About seven or eight months ago, I made two major changes to my personal health and fitness. I started seeing a chiropractor to help alleviate my arthritis pain, and I began an anti-inflammatory diet. What a difference I am seeing in my life as a result of these two things! I go for days, weeks, even months with zero arthritis pain (barometric pressure changes still get me every time), and my gut health is better than ever. These two changes have led to other changes in my lifestyle, and Lent is a great time to usher in even more.
For many years, I have done daily exercise. I visited the YMCA every morning for close to ten years before the pandemic struck and I discovered a whole world of exercise classes right on YouTube! Now, exercise fits into my schedule, and the type of class I choose is reflective of my needs that day. After trying lots of different things, I’ve settled on a Pilates and yoga mix each morning and a cardio workout every evening. Between the anti-inflammatory foods and the two exercise routines, I am actually losing weight for the first time in years without feeling like I’m missing out or killing myself doing it. This Lent, I decided to take some of these practices as well as my prayer life to the next level.
Several years ago, while at a Catholic Women’s Conference with my tribe, I discovered a practice for mind, body, and soul called SoulCore. This practice combines yoga and Pilates with praying the Rosary, a practice I had given up after feeling frustrated by no longer feeling the meditative power of the Rosary. I felt that I was saying and not praying, meaning I was gaining nothing from pushing myself to say the Rosary and thus giving nothing to God. I bought the videos, thinking maybe that would help, but I never actually used them once I got home. I kept telling myself, one day, when I have time, I’ll give it a try. Of course, with that attitude, one day quickly became never.
This Lent, however, I was searching for something more, something that would take my spiritual life to the next level just like I’ve done with my physical self. I found the videos and began a week before Lent to see if I thought I could stick with it, and I will be honest and say that it has opened the Rosary up for me in a whole new way.
SoulCore has given me a route by which I feel truly, holistically connected to the prayers as I am saying them. Perhaps this is because I am finally praying in a way that goes along with the Catechism’s explanation of living prayer. “God seeks worshippers in Spirit and in Truth, and consequently living prayer that rises from the depths of the soul. He also wants the external expression that associates the body with interior prayer, for it renders him that perfect homage which is His due” (CCC 2703). This has been life-changing for me even on days when I haven’t really wanted to stop what I was doing and pray. Once I begin, I find myself being drawn totally and ethereally into the prayers and movements.
This new lifestyle of caring for my mind, body, and soul has even renewed my feelings about meal preparation. Yes, I still hate grocery shopping, but searching for recipes that are anti-inflammatory and taste really good has become something I do several times a week now. I get so excited when we’re eating dinner and all agree that a new recipe is good enough to be put on the regular home menu rotation. One our favorite new recipes is featured below.
Do I still like to indulge in a little sugar and white flower now and then? Of course. Just ask me what I ate at Katie’s birthday dinner this past weekend (homemade chicken pot and funfetti cake, anyone?). However, I’ve gotten pretty good at staying away from foods that leave me feeling bloated and empty at the same time. It was kind of like my prayer and exercise life at one time. I was taking a lot in, trying all kinds of things, but nothing was making me feel good or satisfied. Eating foods that have been proven to reduce or prevent inflammation (gut inflammation, joint inflammation, migraines, etc) has made me so much healthier and even more clear-headed. Finding exercise routines that I love have helped me feel and become more physically fit. Rediscovering the blessing of the Rosary through a mind-body connection has brought new meaning to my prayer life.
Whatever you’re doing this Lent, let it be something life-giving, mood-altering, and soul-satisfying.
A Simple Recipe for a Healthier You
Sautéed Cod with Tomatoes and Olives
2 filets uncooked Atlantic cod
1 tsp Greek Seasoning (I put Cavender’s on EVERYTHING) Or 1 tsp Mrs. Dash Table Blend
1 tsp, 1 tbsp, 1 tbsp olive oil, separated
1 garlic clove (but who uses just one?)
1 pint grape tomatoes, halved
4 oz sliced olives
1 tsp parsley
1 tsp basil
1/4 cup water
Season fish with Greek seasoning and coat with 1 tsp olive oil; set aside on a plate.
