You Are Wonderful

While I am taking some time to enjoy being a new mom, I asked a few friends to step in and share with you a little bit about their journey when it comes to their health. I am so excited for you to hear about all of the different ways women are taking control of their health and thriving in our not so healthy world.

Today’s guest is a wonderful friend of mine by the name of Denise. I actually met Denise ultimately via essential oils but have formed a wonderful friendship with her simply due to both of our desires to live healthier lifestyles. Denise has a heart for people that truly is rare and she has actually started a blog recently. Denise won’t say this so I will for her, she is also thriving in the world of essential oils and an incredibly knowledgeable women concerning them.

Amazingly though, she is using essential oils to not just help others heal but to also spread of message of hope and strength to women literally around the world.

So please read Denise’s story knowing that each of her words come from a place of love and that her true heart is to simply encourage you. And Denise… thank you for being such a wonderful woman in a world needing just that!

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People Need You

Well hi lovely friends. When Leah asked me to write about why health is so important to me, I knew immediately what I wanted to share today. Knowing Leah and her inspirational posts that take over my Instagram had me thinking about her sweet soul, had me thinking about YOU!

Yesterday I stood in front of a beautiful group of people, talking briefly about my health journey with essential oils and where God was leading my business. Following my brief talk, my dear friend stood up and talked about Human Trafficking. There are hardly words. We made oil blends to give to survivors, we sold fair trade items, we educated, we laughed, cried, and prayed.

Tonight, I am on my couch, writing to you with a runny nose. My first head cold in forever and I am overwhelmed. I move out of my house with three children in a few days and I am exhausted to the bones at times. Why? I can tell you. I forgot. I forgot to take 10 minutes and rest in the grass with my children, clearing my mind from packing. I forgot to take the time to put on my oils and to make a salad instead of order pizza. And now, it is crunch time, and I feel lousy.

You see the past year of my life; God has revealed huge plans for my little family. He has put passions on our hearts that are carrying us across the country so that people can come to know Hope and Love. And this is where YOU come in. Why health matters. We live in a time where being a health nut might mean you are just being part of the fad, trying to be cool, fit in with the “green” people. But that has nothing to do with it. Taking care of your health is because you are meant for great things. Take charge of your health. Not because it is cool. Not because it will help you fit in the blog world. It is because you need the energy. You need the focus. Why? – I can’t say it enough – because you are meant for great things. You are meant to be part in changing people’s lives for the better, and when we are sitting on the couch, feeling lousy, tired, foggy, we miss out on so many opportunities that are knocking.

When I ate Whole foods for 30 days I felt fantastic. For the first time in a while I wanted to run races with my little children and play silly on the floor with them and when they cuddled up close to me in the middle of the night, my body felt so much more clean to have so many feet touching me. I was way less anxious.

In the past few weeks of stress, I have let it go, and I feel lousy. So I sit here. Drinking my honey tea and deciding it is time to remember what it felt like when I took care of myself. I don’t really have time for a head cold when I am moving in three days with three children. So here I am, encouraging you.

Taking care of your health isn’t just about you. It is about the people around you. People need you because you are wonderful and meant for great things. So start today, no matter how small. some of you may be struggling with chronic and difficult health issues, and you are my heroes and your bravery changes lives. And for those of you that have areas of your health that you can take control of, even if it is hard, I encourage you to take that hard and brave step – because I promise it will lead to something better.

About Denise:

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  • My husband and I and our three children are in the process of moving across the country. I am at a two month pit stop living at my parents, apart from my husband four days a week. I’m sleeping in a room with all three of the little ones so I’m learning to pretend to be Mary Poppins and Ferline Maria to make bedtime less stressful.
  • I have moved 15 times and been to 17 countries so I have never totally felt any place was my home. Home is wherever my little family is. But Africa – that place is just awesome!
  • I come up with more ideas in a day then I could accomplish in a lifetime. My solid husband keeps me functioning. For real I would be lost without him.
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We Are Ready!

As of yesterday, I am 37 weeks pregnant. About month ago, I was informed via an ultrasound that the baby is measuring at least 1 week ahead, last Wednesday I was told that now both myself and the baby are measuring 2 weeks ahead. In other words, this baby can come any day now!

Can I just say that as a first time mom, this makes me feel a bit anxious… not because I am scared but instead because I keep going over this list in my head of things that need to be ready for this baby. In all reality, all this baby needs is to eat, sleep and poop. But you know, we live in America and there is this store called Buy Buy Baby and it is really good at making you feel like you are illy prepared to bring a child into the world unless you buy everything in that place.

