Top Ten List: Practices I Promise You Won’t Regret Starting This Year

As we start off the New Year, I’m thinking about some habits and choices that  I want to do or already have done in years past — choices that have the power to really enhance my relationships and life for the better! I want to share ten of these practices in the form of one of my very favorite things: A LIST!

  1. Sponsor a child or sign up for monthly giving! I highly recommend the following ministries:,,,,,, and
  2. Work to memorize Scripture! Aim for one chapter or one really meaningful passage, or verses about a particular issue with which you struggle.
  3. Ask God whom to put on a daily prayer list. As you pray for them, send a card sometimes to encourage or at the end of the year, let them know you prayed for them all year!
  4. Read aloud a devotional or inspirational biography at dinner or bedtime or before school at least once a week as a family.
  5. Make a change in your diet, even if it is to only add one beneficial food and remove one harmful food for the year. And can I squeeze into #5 to exercise at least 15-30 minutes per day?
  6. Put on your calendar a quarterly, if not monthly, ladies’ night/men’s night or coffee date with a friend! No one is going to do this for you; make it happen!
  7. Plan 12 dates with your spouse if you are married. Even if they are “couch dates”, write down the ideas and put them in a jar to pull out or put on your calendar once a month. Get the sitter a month in advance. We can do this, y’all! When we are old, we’ll be sorry that we didn’t…It’s good for the kids to see us date, too!
  8. Live in community, inter-generationally! Seek out relationships with older and younger people; write down the story and advice of at least one older person this year and seek to serve them this year.
  9. Pow-Wow! Give the closest people in your life a chance to share their heart daily, in two categories. Ask them what was great about their day, and listen (this is their Wow!) Ask them what was difficult and what they’d like to sort through, and listen (this is their Pow!) You can do this with friends, roommates, spouses, and definitely kids and teens. I do this as I put my kids to bed each night and if I “forget”, they do not. 😉
  10. Plan a day or weekend anywhere from 2 to 12 times a year where you get away from people and re-think schedules, goals, relationships, health, etc. Read, watch inspiring movies, be quiet, journal, be in nature, and let God renew your mind, heart, soul, and strength in solitude.

We are responsible to take care of ourselves (mentally, emotionally, physically, spiritually)…our immediate family, our marriages, our kids that won’t be kids for long…the least of these among us, close by and around the world…the elderly…but we get busy and sometimes just live on autopilot! Whatever your choices are this year, let them be YOUR CHOICES. Whatever you spend your time on, whatever you commit yourself to do, let it be thought out and deliberate. What you decide today is a little bit who you are tomorrow. 🙂

Finding Peace and Purpose in Our Battles

I have been really silent for over a month. Not just on the blog, but in my home and my relationships. I’ve texted with some friends but have had days where I only said a few sentences. I just feel quiet, and my mind and heart are full of pause. They are also full of prayers.

Some friends I know and love have had loved ones pass onto eternity, as always, in a quick and shocking way.

Some other friends have had little ones in the hospital, hurting and scared.

Some have had surgeries, new medications, life on hold and upside down.

I have had an extremely hard time with fatigue through the summer, then the whole month of September was on the couch or bed due to an urgent health matter (which is healing and going to be fine).

Battles both literal and figurative raging around the world.

You can see why the pause, and why the prayers.

Here are some of my thoughts in the silence:

*There is peace in surrendering what we wanted the journey and outcome to be. If we can bow to Him, there is peace there in that humility.

In this wellness battle, I have peace because I know that I know that I know that God gives both the sunshine and the rain. He is sovereign over my life, every single aspect of it, from how I feel to the day I die. To me, any thing less than this would mean God is less powerful than the enemy, than the world, than me. I feel safe in God’s hands, and if He is not freaked out by the difficulties in our lives and the limits those difficulties put on us, then I won’t be either. I gave Him my life. This is where my talk meets my walk.

*He isn’t asking more of us than we can give.

