21 Day Challenge of Reading God’s Word

1
Feb
2019

Reading God's Word 21 day challenge

Early this morning I opened up my Favorite Bible App, YouVersion to start my devotion time. I was welcomed with a message to participate in a 21 Day Reading God’s Word Challenge.

Now, I already do this, read the bible nearly every day, but it was laid on my heart to participate in a way that would include others.  My heart is to share in community, and so many feel pressed on all sides to fit in reading the bible.  We can all make time for the things that are important, am I right?

21 Days to Change

You likely have heard that it takes about 21 days to develop new habits and patterns of behavior.  So, it’s no mistake that this is a 21 day challenge.

I scrolled through the suggested 21 Day devotions and I chose, “Grace for the Pace.”

It felt fitting in this season, when we all struggle with finding space for our soul.

Will you Join Me?

I’d love to link arms with you and others who might need some encouragement, a friend to walk along with, or just an invitation to show up.  You can download the YouVersion APP and read ANYWHERE – literally… and you can even put it in audio to listen to.  Guys, there really is no excuse.

The YouVersion APP makes it easy to read anywhere – plus they have a huge selection of incredible devotions, you may find another devotion you want to read as well.

I’d love to challenge you to join me.

If you want to join, feel free to click this link. You’ll be in a small group where we can share our takeaways as we journey together.  Don’t worry, it’s really private and no one can see you in your messy hair or pajamas!

Join Me!

Would you read the Bible Plan, 21 Days Of Grace For The Pace, with me?

CLICK HERE to join

It’s not too late to join us.  We just started this morning.  Do not let that be an excuse.

Come on… click the link and hop on over.  We are waiting to say hello… and do not worry, if you choose to just read along with us, and not comment, we totally are cool with that.

Feel free to share this with a friend, they may need the encouragement too!

Renewal for 2019

16
Jan
2019

Hello Sweet Friends….

I hope this note finds you enjoying your week and finding space to breathe.  That is my goal in this new season, to provide space to let my soul breathe.

Over the course of the past two years, I have allowed my schedule to be filled with things that do not inspire me, do not fill my soul and certainly have allowed me to become bitter and frustrated.  None of that is good for the soul.

After having a lovely getaway with my husband for FIVE days to share our vision for 2019, I clearly found my word for this year….. RENEWAL.

renewal - word for the year

Time for Change

It’ time…. to make some changes…. because what I’ve been doing is just not working.  And isn’t that the mistake we often make, we keep doing the same thing thinking things will change?

Are you in a season of needing some change, some refreshment, some soothing of your soul?  Walk with me friend… we can do this…. together!

Today I want to share with you a few things I’ve put into practice already that have already altered my frame of mind and given my soul a breath of fresh air.  Not the stifled, claustrophobic air I was struggling to take in… but fresh and clean air that is life giving.

Quiet

My quiet time is first thing in the morning.  I’ve shared about quiet time and what it can look like and how you can fit it in.  But the most important thing is to DO IT.  Determine when it fits your schedule and block it out.

I get up, making my coffee (which is a sweet process with my French Press, names Amelia and my hand grinder), sit down and open up my YOUVersion bible APP so I can read through four to six different devotionals I am actively reading.  I write notes in a simple journal, sometimes just a short scripture or a quote from one of the devotional authors.  I then take a few moments to just be….quiet.  And listen.  I was in a habit of rushing through my time and not allowing the space for God to speak to me, which handicaps our walk when we don’t.  It has been so fulfilling to change things up.

Feed Your Soul

I have found the loveliest podcast EVER and perhaps I am just slow to the program, but I need to share it with you!  The Next Right Thing Podcast by Emily P. Freeman.  If you need a friend to give you advice, Emily is the one.  She gently encourages and provides just the right balance of her story, relevant scripture and it certainly doesn’t hurt that her voice is just sweet and soothing.  I truly love that the podcast episodes are only usually around ten minutes, which for any busy mom, well…. you can find time for that for sure!

I am guilty of binge listening to catch up – but I’d say its an investment in my soul!

Move

I hate the word exercise right now, so I am really just changing the semantics a bit to just say MOVE!

When I hear the word exercise, I think of fitting into my schedule six days of running or T-25 workouts.  To be honest, my life just can’t handle that right now.  So, when I set goals like that, I tend to fail and then guilt and shame creep in…. which we all know just helps nothing.

Instead of lofty New Years goals, I am dedicated to get outside at least three days a week and walk the beach. I had my first true long walk yesterday, and I shared on Facebook, it was lovely.  As I slowly master this goal, I can add in a new element. I am finding relief in this new way to creating my schedule and it’s a sweet surprise.  Being successful in the little things, can leave room to add a few more things later.