The truth however is that our sweet little baby doesn’t even get his or her own room! Ha… yeah, because we live in an apartment that is a whopping 550sq feet, so space isn’t exactly something of excess around here. I wanted to share with you all some updates on this pregnancy as well as show off the little spaces we have created around our apartment to welcome this little peanut into our lives… so here we go!

  

Hello Belly!!! Also, please note the giant cup of ice and then continue reading 😉

Weight Gain: 23lbs… I had lost 20 in the beginning of this pregnancy so technically I am only up 3lbs. This is very deceiving as most people think, oh wow how nice but let’s all remember that you can only lose 20lbs if you have 20lbs to lose.

Gender: We still don’t know! Call us crazy but we have loved not knowing for a few reasons. One of which is the fact that we do live in such a tiny place, not knowing what we are having has seriously prohibited us and our family members from shopping like crazy.

Food Cravings: Anything salty, cold or sour. I could live off of roasted broccoli, am eating ice like crazy and would be totally ok if my house has a family size bag of Cool Ranch Dorito’s in it at all times. I am still drinking my Shakeology just about everyday so that I know if nothing else the baby and I are getting all of our vitamins, minerals and other nutrients in.

Food Aversions: Everything… just kidding. All meat, touching it literally makes me vomit. I cannot stand to be around take out or fast food. I could pretty much just be a vegetarian at this point… possibly even a vegan. I guess I just kind of hate food for now.

Mood Lately: I am the biggest baby in the world when I am tired lately. Now granted, I go 3 or 4 nights any more with less than 3 hours of sleep so maybe this is expected but I hate how irritated I get over little things as well as how grumpy I am when I am driving in the car. I swear I wasn’t like this before and my heart aches for my dear, sweet, loving husband.

Pregnancy Complaints:I think my brain is missing. A common mistake I make is doing an entire load of laundry without putting the clothes in or attempting to say something to my husband but not being able to. I have literally resorted to just saying key words followed by “and other words”. He has learned to accept this as our reality and I just walk away to do/get what ever it is I am trying to communicate to him.

Pregnancy Loves: Feeling the baby move… especially at night when my husband reads and talks to this little guy or girl. In fact, I make Al put the baby to sleep every night. Call me crazy but I swear that this baby does not settle down until Al talks to him or her and tells s/he to go to sleep and let me rest. I imagine this isn’t nearly the craziest thing we will do as parents so I’m just going with it.

Here are a few pictures of baby “stuff” around our place. As I mentioned above, we do not know the gender despite the blue room. When I registered for our wedding shower about a year ago, I went with blues, whites and creams for our bedroom and since the babies crib is with us in our room,it only seemed appropriate to go with the color scheme that already existed.

Baby Stuff A

The bouncer and bassinet are in our living room while the dresser/changing table is technically in our dining room. We will obviously be filling those frames with pictures of our little one and the draws will be filled with cloth diapers and lots of comfy jammies I am sure.

Baby Stuff B

My wonderful parents bought us our crib and that chair was a gift from my husband. He actually bought it for me before we were married. I am expecting many night time feedings to happen there! Also, the sweet teddy bear was a gift from my husband as well back before we were even engaged.

Al and I cannot wait to meet our little buddy and we cannot wait to introduce him or her to the world. I know this post has absolutely nothing to do with food, nutrition or health so thanks for sticking around and letting me gush with you for a bit about all the cute things taking place inside and outside of my big baby belly.

Hard Things

I no longer fear doing hard things in life…

I can do hard things

I once did… in fact, there once was a time tat I sat in an airport and cried because I new I had to do something hard that I just didn’t want to do.

Here is what happened… two days before my wedding shower, my now husband got a call that he received a job in DC. He was at the time, living in Nashville and I was living in Michigan. This phone call resulted in my husband driving from Nashville to Michigan and then 3 days later, us driving back to Nashville. From there we drove to D.C. for 3 days and then drove back to Nashville, and there I got on a plane to fly back to Michigan. One short week after that, I got back in the car with my brother and sister to drive down to Nashville to move my husband to D.C., after a very quick trip, my brother, sister and I got back in the car and drove home to Michigan. Except that didn’t quite play out to well.

Half way back to Michigan, it came to our attention that my husbands badge was in MY CAR. This badge was needed for him to start work the next day. We couldn’t turn around and get the badge back to my husband because of my brother and sister’s work schedule. So we had to finish the drive home and then I had to somehow get back to D.C. with the badge. I tried to get a flight out, however there wasn’t a single one available.

