Monday, July 15, 2013

I Remember...

This past Thursday evening tragedy struck the Body of Christ when we lost a dear beloved member of it.

He was such a wonderful guy.  In my grieving I got a pen and pad of paper out and tried to re-count all the good times.  Here's what came out:

I Remember
Greg Shepherd                                                                        1985-2013

I remember when I first met you at Camp Ability and thought “Wow! You have an AMAZING laugh!” Then I met your brothers and dad and they all shared that same beautiful laugh.

I remember your sweet spirit.  It stood out amongst the crowd and glowed like a light in the darkness. 

I remember countless movie nights at the Crowder’s and as we were all deciding on a movie “AVP” was always your top pick.

I remember those beautiful sunny afternoons when we’d all load up after church to spend the day at Wesley Acres.

I remember youth conventions and the things you and Ryan would do to make us all laugh.  You were SO good at that.

I remember Camp days at the KOA and upon my entrance in the pool, you’d look at Andrew, grin and splash me like crazy just to get a reaction.  That water was freezing for the record, but I loved that that was the way you showed brotherly love.

And last but definitely not least.  I remember and never EVER will forget that conversation to Cobourg beach with the kids at camp.  We were chatting and you were telling me how wonderful Church and God are.  You were right.  That following Sunday I came to Church and began my journey in coming to know the Lord. 

You introduced me to some beautiful people, always always made me laugh and always called me by my full name (“It’s, it’s Amanda Marvin”).  You made me feel loved and welcomed.  Thank you for being SO sweet and loving towards me even when I didn’t know Jesus.  You loved unconditionally and that love radiating was SOO contagious it led me to the Lord.

Now I can share that same love with the world.  Thank you Greg Shepherd.  I still can’t fathom that your not here with us.   I miss you SO much!

I am thankful I know where you are and that you are wearing a crown made just for you as you stand in the presence of your Maker. 

Well done Greg Shepherd.  I love and miss you dearly dear brother. 

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Grace filled vows

So my friend Emily over at Our Nest in the City inspired this post.  I felt it was time for an update and there are a few minor lifestyle changes taking place here to help fuel my body for my busy summer days.  So here it is friends.  These are some grace filled vows I am making this summer.  The idea behind them being grace filled is that I won't be legalistic with myself {which I am very good at}.  In Christ there is forgiveness and freedom and I pray I would walk in that and in the power of His Holy Spirit as I do my best to live out these vows;
  1. Go gluten and sugar free.  My body doesn't do gluten well.  It hurts my head, tummy and energy levels, while large amounts of sugar spike my blood sugar and then comes the crash.  Not what I want or need.
  2. Read the Bible everyday.  If I truly believe Jesus is my number one, regardless of how busy I am I need to make time for Him.  To refocus, repent and renew.
  3. Get a pedicure or massage once a month.  Working on your feet for 8hrs or more take a toll on the body and lets be realistic its good to treat yo self ;)
  4. Increase OSAP payments.  So that I could potentially do my MBA and start saving for a home.
  5. Get my drivers license? This one I know will take more than the summer, but I am seeing the need for this and want to learn how to be a good driver.
  6. Take a road trip.  This again may happen in the Fall after the back to school rush, but my friend and I were discussing a road trip to the beautiful Quebec City.
So, these are a few vows I am making for the summer/fall.  Would love to hear yours ;)

Wednesday, June 19, 2013


I find it harder and harder these days to surround myself with people who truly have a desire to follow the Lord in all they do. I don't want to just be with people who consider themselves a "Sunday Christian", I want to be around those who desire the truth of Christ to reign over all of their lives even if it means sacrifice.

I am sick of this stagnant feeling.

I will be the first to admit that I am NOT perfect and that is why I need Christ.  But I also need community.

I desire to be in a community of women that are passionate seekers of His truth, ones who long to be transformed into His likeness and who pray and encourage each other greatly.

