Disclaimer #1: I get pretty darn bored w/ your typical book reviews lately. I read about a third of a paragraph & move on. Ugh. So, this book review is more of a 'off-the-cuff dialogue riff' which is a term used in specific writers circles for 'say whatever comes to mind - 100% unedited'.
Disclaimer #2: I was not asked to review Wellth by Jason Wacob. I am not a part of a marketing or launch team for this book. I have ZERO affiliation with the book for those who have asked. None. I am marketing it like crazy because I haven't read a book this good since The Glass Castle...which was written years ago. I haven't.
Last Disclaimer.....Disclaimer #3: Links to WELLth & MindBodyGreen will appear at the End of the riff. The reason I will not be linking along the way is b/c it will interrupt this 'off the cuff' approach. I plan to write whatever comes to mind and hit 'PUBLISH" to all of you so, no EDITING - pure freelance 'flow'. If there are spelling errors it's b/c this is fully UNEDITED- first draft - RAW THOUGHTS.
Jason Wachob, Author of WELLTH is also the Founder of, MindBodyGreen.com. MindBodyGreen.com stands alone as the most well versed & highly resourceful wellness site in the entire country. There is no other site that has as many contributors nor is there a site (in the country) that has as many physicians, nutritionists, dietitians, psychologists, etc. contributing.
And the fact that MindBodyGreen has over 15 million subscribers, apparently, a lot of you agree with me. I have been a contributor to MindBodyGreen throughout the years and I hope to continue to be. I recall being on board very early on as MIndBodyGreen got started and to watch it explode has been really moving.
But, let's get to this unedited - off the cuff - review of mine (wink):
When I learned that Jason Wachob had written WELLth, I ordered it immediately. Mind you, I knew nothing about the content but, I really loved the title that Jason coined, WELLth. I thought it was clever and frankly, I was digging the book cover (color and all).
So the day I received the book, I wasn't feeling well at all. I curled up on my side - in bed - opening the first few pages of WELLth.
The first few chapters were what I had pretty much envisioned from WELLth - Jason discusses diet, food, movement, etc. What I deem the basics of 'health'. Being someone already deeply involved in the health/wellness community, I thought 'OK, I already know what this book is about - I get it - it's about prescribing your own diet and basically making choices that work for your body.
And thennn......around Chapter 3....the book began to throw me a curve ball - grab me by the heart - and throat - and body. And frankly, I didn't see any of this coming. Whoa.
I very literally lost touch with time and the space I was in (my bed). I don't think I moved my body for hours. All I know is Jason had my full attention so much so that. I finished the book around 11:00pm. I read straight through time, phone calls, eating, etc. And after I closed the book, I stared at the ceiling in silence until after 1:00am - in tears - for about two hours absorbing all of what I just read. Tears were flowing down my face.....steadily.
Immediate thoughts running through my mind - while staring at the ceiling in tears - after reading WELLth: I began rethinking my entire life. I began 'connecting the dots backwards' which Jason talks about (you'll have to read WELLth to find out more about that). I was reminiscing and thanking God for those 'three soul mates' as Jason describes them, in my life. I didn't realize who they were until Jason described them. I absolutely loved and wrote in my journal today about staying 'Three Moves Ahead' (again, you'll have to read it yourself).
I began examining who my friends actually are. And who is masquerading as a friend but, really isn't one. I began to examine what a 'friend' even means.
All of the grief of the loss of my father & best friend washed over me as Jason shares so much on how to handle grief and his own grief at the loss of his father, friend & grandmother.
My mind then turned to Jason's health and how he overcame such scary health battles........and then I turned back to my own health challenges. And I was given hope by reading not only Jason's words but all of the contributors in his book (AMAZING QUALIFIED contributors....so so many of them)!
WELLTh has caused me to reflect on my life while giving me hope.
WELLth challenged me in every single aspect of life from how I eat - how I move - how I speak - what I do with my time - who I spend my time with.
WELLth caused me to rethink everything that is happening in my life and everything that 'has' happened in my life. E-V-E-R-Y-T-H-I-N-G.
Why was I crying? I was crying because this book caused me to 'feel' everything I just shared with you. And that's a heck of a lot to allow myself to 'feel'.
Ultimately, WELLth made me realize something that is incredibly painful to admit. And that is this: I have been settling in a few key areas of my life. So painful yet so enlightening.
WELLTh made me re-examine a few 'friends' that I have been friends with for years that aren't really friends at all. And that's a painful realization.
WELLTh made me realize that so much of what wasn't making sense.....does now.