This is where the whole ‘me crying in an airport all by myself’ thing happened. Pretty much, from here I had to get back in the car and drive to D.C. in the middle of the night. Once in D.C. I slept for about 4 hours then got back in the car and drove home to Michigan.

That crying in the airport thing, it was just simply be not wanting to do something that I knew I had to do. It was going to be hard it was going to be trying and I was tired… like really REALLY tired!

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My life hasn’t gotten much “easier” in the last year. In fact, my life has simply consisted of hard thing, after hard thing, after hard thing. Non of my plans have gone my way and life is beautifully messy.

But can I tell you something… I wouldn’t change it for the world. I’ve learned that I can do hard things… not because of me or my abilities but because of the grace of God and the choice to have a good attitude.

My life isn’t going to be getting any easier here any time soon. I will have a crying infant on my hands in no time at all as well as a whole slew of emotions that are new, terrifying and will probably make me feel crazy. But that’s ok! Because I don’t need to be afraid of how things will work out. They will workout and I have faith in that.

Can I please just encourage you today that YOU CAN DO HARD THINGS!!!! You don’t have to be afraid of what it will look and feel like to be stretched paper thing, to be pushed to your max or to be tried in ways you didn’t know existed.

Don’t be afraid of hard things today… instead be invigorated and excited by the fact that what ever you are facing you will over come and while doing so you will become a better person who is stronger and more powerful than before.

 

16 Weeks Pregnant

I’m Pregnant! This baby was a bit of a surprise baby and has yet to stop surprising his or her mom and dad.

Quick recap… I pretty much hate food. And as a bit of a foodie, this has been almost life changing. I have no apatite, can only name about 5 things that I eat on a regular basis without throwing up/getting heartburn/ having indigestion, you get the picture. This pregnancy has sent me to the hospital a few times for dehydration and malnutrition and my lower back feels like it is on fire. All of this joy has actually resulted in me losing weight rather than gaining but don’t be fooled, I look like I’ve been eating a few to many burgers and this belly of mine is quite firm! I’m currently waiting for the whole “butterflies and rainbows” feelings to kick in over being pregnant but my expectations are officially low. I keep hearing from people that I should be feeling this baby move now any day, but I just cant wrap my mind around this happening. I feel like I’ll just mistake movement for the precursor to a bowel movement…. sorry baby :-/

My husband and I are over the moon with the fact that we get our own little, teeny, tiny human come June. We have so many plans to smother this baby in kisses, love and joy and are very aware of the fact that in 16 years we will have a live in hater on our hands. These last 6 months have smacked us in the face with the reality that our plans almost always fail us and we are learning to surrender to this thing called life!

All in all, I expect this baby to continue being the little firecracker he or she is and I can’t wait to meet this little world changer.

Now, with saying all of that… I wanted to write to all of you and tell you of a few of my secrets.

In the last 16ish weeks, I have learned a few tips and tricks that I whole heartedly believe will be your best friend if you happen to be pregnant (with nausea, vomiting, etc.), suffering through the flu, or having gall=bladder attacks. Now, I will warn you that this list isn’t the healthiest (non-organic and full of chemicals) way of doing life, but my doctor and I figured this out together and are convinced it will keep me out of the hospital and enjoying life on some level.

Pregnancy Tips & Tricks

Shakeology – This stuff is like magic! It’s slightly expensive magic, but has literally changed my health. The first time I went into the hospital during this pregnancy I was dehydrated AND malnourished. The last time I went into the hospital I was ONLY dehydrated. The only difference I had made to my life (which at that time consisted of throwing up daily and not being able to eat anything), was drinking half of one of these shakes a day. I didn’t do anything fancy to them, just put the powder in the blender with some milk. When I tell you that half of a shake gave me and my baby every bit of nutrient (other than water) that we needed for that day, I mean it. I am now receiving these shakes every month in the mail and that won’t be changing. My husband (the one who brings in the $) and I are convinced that these shakes changed my and our babies health and I promise you they are worth EVERY pretty penny.

Gatorade – When my husband realized how sneaky I was being with Gatorade, I think he got a bit concerned. You see, when I was home in Michigan over Christmas and the New Year, I could tell I was getting dehydrated. Even though I am throwing up less (Praise the sweet, sweet Lord JESUS), food and water still are not appealing to me and they definitely do not feel good inside of me. The result is my husband tricking me into eating and drinking by offering me back-rubs, control of Netflix at night and other totally old people married things in exchange of me eating small portions of food and drinking water. So back to Michigan, one day I could tell where things were leading based on my severely dry mouth and cracking lips and I asked my kind and selfless husband to go get me some Gatorade. He did and I am eternally grateful. I’m not to sure why I didn’t think of this sooner, but between the sugar and electrolytes, I can tell that a Gatorade a day is seriously keeping the IV’s away.