Meditate

Yep, I  said that.  As a “doer” and one who loves to push themselves and accomplish a lot.  I could never see myself taking the time to meditate.  I mean, man…. I could do so much during that ten minutes…. instead of just sit there.  However, with anything…. it is often a good idea to truly give something a try before you make big judgements…. am I right?

So, a good friend shared with my about how she’d been doing meditation and her personality is very similar to mine.  After hearing her express her LOVE for this new activity, I decided to give it a try.  I downloaded the CALM APP, which I will see is simply amazing!!  I have started my own practice of meditating, and it has changed my day.  You can try it for seven days for free, so you truly have nothing to lose.  Do it!  Side-note – I have been using the sleep stories for kids with my nine year old – not for bedtime, but for riding in the car or takin this bath.  He is also a huge fan.

Sabbath

It means different things to different people.  Our family observed a “day of rest” for a period of about 9 months a few years back.  I shared some simple steps on implementing a day of rest.

Then life …..

I can’t really remember the exact reason to why it stopped appearing in our calendar – but it did.

With a husband who travels and has different work days, it takes some extra planning to determine “the” day of the week we will observe and pull back and rest.  However, one of the visions I shared with my husband when we had our getaway was to implement Sabbath back into our schedule.

So, we went through and blocked out the next two months – one day every week to observe Sabbath.

I’m not a theologian – but I know God wants us to rest our bodies, to seek Him and be obedient in working 6 days and resting on the 7th.  We observed our first Sabbath on Sunday and it was lovely.

So tell me, what are you changing to help you find refreshment and renewal?  I would love to hear and add a few more ideas to my list, because as I integrate these in, I will be looking for the next step.

Another note, you will find me back to blogging more here too.  I went through a season where I lost a bit of my creativity to be honest, and I feel the Lord is refreshing my soul, so I can write again in a new way.  I am excited to start this new season with you all.

 

How I Got Healthier – Continuing the Journey

5
Jan
2019

It starts with baby steps, making changes that will help your body function better. If you missed the first post in this two-part series, you can catch it here.

If you are looking to live with more energy, vibrancy, and emotional stability, read on. These are the changes I have made to create space for these things.

Movement

You must move your body. Find an activity that you enjoy—and do not think it has to be intense to make a difference. I used to be a hard-core runner, training for half marathons because I truly enjoyed the challenge. Now I find myself taking walks, doing some stretching, pilates, or some simple weight exercises. Fit in 20-30 minutes of activity at least five times a week; your body will thank you.

Sugar

Remove sugar from your daily life. Sugar feeds illness—period. You can Google and find research all over that will testify to this fact. Sugar is in EVERYTHING; begin to read your labels. Sugar is addictive and the only way for you to reset your body is to cut it out, cold turkey. Two years ago I did my first 21-day sugar detox with a large Facebook group. It taught me a lot about my body, truly how addicted I was, and how sugar is in everything. You’ll find it in ketchup, salad dressing, salsa, and canned goods. Do not forget that pasta, potatoes, and fruit contain sugar, even though it’s not “added” sugar, even the natural sugar can affect your body. Do a bit more research on this and at least determine to remove the added sugar to items that are unnecessary as a first step.

Sleep

Your body heals itself during your sleep, so when you aren’t getting enough sleep or entering into a deep enough sleep, your body struggles.

I shoot to get at least eight hours of sleep a night. I am an early-to-bed person, usually in bed by 9:30 p.m. This allows me enough sleep to still rise around 6 a.m. and feel refreshed. By getting enough sleep you will reduce stress and improve your mood; this was a key area I wanted to improve. My emotions were all over the place. When you get enough sleep, you will also tend to get sick less. It’s important—for you, for you kids, for your spouse.

Eat Less Animal Products

Oh yes, I am going there. I just read Eat to Live by Joel Fuhrman and it truly opened my eyes. The book not only gave great information on eating a more plant-based diet, but gave countless study after study of research on the benefits. It is a must-read. You can easily begin eating less meat and dairy items. To be honest, for most people, typical cow dairy items cause inflammation in the body. So substituting items and removing most cheese is a beneficial change. If you are still drinking cow’s milk and giving pasteurized milk to your kiddos, I encourage you to read this article to perhaps shed some light on why this may not be the best decision.

No Microwave

I wrote previously on the blog about this change, so instead of going into details, you can easily click over to read it here. Using a microwave KILLS your food, period. I am in the corner with microwaves that it zaps the nutrients out of food—literally. In my opinion, the risk is just not worth the small convenience of reheating items using a microwave. In fact, in our new home, we are not even installing a microwave. We just do not use it.

