Friday, December 30, 2016

2016: The Year of Loss. With Every Loss, There is a Gain....

As I've been thinking on the past year for the last few days, I realize 2016 has been a year of loss. However, that sounds dramatic and kind of sad, to be honest. The Year of Loss. Yikes. But, at the same time it is true. However, God is faithful and reminded me that with loss comes gain. The gains might not look how we want or be what we want them to be, but His Word says "For to me, to live is Christ, and to die is gain. " ~ Philippians 1:21 So, here, the author is saying dying is gain. We might consider dying a loss, verses a gain. Again, loss comes with gain....I'll explain.

It would be easy to focus on the loss of my dad this year, since that was a significant event for me in 2016, however, as I looked back over the year, there were other losses as well. And, of course, gains.

* We lost our preschooler this year, and gained a kindergartner.

* We lost our second grader this year, and gained a third grader.

Those are natural losses, that come with gains that are a sign of progression. Those are positive losses because you know what is next, it is expected. It might hurt some to think of your babies growing up, but on the other side, that's the goal of parents, to raise their children so they grow up and become thriving independent adults. So, the grades are a natural progression. For us, they are happy milestones of accomplishment for our kiddos.

An unexpected loss for us this year was God's call for us to change churches. Nothing happened with our old church, and we still love that body very much. God was calling us to worship in our community. That was a loss that came with a gain as well. We lost one body and gained another. While it is clear that God called us to a new body of believers, it also involved some tears and some grieving, as we love those people in that church and the people we had built relationships with.

Another surprising loss I've just become aware of is kind of personal, but with me doing Core de Force in November, I lost my desire for programs that don't push me!  See, I've thrived on programs that allow me to go through the motions and not really challenge me, however, doing Core de Force changed that for me.  I've gone back to doing a program that isn't as challenging and I miss my challenge!  So I've gained endurance, strength and momentum with my fitness and have lost some desire for not challenging myself.  Never thought I would say that, friends.

The final loss that happened this year was the loss of my dad in September. That's been an interesting journey to navigate. While we know he is in a better place and he is whole and healed, it still hurts. Our loss was heaven's gain, however, my mom and I are developing a new relationship now. Relationships are changing, those could be considered gains as well, I suppose.  

I think those are the big losses that have occurred this year.  But at the same time, if I only focused on the loss, I would miss the gain.  And that feels and seems hopeless.  I don't serve a God who is hopeless though, I serve a God of hope.

If this has been a year of hurts, losses and pains as well, friend, my encouragement to you is to ask God what He has for you in that. He is a good Father and has our best interests at heart.  So many times instead of asking God what He wants for us, we get mad at Him, ignore Him, block Him or turn away entirely. See what He has for you.  "And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose."  ~ Romans 8:28
Here's to a great 2017 ahead!

Sunday, December 18, 2016

It's All About Food!

Yesterday, our family was home-bound due to icy roads.  So, we stayed home all day and had a great time together!  There was lots of family time :)  We did puzzles, watched basketball {nice win, Boilers over the Irish!}, did some crafts, and cooked.  As I was reflecting on the day, it hit me.  The day was a lot about food.  At first, I had mixed feelings about that.  See, most of my life, my relationship with food has been unhealthy. So, when the realization hit that a lot of our inside family time was consumed with food, I had mixed feelings.  But, I realize that stems from my own personal past unhealthy relationship and mindset towards food.

I've been on both sides of the ditch with food...under-eating and overeating.  Neither are good.  Obviously, both stem from deeper issues that the Lord has brought much healing to.  For that, I am super grateful. Since starting my own health journey almost 3 years ago, my passion, knowledge and desire to learn more has only grown.  Why is that?  Well, I'd love to tell you.

I have seen how small changes to and with food has changed our lives.  With our daughter having sensory processing disorder and both kids and myself having food allergies, we have learned that food affects EVERYTHING.  Not only for them, but for my husband and I as well.  We have learned this by being on our own journey.  We eat a mainly clean diet, meaning no processed foods.  We are gluten free, dairy free and dye free.  We try to eat as natural as possible and it's changed our lives for the better.  Sleep is better, digestion/gi/bowel issues are better, mind is more clear, energy level is higher, behavior is better; it has truly been life changing for us.

Was there some mourning/grieving involved with making the changes we have?  Sure. We were sad to think about our kids not having ice cream, or birthday cake or other treats that were a part of our childhoods.  However, there are a lot of alternatives now, for which we are thankful.  It's also made me think about the relationship I have with food.  Is it something I should mourn or grieve about? Yes, it's a loss, but what does it mean to me that I'm mourning the loss of food?  See, it's deeper than just the surface appears to be, at least for me. 

There are some frustrations that come along with this, though too.  I think a lot of people think eating clean is "boring," "bland," or that all we eat are salads and veggies.  That's so far from the truth!  Look at the above picture from yesterday....we ate pancakes for breakfast, chili for dinner and had ice cream for dessert!  The kicker is it's just like we ate before we ate clean, but we made some small tweaks.  Just like the books "The Slight Edge," or "The Compound Effect" will tell you, those small changes over time = big results.  So it's been with us, our small tweaks to our foods have led to big results over time. 

Have I felt deprived?  Not at all!  In fact, I'm eating more now than I think I ever have before.  But the quality of the food is better, and I know how much of what type of food to eat. When people think they have to not eat or restrict their calories to a ridiculously low number to lose weight drives me nuts!  That's simply not true, but that's what we are taught. The reality is it lies in the quality of what you eat not the quantity.  

It's frustrating that not only are there all of these misconceptions out there, but that people continue to believe them.  No pill, patch, coffee {yup, I tried fat burning coffee before too!}, wrap, etc. is going to give you what good nutrition does.  That comes from food.  What you eat, what you drink.  The quality of what you put into your body.

I've done quite a bit of research on this and have learned so much!  Some books I recommend are: "The Virgin Diet," by JJ Virgin, "The Adrenal Reset Diet," by Dr. Alan Christianson, "Brain Maker," by Dr. David Perlmutter, and "The Autoimmune Solution," by Dr. Amy Myers.  Read them, learn about the connection between food and our brains, and our bodies.  You will be surprised!  If there is anything I can do to help, please let me know.  Maybe being in a 21 Day Fix Virtual Accountability Group like I was almost 3 years ago would be a good start?  If so, please contact me.

So, at the end of the day my conclusion about food is this:  It really is all about food.  We live in a society that revolves around food, it's a fact.  We are constantly celebrating with food, or mourning with food, food is 99% of the time involved, right?

But instead of not getting enough, or too much of the bad stuff, it's about getting the right amounts of the right kinds of foods. From someone who has had a very flawed and broken relationship with food, I'm thankful for what I've been through, what I've learned and for where I'm at.  Instead of fearing my children having all of these memories involving food, I'm ok with that. Hopefully, we are teaching them that food is nourishment, fuel to sustain them, to heal them and it is good, rather than to view it as something for comfort, or boredom or some of the unhealthy views I had on it {even being the enemy at one point, was something I thought.}  It's my chance to give them a healthy view and relationship with food, and for that I'm thankful.