Peppermint Tums – Remember how I said food and water doesn’t feel good inside of me… well Peppermint Tums sprinkle fairy dust on my intestines and make everything feel good not bad! And that’s why I got the giant container of them. Enough said, right?!

Gummy Prenatal Vitamins – My doctor isn’t concerned about prenatal vitamins for me. She says that hundreds of years ago women had babies without vitamins but with about 100 more diseases around them. Pretty much, if they could do it, so can I! But then about 10 people a week ask me if I’m taking prenatal vitamins and it kind of freaks me out when I tell them no and they look at me with that same exact look that they all give me. You know, the one that says “awwwww, you’re already a bad mom before you’re even a mom”. It’s not good. So I figured out that if AFTER drinking my Shakeology, I take these gummy vitamins I can keep them down. And them I experience this thing called sanity. It’s really nice.

Pretty much, I am now getting my essentials covered. Do I cook? Nope, food is gross. Am I enjoying eating dinner? Nope, like I said, food is gross! Do I feel like myself? Heck no! In fact, I expect to never feel like myself again… this baby is a firecracker and I am expecting to deliver him or her uber late on July 3rd, Why you ask? Because July 4th would just be way to good, but July 3rd is just enough to steel away from all of his or her family members the ability to celebrate this country’s birthday. Instead my child will probably grow up thinking that all of America celebrates his or her birthday with fireworks every year.

Clearly this baby is a firecracker because his or her momma is one too, my husband pointed that out this morning but we will just ignore him for saying such utter ridiculous things!

Now, if you look at this list of things and think to yourself, “wow that’s a lot chemical ridden and processed junk to be putting into a body everyday”, well you you are probably right. But I don’t care right now. But since you do, here are some ideas of how to do the same thing I am, but in a more natural way.

  1. Get the vegan Shakeology and use it with almond or coconut milk.
  2. Instead of drinking Gatorade, drink coconut water. Beware though that when pregnancy drinking thick things may be the worst idea in the world.
  3. Rather than eating tums, use magnesium flakes in your bath water, mix it with water and rub in on your skin like lotion or mix it with water and drink it. Again, I don’t recommend this is water is difficult to drink or you are experiencing dry skin. But hey, give it a try!
  4. Just don’t take prenatal vitamins… maybe you are way stronger than I am feeling mentally right now and I’ll tell you, GOOD FOR YOU! Rock that confidence!

If you are pregnant and going through a rough patch, I am seriously so sorry. This has been very hard on me emotionally at times, and I will definitely be sharing that soon in hopes of encouraging someone the way someone encouraged me about 5 weeks ago. I completely underestimated the changes that take place during pregnancy, not just physically but emotionally, mentally and spiritually and if you are currently in the fire, I promise it gets better. No matter how hard today may be, remember that you are one of the lucky people who get to bring a life into this world even if your day doesn’t seem very joyful or lucky.

16 week bbMy 16 Week Baby Bump

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** I am now such a believer in Shakeology, that I am signed up under the company Beachbody to sell it. From a nutritional point of view, I cannot tell you enough about Shakeology, but if you have any questions, feel free to contact me or leave them below in the comments and I will be happy to chat with you about this wonderful and healthy product.**

Friday News

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If it wasn’t for spell check, I would tell you that I tend to lose my patients when walking my dog due to her LOVE for practically yanking my arm off while running after squirrels, and that my heart breaks for all the sweet little premi baby patience at any and all hospitals and this heart of mine will probably always be broken for them. Oh well I guess, such is life!

But seriously, major thumbs up to the above quote.

I feel as though I can seriously relate to those 14 words in this season of wonderful life, and I am definitely learning that the better I act in this waiting game called life, the better I am equipped to enjoy life.

With saying all of that… where in the world have I been these last few months? Well, I can only kind of tell you that. But many more details are coming soon… very soon!

Let me quickly recap life a bit for you and we can go from there.

– I got married on September 6th of this year and life has been full since that day. It was a beautiful day in every way and although I am biased, I think someone should probably write a song about the amazing-ness that it was!

