#real life

Let’s get real here friends.

Life is hard. Being a woman is hard. Parenting is hard. Work is hard. Doing the right thing is hard.

And sometimes we do it well. And sometimes we don’t.

You know, in easy times and in tough times most of us know at least one thing to do to help ourselves or our situation. We know at least one thing to help us lose weight. We know at least one thing to raise our kids to be happy and healthy. We know at least one thing to help our relationships.

YET, sometimes we do those things and sometimes we don’t.

Why? Why do we choose to do things that we know probably won’t help and might even hurt the situation or circumstance.

Because we’re tired. We’re overwhelmed. We don’t have any willpower left.

Plus, pride, selfishness, the ways of the world, and evil can get in the way too.

And choosing the quick or easy thing doesn’t usually give us the results we’re looking for. In our culture of instant gratification hard work doesn’t seem very enticing.

So, what are we to do to help ourselves get through- especially during the really tough times? Here’s my top three ways:

1. Pray

Turn your eyes to Jesus. Tell him your hurts, your struggles, your pain. He knows what you’re going through, and he knows how it feels.


Matthew 7:7

“Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.”


And God wants us to co continually ask, seek, and knock. It’s not a one time and voila. Draw close to God in persistent prayer and He will draw near to you.

2. Read and Meditate on Scripture

The Bible has answers for all life questions and struggles. It may not be in the form of a neon blinking sign (which I prefer! Ha!). But, as we read more of God’s word we get to know Him more, and He then reveals more of his plan.

Study scripture (and believe it) for tips on physical, emotional, and spiritual health. It’s the greatest guidebook ever!


John 11:40

“Then Jesus said, ‘Did I not tell you that if you believe, you will see the glory of God?'”


3. Get an Accountability Partner

Having someone like a friend, coach, or pastor to help hold you accountable can be life changing. They can help you step towards your goals in a way you can’t do by yourself.

Again, most of us know what to do. We just have a hard time following through. Having an accountability partner can be the missing piece- especially if we’ve tried again and again without success.


Ecclesiastes 4:9-10

“Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their labor. If either of them falls down, one can help the other one up. But pity anyone who falls and has no one to help them up.”


Which one of these do you need more of in your life? How can you implement more of that starting today?

Set yourself up for success and better ability to handle the storms of life with these three tips.

If you need someone to be your accountability partner, I would be honored to have the opportunity to walk alongside you in life.

Click here to schedule a time to chat with me for free to see if we might be a good team.

Back to School, Schedule, Work, or Just Anytime Stress

Back to school time for parents and kids can seem like a lot of hustle and bustle. Gotta get a new backpack (or clean up the old one from last year), get the million things on the school supply list, new clothes perhaps so cuteness can abound, get to bed earlier, plan lunches, talk to teachers, fill out paperwork for hours…

I could go on for days about stress of getting ready for school. Not that I’ve ever had to get a kid ready to go back to school, but I sure did that for myself many, many years.

The hustle and bustle can be stressful. I kinda think of it as similar to the hustle and bustle at Christmas time too: presents, food, traveling, managing money, Santa, pictures, family, tree, church…

I could go on for days about this too.

It seems no matter what’s going on in our calendar our culture does a really good job at making us stressed out about it. We set expectations on ourselves, others, the schools, our homes, families, friends… And for what? So, we can be the cutest, give our kids the best, look like the perfect family, be the perfect student, have the most or best stuff?

What if we took a moment to step back, breathe, and refocus?

What if we could de-stress these stressful times by taking pressures off ourselves that our culture tries to drown us with?

What if we could focus on what was the most important thing?

At Christmas time of course the most important thing is Jesus. So, can we focus on showing His love and sacrifice to others? (I’m not saying we can’t give gifts, but I am saying we have the ability to simplify.)

At Back-to-School time the most important thing is also Jesus. So, can we focus on our kids and helping them feel loved and cherished – like Jesus would? (I’m not saying we can’t buy them things, but again I am saying we don’t have to keep up with the Jones’s – or what the culture says we have to be and do and have.)

It’s so easy to lose our focus when there are so many distractions every single day. Think tv, cell phones, radio, billboards… These things on their own don’t seem so overpowering, but when we look at our cell phones for over four hours a day, watch tv for over five hours a day, and listen to the radio for about two hours a day (these are average amounts for Americans according to google) our time is nearly filled up. That’s about 11 hours of marketing that we’re getting per day. People trying to get us to buy, buy, buy so we’re happy and more fulfilled.

Jesus tells us in Matthew 6:20,

But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal.

If we’re so focused on what our culture tells us we should do and what we should buy we are storing up treasures on earth. We’re trying to keep up with everyone else, and causing ourselves endless stress in the process. All. Year. Long.

