Challenges, Goals, Health and Wellness, Uncategorized

Day#1 – The Vegan Challenge Has Begun

Today is the first day of my 30-Day Vegan Challenge, and I’m excited! After work in a previous “career” in agriculture, I learned a lot about how different foods are produced, and the effects which some of the things which are used to produce foods have on our bodies. For example, many foods are produced with pesticides, herbicides, insecticides, fungicides and nematocides— natural and articifically-developed chemicals which could impact human reproduction, hormonal balance, and so on.

So, why am I embarking on this challenge?

The answer is multi-faceted, so here goes:

  1. Yes, I want to lose weight! I’ve gained a lot of weight within the past few years after suffering from an illness, and I need the weight to go away!
  2. I want my lean, flexible, and strong physique back— and this time, I’m keeping it!
  3. I feel great when I eat fresh fruits and vegetables, so I’ve decided to give my body more of the healthy foods it’s been craving.
  4. The things I’ve learned about food production have caused me to look at food differently. Therefore, I want to produce and consume foods that are as fresh, clean, and natural as possible.
  5. I want to inspire others to be as healthy as they can be.
  6. I want to feel and look my best.
  7. I want to stop eating meat altogether, and be a lifelong vegan— it just seems healthier than consuming meat.
  8. I’m interested in learning about the variety of fruits and vegetables which I can eat for optimal health (and to satisfy my curiousity about different foods).
  9. Foods from the ground are generally full of vitamins and nutrients, and there’s nothing like being nourished with good whole foods.
  10. I like to try new things and challenges can help us to build character and to grow in our walks of life.

So, what do I expect during my 30-Day Vegan Challenge?

I expect:

  1. To lose weight.
  2. To feel and look healthier.
  3. To decrease my desire to eat unhealthy foods.
  4. To inspire others that they can have their best bodies, and enjoy good overall health.
  5. To give people ideas on how they can make small, and simple, changes which can have big and positive results in their overall health, fitness, and life, in general.
  6. To inspire others to lead healthy lives.
  7. To gain an appreciation for healthy eating and living.
  8. To successfully complete this 30-Day Vegan Challenge— I like good challenges every now, and then.
  9. To be an example of the positive change which I want to see in the people I love, and in the community where I live.
  10. To set the tone for how I want to live the rest of my life— a life full of good and healthy habits which can influence others to do, and be, their very best!

So, what about you?

Do you have a challenge which you want to overcome? And, have you ever embarked on a challenge of this sort? Leave your comments below. Be sure to let me know if you are participating in any kind of health, or fitness challenge, and share the details! We can learn from each other.

 

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Christianity, Lifestyle & Culture, Society and Culture, Thank You, Uncategorized

So, I’m Thankful

Thankfulness?

I’ve devoted a lot of time to the new direction of TheTDarrisBlog, and I’ve decided that I should start back with one thing that I think about each day: thankfulness. You might wonder, “Why thankfulness?” Well, it seems that a thankful heart is generally a happy heart, or at least a content one. A thankful attitude seems to make complaining uncomfortable, and it seems that thankfulness is the one thing which helps to keep the mind thoughtful all while keeping one’s passions sober.

I’m not as thankful as I should be

A major reason why I’ve decided to blog about thankfulness is because as I read the Bible, I am regularly reminded that I should be thankful. The Bible has many stories in which people who endured some terrible circumstances were able to sincerely tell God, and others, “Thank you”— or, they expressed some sort of gratitude and appreciation either during, or after these hard times. And, they were sincere about it!

Were they thankful for the hard times they endured? I doubt it. But, there seems to be a pattern of thankfulness concerning¬†the troubles they endured because these experiences prepared them for a new phase in their lives, and other times, thankfulness was expressed because these indiviudals knew that their situations could have been worse! Certainly, there are other reasons why people were thankful, but that’s not the focus of this post ūüôā

I want to develop a thankful heart

I want to be sincerely thankful for my life, and the experiences, etc., which God sees fit for me to endure. This will require a lot of courage, and of course, trust in Him— but I’m okay with that. Two years ago, I made a daily commitment to find a reason to be thankful, and to express that thankfulness to God during daily prayer time, in addition to living out that thankfulness each day of my life— I’m not perfect, I only get it right on some days, and on other days…not so much.

Thankful people are free!

And, I want to be free! I want to be able to endure life’s ups and downs, and still be thankful! I want to always find and hold on to the good in any situation, and allow it to further teach and mold me into being the person I should be.

I could go on, and on, but I think you get the point: I am dedicating a portion of this blog to thankfulness. Maybe I’ll even post on different aspects of thankfulness, like “how to be thankful”, effects of thankfulness and the need for more gratitude in everyday life. But, all-in-all, I’ll be blogging about reasons why I am thankful.