Sunday, November 13, 2016

Core de Force: Week 1 Review

It's hard to put into words how I feel after my first week of the new program, Core de Force. It seems rather odd to me that a program could bring me to tears.  Perhaps it is grief coming out sideways, but this program is changing me and I absolutely love it!  There are so many reasons for that and I plan to share them below.

I had the opportunity to meet the super trainers who created this program at our Summit this summer. Joel Freeman and Jericho McMatthews are their names.  {Joel and Jericho, or J & J}  There are just so many things I appreciate about them as people and who they are. See, Jericho is a new mama and she shared with us at Summit that it would have been easy for her to focus on getting awesome results while creating the program and really dialing in her nutrition, workout super hard, etc., but she realized that would have compromised her son's milk supply, so she opted to not do that.  She choose her child's health and well being over her results, which I just love.  I love it for so many reasons:  we live in a society that is so hung up on body image, and looking great and putting ourselves first.  Jericho's also a super trainer, so I would imagine it might be a bit more "amped up" in that line of work? Maybe not, but my guess is there is some pressure?  {I don't know this for a fact, this is merely my guess.}  I love that she knew her child's well being was better than her results and that she declared that publicly with no fear or no shame.  She was true to who she is as a person and I love that about her.  So, when I did get to meet them and I told her how beautiful I thought that was, I started crying.  Yup, I was crying right before this picture was taken, lol!  {In true transparency, I had just met Chalene, who I adore, and was most excited about, so I was surprised at my response to meeting them, ha ha!  I thought I would cry with Chalene, so the emotion I felt with J and J surprised me.}

I also just really appreciate who they are as people and their style of training.  They are just kind and gentle people and you can tell that from their videos.  They aren't screaming and up in your face, they are simply walking you through the moves and explaining form while encouraging you to do your best.  I love it!  The other thing I think that resonates with me about Jericho is she is soft spoken.  She is showing me that you can be soft spoken, be strong and still kick booty!

Now that I've raved on about J and J, let's talk about the workouts and the FOOD, shall we? Again, in true honesty, I was SCARED.TO.DEATH of this program!  Why? Because if you look back on my pattern of fitness, it's been more dance oriented {Country Heat, Turbo Kick, Cize, etc.}, or low impact....hello, PiYo, one of my all time faves! This is truly the first hard core program I've ever done.  22 Minute Hard Corps, Insanity, P90....those are all our programs, but not ones I have done. And, yes, I do have T25, but haven't done it all the way through....I quit it! So the fact I've done a whole 7 days of this one is a huge deal!

I think part of the reason is I know my WHY behind it.  See, weight loss, toning up, or anything physical aren't my reasons for doing this.  My why is to PROVE to myself I can do it, to prove to myself that I am strong and to prove to myself that I can do and finish things that scare me.  This program is so far out of my comfort zone, and honestly, if our team of coaches wasn't doing it together as a team, I'm not sure I would be attempting it.  But, I am learning to be stronger than my excuses, to be stronger than my fears and feelings and that I CAN do hard things.  It's very empowering, to be honest and the confidence I'm gaining from it is carrying over into my life.  I love that, it's an awesome ripple effect on life!  

So, deets about the workouts:  They range from 21 minutes {that would be active recovery day} to 47 minutes/workout.  As always, there is a workout calendar telling you exactly what workout to do when so you are getting optimum results and getting a full body workout.  All the guess work is gone {ugh, it reminds me of when I would go to the gym and never know what to do.  Thankful those days are gone.}  They are fun, energetic and empowering!  There is a lot of focus on learning the movements and getting the motion and form right vs. speed and killing yourself.  They teach the moves well and it's easy to get a good feel for how to do them. The music is good and the workouts go by fast, which surprised me!  Always a good thing at 5 a.m., right?  There have been a few times I've actually caught myself smiling during them.

Food plan....again, another LOVE.  It's the same plan as the 21 day fix. All the portions are laid out for you, as are the food choices. The nutrition guide gives recipes and meal plans and is very straightforward and easy to follow.  I also love that this week, I get to add another fruit. Wahoo for more food, lol!

All in all, I'm loving this program and am so thankful I stepped out of my comfort zone to try it.  I'd like to thank Joel and Jericho for being such great trainers and creating this program that is impacting not only my body, but my life.  Thank you, also to Team Transformers, for being a part of my journey. So thankful to do this all together!

If you have questions about Core de Force, or would like to be part of my next virtual fitness group, please let me know.  Love hearing from you and helping you on your journey!

Sunday, September 18, 2016

What's Really Going On Here?

Wow, friends, it's been a wild ride the past few weeks.  So much has gone on, so many uncontrollable things that happen on this ride of life, right?  So many things that have so many emotions and feelings attached to them - we are complicated people, aren't we?   Let's see, this month has consisted of my dad being in the hospital and learning more about his next steps, a church 20somethings reunion in Chicago, my mom's birthday, a husbands full work schedule, a 20 year high school reunion and this coming weekend, a business trip out of state.  So, lots of opportunities to "look back" and revisit where I was and where I am now, which is always interesting and enlightening for various reasons. {On top of regular life, you know?!}

The hard part about blogging is that I don't want to say too much to hurt or offend anyone ever, but also need to share the story and the message I believe God wants to be shared.  I don't want to make it about a person or call anyone out, so this post might be vague due to that very reason.  Hopefully it will make sense and the message will come through as it should.  So, here we go.....

There was an instance recently where someone did something that was very hurtful to me.  {We have talked it through, made amends, asked for forgiveness and all is well, just so you know.}  However, in the process of stepping back and evaluating the situation that occurred, I had to ask "what really is going on here?  What am I upset about?  Is it the situation that happened, or the feelings that the situation brought up?"  Well, that's the answer right there, the feelings the situation brought up.  So, yes, I was upset with the choice {s} that were made,  However, I have to realize I am not in charge of other peoples actions.  At the end of the day, I am only responsible for my own choices in life. This truth is both hard, but also freeing at the same time.

Back to the situation at hand....this choice that occurred brought up so many past hurts in me ~ rejection, neglect, disappointment, feeling of not being "enough," being let down, and so on.  So, those are my issues which I am aware of and own up to. 

However, when we as people interact with other people, sometimes our issues rub off on each other, just like what I'm talking about. See, this person didn't intend to do this at all, and wasn't their goal or mission at all, but because we are human beings, it happened. Their choice/action/decision/behavior brought up my past hurts.  Make sense?  It's a hard and delicate place to be for sure.  While I know the intent wasn't there, the hurt still was.  So, what does one do with that?  I'll tell you what I did:

* Pray

* Talk with a trusted friend who is removed from the situation so they can share their perspective on it and speak truth objectively
* Spend some time thinking and evaluating what is going on and what is the cause of all of this
* Talk with the person who has caused the hurt once the situation has diffused and everyone is calm

I hope this helps someone.  If not, it was good for me to verbalize this for sure.....thanks for reading friends.  Hope you all have a great week!

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Old Mel, Meet New Melissa

My best friend, Ellen, and I at her wedding in Texas in 2002 and at the reunion. 

