Deep Dark Secrets

There has been so much talk about abortion lately. So many people are quick to exert their opinion and to ask questions like, who would ever, how could somebody choose, or why in the world?

This post is only for people who have or have had a deep dark secret, have skeletons in their closet, or have had an abortion. If you’re not one of those people then this is not for you.

If you have a deep, dark secret (like having an abortion, perhaps) I bet you’ve kept it a secret for a reason.

Shame. Guilt. Don’t want to deal with the judgement of people finding out…

Here’s what I have to say about that:

The ONLY opinion of you that matters is from God. And He knows about the deepest, darkest places of your soul. And He loves you more than you could ever dream of being loved.

“And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge – that you may be filled to [the brim] of all the fullness of God,”
Ephesians 3:17-19 (NIV), words in [ ] are mine.

God forgives all of the darkest places when we come to Him and ask. That’s all it takes. Asking.

And if you’ve found yourself in a deep, dark hole because of your shame or guilt I want to encourage you. There is ALWAYS a way out. There is ALWAYS hope. There is ALWAYS love. Even down there in the deepest, darkest pit. Find a pinhole of light and begin moving toward it. Even if it feels like it’s a million miles away. And even if it feels as if you have to cross the entire world to get to it. Take one step toward the light today. And if that’s all you can do today, great! You can take another step towards the light tomorrow. Before long, the light will seem so bright you will wonder how you traveled so quickly!

I hear some of you saying, “Carrie! How do YOU know what it feels like to be judged because of what you’ve done or not done or what’s been done to you?”

Well, because I have lived this truth. See, I am one of those that has had an abortion. I let my decision pull me down into the deepest, darkest pit I couldn’t even imagine. And I didn’t tell a soul. For 10 years I let this dark pit grow until it consumed me.  And I wanted to die.  

I’ve lived with the shame and regret and guilt of my decision for almost 20 years now. And what I’ve learned is that forgiving yourself is the hardest part. And I’ve also learned it’s so worth the decision.

I now live in freedom from my past. It no longer holds me in bondage. All because of the love and forgiveness of God.  And God has asked me to encourage women with my story. So, I boldly (only with God’s help) step out and tell you my deepest, darkest secret.

If you’re out there hiding in the darkness because of fear I encourage you to reach to God. Ask Him to help you walk towards His healing, loving, peaceful light. And if you need someone to talk to, I’m happy to listen as well.

There is always a way out.  There is always hope.  There is always love.

Whoa Nelly!

Whoa Nelly:  whoa is the word to stop a horse.  Nelly is what farmers used to call all their female horses (because they didn’t name their work tools and a horse was a tool – according to urbandictionary.com).

In today’s time this phrase is also used to talk about anything out of control – you know a dog, a kid, breakfast time, life…. And it’s usually used after the fact.

Whoa Nelly!  2018 was cray!  That’s the term I’m using for last year.  Whoa Nelly!

In a nutshell, here’s what happened:

The year started off really nicely with a few ski trips with my husband to some new and some familiar places.  One of those new places was New Hampshire in February.  This is where the year began falling off course.  We decided to hike up Mt. Washington.  Tucker’s Ravine to be exact.  With 40 pounds of ski equipment on our backs.  And when we arrived at the hiking location my shoes instantly broke apart from dry rot.  But I didn’t have any other options so I hiked in broken boots.  Oh, and there was a blizzard that day.

I ended up with an injured neck, spine, and foot.  Not from the amazing ski down.  But from the hike up.  Fast forward a few months (I rested and took care of my neck and back, but not the foot) and I re-injured my foot.  I was put in a boot.

Then, my husband ended up in the hospital from an infection from being flogged by our rooster (I know, I know.  It sounds crazy.  And it was.).  He nearly lost his leg and was in the hospital for nine days.  During that time, in my boot, carrying our whole house to and from the hospital each day, my foot got worse.  I got put on crutches and when my husband was discharged they wheeled us both out in wheelchairs.  What a sight!!!

2018-04-30 16.53.16

My husband healed up pretty quickly – in about half the time the doctors expected.  Me on the other hand – my road to healing was not going to be easy.

