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That Elusive Peace

In yoga we often say, “Having peace doesn’t mean there’s no chaos in your life.  Having peace means you’re in the midst of the chaos and you have calm in your heart.”

 

Philippians 4:6-7

Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.  And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. (NIV)

 

1 Peter 5:7

Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you. (NIV)

 

Isaiah 26:3

You will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast, because they trust in you.  (NIV)

 

Yeah.  Yeah.  Yeah.

I’ve heard those verses before (maybe even a thousand times).  So, how do they help me find peace?!?!

I heard a sermon by Pastor Mark this past weekend that was all about disillusionment.  He used the movie, Ready Player One, to illustrate his point.  The characters in this movie join in a video game to escape their current reality of life.

Is that you?  Are you currently trying to escaping your current reality?  Like, scrolling social media for hours on end, watching endless Fixer Upper or Family Feud, playing video games, whatever…..

Some people think if they become Christians and believe in God then EVERYTHING in life will be perfect and peace will abound endlessly.

That is disillusionment.

God doesn’t promise smooth sailing.  In fact, he might even bring you into the “wilderness” just so you will seek him to get out.

To have peace, we must first understand why we are here on this earth, understand our purpose.  And we all have exactly the same purpose:

To Serve God.

No matter what we’re doing in our day to day lives:  changing baby’s butts, doing dishes, driving, cooking, learning, working….

We are to serve God in all we do.  When we seek God with all our hearts God will come to us.  He promises to.  And, I know that is easier said than done.  Believe me.  It’s a daily struggle for me too.

But, I have experienced God’s peace.  And for an extended period of time.  I can’t explain it.  There was no reason I should’ve had it (my life was crazy unpredictable).  Yet, it was there.

And then… it was snatched away in an instant.

See, my husband was admitted to the hospital a few months ago, had two surgeries, and nearly lost his leg.  The same week, I was put on crutches for a torn tendon in my foot.  And I lost my peace.

The devil knew I was strong with God.  So, he attacked something I couldn’t control.  A rampant infection in the person I love the most and my mobility.  And he stole my peace.  Rather, I allowed him to take it.

I think we tend to see control as peace.  When we know what is going to happen, when it’s going to happen, and how it’s going to happen, then ahhhh…. we’re okay.  At peace even.

But, God isn’t about what we can control.  No. No. No.

Sigh.

He’s about us serving and worshiping him.   And I know and have experienced that if we keep our focus on him, peace will come.  So, as I work to reclaim my peace – in a place of complete uncertainty in my business, life, direction – I am seeking Him.  The one who’s hand created the boundless stars and hung the moon at just the right spot.  He’s got my focus….

Now, if I can only keep it there.

 

(By the way, my husband is fully recovered and still has his leg!  Praise God!)

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This is us the day we came home from the hospital.  Celebrations all around!!!

How can I up-level my healthy?

Being as healthy as you can be takes time, perseverance, and knowledge.  But it doesn’t have to be hard.

Here are 10 ideas for up-leveling your healthy:

  1. Poop every single day

    I know. I know.  Poop is so terrible to talk about.  But, it’s actually one of the most important things to help you stay healthy.  If you’re not pooping every day then it’s fermenting and rotting in your gut.  Then that ickiness gets absorbed into your blood stream.  Even ickier.

  2. Manage your stress

    Stress is the number one cause of ALL dis-ease.  Stress felt consistently can even alter how your genes are expressed causing sickness, disease, pain, weight gain, and sleeplessness.

  3. Eat organic

    Pesticides, antibiotics, and other chemicals put on our food sources cause our bodies to have a build up of toxins which cause tons of health issues.  Choose organic whenever possible or use the Dirty Dozen Clean Fifteen list.

  4. Pray and meditate

    Praying and meditating reduces stress.  Plus, the connection to God and learning to love and trust Him during life struggles will increase your faith.

  5. Get good sleep

    Your body detoxes while you sleep.  If you’re not sleeping enough you will likely wake up feeling foggy brained, irritable, and of course exhausted.  The left over toxins build up over time and cause more dis-ease in the body.

  6. Move your body

    Exercise does so much for not only your physical body but your emotional well being too!  Movement releases feel good endorphins that keep us happy and obviously help our muscles too!

  7. Play 

    As we age we play less and less.  We get more serious.  Play allows us to feel lighthearted and enjoy life more.