Wow, first of all, I can't believe it's been more than a month since I last wrote. That's indicative of life, isn't it? Getting kids back to school, juggling packing lunches again, homework, you know the drill. Then, mama finding a new routine...not there yet, but hopefully on my way soon! So, this is the month of reunions! I just got home a few days ago from a reunion of the 20somethings group I was a part of at Park Community Church in Chicago. I lived in Chicago for a year out of college and this group was a HUGE part of me loving being there so much! 

My girls, Ginger and Kimmy and I then, and now. 

See, I'm a small town girl who didn't venture far from home. I went to Purdue University for college, which was only 30 minutes away. My plan was to go to Ball State, which was further away, but I got scared and opted for the safe, familiar close to home option. The same situation appeared after graduation. I was offered a job in Chicago, which terrified me, and I was also talking with the Director of camp I attended and worked at as a child {close to home again} about a position there. My tendency was to go close to home, but after time in prayer and fasting, God showed me otherwise. So, I stepped out in faith, made the leap and headed to the Windy City! Was I scared? Heck yes! Did I learn to love it? You know it! 

All of us at the Park Christmas Party at the Drake. So FUN! 

I was only there for a year, but it was a wonderful year filled with great people from the 20somethings group! Lifelong friends were made there, so it was wonderful to go back as adults and parents in our minivans this weekend and reconnect and catch up! What a blessing it was! The most shocking thing to me, however, was the anxiety I felt going back now. The traffic. The tolls. The parking. I can tell I'm out of practice with those things. One, because we don't live in a big city and two, because my husband normally drives. When you're not used to something, you kind of forget how to do it, or lose touch with that. However, when I lived there as a young single gal, I didn't think twice about it. It didn't phase me one bit, I just tooled around the city in my little car. Good times! 

A book that my group made me when I moved to do campus ministry at UW-Madison. 
It was full of Scriptures and notes. Isn't that so thoughtful? 

I remember when my husband and I were considering moves for our family, I thought about the city. Simply because my time there was so rich and so wonderful, however, that was also a totally different season of life. A season of singleness. A season before children. Now, everything has changed. I can't imagine living there now, in this season. Obviously, if God called us, we would go and trust Him, but it's just funny how much I have changed in that regard. 

The other really surprising thing to me was when I was there, I was not healthy. I was not exercising, I was living off of sugar, candy, food dye, processed foods, eating gallons of ice cream in a sitting, you get the picture. So, how could I, in that physical and mental state tolerate the noise? The traffic? Parking? Etc? It's interesting to me. I will say that during that time a lot of things had been regressed from my childhood, so perhaps that is part of it? I also hadn't yet been diagnosed with PTSD yet. Did I have it? My guess is yes, but it wasn't as prominent, perhaps? So, that was interesting. 

It was also interesting to just be there with people who knew me as I was then, vs who I am now. To think back on where I was and what God has done in my life since then is really just amazing. I can look back and say I'm a totally different person. Sure, my core is the same, but God has done so much in me, it's incredible and I'm so thankful. He's done so much healing. It's interesting to go back to somewhere you've been and realize all that's taken place since then. I told my husband I'm just really thankful and at peace. Sometimes when we go back, it's hard and it hurts, but for me, it was good and healing. I loved reconnecting with those friends who were such a part of my life during that time. It was great to be back in the city and make some more great memories. Yes, it was also great to come back home and know this is right where we're supposed to be for now.

Have any of you had an opportunity to go back lately? What's your experience been like? I'm going to do it again in a few weeks for a high school reunion, which is totally different, but similar in terms of going back. So, this was the first opportunity for the "Old Mel {as I was known then} to meet New Melissa. Round two coming soon. Would love to hear some of your stories about going back....

Sunday, July 24, 2016

Coaching and Faith

As we were in church today singing the song "I am a child of God," some things struck me. Specifically, about my faith journey and the connection coaching has had with it. I was journaling about some ways that being a coach has helped my walk with God and wanted to journal them here for my sake {papers tend to get misplaced or tossed in our house.} I also felt the need to do a heart check to be sure my heart and motives are pure and right before God. Here are some of my thoughts and ways coaching has helped my faith:

  • Self Discipline and Self Control - This journey has taught me the art of self discipline and self control {both of which are connected, but different}. I've learned how to not let food control me, how to acknowledge my feelings, rather than eating out of them, I've learned that it's ok to do things I don't enjoy doing, because they are good for me {exercise}. I've learned that I am stronger than I really thought I was. Self discipline is something that has always been a struggle for me, so to feel like I'm getting better at it is encouraging. This verse in Proverbs really strikes me ~ "A man without self-control is like a city broken into and left without walls." ~ Proverbs 25:28. I don't want to be controlled by the flesh, but by the Spirit. And, I certainly don't want to be that picture in the verse either!

  • Perseverance/seeing things through - This is something that was probably my biggest struggle. I tend to be impatient so learning how to persevere when things don't happen instantly has been a good lesson to learn! Love Galatians 6:9 about this: "Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up." 2 Timothy 2:12 says this ~ "If we endure, we will also reign with him; if we deny him, he also will deny us." I want to endure, I don't want to deny! Endurance is built over time. There are other examples in the Bible about endurance and running the race set before us.

  • Discipline - Isn't this what being a disciple is? Isn't it being steadfast? Committed? Following through? "Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial, for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love him," is what James 1:12 says. Love that. Steadfast under trial. Not sure about you, but sometimes life feels like a trial. I know that in the grand scheme of things, they aren't trials, but sometimes life is hard, right?
  • A renewed mind - Romans 12:2 says "Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect." I love that! I've learned how to transform my mind not only by the reading of God's Holy Word every day and by prayer, but also through some great Christian books about personal development {Happy to recommend some, if you'd like?}

I think the biggest thing is the fear I mentioned earlier as we were singing about fear this morning. "You rescued me, and I could stand and sing, I am a child of God..."  "Am I standing and singing," is what I was asking?  Did He set me free and am I doing what He freed me to do?  Am I standing and singing, or am I sitting down and being quiet? What is the song He has put into my heart? What is the passion, the purpose He has for me and am I fulfilling it?  Am I living out the call on my life?  And, if I think I am, how do I know it's my call or His call?  That's where this all started from.  I want to be living out HIS purpose, HIS plans, HIS call, not my own.  So, where do I turn?  The Word to journal, to pray, to process.

So, friends, are you standing and singing with what He's put in your heart?  He didn't die to set you free to NOT stand and sing.  So, go ahead, stand tall and BELT it out!!

Sunday, July 10, 2016

Christians in Business: Specifically, Direct Sales/Network Marketing/Multi Level Marketing {or Helping for us!}

Yes, I'm going there.....a topic that I've been struggling with for a while now. It seems like if I've struggled with it, chances are someone else has along the way as well. So, here goes. See me in the picture below? What does the shirt say? It says "TEAM Beachbody." Yes, TEAM. Not "MY Beachbody, or "I Beachbody," or MY Beachbody," but "TEAM Beachbody." So, let's start there. What is a team?

According to, a team is
  • " a group of people who compete in a sport, game, etc., against another group
  • a group of people who work together
  •  a group of two or more animals used to pull a wagon, cart, etc."
Well, it's clear we are not animals, so for this post, let's focus on the first two points. In being my totally transparent self, this is the biggest struggle I have had with my role as a coach. See, I have big goals and big dreams and work hard to accomplish those. By and large, I have done well as a coach. The area I have struggled with is advancing in rank, the part where you need others to rank advance for you to as well. Again, truth be told, I have had a prideful heart and selfishness has crept in at times. God is showing me that it comes from woundedness from my past and He is using this opportunity to bring clarity, insight and healing. I'm thankful for that, but it is hard. That's for sure.

