Just Start

Hello and Happy New Year! I hope you have had a fabulous Holiday season and feel refreshed, recharged, and ready to dig into your new year. I’ll be honest. I’ve been struggling a bit to feel ready and “all pulled together.” I feel like I’m already behind and we just started!!!

Do you happen to feel this way too?

Sometimes, I feel like I need to have everything in place. A perfect plan. All of the steps need to be laid out and scheduled on my planner. All the little questions filled out with deep, profound personal goals.

Want to know a secret?

You don’t have to have it all together.

Seriously. While it is good and helpful to have a plan, there is no deadline saying you’re too late or oh well, you’re seven days in and haven’t changed anything…. might as well not make any goals. The year’s a bust.


That drag and uncertainty has weight. It’s called resistance, but it can’t stop you from starting anything. In fact, sometimes just starting will be the very thing that pushes that resistance back and allows you the freedom to figure out exactly what you are supposed to be pursuing.

So, let’s quickly brainstorm what you can start today.

Does your body feel tired, run, down, or heavy?
If the answer is yes, commit to our new support group. We’ll help you create a plan to work towards more energy, better, sleep, better nutrition, and a body that functions the way it was designed.

Do you feel depressed, overwhelmed, or confused about your feelings or purpose?
If yes, commit to seeking a counselor, Bible study group, or life coach.

Do you want to learn more about something?
If yes, commit to researching it, joining a class, or asking someone to be your tutor or mentor.

Making the decision to actually start and then applying action to that decision is often the most difficult part of the process of changing anything. Can I encourage you to just choose something and make the commitment? There are so many different opportunities out there waiting for you.

All you need to do is start.

Can You Hear It?

Waking up this morning I was surrounded by the soft sound of rain falling heavily around my room. The sound changes as I sit in my morning quiet time space. The roof here is flat and the sound has a slight metallic ping to the raindrops plunking down.

Quiet is hard for me, but it is something that I have been intentionally cultivating this year during my morning routine. During this morning’s reading the rain fluctuated from plinking to downright deluge, the roar of it overpowering the piano hymns playing on my phone (a tactic I use to keep me from playing on my phone). The quiet is disrupted by the external downpour.

But after the short outburst of rain, the soft plinking returned, the yard looked fresh and clean. My thoughts turn back toward the ideas of what I want or need 2019 to become. It’s still a bit jumbled and not exactly planned out. Rich and I are going to be doing that together over the next few days.

What I do know that I heard during that quiet moment is this…

The rain washes away the grime of 2018, the failures, the coulda, woulda, shouldas and leaves a clean canvas for the new possibilities that 2019 holds.

The sound that is left after the deluge is full of opportunity, promise, and most of all… hope.

How Do We Remember?

Hello! I hope you are having a great morning and that your weekend was restful and fun! We only have two more weeks of 2018 and I have been casually reflecting on the past year. I’ll be honest, I’m really not ready to let it go just yet. See, 2019 brings along my son’s 18th birthday and graduation from high school. All the things are going to change this upcoming year.

2019 is going to be a ginormous year of change for us, how about you? One of the things I want to make sure that we do is to be intentional about the things we can and to live in every opportunity and moment we have been given. Life moves so quickly. I remember people telling me it would feel like blinking and then my kids would be adults. You know what? They were right! And while some days felt super long and painful, the years have flown by with supersonic speed boosters!

While we can’t do anything about life whizzing by, we can do a few things to make sure that we really enjoy, celebrate, and learn from our experiences. Here are a few of my favorite ways…

Create a “Good Things” Jar
This marks the second full year we did this. All you need is a container of sorts (we use a large glass mason jar), slips of paper and a writing utensil. Put it out on the counter and encourage  family members to write down anything they feel that is “good.” On New Year’s Eve take out all the slips and read them together as a family. This created a fabulous time of “reflecting” on all the good things we had experienced throughout the course of the year. It is by far, my favorite tradition we’ve done!

I want to be a good “journal-er” I really do, but my journals are sporadic and not daily. Fear not! This is okay 🙂 Journal the things that you have to process, that you want to figure out how to do better, or just the things that you want to remember. Did you know that keeping a journal has no rules or “right way” to be done? You have complete freedom to use your journal in any way that helps you reflect on your life and heart, just be sure to go back and read your entries every now and then. It may surprise you how far you’ve come!

Create a Time Capsule
I wish I would have thought about this one last year, but alas I did not. Choose a container and add items throughout the year to commemorate your year and let others know what you experienced. There are all sorts of ways to do this, but here is a tutorialif you need a place to start!

