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Faith Family Health and Wellness Self-care Stress Relief

Forced Stop

Sometimes I find ways to slow things down, other times God has to force me to stop.

Last year, when the pandemic started and our world stopped, it forced us all to take a break and re-evaluate. I realized two things: 1. my current job caused me to miss time with my children and 2. our schedules were filled with too many things.

Last summer, God provided me with a new job that allows me to work at my kids’ school and no longer miss their activities and afterschool conversations. My husband and I have also been more intentional about what we sign our kids up for — we want our kids to be active, but to also enjoy just being kids.

Well, it’s a year later and, once again, God has forced me to stop.

A couple of months ago I joined an incredible Women’s Entrepreneurs group that values support, encouragement, and authentic relationships. In my typical fashion, I made the most of things and dove right in, filling my calendar with lunch meetings, Zoom meetings, and networking. A couple of weeks ago, I felt it starting to catch up with me…that I had let my excitement cause my calendar to be filled with back-to-back activities. Every space that wasn’t put aside for my kids and teaching was filled with lunches and meetings. I was afraid I was going to burn out…and that’s when God stepped in.

I’m now on day 8 out of 10 in isolation after testing positive for COVID. I’ve been fortunate to have few symptoms and have felt fine most of the time, but my body is getting much needed rest — mentally and physically. I’m able to use this time to work on my own business without running myself ragged. And I’m going to be more diligent going forward with spreading things out in my calendar so I don’t risk burn out again. (And since my daughter tested positive the same day as me — I’ve gotten some sweet time with her in isolation.)

Thank you, Lord, for knowing me and forcing me to slow down when I struggled to do it for myself. Thank you for this time to refresh, relax, and restore my soul.

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Faith

How Big is Your God?

This week is Holy Week and on Sunday we celebrate Christ’s death and resurrection — the centrality of the Christian faith. Easter is my favorite holiday as I’m humbled that God chose to die for my sins and filled with hope of eternity through Jesus rising from the grave. Our God is bigger than death and the grave.

Recently, I’ve been thinking a lot about the big-ness of God. When it comes to faith and grace, I’m amazed that the God of the universe sees me, loves me, and knows me. I believe that God can do great things…but my prayer life doesn’t look that way.

When it comes to my prayer life, I’ve made God small. I don’t pray for the big things and then wait in expectation for his answer. I move through my daily life, compartmentalizing as I go, sending out small, easy prayers along the way. Sure, sometimes in the moment there are bigger prayers, but there’s not a lot of faith behind it.

Jesus said that with faith as small as a mustard seed, you could tell a mountain to move from here to there and it would! (Matthew 17:20) Jesus’ disciples were able to heal the sick and raise the dead through their big faith in God and his promises. Do you pray big prayers? Prayers that can only be answered through the work of God?

My desire it to live fearlessly, praying BIG prayers with BIG faith to my even BIGGER God who can do all things. How big is your God?

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Faith Health and Wellness

Lemons Into Lemonade

If you’ve read my previous blog posts, you’ll notice a different look to it…and location. Why? Let me tell you a quick story.

A few weeks ago, I looked to make a minor tweak to my website. I paid a designer to create the website about 6 years ago and updated things here and there, but haven’t done a lot with it. Well, I managed to push ONE BUTTON and removed the custom front page my designer had created. I tried to undo, go back, etc. but it was no use. Totally gone and now my home page looked epically stupid.

Now, on other days of the month, I would have been crushed and cried, but instead I shrugged my shoulders and put on my big girl panties. In all honesty, my website needed an update, and this forced me to do it.

Do I know how to do web design? Absolutely not. But I do know how to use Google. So, I used Google, cast aside fear of mistakes (I mean, I already screwed it up, what else could I possibly do?), and started fixing it.

And you know what? I’m so thankful I messed up my website! I learned a lot, built my confidence, and felt empowered. Plus, I realized that a lot of my links and other info were outdated and should have been updated a long time ago. AND, I finally figured out how to move all my blog posts to my website (instead of being links to a different blogging program)!

My website is 10x better than before and offers all the info and connections that I need to help clients and reach more people!

There will be frustrating times in your life when you have to make a choice: To be defeated and see the negative or to trust God and your abilities and make the best of an unfortunate situation.

I’m so glad that I didn’t get discouraged or look to someone else for help, but took those lemons and made an amazing whiskey sour…I mean, lemonade.