See, it's easy for me to think that I can do this all by myself and not need anyone. But that's not true. And, it's not Biblical. Again, my shirt says it all "TEAM," remember that? As I've been praying and processing this and asking God to speak into this situation, the following things have happened:

  • "Individualism is a mark of immaturity," our pastor said one Sunday morning during the sermon. Chad and I looked at one another.....heard that one!
  • In reaching out to some fellow Coaches who are also believers to see if they struggle with this, got this reply from a top coach in our company, which totally blessed me! {Back story....I've never met this coach before, talked with her, or anything. I knew she was a Believer because of a training she did that I watched online. I sent her a message on facebook and she replied! This blew me away, as there have been other Believers in other companies I have been with that I had met in person, knew, etc. who didn't reply when I would send a message. This company is TRULY about being a TEAM and helping ALL coaches succeed, which I love!} So, here's some of her message to me: "I have had multiple Christians tell me they feel guilty praying over there business bc they shouldn't pray for success etc. in which I say remember guilt comes from the enemy, conviction comes from God. To me it's all about your intention. I pray over my biz and my team daily that God would bless them, protect them and use them. I also ask that He brings us people we can help. Same kind of intention goes for your business plan. No, I don't think it's wrong to build a strong team with financial promise. The only way I can see it as wrong is when coaches don't work at all and just collect a paycheck. As far as team stuff goes, if you lead with intention, with heart and by example you can impact and change your team members lives as well. I have had multiple team members become Christians, and i love watching my team members hit major goals/financial success. " How wonderful is that? I love it!
  • I have also done some research with Mark Virkler, whose ministry has provided a lot of healing/deliverance for me. I respect his opinion and believe he does hear the voice of God. He actually has a book about it and here's some of the lingo for the promotion of that book: "This book also explores what are the best kind of products to sell, how you can grow spiritually through this industry, how to be an outstanding communicator and a successful networker. Network marketing takes a fair amount of work, persistence and skill, but if you are willing to let God stretch you and stick with it for a few years, you can develop an outstanding home-based business." He is so spot on! I'm realizing all these "struggles/challenges" I have with coaching are due to my own areas that need healing. God is growing me, stretching me, changing and refining me through this process and it's ok!
  • I learned about "She Works His Way," an organization committed to helping women to "Pursue Christ. Love Well. Serve Others." Michelle Myers, is a coach as well and I admire, respect and value her wisdom, insight and heart. She's very Biblically solid and speaks the truth. Love that she is helping other Christian women in business connect!
Of course, in looking to the Word for insight on this, there is no black or white section on Christians in this type of business, the Bible does have a lot to say about various things related to this topic. For example:
  • Ecclesiastes 4:9-12 - "Two are better than one...."
  • Proverbs 27:17 - "As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another."
  • 1 Corinthians 3:9 paints a beautiful picture of a team working together to build His building.
  • Ephesians 4 talks about unity and maturity in the body. 
  • 1 Corinthians 12:12-13 talks about one body, but many parts. Again, more unity and diversity. These parts all need each other to work together.
  • Philippians 2:3-4 says to do "nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit." Don't ya think me trying to do it on my own is pretty selfish and vain? Heart check.
  • Hebrews 10:24-25 talks about "spurring one another on and encouraging one another." We NEED each other!
  • Proverbs 11:14 says "For lack of guidance a nation falls, but victory is won through many advisers." {MANY, not ONE. MANY!}
  • 3 John 8 says "We ought therefore to show hospitality to such people so that we may work together for the truth.

So, in looking at all of these verses, I see a theme:  We are not meant to be lone rangers, but we need each other and can work together for GOOD!  We all have different gifts, talents, abilities, and callings, but let's use them together for good! For me, that's His Kingdom!  So in looking back at our two definitions of team that pertain, they were {again}:
  • a group of people who compete in a sport, game, etc., against another group
  • a group of people who work together
From what I have experienced and what I can see, this is Team Beachbody, working together.  We are not competing against one another, as I have experienced in other companies before.  There is very much a culture of giving, of serving, of helping, of knowing we are all on the same team with the same goals.  And, that's where I maybe get hung up. My individualism gets in the way, my pride, my lack of wanting to need/depend on others for help.  See, that's ugly, isn't it? It's my past way of thinking not wanting to need others for fear of letting me down. {Duh, they are people, they ARE going to let me down.}  So, am I looking in the right place for my security? BUT GOD, is using it for His glory!  If these thoughts weren't going through my mind, I wouldn't have done the work to learn all of this, right?  It makes me ask hard questions, like what am I seeking here?  Is it my kingdom and my glory or is it His Kingdom and His glory and fame?  What's going on in my HEART?

So, to answer my original question that promoted this blog post, what do I think about Christians being in a direct sales/network marketing type of business model?  I think that Colossians 3:23 is a great way to summarize it: "Whatever you do, work at it with your whole being, for the Lord and not for men."  

Lord, please let this business be FOR YOU, about YOU, Your Kingdom and Your glory. Help me to not do anything out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but may all I do be for and about You, Jesus.  Please forgive me for my pride and selfishness getting in the way of Your will and Your best for me.  Please use me for Your glory.  In Jesus name, Amen.

Hugs, friends!  Thanks for being on this journey with me!  If you'd like more info on coaching, please let me know!  God is doing awesome things!

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Somethings That Are On My Heart......

Honestly, I'm not even sure if I should post this or not, but there are some things that have been bubbling beneath the surface that need expressed. That's part of the reason for my facebook break....I have needed some time away from people, from situations and from that scene to process some thoughts and feelings I have. Here goes nothin' {vulnerable post alert!}

Now I'm not sure where to begin all that is going on. Yes, I'm in a company that we call a MLH{multi level helping. Back story ~ last year at Summit, our big conference, our CEO announced we are a MLH, not an MLM. MLM sounds yucky, has a bad wrap and that's not who we are, how we want to be known or how we roll. We HELP those around us! Another reason why I just love this company, the people in leadership and the mission/vision behind it.  We want to help, not market!} Yes, I have several friends on facebook. Part of that is due to being from a small town, where everyone knows everyone and their brothers' uncles :), from being super involved in various organizations in college and from moving around to several different states. Over time, it adds up! However, I will say, I have a some {not many} friends on facebook that I don't know or haven't met yet. The majority of the time, I have accepted a request from them if we have enough mutual friends in common. Or, we have conversed in a group and I feel comfortable sending a request. However, if we have a few friends, and I don't know you, sorry, not going to accept you.  {At least not until I do my homework first!} These are just some of the boundaries I have set on facebook, which also will play into my feelings once I get there :) So, to rewind, yes, I'm in a MLH company. My vision/mission/passion is to help women see their worth and value while teaching them the art of self care. That's my heart and why I do what I do.