There are so many ways to help us remember the good and yes, the struggles in order that we may remember to be grateful, learn from our mistakes and create better goals and lives in the future. We just need to be intentional about reflecting, remembering, and learning.

Batch Method Meal Prep

There are many different ways to prepare food for your family, so it may take a little time to find what works for you. I personally use something called the “Batch Method”  (which I didn’t know had a name until I researched other meal prep tips).

What is the Batch Method?
This is a type of meal prep strategy that includes creating large batches of food to be used over different meals. Stews, soups, or large batches of a versatile protein or veggies work best here.

What tools work best?
I prefer to use my large crock pot, but for those of you with insta-pots those would be a wonderful choice as well. You could also do a large roasting dish inside the oven.


  • Choose how many days are in your meal plan. Mine is typically five days in rotation.
  • Pick different “batches” or meal components for your days. I do three for the five day rotation.
  • Choose recipes that can be doubled or tripled in your chosen method of cooking. (Bonus for picking ingredients on sale or in season!)


  • Clean and cut up the raw ingredients needed for each batch
  • Write cooking directions on the outside of a zip bag 
  • Add all raw ingredients in zip bag (if you need to add broth, keep that aside in another container unless it works as a marinade)
  • Add seasonings
  • Put in fridge or freezer as recipe calls
  • Defrost the necessary time, per recipe, before cooking
  • Cook according to directions
  • Enjoy!

Do You Need More Focus?

Our family has been hustling around, working through school, two plays, and our new adventure as Superheroes. Who knew all those good things would be hard to juggle? I find it so easy to lose my focus because I want to do it all.

This is also the time of year that everyone starts thinking about upcoming holidays and comfort food. Taking care of ourselves becomes less of a priority and we start pushing thoughts of health and fitness toward the New Year.

But, what if the end of this year could be different? What if we didn’t wait until the New Year to care for our own health? What if we didn’t gain an extra 10-15 pounds over the Holidays like the average American? What if we could make a few small course corrections and up up healthier at the end of this year instead of waiting for the “resolution season.” Can you even imagine how good we could feel through the Holidays? 

Here are a few ways to add a little health focus to your Fall.

Eat what is in season.
Fall has a great bounty of veggies and fruits. Choose from all sorts of squash, peppers, and mushrooms. Check out fruitsandveggiesmorematters.com for a big list of in season choices.

Choose one day per week to indulge.
I know many people may frown on this, but when temptation for all the food is high, I plan a day to indulge. It gives me freedom from guilt and a way to plan for events that might only offer food choices that deviate from my regular meal plan. 

Get outside and move that body!
Fall is the perfect time to get outside. The temperature is no longer scorching and it has not quite gotten to be freezing yet. Go outside and play football, go for a hike, walk around the park, or visit an orchard and pick apples!

Words Matter

Ladies, when was the first time you remember that someone mentioned your weight and how it affected your appearance? Do you replay these words said to you in your youth? If you’re anything like me, the answer tends to be yes more often than you like. Not all the comments are negative in nature but they tend to still be influential to our beliefs about our own beauty and value.

The way we view our own health, beauty, and yes, even value has been molded by the words we’ve heard said to us by both well and ill meaning family members, friends, bullies, and yes even strangers. Our society is all convoluted about where the value of our ladies is found and the pressure to conform to that image is large and heavy to our young people.

I had two separate conversations with young girls where they both told me they had either been called fat or their nickname was “chubby.” My heart broke for these two beautiful girls. One, probably ten or eleven told me she was on a “diet” and that people sometimes call her “fat.” These words, unless combatted with love and deliberate attention will follow these girls into adulthood, just like it has you and me.

We as grown men and women have a chance to help mold our young ladies opinions of their own bodies by how we treat and speak to them. Please understand that I’m not an advocate for turning a blind eye to the health needs of children at risk for obesity, but that we handle it with care and carefully choose our words. Sometimes it is tricky because we want our kids to be healthy and make good nutritional choices.

I’ve spent some time working with grown women and young teen ladies about their own health and fitness and along the way I’ve come up with some general guidelines of what to say when it comes to addressing health and nutrition with not only our young people, but also to our selves.

Kick the word “diet” out of your vocabulary.
It has no place. It creates tension and dread. Instead use the words “meal plan” It holds intention and does not hold a negative connotation.

Avoid the words “I have to lose weight.”
Unless there is a medical necessity to lose weight this phase needs to follow diet to the garbage can. Instead choose phrases like “I want to be healthier.”