  8. Invest in your relationships

    Multiple researchers have found that happy, healthy people have around 3 to 5 strong relationships that are nourished often, or daily.  Cultivate relationships with people most important to you.

  9. Drink spring water

    Tap water contains a number of toxic chemicals that most filters can’t remove completely.  Spring water contains essential minerals and is what I recommend to my clients for safe drinking.

  10. Detox your body and home

    Getting rid of toxic chemicals and cleaning products in your home will do wonders for your health.  In addition, your body stores toxins and needs detoxing every so often.  Make sure you detox safely and with guidance if you’ve never done anything like that before.

 

These are a few ideas to up-level your healthy.  Know that creating new healthy habits takes time.  It doesn’t happen overnight and requires one step at a time.  What questions do you have about this list?  What would you add to this list?

Need ideas for implementing any or all of these tips?  Email me for suggestions.

 

 

Freedom

Galatians 5:13

You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free.  But do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh; rather, serve one another humbly in love. (NIV)

We are lucky.

Very lucky to live in a place where we have freedom.  We can go and do and be what we want.  We are not under tyrannical rule.  We can walk our streets safely and worship as we please.

And yet, so many of us feel so trapped.  So imprisoned.  So stuck.

I read a blog post years ago that spoke to me so deeply I still have it saved in my email today.  (Sadly, this blog has been deleted and I can’t share it with you.) The basis of it is this:

There you are in a cold, hard cell.  Trapped.  Shivering.  Alone.  Wishing so badly you could escape this prison.  Then, you hear footsteps, and they stop in front of your cell.  A man dressed in white opens the door.  He says, “Come.”  And you are so afraid of what going with him might be like that deep in your soul you just want to stay right where you are – comfortable in your own hell.  Stepping out might mean experiencing something different, and you don’t know how to handle different so you want to stay right there where you know what it’s like.  You wish he would just leave.  And yet, he keeps commanding you, “Come.  Come.”  You feel deeply that this man can be trusted, but what if…

So often we have the opportunity to say yes to Jesus and step out of our comfort zone to something different.  Yet, it is so very scary.  And strange.  And unpredictable.  And often unconventional.  Sometimes so much that we just stay.  We choose the comfortable hell over freedom.

Sigh.

I’ve been there soooo many times.  And I’ve also had the experience of taking that man’s hand and not looking back.  I’ve felt the freedom that comes.  I’ve also felt the intense fear of doing so.  But, without trusting and stepping out, we can’t be released from our bondage.

In Galatians, we are told to use our freedom to “serve one another humbly in love.” How can stepping out, releasing yourself from bondage, trusting the one who authored all of creation, allow you to follow this command?  What prison could you possibly be released from?

Take a step toward Jesus today.  He’ll show you the way.

What Are You Waiting For?

While traveling this past weekend in one of my favorite places – Asheville, NC – I saw this bumper sticker that said,

Don’t Postpone Joy

And I thought, YES!  I love that!

And I love that because there were many years that I postponed my own joy and thought I’ll be happy when…

I’m not teaching anymore, when I get over my depression, when I get off this medication, when this rain stops, when summer gets here, when I have 10 more counseling sessions….

God wants us to enjoy life every single day.

In our American busy, busy culture we often think, ‘Well, I’ll be happy when….’

  • I get a new job.
  • I  move.
  • My husband does…
  • It’s sunny.
  • I feel better.

What is your fill in the blank?

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Why not choose joy now?  In this moment.  No matter what is going on in your life.

You might be going through the deepest, darkest valley EVER!  And joy is nowhere to be seen.  And everything is tough.  And there’s no money.  And life sucks.

But…

why not choose joy now?

Joy is a choice.

 

So, maybe you’re thinking, “How in the world do I do that?”

Here’s 5 tips to help you choose joy now:

1. Start a Gratitude Practice

If you have followed my posts for any length of time you have probably seen me mention gratitude before.  (I talk about it a lot because it is sooooo important.)  Being grateful for what we have opens our life up to more of that!  What we appreciate appreciates.  Ann Voskamp wrote a book and devotional titled, One Thousand Gifts.  It’s an amazing journey into gratitude.  I highly recommend it!

 

2. Dive Into God’s Word

The Bible has so many powerful stories and accounts of people who were persecuted and chose joy anyways (Paul, David….).  They are true inspirations.  I am not in jail and don’t have an entire country’s army chasing after me.  Things are not as bad for me as they were for them and they were able to choose joy.