Heat a large (12-inch) nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add 1 Tbsp olive oil to skillet; carefully arrange fish in skillet. Let fish cook without moving it, for 2-3 minutes. Turn fish using a good metal spatula; cook for 2-3 minutes on other side. Transfer fish to a plate (the fish won’t be cooked through at this point).
Add remaining olive oil and garlic to same pan; Cook, stirring frequently, until it starts to turn golden, 2-3 minutes. Add tomatoes, olives, half the herbs, water, and a pinch of Cavender’s or Mrs. Dash if desired; cook 1-2 minutes. Reduce heat to medium; return fish to pan, gently nestling the pieces among tomato mixture so they touch pan bottom. Cover; cook until fish is just opaque in center and tomatoes are heated through, 2-3 minutes. Sprinkle with remaining herbs; serve immediately with optional lemon wedges.
I served mine with Brussel sprouts roasted in olive oil and Cavender’s (of course) and a baked sweet potato seasoned with cinnamon.
Come see Amy on one of these dates:
March 9, 2022 – Our Lady of the Assumption Catholic Church, Wayne, PA 7:00PM, Online – Lenten Reflection
April 9, 2022 – First Landing Wine and Arts Festival, St. Clement’s Island Museum, Clements, MD
June 4, 2022 – Christ Church 350th Anniversary Fair, Broomes Island, MD
June 18, 2022 – SunDial Books, Chincoteague, VA – The Launch of My New Chincoteague Trilogy!
Want To Read More from Amy?
Subscribe to my newsletter for information on upcoming books, cover reveals, and insider information. Do you know what my next book is about? My newsletter subscribers do!
What I was writing about one year ago this week: A Surprising Renewal.
Would you like Amy to speak to your parish, your women’s group, your reading patrons, or your book club? Did you know that Amy leads women’s retreats?
Contact Amy’s assistant to schedule Amy’s visit–in person or via Skype or FaceTime. Now is the time to schedule a visit for this fall or winter!
Amy Schisler is an award-winning author of both children’s books and sweet, faith-filled romance novels for readers of all ages. She lives with her husband and three daughters on the Eastern Shore of Maryland. Her books, Picture Me, Whispering Vines, and Island of Miracles are all recipients of Illumination Awards, placing them among the top inspirational fiction books of 2015, 2016, and 2017. Whispering Vines was awarded the 2017 LYRA Award for the best romance of 2016. The Good Wine, the sequel to Whispering Vines was released in June of 2021. Island of Miracles has outsold all of Amy’s other books worldwide and ranked as high as 600 on Amazon. Her follow up, Island of Promise is a reader favorite. Amy’s children’s chapter book is The Greatest Gift, and her most recent suspense novel is Summer’s Squall.
Amy’s second book in the Chincoteague Island Trilogy, Island of Promise, was awarded First Prize by the Oklahoma Romance Writer’s Association as the best Inspirational Romance of 2018 and was awarded a Gold Medal in the Independent Publisher Book Awards 2019 for Inspirational Fiction. It is the 2019 winner for Best Inspirational Fiction in the RWA Golden Quill Contest, Best Romance in the American Book Awards, and a finalist for the Eric Hoffer Award of Fiction. Amy’s 2019 work, The Devil’s Fortune, a finalist in the Writer’s Digest Self-Publishing Awards and winner of an Illumination Award, is based, in part, on Amy’s family history. The third book in Amy’s Chincoteague Island Trilogy, Island of Hope, was released in August of 2019. Amy’s book, Desert Fire, Mountain Rain begins her new Buffalo Springs series. Book two, Under the Summer Moon, was released in December of 2021.
Amy’s books: Crabbing With Granddad (2013), A Place to Call Home (2014), Picture Me (2015), Whispering Vines (2016), Island of Miracles (2017), Stations of the Cross Meditations for Moms (2017), The Greatest Gift (2017), Summer’s Squall (2017), Island of Promise (2018), The Devil’s Fortune (2019), Island of Hope (2019), A Devotional Alphabet (2019), Desert Fire, Mountain Rain(2020), The Good Wine (2021), Under the Summer Moon (2021).