People ask me why I rarely share recipes on SW. And it's because 1). I never measure anything, 2). I creatively make meals spontaneously each day.
My body really responds well to whole organic foods from the earth. And I - unlike many others - have an appetite for less ingredients in everything I make....or bake.
I love purchasing large amounts of organic produce (for example) and then pick & choose that evening what to saute. When I bake, I tend to look over someone's recipe and then create my own version.
Today, I want to talk about these raw gooey brownies I make all - the - time. I freeze them and like having them on hand to satisfy my sweet tooth. They are made with all healthy organic ingredients and I - thankfully - miss out on the sugar crash and 'white carbs'....all of that toxicity that so many baked goods come with. And there is no processed sugar of any kind (hence the lack of a 'crash' after eating). You actually gain energy after eating them. So delicious!
I first learned how to make raw brownies after reading Deliciously Ella's recipe here.
Deliciously Ella's Raw Brownies were soooo good that I just started making my own variations over time. And that's the fun in baking!
I'll share various ingredients I toss into the blender: Organic Medjool Dates, Raw Cacao, whatever organic 'nut' I have in my pantry (almonds, walnuts, pecans, etc.), Coconut Oil & a little bit of Maple Syrup. And those are the base for Ella's recipe and many others. And then I get creative! I love to then sprinkle in whatever seeds I have: Chia, Hemp, Pumpkin, Flax, etc. Sometimes I add in goji berries or raisins. I make them differently every single time. This last batch, I added in roasted almond butter. And I blend.
Oh wait....you know what I did once? Prepare to salivate. I made the raw brownies and then melted a portion of a dark chocolate bar over low heat. And then poured it over the brownies - placed in the freezer - and they were so insanely good!!!! The dark chocolate served as the icing. Oh my goodness.
Try these sometime vs. grabbing for that doughnut or packaged/processed 'treat'.
I am jumping off the internet for the rest of the weekend. And ya'll know what I am about to do right now.....yes, grab a raw gooey brownie out of the freezer.
Happy Memorial Day weekend (again....see post below)!
It's Friday!!!! This makes me soooo happy. Can you believe it's Memorial Day weekend? This year is just flying by at warp speed! I almost cannot wrap my brain around it.
So here we are on the 'eve' of summer and I thought this was a perfect day to share with you my experience with the recent DIY Beauty event hosted by Sarah Baker & Fresh Thyme Farmer's Market! And you are all in for a treat because I am sharing The Matcha Face Mask 'recipe' that you can make at home as soon as this weekend to get your skin hydrated, supple and glowing!
Let's get to it!
Who is Sarah Baker & what/where is Fresh Thyme Farmer's Market? As if. I'll explain anyway....
Sarah Baker is the wildly popular -Chicago based wellness media personality - Certified Plant Based Nutrition & Holistic Heath/Lifestyle Coach & Founder of The Balanced Babe. The list does not stop there so pa-lease go join the Balanced Babe community! From my own perspective, The Balanced Babe community is a worldwide community of diverse people who are health and wellness minded - people who desire to evolve into and through a holistic lifestyle. And Sarah will walk that path with you. What I appreciate is that she has so many options for us to choose from as far as how we want to be best educated to be our healthiest selves.
Sooo, if you want to attend her events, they are so fun & educational. If you don't wanna leave your home and rather watch her on various television shows, you'll pick up invaluable health tips. And, let's not leave out the 'jaw dropping' success of the BeHealthful Retreats (psst, my favorite retreat each year).
OK, I need to stop sharing about what Sarah does b/c I am supposed to talk about DIY Beauty! But.....what is crazy is she does WAY more then what I just share above. Isn't that cray? And she has stayed humble and filled with integrity while doing it all.
Are ya'll still with me? I hope so!
Sarah teamed up with Fresh Thyme Farmer's Market. This quaint (and incredible) organic farmers market is located on Elston in the city. Who knew?!!! I continue to digress but, I had no idea this fab organic & holistic market was even here! And it's an 8 minute trek for those in Wicker Park!
In my own interpretation, Fresh Thyme Farmer's Market is a combination of various outdoor farmers markets in the city - all in one....but even better!!!! The store design has this grassroots & cozy feel with the most healthy organic produce in the city of Chicago (along with numerous other healthy food & products). And here I was shopping at Whole Foods all this time....missing out on this (and these prices)! You guys, please - head - over! And tell me about your experience!
This blog is not going as planned b/c I haven't even talked about the event yet - haha. Oh come on. Tell me you all stay on topic when you are chattin' with friends - OK then.