Psalm 5:11

But let all who take refuge in you be glad; let them ever sing for joy.  Spread your protection over them, that those who love your name may rejoice in you.

 

3. Meditate

Meditation creates time and space for stillness in the midst of our crazy, busy lives.  It can be 2 minutes or 20 minutes or more.  Meditation helps to calm the crazy in our minds.  If you have a mind that runs like a train – like I do – then slowing that train down and breathing can bring a sense of peace and calm and joy.  We don’t have to be busy 24 hours a day to make God happy.  He wants us to create quiet time to be with him each and every day.  A meditation practice can help you do just that.

 

4. Do Yoga

Yoga has been a modality that has literally saved my life.  It also creates time and space for gentle movement and stillness (which is very hard for me!  Anyone else out there?!?!)  The breath work in yoga has not only helped my physical health but also my mental health and allowed me to slow down enough to be grateful for this very moment.  When I am grateful it is much easier for me to choose joy.

 

5. Make Healthy Food Choices

This might sound crazy but the food you eat can actually affect your mental health.  It is common knowledge that if we eat crappy food we will feel crappy physically.  Well, that also goes for mentally.  You either feed your body health or you feed your body dis-ease.  It’s much easier to choose joy when you feel good physically.  Feed your body organic whole foods and watch your joy level increase! Whoop!

 

Are you ready to choose joy?!?!  Comment below and let us know you’re choosing joy today!

What about forgiveness?

Yeah. What about it?

Forgiveness is all about letting go of hurts and pains of the past.  Letting go of that story.  Letting go.

Take a few deep breaths…

Now tune into your mind and heart and see what past hurts you’re holding on to.  Take some time here, and just trust what comes to mind.

Forgiveness doesn’t right the wrong or make everything okay. What is does is free you from the imprisonment of that pain. What is holding onto that pain doing for you? Is it making you happy?  Bringing you peace and joy?  Providing for you?

It’s probably just causing you some negative side effects.

What is holding onto that pain doing for the person who caused that pain? Probably nothing. They might not even know about it, or remember it.

There are three steps to transforming old wounds and hurts.

2018-06-11 14.36.011. Tell the truth.

Telling the truth is a magical healing tool.  Take time to notice when you hold back from telling the truth in any situation:  at work, at home, at the post office, or restaurant…

Begin to be brutally honest with yourself and others about what you really want.

 

 

1 Corinthians 13:6

“Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.” (NIV)

2018-06-11 14.36.412. Forgive

Who do you need to forgive in order to to heal?  And remember, you’re honoring step number one which is to be honest.  Perhaps, you might even need to forgive yourself.  Forgiveness is the key to liberation from being a victim.  Forgiveness is a choice.  Most times a very hard choice.  And sometimes forgiveness is like an onion – you just have to make the choice to forgive and keep peeling the layers away each and every day until the feeling finally comes.

 

Matthew 6:15

“But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.” (NIV)

 

2018-06-11 14.37.463. Be grateful

When you have an attitude of gratitude your life is already abundant.  I like to say, what you appreciate appreciates.  In other words, focusing on being grateful for what you currently do have and love in your life opens you up to more of what you love.  Focus on what you do have, not what you don’t have.

 

And gratitude is a practice.  Especially for those of us prone to depression – like me.  I have found that if I take even one week off from my gratitude journal practice, I begin to slip ever so sneakily back into the depths.  This is a non-negotiable practice for me.

 

Philippians 4:8

“Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable – if anything is excellent or praiseworthy – think about such things.” (NIV)

 

What hurt or pain are you finally ready to let go of and forgive?

 

Suicide

“How can somebody be so selfish?”

“What in the world were they thinking?”

“Why would somebody do that?!?!”

“When does life get that bad, really?”

 

These are all questions and comments I’ve heard over the past week, or really anytime anyone in the public’s eye dies from suicide.

Let me ask you – Have you ever been in a place in life where there seemed no way out?  Have you ever contemplated suicide?  Has life gotten so bad that you didn’t want to live anymore?

My answer to all those questions is YES.  I have been in a place where there seemed no way out, I have contemplated suicide, and I didn’t want to live anymore.

And I got help.