I wasn’t able to teach or do yoga anymore, but was determined to heal quickly.  Within a month or so, I was back at the gym trying to gain strength.  I had even termed the summer, “My summer of buff.”  But that was short lived.  Because I injured my foot again.  Really?!?! Yes, really.  I was gaining strength and being really mindful and careful, but something wasn’t quite right.

I then began working with a physical therapist (thank you, Penny!!!).  What we found out was that when my foot healed the first time it healed incorrectly, so the re-injury was just a matter of when.  She did so many things and continues to help me so very much!

And today, in 2019, I am still having pain and it gets tired really quickly, but Penny and I are onto something with a plan of healing.

Whoa Nelly!

In addition, the stress of our injuries took my focus completely off my business.  And it really showed.  I allowed stress and fear to overtake my mind, and my business nearly went under.  I even had to take an additional part time job to help make ends meet.

And that was a whole other mind battle to face.  Why am I here?  Why can’t I be good enough to make my business work?  I’m committing my ways to you, God.  Why aren’t you following through on your end?  and so on and so forth.

Sigh…..

Plus, my husband was totally stressed in his job too.  We were just a household brewing stress by the gallons.

I ended up cancelling all the ski trips planned for 2019 because of my foot.  And skiing is my favorite thing ever!  Sigh, again.

So, to say that I was ready to let 2018 go is an understatement.

And now, just a few days after I let go, I have begun anew.  Isn’t it amazing how new beginnings can feel refreshing, energizing, and encouraging?  It’s like I’m a new person.  Why couldn’t I decide to do that in 2018?  That I don’t know, but what I do know is sometimes it takes a new year, an event, an injury, a God intervention…. to wake us up and pull us out of the muck and mire and into our God given destiny.

I am determined.  I am strong.  My mind is focused.  Watch out world, cause I’m free!  I’m leaving my Whoa Nelly behind.  My chains are being broken, and I have God-power behind me!

Wanna De-Stress New Year’s Resolutions?

Several years ago I read an article about how pretty much nobody sticks with New Year’s resolutions. Some people can stick with them for a few months, but most people have lost motivation before February even arrives.

Does this sound familiar? Yeah, me too. I used to set these goals and have high hopes of “this time I’m really going to do this!”

Well, after doing this and failing most of my adult years I learned about a new way to set New Year’s resolutions.

Word of the Year

For several years, I have chosen a word of the year. This is something to focus on during the entire year.

For example, my first word of the year was peace. I painted a small canvas to put on my desk with the word peace, so I would see it daily and remember what I’m focusing on. In addition, I set reminders on my phone to periodically think about and practice peace along with creating a Pinterest board with Bible verses, sayings, and pictures of peace.

Other years, my words have been things like: joy, love, humble servant…

After having this practice for several years, I am pretty sure I will keep doing this for many more years to come.

Do you have a different way of doing New Year’s Resolutions?  Do you choose a word?  Share your ideas!

Take a Break

So, I recently taught a workshop titled, “Stress Less Healthy Holidays.”  It was really fun and the girls that attended were more helpful for me than they realized!

See, I had planned this whole workshop to help others take control of their holiday season.  To plan it out so that it didn’t feel overwhelming and dreadful.  And then, I didn’t do any planning for myself.  Even though I have been more conscious of what I allow (especially in my mind) this holiday season I still don’t feel as peaceful as I could.

And if I’m honest… I need a break.

You ever feel like that?

I’m working three jobs, remodeling a cabin, raising two puppies, taking care of my home (not very well I might add), being a sister, going to Bible study….. yeah.  Life is overly full sometimes.

And if you’re anything like me and your life is full to the max then I might suggest something that one of my workshop participants said:  “It’s okay to take a break.”

So, I am going to check out for a few weeks.  Take a break.  You won’t see a blog post or receive an email newsletter.  I am going to take this time to prepare my heart and mind to receive Christ in this Christmas season.  (And do a little planning for some really fun stuff in January!  Be on the lookout!)

Wanna join me in taking a break?  All you have to do is say yes.  🙂

What Kind of Words are You Speaking?

I just finished listening to Brene Brown’s book, Braving the Wilderness.  Wow.  Game changer.

Through the whole thing I’ve been challenged, overwhelmed, saddened, and encouraged.

I want to give you a few quotes from her book and I’d love to hear your reactions to these!  I’d love to hear if they challenge you, overwhelm you, make you sad, or encourage you!