Let's get to the DIY Beauty event! Sarah hosted this event at Fresh Thyme.
The scene: A group of ladies snacked on organic fruits & hydrating sips while learning about natural beauty hacks you can do right at home! And not just learning but, making them along side Sarah! Sarah educated us on various benefits of matcha, botanical steams, etc.
What was great was after you learned how to make the face masks, steams & essential oil sprays, you can simply walk over and shop for the products at Fresh Thyme! What was even better is that Sarah breaks it down for you.....meaning, you learn the 'why' behind the benefits of matcha for your skin and the why behind every beauty regimen she shared. It's one thing to eat healthy & choose a holistic healthcare regimen. But it's empowering when your informed as to why it's the best choice for your body.
Do you all know how budget friendly, healthy & FUN it is to make your own skincare at home?!! And what is even better is.... the results!
I am going to share the Matcha Face Mask recipe below (you are so very welcome) and then, I am going to share more about this event after Memorial Day weekend! I am aware this blog is getting long and we all have places to be...am I right?
Matcha Face Mask:
3 tsp of Republic of Tea Matcha Powder
1 tsp Coconut Oil or 1 tsp aloe vera gel
Squirt of Lemon
Note: For extra dry skin - add one tsp of seasame oil
Result? The softest and most hydrating skin. It's ah-ma-zing.
Cost? Combining all of the ingredients above, the cost is less than 20.00 AND there is enough product for about 10-12 of these face masks!!! Just take that in folks - a fully organic - healthy - antioxidant infused - facial at home (x 10) for around 20.00.
If you are not running over to Fresh Thyme by the time your done reading this & heading over to The Balanced Babe to learn more......well, then I didn't do my job here today (0; So, I'll be back after the holiday weekend to tell you even more (and I promise to share more DIY recipes and make the blog short...and sweet)!
Cheers to supple skin & the kick off to the summer months ahead! Happy Memorial Day weekend friends!
Happy Saturday! I am starting off this blog by specifying that....that is not my foot. It is a male foot (0; haha - vanity. I was like 'I do not want my readers to think that is MY foot'. But doesn't that organic plant based box looks incredible?!
I had somehow mentally convinced myself that having a monthly veggie/fruit organic delivery to my door was 'way too expensive' but, when calculating food budgets both small and large (my own and many friends), it's actually LESS expensive for all of us to have organic deliveries and more healthy TO invest in this.
In Chicago, the two best organic deliveries (in my opinion) are Angela's Organics and Door to Door Organics. I have not tried either but, I will be trying both to decide which I prefer! Have you ever used either? Let me know!
Also, Farmer's Market season is starting NOW! Yay! Here is a list of 'all' of the Chicago's farmers markets in the city. My personal fav. is the Green City Market in Lincoln Park. Why? It's festive and the location is so beautiful! It really feels like bliss when I am there on a Saturday. Living in this city is a such a blessing.
Enjoy your weekend! It's gorgeous out so, don't waste it indoors! How long have we waited for the sun & warm weather? Longgggg.
I don't know about you but, I have a major sweet tooth. Some people crave savory snacks and others have a palette whispering 'Sweets please'.
You can satisfy your sweet tooth without added processed sugar. You can even thoroughly enjoy sweets that are actually HEALTHY! Yes, it's true.
One of my favorite sweet treats is so simple:
A scoop of Vega One French Vanilla + Organic Raspberries (a big handful or two) + Homemade Almond Milk (raw organic almonds soaked overnight) and blend. It's this thick, yummy and protein packed hearty smoothie that tastes like berry/vanilla bliss. Seriously yummy.
The fact that this smoothie is packed with a level of nutrition that will have you raising that brow, makes it even more satisfying: 20 grams of Protein, 6 servings of greens, 50% of your daily vitamins/minerals, 25% of your daily Fiber intake, 1.5g of Omega-3S, 1 Billion Probiotics, 160 Calories (Gluten Free, Dairy Free, Soy Free, No Sugar Added).
If I am just wanting to devour anything sweet, I will add more to the smoothie like almond butter or peanut butter, bananas, cacao, etc. This girl loves her smoothies and it's fun to get creative in the kitchen.
I hope you are all enjoying your Sunday. I hear that Chicago is about to warm up and stay warm! We earned this Chicago.....we earned this.
Keep it healthy! You're body will thank you and you're worth it!
I have received so many requests to share a blog about being single. And I have thought long & hard as to what to write to all of you. I always read your emails (every single one) and do my best to cover topics that you want to hear about.