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Faith Family Health and Wellness Self-care

Honestly…

I’ve been thinking a lot about honesty lately, specifically in relationships. For the most part, I consider myself an honest person. When I worked in retail, my customers appreciated that I would give them honest feedback and let them know if something worked for them, instead of just trying to make a sale. I joke around that if you give me a just a little alcohol, you will be sure to know my opinions about any and everything. 😉 However, when it comes to people who are close to me, I have a harder time being honest.

I can be honest when it doesn’t matter — even when it is with people I consider my friends. I think because there isn’t as much at stake — if they judge me, get mad, or walk away, it doesn’t really matter. I know that I was honest and I can move on in my life. 

However, with those closest to me, I’m careful to keep things close to me and compartmentalize instead to sharing how I honestly feel. There’s way more at stake. Yes, I know that the people closest to me should be and are the ones who won’t walk away or leave me, but I clearly struggle with trust.

One of the things that I am working on this year is being more honest with people — those closest to me included — and sharing when I am disappointed or hurt, etc. See, I’m also a people pleaser and want everyone to be happy (that’s a whole other post about how I need to let people feel…), so even when I feel rejected or hurt, I tell people that it’s okay and move on. But by doing so and not being honest, people don’t see how I value them and our time spent together. Clearly, if they mattered, it would bother me.

So, if you have known me for years, be aware that I’m going to be more honest with you. Yes, life happens, so if you cancel a lunch date, I’ll understand, but I’m also going to let you know that I was looking forward to hanging with you and adjusted my schedule so we could spend time together — not to make you feel bad, but to let you know that you are valued…and maybe I won’t be the person that you know you can always cancel on. 😉

My quest to be more honest has already lead to some tough conversations with people closest to me. You know what? They still love me. They didn’t walk away. 

How about you? Are you good at being honest with people when it really counts? Who do you need to be more honest with today?

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Faith Health and Wellness

What Is Your Worth?

I was listening to a podcast the other day by Marie Forleo and she was talking with someone about determining your worth in business. They were talking about how when you are looking at your worth, whether business or personal, you can’t allow other people to determine your worth. Their thought was that you determine your worth in life.

Yes, other people don’t determine my worth in life and not hearing from someone doesn’t determine my value. My worth is not based on what other people think of me but, honestly, I don’t believe that it’s just about me determining my own worth. See, I don’t trust myself. I’m my worst critic and don’t always believe my true worth. Oftentimes, I dwell on thinking I should have done more or that I’m a crappy mom, etc. Clearly, I’m not good at determining my own worth. So, even though I don’t want others to determine my worth, determining my own worth feels like a big weight as well.

Here’s what I have found: My worth is founded in what God thinks of me. God, my Creator, loves me as I am. I am a Child of God. He made me and I am worth SO MUCH because of Him. And. So. Are. YOU. Whether people believe in God or not, He created them and He loves them. He loves each and every one of us. And all of our worth is vast beyond what we can even imagine.

So, what does this mean for your own life? I have two takeaways. 

1. How do you treat yourself if you truly believe that your worth is based on what God thinks of you?

Guess what? You are worth taking time to feed yourself well. You are worth spending the time to feed yourself well/exercising/taking the mental break, etc.

2. Since our worth is based on God and we are ALL loved by Him…how does that change how I treat other people? 

Not only do I have worth and am invaluable, but those people walking down the street, even the person who honked at me or cut me off while driving, all of them have worth as well. And they are loved by a Creator who loves them more than they can imagine. I think if more of us thought about other people’s worth when we respond to the environment around us and what we see on social media, it would change how we would respond to them.

So, what is your worth? Where do you find your worth? Are you showing that in your own life and the way you treat yourself? Are you showing that in the way you treat other people?

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Faith Health and Wellness Self-care Stress Relief

My Favorite (Non-Fiction) Books

I LOVE to read. I rarely watch TV, because I am always reading. Everywhere I go, I bring a book with me because I would rather lose myself in a book than stare at my phone non-stop. I read a TON of fiction books, but also try to fill my time reading non-fiction books that grow my faith, business knowledge, healthy habits, etc. Here are some of my top favorite books. Take a look and then go grab a copy for yourself! (Side note: I love getting books from the library, but these are all ones worth owning — so you can re-read them and share them.)

1. Everything is Figureoutable by Marie Forleo

I can’t give this book enough praise! If you have ever made excuses for not meeting a goal, following a dream, fixing a problem…then you need this book! It’s easy to read, super practical, and Marie is so incredibly relatable. So stop making excuses about having time or money to read this book 😉 and go figure it out! As you’ll learn, everything is figureoutable!

