Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Ordinary Runner

Ordinary runner: Green 6.2 in 2013
I’m an ordinary runner and I’m proud of it. I was told more than once that I don’t “look like a runner” but I still press on to complete marathons, 10Ks and 5Ks. I find joy in the fact that I can go outside and simply run. 
My last run started as the worst run ever (they all start out like that). To make matters worse it was hot and foggy in south Texas. Still I pressed on to complete that run. I had my favorite Podcast in my ear (Marathon Training Academy Podcast) and that put a smile on my face. I had a few precious hours by myself and my first choice is often “go for a run.” I’m an ordinary runner and I’m okay with it. I realize a lot of work goes into running. I learned from my many mistakes and each run is another growing opportunity. 
I hope that you are not embarrassed of running because you feel you don’t fit in or you don’t know what to do. I want to encourage you to get out there and try. I have ran the Green 6.2 before but each trip to the start line is a new experience. I try to improve my performance. I try to compete with myself and myself only. I try to enjoy the experience because I never take myself too seriously during races. 
I believe that we, ordinary runners, shine brightest when we take a deep breath and enjoy our surroundings. That’s what I plan to do when I run the Green 6.2. On that day, a large group of ordinary runners and walkers do the extraordinary: complete a 10K. I appreciate the fact that being a part of this event speaks louder than words (or swag). I means that we care about our health and we are taking an active role in improving it. 
I hope you can join me and run the Green 6.2. There’s plenty time to train (check out their Training Plan). Also, if you add the code SIMPLYCINTIA on your registration, you’ll get $10 off.

Saturday, February 28, 2015

Frustration Knocks: Hope for Creative People


I walk into a room filled with people and I see many possibilities. I go on to explain my vision. “Maybe we could add a couple of things to the morning program in order to enhance the experience for the kids.” The person who’s over the program fiercely tells me “this is not why I asked you to volunteer in your position. What we are doing is working for us, we need you to do what you were asked to do.” I’m a young adult who just wanted to help more. I have no one to help me process these feelings so I pack my guitar and go home. I come back to the event, day after day and I do what I was asked. At the end of the week the kids do a phenomenal final musical presentation and I close my eyes as they perform, thinking about the God I serve. I pack my guitar and quickly leave before the final thank yous are handed out. I’ve had it and I am hurt. Frustration knocks at my door for the first of many times. 

14 years later I walk into an empty room and I explain my vision. “This is what the walls would look like. I would love to move the center of the room here. I’d love to bring a piece of furniture to this part of the room and change the focal point a bit.” The more I go on, the more blank stares I get. I’ve gotten these reactions before and I can guess what type of answer I will get which is often “no thank you, it has never been done before.” There it is, frustration knocks once more. 

I feel the pain of rejection, I have never been immune to it. The difference is that I now share all the raw details with my husband and best friend who is able to listen and care as well as encourage me to channel my creativity a different way. 

When frustration knocks on my door I can answer in many different ways. I can answer with pride and a boastful attitude. Here’s the problem: I keep my nose in the Bible and I know that God hates Pride and a Haughty spirit. I can answer with Anger. I am entitled to my feelings but as long as I do not let the sun go down on my anger I should be okay. I can also answer the door with a Foolish Attitude. In the first example I gave you I could have grabbed my guitar and hit someone with it. Not a good result, more like jail time - ain’t nobody got time for that. 

The last time frustration knocked at my door, my husband asked me “what do you think is more important: people accepting all your ideas or the fact that God wants you to learn how to work with different people?” All of a sudden, frustration had a purpose in my life. To be honest with you, the pain of rejection felt less like a gunshot wound kind of pain (something that needs to be fixed immediately) but more like a nagging paper cut. I kept feeling it because there was a lesson to be learned. What is the use of being so creative while carrying a haughty spirit? Sometimes ideas are not for ideas’ sake. Sometimes God places us creative people in the middle of reality so that we can touch, smell and feel what reality looks like and so that we can learn to love and work with His precious people. 

So what if my ideas are not accepted? My assignment was not to change that group’s whole world but to add a little of the a lot God has given me. I was to serve them with a humble heart. My dear husband often reminds me that God has given me multiple streams of creativity for this very purpose. If I can’t use it in one place, there’s certainly another way to use it. I don’t lack for ways of using my creativity and for that, I am thankful to God. 

The goal of this post is not to bash the sweet people who couldn’t grasp my vision. I’m actually thankful that they helped me learn a big God lesson. The goal is to maybe give some hope to people who like me, have all these big ideas exploding inside of them and a lot of what they get is frustration knocking on their door. Remember my friend, you can answer with pride, anger, foolishness or as a God given promotion. That’s what lessons learned are, character promotions from our infinitely, creative Creator.

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Como achar 5 ingredientes Brasileiros nos EUA


1. Creme de Leite - Chama-se “table cream” e fica perto dos produtos latinos ou “Hispanic Products” no supermercado. Quando achei foi uma alegria. Eu uso Table Cream pra fazer strogonoff e pra fazer arroz de forno. Já fiz sobremesas com ele também. 

2. Leite Condensado - Chama-se “condensed milk” e geralmente fica perto de produtos de sobremesa. Procure perto de leites enlatados (como evaporated milk) e geralmente você também pode achar perto dos produtos hispanicos. Eu uso muito pra fazer pudim de leite, rabanada e outras sobremesas. 

3. Farinha de Farofa - no sul do Texas eu achei que a farinha africana “Garri” é parecidíssima com farinha de fazer farofa. Quando não tem farofa o Garri é que me ajuda a matar a saudade mesmo. 

4. Louro - Chama-se “Bay leaves” e se acha perto das frutas, verduras e legumes. Aqui também vende-se tudo bem moído se preferir desse jeito. 