I believe Christ is calling us to be so much more than just a "Sunday Worshipper".  We were designed to glorify Him in all we do.

That glory starts by reading and living out His truth.

So, any ladies in the area interested in doing some form of summer Bible study? I have been doing a Cynthia Heald study on my own time called "Becoming a woman of purpose" and quite enjoying it.  She also has many other studies.

Friday, May 17, 2013

Neck Update

So yesterday was a good day.  Why is that you ask? Well I finally got some answers on why my neck was the way it was for 5 months.  Yesterday I spent two hrs in a high rise building in Toronto being examined by a resident doctor and a Neurologist.  After telling them what happened to my neck, they tried to get a further understanding of what went on my body during that time to cause my 'short term dystonia'.

For a few months I was under the impression that my medication was a huge contributing factor to my neck spasms, however the correlation of my medication for my seizures doing something like this is unheard of, thus making all of us question what really caused my dystonia.

The Neurologist came to the conclusion that I experienced 'transitional dystonia' and I'm still not fully healed from it as my head still twitches a little and is not fully in the centre.  He explained everything in such a calm manner that it was relatively easy to digest.  The scary thing; is that it could very well make another appearance as I have a genetic predisposition to it.

However, there are treatment options; Botox injections (which thankfully do not bring on seizures like I thought!).  He said I would only need a few every yr if the dystonia returned and I was more than welcome to come see him for the injections or if the dystonia ever returned.  

He also is sending my family doctor a list of Neurologists I could see for my epilepsy! Even ones who specialize in the field.

The thought of the dystonia returning definitely frightens me, but the fact that I have a line up of amazing medical professional behind me and a God who is bigger than my circumstances is a huge blessing.  

Thank You Lord for taking care of my every need.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Clean Eating

Long before hurting my neck I struggled with what I thought maybe low blood sugar. I had some blood work done and my random glucose levels came back fine. So entered my Nutritionist. We discussed how sluggish and weak I felt even after eating a meal and how somedays foods would go right through me.

She gave me a homeopathic remedy, but also noted that my metabolism is that of a Marathon runner and I need to be eating a healthy fat and protein every two hrs. I also need to consume 1800 calories a day.

She also suggested I go sugar and gluten free for a couple of weeks as I've been having some killer headaches lately and she thinks gluten and or sugar may be the culprits.

So with all that said and done I got researching clean eating and gluten free and I found an amazing meal planning website called emeals.

What you do is pick your lifestyle/diet (clean eating, gluten free etc), select the number of ppl you are feeding and voila! For 7 dollars a month, they provide you with the cheapest deals to get your groceries (if your like me you can add match and get it all at Walmart hehe) and delicious meals according to your lifestyle.

The reason I blogged about this, is I know that when I get a place of my own one day, that between my 40hr plus work week, coming home and trying to figure out what I want for dinner will be the last thing I want to think about.

We need to choose where we want to invest our time and money and I think this program is great for those crazy busy seasons of life.

Ps. On the Walmart front, I am not a fan of buying everything Walmart. But I also believe there is a time and season for everything. For right now, eating well and paying off my loans are my priority ;) Then I hope to support locals more as I hope to own a local business one day myself.

Friday, April 5, 2013

It's here!

The time has come!

I've been longing for this since December 2012.

For the Doctor to say those magic words:

"Amanda, you are fit to return to work!"

Today I walked out of my Doctors with a little jump in my step and a smile on my face.  I was tickled happy.

So this coming week I begin to physically, mentally and spiritually prepare myself for what is to come.

As this week approaches and as I carry on I must remember that my health is not something to take for granted, nor is my relationship with the Lord.

I needed this time to learn how to say "No"

It's never been one of those words that has come easily to me.  I love to serve, but I also needed to examine why I liked serving.

Was it because I thought I was better and not in need?

