Saturday, December 8, 2018

Nourishing Hot Cocoa

When it gets cold out, I like to have a hot drink with me all day long.

I discovered I could add things to my hot chocolate that made it nutritious as well as delicious. The collagen helps my joints and skin stay healthy. Molasses has potassium, magnesium, calcium, iron, B6, copper, and many more vitamins and minerals. Cocoa powder has magnesium, iron, fiber and flavonoids. The sea salt adds needed electrolytes. Cinnamon is an anti-inflammatory, and honey has many healing properties.

Did you know that your hot chocolate could provide so many good things for your body?

Nourishing Hot Cocoa

1 or 2 scoops Vital Proteins Collagen Peptides
2 tsp cocoa powder
1 tsp molasses
1-2 tsp honey
1 squirt Sweet Leaf Chocolate Stevia (or any type of stevia)
sprinkle of cinnamon
sprinkle of sea salt
drop of peppermint

Pour in hot water, stir well, and top off with almond milk for even more nutrients!

If it is not sweet enough for me, I will add some maple syrup, which adds calcium, iron, magnesium, zinc and more minerals.  You can also add coconut oil or butter to help balance the protein and carbohydrates.

How I make my hot cocoa

What do you like to add to your hot cocoa that helps fuel your body?

Saturday, September 1, 2018

Purposeful Mornings

I am NOT a morning person, I am most certainly a night owl. I get motivated to do things around 10 pm, just in time for bed. This wasn’t a problem when I was single. Now that I’m married and my husband likes it when we go to bed at the same time, and I have three kids who have their own ideas about mornings, I really can’t stay up late anymore.

I used to wake up whenever the kids did. When they were pre-schoolers, they thought that 6:00 am was a great time to start the day. I did not. When my oldest started waking up at 5:00 am, I said, No Way, and taught him how to play quietly until six. When we moved to Kentucky, for some reason, all three kids started sleeping until 7:00 am or later! It was a miracle! I could finally sleep in every morning and get my full 8-9 hours of sleep. Let me tell you, I took advantage of that.

I have always heard: wake up before your kids and read your Bible to start your day off right. I made every single excuse I could think of as to why that was wrong: my kid isn't sleeping through the night, I need a full 8-9 hours of sleep, I can't concentrate when the kids are in the room with me, I need to have quiet time, I can't concentrate early in the morning. I am sure there are more excuses, but the thing is, they were just excuses.

About a year ago, someone told me about spending purposeful time with God every day. That made a huge difference in how I perceived what my "quiet time" with God was supposed to look like. She said that it didn't matter if my kids were up, or if they were interrupting me, or if it was noisy. It didn't have to be perfect; I had to let go of the ideal that my quiet time would be, well, quiet. I also had to let go of whatever romantic image I had in my head of what a quiet time might look like. What mattered is that I purposed to spend TIME with God. I could let the kids participate, or I could let them play quietly around me, or I could let them know that I needed time with God and they would have to wait for a little bit on whatever it was they wanted me to do. So, I started doing that instead of waking up early. It sounded like a great compromise. The problem was, I wasn't very consistent because I would get distracted so easily.

When I started exercising again, my coach urged me to try to wake up before my kids. She gets up at 5:00 every day. I thought that was ridiculous. So I started getting up at 6:40, ten minutes after my husband, to give him time in the bathroom before I went in. Well, that gave me enough time to get dressed before my kids woke up, but that was about it. The problem was, I’d just go downstairs and get a coffee and the kids would be down.

My coach again urged me to wake up earlier for the rest of the three week challenge I was participating in. I figured, it’s only two more weeks, surely I can handle 6:00 am for two weeks. I set my alarm so it was silent, and my watch would vibrate to wake me up. That first day? It was harsh, I’m telling you. I did NOT want to do it, but I knew she'd ask if I got up early, so I did it. That accountability started a new phase in my life. I was absolutely positive, without a shadow of a doubt, that I could never change from a night owl to an early bird. Now, I have been waking up at 6:00 am for about three months...and I love it. Say WHAT??? Yeah. This gal never though she would say that.

Here's what I get when I wake up an hour before my kids: I get some quiet time in the morning to collect my thought, I get a HOT cup of coffee, I get in purposeful time with God that is uninterrupted, I get in some work in before my kids need my attention, and I get my workout in. The best part of all is that I get a morning where I don't feel rushed and already behind.

Are your mornings rushed and frantic? Or do you have a purposeful start to your morning that sets the tone for the rest of the day?
Are you an early bird or a night owl? Have you always been that way or did you have to train yourself?

If you are a night owl, like I was, do you wish you could be an early bird? Do you think it's hopeless? I am here to tell you that you CAN change - IF you commit. It takes discipline and dedication. It helps if you have someone to hold you accountable, like I did. What do you have to lose?

Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Finding My Passion

I was recently asked what five things make me ME, the areas of my life am I the most passionate about.  I was a little stumped.  Obviously I am a mom, a wife, and a homeschooler, but what else?  I had to think about that for a long time. What I finally realized - what I actually already knew - is that I am passionate about helping other women; whether that involves mothering, homeschooling, fitness, or just life, my passion is for mentoring women.

A month ago, I was asked to be a part of something that I have been wanting to do for years now. I was thrilled! I prayed a lot about the decision, my husband and kids were on board with it and I was excited to start. Just as I was about to accept, I had a caution flag go up on my heart. I just did not have peace about accepting, so I had to turn down something I had been wanting for so long.