Let's talk about it....
I have been single for exactly one year this weekend. I made a conscious & deliberate choice to stay single for a year after my last relationship. It was one of the best decisions I have ever made in respect to honoring God & myself. It has also been the best pivotal decision in respect to all of my relationships.
Do you know where the idea to take a year off originated from? Donald Miller & his book Scary Close. He intentionally took 6 months off from dating before meeting his wife, Betsey. And he explained why he did that in his book (which is fab - a must read). Thanks Don for your crazy fruitful wisdom (by crazy, I mean, fantastic).
I have spent so much time and effort 'healing' in life that I nearly missed the areas where I was already healed....and not walking in freedom.
I have spent the last year no longer focusing on mistakes (I tend to be unbelievably hard on myself) but, I have spent tremendous time realizing my worth in Christ this past year. I read The Bible more than I ever have. But this year, I didn't just read about who God thinks I am. Rather, I began to accept who He says I am . I began to understand my worth in Him fully - and honestly, everything continues to change.
Externally my life may look the same to others but, internally, I have a new life entirely. I do not think the same. I don't relate to others the same way. I do not observe others through the same lens. I will never date from a place that I was dating from again. And my choices in every area of life have been altered. And it's all due to who God says I am.
I will share this: If you are dating from a place of vast insecurity, fear or shame, you will attract that in another person. Every single one of those ole cliches is true. Let me tell ya. If you are emotionally unhealthy or dealing with some gaping wounds, you 100% will attract someone who is as well. On and on.
I relish being single. It has been a season of finding my authentic lifelong tribe. My friendships have deepened to a degree that I did not anticipate or plan for. My friends & I are family. And my friends are the best example of healthy & thriving people. I have read so much about the power of others in our life (The Power of The Other by Dr. Henry Cloud is incredible). It's definitely the best gift I've ever received from God (by far).
I removed myself from relationships that were not healthy. I stopped people pleasing and attempting to be dear friends with 20+ people. I was exhausted. It was all a process that was slow - often painful -startling in the best way - freeing and worth it. But that process has now ended in shocking growth. And this process is waiting for you too.
Healing doesn't have to go on and on and on. You can actually heal - grow - move on - and not look over your shoulder anymore.
I spent a tremendous amount of time nurturing myself and caring for that 'inner child'. I used to think the latter was too 'woo woo' for me but, listening to some friends experiences, I realized that loving that part of myself was crucial. And it proved to be a pretty radical loving experience.
I have spent hours (hours and hours) reading, engaging in healthy deep discussions, learning about various aspects of the world that I am passionate about, journaling, meditating, caring for others and welcoming others to care for me. Late night phone calls laughing hysterically with friends, hosting friends, sharing meals and praying a lot with those I love.
And something started to organically happen. I noticed I wasn't thinking about my ex anymore. I noticed I no longer longed for 'what was' yet I was grateful for it. I didn't feel guilty saying 'no' any longer. Friendships that weren't healthy for me, I approached them head on and respectfully ended them. I realized that social media was not serving the types of connections I wanted. I started spending a lot of 'face time' with those I love. I noticed that I felt fulfilled despite any obstacles swirling around me. I felt free from a lot of the chains that I had attached to my own self (various insecurities). And this is all because I am looking to God to fulfill me, not others or even myself. It doesn't mean life is perfect by any means. But it does mean my life is drastically different and by different, I mean healthy.
So my advice to any of you that are single is to embrace this season. It's such a meaningful and special time in our lives. Have FUN with it! Be spontaneous. Invite your girlfriends over for a sleepover (yes, in your 30's, 40's, 50's, +), go on weekend getaways, lay in bed eating pizza with your pets, etc. Travel wherever you want to..... if you can! Embrace every single activity that interests you (painting, photography, blogging, etc.). Dare to go deep with those you feel safe with. Talk to God all of the time. Enjoy this because this season is just that 'a season' for many of us.
I would also say to surrender to Him. This will be the best decision you have ever made in your life - it's the only thing I can promise you.
Allow yourself to grow. Realize that - with growth - comes massive uncertainty - discomfort - loss - new terrain - possibilities and CHANGE.
People forget that about growth.....that when you break out of those chains you confined yourself in (shame, insecurity, etc.), you have a vast amount of time freed up for new thought patterns and a new way of life. We almost forget that with change comes CHANGE - haha. And many aren't ready for that so they gravitate back to what was comfortable....even if what was comfortable was not the best for us. So, float around in the newness of it all. And you will eventually revel in it.
