Being the Sunshine in a Dark Valley

Have you ever been somewhere that felt like a dark valley? A place that is full of negativity, condemnation, and just plain icky?

How can you even begin to bring a little positive light to a place like this?

Well, that is what God has asked me to do in a certain situation I’m in. And if I’m honest, I’m struggling with it. But God spoke some truth to my heart recently.

Joshua 10:8 says, “Do not be afraid of them; I have given them into your hand. Not one of them will be able to withstand you.”

So, a little backstory about this passage: Joshua is leading the Israelites into the promised land and they have to battle all the people who are already living there to be able to take possession of the land. And it’s scary. And God tells Joshua not to worry because the battle has already been won. He just has to follow through with the fighting.

Now, I’m not thinking God wants me to fight with people. But he does want me to be a light for Him in this particular place. And he’s telling me the battle is already won. I just have to keep my eyes on Him and “fight” through the darkness with my sunshine.

I’m going to press on. How about you?

How can you be sunshine in a dark valley?

Want More Energy? Try These 5 Ideas!

I feel like everyone is tired. Including myself. We’ve been running ourselves ragged, filling our schedules, and in turn are depleted.

Sound familiar?

So, how can we have more energy and still do all the things?

Here are 5 ways we can gain more energy today:

1. Get more sleep

This one may seem obvious, but some of us struggle to get the amount of sleep we need. The optimal time we need to go to bed is set by our own circadian rhythm. So, listen to your body. When do you get sleepy? Do a little experiment and try out a few different bedtimes and a few different number of sleep hours and see how you feel.

Side note: We’re going to need different amounts of sleep for different times in our lives. So, honor the season you’re in.

2. Stop eating sugar

I may get shot over this one! 😜 But sugar actually depletes our energy. I know that is counter intuitive, because if you need a pick me up you probably grab something sugary. Sugar actually takes a ton of energy to process and it steals that energy away from you! Instead, try eating something with more protein: nut butter (sugar free of course), cheese, or any food that gives you energy.

Want a list of Magic Snacks I share with my clients?  Email me and request it!

3. Do a detox

Over time our digestive system gets buildup. This could be from toxins or foods that aren’t the best for our bodies or other sources. Think of it kind of like the pipes in your drain. Occasionally, we need to unclog the buildup. While our digestive system is far more sensitive than our kitchen drain, it still needs cleaning out. I like to do a simple detox a couple times a year to keep “my pipes” working the best they can.

Click here to read more about the detox I use myself.

4. Exercise

It doesn’t seem to make sense to use energy to gain more energy. But, that’s exactly what happens with exercise. Movement actually triggers endorphins in our brain to tell us we’re happy and we have energy. So, find a movement you enjoy and get to it!

I like to hula- hoop!

5. Say No

You may be asked to do some really amazing, good things! They honor God, serve your community, or even help the homeless. But if you’re overworked and exhausted, saying no may be the best thing for you.

I recently had to say no to helping out with a charity event because it didn’t fit in my schedule and honestly, I didn’t feel God telling me to do it. It’s hard to say no to good things. But, what’s most important is that you honor God in your decisions. Pray about it and ask God what he wants you to do.

This is obviously a short list of ideas to help you get more energy. So, what would you add to this list? How do you get more energy?

Is Fall the Season for Personal Change?

I’ve been reading many articles recently about people seeing fall as a second New Years. With school back in the routine, the weather beginning to shift, and the days growing shorter change is all around us.

Perhaps, it could be a time for personal renewal. A time for recommitting to goals or setting some new ones.

The 12 Week Year by Brian Moran states that goals that are set for a 12 week time frame have a higher success rate than goals set for an entire year. With about 12 weeks left in the year, maybe this is just the right time to step into a new or renewed goal.

So, what could that look like?

Maybe you want to lose some weight, take better care of yourself, eat healthier, get rid of some pain, do something good for your community, grow closer to Jesus….

Whatever your little heart desires!

So, how do you get started?

Well, start by choosing a goal. You want it to be reasonable, measurable, and achievable. And make sure to tell people about your goal. Don’t just keep it to yourself.

Then, decide why you want that goal. What’s the why underneath your why? That means dig deep to uncover what is the driving force behind this desire.

After that, MAKE. A. PLAN.