“Don’t study this moment.  Be in it.”  -Brene Brown

I love this quote!  And it challenges me.  The context is she is a researcher.  She’s always trying to figure things out and gather information and apply it to whatever question she’s working on.  And she found herself doing this in her own personal time too; in conversations with friends and family.  She realized she was studying the moment and trying to figure out what was going to be the next best response instead of just listening.

Ummmm…. yeah.  That’s me.  Sigh.  So, I have been challenged to really live into the moment.  Listen fully.  Not just hearing so I can say what I want to say next.  I am practicing being in the moment.

“We’re hard wired to believe what we see.” -Brene Brown

Judge a book by it’s cover kind of thing?  She discusses quite a bit about stereotypes.  You know the way our culture assumes things because of a label put on people – on everybody.  We all have labels – self-given, other-given, and culture-given.  But what if we CHOSE to believe the best about people?  instead of assuming they are what we see?

You know how our minds can cultivate the worst possible scenario? Ok, my husband said he would be home an hour ago.  He’s probably dead in a ditch or has been abducted by aliens….  Brene suggests what if we choose to believe the best about someone or a situation instead?  How would that change our reaction and how would that change our stress levels?

Whoa!  Game changer!  This quote also challenges me.  To believe the best about others and to really lean into my faith too!  Hebrews 11:1 says, “Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.” (NIV)  I am choosing faith in God first and foremost and faith in humanity next!

“Bullshit is a greater enemy of the truth than lies are.” -Brene Brown

Ok. Sorry for the bad word.  I don’t like it anymore than you do, but I really wrestled with her point here – trying to figure out the difference between bull…t and lies.  So, many times people just talk and talk and talk when they really don’t have a clue what they’re talking about.  That is the bull….t she is referring to.  This kind of talk isn’t productive and doesn’t bring people closer together.  And lies certainly don’t do that either.

What if instead of pretending we know all about whatever the topic is, we say something like, “I don’t really know much about that.  Why don’t you tell me about it and why it is so important to you.”

Doesn’t that feel good to read?  It felt good to me.  And that kind of statement challenges us to swallow some pride and admit we don’t know everything.  We must be real, honest, authentic, and most of all true to ourselves.  Because at the end of the day, we know exactly what words we spoke and if they were true, lies, or bull…t!

Have you read this book?  If not, I highly recommend it!  And I’d love to hear your opinions of the quotes above!

Need a Healthy Holiday Meal Plan?

So, I know we just had Thanksgiving!  But are you already thinking about food for Christmas dinner and parties and friends, and…?

Well, maybe you are and maybe you aren’t.  But either way, Christmas is going to be here before we know it!  And I want to help you be prepared to have a healthy holiday!

Well, part of cultivating health during the holidays requires more than well wishes.  It takes planning and cooperation!  (I recently taught a workshop on this topic and two sisters attended.  They said it was most helpful that they were there together!  They could plan and prepare with the things they learned from the workshop in mind!)  So, get your family and friends in on the planning.  The planning might even be the most important part!  The execution will just be following the plan!  Easy peasy!

So, what are some healthy options for a bountiful holiday meal?  I’m so glad you asked!  I have created an entire day of healthy recipes to take part of the stress of the holidays off of you!  Want a copy?

All you need to do is send me an email requesting a copy!  (And I’ll add you to my email list so you won’t miss out on any other amazingness!)

Here’s a sneak preview into what you’ll receive:

Recipes for Breakfast, Appetizers, Snacks, Lunch, Dinner, and Desserts!

One of my favorite is the Raw Chocolate Pomegranate Bark!  Hope you enjoy!!!

True Gratitude

Happy Thanksgiving!  I hope you and your family have abundance and notice God’s blessings especially this week!

So, at a time when we focus on our gifts and are thankful, let’s look at true gratitude and what that really means.

Robert Emmons defines gratitude as two things:  “First, it’s an affirmation of goodness. We affirm that there are good things in the world, gifts and benefits we’ve received.”  Secondly, he says, “we recognize that the sources of this goodness are outside of ourselves.…”

So, gratitude is receiving good things and recognizing those good things come from someone besides ourselves.  And if you’re a Christian, we recognize those gifts come from God – even if they come through another person.

