Thursday, December 24, 2015

Christmas and Expectations......

Why, hello there!  It's Christmas Eve and I'm blogging.  It's been a whirlwind of a month here.  There have been Christmas parties, Christmas programs, and lots of extras this month.  Our "normal" life schedule is pretty full as it is, but adding a few extras this month meant some things didn't get done. Our Christmas gifts are not wrapped as of yet. Our Christmas letters did not go out this month.  I didn't get gifts purchased for everyone I would have liked to have had a gift for this year.  The sad reality is that everything on my "expectation list" didn't get completed.  And, ya know what?  I am so ok with that.  

In the beginning of the month, there was a lot of pressure I was putting on myself to get all of these things done.  Things that seemed so important and that HAD TO happen.  In honest reality, none of those things needed to happen and Christmas is still coming without those things being done.  Best of all, Christmas is still Christmas and the meaning of it is the same.  Not because of what we got done or didn't get done; not because of who we bought for, or who we didn't buy for; but because of Jesus.  He is the reason we celebrate this day.  All of the other stuff is just extra. 

About mid December, when the realization hit that all of these things wouldn't happen, a peace came over me.  I heard the voice of God say "treat people like it's Christmas year-round.  Don't just buy them a gift because it's Christmas and you feel like you have to.  Love them year round.  Don't make December a time to love and give, do that year round." 

That was such a relief to me!  See, it's so easy during this time to get caught up in what our expectations or what others expect of us during Christmas.  But, the main thing is what does Jesus expect of us?  I don't think He expects us to act differently around Christmas than we do during the year, does He?  My intention for 2016 is to live each day like it's Christmas.  To be generous year round.  To love others year round.  To share year round.  To care year round.  For me, it's not just doing to be about doing things in the Christmas season, but make it a way of life. Care to join me?

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

My Gripe With the 21 Day Fix.....

After all the raving I've done about the 21 Day Fix, {you can read my story here} it might be surprising to hear me have a gripe with it, I bet?  Yes?  Well, I hope you know by now if you know me in person or have followed me, that I strive to be totally transparent.  I've sometimes been called direct, which I'm not sure if that is good or not, but I sure don't want to not be upfront and honest about anything, so here goes......

The 21 Day Fix is not a quick fix!  It is a 21 Day program, yes, but it is not intended or designed to be the end all be all after 21 days. It's merely meant to be a stepping stone to get you headed in the right direction.  A springboard, if you will.  It is nearly impossible to achieve and accomplish long term results in such a short 3 week period. My concern is for those who have done the program and either don't finish it {which has happened}, or who think they will meet all of their goals in those 3 weeks and be on their merry little way.  No, no, no, that is simply not the case.  

Let's say someone, hypothetically, does the 21 Day Fix and has great results at the end of their 3 weeks.  They drink their 30 day supply of Shakeology that came with their challenge pack, they have eaten approved foods from the clean eating list, used their portion control containers, drank their allotted amount of water per day and done the corresponding exercise videos as well.  They have followed the program!  As a result, they see and experience the results of feeling great, having more energy, and even lost a few pounds and/or inches.  They have such great success and feel so confident in their results that they go back to their pre 21 Day Fix lifestyle.  They aren't drinking Shakeology, they are not eating clean, they are not using the nutrition guide and eating the appropriate number of portions, they have slacked on their water intake and are not exercising anymore.  What do you think is going to happen?  They have just undone everything they did in those 3 weeks!  And, they might even say the program didn't work for them!  Yikes!

Or perhaps, they didn't see the results they wanted soon enough, so they decided to quit and throw in the towel.  Or, maybe they saw results, but those around them didn't at the end of the 3 weeks so they gave up. 

I'm not sure but I do know this.....our society has trained us to live in a quick fix society and if something doesn't happen as quickly as it things it does, we give up on the process.  We have somewhat lost the ability to see the process through.  In our world of microwave dinners, drive thrus, smart phones, wi-fi, we have been taught instant gratification.  The kicker is with weight loss, we didn't put it on in a day, so why do we expect it to come off in such a short amount of time?  Hmmmm......

I've been reading a number of great books lately.  Some of them include "The Compound Effect," "The Slight Edge," "The Miracle Morning"......all great reads.  And, they all have one thing in common.  They each talk about how it's the seemingly insignificant things we do day in and day out, compounded over time that have the biggest impact on our lives.  They use all sorts of examples from money {compound interest}, weight loss, personal growth/development, etc.  I think that is where so many folks get caught up.....either they don't see the consequences of those daily choices {think a soda pop habit, a smoking habit, a junk food habit, a spending habit, etc.} because they don't have INSTANT consequences.  If people would eat a hamburger and have a heart attack right afterwards, I bet the fast food business would take a dive.  But, see, that's not how it works. It's the having a hamburger every week over time that gets ya.  Yet, we don't have the ability to see that.  We don't understand that all of our choices are either adding up for our benefit or our detriment.  Does this make any sense?  If not, please read one or all of the books I've just listed.  They might possibly change your mindset, as they have mine.

So, back to the 21 Day gripe with it is that not everyone has the desire/ability/motivation/vision/not sure what else to say? to trust the process and continue it after the 21 days are over.  I'm not sure why, I wish I did.  Of course, I have some thoughts and ideas, but those are for another time......