If you fail to plan, you plan to fail. Eek! Choose small steps that will help you reach your goal by the end of the time frame.  Then, put that plan in place! Work your plan!  Sounds simple enough right?  Well, what happens if I fall off track or lose momentum or willpower?

Great question! Return your mind to your why! Why did you decide to step into this goal? Why did you decide to do the hard work? This is where the why underneath your why is super powerful! Take a deep breath (or 100) and decide to step back into the game, step back into the plan. And pray!  Ask God to help you stick with it!

“So I say to you:  Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.”  Luke 11:9 (NIV)

Change doesn’t happen because it’s easy. There will always be hard choices, hard work, and dedication to make it to the end. But it’s not impossible! Especially if you commit your plan to God. He will order your steps to help you be successful.

“Put God in charge of your work, then what you’ve planned will take place.”  Proverbs 16:3 (MSG)

Need help in putting all this in place? Need help setting yourself up for inevitable success? I’m here for you! Let me know how I can help! And then, go get those goals!

Happy Fall New Year!!

Why Should I Eat Organic?

There are debates going on all over kitchens and grocery stores about eating organic. Why we should, why it doesn’t matter, who cares anyways?!?!

Here’s why I care.

Conventional food sprayed with pesticides and antibiotics are straight up toxins- poisons really.  And we ingest those when we eat fruits, veggies, and meat that aren’t organic.

Our bodies were designed to process toxins. However when we overload our bodies every single day it doesn’t quite know what to do with all of them. So, it begins storing them in our bodies. This might result in chronic pain, fibromyalgia, sinus issues, headaches, sleeplessness, ADHD, skin issues like psoriasis, and others.

This dis-ease in the body leads to chronic diseases like Alzheimer’s, cancer, Crohn’s, and so much more.

I know this first hand because I had toxic overload and was having severe pain as well as tons of other health issues. And as I began to detox and eat more organic foods, my symptoms began to subside.

My body was able to process the toxins in my environment I wasn’t able to get away from (like pollution) and the dis-ease began to become ease.

So, when it is in my control, I choose to eat organic whenever possible. Yes, my grocery bill is a bit more expensive. But I’d rather spend my money on healthy food than at the doctors office.

Do you eat organic? Why or why not?

Headaches and Poop Pains

Haha!!!

I know you’re probably thinking, “This girl has lost her mind. She said poop!”

I spent 17 years of my life teaching elementary education in a public school. I have become very comfortable with the word poop. 😆

I have also become very familiar with headaches too! Literal and figurative ones! What? You too? Yeah. Seems this world is full of them.

So, let’s talk about how these two literal things can be connected:

Hydration.

Lack of adequate water in our bodies is the number one cause of chronic headaches and constipation (which causes poop pains).

Our bodies are composed of approximately 60% water. And if we’re not replenishing that water daily then we will become dehydrated.

Dehydration causes our bodies, organs, and cells to not be able to function their best. This is prime headache conditions.

In addition, imagine this:

You’re at a water park. The water is flowing as you go down the water slide. You slide easily around the curves and twists and splash into the pool below. Wheeee!!!!

You climb the stairs to slide again, but this time the water is turned off. You think, “Well, I’m wet from the first slide. I’ll be fine!” So, you step onto the slide and give yourself a good push. It doesn’t go so well this time. You’re getting plastic burns, leaving skin behind, and having to push yourself all the way down.

This is how your poop feels when you don’t drink enough water. 😳

It gets stuck (causing those poop pains), leaves pieces behind (causing fermentation in your gut which gets reabsorbed into your blood), and there’s no easy, fun plopping into the small round pool in our homes (your toilet).

So, how much water should you be drinking to avoid the dry water slide in your intestines?

I recommend drinking between 1/2 and 3/4 of your body weight in ounces of water a day. So, if you weigh 150 lbs then your body needs between 75 and 100 ounces of water a day. Just for reference: 120 ounces is a gallon. And if you drink coffee, alcohol, or do lots of physical activity then you will need to up that amount.

So, I invite you to begin tracking how much water you drink. Because what you keep track of you can improve. And also, notice your headaches and poop pains- or lack thereof.

If you need tips for how to get more water into your day (especially if you don’t like to drink water) send me an email letting me know. I have a handout I’ll be happy to share with you that will give you some great ideas!

Click here to email me.

