Ayanda Silk

I hate Mondays…

by Ayanda Silk 0 Comments

Happy thanksgiving!! Thanksgiving is SUCH a wonderful time of the year. Getting together with family and eating ALL THAT DELICIOUS FOOD is a blessing. I could go on but today I wanted to ask you when is the last time you’ve been thankful for a Monday?

You might be thinking, “Girl bye Mondays are wickity wickity wack”. And why is that? Maybe it’s because Monday is a reminder that the fun that weekends bring is basically over and that nothing but work, errands, exhaustion and endless tasks loom ahead.

I used to DREAD Mondays…Sunday night would roll around and I would go to bed almost depressed like “here we go again, the week hasn’t even begun and I’m already tired and ready for Friday to come around”. And even more so now as a mom, I love having my husband home on the weekends so Mondays remind me that I’m starting another week of “no relief till 6pm comes around” (I know I am working on it).

Psalm 118:24English Standard Version (ESV)

24 This is the day that the Lord has made;
    let us rejoice and be glad in it

A couple of months ago though, I felt convicted to start my week off with a bang. To make Mondays like my Fridays and be just as excited for them to come around. A day to look forward to instead of a day I dread. So naturally I laughed because almost everyone hates Mondays…but God wanted me to change that thinking.

Equipped with that verse, I set off to make Mondays my BEST day of the week. And being a baby stepper I wanted to do something small and practical. Set myself up for success if you will.

My Mondays now begin with tea while I worship and read my devotional for the day. Something as simple as adding a ‘cuppa’ to my morning routine has drastically changed things for me. Another thing I do is write out an encouraging word or verse in my agenda each day of the week (which also helps me memorize it at the same time).

Monday is a day the Lord has made, let us REJOICE and BE GLAD in it. I challenge you to find one practical thing you can do to make your Mondays awesomer. It could be having your morning coffee while watching the sunrise, going for a walk outside, painting your nails or declaring some affirmations in front of the mirror to yourself  (i.e. Good morning beautiful/handsome, I am loved, I am called, I am wanted, Today is a Good day to have a Great day).

Commit to doing ONE fun thing to spice up your Mondays and watch them go from drab to fab *insert finger snap here*.

Ayandaxo


My FIRST pair of jeans!!

Let me explain, this was not my first pair of jeans in life…but rather my first pair of jeans in a LONG time. A friend of mine, a fashion connoisseur, blessed me with a new outfit for my 25th birthday. And she challenged me to get some jeans. You might be thinking, wearing jeans was a challenge for you? Yes, yes it was.

It goes back to growing up feeling insecure about the way that I looked because 1) My mom passed away years ago and never got to teach me how to love myself and 2) The pressures of this world to be perfect were very real (they still are). As silly as it sounds, I struggled with seeing myself as beautiful enough to rock a pair jeans. I believed that skinny jeans were only made for skinny people. I thought that if I was a size above 10 in jeans then I shouldn’t even bother and of course I just happened to be two sizes over that number.

I figured though (and so did my friend) that it was time to move on and begin breaking down the lies I was believing about myself and step out of my comfort zone. My comfort zone, by the way, consisted of sweat pants, leggings and very baggy shirts. So there we were at Old Navy and she insisted I try on the clothes  and come out to show her (my worst nightmare as I never ever tried on clothes at the store. I figured I fit into XL so I will only buy that no need to waste time trying stuff on). Wanting to be bold, I obliged of course. And an hour or so later I came out with 2 pairs of jeans using a simple concept of picking out jeans that fit my body type and style.

And so this is only the beginning for me. I’m still struggling stretching in that area. I often catch myself avoiding the mirror or speaking negatively about myself but I am taking those baby steps to better myself. I don’t want to look back a year from now and see the same person. I want to grow in the way I see myself and speak to myself. Because the truth is we ARE beautiful and beauty comes in ALL shapes and sizes. The word itself says it all, Be YOU Tiful.

So I want to encourage you, if there is something in your life, your “pair of jeans” that you have been avoiding, be BOLD. Whether it’s going to the gym by yourself or trying on that bold lip colour, do it! Take that first step. You’ve got the POWER!!

“for God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control” 1 Timothy 1:7

Sure I missed out on a couple years of rocking skinnies but to everything there is a season. And now is my time to shine and so is yours!!