After turning down that position, three opportunities presented themselves to me - all about mentoring women. Two of them I was already part of and were expanding, but the third was totally unexpected and not something I ever thought I'd do. While I was disappointed to turn down that longed for position, my passion lies in helping women, and it just didn't fit into my passion. I am now fully invested in those three mentoring positions.

As part of being a mentor, I was challenged by a friend to open up my journey for the world to see: my journey as a mom and wife, and my journey to better health. That vulnerability is scary for me. One of my hobbies is reading, and I am on the book launch team for Imperfect Courage, by Jessica Honegger. The chapter I am currently reading in is titled, Widen Your Circle. (Gosh, that's a scary thing.) As an introvert, I like my us-4-and-no-more group of comfortable friends. But I also have a passion for helping women fully become who God intended them to be, so He obviously wants me to grow in that area. The second paragraph into the chapter, I read:

 "Unless we allow those noble efforts to connect us to real, live people, we won't get very far. Courage is ignited through connection, and connection happens only when eyes and souls meet." 


I am way more comfortable behind my computer than in front of people. My talent lies in writing...not speaking, and certainly not face-to-face interaction. Why do I have to reach out to other people? Doesn't God know I'm an introvert?  Maybe, just maybe, He gave me this passion because He wants to use me and grow me. Maybe, just maybe, He has already given me all the tools I need to do what He has called me to do.  Maybe, just maybe, he has given me these three opportunities because He knows it is time for me to go scared into the next venture of my life.

{Interestingly enough, as I was writing this, an email came through with another opportunity that I have wanted for the last four years. I really, really want to accept. However, as I re-read what I have written above, this new opportunity does not align with my focus on mentoring women. Sigh. I think I will have to give another refusal.} 

God has called me out of myself, given me a desire to inspire, motivate, encourage, disciple and mentor women. And He has opened the doors to for me to do so. Super scary, but when I am in His will, I have peace.

Leave me a comment and tell me: How is God challenging you to connect to others?

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Continue On

Photo by Pawel Pentlinowski

Continue On
by Roy Lessin

A woman fretted over the usefulness of her life.

She feared she was wasting her potential being a devoted wife and mother.

She wondered if the time and energy she invested in her husband and children would make a difference.

At times she got discouraged because so much of what she did seemed to go unnoticed and unappreciated.

"Is it worth it?" she often wondered.  "Is there something better that I could be doing with my time?"

It was during one of these moments of questioning that she heard the still, small voice of her Heavenly Father speak to her heart.

"You are a wife and mother because that is what I have called you to be.

Much of what you do is hidden from the public eye, but I notice.

Most of what you give is done without remuneration.

But I am your reward.

Your husband cannot be the man I have called him to be without your support.

Your influence upon him is greater than you think and more powerful than you will ever know.

I bless him through your service and honor him through your love.

Your children are precious to me.

Even more precious than they are to you.

I have entrusted them to your care to raise for Me.

What you invest in them is an offering to Me.

You may never be in the public spotlight, but your obedience shines as a bright light before Me.

Continue on.  Remember you are My servant.

Do all to please Me."

Sunday, September 17, 2017

Oddball on Earth

I am realizing more and more that I am a stranger to this world.  Even in "Christian" circles, I am strange, I don't fit in. I don't watch the same shows, listen to the same music, or pay attention to the same celebrities as most of my friends.
Photo credit: shortspork

It's not easy being the oddball. I want to fit in with everyone. I want to be accepted by everyone. But I have come to the conclusion, after 41 years of trying to fit in, that not everyone is going to like me, and that is okay. No longer do I feel the need to constantly try to please everyone around me. Who do I want to please? I want to please God, first and foremost. The next person I want to please is my husband. And while I would love to please my kids all the time, I know that isn't healthy for them (they'd eat pizza and ice cream every day if I'd let them).

Do you know what a huge weight that is off of me? People pleasing is an endless, fruitless, and tiresome trial. Pleasing people will never give me fulfillment, and I will never be able to please them to the extent I want to. I will always disappoint someone. And if my aim is to please people, I will always be disappointed in myself.

Who then, should I be pleasing? The only one who really matters: my Father in Heaven. God is the one who matters, because He is the one who created me. I have faith in Him, unseen faith, believing that He is good, He wants the best for me (even if I don't understand what is best for me), faith that He will always be with me and pursue me; even when I have become passive and ignored Him, He gently prompts my spirit to come back to Him.

I take comfort in the fact that I am a foreigner on this earth; that means it is okay not to belong. My real home is in heaven, and I am just a sojourner in this life. My experiences and journey here on earth are what will determine how I enjoy my after life. When I persevere through my trials and heartaches here on earth, I will be shaped more into the person God wants me to be.

So, I am throwing off all the people-pleasing and striving to fit in that so easily entangles me and weighs me down, and I am running this human race to the best of my ability with my attention fixed on Jesus.

Personalize this:
How do I stop worrying about what people think about me? Pray. Read your Bible every. single. day. Become a friend of God and see how much he values you for who you are. Read Matthew 6:25-34. Insert into verse 31 the things that you are consumed with: fitting in, being liked, having social standing, being popular, being praised for what you've done, getting Facebook or Instagram likes, having lots of followers. Then confess to God that you are more worried about those things than Him, and ask him to help you be fully content in His love for you the way you are.

Taking it to my kids:
How do you speak life into your kids? How do you make them realize that their worth is not in what they do, but in whose they are? Speak life into your kids by praying for them, aloud, with them listening. Pray that they will realize their worth, that they will become confident about who God created them to be, that they will see their value because they are children of God.  And then speak it to them. Tell them they are loved; no matter what they do or don't do, you will always love them because they are your children. They will begin to internalize your love so that they can realize God's love.