When you truly love yourself - I am talking true blue - authentic - unconditional Godly love, your entire life will change. The changes will start internally and then spill into all areas of your life. It can't 'not' change - it just will. And you will wonder why in the world, you didn't surrender sooner. You will finally be free and life will be as it should be.
When you date from THIS place - the place when you believe who God says you are? I bet you meet the true intended love of your life! And all of that pruning God did will finally make so much sense.
I just opened the book, Eat Dirt by Dr. Josh Axe. It'll take me into the weekend to read in full and I cannot wait. I plan to absorb every bit of knowledge I can from Dr. Axe.
Eat Dirt is a deep dive into "Leaky Gut' as this may be the root cause of the majority of our health problems (if not all) and Dr. Axe provides 5 'surprising' steps to cure it.
I got that from the cover of the book (0;
Dr. Josh Axe is the world renown Functional Medicine Practitioner. He is a doctor of 'Natural Medicine' and a Clinical Nutritionist. If you want to see all of his accolades (there are so many), head over to his site, www.draxe.com.
I first learned about Dr. Axe from a friend of mine. She recommended his site to me for my own healing & wellness after years of endless 'loss' (and I will leave that there).
I have been exposed to numerous physicians across the entire country. And I have access to the 'best of the best' in their specialties and field. Despite this, if someone asked me to recommend a Functional Medicine physician to them or any physician practicing holistic medicine, I would only recommend two. This is even startling to me as I have been personally treated by over 40+ along my own journey.
If you know my background in Medical/Biotech/Operating Room sales coupled with my own personal story (you can read under the tab 'Him' via 'My testimony') of integrative/holistic healing, you would know that since graduating from college, spending every week with physicians of numerous specialties is basically all I know both as a professional & patient. When I walk into a doctor's office, it is a familiar feeling and hospitals feel oddly comfortable to me. Being in a room full of physicians of any and all specialties feels beyond normal to me and not in the least intimidating.
Dr. Josh Axe is one of the two physicians I would highly recommend. I encourage you head to his site, watch his YouTube videos and attend his FREE webinars (which I tend to find on his Facebook page). He has managed to deliver his approach to health with complete integrity & the results are speaking LOUD from people across the country.
If you want to order the book, order here.
By reading this book, you will begin to unravel 'gut health' and gain an education that typically you'd have to pay hundreds of dollars for in a Functional Medicine Physician's office for.
So curious to her what you all gleaned from this book & hoping we will all be able to Eat Dirt together in the very near future.
Hi everyone. I thought I would start this Monday off with a Bits & Bites themed 'It's a Good Day When'. If you are unfamiliar with Bits & Bites on Snapshots of Wellness, head over to the B&B tab (your top right). Bits & Bites is a compilation of a lot of random topics via health/wellness/lifestyle.
Let's kick this off by chatting about this fab app - Moments.
Moments tracks how long you are on your phone each day. I learned about this app after reading an article by Jennie Allen that confirmed so many of my own thoughts. I think this app is a 'wake up call'. I absolutely love it.
My relationship with social media (outside of this blog and anything blog related) & my phone has changed dramatically. I am so not into either. And the further away from Facebook I get, the more I realize how downright strange it is that I used to spend so much time on there every single day. I really encourage you to examine the 'why' you are posting on social media. As you evolve, your reasons will most definitely change. At the end of each day, I look at how many hours I was on my phone and think about how I could have been using my time to be in nature, connect with loved ones in person, move my body or do anything that benefits my health and relationships..
So, it's a 'Good Day When', you don't use your phone as much any more. And you replace FB with real life.
It's a 'Good Day When' you are no longer interested in 'looking back'. What does that mean? When - organically - you wake up one day and begin to realize that you are no longer examining the past or what coulda/woulda/shoulda been. It's a 'Good Day When' even if you 'could' go back in time, you really don't have any desire to. Because what is ahead of you is so much more fulfilling.
It's a Good Day When' you don't just read books that change how you approach your health such as Eat Dirt & Ella Woodward Every Day but, you role them both out and realize your wellness game is shifting yet again. Incredible! I encourage you to purchase both!
It's a 'Good Day When' you become a 'Best Lifer'! I'll let the Vega Team tell you all about your best life and then examine if you ARE living your best life every single day. I hope we all are. I find #BestLIfeProject SO ENCOURAGING & INSPIRING!
'It's a Good Day When' you are doing more than you are 'thinking about doing' - when you are engaging in your 'present' - when you are investing in your health & sustainability- when you are educating yourself on environmental awareness and realizing every decision you make affects our planet for the better or worse.