Uninvited by Lysa TerKeurst

Uninvited Book Cover Uninvited
Lysa TerKeurst
Faith
Thomas Nelson
August 9, 2016
288

Uninvited is a book by Lysa Terkeurst designed to help you identify and overcome rejections, past and present, in order to experience God's love at its fullest.

Now where to begin. I am normally not an avid reader. I struggle to reach my goal of reading 5 books a year as I usually have a hard time finding books that capture my attention and keep it. This book definitely threw me for a loop and kept me wanting more even as I was feeling the ouchies. I found myself itching for some me time just so I could dive into the next chapter and learn more about how I have been letting past rejections hinder me from digging deeper into Gods love.

Have you ever felt rejected before? The truth is we have ALL felt rejected at one point or another and we tend to carry those rejections with us, knowingly or unknowingly, and we need to learn to let go. Lysa demonstrates how we can begin that journey of letting go by sharing her own experiences. I was able to fully grasp what she trying to teach as well as apply it to my own life.

I found this book to be captivating and challenging. Not only was I learning about the rejections I have allowed to make a home in my heart and set the standards in the different areas of my life but I also learned more about grace. Grace not only for myself but for others. Instead of criticizing and judging, learning to extend that grace because hurt people, hurt people.

I highly encourage you to pick up a copy of this book and go on this journey of overcoming rejection. You will be shocked at the difference within you from when you first open the book to when you close it. "The enemy wants us to feel rejected...left out, lonely, and less than" but God has SO MUCH MORE in store for you.

Daily Checklist #10: What does a growth environment look like?

1. Others are ahead of you.
2. You are continually challenged.
3. Your focus is forward.
4. The atmosphere is affirming.
5. You are often out of your comfort zone.
6. You wake up excited.
7. Failure is not your enemy.
8. Others are growing.
9. People desire change.
10. Growth is modeled and expected.

John C Maxwell … Leadership Gold

It’s amazing to read this list and realize that our Primerica environment hits all of these points. I’ve come to realize some of these points at different times in my young career. By having your focus forward and a positive atmosphere and others are growing with you it makes it a heck of a lot easier to step out of your comfort zone and make failure your friend. Being able to bring others along that also desire change and help you continually challenge yourself and them, that’s what helps me get up excited! Find your passion and create the type of environment John C Maxwell talks about and you’re bound to be successful.

Speak: How your story can change the world by Nish Weiseth

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Speak is about sharing your story. I’ll be honest,  it has not been always easy for me to share my story. At times, I have felt embarrassed,  or ashamed, however most of the time it is really about thinking, “there’s nothing cool or special about my story, no crazy miracles of healing,  etc….what would anyone get from hearing my story?” Nish has helped me change my attitude and perspective and has made me realize the importance of sharing my story. By willing to be open and raw, it enables others to be open and raw with you. Our stories are important, no matter how mundane, because as she points out … at the end of the day it is more impactful to share your story instead of a sermon.  Stories allow you to capture the heart, knocking down walls and breaking barriers. By sharing our stories we can do better at coming together for solutions. By listening to each other and applying the rule to “always know the other persons story before jumping to conclusions”, we will have the opportunity and ability to change the world one story at a time. In her book Speak, Nish shares her story of moving from one of the most anti-organized religion places in America- Portland,  Oregon to the epicentre of latter day saints or Mormons in Salt Lake City, Utah.  She realizes that through all the differences between the two cities,  they still share one thing in common: an unwillingness to listen to the stories of differing opinions. As Nish points out this is an epidemic,  not only in our cities and countries, but globally and even in our homes.  We are more polarized today then ever before, too many of us are focused on winning or being right instead of loving on our neighbour’s by really listening and understanding where tbey are coming from. If you were like me and dont feel your story is worth sharing, or you feel you need to do a better job of listening to the stories of others then I encourage you to read this book. Also be sure to check out deeperstory.com, a blog where they “believe that if we’re honest, vulnerable and brave when we tell our stories, that those stories can build bridges across ideologies, advocate for the least of these, and proclaim the Kingdom of God breaking in on earth every day.”