 

See, I was suffering from a mental illness – depression, anxiety, and PTSD.  And if you’ve never suffered with a mental illness before you might not understand why someone would take their own life.  But I do understand.  I don’t think it’s right and the best way out, but I do understand.

The way out is tough work.  It’s very hard, strenuous on all areas of life, and often requires major adjustments in work, relationships, and the way you do life.  And if you don’t have guidance from a professional this hard work seems impossible.

I had gotten to a place where life off the couch was so intimidating.  I couldn’t deal with the emotions and thoughts in my own head, much less trying to deal with someone else’s thoughts and opinions too.  I developed severe social anxiety (which I still battle to this day).  I also had daily anxiety attacks and multiple panic attacks.  My brain was totally freaking out.  And I was so afraid to unload the dishwasher or cook because that would require me to touch a knife.  And all I wanted to do was take that knife right across my wrists to relieve the pressure of the physical and emotional pain I was in.

With the help of my amazingly talented counselor, Sybil, I was able to slowly come out of the deep dark hole I was in and able to function in life again.  But this took time.  A lot of time.  Effort, tears, and HARD, HARD work.  About 10 years worth.  And, I did it.  But not by myself.

So, I say to you:  Don’t judge what you haven’t known.  Until you wear those shoes you have no idea.  And you never know what someone is dealing with behind closed doors.

AND I also say to you:  If you are in a place where there seems to be no way out please get help!   Call this number now:  1-800-273-8255

or go to https://suicidepreventionlifeline.org/

There is always a way out.  Talk to someone you know and trust, or get help from a professional.  You are loved.  You are not alone.  You can do this.

 

Hebrews 12:1

“Therefore, since we have been surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off every weight and the sin that so easily entangles us.  And let us run with endurance the race that is set before us.”

New Food Rules

Healthy eating can seem so complicated these days.

“Coconut oil is good for you. Coconut oil is bad for you.  Eat eggs.  Don’t eat eggs.  Stay away from low fat.  Only eat low fat.”  They say.

GOOD GRIEF!

How about let’s simplify that!

Here are your new rules:

  1. Eat all things in moderation.
  2. Stick to natural earth made products (without toxins).
  3. Eat what makes you feel good.  Period.

We seem to make things so complicated, and it doesn’t have to be.  If you finish eating your meal and you don’t feel good, then it might be time to re-evaluate what you’re eating.

Now, if you have an allergy or are trying to heal or overcome a lifestyle disease like diabetes, gut issues, etc. then you will obviously want to eat a little more cautiously.  AND, I bet if you really listened to your body it would tell you (in forms of pain, headaches, heartburn, allergies, etc.) that it doesn’t like certain things at the moment.  Begin to tune in and listen.

You might have heard the idea that what we eat either prevents disease or causes disease.  And I believe that is true.

 


Here’s what God says about food:

Genesis 1:29 “Then God said, ‘I give you every seed-bearing plant on the face of the whole earth and every tree that has fruit with seed in it.  They will be yours for food’.” (NIV)

Genesis 9:3 “Everything that lives and moves about will be food for you.  Just as I gave you the green plants, I now give you everything.” (NIV)


 

Healthy eating doesn’t have to be complicated.  Shop the perimeter of the grocery store to find those natural God made products like veggies, fruit, and meat.

You can do this!

And if you need help to take that first step or continue in the right direction, let’s talk.

With Peace and Love,
Carrie

Changes Are Coming

It’s been one year since Ignite Life Health and Wellness Coaching was officially opened, and I’ve learned so much along the way!

One thing that has been a struggle for me is honing in on exactly what I want to help people with.  And, I have finally discovered exactly that (or I am finally allowing myself to acknowledge it anyways).

When God spoke to me several years ago and told me He wanted me to encourage women with my story I was devastated.  I had been waiting for years and years for Him to tell me what it was He wanted me to do.  And I didn’t want to do THAT! – because my story isn’t pretty.  (It’s more than just my struggle with gut health, pain, anxiety, depression, perfectionism…)

BUT… I knew God would have His way – one way or another.  So, I started telling my story to a few people, and it turned out better than I had expected.  (And I’m sure I’ll be telling it to more people soon.)