Psalm 31:19 says, “How abundant are the good things that you have stored up for those who fear you, that you bestow in the sight of all, on those who take refuge in you.”  (NIV)

So, gratitude is recognizing the good things God has given us.  And I might add, even those things we don’t see as good in the moment.

For example: my depression.  In the midst of it was the worst thing I’d ever experienced.  In my eyes it was not good.  But coming to the other side of it, I can see all the good it did for me.  It allowed me to deal with my past, it gave me great compassion for others, and brought me to the place I am now – which is soooo much better than where I was.  And if you are a Christian you know that what the devil intends for evil in your life, the Lord will use for your good – if you allow Him.

So, gratitude is being grateful for ALL things.  Sigh.  That’s hard.  Especially hard in the hardest of things.  So, how do we cultivate gratitude in the midst of the hardness?  OR how do we continue to be grateful in the good times?

Here’s what has worked for me:

My counselor helped me begin to cultivate a gratitude practice.  In the middle of my really sticky messiness when I was so far from having a grateful heart, she invited me to begin writing down every single day 3 things that went well that day.  And I also wrote down one thing that I would do differently next time.  This went on for months and months.  And then she invited me to begin writing down 3 things I was grateful for every morning.  And at the end of the day writing down 3 amazing things that happened that day (and it might be as simple as I made it through the day and am still alive).  And currently, I practice gratitude as often throughout the day as I can.  I am constantly noticing the beautiful things God has placed around me and stopping to say thank you.

Gratitude is a journey.  It’s not a destination.  And the more we notice the blessings and say thank you the more God will pour out from his heavenly storehouse on us!

If you’re wanting to begin cultivating a gratitude practice but aren’t sure where to start or how it will look for you, I encourage you to check out Ann Voskamp’s book and devotional, One Thousand Gifts.  It was super beneficial for me in cultivating a gratitude practice.  It’ll help you get started and guide you along the way.

My Lust for Doughnuts

So, if you know me very much at all you know how much I LOVE doughnuts!  The kind with chocolate and sprinkles on top!  Mmmmm!!!!

And if you know me at all you also know that I have been healed of a barley allergy.  (Barley contains gluten and is in nearly all things!)  What you might not realize is my motivation for healing my barley allergy was so I could eat doughnuts again!  Haha!!!

And through prayer, dedication, and strict diet and supplements I was able to achieve that goal.  And then I ate sooooo many doughnuts!

And I began to realize how awful those doughnuts made me feel afterward.  All that sugar and who knows what else (I’m not even looking to find out all the bad things in doughnuts!).  So, I began slacking off on eating them.

Then every so often my husband or I would bring home a dozen of those hot and ready yummies (Oh my!  My mouth is watering just thinking about them)!  And I would have no control.  I would eat 3 or 4.  Then a few hours later I’d eat 3 or 4 more.  And the dozen would be gone before the day was out.  Sigh.  I seem to have no control when doughnuts are in the house.  I can control myself with ALL other foods.  What is it with the doughnuts?!?!

So, I have now resorted to only getting one or two at a time and only a few times a year.  And I recently came across some very interesting information from a book I was reading.

“When you turn to food to to relieve anxiety or satisfy a lust for sweets, salt, and so on, you will lose control, and the results will negatively affect your health.”

-Neil T Anderson from The Bondage Breaker

Yikes!  Perhaps my loss of control is a need for something else!  More Jesus perhaps!  No, I’m certain I need more Jesus.

I’m told to:

“Clothe yourselves with the Lord Jesus Christ, and do not think about how to gratify the desires of the sinful nature.”

-Romans 13:14 (NIV)

But what if I don’t?  I’m told to:

“Take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.” -2 Corinthians 10:5

But what if I don’t?  I’m told to:

“Therefore put on the full armor of God…” -Ephesians 6:13 (NIV)

But what if I don’t?

 

Then, I am submitting to Satan’s tactics to try and steal me away from Jesus.  I am allowing him to create a desire so deep I can’t seem to control it – and it turns to lust, which is sin.  Over doughnuts of all things!

What are we to do?