And WELLth has helped me to get even closer to God. And I would have NEVER saw that coming.
My favorite lighthearted moments in WELLTh: When Jason shares how he met his wife, Colleen! So fun hearing people's love stories. I loved when Jason shared more about his sister-in-law Kerry! And I really related when Jason talked about his past and drinking - social influences. I found it comical yet, sadly relate-able as my old social circle and I drank so much as well. And looking back, it was so unhealthy.
Some new things I will incorporate into my life BECAUSE of WELLth: Meditation. I've never meditated a day in my life. And that's about to change. I have no workout regimen. And that's about to change. I LOVED connecting the dots...backwards. Three gratitude questions that a physician created for her med students (You have to read the book to find out what they are). AN ENTIRELY NEW MINDSET. Yes, even More trust in God (and I already trusted Him). A new attitude. Hope to heal fully.
What I found heart wrenching about WELLth: Jason's honesty was so beautiful and humbling. I wish more and more people in life would throw off the mask and get real like him. There were specific losses of his that made my heart sink. The truth of his journey to success (not a 'rags to riches story) is both inspiring - truthful - yet hard to read b/c of the reality. When he lost his dad - friend - grandmother - I lost it - I could feel an ache reading it. When he moved back in with his mom & grandmother at 30 ( I believe it was age 30 - I am writing 'off the cuff' remember -smile).
What surprised me most about WELLth: I was defintely most surprised by Jason's strong faith. I was surprised by Jason's humility and honesty - he really put it all out there for us. I was surprised to learn his entire story really - I didn't expect to read anything he wrote.
This book is spellbinding. It's a book that I truly didn't expect to affect me in the ways that it is and has. It's also a book that you don't just read and place on the shelf. It's more of a life guide....just like MindBodyGreen is in many ways.
This book rattled my soul. It made me rethink absolutely everything in my life. And I will be better because of it.
I believe certain books come into each of our lives for specific reasons. And I believe the reason WELLth came into mine was to change it.
Order WELLth here
Go to MindBodyGreen here
“A woman in her glory, a woman of beauty, is a woman who is not striving to become beautiful or worthy or enough. She knows in her quiet center where God dwells that he find her beautiful, has deemed her worthy, and in him, she is enough.”
― John Eldredge, Captivating: Unveiling the Mystery of a Woman's Soul
What I personally find beautiful is a woman that is SO rooted in her faith that she doesn't spend a moment of her time 'outwardly' exploring whether or not she is 'beautiful' at all. Because beauty is within her. Beauty is oozing out of her pores. Beauty is so much more about who she 'is'.
I find it beautiful when someone's beauty......hmmm, how do I word this.......when someone's beauty kind of 'startles' you in a way that just moves your soul. I find it beautiful when it's no longer 'Oh, she has pretty features' and rather it's 'She is just such a beautiful person'. and her beauty is simply 'her'.
And this relates to what I am about to share next....
Last night, I participated in a Gorgeous Gut Gathering hosted by the Creator of Gorgeous Gut, Anna Shadid, Integrative Nutritional Health Coach.
According to Anna's invitation:
"Gorgeous Gut Gatherings is a space for you to enhance your overall gorgeous gut health and well being, practice intuitive living, experiment with new foods, and manifest a deeper love for yourself'.
So, there were four of us. We each brought creative, personal and delicious sweet & savory gut healthy dishes. And we gathered in an artsy European styled setting (aka Anna's home) with absolutely no scheduled agenda, topics or guidelines.
We talked about everything that came to mind and there were absolutely no limits. It was a total spontaneous evening filled with such rich conversation. What did we talk about? Meditation techniques, the psychology & physiology of the body, the best foods for gut health, a bit of our own journeys, remapping the brain, healing, the limbic system, positive thinking and sooo much more.
It was relaxing, intriguing, hilarious at times and I would say, fulfilling to my mind - body - and spirit. I also found it a relief to be around such like-minded & curious souls.
How did this event tie into beauty? This might be too 'woo woo' for some of you but, there was something so so beautiful about the evening from my lens. And there was something so beautiful about each of these women. Here you have four women all sharing & listening to one another about topics we were all so deeply passionate about. And they were all topics that help enhance our well being - health - and our overall love for a life filled with wellness. To me, that's really really beautiful!! It's so much more rewarding than sitting around a table discussing what we are wearing, who is dating who, what we weigh, how we 'look', etc.
True beauty really does come from the inside. And when you know where your beauty is rooted, you don't focus on it rather, it just 'is'......it just sort of springs to life on it's own.