So, how can we reduce stress and refocus?

I might invite for us together, to reduce the amount of media we’re taking in during our personal time.

I might invite for us to resist the temptation to be the same as all the others, feeling the need to buy all the things and go all the places, and focus on what is MOST important.

I also invite for us to put Jesus at the center of our focus. When our eyes are trained on Him, no matter what comes He will provide us His perfect peace. BUT, we must keep our eyes trained on Him. (See Isaiah 26:3)

We can’t get rid of stress in this world today. But we can do things to manage how we deal with stress. We can start with reducing how much hustle and bustle we allow during each the seasons.

Are you a perfectionist like me?

Hi. My name is Carrie. And I am a recovering perfectionist.

I like things neat, tidy, my way, and perfect. And I prefer the people around me to be too.

However, that’s not real life.

Real life is messy, imperfect, unpredictable, painful, and way out of my control. (God is showing me this pretty intensely in the current season of my life. Sigh.)

I feel like part of being a perfectionist is feeling in control. And when life spirals out of control then we freak out, stress out, and our anxiety hits the roof (and perhaps blows it to smithereens).

Control is really an illusion. There are certain things in life that we can control such as:

  • What we eat
  • What we wear
  • What we talk about
  • What we think about
  • Our happiness
  • Who we hang out with
  • How seriously we take life
  • What we believe
  • Our priorities
  • How kind we are

Other than that, God has the ultimate say on what goes on in this crazy world of ours. We can’t control other people. We can’t control situations. We can’t control hate.

So, if you’re a perfectionist – recovering or not- like me, I invite for you to take a step back. Allow God to do His thing (He’s actually really good at it) and give Him control over all things. All things.

All things.

Proverbs 19:21

Many are the plans in a person’s heart, but it is the Lord’s purpose that prevails.

What Does a Health Coach Eat?

I get asked all the time:

What do you eat? What is your diet like?

So, I thought I’d share!

Today’s menu:

Breakfast: Plantain pancakes with handpicked blueberries

Lunch: Cheesy frittata with sprouts and homemade raw chocolate milk (sweetened with maple syrup)

Dinner: Salad with grilled chicken and probably ice cream for dessert

Yes, I give thanks to God before every meal, following the model of Jesus at the last supper.

Luke 22:19

And he took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to them, saying, “This is my body given for you; do this in remembrance of me.”

Yes, I eat organic fruits and veggies.

Yes, I eat dairy: cheese, raw milk, sour cream… because my body handles it well.

Yes, I eat chocolate. Dark chocolate- over 70% cacao- nearly everyday. (When I travel I even take some with me because I have a serious sweet tooth.)

Yes, I eat meat. All kinds. My body needs it. I don’t eat meat every day, however. And I do buy organic chicken, organic grass fed beef, and wild caught fish.

Yes, I eat gluten free grains: oats, quinoa, flax…

Yes, I eat sugar. But in very limited quantities. And if I make a recipe that calls for sugar I always substitute maple syrup, honey, or monk fruit sweetener in its place.

Yes, I eat chips and salsa, gluten free pizza, and ice cream, among other things too!

I very much try to live by the 80/20 rule. 80% of the time I try to eat as healthy as I can. 20% of the time I eat whatever I want (as long as its gluten free.)

No, I don’t eat gluten. Read my last blog post here to read why.

No, I don’t buy conventionally grown produce (unless it’s absolutely necessary).

No, I don’t drink alcohol. God has asked me not to so that I am not a stumbling block for anyone. (Plus, my body doesn’t like it.)

And if I’m ever somewhere that I am completely out of control of what is being served (and it’s far from what I would choose) then I give thanks anyways.

What I eat is what works well for my body. And what is healthy for me may not be healthy for you.

I encourage you to eat what works well for your body. And if you don’t know start experimenting and noticing. Notice how you feel and what is happening inside your body right after you eat and two hours later also. Your body will tell you so many things if you just listen.

And if you need more guidance tuning in and figuring out what your body needs pray about it! And if God so leads, message me and I’m happy to help you too!

Are You Whole Body Healthy?

If we are conscious about our health, then we probably have lots of knowledge about healthy things: what to eat, exercise, stress, sleep, etc.

What we do with that knowledge is what matters.

God says,


1 Corinthians 6:19-20

Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies.


 

When we think about being healthy we need to consider all three parts of the body.

First, let’s consider the physical body. There are many components here. Our weight, how toned our muscles are, our skin, how we feel inside our own skin, our internal organs and how they are functioning, our elimination system, how our immune system works, hormones and how they affect physical responses…

We could go on and on about the physical parts of our body as it relates to health. So, I’ll ask you- On a scale of 1-10 how healthy is your physical body?