In this past month, I also came to grips with the fact (again) that if God actually wants something out of me, He’s going to supply everything I need for that task or I am in no way required to do it. I tend to fill up my calendar with good things as soon as I feel well, then the sickness comes and I feel terrible in more than just physical ways…guilt, confusion, weariness, stress. The Lord is freeing me (again) to only serve with the strength He provides and take joy that my life and accomplishments belong to Him, not me, so how much or what I do isn’t really “mine” to worry about. It’s His. He’s slowing down the pace for me because I needed intervention in that! 

*Where do I place my trust? In my supplements and self-discipline?

Number One, I trust Jesus for my righteousness. I say that because I sometimes think, “If I was more perfect, if I was more disciplined, if God didn’t have to ‘teach me a lesson’ (I don’t believe that by the way)”, then I wouldn’t have this recurring health condition that seems to hinder my life.  False. Jesus alone covers me with righteousness and right standing with God. I don’t have to do extra, in fact, doing extra would nullify my faith in the work of Grace! May that never be so! I’m on God’s “good side” because of Jesus, period. Number Two, I trust the Holy Spirit for my power to produce fruit, because any good that comes from my life (sick OR well) is from Him. And Number Three, I trust my Father for my safety. In the palm of His hand, I can know nothing comes my way that He did not allow, and because He is good, I want what He wants. I’m all in with Him, all in. If I trust Him with my children, my future, my home in Heaven, I must trust that if He wanted things to be different in my body and life right here and now He would bring that desire to fruition! He’s my Abba.

*When I’ve done all that is in my power to do for wellness- in wisdom and knowledge, prayer and praise- I can rest and enjoy the life that has been given to me.

In our wellness battles, we always have things to be thankful for. Personally, I’m thankful I don’t have to work a full time job. I’m thankful I have a husband, precious and somewhat self-sufficient daughters ;),  a great church, and so many friends that I keep leaving people out accidentally when I’m asking for prayer support! I’m thankful I have a quiet home and a fairly simple life. I’m thankful that the ministries I’m involved in are not overwhelming but peaceful and completely powered by the Lord. Not being able or allowed to do the many other things I am saying no to actually open the door to things I forget are so important. Right now, that’s relationships. Sitting down for more than 5 minutes with people. Hearing God’s heart in prayer instead of running down a quick list. Do you know how hard it is for me to just sit still and snuggle with my kids? It’s a challenge, and I think that’s sad! While God allows this trial in my life, I pray that I learn how to do that and not let a day go by where I refuse that gift.

Someday the Lord will deliver us from our battles, in one way or another. That relief will be sweet. But until then, I want to make sure that I realize there is no waiting to live. His Presence, His will, His relationship with us, His daily mercies, the things and people He has put in our laps…that’s all NOW regardless of our various trials. There is no waiting to be in His will, waiting to be thankful, waiting to be free, waiting to live. It’s now or never!

Holistic Nutrition Bootcamp


June 17, 18, & 19, 2014

7-8:30 pm each evening

I’ll be teaching a Holistic Nutrition Bootcamp at Coworking of Elizabethtown, KY (5 Public Square)!

This is a 3 evening event for people who are looking to improve their health through better nutrition! This year I became certified in Holistic Nutrition, and while I am by no means an expert, I have some insight and information to pass on. It helps me stay on track to share it! I will be teaching on both the heart and mind behind making changes for wellness (your motivation!) as well as the day to day details of it (your plan!)

I’m passionate about nutrition because of the difference all this information and changes have made in my life. I have a chronic illness and once I started on the therapies I will share in this class, I became functional again and truly believe that food and other lifestyle choices can make all the difference.

I want to live in all the fullness God has for me, and I want you to as well!

We’ll talk about:
“Green light” foods
“Red light” foods
Super foods
Sample meal plans
Pairing proteins, carbs, fats for weight loss
Healthy fats
Warding off, even healing, diseases
What sugar is doing to our bodies
Breaking addictions

The cost of the 3 sessions is $40 per person, and will be collected in full at our first session. Hopefully everyone can come to all 3 sessions, but if not, the cost is the same regardless. 🙂 All funds will be going toward our adoption process.