Some of you might remember the “Thankfulness” blog posts I published two years ago. This is a [better] continuation of that. And for those of you who like to dig a little deeper and read more about thankfulness, I will be adding some links and higlights from other articles, videos, etc., on some aspect of thankfulness. I’ll start with Merriam-Webster’s definition of thankful, and the Holman Christian Standard Bible’s definition article, enttitled, “Thanksgiving“. I hope you find this informative and useful as I have: Thankful and Thanksgiving.

Right now

2016 has been a very difficult year for me, but I’ve learned that I can, and will, endure these challenges. And one day, I hope to look back with even more thankfulness in my heart, and insights to share with others who need them.

So, tell me— why are you thankful?

Fitness, Goals, Health and Wellness, Lifestyle & Culture, Self-Management, Uncategorized

I’m a Vegetarian— for a week ;)

So, among other things, I decided to be a vegetarian this week, and to see how I feel about continuing this interesting lifestyle next weekend. I want to see how a few simple changes in my life can make big and positive changes. I expect to post the results on next Sunday. Even if I don’t decided to continue to be a vegetarian, I have decided that I will consume a mostly plant-based diet. But, my goal is to eventually become a vegetarian— the reasons for which I expect to discuss at a later time.

This decison was inspired by other people’s good and bad health experiences as a direct result of their diets and lifestyles, and my personal battle with sickness which had lasted several years. (I expect to share more about my story at a later time.) I have watched people change their diets to live some very wholesome and healthy lives, and I want to continually the same “healthy and active lifestyle” I enjoyed not long ago.

I will be combining my vegetarian diet with daily cardio, and some strength training, body weight and kettlebell workouts throughout each week. (I can post my actual routines later this week, or next week.) And, if you’re wondering what exactly I’ll be eating, just know that I have lots of dark, leafy vegetables, apples, lemons, carrots, snap peas, and chocolate almond milk to accompany my peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. I have lots of other fresh fruits and vegetables, and a Women’s¬†vitamin supplement and Super B Complex from Garden of Life. So, I’m covered in the nutrition department.

I’m not “sick” anymore, and I’m no longer bewildered and at a standstill in my life concerning what I’ve been through. So, it’s time to get moving, and to take control of my health— and my life— again.

Hopefully, my story will help and encourage someone else to bounce back after infirmity, challenges and difficulty.

Before I was sick, one of my “hobby-goals” was to be a certified fitness trainer so that I could help others to realize their firness goals in my freetime. That goal still hums in my heart, and someday, I expect to accomplish¬†it. I also expect to return to the dance¬†studio to continue to study, perform and teach dance, participate in marathons, and to continue to live the healthy, active lifetsyle I’ve enjoyed most of my life— and, I will.

I’ll eventually start posting my stats and progress photos. I’m using my Fitbit equipment to track my performance and progress. I have a FitBit Aria scale, and a Zip and Charge HR tracker to help me along the way.

Here’s to good health, moving around and healthy living!

So, tell me your story. What are your health and/or fitness goals, and what are you doing to make them a reality in your life? Post your responses in the comments section, or under my post for this at Instagram, Facebook, or Twitter.

Books & Reading, Essays and Articles, Uncategorized

2016 Summer Reading List

School’s out, it’s summer time, and it’s time to do some reading! In addition to my “required” readings for some publishing companies, I plan to read books by some highly respected authors, movers and shakers. For each book I read, I will write and publish a review. The following is a list of the authors and their works:

Martin Luther King, Jr.

  • Strength to Love (1963)
  • Stride Toward Freedom: The Montgomery Story (1958)
  • The Trumpet of Conscience (1968)
  • Where Do We Go From Here: Chaos or Community? (1967)
  • Why We Can’t Wait (1963)

Why MLK, Jr.? Because anyone who can use Jesus’ teaching to lead a movement which impacted a nation and the world probably has some ideas and information which I need for myself in order to make me a better person in every¬†way. To learn more about Martin Luther King, Jr.’s writings, see his bibliography on the King Center’s website at¬†http://www.thekingcenter.org/books-bibliography#BookMLK

A.W. Tozer

  • God’s Pursuit of Man
  • How to Be Filled with the Holy Spirit (currently reading)
  • Tozer for the Christian Leader
  • The Pursuit of God
  • Paths to Power
  • Prayer

In April 2016, I read A.W. Tozer’s book entitled, “Prayer”. This was the first book I’ve read by Tozer. You can read my summary of this book, and the impression it made on me by reading my book review here on the TDarris Blog, or by visiting Amazon.com.