Water

Drinking real, pure, GOOD water is the way your body removes toxins and flushes your systems. Two years ago we began filtering all our drinking and cooking water with a BERKEY water system that removed pathogens as well as fluoride. It was a game-changer for us. We also try our best to not drink from PLASTIC water bottles. So when we are headed out of the house, all family members fill up their own personal glass water bottle. Not only does this save us money, it is a much healthier alternative. When you drink water from plastic water bottles, store bought, or ones you personally fill, the plastic leaches into the water. I am not interested to drink leached plastic.

I hope you consider making one or two changes for the new year from my list of tips. These are things I have successfully implemented and have made a huge difference in my life.

If you missed me mentioning this healthy meal planning bundle, girl… you need it!  If you are looking for quick and healthy meal options your entire family will enjoy – you have found it!

Healthy Meal Planning Bundle 2019

How I Got Healthier — Steps to Live Your Best

2
Jan
2019

How I Got Healthier

Just over seven years ago, I really didn’t think much about the food I ate, what I drank, or even what I applied to my body. I really didn’t have much interest in “living healthier,” but I was hit with a sucker punch that changed my mind.

Just over seven years ago I was diagnosed with Cutaneous Lupus, as well as Systemic Lupus. My life felt like I was on a downward spiral.

As I journeyed through this diagnosis, I slowly became empowered. I began to learn that ALL THE THINGS we put IN and ON our body matter. It accumulates and it piles up.

I get questions all the time about how I have managed to put my Lupus into remission, and it’s time to share the steps I took—real, practical steps—to see if they may help you. But first, let me say, these changes won’t just help you if you have Lupus; they will help you prevent disease, care for your body like the temple it is, and be the best mom you can be for your family. You deserve to feel amazing. You deserve to care for yourself in ways that will allow your body to function at its optimal level.

When we poison our body with bad choices, those choices add up. Do not be a victim. Fight for your health, the health of your kids; it is important.

This will be part ONE of a TWO-part series on this topic. There is a lot to share.

Ditched Creamer

I love coffee…truly love coffee! In fact, I have a favorite French press, grinder, and brand of coffee. However, one of the things I loved about my coffee was the artificial vanilla-flavored coffee creamer I added to it. I was truly addicted. But, once I began truly looking at the ingredients on the package, I became quite aware it had to go. I switched to grass-fed raw milk to add to my coffee with some vanilla stevia drops, and eventually I switched to nondairy. I now use a coconut and almond milk creamer and it does the trick…all by itself. My taste buds are not craving the sugary taste first thing in the morning, and my body does so much better without the artificial ingredients. And eliminating dairy is another great step on my health journey.

I encourage you…if you say “there’s no way I can give up my creamer,” I hear you. That was me. But here’s the deal…start making small changes; pick one thing to change and then slowly add that in, like using RAW cream and REAL sugar. Then switch to the next step. It all helps.

Ditched Gluten

Shortly after I was diagnosed with Lupus, a friend with Lupus shared that she found incredible relief by eliminating gluten. I had no idea what gluten even was! I told her I could never not have French fries; she sweetly laughed at me and assured me I could always eat fries.

Gluten is a protein found in wheat that causes inflammation and distress to the intestinal tract. Most people find that it doesn’t bother them to the extent of others, but for me, it’s bad news. The wheat we eat today, here in the U.S., has been modified over the years, making it troublesome for many. So I chose to remove any wheat from my diet. Did it help? Yes, it did! And, honestly, I didn’t replace a bunch of items with gluten-free versions. I rarely eat sandwiches now, but instead wrap with lettuce or make a salad. I occasionally will indulge in gluten-free cookies or a cupcake, but really have decided that those should be occasional treats anyhow.

I’ve also been using Einkorn products, which I have found to be a good fit for me. You can read more about Einkorn and if it might be good for you here. If you have joint pain, feel bloated often, or have digestive trouble, I encourage you to eliminate gluten and see how you feel.

Went Chemical Free

Seven years ago I began to look at products I was using on my skin as well as in my home, like cleaning products and personal care items. It was eye-opening. Something that happens when we apply synthetic, laboratory-made products to our skin is bioaccumulation. Bioaccumulation is real; it’s the accumulation of toxins in our bodies, where we absorb more toxins than our body can effectively eliminate, which  leaves our poor bodies struggling to function the way they were created to. The body is overloaded and we begin to suffer from other symptoms, like skin rashes, brain fog, sleeplessness, agitation, mood issues, and more.