I'd like to say the answer to that is "no", but I know my heart.  I am a sinner.  I desire unrealistic perfection.  I desire to serve, serve, serve and need nothing from others, not even God.  I desire self sufficiency.  I am my own idol.

These past few months I have had to learn how to accept help from others.  Not something I am good at.  Its weird transitioning from being able to cook your own meals, to having meals delivered to you in bed or take baths because you don't have the strength to stand up in the shower.

I saw a side of me I did not like at all.  A very short, snappy Amanda came out.  I was in pain and abused that excuse all too often.  I'd snap frequently at those I love and they put up with me.  Lord Bless you's!

To any of you I've hurt, I'm sorry.  God is in some heavy business of working on my heart right now and I pray He continues.

I also pray that with my next trial, that I would face it with joy.  Christ is my only hope for this.  He is the only one who can develop my character here.

I pray that in all I do, may I be a woman who glorifies you oh Lord.  Because when that time comes, it is you I must give an account of everything I do.

To Him be the Glory.  My Rock, My Anchor, My Redeemer.


A Late Night Psalm
Inspired by: Him
Written by: Amanda

It's Just Christ and me.  Here darkness must flee.
There is no room for three.
Only three in one Trinity.
It's just Christ and me.

It's Just Christ and me.  Even though he tempt me.
I look to the cross.
I have been set free!
Oh, the power of Jesus blood on me!
It's just Christ and me.

Sunday, March 10, 2013

A thankful heart

Thankfulness...something God has been and is still teaching me.

For so long, I took my health for granted.  I was able to eat what I pleased and not have to worry about working out.  My metabolism has always been pretty high.

However, when my neck took a turn for the worse, so did my energy levels.  I was in pain and weak all over.  It was not a great feeling.  I would have days where I wouldn't be able to leave the house due to extreme pain and weakness.  Very challenging for me as I am always on the go.

I started getting super frustrated with how my body was feeling.  I wanted to do all I could to fuel it right, so I made a call.  I got in touch with a Nutritionist/Homeopath.  It was probably one of the best decisions I've ever made.

We sat down and started discussing how I was feeling and what my diet and eating habits looked like.  She saw that I am the type of person that eats more frequently, but small portions when I do eat.  That is what keeps me going.  However, I need to make sure that when I do eat, I am feeding my body things that will keep it energized!

Some things we noted and discussed was bread.  I am not by any means Celiac, however I don't like how bread makes me feel after I eat it {regardless of it being white, multigrain or whole wheat}.  I feel sluggish, tired and worn out.  So I went a few weeks without bread and noticed I had alot more energy.

Now since I'm eating little to no bread you are probably wondering what I eat for breakfast to fill me up.  Well its not a bagel or toast, that's for sure.  I have a REALLY hard time eating first thing in the morning.  I find alot of breakfast food too heavy, greasy or it has LOADS of milk and I am lactose it doesn't leave me with too many options.  So my Nutritionist suggested morning shakes.  She said this is a great alternative especially if you are feeling weak and having trouble eating {which I was when my neck was in severe pain}.  This way I would be sure to get ALL my nutrients into my body :)

Here's an idea of what my shakes generally look like.  This keeps me going for a few hrs and then I need a snack.

-mixed berries
-almond milk {plain}
-almond butter {tbsp}
-hemp seeds {tbsp}

The hemp seeds are KEY because they fill you up! And when I'm working retail I need something that will keep me fueled for a few hrs til the next break ;)

So adding that into my diet kept me full and going longer. 

I also added a green smoothie into my afternoons.  They keep me going longer, so then I won't be running to Starbucks or Timmys for that 1pm caffeinated, sugar coated energy boost.

So as you can see, these past few months have shown me not to take my body for granted, but to be a good steward of it.  I am still learning and probably always will.  My goal isn't to have the flattest stomach or fittest body as that's idolatry.  What I want, is to feel healthy, strong and energized as I carry out my daily tasks.  Only by His grace is this achievable.