Most likely, we all have room for improvement (I know I do!). So, what is ONE thing that you can do to move the needle 1% forward in your physical health?

Next, let’s look at our mental health. This component may be even more important than the physical body. What we think about ourselves, others, and the world can greatly impact how we act, react, and how our physical body functions.

If our minds have negative or toxic thoughts flowing through or stored up to replay at a moments notice then our mental health is affecting every aspect of our daily lives- whether you realize it or not. It also affects how your digestion functions as well as how your endocrine system works (your hormones). If you feel out of whack then most likely it’s time to check on what is going through your mind.

So, I’ll ask you again to rate yourself- on a scale of 1-10 how healthy is your mind? What is one thing you can let go of today in your mind or thoughts to help move you forward towards a healthier you?


2 Corinthians 10:5

We take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.


Finally, let’s look at our spiritual health. Research shows that people who have spiritual belief in God have more fulfillment in life and are happier. When our spiritual health is doing well we usually feel better about ourselves, our lives, and have a more positive outlook on what is happening in our lives and around us (even if it’s hard stuff going on).

Spiritual health means how much we realize we need Jesus and the extent to which we believe Him and believe in Him. Check in with your relationship with Jesus. How are you communicating with Him? Does He communicate back? Are you investing time and resources to further your relationship and knowledge of Him? If yes, keep going! If no, are you seeking Him with all your heart?


Jeremiah 29:13

You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.


This may be the most important part of our health altogether. So, one more time I’ll ask- On a scale of 1-10 how is your spiritual health? What is one thing you could do to up-level your relationship with Jesus?

Which part of your body- physical, mental, or spiritual- needs the most work? What will you do to set yourself up for success in creating your body to be a healthier temple for Christ to dwell?

Our life is as fleeting as the flap of a butterfly’s wings. How can we make the most of it?

Need tips or guidance? Just ask!

How Effectively Do You Use Time?

Our health is directly related to how we deal with stress. And time is one of those stresses that affects all of us. How effectively do you use your time? I know I am not always the best manager of my time.

So, I’ve been reading this book called The Deborah Anointing, by Michelle McClain-Walters (she also wrote The Anna Anointing and The Esther Anointing). In it she says,

“The quality of your life is determined by how effectively you use time.”

Notice she says, “time,” not “your time,” Hmmmm….

We feel most stressed when our calendars are so full and we feel like we have to get it all done NOW! So, how can we practically understand time and manage it better?

Ecclesiastes 3:1

There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens.

Michelle goes on to describe four spiritual seasons of time in our lives. We experience:

Spiritual winter – a time of death to self

Spiritual spring – a time to embrace the call

Spiritual summer – a time of revelation

Spiritual fall – a time of harvest and fulfillment

In the midst of our busy schedules it’s important to keep Christ as our focus. It is sooooooo easy to allow ourselves to focus on things of this world – money, status, reputations, ourselves… (God has been working on my heart on this very thing lately. Sigh.)

Our life here on earth was meant as a preparation period for our eternity. God created each of us perfectly and for His purposes. If what we’re doing isn’t glorifying God in some way, we might need to reconsider if we need that thing. What spiritual season are you currently in? And how can you honor and accept where you are?

Let’s look at 5 ways we can practically keep our focus on God and use our time wisely no matter what spiritual season you might be in.

1.Adequate time with God daily

This is the most important part of our day. Think about this: You have about 8-10 hours of time during the day that are most likely dedicated to someone else – work, kids, whatever. That leaves you with 14-16 hours of time for yourself. Hopefully about 8 of those hours are sleeping. And that gives you 6-8 hours to do whatever else you desire. What are you doing with that time? Cooking and eating, exercising, playing, chores… What can you do so that time with God is your number one, non-negotiable priority?

2. Make a list of our top 5 priorities

I encourage you to take a moment and write down the top 5 priorities in your life. These are the MOST important things. This list will help you prioritize what you say yes or no to. Then use this list. Don’t just make it and put it aside. Allow it to help you make decisions.

3. Take time to breathe

You might be thinking, Carrie, I breathe all day long. I know, I know. But, I’m talking about time to focus on your breath. Every time you breathe in oxygen God is breathing into you His breath of life. Take time for 10 deep, focused breaths a day (at least) and watch your stress melt away. There are many different breathing techniques for different things. If you need help with this please let me know! I’m happy to give you more details, information, or tips.

4. Say no

This might be one of the hardest things for us. Saying no – especially when they are good things! But, it also might be what needs to happen to clear some things out of your calendar to make room for your top 5 priorities. I invite for you to inquire of God first to see if it’s something He wants you to do or not. Is there anything you can say no to today? And I might add – that if you have kids show them how to say no to things too. You will help set them up for success in so many ways.