There are so many things that I appreciate and enjoy and love about this business, one of them being the opportunity to reconnect with so many friends from various parts of my life. It's been great to reconnect and establish relationships with friends I grew up with, friends from college, friends from the various places we have lived. That has been a great gift that I'm so thankful for. However, on the flip side, we know nothing is perfect and each job/business has its own struggles, right? Well, I'm about to share some of mine with you. {Remember, the vulnerable post warning? Here we go.......}

If you are my friend on facebook, I consider you my friend in "real life," this means to me, I won't treat you differently on facebook than I would in person. Which translates to if you send me a message, I will reply. Just like if we were conversing in person, I would answer your question and not ignore you. Now, I understand it's easier in person because lots of us are stay at home mamas with kiddos that interrupt, need things, sidetrack us, etc. I understand that, I get it. There are times where I read a message and forget to reply! However, I try to be mindful and always reply even if I'm late. What hurts my feelings {again, being honest here.....} is when someone reaches out to me about something I've posted or asking a question, I reply, see that they have read the reply, then don't get back to me. Now, I will be the first to admit, this is from an area of woundedness I'm working through and God has done a mighty work, but I still don't get it. Let me just say this upfront, I appreciate it so much more when an honest reply of "no thank you," "this isn't a good time now," etc. is given vs being ignored. To me, it feels like disrespect; like I wasn't worth replying to; like I wasn't important enough, which again, goes back to woundedness. I understand that and the Lord and I are working on it. The same thing goes for replying but not answering the question....a straight up answer to me is better than avoidance. Now, I realize this isn't the case for everyone, but that's my personal opinion. Being a Communication major, it's interesting to see how all this plays out and how so many misunderstandings, hurt feelings, arguments, quarrels, fights, etc. come down to miscommunication. It makes me wonder if we were upfront, honest and real with one another if that might be avoided? It seems like we reply or respond {or don't}, based on various things: how we feel, what we have been taught or feel comfortable doing {avoiding or replying or ignoring, etc}. For me, the rule of thumb is the Golden Rule - to treat others the way we want to be treated. I feel like if someone took time out of their hectic life to write me, it must be important enough to them and the right thing to do would be to reply. I know and understand not everyone feels or operates that way though. 

The other thing I don't understand is when someone says one thing, then does another. What's that about?  Let your yes be yes and your no be no.  {Matthew 5:37}  Again, it's communication and honesty, don't you think?

Some thoughts that have crossed my mind with this ~ does this come down to expectations? Are my expectations of others too high? Is it realistic to think people that we know, care about and have relationship with will treat us as such {friends }? Or is it not? Should I not expect people to be courteous and reply? Am I doing the wrong thing if I care this much?  Is it healthy to care this much?  Am I too sensitive and just need to get over this?  Is this discouragement coming because there's something big coming?  Be honest here. I'm not looking for perfection or anything like that.....just trying to understand and see a point of view other than the one I've written about here. I understand social media might not be an "a priority," and I understand and respect that {another thing I'm workin on here!}......

The verse in Luke 16:10 "Whoever can be trusted with very little can also be trusted with much, and whoever is dishonest with very little will also be dishonest with much." Are our messages our "littles?"   Not sure, just putting it out there.  Would really love your insights on this, friends.  Thanks for taking time to read this and hear my heart.  It means a lot to me and I value YOU and your friendship!

Thank you, again!

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

"But, What About Those?"

"But what about those?" is a question I seem to ask a lot.  About a lot of different scenarios, about different people groups, about different things.  Today, I want to write a blog "about those," in regards to something that's been on my heart the past few days.  Now before digging in, please hear me out.  I love the 4th of July.  In fact, please see last post here about that.  I also like fireworks.  I'm not saying they are terrible, evil, wrong or anything of the sort.  This is just another perspective on fireworks after some of my life experiences.

As you know, we recently celebrated the 4th of July.  A holiday filled with freedom, stars, stripes, red, white and blue, "America the Beautiful", cook outs, you know the drill....and fireworks.  Growing up, I used to love fireworks.  They were so fun and pretty. There was that one time we had to hose off a neighbors roof, but I digress....I've never had a problem with fireworks.  Now, I'm not one whose been over the moon, way into them either, but I haven't had a problem with them. Still don't, for the record.

Our daughter has sensory processing disorder {SPD}. Some of you may know what that is, some of you may not.  Let me quickly explain. There are 2 types - avoiders or seekers. Obviously, avoiders avoid what they are fearful of, sensory wise and seekers seek out what stimulates them, sensory wise. So in looking at the 5 senses, we have: sight, sound, smell, taste and touch.  Lauren, our daughter, is a sound avoider.  Loud noises startle her, scare her, send her into meltdowns {not tantrums, there's a difference there} and just really really impact her in a negative way. Thankfully, we have changed her nutrition, added some supplements to her diet, do chiropractic care regularly and have done OT. Those have been life changing for her!  In fact, so much so, sometimes we forget about the SPD.  If you have questions about this, let me know.  Love to share more of what we've done and what has helped her.  We forget about it until somethings like haircuts, storms and.....fireworks.

I posted on facebook the other day asking if other friends children slept through fireworks or if they woke them up.  A few people commented things like "you should take them," "don't they watch fireworks?," etc.  I know there was no ill intent behind the question and yes, if Lauren wasn't sensitive to sounds, we probably would take her.  But, she is and so we don't.  When your child is wincing every time a neighbor shoots off fireworks, you know a live firework display isn't the best place for them to be.  So, it made me think "what about those who aren't ok with fireworks?" Obviously, those with SPD came to mind, but what about our veterans who have combat related PTSD?  {Yes, I do have PTSD, but it's not related to combat, therefore, the fireworks don't bother me, But I see how they could impact someone who just came back from war.}  Isn't it interesting that we celebrate our country's freedom that so many risk their lives for by doing something that could negatively impact them?  Just something that came to mind after looking at various facebook posts. Some people may not have combat related PTSD or children with SPD, but what about pets?  Who else would be affected by fireworks?

Again, I'm not saying fireworks are bad, they should be outlawed, or anything like that, just thinking of ways to make them more enjoyable for those who are negatively affected by them.  Any thoughts?  Thanks for letting me put this out there.  Would love to hear any insights or thoughts you have on this.

Sunday, July 3, 2016

"What's Your Favorite Holiday?"

"What's your favorite holiday, aside from Easter and Christmas?"  That's the question I asked Chad tonight as we were slicing up some peaches to freeze.  {Hello, Peach Truck delivery!  Yummo!}  Ya know what his reply was?  "Thanksgiving."  Know what my reply was?  If you know me well, or you've been following me, you know there's something I'm passionate about.  It's in my business name, my team name, it's in my bones......FREEDOM!  {Yes, act like I'm in Braveheart here, ok?!} My favorite holiday is the 4th of July!  Why?  Because of all that it stands for and represents! FREEDOM!

So many thoughts buzzing around my head right now around this topic, I will try to keep on the straight and narrow here, folks!  It's not just the red, white and blue, or the stars and stripes I love.  {Yes, I'm a fan of those and love decorating with those during this month too!}, but it's about so much more than that to me. It's the meaning behind it.  It's what the day means and how it relates to my life.