Well, I have lately been “clothing myself with the Lord Jesus Christ,” “taking every thought captive,” and “putting on the armor of God.”  And I haven’t brought doughnuts into the house yet, but I’m praying that my lust will turn into dust and I will find complete and total satisfaction in the one true King, Jesus.

How about you?  What is trying to draw you away from Jesus?  What is Satan using to capture you?

The Comfort Zone

Do you ever find yourself going in the same stall in the bathroom just because you’re used to that one?

Or, do you always park near the same place because it’s what you’ve always done?

I found myself doing these exact things and really thought about my comfort zone.  Perhaps a different stall might be even better, or cleaner, or have purple toilet paper!

My comfort zone is a place where I have experienced certain things and outcomes and know exactly what to expect. It’s comfortable there.

What I also began to realize was my comfort zone kept me in a place that I wasn’t supposed to be, but it was what I knew. I called it my comfortable hell.

I was miserable. I knew God wanted something else for me. And yet, I also knew what would happen if I stayed because I was comfortable there.

God wants us to find comfort in Him, not in our circumstances.

“Comfort, comfort my people, says your God.” Isaiah 40:1 (NIV)

Are you in a place, a relationship, a job, a home, a city, a Starbucks rut…. whatever?!?! that God is calling you out of? Is He asking you to step out and trust Him? Then your comfort might just be what is holding you back.

One thing I have learned is that if you seek God with all your heart and follow his will you won’t be residing in a comfort zone for very long. And once you get to a comfortable place, He’ll ask you to change something again!

See, God wants us to consistently and constantly trust in Him. And if we are relying on ourselves and our comfort zone then He doesn’t usually get honored and get credit for what’s going on in our lives. Comfort is a place we can handle on our own. Instead, if we step into a place God calls us where we are unequipped, nervous, or not ready then we have to rely on God. We have to trust Him.

That is His favorite place to shine! He loves to be the strength in our weakness, the comfort in our storms, and the peace in our dark valleys!

“But he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s Power my rest on me.” 2 Corinthians 12:9 (NIV)

So, if God is asking you to step out of your comfort zone and trust Him, know that your choice will be rewarded greatly!

And in the meantime go ahead and try out a different bathroom stall! 😜

Is Keto a Fad Diet?

Well, the keto diet sure is all the rage right now. Keto is short for Ketogenic. The basic gist is to eliminate all carbs and eat a high fat and high protein diet to put your body into ketosis- which is a fat burning mode.

This diet eliminates many vegetables, most fruits, and all sugars.

Green Smoothie Girl wrote an excellent article with the help of 22 experts about low carb diets like keto.  Read it here.

Here’s my opinion on this and basically any other diet plan out there:

If you are sick or trying to heal a certain diet with strict rules might be just right for you.

In my personal healing journey I did the GAPS diet where I started out eating just bone broth for two weeks. That’s about as strict as you can get besides fasting. And this diet was something I needed to heal. I totally believe that there are certain diets for certain issues.

I don’t believe that rules of a diet, such as keto, are for everybody for a lifetime. Perhaps a season, but not a lifetime. Strict rules are not sustainable, meaning they get burdensome and no fun to follow after awhile. Who wants to live their lives feeling deprived all the time? Not me!

See, all diets were created for one particular individual. And the rules meet the needs of that one person. More than likely you are not that person. Perhaps there are a few pieces that might work for you, but the whole thing isn’t suited for your body- again as long as you are not trying to heal.

Plus, God created our bodies to need fruits, veggies, carbs, and meat. If we’re not eating all of these then our bodies are being deprived of some form of vitamins, minerals, nutrients, amino acids, or so many other things. With that being said, I don’t believe we need to have meat every meal. Perhaps once a week or a few times a month might be enough for your body.

So, how are we supposed to eat healthy, lose weight, and create longevity in our lives?

That’s exactly what I help clients do! Figure out what works for their unique body!

Do some experimenting to see what foods give you energy and what foods take away energy. Simply paying attention to how you feel after eating a certain food can give you a lot of information.

And I might add that what is healthy for one person may not be healthy for you! In addition, our bodies need different things during different seasons of our lives. So, what works for you this year may need to be adjusted next year, or in five years.

If all this is too overwhelming to try and figure out on your own, let me know! I’d love to help you figure out what foods your body needs so you can create a healthy lifestyle, not just a diet.