Have you ever just wanted to pack a bag and go? Me too.
I am planning my 'great escape'.
SW will be blogging once in awhile in July and then that will be a wrap for the summer & fall.
I will be shutting my phone off the day I get on an airplane and going incognito for a long while!!! And I cannot wait! The only people I will be sharing details of my 'great escape' with are my dearest loved ones. I know, that doesn't seem fun but, it's something we don't experience much anymore b/c of all of our relationships with social media. For me, it'll be magical.
Certainly blogging is fun and Instagram is this techo colored-photog of inspiration (so I will be posting a lot on IG throughout July) but, as for the rest of social media? I am not into it. I honestly do not even understand the draw anymore now that I use FB so rarely. I will share a photo to appease family but, other than that I am either in a phase or a new path to not use that site anymore. Time will tell.
I used to be ultra private....about everyyyything. And then my life became fully exposed because of my health (as most of you know). When your life becomes that much of an open book, it's oddly freeing...for awhile. I also became a Christian around the same time of my health demise and I was sharing with a large church community on an entirely new level....about every aspect of my life.
It is such a comfort to share with my dearest loved ones. It's a comfort to pray with community. But, that's where my comfort level stopped. I started to feel uncomfortably exposed and a LOT of acquaintances, new people I was/am discerning whether to build friendships with and complete strangers, ask me the most invasive questions. People from my past (aka hometown) who I have not talked to in a year or more, felt it to be OK to ask me any question imaginable about my health. Some in the city share one meal with me and think we are best friends because of a commonality. It's not welcoming, it's invasive. And I have learned not to ask others invasive questions either as a result.
And who created this over exposure? I did. I am the one who over shared about my life. And I am the one who has to change that. After tremendous amount of conversations w/ wise counsel, one of my Pastors, my mentor and those that really truly know me.....I realize that this was far from healthy.
I am someone who still welcome 'the process' of getting to know who someone is. And trust is built over time...not overnight or weeks/months (at least the relationships I am involved in). The beauty of relationships is their natural and organic revolution. My closest male friend and I (he lives in Chicago) took about two years to become as close as we are. We got to know one another very slowly and it felt effortless. My five closest girl friends.....gosh, we have all gotten to know one another well over 'years'. I love using these incredibly healthy & special relationships as my present example for how - as of 'now' - I will be moving forward with others.
I had (and have) to set up new boundaries. People haven't responded well to 'I do not feel comfortable talking about that'. But, the beauty in putting my worth in Christ is that I don't really care what people think (other than those in my tribe). I really don't. Boundaries are so healthy and anyone that respects themselves, has good ones. So yes.....I am backing up from certain people that are drawing too close...too soon. And I am drawing very near to my tribe. I am amazed at how life changes when you stay close to those who you feel safest with.
I really encourage all of you to use discernment and wisdom as to who gets to be 'in the arena' with you. Moving forward, the only ones in the arena with me will be those that have been with me for quite some time. And the others, I will discern and potentially build over time.
I hope this resonates with some of you! And I hope you enjoy the long weekend ahead. I will be 'under the radar' and then back chatting with you all soon.
Happy 4th of July!
Hi there everyone! This letter is to my SW community who tune in on the weekly. I am so grateful and always surprised by so many of your positive feedback. Also, I am always caught quite off guard when I discover that people out there are actually reading what I have to say (smile).
With that being said, I am getting an enormous number of emails with detailed specific questions about many of your health challenges. I recently told one of you I was going to share a rather transparent email about the changes I am making. And today is the day that my typing fingers and heart feel like colliding on screen.
I wanted to explain to all of you why I will no longer be answering your questions about your health. And I pray I verbalize this with grace.
Weekly, people across the country reach out to me with their stories of ill health. Sometimes I receive 75 emails a week, other times a few and there have been times I have received over 100+ (yes, it's true). You see, people are desperate for answers. So they come to me for those answers.
I read these emails and my heart breaks time and time again. I read about the lack of answers in Western medicine and clinical academia - I read about how people have lost their savings going to Functional Medicine Physicians only to find themselves worse off than they were before - I read about the pain and sadness that ensures as folks are utterly depleted from searching for healing.
I can very literally feel the desperation in so many of your written words and I know all too well, that level of uncertainty. When I had gotten sick, I reached out to people on the internet...just.like.so.many.of.you. I share the latter to say, I am with you - I understand you - I really get it. And it brings up so much frustration via the medical system.