Getting Started (On a Budget)

Once you have a bit of knowledge and believe it’s true, it’s time to get started. Some people make all their changes at once, usually because a health scare convinces them to! Others do it because that is their personality. But most of us need to realize it is okay to make changes gradually. It is silly to think “I cannot afford organic meat, fruit, and vegetables therefore I will continue to eat at McDonald’s and buy Little Debbies.” There is a middle ground. Also, there are rungs of the ladder. I have never been a McD’s and Little Debbies eater, thanks to my Mom, however I certainly wasn’t a quinoa and coconut oil eater either. Wherever we are on the ladder, at certain intervals in life we will learn more, believe more, and move up a rung. There’s no shame in being where you are. There are definitely some things I eat still that people ahead of me on this health path would cringe at…I am still learning.

I’d like to talk about  basic foods and meals you can start with that are whole, real, inexpensive foods. A couple things first:

*The hope is that eventually all the things in boxes and wrappers and fast food drive throughs would simply be crowded out, because like I wrote yesterday, these things eaten on a regular basis are making the systems of our body stressed to the point of pain and disease. As they are crowded out, you are feeling full and satisfied, your digestive system will be working better, and you just won’t have room for the other stuff. I am so thankful to report that a healthy fat at every meal/snack will make you feel better and more full that junk ever did…otherwise, I could not have done it. No reason to be hungry, folks! I just have to say it…”Ain’t nobody got time for that!”

*The foods I am going to mention are not completely unprocessed, because like I said I am coming from a place of middle ground. If I said you had to grind your own peanut butter and make your own almond milk, you would be done with it and I would, too. But it’s a step in the right direction, and each of us have to see which of these minimally processed items works for us and which do not.

At ALDI, my favorite grocery store and a genuine gift from God:

-Eggs (I eat two for breakfast. It is the only breakfast that makes me feel awesome until lunch! Eating eggs dropped my cholesterol like crazy, and the healthy fat/protein ratio is fantastic. Eat eggs!) You can have breakfast for one person for 6 days on $1.29!!!

-Oatmeal (Cheap and easy in the microwave! I add cinnamon, 1 tsp of honey, and frozen blueberries to the kids and they love it. I personally don’t like oatmeal, but its very good for you and I eat it when I have to.) There’s another breakfast you can have for one for about $2.00 a week.

-All natural PB- Eventually I will go to an even less processed type of PB but right now, this is what we do. It’s a good protein/fat combo and I eat a tablespoon of this for a midday snack with a piece of fruit a couple times a week. I think it’s a great, inexpensive thing to give to kids–smear 1 tbsp on apple slices–and their snack cost $.50 at the most.


-Spinach/lettuce/cucumbers/mushrooms/tomatoes/4 kinds of peppers/onions/potatoes/sweet potatoes/etc– The way I get my veggies in is I have a cup full of raw veggies at lunch and then a huge salad with at least 3 handfuls of spinach and other veggies/leaves at supper. I also put spinach or kale in my protein shake. Personally, I have no problem feeding my family white potatoes a couple times a week, if you were wondering. It is a starch so I would also have a green veggie with it, but sometimes they just need something like that to help them fill up.

-Fruit (organic or other)- I usually get 4-5 different types of fruit per week. I eat at least one piece a day at lunch or snack and the kids have at least 2. Produce can certainly add up, but if you aren’t buying snack cups of applesauce, fruit roll ups, etc anymore, you may find more room than you thought in the budget. I rarely leave Aldi’s having spent more than $65. When you eat fruit, have a protein and if possible a little fat with it, to keep your blood sugar stable.

-Chicken- I get a frozen bag with 8 breasts in it for about $6. It would be ideal to get organic but I’m not able to do that right now.

-Tilapia- Frozen bag, great price and so easy to cook.

-Soy or almond milk- These are minimally processed as well. Most people are not doing soy these days. I’ll talk more about that another day. These milks have the calcium and vitamin D of cow’s milk. In all my studies, I have simply found that cows and their milk have been so messed with (hormones, stimulants to make them produce more milk, pasteurization process killing the natural enzymes) that I choose to steer clear.  HA, I just re-read that, no pun intended! Our family isn’t completely dairy free, we just do not consume major quantities of it. This has helped sinus and digestive problems.