With us moving back to my "childhood home," well close enough to, I've been thinking a lot about life.  Ya know, things I've been through,
 what God has shown me through it all, what I've learned from it, etc. Even before Jesus set me free, or I knew Him, I loved the 4th of July.  The idea of freedom and the HOPE that it gave me of being free one day were always in my heart.  Yet, when something is in your heart, but within reach it can be frustrating, can't it?  Maybe you can relate?  But now that I am free, it means so much more.

It's interesting moving away, learning, growing, getting married, having children, changing, being set free, learning who you are, ya know, big things, then being called back to where it all started for you.  Kinda surreal, honestly.  But, also very cool to look back at where I was, what God has done in and through me and what He has brought me through to come back here.  Wow, I'm totally not the same person I was when I was here. Sure, parts of me are the same, personality maybe some the same, but the inside of me is totally different.  I've gone from being an insecure, paranoid girl who was looking to outward things to fulfill and complete my brokenness to a secure, confident woman who knows who she is and WHOSE she is.  God has done a mighty work in my life and to Him be the glory.  The things He has set me free from, too numerous to list, but some of them include:

* Looking for significance or sense of worth in busy-ness.
* Food/sugar addiction.
* Insecurity
* Lack of confidence
* Fear
* Shame

"It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery."  ~ Galatians 5:1  {One of my favorite verses!}

So, friends, what has He set you free from? Or, what do you need Him to set you free from?
Happy 4th of July friends, celebrate your freedom today and Happy Birthday, America! 

Wednesday, June 29, 2016


Can we please just talk about expectations for a sec here?  I was talking with a friend recently and realized that expectations play such a vital role in our lives.   Yet, we might not realize it.

For example, when someone tells you they will do something, do you EXPECT they will do it?  I do.  I'm the type of person who when I say I will do something, I do.  As a result, I EXPECT others to do the same.  When the expectations are unmet, that is when frustration and hurt can enter the picture. Unmet expectations.

Sometimes, I will tell people what they can expect of me, and in return, what the expectation is of them.  This works well for adults and children.  It appears to me that a lot of frustration in life and in relationships are caused by miscommunication and/or unmet expectations.  Think about the last time you experienced frustration...what was the cause?

The expectations may or may not have been communicated, which can also cause the problem.  This seems to happen a lot in marriage.  Have you ever expected your spouse to be able to read your mind?  I have. And, truth be told, it's not fair to either of us.

Anyone relate to what I'm sharing here?

My encouragement to you today is this ~ be clear with your expectations; being upfront and honest is never a bad thing.  Treat others the way you want to be treated. Communicate.  

Have a great day!

Sunday, June 26, 2016

Ch-ch-ch-changes....Are A Comin'!!

Truthfully, I'm not sure where or how to begin this post, but I do know that God gave me a download this morning and I need to process it.  Funny thing is, God speaks to me when I'm doing things. {Maybe because He knows slowing down is a struggle for me, but I'm working on it.}  This morning as I was making some banana blueberry muffins for my family, He spoke.  So, here goes my processing of what He said.

Let me rewind a bit for you, so we have the whole picture here.  For the past few weeks, I have been in a funk.  Not sure why until now. Perhaps it was the reset, I've thought?  Or summer?  Or no margin for me, which I DESPERATELY need?  What is it that has had me in a funk?  I've been unable to put my finger on it until now.  It's been to the point where I have been looking for part time jobs. That's usually my first key that something is "off."  See, it's easy for me to justify working ~ it would be good to work part time, be out of the house, have a "place of my own," have boundaries from home/separation, something to DO.  Yes, I'm a coach and I love coaching and believe it's been a great fit for me for the time being, but like I said I couldn't quite put my finger on what was up.  As I've looked for jobs, they have been too confining ~ full time, no thanks, I don't want or need to work full time currently.  Part time ~ there are very FEW part time jobs that 1. are flexible {think hours of 8-12; 1-5.....I have children to drop off and pick up at school people!} 2. that are a good fit for my skills, abilities and passions. Which leads me to the realization that my theory of working part time doesn't match my current reality.  Then, I feel stuck.  Ugh. Melissa doesn't like to be stuck.  If you know me well, you know that is true.  

A few weeks ago, I started to read a phenomenal book by Lara Casey about fear. It's called "Make It Happen: Surrender Your Fear, Take the Leap, Live On Purpose." Highly recommend it!  One of the exercises in the book makes you list your fears.  One of the ones I listed is "fear of missing my life." To be honest, I don't know where that came from, but I wrote it down and didn't really think much of it.

Fast forward to yesterday, I came home from teaching Cize Live and started to work on my facebook like page.  As I was working on it, I could feel the irritation rising, but didn't know the root of it.  The irritation continued throughout the day and Chad and I had a nice long talk last night about where I'm at, what I'm doing, what I feel God is calling me to, etc. To be honest, I don't know....there are a lot of question marks right now so I'm pressing into Him and asking Him to show me His plans for me and my life.  

I think part of it too, is come fall, I will have 2 kiddos in school full time, which will be a first for me in 8 years.  I think that's an underlying part of all this.....There is a goal I've wanted to hit for sometime now that hasn't happened that has me frustrated, I think I am learning I care more than most people do about themselves, which is frustrating because you can't make people care.  So, there are all these tiny little irritations adding up, it seems.  And, of course, that fear of missing my life........

So, now that we have the backstory covered, this morning as I was making muffins, I heard God say "you are afraid of missing your life, and your fear of missing your life is making you miss your life," or something to that effect.  WHOA.  See, I'm striving so hard and working so hard on all these goals and things that I can't control, and they are kinda making me miss my life.  In my spirit, I know I need to have better boundaries and be more focused during work time.  I need to be INTENTIONAL. A plan needs to be in place for me to follow and get the "a priorities" done so that when the kids are awake/active/home/ready, I'm all in.  I want to be fully present and engaged with my family, but haven't been.  And, that is my own fault.  I've been too worried about missing something online and in someone else's life, that it's taken away from my own.  Ouch. These are hard words to type.

So, now that the realization/awareness is there, what do I do with it?  That's really what matters and makes the difference, right?  Is that the action is taken in the direction we want to go.  Since accountability is key with anything we want to achieve, I'm writing out the following and asking you, my friends, to please hold me accountable for these things:

* I am committing to not spend as much time on social media/my computer each day.
* I am committing to set office hours and work in those pockets of time.  They will be morning before the kids are awake, a check at lunch/afternoon time, and after they are in bed.  If you message me, please know I will reply in 24 hours.
* I am committing to not be a "johnny on the spot" reply type of person anymore!

* I am committing to being more present for my family and friends in person than I am online.

Anyone else struggle with this, or is it just me?  Thanks for helping me with this, friends! We need each other in this life, don't we?

In closing, this quote from Mother Teresa has been showing up a few times and it's resonating with me.  This:

Friday, June 10, 2016

Let's Talk About Fear.....What the Heck Are We So Afraid Of? And, Why?

Can I just be really real, honest, transparent and vulnerable with you?  If you've said no, go ahead and stop reading, it's ok.  My feelings won't be hurt, I won't be offended.  I'm sitting here in tears this morning.  Know why? Because of fear.  I am grieved by how many people let that stupid f word hold them back from living.  In so many ways!  {And by f word, I mean fear.....hope ya know that!}  I know because I've been there.