With that being said, I cannot answer your health questions anymore. I think it's plain irresponsible of me. Why? Those that ask me questions....I have never met any of you. I don't know your health history, lifestyle, diet, genetic makeup, supplemental schedules, prescriptions and prescription doses, medical protocols, previous tests done, lab results, etc. And even if I had a health history, I am not a doctor nor should I be weighing in.
I can certainly recommend a physician. I can share my faith with you or recommend a chiropractor/nutritionist/acupuncturist or I can share what I do for my own health but, I cannot give any specific medical/health advice..at all.
Soooo, when I get these types of emails moving forward, I will reply with the link to this blog.
I think we are all made so uniquely and our rise out of health challenges are just as individualized. What works for one, can be horrid for another. So, tune into yourself and to God. Ask Him. He will guide you down the right path. Stay focused - persist - endure - don't quit...ever. And you will get there. I am amazed at the stamina of those climbing out of sickness to healthy energetic bodies!!! It's a climb that will absolutely transform every part of you - inside & out. If you all want to talk about 'that' sometime, I am up for - just let me know.
Love to you all. Enjoy the long weekend ahead!!!
We are on the 'Eve' of 4th of July weekend in Chicago!!! I cannot believe how fast this year is going by!!!! And I am not one to say that every year. I feel like last summer was perfectly paced and this summer is a blink. If I could sum up this year - thus far - in 5 words, they would be: Surprising. Faith Filled. Challenging. Beautiful. Wow. What words would you choose to describe your year thus far?
Today, I wanted to kick off the week (a day late but, I tend to consider Tuesday the start to the week) with a 'Best of Summer in Chicago'. If you are coming to Chicago for a long weekend stretch or you are a neighbor, here are 'SW' options to give you a healthy, lively and nature filled taste of this stunning city. All of my choices center around health & wellness....no surprise there! Let's go!
1. Green City Market
The Green City Market in Chicago is absolutely beautiful! It is nestled in Lincoln Park between the city backdrop and the lakefront. It truly is spectacular. The market itself is very large and filled with organic goodness. The farmers are so educated and willing to spend time educating you as well. While you gather fresh ingredients, live music plays from a short distance. And families gather with blankets and chairs to listen. You're a short walk to the Nature Museum, Lincoln Park Conservatory, lakefront and Cafe Brauer. I think it's the best location to spend a full day in the city. It's a must stop!
2. Architectural Tour.
Whether you live in Chicago or you are visiting, you have to take an architectural tour (there are so many to choose from). You relax with a group on the water while you are carried through the nooks of the city. You experience Chicago from such a special 'view' and the city landscape is gorgeous!
3. Roof Top restaurants & lounges. You really need to share a meal overlooking the city. Chicago is well known for it's breathtaking rooftop views. One location that just leaves you speechless: Cindy's is a rustic & natural restaurant nestled atop the Chicago Athletic Association. I highly recommend a casual meal with loved ones here. The food is superb and the views are inspiring. If you are desiring an after dinner cocktail with fab ambiance, I'd recommend Drumbar.
4. Las Palmas
Off the beaten path in Wicker Park, you'll find Las Palmas tucked into the busy street of North Avenue. Of all of the Mexican cuisine in the city (and Wicker Park for that matter), I still prefer Las Palmas. It has such a casual & neighborhood vibe. And the outdoor seating via their atrium with it's twinkling lights overhead is quaint and cozy. The guacamole is the best in the city (made table side) and the chef is willing to get creative if you are say, vegan or wanting a unique combination. Finally, I really appreciate that you can throw your hair up and toss on a t & skirt or get fancy here - anything goes.
I think kayaking is a Chicago summer 'must'. Kayaking in Chicago is one of the best ways to get in an early morning workout while experiencing the beauty of the city....from the water.
Finally, I would recommend biking to Northerly Island Park. It's so pretty & peaceful!! The view of the skyline is amazing and you are engulfed in nature. Incredible!
I've said it a great deal of times but, there is no city like Chicago in the summer. And I feel like Chicago is an oasis for healthy living! Let me know if you try any of these activities, rooftops, markets, sites, etc. And also, let me know what your 'Best of Chicago' consists of! My social media contacts are at the top of the page.
Revel in this season Chicago!
I'm super pressed for time this week but, I wanted to encourage you all to take a peak at the global heavy hitter transforming lives - Sama Group!