Tozer’s ability to teach¬†subjects with enough detail and concision to help the reader to get an informative introduction to a subject is one of the reasons why I’ve added A.W. Tozer to my 2016 Summer Reading List. Another major reason is because he teaches essential biblical concepts which seem to be missing from much of what is considered to be “Christian” teaching and preaching in today’s society. Morevoer, he teaches with the intent to inform, correct and influence people for the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

Robert Johnston

“Jesus Called – He Wants His Church Back: What Christians and the American Church are Missing”

I am reading this book for a publisher, and will post this book to my blog and on retailer websites. In the review, I will share my impressions of this book, in addition to an overall summary.

If I have the time (this summer) I want to read books by…

Robert Greene

During my days as an intern, a former co-worker introduced me to “Power” by Robert Greene. She explained to me that I should read it because the book highlighted and detailed some of the major characteristics, strategies and related works of some major historical figures and how their characteristics and strategies could be used in daily situations in career, education and other personal and professional pursuits. So, I did some research on Robert Greene and his popular book, and I discoverred that he had give books in which he explored similar topics. I’ve purchased “Power”, and after I finish that book, I plan to read his other four book. So, here Robert Greene’s books:

  • Power
  • Mastery
  • The Art of Seduction
  • The 33 Strategies of War
  • The 50th Law

This summer, I’ll be reading these books while I’m studying for my teacher certification exam, managing two organizations, researching, reading, writing, editing, narrating and publishing poetry and prose, exercising a whole lot (!), and studying dance amongst other things. So, I’m giving myself 12 weeks to completly read all of these books, and to write and publish a review for each one.

Other books I want to read this fall:

  • The Autobiography of Martin Luther King, Jr.
  • The Autobiography of Malcolm X
  • The World As I See It by Albert Einstein
  • Long Walk to Freedom: The Autobiography of Nelson Mandela
  • Gandhi: An Autobiography – The Story of My Experiements with Truth
  • The Souls of Black Folk by W.E.B. Dubois
  • Narrative of the Life and Works of Frederick Douglass by Frederick Douglass
  • Harriet Tubman: The Road to Freedom
  • The Greatest: My Own Story by Muhammad Ali
  • A Long Way Gone: Memoirs of a Boy Soldier by Ishmael Beah

What’s on your summer reading list? I’d love to know! Please share in the comments section, or let me know on Instagram or Twitter @TDarris.

Challenges, Communication & Relationships, Education and Career, Leading & Serving, Uncategorized

My 28 Teachers

Over the course of one semester, 28 children gave me nuggets of wisdom which I will never forget, and will use to make me a better [future] wife, [future] mother, daughter, sister, aunt, woman, person, etc.

In short, while I taught this group of energetic and, often, rambunctious of first graders, I also spent this time as a curious student learning a little about what it means to be a teacher, student, mother, mentor, leader and advocate. These beautiful children taught me endless lessons on mercy and grace, justice, fairness, accountability, acceptance and rejection, forgiveness, compassion and love.

I am proud to have taught them! And I am proud that they [unknowingly] taught me each day. And, perhaps, the fact that they don’t seem to realize that they were, indeed, teaching me is something which also amazes me!

I am drafting an essay about these experiences so that I may detail the things I‚Äôve learned during this semester. I also want to share some of my personal and professional views on how public schools could be managed in order to more effectively educate their students‚Äô needs— especially schools which serve students from underprivileged socioeconomic backgrounds.

For now, I just want to say that children are excellent teachers in their own way. And, when we interact, observe and hear them, we can learn how to be better people for ourselves and for others.

Poetry and Prose, Uncategorized

In This Life of Circumstance

In This Life of Circumstance by Teyuna T. Darris

Bible, Christianity, Essays and Articles, Lifestyle & Culture, Society and Culture

I Believe, But I Don’t Read

The Bible consists of 66 books. How can someone claim to bring honor to Someone who has never read about how to honor Him? How can someone call himself, or herself, a “Bible teacher”, but has never studied the Bible? How can we get in passionate debates, and discussions, on Bible passages and things we’ve heard others say about the Bible, but we have never read the Bible for ourselves?

For example, some of the people accessing this content probably have a Facebook page because this content was also published on Facebook.¬†Did those individuals¬†actually ¬†take the time to read the Facebook Terms and Conditions before they¬†began using Facebook? Whether, or not they¬†read those Terms and Conditions, they¬†entered into a contract in order to use Facebook. Who signs contracts, but doesn’t read them, first? The person who didn’t read the Terms and Conditions, but uses Facebook, does not know to what Terms and Conditions he, or she, has agreed. Each party of the contract has to give something up, and/or bring something to the table.

In the military, soldiers honor their countries because they took the time to study its customs and conduct and their environment constantly reminds them of those national customs and conduct. In school, my teachers new their subjects because they studied their subjects and usually, we had a classroom environment to constantly remind us of what we were learning. And in college, I wasn’t paying anyone to waste my time making comments on a subject which he, or she, had not¬†studied.

Continue reading “I Believe, But I Don’t Read”