I began using ALL-NATURAL cleaners—my favorite being Thieves Household Cleaner. It’s so safe, I can feel great about anyone using it. I love that even at my son’s school they use this cleaner so that all the kids can safely clean and wipe down tables and bathroom sinks. There are even more products in the line, including toothpaste, mouthwash, soap, laundry detergent, and more—all natural and plant based. You can check this out for more info on the entire Thieves product line.

Make Small Changes

I encourage you to begin replacing items in your home with all-natural products. A lot of these synthetic ingredients made in laboratories are endocrine disruptors. They are chemicals that can interfere with endocrine (or hormone) systems at certain doses. These disruptions can cause cancerous tumors, birth defects and other developmental disorders, and more. Why take that risk when you have a better option?

If you are looking for help with healthy meal planning, this is a must have resource!  Be sure to check it out and give your mama brain a break – you can thank me later!

Healthy Meal Planning Bundle 2019

I will cover more on my steps; the next post will be other diet changes, lifestyle changes, and more. You can find it here. 

Walking Through Grief and Healing with a Loved One

8
Nov
2018

grief

Hello Sweet Friends…. I am just now coming up for some air.  Our family has been venturing down a road that has been emotional, exhausting and heartbreaking.

Two weeks ago, on October  24th, 2018, my 19 year old nephew, Nicholas Schumacher lost his battle with Neuroblastoma cancer.  He fought a 17+ month battle.  We fervently prayed he would be healed, but God had other plans.

The weeks leading up to his death, I was privileged to spend more time with Nick than I had in any other time in his life. I still saw the smile, his personality and his determined spirit coming through.

Gifts

He was the person who lit up the room as soon as he walked in with his infectious smile.

He had more JOY to spread during his short life than most do in 70 years.

He was incredibly talented in film making, even at only 19.

His Make A Wish trip involved a movie filming and meeting Tom Hanks.  It’s was a powerful trip and an awesome video was created to celebrate.

The pain of real, heart wrenching grief has not touched me since I lost my mother just a little over 12 years ago.  Grief will stick to your bones and bring you to your knees in the most dynamic way.  Even 12 years later, there will be certain memories that will open the flood gates of tears.

It’s good to remember, it’s even better to allow the tears to fall.

During this past month, I’ve grasped some concepts and ideas on how to walk alongside someone who has experienced  loss.  My brother and his family are doing just that, right now.  My heart breaks for them as they grieve the loss of a child, and I want to be a help during this time in ways that allow them space to walk the long road. Here are some of the things I have sent be helpful.

Just Be There

I had the privilege to be present when my nephew took his last breath and it was just an honor.  I found the most joy and feeling of peace just being there in the moments with both my brother and my sister-in-law.  Now, it’s the after…. the days that pass where they need someone to be present.  To not forget what they are walking through…. so even thought I am not physically there in their home with them, I will text with a message asking, ” how they are doing today” or just to let them know I am praying for them.

Listen

In the days after Nick’s death I was just present.  I asked questions, but often conversation just started, tears would start and I would just listen and allow space.  I know many feel like they do not know what to say when someone has just lost a loved one…. and that is the beauty, you really do not have anything to say, except I am sorry.  Just stop and be willing to listen.  We try to cover that awkward space with endless words that can often make things feel worse.  A hug can do so much.  Silence also produces healing.

Offer to Give Specific Help

Many times we want to help others, and we tend to ask, “What can I do?”  If you are in a the midst of grief, your mind and body is under a lot of stress and emotions and you are lucky to remember how to brush your teeth and drive your car.  When you ask a person grieving what they need help with, they will often be blank.  They are not sure.  So instead of asking an open ended question like that, offer a specific way to help.  Cleaning house, going grocery shopping, taking over errands, folding laundry, mowing their yard or just being available at their house to take deliveries is so much better.

Meals

Food….. this is important.  The last thing one wants to think about is fixing a meal, let alone trying to eat. So a real practical task you can offer is bringing a meal.  You can do this individually, or you can set up an option and coordinate it so many friends and family can contribute and make things very easy.  One site I am familiar with and used was Meal Train.  I set up a calendar of dinner delivery for two weeks, every other evening.  After that, I set up meals for every four days, to allow my sister in law a chance to get things back to normal in the kitchen, but also allowing friends to help.  Meal Train also allows for you to link up gift cards and offer a cash donation, which is great for those who do not live nearby.  I will say, the donate funds option was a bit pricey on fees, so in the future I will set up a pay-pal option for friends to donate through.

Grief is a tough season, no question about it.  However, these tips will help you walk alongside someone and be a true blessing during the process.