I am receiving such a vast education about global poverty by getting educated by Sama & the Founder, Leila Janah. And you can do the same. Tune into the Sama site and get fully educated on how you can get involved. You can also read this fabulous article which captures both Leila & Sama beautifully!!!!
We will be chatting about Sama in greater detail over the next month!
Enjoy your week! Step outside of yourself - your challenges - your life in general to peak out into the world. We all need to be better informed about the realities across the globe (from poverty to factory farms to sustainability practices - the list is so long). I appreciate Sama because they are not putting a band-aid on global rampant poverty rather they have gotten to 'the root' cause. And they are step - by - step - solving it. YES! Getting to the root of any global atrocity requires tremendous 'global effort'. And we can all be a part of that change. We have to be for our planet to heal and evolve.
Numerous of you chat w/ me via my social media outlets (particularly email). And I love interacting with all of you. I have noticed that I am getting the same questions over and over in my inbox. So, I'm going to answer them for you below! Thanks for inquiring! It's sweet that you even care to know! I love hearing about all of you too - whatever you feel compelled to share! I have been told I have one of the most interactive wellness sites in Chicago and that makes me smile.
Why do you not share more about your personal life on SW?
This is my most frequent question in 2016.
I do not share more about my personal life for several reasons, 1). I am not ready to share more details of my story on the internet and don't know if this is the arena that I ever will share details of my story, 2). If you really read my blog, you see 'bits & bites' of my story threaded throughout including my testimony under the 'Him' tab, 3). Some blogs document their travels and what they do with their time daily, who they are dating, what restaurants they are frequenting, all about their marriage, their health journey, etc. I personally love reading them. But that blogging style is just not for me. 4). The intent of SW is to get you focused on your own wellness, well being, faith walk and health. And to motivate you to look inward & outward to how you can contribute - with your gifts - to improving the health of the world. So you will not find where I am traveling, who I am dating, details of my personal pursuits, etc. You will find a LOT about health, community, faith and wellness though (0;
P.S. I have zero interest in becoming a blogging 'personality' like many do. I personally don't like that type of attention. I thrive 'behind the scenes'. I am truly passionate about marketing so, shining the spotlight on organizations, people, companies, books, products, etc. that are changing the world. And I love to team with them behind the scenes - quietly. I also prefer to share about more of who I am with those I trust - sitting across a community dinner table - breakin' bread together.
What are your 'go to' favorite meals?
I love a Vega One Smoothie( Mocha, Chocolate & French Vanilla are my favorites) to start my day. I mix with homemade almond milk (so much protein & beyond budget friendly) and I often toss in whatever I feel like on that given day - sometimes it's hemp & chia seeds, other days it's blueberries or almond butter. The nutritional benefits of Vega Smoothies is that you don't have to add anything in at all.
I love: Sweet potatoes and kale/chard/spinach, nuts & seeds, blueberries, apples & almond butter. Those are some of my favorite snacks!
My favorite meal is one that I throw together from leftovers in my pantry. I saute a large variety of greens, top with seeds, nuts, avocados, roasted veggies and sauerkraut.
I do not eat grains of any kind, dairy, rarely processed food and I stay away from sugar (most of the time). I eat 100% organic (when I am cookin') and gluten free. And I love it!
Are you fully Vegan?
I eat primarily plant based which means not entirely. I eat what my body needs to thrive - I eat what is best for healing & energizing my body 'in the present' - and I identify mostly with Tara Stiles outlook in her 'Make Your Own Rules Diet'.
I don't identify with personal labels at all anymore nor have I for about two years. I am a huge Animal Rights Activist and support a number of organizations that are saving animals in laboratories and elsewhere. A few examples are Beagle Freedom Project, PCRM & Wild Aid.
I use 100% cruelty free products via home, skincare, body care, etc. and I no longer purchase leather items at all. I am furthering my education on environmental sustainability as well. My goal is always to be better informed vs. opinionated.
You talk about community a lot. How do I even get into community?
I love this question and get it all the time. It confirms how much we need community - everyone desires it.
I used to think 'being in community' meant being with a lot of people - showing up to events - parties - being in large groups. And that can be fruitful and fulfilling or it can be so lonely. For me, it was SO lonely (and frankly, beyond boring) because having surface conversations over and over again with the same people - never building real relationships - isn't my 'thing'. I need to be highly intellectually stimulated (just my personality) so, these types of exchanges have me longing to be anywhere else.