Do not use the words “skinny, thin, fat, chubby etc” in relation to your self or others.
Those words hold the weight of value or condemnation in reference to outer appearance. They also stay in someone’s inner dialogue if not combated. Our value is not based on how we look but from who we are. Using these terms tend to change that perspective in our beliefs.

Encourage using phrase with positive messages.
Try making healthy and balanced choices and getting stronger, and choosing good nutrition the majority of the time.

Indulge in treats.
Yep, I said indulge in treats. But view them only as treats and not a staple in your regular nutrition. Attempt to build a healthy view of food with a balance.

We need to retrain our own brains to choose the words we allow to run through our own inner dialogues with intention and practice.  But can help stop the negativity from ever beginning in our young by how we speak to them as they are growing. Choosing the words we speak is incredibly important and we have a responsibility to choose wisely.

What’s the easiest way to reduce carbs?

Well, the short answer is super simple and comes off a bit snarky… you just stop eating them. But you know as well as I do that our food choices don’t always follow this clear and simple directive. So, let’s explore this a bit.

Let’s back it up a few years ago. I followed a meal and exercise plan called Body for Life. Honestly, I still use some of the foundational strategies I learned during this program. The basic idea is that for each meal you have a serving of protein, a serving of veggies, and a carb. It was the first time I had to choose one kind of carb. Did I want to eat the roll or the fruit? This very simple choice became profound in the way I choose what kind of carb to eat. When I started this journey, I didn’t know there was a good carb, bad carb battle going on in the world. I just knew that I enjoyed the taste and how I felt after eating the fruit instead of the bread. I naturally started choosing a more complex carb without knowing what I was doing.

So, what is the difference between carbs and what does it matter?
According to Brent Brannen of gotswag.com…

First, to understand what makes a good carb “good” and a bad carb “bad,” you have to understand what a carb is. Carbs are one of the three macronutrients (along with protein and fat), all of which break down into the body’s primary source of energy known as glucose. After eating carbs, your body either uses the energy immediately, or stores it in your muscles and liver as glycogen for later use.

So, what in the world is the difference between simple and complex carbs? At the risk of oversimplifying the science, simple carbs such as breads, pastas, and baked goods, cause a quick spike in blood sugar and insulin response, creating a quick energy burst, also known as a sugar rush but because the fuel burns hot and fast the energy leads to a crash. This is why we often experience a let down and need more sugar to keep our energy level up. 

Complex carbs like fruits and veggies have more fiber and therefore take longer to digest, allowing the energy to have a more sustained release and less chance of crash. They allow us to have more energy over a longer period of time.

At this point, if you’re still reading, you’re probably wondering how all of this matters in reducing your carb intake. Well, I have found that the easiest way of reducing carbs is to replace their spot in my meals with other carbs. Yep, that’s what I said I replace carbs with carbs!

It all starts with that little question, do I want the roll or the fruit? For me, I found that eating a serving of fruit or veggie greatly increased how good my body felt and functioned. Also, when we just cut something drastically out of our meal plans we tend to focus on our loss instead of how good we are feeling. 

So, the bottom line here is to choose the healthier version of carbohydrate. over time the habit of choosing a more complex carb over a simple one will reduce your overall intake of carbs.
Some simple examples…

Instead of spaghetti…
serve zoodles or roasted veggies covered in meat sauce.

Instead of a flour tortilla…
use a corn or spinach tortilla

Instead of the bread…
pick the fruit.

Reboot: Have you tried turning it off and on again?

Last week we talked about looking over our “why” and determining the deep set reason that we are working towards a particular goal. It really is crucial to find the inner motivation for the goal or we tend to jump ship easily.

But you might be saying, I already know my why and I’m still struggling to stay with the plan. This reminds me of the IT Guys skit about restarting the computer. The first question they always ask is, “have you tried turning it off and on again?” But in reality it takes just a little more examination. Could I suggest that it could be a couple of simple things keeping you from fully investing in that journey?

Your WHY isn’t strong enough.
Many times the reason we choose to pursue a goal doesn’t have a strong enough inner conviction. Choosing to lose weight to fit into certain size rarely holds enough “weight” to keep us on track. It just simply isn’t important enough to us. But, choosing to lose weight to avoid a major surgery or heart attack obviously would create a stronger sense of conviction. How strong is your why?

The plan is too dramatic of a change.
I can’t tell you how many people, including myself, want to change all the things at the same time. We completely overhaul our schedule, throw out all the junk, and then try to subsist on carrots and celery all week. My friend, we are just not wired to change everything overnight. 