-Brown rice

-Bag of dry pinto beans

-Frozen berries


SAM’s (but this is not cheap, I don’t think):

-Bags of raw nuts (almonds, pecans, walnuts) I think these are a perfect protein and I have at least one serving a day at one of my mini-meals. It’s a great protein/healthy fat combo which we need to stay full!

-If you’re going to have dairy, try Fage Greek Yogurt

-They have frozen berries also (I love eating a bowl of these actually still frozen, it’s like ice cream!)



-Hormel -lunchmeat that is nitrate free. This is definitely processed and you can decide for yourself if you want to eat it. It’s a compromise that is sometimes necessary for my family.

-Almond butter

-Coconut oil

-Rice pasta, corn pasta, or quinoa (or you can get these at Bulk Food stores at a much better price!)-These along with brown rice are the only grain carbohydrates we eat. Some people do not eat corn in any way, shape, or form, you can study that for yourself if you care that much! 🙂

-Laura’s Lean Beef- This is where I get my high quality beef. It is NOT cheap, but we don’t eat beef that often.

***Yes, I go to three grocery stores plus I get a few things at the D&D but I usually only go to Sams, Kroger, and D&D once a month, while I go to Aldi every week. Also, there are definitely a few other items I pick up, too, like spaghetti sauce, canned beans, sausage every now and then, etc. We are not 100% purists. Where we are on the ladder right now is finding a place of balance. We have to learn and balance hunger, health, special food needs, and fun. I remember about four years ago throwing away anything in our house that had high fructose corn syrup or partially hydrogenated soybean oil. A couple years ago, I looked for hidden sugars in everything and got rid of most of that, for example exchanging jam for fruit spread. Then one year ago, we threw away anything in our house that contained wheat (that’s another blog for another day). It’s going to keep progressing little by little.***

So…here are some meals with those foods!

Breakfast: Eggs or oatmeal

Lunch: Leftover meat or Hormel lunchmeat, fruit, raw veggies OR cheese, fruit, veggies  OR beans and rice in the crockpot and eat as leftovers with raw veggies

Snack: Peanut butter on an apple or banana OR a handful of nuts and carrots OR greek yogurt with frozen berries

Supper: A big salad; one carb besides the salad if you choose to, such as rice pasta, brown rice, sweet potato fries, white potato, quinoa; chicken, fish, or beef. You all can be a lot more creative than me, but we have a lot of taco salad, chicken in the crockpot, fish or beans with rice, hamburgers on lettuce leaves, soups and chilis, spaghetti, and a few casseroles.

Snack: frozen berries and nuts OR something small from the other meal ideas

There are certain dietary issues people have, and little picky eaters, but I think it’s just important to dig in and start doing what you CAN do. These are the foods available to my people, and they eat it! I realize it isn’t quite that simple for some, but the Lord will give you wisdom about your path for yourself and your family. I will say that if you can switch to 90% whole, real food you will see changes now and less disaster physically later…We have found that eating like this most of the time has taken care of our health issues and when we do have a splurge like birthday cake or pizza from a restaurant, we feel the difference. You don’t see what it’s doing until you get away from it. Then as you add it back in, you realize just how cruddy those foods made you feel.

Also, about the budget side of things–Having a large family (which we hope to have as time goes on) is a choice, and when we make that choice, the fact is the grocery bill is going to go up. It just is, no way around it! But I don’t think that means you can’t eat well. You may not get to eat out. You may not get to buy snack foods except for a movie night every now and then. But I really do believe that families can survive and thrive on whole, real foods. I think for an adult or older child (like 6+), each can eat on about $2-$3 a day. That is $60-$90 per older child/adult per month. I think that is a reasonable amount of money for our #1 physical need to be met!! Also, I promise that health problems, addiction to sugar, etc. are way more expensive in the long run. But again, change things at the pace you want to. Maybe get rid of cereal and do eggs or oatmeal. Maybe get rid of chips and cookies and offer fruit and nuts for snacks instead.

I have went ON AND ON AND ON but those of you who were asking for these details, I hope this blog post helped! Journey Well, Friends!