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perfection in my opinion

 

– Just days after, my husband and I ventured to Mexico for our honeymoon. We were planning on 2 weeks of nothing but bliss and that plan was derailed by a hurricane. It was literally a disaster and the result was self evacuation that took approximately 3 days and way to much money.

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all the palm trees just broke right in half

 

– Immediately after getting back from our honeymoon, it was time for me to officially move to Washington D.C. It is still very surreal to drive past the White House on my way home from a doctors appointment and I think people are nicer here than us “Michiganders”. Date nights are much more fun when everything is new and exciting, so my sweet husband and I are taking complete advantage of it!

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apparently I smile only in real life

 

– After applying for jobs for the last 2 months, I got a job offer yesterday that is pretty much my dream come true. Now before I go and word vomit all over you with all of the juicy details, I am going to do myself a favor and keep things to myself just in case things don’t work out. Because honestly friends, the biggest life lesson I have learned these last 6 months is that my plans mean nothing to God… I am very thankful for this truth.

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– I am currently working on the biggest project of my life, thus far! I hope there are many more to come like this and my little heart is bursting with joy and excitement. I cannot wait to share the news/details/changes that will be taking place but I know you are going to love them!

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So, with saying ALL of that, I’m sorry I don’t have more info for you about why I have been M.I.A. and what you should expect in the future… except that you will be seeing/reading more from me and like always, if there is something specific that you want me to research and tell you about, please let me know!

 

 

Catching Up

Where has this summer gone? Where did I go? And where is the sunshine?

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(These last few weeks have been terribly uncomfortable, but I honestly think I have done tremendous growing in every part of my life)

The last time I had anything to say on this blog was right before my wedding shower… I think that’s when it was. Anyways, so very much has gone on since then!

My mom threw my guy and I a wonderful shower. So many people came and were terribly generous with love, encouragement, excitement and gifts.

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Just shy of 48 hours later… we were headed to Nashville to pack up his things and go check D.C. out for the 4th of July weekend.

The trip to D.C. was short, but great! It included us seeing an amazing 4th of July parade, finding (with the wonderful help and grace of family members) a place to stay through the end of the year AND the realization that I know next to nothing about our country’s history.

white house

I was wonderfully excited when I saw this building, because… well, I thought it was the white house. Also, this picture isn’t staged… it really did happen and my sweet fiance had to deal with me all day because this wasn’t the only landmark I was very wrong about.

The trip back to Nashville was TERRIBLE!!!!!

trip

There were not enough hypothetical questions in the world to keep me entertained and I’m positive my main squeeze was sick of hearing me “belt out” show tunes. At one point he turned some rap music on and I decided to take a nap. Looking back, this may have been a strategic move on his part. If so, well played honey 😉

The next day (Sunday) I hopped on a plane and headed back to the mitten but not for long.

By the middle of the night Wednesday/into the wee hours of the morning Thursday, I was back in my car on the road again with a few of my siblings in tow. They came to help get the fiance moved to D.C. as well as drive a vehicle there. The trip down was wonderful, and definitely filled with memories. At one point, we had to stop somewhere in the armpit of America, ummmmmm… I mean Ohio (they need to increase their speed limit) so that I could change my clothes because mid laugh, while I was driving mind you, I managed to spill/spit our my green juice all over myself and my car.

Once we were in Nashville, we got situated in cars/moving trucks and headed to D.C.

The trip there was made a bit more fun via walkie-talkes and code names, music and the questioning of my sister and my knowledge via questions that quite frankly we just couldn’t answer about things like the bill of rights, the real reason for time zones and many other unrealistic topics.

Once we were to D.C… alot of this happened.

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Followed by a lot of this…

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It seemed like in no time at all, we were back in my car headed for Detroit.

On the way home, we got a little surprise though. About half way back to Michigan, we came to the realization that my soon to be hubbies badge for work was in my car. This badge… it’s kind of a huge part of his job and he can’t do anything without it. In fact, if he didn’t have it by the next morning, he wouldn’t be able to start his new job that we moved many states for. So, yeah… it was kind of needed a.s.a.p.

Which meant… I was dropped off at the Detroit Airport by my siblings to search for a flight back to D.C. There weren’t any… I’m not even kind of kidding when I tell you that I couldn’t get on a direct or connecting flight from Detroit to D.C. or it’s 3 surrounding airports.

My heart broke and I sat in the airport crying and exhausted knowing that this meant I would have to drive back to D.C. and I would have to do so immediately.

I felt like I was seriously over reacting in this situation but I was SOOOOOOOOO tired. I wasn’t yet really over my strep, let’s just say that my hormones were raging a bit, and I had travel a lot in the last 2 weeks. But it had to be done.