Why I Drink Raw, Unpasteurized Milk

Pasteurization was created to make milk from slop farms safe to drink back in the 1880s. This process removes ALL the bacteria. That means even the good bacteria that our bodies need for a healthy gut, body, and mind. It also removes essential fatty acids, vitamins, and minerals.  The majority of farms in America are no longer slop farms.  Most of them have safe, clean environments for the milk cows.

So, raw milk has no additives and is not pasteurized.

Yes, the FDA and CDC are going to tell you that raw milk is dangerous and unsafe and avoid it at all costs. They’ve even made legislation to make it really difficult to acquire raw milk.

Dr. Axe wrote a great article explaining this in detail. Check it out for documented facts about the safety of raw milk.

I know far too well about bacteria in our gut and why it’s so important to feed the good and get rid of the bad. We NEED bacteria in our guts. That is our immune system- our first line of defense against outside threats.

So, I drink raw milk because it’s safe, tastes delicious, and it boosts my immune system.

I do recommend getting your milk from a farmer you know and trust.  In addition, you want to make sure your farmer does not use hormones or antibiotics on the cows.  I am part of a herd share and get my milk here.

Want to Live Longer? Eat This:

It seems our culture is on a quest to live longer than ever (even though Abraham lived to be 175).

And there is an organization that studies just that: Blue Zones

They have studied the nine places around the globe where people live the longest. They’ve found some common denominators among these groups of people.

One thing these people eat more of than anything else is:

Veggies. Veggies. And more veggies.

They do also eat meat, but only a handful of times a month.

So, let’s discuss a few ways to get more veggies into your day. Here’s some ideas:

  • Put greens in your morning smoothie
  • Saute veggies for your omelet or with an over easy egg
  • Veggie up a frittata
  • Take carrot and celery sticks or broccoli and raw squash for snacks
  • If you eat sandwiches add spinach, kale, or chard
  • Make sure to include a vegetable or two in each meal
  • Get the veggie plate at restaurants
  • Eat dried seaweed snacks
  • Use veggie protein powder in smoothies, energy balls, milkshakes…
  • Keep fresh and frozen vegetables stocked so you always have them available

How do you get veggies in your day? Share your ideas!

This Just Isn’t My Day

You ever had one of those days?!?! You know what I’m talking about. Nothing is going right and everything is going wrong.

You woke up late, spilled coffee on your shirt, had a flat tire, got a ticket, late for work, the boss is grouchy, and…..

We’ve all experienced days like this at some point (maybe even lots of them).

There was one particular sentence I heard on the radio that changed my perspective on these types of days.

I was listening to an interview on Sirius The Message with Jamie Grace. She was telling about a time when she was growing up. She was having one of these particular days and explaining all the wrong things to her dad. She said, “It just isn’t my day.” Her Dad responded with a life changing thought. He said,

“Of course it’s not your day! This is the Lord’s day. Be thankful and rejoice in it!”

At first my heart felt victimized. But don’t you hear all these bad things?!?! And then I realized I was focusing on me and my problems. So, I took a moment to let this truth sink in.

Um, yeah…. today is not my day. This day belongs to God. And for that reason, when I’m having a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day I can rejoice anyways. Because I have the one who holds the world in his hands living in my heart. And for that I am beyond thankful.

Philippians 4:4

“Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again, rejoice!”

What can you be thankful for in the middle of the mess?

The Hunger Game

Let’s talk about the hunger game!  And I’m not talking about the great books and movies with Katniss Everdeen.  I’m talking about what happens inside your body when you get hungry.

So, what happens inside your body when you get hungry?  What are the signs your body gives you that let you know you’re starting to get hungry?

(And if you already know the answer to those questions you are ahead in the game!  Soooo many clients I work with struggle to have answers with this topic.)

For me, I get a little rumbly in my tummy, perhaps a slight headache, a little jittery, and if I let it go too long I get hangry.  “Get out of my way!  I’m getting to that food, hangry!”  That ever happen to you?

So, let’s talk about a few ways to avoid the hangry.

  1. When you feel yourself just begin to get hungry it’s time to start planning for food.  That doesn’t mean you have to eat right now, but start planning for it.
  2. Eat when you are a little bit hungrier than when you first noticed you were hungry.  This will keep you from binging or overeating or scarfing down whatever you can get your hands on.
  3. If you wait until you’re hangry you have set yourself up for not being able to control what you put in your mouth.  Your desire for food will be so strong that it will override your desire to eat healthy.