And folks, it's a very 'Good Day When', you are pouring love into yourself and others. I know people who hold onto love so tightly and don't express it. And I encourage you step out of your comfort zone (b/c you'll realize that holding onto love is anything but comforting) and sprinkle love everywhere you go!
'Be Love' as Bob Goff would say.
Enjoy your week!
The Power of The Other by Dr. Henry Cloud is such a necessary education about the power that others have 'in' our life both in the workplace - in leadership - and at home. And the power we have in theirs. It's a fascinating account about our connections and whether or not we will flourish or flounder in every single relationship in each of our lives. The best part? He gives you a detailed map of what to do about every relationship.
Dr. Cloud breaks this down into four basic relationships that he refers to as Corner 1, 2, 3 & 4. Every single relationship in your life whether that be personal or professional will fall into one of the 4 categories. He simplifies the complexities of relationships just brilliantly. And provides a science supported documentary in writing (that's what it feels like when you read it) of connections.
What I appreciated most about the book was the level of clarity that I had as I learned about each 'Corner Relationship'. I was able to quickly discern which 'corner' each of my relationships fell into and why. And then Dr. Cloud provides the tools to advance those relationships to the healthiest of the four which is a Corner Four Relationship. You need to read the book to find out what each relationship entails. But he provides every single ingredient and tool to make sure that your relational life is thriving and healthy both in your career and your personal life.
Here is an excerpt about the book that I thought summed it up well:Popular wisdom suggests that we should not allow others to have power over us, but the reality is that they do, for better or for worse. Consider the boss who diminishes you through cutting remarks versus one who challenges you to get better. Or the colleague who always seeks the limelight versus the one who gives you the confidence to finish a difficult project. Or the spouse who is honest and supportive versus the one who resents your success. No matter how talented, intelligent, or experienced, the greatest leaders share one commonality: the power of the others in their lives.
Combining engaging case studies, persuasive findings from cutting-edge brain research, and examples from his consulting practice, Dr. Cloud argues that whether you’re a Navy SEAL or a corporate executive, outstanding performance depends on having the right kind of connections to fuel personal growth and minimize toxic associations and their effects. Presenting a dynamic model of the impact these different kinds of connections produce, Dr. Cloud shows readers how to get more from themselves by drawing on the strength and expertise of others. You don’t have a choice whether or not others have power in your life, but you can choose what kinds of relationships you want.
The Power of The Other launches NEXT WEEK! What I thought would be impactful for all of the SW Readers is if those of you who purchase the book, we will break down the chapters here on SW....together. And we can create a community forum to discuss it.
Who should buy this book? Everyone. Truly. While he focuses on leadership in all areas of life, this book is also for the housewife - the student - caregiver - wife - husband - friend - etc. This book is truly for all of us. And I personally feel that every leader in any organization should be devouring Dr. Cloud's gathered wisdom.
Please head over to his site (links all over this blog), purchase the book and let's meet back here in about a week to discuss!
Chat with you all soon!
This will easily be my most simplistic blog on health & wellness I have ever written. SO many of you want my views on health and yet I keep giving you referrals to those who are experts to lead you in the right direction.
My thoughts on health & wellness are as follows....
Eat Organic as often as possible. - Stop eating sugar - Get outdoors & in nature as much as you can - Experiment with Whole Organic Foods from the garden or farmers market - Love on yourself and others (remember via the blog below, Love DOES) - Realize your thought life is POWERFUL! Words matter as the mind leads and the body follows - Move your body every single day - Remove every single toxic thing in your life...just like that.....do it overnight with no explanation - don't look back! - Travel - Live Minimally - Less IS More - Strengthen your Immune System with the aid of a Functional Medicine Physician (even if you are healthy, nurture that immunity) - Hug people and animals often - Believe in yourself - Believe in God's impossible- Have childlike fun - Get off of Facebook, Texting and Social Media and GO SPEND QUALITY TIME with those you love outdoors or by yourself! Go help someone in need. Walk your dog if you have one (with your phone off). More Do. Less Talk. More Quality. Less Quanity. More Greens. Less Packaged Food. Less Caring about what people think. More of what God thinks.
Those are my thoughts on how to live out wellness!
I am so inspired lately. I think it's a combination of our weather being beautiful, the healing effects of organic healthy whole foods, conversations with people who live in such a hopeful & joyful way - committed to wellness, a few books I have been reading and really gaining a better education of some organizations that are changing the world.