My dad came to my rescue quite a bit and came with me. Actually, he drove there. This was a HUGE blessing because it meant I got to nap for an hour in the back seat of my car.

We made it to D.C. just 20 minutes before my guy work up to go for work and I’m pretty sure my dad and I were were both asleep before we even landed in beds.

Three and a half quick hours later, we were back on the road to Michigan. Technically we could have stayed a night there but I had this gut feeling that if we did, I would seriously regret it in the coming days.

Let me tell you…. I am SO happy we didn’t stay. I cam home to a beckoning to do list for the wedding I had ignored for the last 2 weeks as well as the preperation for my sweet nieces first birthday party.

One week later, everything got done… by man oh man was it a struggle.

Every bit of it was worth it though to hear about my soon to be hubbies new job and how he is loving it as well as the wonderful birthday party for my little munchkin of a niece.

In fact, here are a few pictures of just how great it was.

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And finally… the picture and shows her personality best!

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So back to those questions… where has this summer gone?

The answer: to enjoy life because it cou;dn’t do so if it hung around with me these last few weeks.

Where did I go?

To Nashville, the D.C., back to Nashville, home to Detroit, then again to Nashville, back to D.C., Detroit, D.C. and finally back to Nashville.

Where the heck is the sunshine?

I have no idea… I asked the farmers almanac but I got nothin 😦

Have a happy Hump Day friends and let me know if you want to keep me company when I go back to D.C. in a few weeks to make my final move before the wedding!

Dear Donna

Dear Donna

Sometimes life brings you remarkable people who inspire and motivate you to be a better person. This person is often broken, yet hopeful, in messy situations but full of faith.

This last Saturday, I had the pleasure of sitting down with a woman who was all of the above. She was refreshing and full of love, grace, mercy and dedication. I left this conversation with this amazing woman with a new hope for my coming marriage. I left this conversation hoping to be a gentle and vulnerable woman in the name of Love and in the name of God. She made me want to do the hard things in life so that I could be a little bit like her… a strong yet beautiful woman who’s love for righteousness radiates out of her.

This woman’s name is Donna, and when I looked up the meaning of her name, I was in a to say the least. The name Donna is of Italian origin is a term meant to explain a woman, but not just any woman. The name Donna is only used to describe women who are respectable woman, and that name my friend is beyond fitting for this woman.

The thing is though, that Donna isn’t the only woman I know who is doing hard things in life.  Donna isn’t the only woman I know who is a woman who deserves respect.

Donna is you… a woman who lays down daily her desires and wants for the needs of those around her. Donna is the mother who is breastfeeding when her baby is a year old despite the fact that she could be spending that time painting her nails, doing laundry or spending time with her husband. Donna is the wife who cares for her husband in his poor health despite the fact that he hasn’t always been kind to her. Donna is the woman who always answers her best friends phone call even though that phone call almost always ends in tears over life being, well life. Donna is the sister who drives you to the doctor when you are to sick to take yourself there. Donna is you!

The thing is, that in our society… Donna’s aren’t celebrated. Woman in general are not encouraged, uplifted and loved the way they should be for all that they are doing. But that hopefully stops here. I am terribly excited to announce that with the help of a follow blogger and through the inspiration of Donna, every Thursday, here on my blog, there will be an open letter to woman who are doing hard things. My goal is to provide a space in which any woman, at any time, can come and feel appreciated for the hard things she is doing in life. Dear Donna is a way for us to provide support to women everywhere who are giving their all for others and her are being respectable and loving women.

So back to Donna, the original Donna that is…

Dear Donna,

Thank you for being a role modal of what love is. Thank your ro showing women everywhere that love doesn’t stop when passion stops, but instead real love, true love only begins when passion ends. Thank you for giving of yourself everyday in the name of God and His love, grace, mercy and patience. I look up to you and your willingness to be full of faith and hope in a situation where many would give up. Your strength and dedication to marriage, family and righteousness is something that should be praised and spoken of in a way that brings glory to God. Thank you for being you!
Love,
Women everywhere!

If you would like to join in, if you would like to celebrate the Donna’s in your life, please contact me and I will get you all the information needed to be a part.

 

 

 

 

Julie’s Story

 Today I want to introduce my dear friend Julie to you. She has been in my life since I was about 16 and we have developed a friendship over the years that I am extremely thankful for. She has recently been on a bit of a health journey and I asked her if she would share with all of us what it is she has done to regain her health lately.