If you have questions about the 21 Day Fix, please fire away!  Happy to help in any way I can.  This program can really be a game changer, if you continue and see it through.  It is a lifestyle change, not a quick fix.  I believe in you and want you to be the best version of yourself possible!  You and your family are worth that!!!!

Love and belief,

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Let's Talk About PTSD.....

Yup, I'm goin' there.  Have you ever seen something in passing and the thought crosses your mind "maybe I should do something with this?" Then life goes on, you get sidetracked and forget, then something similar shows up again?  And, again?  Then you KNOW you have to act on it, right?Well, thus this post.

Funny thing is I don't mind talking about PTSD.  In some ways it is therapeutic and if it can help others who might have or have had PTSD, so be it.  I'm all for sharing to help others! These are some things that have been on my heart for sometime and I'm finally getting them out there.  If you note the date, yes, I am writing this on my birthday.  I'm also ok with that.  They say you make time for what is important to you.  Well, this is important to me, or I wouldn't be taking time to write it now! Without further adieu......

A few days ago, a friend posted this picture on facebook.  Interesting, right?  Since I'm a processor, I've been thinking about this for a few days.....the saying "heal the gut, heal the brain came to mind." Which then made me think back to where that all started. Right before we moved to Sioux Falls from Champaign, Lauren was diagnosed with Sensory Processing Disorder {SPD} and food intolerances to wheat and dairy.  When we got to Sioux Falls, we were connected with an awesome chiropractor who helped get us straightened out - got Lauren on a good probiotic, helped us make a few more dietary tweaks, helped us with some OT stuff, that kind of thing.  She is also the one who told me "heal the gut, heal the brain," and taught me about how our gut affects so much of our health.  This picture reflects that.

I then began my own stroll down memory lane, to when I was first diagnosed with PTSD.  The first step was meds.  Prozac to be honest. That lasted for a few days, maybe 2? It made me feel so much worse than I did before I was on it. Something was off, I knew it wasn't right. Since that didn't work, the next step was to meet with a holistic doctor. She was amazing!  She looked at blood, my oxygen, my saliva, my potty, you name it, it was looked at. She met with me for about 4 hours and did a comprehensive evaluation of EVERYTHING. We talked about how I felt, what made me angry, what seemed to "trigger" me, etc.  It was incredible!  I loved that she took time with me to look at the WHOLE picture, vs. saying "ok, you have PTSD, take this pill." She really got to know me, my history, my diet and exercise habits {lack thereof back then}, sleep, everything. She then went on to let me know I was pre-diabetic, my vitamin and mineral levels were completely depleted, my iron was off and I was a hot mess, basically. Of course she didn't say that to me, but wow, I was.  My diet consisted of carbs, pop, processed foods, candy, food dyes, etc.  Our meal rotation that I cooked consisted of frozen pizza, pigs in blankets with peas, tacos, take out and that's about it.  Yah, crap food city, friends.  Been there, done that.  So, I agreed to take the 20+ vitamins she recommended {not even kidding. Chad is saying several thousands of dollars worth!} And, ya know what?  I started to feel better - not only mentally but physically.  My diet was still in the ditch, but I was taking small steps to get better.

Fast forward to February 2014, enter the 21 Day Fix.  This was the major step for me, I believe.  Prior to this, I discovered I also had gluten and dairy issues, so had cut those out. I was also cutting out some processed foods, had cut out pop, but still wasn't doing as well as I could be.  The 21 Day Fix changed my life. That sounds dramatic, I realize, but it did. For the first time really in a LONG time, I felt alive again.  I had energy and could handle life and the situations that came my way....hello, I'm a parent!  I noticed my fog began to lift, my depression started to ease, my anger was fading, anxiety was going, I was a new person!  It was amazing!  I can only share my experiences and what clean eating and exercise have done for me.  I'm a believer!

It's interesting, with the roadtrips we have taken this year, I have splurged on them.  Ya know, Garrett's' caramel corn in Chicago, that sort of thing.  Every time we have taken a road trip and I have had sugar/gluten/dairy, I become a very angry person a few days later. That is the only common denominator with my anger is the food.  {You better believe I avoided this at Thanksgiving!!!  And, the ride home was much better!}  Once again, I am seeing the connection of how food affects our minds.

So, mind you, all this is going through my mind, then a friend posts this the other day. An article called "The Real Cause of
Depression May Have Nothing at All to Do With Your Mind" The link is here:

Again, it makes the connection between food and our minds. Heal the gut, heal the brain. It's so true!  In fact, while we were away for Thanksgiving, I ran across this picture from when Lauren was a baby and wrote up some words that described how I felt at the time. Then, I did a more recent picture of the two of us with words of how I currently feel. 

The changes ~ a supernatural touch from God and cleaning up my diet and incorporating exercise!  That's it!  So if you wanna know why I'm so passionate about this, now you know!  It's not about weight loss, it never has been for me! That's can be a by product, which some folks need, yes. But for me, this is about helping others be healthy, healed and whole, the way God made us to be.  He didn't intend for us to abuse our bodies and put all this junk into them that we do, friends. Please hear my heart here, if you are struggling and are looking for someone to come alongside you and help, I'd love to help.  You are worth it!  Your family is worth you being healthy and around to ENJOY them!  

Love and hugs,