5. Feijão Preto - aqui vende-se feijão de tudo quanto é jeito, mas como cresci comendo o feijão preto, prefiro ele. Depois de 17 anos aqui, percebi que o feijão da marca Goya é o de melhor qualidade. 

• Quais são outros produtos brasileiros que você já achou aqui nos Estates e por quais ainda está procurando?

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

You never forget your first Texas Race

You never forget your first Texas race. This is me at the finish line of my first Green 6.2 race in 2013. 
Photo by Green 6.2
I call it my happy race because as you can tell in this photo, it was pure bliss. I trained by myself around my neighborhood. I made every mistake most newbies make but I didn't care, I was running my first 10K! I'm so glad we have these photo because I will forever remember that burst of rejoicing that hit me when I crossed the finish line. I quickly realized I had to run this race again and again. 

This year I will get to the start like of the Green 6.2 with 3 marathons under my belt. You think this would make me feel prideful but I feel the total opposite feeling. I will arrive with the humility that comes from respecting every distance. I love to run green because that happy feeling I got in 2013 never left me. Every year I talk to different participants in the course and people are super friendly. Everyone gets to the start line with a story and they are all there because they love the sport. 

My training for this year's race is going pretty well. This week I'm journaling my food and taking my runs seriously. What I mean by seriously is, I am seriously enjoying running in the cold! I plan on adding tempo runs to my training this week as well.

I hope you can join me at the Green 6.2 race this year. REGISTER NOW  and if you use the code "SIMPLYCINTIA" you'll get $10 OFF the race price. Also,

 Like the Green 6.2 on Facebook for the latest on the race
• Follow them on Twitter
• Follow them on Instagram
• Follow their 10K Training Plan

Disclaimer: I am an Ambassador for the Green 6.2 race and I received two free entries to the race in exchange for Race Promotion. The honest opinions on this post are my own.

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Monday, February 23, 2015

The Oscars: How to Give a Great Acceptance Speech


"The words of the godly are a life-giving fountain; the words of the wicked conceal violent intentions." Proverbs 10:11 (NLT)

It's amazing how a little statue make people influential with their words. Last night, after Downton Abbey of course, my husband and I watched the Oscars. My favorite part is the acceptance speeches because with every speech a message was sent all over the world. 

You and I may or may not have that same platform but the one we do have you probably already used today. The first platform to be influential with our words we all have is our home. This morning I have used my platform to set the course of the day for my family. I believe that the more I use the Bible in my daily speech, the better the chances of my family receiving life-giving words that will make a Godly impact. 

The second platform we have to be influential with our words is the media. Each word typed, each video recorded or shared can be life-giving or death-giving. There's no in between. Life and death are in the power of the tongue (Proverbs 18:21) so I'm either influencing you to succeed or to fail. You and I might not be on a glamorous stage holding an enviable statue in hand but in a way we are. What kind of acceptance speech will you give today at home and in the media?

Life will throw you Awards and Awkward Situations today. You have no choice but to accept it. That acceptance is quickly followed by a speech of some sort. Case and point: a few weeks ago my oldest son started throwing up. To make matters worse, my husband and I had a big performance together. What an awkward situation! For my acceptance speech, I chose the life-giving words of a prayer. I prayed God's healing over him and I prayed to God that no one else in the family would get sick. I also journaled that prayer. In social media that day, I chose to use my influence to spread hope by posting Bible verses. I understood that if my acceptance speech had a fearful undertone, I would not be doing anyone a favor. God in His faithfulness healed my son and no one else got sick so my husband and I performed together for the honor and glory of His name.
Today I pray that my words will be a life-giving fountain. I pray that as I accept the Awards or Awkward Situations life gives me, I will have an acceptance speech worthy of a faith-filled Believer in a God who is good, loving and wise. 

Choosing life-giving words are not meant to pretend that life's situations don't suck sometimes. It simply puts me in a place where my character can be molded into a more mature believer. If we can choose it, we can change it. We get to choose our words so let's change them to life-giving fountains. 

What will your acceptance speech be today?

Lent: I will remember Jesus


Growing up in Brasil I never really celebrated Lent as I’ve seen it celebrated in the US. I looked around in Grad School one day and I noticed people were giving up alcohol for Lent and they were asking me what I was giving up. My answer was, “what’s that?” 

I find the different Lent traditions to be really interesting. According to UMC.org “Lent is a season of forty days, not counting Sundays, which begins on Ash Wednesday and ends on Holy Saturday. Lent comes from the Anglo Saxon word lencten, which means "spring." The forty days represents the time Jesus spent in the wilderness, enduring the temptation of Satan and preparing to begin his ministry.”

My current church does not offer a Ash Wednesday service and neither did my church as I grew up in Brazil. I tell you what, it’s challenging to start a whole new tradition as an adult just because everyone around me is doing it. So this year, for the 17th time, I won’t give up anything for Lent. What I will do, is to continue to remember my dear Lord and Savior Jesus. 

I do believe that Lent only helps us make Easter the Superbowl of all Christian holidays so I support my fellow Christian friends for upholding their different Easter season traditions. 

I will remember Jesus when I make the point to teach my children about what Easter really means. In my household that means reading the Bible and telling them the story of the resurrected Christ and what His victory on the cross does for us today. 

I will honor and respect my friends who give up stuff for Lent. I’ll try not to parade candy in front of them if I know that’s what they’re giving up. I am all for respecting and supporting my friends’ walk with God. 

I will look for opportunities to share the story of Jesus with people who do not know Him. That will be the most rewarding thing that could ever happen this season. After all, Jesus told us Himself: 

All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Amen.Matthew 28:18-20 (NKJV) 

I will remember you Jesus during Lent and every season of the year.