Everyone, meet Julie!

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Julie

Body image and being overweight has been an issue for most of my life. I can recall beginning to feel self-conscious of my weight in middle school and I struggled with my weight ever since. I am your typical, notorious “yo-yo” dieter. I grow extremely motivated, commit fully until I reached my goal and then I would gain all the weight back.

When I grew tired of the extra weight I would find another quick fix, and another, and the cycle repeated continuously.   I tried weight watchers, counting calories, food journaling, paleo diet, my-fitness pal app, but could never stay consistent with the programs. I could tell that my eating habits were effecting my mood, my skin and hair, my digestive system, my sleep and really my overall health. I decided in early February to put a stop to the “yo-yo” dieting and try a program called Advocare 24 Day Challenge.

This program intrigued me because it was a combination of a cleanse along with allowing your body to absorb maximum nutrients while training your body to eat properly. I loved the program because it incorporated a schedule to follow and what categories of foods to choose from. I am an extremely structured individual, so I was able to follow the program effortlessly. I eliminated sugar, coffee, sodium, red meat, processed foods and dairy out of my diet. I strictly only consumed complex carbs, proteins, fruits and vegetables.

I taught my body how to eat 5-6 small meals a day rather than 3 large meals. I began looking at food as fuel, instead of a treat. I also drank 80-120 ounces of water daily. I immediately noticed a change in my mood, my sleep, my skin and my digestive system. I began to learn my body’s negative reaction to certain foods. By not consuming foods containing sugar or gluten I felt less bloated and sluggish. I also became increasingly aware of my sensitivity to dairy products.

By eating from the recommended food groups, eating every 2 hours daily and consuming 80-120 ounces of water daily I noticed my body slimming down and dropping weight. One thing that made this change of lifestyle successful was my dedicated time to grocery shopping and meal prepping every Sunday. I would cook & store my lunches and dinners for the week so that I would always have a meal to eat. This allows you to control what you are eating and it eliminates having to rely on eating out or eating something unhealthy.

Incorporating exercise 3 days a week for 60 minutes was important to me because I knew I could see maximum results if included some light weight lifting and cardio into my weekly routine. To maintain my results, I plan to continue exercising 3 days a week, continuing to make healthy meal choices for 80% of my meals and allow 20% of those meals to be what I consider a “cheat” meal. Allowing myself 2 cheat meals a week keeps me from feeling deprived or restricted and less guilty when I do want to enjoy a slice of cake or a piece of pizza! Another tip is trying new recipes. Finding healthy alternative to your favorite foods is so fun and is very satisfying!

The word “diet” is a drag to me. I like to think of it as a lifestyle change. Don’t be discouraged by the number on the scale, but rather focus on how you are feeling and how your clothes are fitting when you are trying to achieve results! Learning how to eat properly and making your goal to be healthy and happy is what is going to lead you to success.

Skin Care Give Away

The Aldi Gift Card Give Away winner is……….. Adam M. Congratulations and please check your email as there is a message waiting for you from me.

On to today’s post! Before I tell you what exactly the give away is however, I want to share with you the story of one of my dear friend and family member’s.

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Melanoma struck our family in 2009. My Dad Tom/Thomas had a suspicious mole on his back that was irregularly shaped. The family doctor removed the mole and sent it for testing. It came back cancerous. My dad met with an oncologist who determined that the cancer was in his lymph system. He eventually had additional lymph nodes removed that were determined to be cancer free! He remained in the close care of his oncologist and dermatologist, having additional moles removed regularly.

In January 2013 an unrelated trip to the ER and a CT scan resulted in something our family had never expected. “There are several spot on your liver and kidneys; we’re speculating your Melanoma has metastasized. We’re going to admit you for further testing.” To say we were in shock was an understatement. After two negative biopsies, my Dad was sent home. The oncologist ordered a PET scan and additional biopsies. In mid-February my Dad came home from work early and was jaundiced. He was admitted back into the hospital and had two more biopsies. The melanoma had metastasized at a rapid rate. We met with the oncologist five days later to determine his options for treatment, but the cancer had already started taking over his body. As a family, we decided Hospice care was the best option. During his short time at home my Dad was surrounded by his closest family and friends. He still managed to smile and laugh…that was just his nature! My Dad lost his short battle with Melanoma with his family by his side on March 6, 2013.

TD

Please consider joining our family as we walk in honor of my Dad Tom/Thomas on May 3rd. If you are unable to attend the walk please consider a tax deductible donation.