I think it was the first evening in a very long time, where I wasn't 'in my head'. I was in the moment.
I urge you all to really check out Gorgeous Gut. It's becoming one of my favorites!!!
In closing, I said that Snapshots of Wellness had an update as well. I will be taking a mini-hiatus so, I will be back May 1st! And if it is any sooner, you'll all be hearing about that too.
You're all beautiful! Take care of yourselves!
Settling into nature and getting lost in a book is something I don't do often enough. Reading is a lost art really. Do you read? Often? I am always reading about 3-4 books at once.....not necessarily in nature (aka Chicago's been quite cold).
I tend to read non-fiction, memoirs & anything health/wellness/social and/or environmental justice related. I also appreciate a hearty autobiographical tale typically of the 'underdog rising' theme.
Reading brings a wealth of education & knowledge every time you turn a page. If you are someone who must to be intellectually stimulated (aka like yours truly) or someone who simply 'needs' to broaden your mind (aka yours truly), then carve out time for a good book. It'll wet your appetite enough to create a small fire in you.
Here is what I am currently reading. And some of my past favorites. You can click on any of the books, magazines or articles to head straight over to read it's description:
WELLth by Jason Wachob
Conscious Company (*The only magazine I read)
Breaking Free by Beth Moore
Storyline Blog by Donald Miller
She Reads Truth
Some of my All-Time-Favorites:
Glass Castle by by Jeannette Walls
Same Kind of Different as Me, by Denver Moore, Lynn Vincent, and Ron Hall
Wild at Heart (Ladies, this is written for men but if you want to understand that man in your life, I highly recommend this) by John Eldridge
Anything by Jennie Allen
Gideon by Priscilla Shirer
“Books can be dangerous. The best ones should be labeled ‘This could change your life.’” –Helen Exley
I really love living in the city of Chicago but, I have a lot of 'country girl' in me.
I took Equestrian for a couple of semesters in college and we were each given a horse to take care of. We learned all types of riding (English, Western, etc.). The horse that was assigned to you was yours for the term of the classes. I had my horse for 7 months. He was chestnut & his name was Holden. I loved him so much. He was such an affectionate horse and SO FAST!
So every single morning at 6:00am, I would head to the stables, feed him, brush him, bath him and learn how to take care of him w/ an instructor. Class started at 8:00am. And we had to come back in the evenings to take care of them as well (and weekends). It was a gigantic commitment. I spent many evenings leisurely riding him which was my favorite. My least favorite was cleaning his hooves. Let's just say I had a lot of bruises. haha. Yeah, it was incredibly time consuming but I loved every bit of it. I recall some people not realizing what they got themselves into.
I have always felt comfortable interacting with, befriending and riding horses. It has always came naturally to me. They are so beautiful.
What 'relaxes' a lot of people is a spa massage, yoga or a good nap. What relaxes me is being at a farm sanctuary, the smell of fresh air, surrounded by open fields, cows mooing, pigs sprawled out in hay and horses nuzzling my shoulder w/ their noses.
My friends & I were talking about our 'ideal day' and I realized that my perfect day would be spent without a phone or access to technology, riding horses, picking organic veggies and fruits from the garden and cooking/eating outdoors w/ community.
Heartland Farm Sanctuary is in Verona, WI.. You can read about Heartland 'here.' I can't get there soon enough.
We are sprouting up from under the groggy dark days of winter. Stretchhhh your limbs & reawaken your sleepy body because the best of Chicago seasons starts now! Spring is popping up in a variety of ways in this beautiful city of ours!
Winter really affects my mental, physical & even emotional energy.....in a bad way. I tend to feel so rejuvenated when the sun is beating down on my face, when I can feel a warm breeze & I am wearing less layers. Right at this very moment, I feel like I am shedding a 'seasonal layer' that I cannot wait to just leave far behind.
How can we jump into Spring and re-energize?
I am hoping you will all join me March 19th at this Yoga & DIY Botanical Beauty Class with Sarah Baker!
First....who is Sarah Baker? If you even have to ask:
Sarah Baker is the epitome of HEALTH so, you'll feel so motivated after you even have one simple interaction w/ her! Sarah Baker is a highly sought after Certified Plant Based Holistic Health Educator & Founder of the ever popular Balanced Babe brand. Sarah's site is read by thousands across the entire country! She is on commercials, numerous television & radio shows & you can find her hosting wellness events that seem to be blowing people's minds across the country. People travel from various states just to attend! You also might know Sarah from her wildly popular & ever growing 'Balanced Babe Retreat Series' which is - in one word - phenomenal. I have attended countless retreats along my health journey and none even compare to the Balanced Babe Retreat(s).