2. Food Fix: How to Save Our Health, Our Economy, Our Communities, and Our Planet — One Bite at a Time by Dr. Mark Hyman

Dr, Hyman does a great job of walking us through where our food comes from, how current farming practices are depleting our land and resources, and how the way money is poured into companies that provide junk food to our bodies is another part of social injustice. He not only gives insight and knowledge into the situations around us, but practical solutions and ways you can start making a difference today.

3. The Healthy Home by Dr. Myron Wentz and Dave Wentz

The is by far my favorite book on creating a lifestyle free from harmful chemicals. The authors walk you room by room through a house and talk about the typical chemicals (and other things) that are found in those room and affecting your health. It’s fantastic resource that you’ll have to have near you at all times.

4. The Compound Effect by Darren Hardy

This is a great book to read whether or not you have your own business or are thinking of starting one — the principles in the book apply to everyone’s lives in some way. The book builds on the idea that one small thing can cause lasting change (for better or for worse). You can conquer big things and make a difference by starting with the small things.

5. Awe: Why It Matters For Everything We Think, Say, and Do by Paul David Tripp

We started reading this last year in my small group at church and it has become a favorite of mine. The author points to how so many of our problems and issues ultimately stems from an “awe” problem — we have lost our awe of God, thus allowing the things of this world to affect us in so many harmful ways. It is both encouraging and freeing.

6. I’m Still Here: Black Dignity in a World Made for Whiteness by Austin Channing Brown

I first read this book a couple of years ago when it first came out and WOW! So good. It not only opened my eyes to a lot of the real issues of race around me, it also talks about the role of African-Americans is not to constantly have to educate white people, etc. It’s a small book that packs a punch and is easy to read.

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Faith Family Health and Wellness

Pandemic Celebrations: Different, but Good

This past Sunday was my 42nd birthday. Normally, my husband and I go to downtown Chicago for an overnight and enjoy the city and great restaurants, but this year…COVID. I missed that time with him, but my birthday was still great. If anything, having a birthday close to Christmas makes you pretty flexible about celebrations.


My family loves to celebrate birthdays and my parents always did a great job of making me feel special and that my birthday was separate from Christmas. But, as I grew up and became an adult, I knew that finding time to celebrate my birthday among the Christmas rush was difficult and the chance of celebrating on the actual day was rare. 

Enter COVID. For one of the first times in a long time, my birthday was free and there were no parties to rush off to or events to crowd our days! The pandemic meant no getaway to the city, BUT I celebrated my birthday with my parents on Saturday, relaxed and had dinner out with my husband on Sunday (my actual birthday), treats and greetings from staff and students at work on Monday, and then a birthday lunch with a dear friend on Tuesday! At what is typically the busiest time of the year for everyone has become a weeklong birthday celebration for me. 🙂


2020 has been a rough year that has had a lot of disappointments. But just like the fact that my birthday didn’t get overshadowed by Christmas parties this year, there are plenty of positives to find in this pandemic season. Perhaps this year, with the extra time around the holidays, you can find more time to rest, enjoy your family, and remember the true reason for the season.

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Faith Health and Wellness Parenting

Perfect In His Eyes

I struggle with body image issues. I always have. Maybe it’s because I grew before everyone else and was taller and bigger. In elementary school, I was never thin…just normal. Maybe it’s because I always preferred to play sports with the boys and could never quite figure out where I fit in. I’ve been torn between wanting a fierce, athletic look and being model thin — you can’t have both. In fifth grade, I lost 12lbs and all my baby fat. I’ve remained thin and fit ever since. I still weigh the same as I did in high school even though I’m now in my 40s and have had two children. Yet why do I only see the imperfections in the mirror?

And the hard part is that I can’t talk about it. For real. Not because I don’t want to or feel ashamed, but because sharing those thoughts when I look great might make someone feel less about themselves. And I would never want to make anyone feel less. My joy is helping people accept who they are and develop a correct mindset of what health is — that it’s not just about how you look in a swimsuit. It is my passion to work with people and help them…probably because I’m constantly trying to preach it to myself as well. 

When my daughter was born, I vowed to never talk about weight/image and I started showing grace to myself. I never want her or my son to have my issues. Today, as my daughter was crying that her skirt (she wears a uniform) felt funny and was afraid she looked weird, instead of brushing her off and telling her that she looks the same as every day she goes to school (which is what I normally do), I got down to her level and told her that I understand. That there are days that I don’t feel good in the clothes that I’m wearing and I also worry that I look bad. Then I told her what makes her special and hugged her.