God has really opened my eyes in the past few months to 2 things that have held me back from reaching my potential for Him.  They are shame and fear.  Ironically, "fearless" was my word for last year.  "Unashamed" is my word for this year.  Yet, there is still so much fear in me I'm realizing. Here are some of my fears, to be really honest {see, here I go!!!!}

  • Fear of leaving the house with things out of place.  Why does that scare me?  Not sure, maybe it's more of control and not wanting to come home to a mess?  Still processing that one.
  • Fear of what people think of me.  This is big.  I don't ever want to be "that girl." Who the heck is "that girl," anyway and what did she do to anyone?  Part of what God is showing me is to be ME.  For someone who has had identity issues for most of her life, this is new for me.  But, I am learning that He has made me with a huge heart to help people, with a heart for business, with a desire to see lives transformed by Him and His power, but also by food and nutrition . Our bodies are temples for His glory, after all, so don't we need to learn to treat them as such? But why don't we?  For me, my issues were fear and shame {this may be another post, friends, I'm digressing here}. Back to what people think of me....I am His child, passionate about helping others be their best selves.  I'm not going to hold back from posting who I am or what He has called me to.  Learning to accept that if people don't like me or my posts and choose to unfollow me, that is ok.  I'm not here for their purpose or glory, but for His.
  • Fear of my success being selfish.  This is a big one for me.  Still praying and asking God to reveal the root of it.  Work in progress here!
  • Fear of not being liked/approved.  Yup, people pleaser in remission here.  Pretty sure I'm aware of the cause/root of it and have worked and will continue to work on this.  I do think that the core, everyone does want to be loved and accepted, right? {Maslow's hierarchy of needs?}
  • Fear of the loss of control.  Now, this one is just dumb, I know because I'm not really in control!  Yet, I feel {ugh, those feelings are deceptive, friends!} that when my "ducks are in a row" and I'm prepared for the next thing, I am.  When that isn't the case, fear rises up.
  • Fear of the unknown.  Ugh, this might go back to the control issue mentioned above.

    So, now that I have bared my soul here, what are some things you are afraid of? I'm learning to ask myself "where does this fear come from," and "what is the WORST that could happen if these fears happened?" Normally, it isn't that big of a deal, in the worst case scenario.  The root of the fear is the hurdle it seems, because that's work. It's work to go back and figure that out, there might be pain involved, but from someone who is starting to come out on the other side of the fear, it's so worth it!

    If you struggle with fear, I recommend the book "Make It Happen, Surrender Your Fear, Take the Leap, Live on Purpose," by Lara Casey.  Life changing, friends!  Please don't let fear hold you back from being all God called you to be and all He has for you. "It is for FREEDOM He set us free.  Stand firm, then, and do not LET YOURSELVES {it's a choice, my addition here....} be burdened again by a yoke of slavery."  ~ Galatians 5:1.

    What is slavery?  "A condition compared to that of a slave in respect to exhausting labor or RESTRICTED FREEDOM."  Not sure about you, but restricted freedom sure doesn't sound like what Jesus came to give us, does it?  Step out of your fear friends, I'm doing it right alongside you as well.  It's time to get the noose of fear off of your neck and WALK IN YOUR FREEDOM, without shame, without guilt, without fear. Let's do this!!!  {Phil. 4:13}


Sunday, June 5, 2016

Looking At A Home Based Business, or Way to Earn Income From Home? Can I Help?

Hiya!  Are you looking to build a home based business, or a way to earn income from home?  Can I help?  You might be thinking "well, you've had how many businesses, how can you help?"  Exactly.  I have done several different businesses and offer a unique perspective of things to consider before you decide.  They say "make your mess your message," so hopefully my mess will help you!

It might be helpful for you to know some of the various businesses I've tried.  Are ya ready?  {You might need to take your socks off to count on your toes too, LOL!}


Mary Kay
Taste of Home Entertaining ~ trip earner, top recruiter for the company, Director status

Send Out Cards
Jockey Person to Person
Initial Outfitters
Boresha Fat Burning Coffee

Neal's Yard Remedies

There might be more, if there are, I honestly forget at this point, ha.  I've been a Team Beachbody Coach now for 2 years and if I had known then what I know now, I would have joined this opportunity much sooner.  Here are my tips/things for you to consider:

1. Does the business model fit my life? Meaning how do you share the products?  Is it at parties? Through social media?  If social media, do you have to take a lot of pictures to upload?  What does the company encourage you to do to share the products and the business?  If it is a party plan model, does that work for this season of your life with your family and other responsibilities?  Definitely think that through.  That is ultimately why I stopped with Taste of Home Entertaining.  I had a newborn baby and was nursing, so being gone for hours at parties in the evening wasn't conducive to our lifestyle at that time. {Post partum may have had something to do with that as well.}

2. What is the mentality of the company? What is their focus?  Does their mission and vision align with who I am and what I am about?  If not, it would be wise to consider what you like about them and why you are attracted to them.  This is key, in my opinion. "Everything rises and falls on leadership" as Bill Hybels says.  It's true.

3. Is the product something people need &/or want?  That's a key question to ask.  This will help you determine who your market will be. If you love a product, but your friends and family don't, who will you share with to get your business off the ground?  {A lot of times, we start with family and friends and branch out from there.}  It's important to look for something that there is a need/desire for in peoples lives.

4. Is this a product that people will continue to order, or is it a one and done type deal? Another important question to ask.  Is it a business that will generate reorders?  Is it a consumable product, that people will use up and need/want to get more?  There are lots of products out there that people just don't need a lot of.  Once they have it, they have enough. So consider that as well.

5.  Price point.  Is the product affordable for those I know?  Another thing to ponder.  :)

6. Is the product something I believe in and am willing to share?  This is also crucial because you are going to hear "no."  However, when your mission, vision, passion and belief in the product are solid, it doesn't matter. You keep going!  Trust me, been there, done that! You could also ask "is this something I am passionate about?"  If the answer is yes, that's a good sign!

7. Ask and think about things like inventory. Do you keep product on hand and have to send it out?  If so, do you want and are you able to spend a lot of time at the post office? If you have inventory, how much does that cost?Will that cost be a deterrent to others from joining you?

8. Start up cost and other fees.  How much does it cost to join?  Is it something that most people can afford, or could work to afford in a short time frame?  What are the recurring fees, if any?

9. Company return policy.  If people order and don't like it, are you responsible for that? Or does the company take care of it?  All of these details and little questions are so important.

10.  Training.  What type of training will you receive?  It's important to have a solid foundation laid as you start a business, as well as opportunities for continued growth.

What other things are important to consider or ask, do you think?  Did I miss anything?  If you have questions or I can be of help, please let me know.  At the end of the day, my best advice is pray about it, do your homework and talk with your spouse about it.



Saturday, June 4, 2016

How Riding A Bike Brought Up FEAR In Me, Yet Made Me Feel Alive

A few months ago, our daughter learned to ride her bike without training wheels, which is a pretty big deal!  It's also special because one of her friends from school helped her to learn how.  As a mama, it's been great fun watching her "get it."  Watching her embrace her fear of getting on, falling, yet getting back up and going again.  I have loved every minute of it.