 

The next part of the hunger game is knowing when to stop eating.  Most of us eat beyond fullness, stuffing too many calories in for what our bodies need.  (Ever needed to unbutton your pants after eating? I know, I know!  That ‘whatever food’ was soooo good.  You needed just one more bite.  And one more bite.  And one more bite.  Then you needed to unbutton your pants.)

Here’s a few tips to help you from overeating and needing to wear old lady elastic pants to dinner every night.

  1. Eat slowly and chew your food around 30 times a bite (no matter what it is).  This chewing and eating slowly helps your body assimilate nutrients better so you get more vitamins, minerals, and nutrients and energy! from the food you’re eating.  You will eat less this way!
  2. Take around 20 minutes to eat your meal. This allows your brain to catch up with your stomach.  It actually takes 20 minutes for your brain to receive a signal from the belly saying it’s full.  And if you eat your entire huge meal in 10 minutes then your brain doesn’t know you’re full until 10 minutes later.  Then you’re unbuttoning your pants!  Doh!
  3. Eat to around 75-80% fullness.  This may be something you have to play with a little to see what is right for you.  The goal here is to eat for energy.  Eat until satiated, but not stuffed.  And this is where eating slowly and taking around 20 minutes really comes in handy.

 

Play this game every single meal! Here’s what you might notice if you do:

  • You’re consuming less food.
  • You’ll be losing weight (without counting calories).
  • You’re digestive system is performing better.
  • You have less constipation/diarrhea.
  • You are able to deal with stress better (I know!  Just from paying attention to your hunger!)
  • Your meal times will be more pleasant.

 

What’s your hunger game status?

Too Busy

Sigh.

In the past few years, every time I have asked someone how they were doing the response I get most of the time is, “Good!  But busy!”

Is this response so we don’t have to talk about what is really going on in our lives?  The despair?  The depression?  The struggling relationship?  The stress?  The exhaustion?

As I’ve pondered on this for myself, I realized that I often answer the question, “How are you?” with the same response that people give me.  “Good. But busy.”

Hmmmm….. Perhaps I should be more specific:

I’m alive.  My foot is hurting.  My prayer life is improving.  My marriage is going well.  I am excited about getting new puppies.  I am stressed about my business.  I pooped today.

I think sometimes we shy away from telling the truth because we have fear about what others think, or we think they really don’t care how I’m doing.  Something to think about…

So, back to being too busy.  Do we fill up our time because we don’t want to miss out on anything?  Or we want our kids to have alllllll the experiences?  Or we don’t want to have a few moments alone with our thoughts because that could just be really bad?

I think our culture has an “illness of spirit” as Eugene Peterson says.  We don’t know how to rest anymore.  We have to DO. IT. ALL!

This summer, God called me to a season of rest.  And I didn’t like it one little bit.  I like to go and do and be!  I like to hike and wake-board and do all the fun summer things.  But God had other plans for me.  I injured my foot.  Twice.  Because he called me to rest, and I didn’t listen.  So, he forced me.  Sigh again.

2018-08-09 11.07.17And being in this place of rest has allowed me to do some self-evaluation about my life, my activities, my self-care, and how I can show up for God as my best self.  I have learned that there is a time for getting it done and a time for putting the enormous to-do list to the side and just take a nap.  My new mantra (and screen saver) says, “Persist when you need to.  Rest when you need to.”  It’s reminding me every day to listen to my body and God, and do what needs to be done.  Sometimes, rest is what needs to be done.

 

Ecclesiastes 3:1-8

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

a time to be born and a time to die, a time to plant and a time to uproot, a time to kill and a time to heal, a time to tear down and a time to build, a time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance, a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them, a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing, a time to search and a time to give up, a time to keep and a time to throw away, a time to tear and a time to mend, a time to be silent and a time to speak, a time for love and a time to hate, a time for war and a time for peace.” (NIV)

So, what season are you in?  Is God calling you to a season of rest from the busyness?  Or is God calling you to put down one thing so he can prepare you for another?  Or are you in a season of get it done?

Wherever you are, I invite you to take a few moments, a few breaths to just be with God – in this season.  Be here now.