage due to my tanned skin and unOriental-like features.

It’s kinda fun.

But it also hurt when I was younger.

I was often at the receiving end of thoughtless remarks such as “Wah, your mum ate a lot of tau ewe (black soy sauce) when she was pregnant with you, is it? You’re so black!” BLACK. Ouch.

In high school, after our physical ed classes or house practices, some of my classmates would run into the classroom or a shelter nearby and rub their fair skin vigorously. “Aiyer!! (Eww!) Now so ugly already, so dark!” And I would swallow silently, looking down at my own arms that were at least four shades darker than theirs.

My mother is fair. Why couldn’t I be born fair? My mother has naturally good skin, lustrous hair and an amazing figure. I inherited none of those. Hmmm. (Got to be grateful I didn’t inherit my father’s “figure” though. LOL!)

I hated myself throughout my years in secondary school.

Why couldn’t I be smart or well-behaved like my koko (older brother)?

To compensate for that, I would swing from being very mischievous to being really sweet to receive the attention I needed and craved for.

It took many years of discipline and breaking before I finally came to a point of surrender.

Choosing to accept the way God made me – the way I look, the personality He has given me, my mental capacities…

But…

I’m still working through this journey – beyond accepting myself just because I’ve no other choice to truly rejoicing and celebrating the gifts and physical attributes He has graciously blessed me with.

While I want to strive to be a better daughter, sister, friend, teacher and woman, I’ve got to break free from this feeling of needing to strive for perfection in order to be loved.

I am grateful for my family, my mentors, my friends who truly love and accept me unconditionally. THANK YOU.

Thank you for overlooking my flaws and for laughing along with my quirkiness. Thank you for affirming the good things you see in me.

I love you.

Gratefully,

Rachel

Bozos Can Cook!

Yes, even bozos can cook! 🙂

As some of you many know, I used to be petrified of cooking, and as the title suggests, yes, I was a complete bozo in the kitchen. (I still do have my bozo moments, just ask my mum) 😛

Getting started is less terrifying when you have a good recipe and supportive guinea pigs to finish your food. 😉

Here’s a simple but healthy and satiating meal you could start with:

1. Pesto pasta

2. Grilled lemon butter chicken

And for sides:

1. Sautéed mushrooms

2. Steamed baby carrots

3. Tomato salsa

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A view of what was on my plate this evening 😉

Take Your Breakfast

… it’s supposed to be good for you.

Those who know me well will know that my stomach is the organ slowest to awake in the morning. (After my brain, that is 😀 )

I was often admonished for missing this most important meal of the day. To me, the most essential meals were Lunch, Tea, Dinner and Supper! That’s when I’m awake, alive, kicking and hungry.

Anyways, I’ve started a healthier habit of having proper food for breakfast. (It used to be a pack of biscuits, eaten while driving on my way to work, church or different appointments).

My loving, fit and more nutritionally-sound brothers would often exhort me to ditch those nutritionally empty biscuits and white bread for eggs, yogurt or fruit.

Here are some of the healthier foods I now consume in the morning –

1. Plain yogurt sweetened with jam and topped with muesli, nuts and cranberries

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2. A big cup of fruit & vegetable juice (Pineapple/Beetroot) – this is rarer

3. Seven-grain sprouted bread (pseudo health-freak alert!) with a thick layer of peanut butter and sometimes jam on top of it (to negate the healthiness of it all)

4. Two soft boiled eggs

5. A new combo for my yogurt this morning – yogurt sweetened with jam and crushed Digestive biscuits. (Inspired by the thought of cheesecake!) Don’t expect it to taste like cheesecake though; it’s a quick and healthier fix should you be craving something similar to the likes of cheesecake. Cheesecake aficionados: be warned and manage your expectations! 🙂

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And saving the best for last –

The kind of breakfast that I usually have for dinner. 😛

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There you go!

Here’s Rachel trying to speak up for nutrition and wellness. (LOL!)

Toodles!

His Strength is Made Perfect in My Frailty…

It’s amazing how God has granted me a remarkably normal life considering the gravity of my illness. So much so that at one point, I did not take my health seriously. (Forgetting to take my medication, eating whatever I wanted, pushing my body beyond limits by not getting enough rest etc) With the recent spate of illness and flares I am sternly reminded to not be careless and neglectful with my own body and health anymore.

But that’s beside the point…

I am just grateful to God for granting me such a full, blessed and fruitful life despite my frailty; His Word gives me hope and strength amidst pain.

I must admit that I feel rather worried and a little sad that my disease has not been in control of late and my steroid dosage have been yo-yoing a little…

In a flare – my Prednisolone dosage goes up, and when symptoms begin to cease, I gradually reduce the dosage according to the docs’ advice, the body starts protesting again and I find new areas of inflammation and pain.

Pain in my right knee now is another alarm that inflammation is taking place in my body. The pain does not bother me as much as the knowledge that my body is not rebounding and recovering well.

Yesterday evening, my brothers, mum and I went out to pick up some frozen yogurt before gallivanting around town in a car ride. I ordered a small portion of Tart Yogurt with peaches and almonds, and guess what the cup read?

I’m Small but Bold.

A reminder to me to be bold, be strong… (Not the “Nothing Can Knock Me Down” kind of Nebuchadnazzarian pride, but a word for me to guard against negativity and self-pity).

Proverbs 24:10 says, “If your faint in the day of adversity, your strength is small“…

I recall many days of pain where I prayed for strong arms in which I could fall into when weariness of heart and body overwhelmed. Nevertheless, deep within me, God in His grace has placed the determination and will within my spirit to make this life count for eternity and He has shown me again and again, how much He loves me through the love and care of the people around me.

The friends who cheer me up when I am down, my family who has cared for me unfalteringly, gracious acts of kindness in the smallest of ways that reflect the care of my Heavenly Father who watches from above.

YOU make me brave.

Some pictures from my time spent in New Zealand…

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Rachel + golf club = danger

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Gun practice – students, be warned! 🙂

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Spent many hours in Wanaka enjoying the lake – walks, praying, reading and being alone with Him.

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Coincidentally sat on this bench by the lake as I pondered on life and death. No one is spared from grief, death and pain. The question is – is there an answer and hope for the thereafter?

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Pigs Can Fly! The highlight and grand finale of my trip…