Yet, it's funny how becoming a parent has brought all these fears out in me.  See, I used to ride bikes when I was a kid.  But, one time I had a pretty bad crash.  It let fear set it and deter me from riding again.  Until, the one time Chad and I were camping with his family and I decided to try again. Picture me, not having ridden a bike in years {due to fear}, trying to ride again.  At a campground. On a dirt hill going up.  In high heel sandals.  You can probably picture how this went.  {And, I don't know why I was wearing heels camping?!}  So, I got on the bike, rode up the hill, quit pedaling, got to the top and literally fell over on the bike.  It was great.  Yet, once again, fear with a bike was created and I haven't ridden since.......Until, our sweet daughter asked me to ride with her.  I tried using the "I don't have a helmet" excuse for about as long as I could, then just bit the bullet.

With a new helmet in hand, my excuses were gone.  A few weeks ago, we went to a local park with trails.  I posted this picture on facebook and asked friends to pray for me.  I secretly hoped the saying "it's like riding a bike," were true.  Only picturing the times I rode the bike successfully without injury! {No, that's not my Ninja Turtle one!!}

I prayed as I got on the bike and told my daughter to lead.  And, lead she did, with me following behind.  But, I did it!  It was exhilarating to get over something that held me back for so long and just DO IT!  It was amazing!  As we were riding, my heart was filled with gratitude and thankfulness for so many things.  I felt ALIVE.  Like really alive and it was incredible!    I was so thankful for the opportunity to have this experience with our daughter and do something together active that we both enjoy!  It was truly a win win and there are many more rides in our future together!  Friends, my advice to you is this ~ If there is something you are fearful of, do it afraid!  Don't let fear continue to control and shackle you, as it did me.  You've been given a life, so go LIVE it!!!

Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Thoughts On Giving Up Coffee On The Ultimate Reset

So, a few weeks ago on facebook, I posted this picture. 

It's the Ultimate Reset I ordered, which is a 3 week program.  The goal of it is to get the inside of your body in great shape, to give it a reset. That includes doing things like reclaiming your body, releasing unwanted compounds that hold our bodies back {think toxins, pollutants, chemicals, etc}, and restoring the digestive system.  {Which 80% of your immune system is in your gut, so I want mine restored, please!}  However, the struggle I have with it is eliminating the coffee. Let me explain.

See, part of me thinks "it's only 3 weeks, I can do anything for 3 weeks. To get the full flavor/results/impact/effectiveness of the program, I should cut out coffee."  Ok, so that's one camp. The other camp is over here saying "it's not like you're going to cut out coffee forever, so why bother? It's only 3 weeks. You can get a low acid coffee and use that. You will be fine."  Then, I go back to thinking that's not following the full program though and I want to prove to myself I can do it.  See, the struggle is real!

Then I get into the whole "you've given up so much as it is, why give up coffee?  Coffee is like the one thing left, ha!?"  We have cut out wheat and dairy due to food intolerances and with clean eating, there's not a lot of junk food we eat anymore.  That's totally fine because I don't like it anymore and don't really miss it either, so that's not a big deal, it's just the idea of something being taken away, ya know?  

So, that's where I'm at.  Still haven't decided what I'm doing on the coffee yet, but will let you know. Ugh.  Why does it have to be so hard? Is it possible it's an idol to me?  I've been trying to think through and really pray about what coffee means for me, what it does for me, etc. And, maybe that's it.  Maybe it's an idol.  Not sure....but ya know I will update when I know more!

Thanks for letting me process this.  I'm an external processor, so this is helpful!!

Friday, May 27, 2016

Summer and the Reality of My PTSD

Yes, I have PTSD.  As much as I prefer to say I HAD, the reality is I still have it and sometimes it is apparent.  Other times, it is not.  I do believe God has done a mighty healing in me with the PTSD and I have learned to manage it well with nutrition and exercise, however, I do still get "triggered." This reality hit home this week through some various situations that surfaced.

My kids got out of school for the summer this week.  It's been a rough week,  My husband is just getting over bronchitis and our daughter seems to have caught some of it from him. She doesn't have bronchitis, but she has this nasty cough that's been around for a few weeks.  Our oils, natural remedies and medicines haven't helped much.  So, that's frustrating.  There has also been a lot of sugar involved with it being the end of the school year {don't even get me started on that...that is ANOTHER blog post, friends!}  Monday, it all kind of hit the fan after I picked the kids up at school. Our daughter also has food allergies, and I believe the combo of being tired, sick and having something we shouldn't have food wise led to the rough evening we had.  Behavior was out of control, she was irrational, it wasn't a pretty evening at our home.

The next night, it was our son's turn to throw a 45 minute fit.  That was fun too!  Oh, and I forgot my husband had been gone all weekend, so add that to the mix as well!  Good times here....So, husband being gone all weekend, sick child, lack of sleep, 2 45-60 minute tantrums back to back, all the week of school getting out.......nice, huh?

I posted that Tuesday night on facebook something about dreading summer.  Because at the time I was.  Routines are important to me, as are schedules, I also need margin, time to myself, quiet and some time when people don't need something from me.  See, all of that changes with summer.  I love my kids dearly and of course would do anything for them, but the reality is I have PTSD.  And, it sometimes rears it's ugly head when I am triggered. What are my triggers?  Well, unfortunately, sometimes, my children.  See, conflict is one {they tend to fight more after extended amounts of time together...hello, summer!}, lack of margin is another {hello, summertime!  Granted, there are camps, etc., but it's not the same as the school schedule}, noise is another one {the house is much noisier when they are home vs when they are at school,  usually it's yelling...see trigger #1.} So, as you can tell, summer is more challenging for me.  And, I just realized why this week.

After my post on Tuesday night, another friend posted something about it being a pet peeve that people post dreading summer with their kids.  As friends continued to comment on it, someone said "how unloved those kids must feel."  This brought up a lot of emotions in me.  I was angry, hurt, upset, but most of all I felt misunderstood.  It also made me feel like a bad mom, because most moms do enjoy their kids being home {I do too, don't get me wrong, but I am also more triggered then as well.}  After praying about responding or not, I decided to let it go.  The reality is it's not a black or white situation.  There are lots of factors in everyone's situation, I think. Personality being one {of moms and kids both}, what activities are planned for the summer, what the routine looks like, if the mom feels called to be home or to work, see, there are so many factors to consider including several I didn't write that it's not so clear.  Do my kids know I love them?  You betcha they do.  Am I a bad mom because I struggle in the summer and it's hard for me? I don't think so,  I think it makes me human. Personally, I am thankful God showed me this so I can make progress in these areas.  After all, knowledge is the first step, right?  Now that I'm aware of my triggers, I can hopefully manage or diffuse the situation.  

The other emotion I felt from that post was injustice.  It's not my fault I have PTSD.  It's no one's fault they have PTSD.  In fact, I felt God saying that to my spirit all day on Tuesday, "it's not your fault."   Even if it was my fault, or I thought it was, God came to set me free from shame/guilt/condemnation, whatever it is.  He did the same for you too. 

So, friends, anyone else struggle with summer?  Let's hear some tips of what works well for you and your kiddos in the summer. Would love to get some fresh ideas!  Thanks!