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After seeing my family devastated by the loss of their father, I have looked at skin care and its health in a completely different way. As a whole society, we are relatively vain about our skin, but in my opinion, it’s time to be careful about our skin. This is why today I am giving away a skin care package. Unlike most packages, this one includes both topical treatment to prevent skin damage, but also, supplements that aid in the prevention and maintenance of healthy skin.

Today’s give away isn’t the best of this weeks, however it is the most important. I ask that you please spread today’s post around on twitter, instagram, facebook and any other social media site you may belong to. Let’s all step up to spread the word about skin cancer.

– A few facts about skin cancer, according to skincancer.org

  • Skin cancer is the most common type of cancer in the U.S.
  • Melanoma is the most common form of cancer for young adults 25-29 years old.
  • A person’s risk for melanoma doubles if he or she has had more than five sunburns.
  • The majority of people diagnosed with melanoma are white men over age 50.
  • People who use sunscreen daily show 24 percent less skin aging than those who do not use sunscreen daily.
  • The estimated cost of treating melanoma in 2010 was $2.36 billion.

If you don’t regularly see a doctor to look at and check your skin, please do so. If you have a family history of cancer, please be that much more careful and most of all, please remember that non of us are invincible. It is up to us to take care of our bodies.

If you live in the metro-Detroit area, consider coming out to the walk taking place in remembrance of Tom. It would mean so much to his wife and children to see that their father and husband’s story is making a difference in peoples life. If you are interested in being a part of the walk, feel free to contact me with any questions.

I would like to thank Jennifer (Tom’s daughter) for taking the time to share her dad’s story. He truly was a wonderful man and he is missed dearly. All of us here at The Kitchen Revolution love and support you and your family.

To enter today’s give away, please leave a comment below explaining what you do on a regular basis to protect yourself from sun damage and aging.

Say no to Coffee like I do.

Hey guys… so I don’t drink coffee. Not a lick of it. Mainly because I find coffee to be disgusting, but also because I know it isn’t good for me.

I just recently (this morning) read an article that said coffee is the main source of antioxidant consumption for the average American. Now please let me specify that this is not because coffee is so unbelievably good for you, no it’s because the Standard American Diet lacks antioxidants. So what benefit then does coffee serve us? Long term, if you have high blood pressure or heart disease, it is often recommended by doctors that you stop drinking coffee. If you are a diabetic, the same happens since most people add cream and sugar to their coffee. If you think putting artificial sweetener in your coffee takes care of this problem, you are terribly wrong and you can read more about that issue here.

Oh, and we forgot to talk about the fact that coffee is a stimulant, and like all stimulants, your body gets used to the amount consumed and needs more to have the same result. Therefore, what starts off as one cup in the morning usually (and statistically speaking) become more and more over the years.

My fiancé doesn’t feel the same way that I do about coffee. No, no… my gorgeous man is instead highly addicted to coffee. Last week however, he decided to give it up. He has been kind enough to write up a bit of how this detox of his has been going. 

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I decided to give up caffeine for lent this year. That means ALL types of caffeine all together, for 40 days and 40 nights. No soda, no coffee, no Starbucks, no chocolate, no caffeine!


This was very difficult to do as by day one that I gave up caffeine, the headaches began and it hurt really badly. By day number two, I began to have migraine like pains in my head along with body aches all together. I couldn’t take the regular migraine medicine like Excedrin because it has caffeine in the ingredients. I had to rely on ibuprofen (Advil) and acetaphetamine (Tylenol). This helped calm the pains down, but not really take them away and they seemed to only calm the pain down for 30-40 minutes, and the shooting pains would begin again.

During this time, I wasn’t eating very healthy either, from quick fix dinners from the box, to Chinese food and cereal in the morning. This did not help my cause, so my beautiful and well knowledged fiance told me to change my eating habits. I did just that by going to Turnip Truck (an all organic health food store in Nashville) and buying myself nothing but healthy and organic foods. I also supplemented juicing to my diet and juiced once a day, adding on a fruit smoothie made from scratch, daily.
The results were amazing! By day number 5, my headaches are going away, and as I am eating healthy, the headaches don’t last as long and now I only get them once or twice a day.

I know that this will go away because eventually I will have detoxified my body of caffeine entirely; however, adding on proper nutrition helped the process and helped my overall well being’s and helped me feel good.

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I have to tell you guys, caffeine is the real gate way drug. And the longer you wait to kick the habit, the harder it is to do so. Say good bye to this little but dangerous bad guy and be thankful later!