I was recently able to meet and listen to a lot of wisdom from Bob Goff, Author of Love Does & Founder of Restore International. Bob's heart & life are so whimsical and you can learn about him here.
Bob truly inspires me to go out and 'DO'. He spoke at Rooted Chicago this past weekend and his entire message is very literally that love 'does'. Love doesn't think about it or plan for it or even talk about it - love DOES. He loves others with 'extravagant love'. He encourages us to forget the plan and just jump into whatever we are passionate about it and worry about the plan 'after' you are there. If you want to write a book, start writing....don't worry about how it will get published or how it will come together. If you want to go to South Africa, go. Just go. Choose an organization to go with. If you don't have the money, sell some stuff so you do. If you want to date that girl, ask her out. If you want to be in community, go love on people! If you want to get healthy, eat organic greens and whole foods from the earth! Don't 'wait' - just DO. He lives this out in such a way that you just sit back and marvel at him. It's contagious - it's simple - it's LOVE.
Overall, Bob's message was one of absolute simplicity - just love others - all the time. Live with whimsy and adventure...now...today.
He brought me back to love. And he made me realize how complicated we all seem to make everythingggg. We even complicate our relationship with God. We all spend so much time bonding over burdens - dreaming about how we wish life would or could be - and dabbling in a host of other emotions rather than then simply LOVING ourselves - our lives - our now - and loving one another in such a way that it's 'extravagant'. I am loving that entire idea......extravagant love. Who do you love with extravagant love? Why are we reserving that kind of love for only a few? Love everyone with extravagance.
So he brought me back to my heart and what God is all about. So grateful for him sharing his love with the world and reminding us of this whimsical adventure called LIFE that we are to be living!
I'll leave all of you with my top FIVE Bob Goff quotes which really are a way I am committed to living my life!
“Failure is just part of the process, and it's not just okay; it's better than okay. God doesn't want failure to shut us down. God didn't make it a three-strikes-and-you're-out sort of thing. It's more about how God helps us dust ourselves off so we can swing for the fences again. And all of this without keeping a meticulous record of our screw-ups.”
― Bob Goff, Love Does: Discover a Secretly Incredible Life in an Ordinary World
“Most people need love and acceptance a lot more than they need advice.”
― Bob Goff, Love Does: Discover a Secretly Incredible Life in an Ordinary World
“Being engaged is a way of doing life, a way of living and loving. It's about going to extremes and expressing the bright hope that life offers us, a hope that makes us brave and expels darkness with light. That's what I want my life to be all about - full of abandon, whimsy, and in love.”
― Bob Goff, Love Does: Discover a Secretly Incredible Life in an Ordinary World
“That's what love does - it pursues blindly, unflinchingly, and without end. When you go after something you love, you'll do anything it takes to get it, even if it costs everything.”
― Bob Goff, Love Does: Discover a Secretly Incredible Life in an Ordinary World
“...we need to stop plotting the course and instead just land the plane on our plans to make a difference by getting to the "do" part of faith.”
― Bob Goff, Love Does: Discover a Secretly Incredible Life in an Ordinary World
So, let's all get off the internet - get off social media - and go love on people!
I have learned a tremendous amount this past year. It's been months & months unlike any other of self discovery. The level of introspection and growth has been frankly astounding....a wild journey of rapid paced change. You know when you are growing & being pruned....it's a messy affair.
And I am standing here - on the other side of a lot of learning lessons - feeling grounded in Him. I am also admittedly tired from working so hard to get here. It was certainly worth it but, I don't want to paint a picture that I skipped through to this point. It was grueling work.
I wanted to share the 'Top 10' Lessons I have learned this past year. I have learned 100's of lessons yet narrowing this down to a list of ten was rather simple:
1. Talk to God about everything and anything before you talk to anyone else about it. We often go to our friends with our burdens without even going to God. Going to God first has been life changing for me personally. Since I have given my life to Him, I would include Him but, I used to listen to what those I trust recommend and THEN go to God. And now when I am in the midst of anything I need wise counsel over, I go to Him first. And I sit with Him and then He directs me who to include.
2. Be discerning about who you share your story with. I used to think that being in community meant putting all aspects of my life 'out there' as that builds intimacy in relationships. As a result, I basically invited people into my life that didn't have the best intentions. I entered into relationships with people that weren't healthy for me and I wasn't healthy for them. And I had to back peddle out of those relationships. I am incredibly discerning about my relationships now more than ever. I go to God first about who I am closest with. I also seek out wise counsel (often). Discernment is critical to healthy relationships. And having healthy discernment has taken me years but, I have arrived. And I must say, I am loving how God designed my inner circle.