Out of all this struggle and God’s call on my life I became a health and life coach.  AND I am still going to be a health and life coach.  AND I am going to be including more faith based information to help women create their bodies to be temples for the Holy Spirit.  This is important to me because my faith is the most important thing in my life.  I’m certainly not perfect, and I have much to learn.  That’s why I work on it daily with prayer, study, Bible reading, meditation…

I am motivated by God and my relationship with Him.  I am motivated by feeling like the decisions I make about my body and life are honoring the way God wants me to live.  I want to share the peace, love, and health that I have found – even in the midst of all my messiness.  I can’t explain it, but I sure can share it.

So, as I move forward I will be striving to allow the ebb and flow of change come – even as hard as change can be.  If I hold on too tightly with clenched fists then tension becomes so fierce I can’t even move.  And, as I am allowing my fists to relax – even the littlest bit – I am already feeling more peace and calm.

Be on the lookout for an updated logo and a new focus on posts and services.  I look forward to serving you in this new way.

With Peace and Love,

Carrie

Self-care isn’t Selfish

That’s right.  Self-care isn’t selfish.  In fact, not taking time for self care puts you in a position where you are not your best self.

Imagine this:

You’re tired.  You’ve been running ragged all week.  The kids (if you have them) have all kinds of practices, school, homework.  And then there’s breakfasts, lunches, dinners, and snacks.  And you’ve had to work too.  The boss wasn’t happy.  The co-worker stole your lunch.  The report is late. And then there’s the husband.  He want’s to go out for a lovely dinner date Friday night.  And all you can think about it curling up on the couch with a nice comfy blanket, the dog, a cup of hot tea, and a good book.  Quiet.

If you agree to go on that date are you showing up as your best self?  Or are you showing up as a stressed-out, worn out version?

Now, I’m all for a nice, lovely evening with the husband!  Don’t get me wrong.  But I’m also for taking care of myself along the way so that I can show up for that date as the best me there is!

If you’re in a rut or recently had a major set-back in life there are three things you can do to help get your life back.  Dr. Sean Stephenson, who wrote, Get off Your But, suggests three things:

1. Self-care.

Taking care of yourself puts you in a much better position to take care of others. Don’t take my word for it.  Try it out for yourself.  If it doesn’t work, then you can always go back to the other way.

2. Align yourself with your purpose.

What is your purpose in life? If you’re not sure, then perhaps it’s time to do some digging, pondering, and studying to figure that out.  I highly recommend the book, The Purpose Driven Life by Rick Warren.

3. Surround yourself with an empowered environment.

Who do you surround yourself with?  Are they people who lift you up, cheer you on, and encourage your progress?  Or are they people who tear you down?  You’ve probably heard it said that you are the sum of the five people you spend the most time with.  You get to choose who you surround yourself with.  Choose wisely.

Dr. Stephenson says that if you do these three things then you will be unstoppable.  One or two of them will provide a glimmer of hope but you’ll keep hitting a wall.  All three of them will produce results!

He also recommends that we make a list of all our self-care tasks.  Then at the end of the day rate ourselves on how well we did on taking care of ourselves.  How many self-care tasks did we do?  And how does that relate to how I showed up in my life for the day?

I invite you to take a look at your self-care tasks and routine.  I know personally that self-care is non-negotiable for me.  When I’m not taking care of myself I get extremely irritated and angry.  That is my sign that I haven’t done so well in the self-care avenue lately.

What are your worn-out signs?  And what are your favorite forms of self-care?  Comment below and let us know so we can expand our list of self-care tasks!

Paradigms

Paradigms are statements that we hold to be true.  Not absolute truth, but things we hold to be true.

Here are some dietary paradigms I learned from Health Coach Institute (where I received my training).

  1. There are as many “right” diets as there are people on the planet.
  2. What’s healthy for one person might not be healthy for YOU.
  3. The body has innate wisdom, beyond any book or authority.
  4. Your body is the ultimate dietary authority for every phase of your life.
  5. Your diet changes as YOU change.
  6. Your body is the most powerful, least expensive and BEST dietary experimentation lab in existence.
  7. Your RELATIONSHIP with food and your body impacts your health more powerfully than the food you eat.
  8. Nourishment is about much more than food.

 

So.  After reading through this list I have a few questions:

  • What do you agree with?  And why?
  • What do you disagree with?  And why?
  • What do you have a hard time believing?
  • What do you want to believe?

 

Comment below and let me know your thoughts.  And if you want to have a more detailed discussion then let’s set up a time to chat.  I’d be happy to discuss these with you further.