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The Jesus Code by O.S. Hawkins

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Even though this is a devotional, it is very tempting to read the book through as I find myself growing in confidence and faith as I learn the full meaning of the questions asked throughout the Bible. In the Jesus Code, O.S. Hawkins breaks down critical questions that every believer should answer. As a newer Christian, I must admit that these are some great questions that I have found myself searching for answers for and I am grateful to have them answered in details all in one place! I love the way he brings out the story behind each question and explains how to apply the answers in your life.  Although I have only read a few of the devotionals so far, I find them leaving a last impression on my entire week. The devotional allows me to view the questions in a different light and have a better understanding of the stories throughout the Bible. The Jesus Code has equipped me to know how to answer the tough questions that I did not know how to answer, for example “If the Lord is with us, Why then has all this happened to us?” It was amazing to receive an extra copy in error and be able to share it with someone so that it may impact them as much as it has for me. I believe this a great devotional for any believer no matter where they are in their journey with Christ.

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Crock pot lasagna recipe

by Ayanda Silk 0 Comments

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Hello there, I am super excited to share this recipe with you. I am a lasagna lover. And truthfully I was scared of how this would turn out but WOW I was shocked.
Here is where you can find the original recipe however I changed a couple of things which I suggest you do as well because it will make it that much better.
http://m.allrecipes.com/recipe/11959/slow-cooker-lasagna

Okay so first things first. I used 2 lbs of ground beef and you dont have to do this but I really like a meaty lasagna, just sayin!
– Substitute cottage cheese for ricotta cheese (traditional cheese used for pastas and lasagnas)
– I also browned the beef before I added it to the crock pot
– I added pasta sauce instead of tomatoa sauce and used a whole lot more so pretty much I used 2 pasta sauce cans (one was parm and oregano and the other was mushroom flavoured) and then on top of that added a cup or two of water. The reason is because on high, for example, this lasagna will dry out unless you keep an eye and the whole point is the opposite. Of course you still keep an eye but its not every half hour, its like every 3-4 hours max I would suggest and not more. (I dont suggest leaving anything on while you are gone for long periods of time). Anyways I added extra sauce so that it wouldnt dry out because this being my 2nd time making this dish, the first time it dried out bad and burned on the sides. It was completely my fault, I fell asleep and thought it would be fine for 6 or 7 hours. And it wasnt. So I suggest even 3 cans of pasta sauce.
– I cooked mine on high for just under 5 hours
– Broil some french or ciabatta bread and this is a spectacular lasagna that seems to be from the oven but it wasn’t. Another great looking meal and you didnt have to ‘slave over the stove’ for it. Of course anything homemade is great but sometimes we dont have the time so these are some great recipes for those days when you just dont have the time. Hope you try it out and enjoy!!
P.s. sorry my toast isnt that great looking, I was hungry and ready to eat 😉

Easy and delicious Beef Stew

by Ayanda Silk 0 Comments

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I am back with a seriously delicious crock pot stew recipes for all my crock pot/slow cooker lovers. Honestly, a crock pot will change your life!!! Especially for those meals that you can really leave in there and come back 4-6 hours later and have a complete meal ready for you. Well, this is one of them.

Here is where I got the official recipe: http://m.allrecipes.com/recipe/14685/slow-cooker-beef-stew-i 
However I did a couple things differently.
Firstly I used beef shank and it came with quite a few bones which I love because those bones pack some serious flavour. I also mixed the flour, salt, pepper, paprika, oregano and thyme and put the mixture into a bowl or ziploc bag like I did and dredge the meat in it.
– Sear the beef in a couple tablespoons of oil and add them into the crock pot along with a 5-6 oz can of tomato paste and 2 cups beef broth
– Add onion, garlic and veggies to the pan and saute for a minute on medium high. Add 2 cups beef broth and let reduce for a couple minutes. Add this mixture to the crock pot
– Quarter 2 medium to large sized potatoes and add to the crock pot
– Add 2 bay leaves
– Add 1 cup water
– Add 1 tbsp of the leftover flour mixture into the pot and mix in well
– Season with salt (generously because potatoes are notorious for soaking up tons of sodium) and pepper
– Leave on high for 4 hours and voila!
I

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A delicious Sunday meal that cooks itself while you go on about errands or laundry or whichever. Im super excited with how this turned out and I suggest even you can buy the extra huge ziploc bags and pre-prepare the veggies and meat and freeze it until you need it and then you can pop everything into a crock pot (without the extra steps i took) and still get a great meal waiting for you when you get home. 🙂 ladies my husband came back for seconds literally 5 minutes later so this was a hit!!!