Are you ready to get excited for next Saturday? Are you honestly ready to be a part of a community that has the same desire you do? I know I am!
We are going to wake UP our bodies - de-stress - and shed whatever it is that each of us are holding onto that just isn't serving us well!
You can read all about the March 19th two hour event here but, let me just share that we get to hand make our own 'customized' body butter infused w/ essential oils and herbal blends!!!! How FUN!!!! And how educational! THIS will rejuvenate me...and I know it will you as well!
What a perfect way to spend a Saturday then to elevate our minds & bodies w/ health minded men & women - for just two hours - with flow yoga! And then get our hands saturated with 100% natural body butters we are making for our own bodies.
I am in! Are you?
There is not a day that goes by - 7 days every single week of my life - that I am not asked about my illness. I am asked about various aspects of healing. I am asked about making a full recovery...if that is even possible. . I am asked about the methodology that I have followed clinically to heal. I am asked 'How can I heal'? I am asked question after question by parents, kids, fellow chronic illness suffers, bloggers, writers, editors, publishers, etc. .I am even asked by physicians about healing. I am asked 'Should you just manage your illness or should you take every ounce of focus you have and aim for a full recovery'?
My answer? I don't know. I just don't know. It's so complex.
And I look at these people's faces who are desperate for hope and I don't have any idea what to say. I find myself praying for words from God....all of the time. Sure, I know how to give hope. We can all muster words of hope. I am the type of person who isn't into 'false hope' though. I am a realist. My mind is very 'literal' yet I am a visionary as well. Yes, I love to encourage others by the nature of how God made me. But I don't have a clue what steps they should take to get from A to Z of healing. It's trial and error. And it can feel like an endless abyss. With chronic illness, when you are in the 'thick of it', it can look and feel like a complete mess. Let's just throw that on the deck: It's messy and can feel like you are wandering in total darkness at times. So, I just encourage them to surrender to God. It's about the best advice I can give....now. I am not 'on the other side' of it all.
As one of my Pastor's - Jackson - would say 'Let's unpack this':
In my journey through healing from chronic illness, I wrestle with if I should just accept that I have severe autonomic dysfunction, try to find a medial protocol that makes me as functional (and comfortable) as possible and live my life in a limited fashion vs. throwing everything I have into a full recovery that may or may not happen. Note: Beth, if you are reading, I know that was a run on sentence. We need more of you to teach us proper grammar in this world.
This opens Pandora's Box of questions, discussions, hypothetical's, perspectives, etc. And I personally enjoy wrestling w/ God about it. I also enjoy getting into healthy discussions with those that are clued into what autonomic dysfunction actually means. I love taking all of these questions to Him and hearing what He has to say. In other words, I open His Word (aka The Bible).
And this is the conclusion that I have come to after several years of the hills & valleys of suffering with chronic illness:
First off, I know that God uses suffering for our good. I know this. It's all over the Bible - open yours and read about it or reach out to me and we can talk about it together. The key is opening The Word b/c there in lies the answers. Most of the things we pray for? He has already answered in that book....called The Bible. So, when someone is giving me advice about my health, I open up scripture.
Suffering produces fruit like nothing else can. What do I mean? Suffering refines you, challenges you, teaches you perseverance & endurance & strength. I mean real 'strength'! .
Suffering......oh my goodness.........suffering takes you to the brink and leaves you there ...sometimes for quite a long time. Anyone who suffers with anything 'chronic', you know exactly what I am talking about. I mean, you are just - hanging - there. You are hanging ON with white knuckles, sweat dripping down your nose and tears streaming down your face. And do you know who you're reaching for at this point? You are reaching for GOD.
Think about the people who are healthy and experience an 'acute' crisis in life (a broken bone - divorce - job loss - a devastating breakup). These people may not know God well at all. They do not walk through life with Him or read their Bibles but, come that time, those minutes or hours and you'll find so many of these folks praying like mad. Stick w/ me here....
These folks are on their knees saying 'God, please HELP ME'. I know this because these people come to me all of the time in these situations. Please pray for my sister, mom, dad, aunt, uncle, friend....whoever....please pray! And these are people who do not even 'know' Him. They think Christianity is about how well they behave in life and it's NOT EVEN ABOUT US....it's about HIM! They don't have a relationship w/ Him so they don't even understand what I am talkin' about.