Start by just addressing a couple of the areas first. Add a twenty minute walk to your day instead of choosing to do a three hour lifting session. I know that sounds like it may be less effective, but if you jump off the wagon the first couple of days because it was too overwhelming you won’t experience any results outside of feeling like a failure… again.

You are afraid.
Ugh, this one hits me hard. I spend a lot of time second guessing myself, telling myself I can’t do it, or actually being afraid of success (what the heck is that about?!). But many of us really struggle with the confidence of actually following our plan. We think the plan is flawed, we are flawed, and there is no way this is ever going to work.

My friend, this is Evil speaking into you and me. That fear is a liar. Let me say it again. Fear is a LIAR. It wants you to fail and stay miserable, but the truth is that you have everything you need to succeed available to you. And so do I. We just need to learn how to speak truth into ourselves and when we can’t, we need to have someone that can. That can be a friend, a coach, a trainer, a Bible study leader, but the best one is Jesus. He speaks truth about us all over the place. We can find that Truth written through scripture and it is life altering. Truth is the best way to battle that fear and walk boldly toward our goals!

What’s love got to do with it?

Love. We use the word for so many different reasons…

I love summer.
I love Star Wars.
I love reading.
I love my family.
I love tacos.

We use the word love so often I feel we have become over familiar with the term. We often misinterpret or miss the full meaning of the word, especially when we hear it said to us. “I love you” is a phrase we all long to hear, but often doubt the authenticity of the meaning. We live our lives wanting to be filled with love but often doubting the giver. What about loving ourselves?

In scripture we are often commanded to love others, neighbors, and even our enemies but we often gloss over the phrase hidden in Mark 12:31:

“Love your neighbor as yourself.

Whoa! How many of us love ourselves? I know that my inner dialogue most days includes a plethora of phrases loaded with anything but love regarding myself. How often do we come into our health and fitness journeys because of something we hate about ourselves or find disgusting? I started my own personal health and fitness journey because I loathed what I had let myself become and for a while that was a good motivator.

Being tired of being sick and tired can be a good jumping off point, but it does not provide lasting motivation to pursue a healthy lifestyle. In fact, if we still feel disgust and hatred toward ourselves then we will speak negatively into our inner dialogue and continue believing we are failures, disappointments, and unable to succeed. 

What if we began from a heart place of self love instead of disgust or disappointment? What if we learned to care for our bodies because we loved them? Let that sink in for a minute. Don’t we treat other people we love with much more care and respect than we do ourselves? Would you ever speak to your spouse, child, or friend like you do yourself?

How do we do this? How do we learn to love ourselves? Positive mantras and “surfacey” platitudes will not create a new heart perspective toward ourselves. In fact, the Bible says in 1 John 4:19 that we “love because He first loved us.” My friend we must inundate ourselves with God’s love before we can learn to love anybody else well, especially ourselves. We must sit with Him, ask for his love, read about his love, and choose to believe and receive his love. This is the heart of our health and fitness journey. We cannot be healthy without Him.

Monday October 1st we are going to start on a 30 day journey of discovering how to love ourselves well by exploring scripture, our own personal beliefs, and moving our bodies out of thankfulness and gratitude. Are you interested in going on this adventure with us? Join us today!

Perspective: Friend or Foe?

I was thinking about new beginnings, contemplating what makes us stop things we’ve started? Was it because it was hard? We got busy? Life does actually get in the way at times, but by and large the biggest reason we quit is because we’ve lost perspective on why we were doing it in the first place.

I was struggling this weekend with motivation. The get up and go to do some of the things I am responsible for, had got up and gone… I mentally struggled with what I wanted to do versus what I needed to do. Well, actually I didn’t want to do anything.My husband looked at me and said…

“You need to remember your why.”

My WHY. I haven’t revisited it in a good long while. Why am I a coach?Why do I exercise? Why do we homeschool? All of these are valid questions and important priorities in my life. It is important for me to remind myself of the reasons why they are important.

Why is the driving force. It is the purpose and desire behind the activities we do. When we know WHY we do something there is more passion, more drive, more commitment to the activity. It is especially important when we have a certain goal we are working toward yet we feel so far away from attaining it or the motivation to work of it.

When we know WHY we want or need something the motivation is natural and organic. We won’t have to create it out of thin air and we will feel more purpose in the journey. More purpose will produce more satisfaction and therefore more motivation. How we think can work us toward or against our goals. Our perspective can help us or hurt us. How is yours treating you?