I can’t keep my daughter from the onslaught of the world to look a certain way, but instead of avoiding the issue, I need to talk through hers with her. And maybe it’s time for me to be honest to everyone else. Maybe sharing my body image struggles won’t make someone feel bad, but make them realize that they are not alone.

I’m constantly a work in progress and each day I remind myself that I have a husband who adores me just as I am and I have a God who loves me and cares for me. I pray that God would give me eyes to see myself as he sees me. That I am perfect in his eyes.

God loves you too. He sees you, He cares for you, and you are perfect in His eyes.

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Faith Health and Wellness Marriage

So Much To Be Thankful For

2020 has been quite a year and now we’ve reached Thanksgiving. Pretty sure we thought life would be back to normal, but as I write this things all around me in my state are shutting down again because of the COVID. As mentioned in my previous blog post, there is always a way to find gratitude through the hard. In fact, gratitude is good for your health and helps with stress levels, etc.! So, I’m choosing to find gratitude in everything. Here’s what I’m grateful for this year:

-When everything shut down in March, we got so much more time with our family…and realized how busy we had become with all of our sporting events. The time allowed us to re-evaluate what we wanted to do as a family.

-I got a new job as the P.E. teacher at Covenant Classical School! The interview process started right before the shelter-at-home began, so we had to get creative with interviews and I was finally hired in June. The job allows me to teach at my kids school and only work during their hours. In October, I left my coaching position at Orangetheory Fitness so that I could continue to be here for my family and stay focused on my new job. It has saved my sanity!

-I’m thankful for our school — the amazing education my kids are getting, the awesome friends and faculty, and that we are IN school full-time!

-My son broke his elbow the beginning of July and needed to have surgery to put three pins in it. That’s not the positive. 😉 Honestly, there was a lot of it that sucked and we called it his “bummer summer”. He missed out on A LOT of stuff. However, so many people were dealing with disappointments in 2020, so he wasn’t alone and the only one doing life differently. My son and I still talk about the sweetness of hanging out in my room and watching movies while he recovered. And again, we were forced to slow down.

-I’m thankful for my son’s baseball team and the amazing boys on the team. They have all become the best of friends and are incredibly encouraging and supportive of each other. Their support when Edmund broke his elbow was HUGE.

-Today, as I celebrate my son’s 11th birthday and the day I became a mother, I am INCREDIBLY grateful for the gift of my children. Every day with them is a blessing and I’m humbled and thankful that God chose me to be their mom.

-I’m thankful for the gift of my marriage that continues to grow stronger day by day. Again, the pandemic has allowed us to have more time to spend together and not rush around…although we have had to learn to be more intentional with our time. 😉 I’m thankful that I’m totally content just hanging around with my husband all day and talking with him. He makes me laugh and smile and is my safe space. 

Every time I look back on my life, I can see the obvious ways that God has been working and continues to work in my life. He has used every situation and event to mold me and prepare me for the future. I’m overwhelmingly thankful for his guidance, provision, sacrifice, and love for me — for sending Jesus to die on the cross and take the penalty of sin for me; for the assurance of salvation and an eternity in heaven; that nothing is out of his control; and that, even though I am sinful and fail, I am loved.

What are you thankful for?

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Faith

Gratitude Not Attitude

“Gratitude not attitude” became my mantra during the beginning of COVID-19. During that time, I would go for long walks — listening to music and spending time in prayer. Sounds fine, however, often during my “talks with God” I would find myself complaining about something someone said and how it hurt me or some other situation. I realized that I could continue down that road or end the negative thoughts. So, I would stop myself in the middle of my pity party and say “Gratitude not attitude.” I would then think of all the things I am grateful for about that person and/or situation. Was it always easy? No. Worth it? Yes.

As we enter this season of Thanksgiving, are you needing to switch your negative attitude to one of gratitude? Where are the blessings in e-learning? In this political climate, where do your thoughts go when thinking about Democrats or Republicans? One party is not all positive and one all negative. BOTH parties have positives and negatives. Find the good in both. You’ll be a much happier person and more able to trust God, when you can see the positives. 

How about the Holidays? One of the blessings of COVID is that we are all a lot less busy with parties and gatherings. Maybe this is a chance to focus on your family and the real meaning of Christmas that often gets lost in the hustle and bustle.

It’s not always easy to be grateful…especially in the really hard times. But if you start practicing gratitude now, finding things you are grateful for every day, it’ll become easier and natural to spot the negative attitude and turn it to gratitude. Where do you need to find gratitude today?