You know how else I know this? I used to be one of them. I was one of them. So no judgement - only empathy. Oh man, I was one of them. I lived my life - thinking I was in control of everything (emphasis on 'everything') and yet, when I had back surgery in 2008, right before going under anesthesia, I was praying to God 'Please be with me'. But catch me post-surgery -running a half marathon in Chicago - and I didn't think much about God at all. I only reached out to Him at that next 'tough event' in my life. I was so so so lost and didn't even know it.
When you are suffering or someone we love is suffering, that seems to be the time when people draw near to God most.
Secondly, I am not into prosperity gospel at all. You know, Joel Osteen's camp. I am just not. It's so misleading and I think it's why so many people that I personally know live in such confusion as to why their loved ones are suffering, passed away or why they are not further along in their own healing. It's just my opinion but, a lot of you have asked for it so, I am sharing it. Prosperity gospel and prosperity thinking will - in the end - lead you right back to the place you started. I feel safe promising that.
What I believe is that God is in control of everything. If you are suffering, God doesn't just go on a holiday. He is there. He is with you. He KNOWS what is happening. And if He is allowing it, then there is a REASON. And who knows what that reason is....only HE knows!
Should someone accept their illness and not shoot for a full recovery? I don't know. I get an ache in my heart when I am asked this b/c i wish I had that answer. I am personally a fighter. I have an athletic background & an athletic mindset. My entire background has been one where I go for it - I shoot for the top. It's served me well through illness but, it's also hindered me in the areas of 'acceptance' and 'patience'. Working on both. So I shoot for a full recovery but, it close to destroys my quality of life. And only those 'in it' - walking through illness' know what I mean. Others may think they know but they do not know. I honestly do not know the answer to the question. It's so tough. And it's SO easy for onlookers to have all of the answers. If I had to give my opinion, it would be to fight like hell at all costs...to get fully well. Why not. I mean, go for it. It feels like a trap sometimes but, so what....'just do it'.
You know who knows the EXACT RIGHT answer? God does. Go to Him first before coming to me or anyone else. And you'll then know what to do. And if you don't know even after going to Him? Just leap - jump - choose a path and RUN - and His Will will catch you (Jennie Allen said that and I loved it). If it is the wrong path, you'll know and try another.
The bottom line is I do not talk about my illness or recovery 'yet' on my blog b/c I do not have the answers that I know would satisfy the appetites of people. People want to know what to do. They are very literally desperate. And they HATE when I say 'Go to God' but, they forget that I am one of them. And that I too want all of the answers. And they forget that I am suffering as well.
The answer - the 'core' answer to all of these questions - is one we each have to reconcile with and reconciling w/ Him looks vastly different for each of us.
Do you know what the bottom line answer is?
I believe the answer is one word. One simple - difficult - complex - painful - joyful - word. The answer is 'Surrender'.
Hiya. This is going to be the shortest blog eva. Ya'll keep asking about my diet and I keep saying 'keep it simple with whole foods'. And many ask 'What do you mean'? And I mean exactly what I said, just have FUN with organic whole foods from the earth. We are blessed to eat such fresh and delicious healthy food!
I promise you that the more healthy organic fresh food from the garden you eat, the more your body will crave. And it feels - so - good.
Let me share this. I ate a doughnut the other day (aka it was all glazed & delish looking...I had to...wink). I have to tell you that afterwards, I had this film on the inside of my mouth from the sugar. It was this weird texture and it felt disgusting. I went home and brushed my teeth & washed my mouth with cold lemon water. Processed sugar doesn't just leave a film in your mouth but throughout your entire body. It is SO toxic! Ugh.
Now I love taking a big handful of organic blueberries and snacking on them. And making a big crunchy savory & sweet salad with any combination of greens, veggies, nuts, seeds and fruits in my pantry. I love geeking out over a perfectly smooshy ripe mango or biting into juicy raspberries. I never thought I would be 'that girl' but I love being 'that girl'.
It's not tough. It's simple. Once you dive into eating healthy, you realize that it was your own mentality and the whole psychology around food that made eating healthy difficult. Because let me tell you, there is nothing complicated about eating organic foods from the garden. There isn't. You don't need to buy into an expensive nutritional program just to be told what I just shared either. You're body will respond to a healthy diet and that will be all the education you need.
Ciao! Enjoy the week!
Created and curated by Kelly, Snapshots of Wellness encourages all of you to cultivate your 'joie de vivre': Compassion for Animals via food, style & lifestyle.