3. Don't trust your emotions but do trust energy. Our emotions are like the wind - they have the potential to change as quickly as I just typed this sentence. Emotions are embedded into our neural pathways in our brains. It's rather fascinating. We can change them by changing our associations but, to rely on them for decision making, reactions or behavior is a no no. Trust me there. What I do trust is energy. I believe we all bring our energy with us into a room. And if I sense an energy that makes me feel uncomfortable, I honor that now right away. I don't 'wait and see'.
4. Don't let anyone tell you who you are. I surround myself with people who are really into growth and evolving as individuals. So when I encounter someone who I haven't seen for awhile or someone who just isn't into 'change', I notice they often tell me who I am. For example, I had a woman this past summer tell me 'Well you are a people pleaser' and I just smiled but, quietly to myself I thought 'No, I am not but, I used to be'. When anyone tells me who I am, I don't correct them but, I don't 'put on' their words anymore. I leave their words to them.
5. My value & worth is found in Christ & Christ alone. If you allow anything else but HIM to determine your worth, you will never be in the relationships that He wants you to be in. It's one thing to know this and yet another thing entirely to live this out. I am living this out and I so wish I accepted this years ago.
6. We are addicted to our burdens. And that is Satan's plan...not God's. I have really began to take notice of the types of conversations I enter into with others and myself. I could write a book on this topic alone but, I realize that bonding with others over the joys in life creates much greater intimacy than bonding over our burdens. Philippians 4:8.
7. We must stay ahead of the medical establishment to regain health. It is worth our time to study everything we can about the microbiome, gut health, sustainability, the state of our water source(s), what foods fuel alkalinity, why sugar is toxic, etc. I decide what is best for my body. I advocate for my health. It's no longer 'trust the doctor, he or she knows best'. And any concern for what others think about my choices flew out the window this past year.
8. Let go of the past. Hanging onto the past - reliving the past - allowing the past to define you - revisiting traumas - thinking the best of life is behind us - None of that is true or worth our time...at least not mine. In the Bible, God says do not ponder things of the past or even consider them (Isaiah 43:18). So I finally decided to actually do what God says. This is freeing up a lot of my thought life as well as my communication with others. And my heart feels free to fully give to Him b/c nothing is weighing it down.
9. Healthy boundaries equate to healthy relationships. Practice, practice, practice + wise counsel has been the best terrain for creating the healthiest boundaries in all areas of my life. If you don't have healthy boundaries or you don't even know how to set boundaries, it's worth seeking out counsel. A lack of boundaries invites a lack of respect. I forget who said that but, I can attest that quote is true.
10. Not everyone that is with you will be there for you. This was a tough lesson but, so valuable to learn. Hard times reveal true friends. It's a cliche that I can attest to that is true. And I feel oddly and tenderly blessed to have learned this lesson.
I have learned so much more but, these top ten lessons are the ones that have me seeing life through a new lens, doing life forever differently and showing up in life completely transformed in Him.
Spring has sprung in Chicago! And the city is alive once again!
Living in Chicago is one serious gift as there is no place I would rather be all summer long (well. with the exception of Canada where one of my best friend's lives)! I feel like Chicago is one gigantic playground when the sun & warmth come to visit. It's vacation. And it's amazing.
Let's jump into today's blog!
More and more of you are tuning into Snapshots of Wellness for advice via health. And while I appreciate all of you reading the blog, I don't give specific advice on how to heal. But, I do share which experts I go to for my own health & well being!
I highly recommend you do not just take the advice of 'personalities' of the internet about health, diet & healing. What I would recommend is cultivating a team of experts in each category below to get you feeling your best:
I would definitely recommend having one of the following on your team: Integrative Physician, Functional Medicine or Naturopath.
Once you have chosen one of these specialties, I would add a Chiropractor that also specializes in Cranial Sacral work.
From there I would add a Nutritional Health Coach. And then you can get creative based on what your team finds is the core of your health challenges. For example, adding an Acupuncturist, PT Trainer, etc.,
Just a note that I will not take anyone's advice unless they are certified in their field. I did in the past and it wasn't a good decision. So, I am speaking from my own healing journey.
Here is who I recommend (in no particular order) via health & healing:
Anna Shadid, Integrative Nutritional Health Coach from Gorgeous Gut
Dr. Paul Rubin, Whole Health Chicago
Dr. Cliff. Maurer Whole Health Chicago
Dr. Michael Pontarelli, Windy City Wellness
Dr. Josh Axe
Alice Macintosh, Nutritionist
MindBodyGreen (MindBodyGreen is overflowing with absolute experts in health & wellness).