Loving yourself (part 2)

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Last night, I attended a women’s event at my church Living Hope, that was titled going from Ditzy to Ritzy. And so this is the 2nd part of the ‘Loving yourself’ series.
When she began she talked about the many masks that many of us put on. Sometimes it might just be one and sometimes its more than one. But regardless of how many we put on, they are still masks and they are not us.
Here are some of the masks we put on:

– Ditzy mask: where we dummify ourselves to seek attention from one thing especially, Men. Specifically she used the example that there’s a new guy at the office who is just absolutely handsome and his cubicle just happens to be right near the water cooler and so time after time we will walk and back forth to that cooler with our ditzy mask on. And yes sometimes its not men. Sometimes we have a friend or group of friends that are very smart and we put on this mask around them in fear they will talk about things we dont understand. So to be safe we just act ditzy. A lot of, if not all, men don’t find the ditzy mask attractive. They don’t find the ‘easy girl’ routine even remotely cute.
Men want a confident women. That is what makes you attractive, so please don’t go lowering your standards just to fit in, don’t go lowering your standards just so that one guy can finally notice you. Don’t go lowering your standard just for attention. There’s already someone who loves you more than anything in the whole wide universe and wants your attention. One who wants to let you know just how much he loves you. And his name is Jesus. The one man whom your standards should matter to. Yes we have our spouses and everything but even then. What he did for you and I on that cross is irreplaceable, it means SO much. He loves you just the way you are. When God looks at you and I he sees princesses, Queens even. I dont know about you but I would rather be a Queen in His eyes than an easy target in some guys eyes.
I pray that maybe if there is a mask out there that you are wearing maybe its the ditzy mask, that God will put his finger on it and reveal it to you.

– Religious mask: this mask is especially for all you christian ladies out there. This mask is the one we put in church that says that we have got it together and everything in our walk with God is amazing and that nothings is wrong. This mask is most often worn when we are going through tough times but instead of being real we put this facade on. It says in 2 Timothy 1:7
“For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline.” And that means also being real which each other. We dont always have it all together and that’s okay. I dont expect you to and neither does God. And thats the great news.
– The Guru mask: these are the know-it alls. Now dont get me wrong there’s a difference between knowing a lot of things and being a know-it all, someone who is NEVER wrong. No matter what happens or what you say, that person is never wrong especially when they are wrong they will do everything in their power to prove you wrong. Because humbling themselves and saying you know what ‘I am sorry, I was wrong’ is a pride thing. We are not willing to be humbled and so we are prideful. Pride says im never wrong, a humble attitude says forgive me for I was wrong, thank you for correcting me. Like I said knowing a lot of things is different than acting like you know it all. There is nothing wrong with being wrong. There is something humbling about someone who is not afraid to be wrong because that means growth is taking place.
And so I challenge you to really look at yourself and see if sometimes or even all the time do you wear this mask?
The world has so many standards for us, for me, but thankfully there is only one that really truly matters and thats Gods standards. You are royalty!!! A co heir with Jesus. So lets remove all the masks and lets be who we are meant to be.

Loving yourself (part 1)

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Ladies, this is a touchy subject when it comes to loving ourselves. This is an area I have struggled with and I am still learning and growing.
When you look at youself, what do you see? How do you feel? This question isn’t always easy to answer. There are tons of bible verse that talk about how God sees us.
For example;
* You are the salt of the earth. You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden.” Matthew 5:14
* Then you will shine among them like stars in the sky.” Philipphians 2:15

So why is it that we have a hard time seeing or even believing what He says?
I believe that as we get closer to God, continue to walk in obedience with Him and get to know Him, he reveals more of himself to us. As we know, if we try to hang on to our lives we will lose them but if we will lose our lives for Him we will find them.
I honestly believe that when we find our lives through Christ he provides us with the strength we need to face up to the hurts that may have caused us to look at ourselves negatively.
I encourage you to get into his presence and let him reveal and heal those hurts. In that, we will be set free from past hurts that used to define us and we can make room for God’s truth (which now defines us, who we are in Him and how we are to live).

So to begin this series, for today just take the time to look at yourself and try to look beyond the physical. Do you like who you are? Whether yes or no, why? What are the things you like about yourself?