Community to me is finding a tribe that is your family - that goes to bat for you (and you for them) when the hard times hit. Community to me is people I grow with. Community to me are those willing to go into uncharted waters with me and me, them. You know, when the others scatter b/c they do. Community to me means going 'deep' with a tribe you cultivated - sharing one another's burdens - and encouraging one another to evolve. And community also means doing all of the lighthearted fun activities together too.
So how do you become a part of community? In my opinion, you pray to God about it first and foremost. Tell Him the desires of your heart. And secondly, start getting to know people. You can join a church, meetups, local neighborhood community events, etc. And then comes wisdom and discernment.
It takes a lot of time and effort. It did for me. But when you find those you trust - those that are safe - and that have your back and you there's....it changes you internally. And when you are all willing to walk through life together - all of life (the messiness especially), you have found gold. Life changes within the context of community. And so does faith in God.
Is there anywhere in the world you plan to visit or have visited that you will share on SW?
Yes, Kenya - South Africa - Canada - Italy.
Would you ever date a SW reader?
Haha - I actually get this question so frequently. Yes, if I am single, I certainly wouldn't rule it out. But you won't find me chatting about my personal dating life on here (0;
Thanks for the questions guys & gals! I enjoy them! And I enjoy hearing about all of you!!!!
Enjoy the summer!
There is no city on this planet more beautiful, vibrant or electric than Chicago. Chicago is a massive playground in the summer. It's vacation for all of us. Farmers Markets - Lakefront - Sailing - Concerts - Festivals - Belmont Harbor - Navy Pier - Northerly Island - Beaches - Outdoor Cafes - Rooftop Gatherings - - just endless daily activities and entertainment. Living here during the summer months feels like a complete dream come true. I hope you are all soaking in every last hour of every day because it goes by in a blink.
Today I wanted to share a few bits & bites! If you are new to Snapshots of Wellness, Bits & Bites is a frequent 'Friday' blog about a large variety of bits & bites of wellness/life/health. I share whatever comes to mind.
First & foremost, the number of fantastic books on the market continues to rise. I am eager to read a book by Jason Helveston, Tell Me Everything.
If you are unfamiliar with Jason or Jason's website, go here and learn more. I am going to do a mini-book club with some in Chicago to discuss Tell Me Everything! We can all order the book via Amazon on June 20th which is right around the corner. So after we order it, we can meet back here on SW and discuss a time to meet over coffee - a roundtable discussion if you will over how these pages brought life to our own stories. Sound good? And if you are wondering what the book is about, I encourage you to be resourceful and head over to watch the ah-mazing - trailer.
I recently read 'If' by Mark Batterson. This book really had me looking inward at how I am walking in faith and with God. I highly recommend 'If'. And this self evaluation led me to observing my speech and types of conversations I am having on the daily.
God says that we have the power of life or death in the tongue...in our words (Proverbs 18:21). We literally have the 'power' of 'life' or 'death' in our speech. I notice that I talk about my problems a tremendous amount. And I notice others do too. So I began scouring The Bible for every single instruction from God regarding my speech - hours upon hours of diving into His Word. And the conclusion I came to was that I need to communicate in a brand new way. NOW - not tomorrow or 'one day'. NOW. And I need accountability. I need to replace every single doubt, complaint, fear based communication with The Word of God. So, I organized massive accountability. And I am changing my language, re-framing my perspective and talking about joys vs. tribulations.
Have any of you read 'A Complaint Free World' by Will Bowen? I was just gifted the book. And if you have read it, tell me your thoughts via any of my social media outlets. Yesterday, I decided to do a 30 Day No Complaint Challenge with anyone on IG that wanted to join me. If you want to join in, well come on! Head over to my IG (link to your right). June 8th - July 8th, we are not sharing ONE complaint and not discussing problems of any sort. We are replacing all complaining and negativity with sharing joys, gratitude and speaking LIFE into our lives. It's a FREE challenge that can only benefit our speech. Are you in? I hope so.
My next blog will be a Q&A from my readers. I continue to be asked the same questions over and over. So, I thought I would answer with a short blog post! So, expect that shortly.
Enjoy this weekend. Get outdoors. Hug someone you love. Better yet, tell someone you love just how much you love them and why. And get out of your comfort zone. Have FUN!
I'll meet you back here next week. I appreciate you tuning in (grateful)!
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.