5. Make a plan and be flexible

It’s important to not be willy-nilly all the time or just live by the seat of our pants. We do need a plan. But it’s also important to be flexible with that plan. Life is uncertain and when we hold on to our plans like a tight fist then we are only causing more strain and stress on ourselves. (Take a moment and make a tight fist. See how that would feel in your entire body to carry that around all day every day.) Make a plan, and allow God to infuse, change, and direct you – even when His way seems way out of the way. His plans are always good!

So, what is one thing you can do today to be a better manager of time?

I’m Done Hiding… to all the sinners out there

I’m done hiding.  

Hello. My name is Carrie and I’ve had an abortion.  No, I wasn’t raped.  I was just a college girl who let things go too far.  

And I hold zero judgement on anyone who has or has not had an abortion.

Here’s why.

God forgives. Period.

No matter what your sin is: you lied, you stole, you had an abortion, whatever… God sees all sin as equal. And he forgives all of it. No questions asked. No stipulations. If you truly repent and ask for forgiveness it’s yours.

That means I’m equal with you.

We’re both sinners.

Hebrews 8:12

For I will forgive their wickedness and will remember their sins no more.

And I want to encourage you!  If you’re in a place overwhelmed by sin you are not alone.  The God who made the entire universe is right there with you.  In the dark, in the grime, in the loneliness. And the only reason I can tell you this for certain is because of my own personal experience. 

When trying to begin the process of dealing with my sin, I actually told God that I wanted to try and work through this and heal on my own.  I didn’t need His help.  And I felt him sit back, cross his arms, smile, and say okay.  Little did I know that I wouldn’t get very far without Him.   

In the coming months I’ll be sharing more about my story. Because God told me to.

Honestly, if it were up to me I would’ve carried this deep, dark secret to the grave. But God had other plans. And I know what the devil intended for my harm, God will use for good! And I’ve had the experience of saying no to God before. And I ain’t even going there again.  Haha!

So, here we go. The secret is out. Because God told me that the time is now.

God Specifically Said to Me…

“Encourage women with your story.”

For years- and I mean years- I knew that there was something God wanted me to do.

But He wouldn’t tell me what.

And then one Sunday morning about 4 years ago, out of the blue, I was sitting in church and God spoke to my heart. He said, I want you to encourage women with your story.” The words were so loud I actually looked around the room to see if anyone else heard them.

Nope. Just me.

At first I was excited to finally know my task. But 5 seconds later I was in mortal dread. What?!?? My story? My deepest, darkest secret?!?!  Nooooooooooo!!!!!

 

Anything but that God.

I can’t.

Bam. Anxiety attack.

 

Needless to say, I didn’t hear much of the sermon that day. My mind was racing. My heart was beating out of my chest. And I was at church by myself. Nobody to whisper to, “Hey! God just spoke to me.”

I felt alone. Like I had for the previous 15 years.

See, I held my secret – the I had an abortion secret- in for 10 years without telling a single soul.  I internalized the trauma and became very sick- mentally, emotionally, and physically. I was having anxiety and panic attacks. I developed ulcers and food allergies. I was in immense pain. I was severely depressed. I thought about cutting myself everyday to release some of the pain. And I wanted to die.

And I didn’t realize all these symptoms were from the stress of trying to be perfect enough so nobody would find out about my secret.

Through counseling (with an amazing woman – Thank you, Sybil!) I was able to learn to manage and eventually control my anxiety.  This took years!  I’m talking like 6 or 7 of them.  But, what I didn’t realize at the time was that God was molding me and shaping me into a new calling.  He was getting me ready for what He wanted me to do – encourage women with my story.  

Being that I have an absolutely terrible memory, I am digging out all my old journals.  I will be using them to remind me of the hard times (and I’m feeling the anxiety rising as I do this) so I can share, encourage, and love on you with my story.  

The raw, real truth of it.  

Hang on friends.  It’s going to be a bumpy ride.  But, one thing I know for sure – the bumps are what smooth us out in the end. Kinda like rocks on a shore line.  Smooth, shiny, and beautiful.  But they didn’t get like that in a day.  It takes years of tumbling.  

 

Here’s a prayer I found in a journal that I had written for myself in November of 2015:

 

 

 

God,

I commit this calling to you. I don’t have any idea how, what, where, when this will come to fruition. I feel uncertain and wonky. I feel my anxiety growing inside me. I lay down my burdens, anxieties, and fears at your feet. I will let you take care of the details. I will honor you as my Father by allowing you to be in control.