Those are my recommendations! And these are the sites & experts that I personally tune into myself.
Everything's changing and I don't feel the same - Keane
Do any of you remember that song? I don't relate to the overall message of the song per say but, this lyric resonates.... 'Everything's changing and I don't feel the same'. Anyone else?
When you don't feel the same about anything in your life, there is an adjustment period that is critical to 'wade' through. Let's talk about it.
Some people believe we are always changing - continuously evolving but, I disagree. I think - through many seasons - many people stay relatively the same. I think many of us think we are changing because our communication leads us to believe we are. We convince ourselves of it. I know b/c I have done it plenty along the way so no judgement.....simply observation. I used to try to talk myself into change or think I could convince others I have changed...with my words. And internally I was so tied in knots because there were seasons I wasn't changing at all.
But change is change. Change is different communication - behaviors - actions - reactions - etc. And I can chat with you today, looking back at my life and see that - overall - I have changed rather drastically. I do not feel the same. I am not showing up the same way as I used to. I don't think the same way. And I don't live my life the same way.
And then........ the entire process takes place again.
I am standing at that starting line again, preparing to train for my next race ahead. It can feel daunting in the moment but, worth it when you cross over to the other side.
I attribute true transformation to both faith & tremendous practice which lead to new habits - a new outlook - new perspective - new everything.
What people don't chat about but, I want to explore with you just for a moment is what happens when you do change. It can be a strange transition to swim ahead toward the unknown....... when you venture off from pretty much everything you knew.
I hope all of you can relate b/c that would signify you are growing as individuals.
You change. Those around you keep relating to you the same way. But you have grown - you've evolved - you have a new way of living life. You cannot relate to many the same way because you don't even think the same way. And those that love you try to tell you who you are. You're growth makes them uncomfortable. They attempt to pull you back because by you changing, it makes them uncomfortable not only in their relationship with you but, in their own life. It's a fact that accompanies change.
You cannot have change without the accompaniment of loss and newness.
Let's use the analogy of food since we all can relate to that: You & four friends met every week for years to eat processed grub. It was your 'girls or guys night out' and you devour fried foods & wine at the bar week after week...for years. It's what you do with your time together. And you decide that this isn't really serving you anymore. So you replace the alcohol with water w/ lemon & the processed garbage with organic healthy food. This inevitably makes these other four uncomfortable. It's not as fun for any of you b/c you have thrown a curve into the tradition - the habit - the way you all used food & wine to relate to one another.
Are you following me? In this analogy, they will most likely try to bring you back to that place 'Oh come on Seth, it's one night, just eat the pizza & a few glasses of wine....come on'. And you would rather join others who are committed to a healthy lifestyle. And if you show up to that same get together ordering a salad, they feel uncomfortable.
Now keeping that basic analogy in mind.....
Picture you're entire life changing....not just a social outing with friends. You're entire life. Profound. Drastic. Whiplash.
There is a period where even you want to go backwards because it's comfortable. It's what you know. It's how you relate. It's what you do with your time. It's who you spend your time with.
And we usually do go back....and forth....like a teeter totter (which as you know goes nowhere but up & down) between what we know and 'almost there'. And we can live in the muddy waters of 'almost there & comfort' our entire lives. Don't waste your time doing that anymore. Please. Truly.
This I know.....
Letting go is certainly not for the faint of heart. But we seem to forget that when we let go, we embrace something NEW. And that NEW 'whatever it is we are embracing' is fruit bearing. It's better for us. It's healthy. And if it proves not to be.....it's a stepping stone to the next evolution of self.
I don't know the answers for how get to the other side of 'change' or healing for any of you. So many of you ask me weekly and I wouldn't dare give you a canned response. It's vastly different for each of us.
But for me, the only way through and out the other side is with God. And focusing on what God says about life - who God says I am - and what God wants me to do each day. I try - I fail - I dust myself off - I try again - I fail - I succeed - I thrive - I fail - I dust myself off - onward.. And eventually, you look around and realize you actually are standing someplace entirely different....someplace foreign.....someplace new.
I hope you are all tired of being stuck in the same 'loop' of whatever it is you are trying to change. I hope you are so exhausted that you finally leave it behind. Just let go. And you finally move forward.
It's as if people trap themselves in their own cage when the door to the cage is swinging wide open for them to walk through.
So, walk on.
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.