FOOD and Why It Matters


It really is a wonder to me how I could go through life genuinely not realizing that the food I was eating was either healing me or killing me. I feel kind of dumb about it, but then again it wasn’t until the 80’s that the Surgeon General stated that food does indeed have an effect on disease! Before that, there were very few people believing in the correlation. Now, there are worlds of information out there…and so while I am not an expert, and simply studying holistic nutrition for greater health for myself, friends, and family, I would like to use this blog to share what I’m learning. I can at least share how far I’ve come even though there is so much road to travel up ahead, and I’ll be honest about those things I’m still figuring out.

But today I’d like to just write about food and why it matters to our health. Very simple concept, yet if we believed it what we put into our mouths most meals would drastically change. The first step in this change is knowledge and the next step is believing. The first step actually isn’t the grocery store or self control or accountability, those come later. The first step is wisdom and understanding and information…and believing it is true.

First, let’s define food. Food is comprised of protein, fat, carbohydrate, vitamins, minerals, fiber, or enzymes or a combination of several of these things. That’s food. God made it for our enjoyment, our energy, and for every system in our body to work correctly. When we do not feed ourselves well, and we think “a calorie of this is equal to a calorie of that”, we are eventually stressing every system of our body until it can no longer cope. That is when we see disease, disorders, and pain. Not every disease, disorder, and pain comes as a result of food…but many, many do. Doesn’t it make sense that every other system in our body is dependent on our digestive system working properly, that we are actually getting the nutrients absorbed that our systems rely on?

Second, let’s define processed foods. These are foods that have been messed with–when potatoes are fried and turned to chips, when sugar is added to yogurt, or when enzymes have been stripped from foods to make them last longer (whether that is done in farming or later). Almost anything on shelves, my friends, is processed. Even our dairy is processed unless you’re getting it from a local farm. We can’t all live on a farm and kill our own chickens, so there is obviously going to be some processing and handling of some of our foods, but I’m talking about foods where the back of the bag or box lists more ingredients than the food you actually think you’re eating. When we eat these things, we need to know we are not really eating much food at all and definitely not a lot of nutrients that our body requires. Call it a treat, call it a splurge, but honestly, we can’t call it food.

Processed foods as our main diet is causing: behavioral disorders, hyperactivity, learning disorders, headaches, fatigue, cancer, type II diabetes, fibromyalgia, adrenal fatigue, and the list truly does go on. These foods aren’t just “neutral”, as if “I can eat these as long as I also eat nutritious foods.” No, it doesn’t work that way. They are acid forming, keeping your body in a state of constant stress and work to become alkaline again (just trust me, that’s important!) They make your blood sugar imbalanced, making your pancreas constantly push out insulin and then your adrenals constantly push out cortisol to balance the insulin. Cortisol keeps us up at night and makes us have a spare tire, friends!! No, thank you!! And no, thank you to insulin resistance either, because the next step after that is diabetes. Also, processed foods have been stripped of the enzymes that God put in them to help us digest those foods. A food without its partner enzyme is a very non-useful food inside our body! That’s sad when I think about all the money spent on health bars and processed so called ‘health food’. And one more thing about processed food is that they use nasty oils that get stuck in our arteries, refined sugar that makes us addicted, chemicals and dyes that should not even be smelled let alone consumed, and more sodium than could float a boat.

Third, let’s define real food or whole food. Real food is simple food, as close to the way God made it as possible. Eggs, meat, nuts, seeds, beans, veggies & whole pieces of fruit (organic if you can), whole grains, and raw dairy. There’s more obviously, but those are the basics. Along with this real food definition I will say the more you can eat raw the better; in fact, I try for 1/2 my plate to be raw. Real food has the potential to heal our bodies, get our systems in good working order, and give us opportunity for energy, clarity, and the ability to serve those we love.

Today I focused on what processed foods are and what they do versus what real food is and what it can do for you. I’m out of time but later on I will go into detail about specific foods, where to buy them, how to be making the change. One thought I will leave you with is this: You do not have to change every meal, your whole diet, all at once. You may change what you have in the house for breakfast meals first…or you may focus on the evening meal being “clean”. You don’t have to shop at Whole Foods Market and break the bank; you don’t have to go crazy on this. Some of the changes will be huge, some things you will realize you were already doing right!

Learn and believe…and you’re halfway there.