Archives for Health

Building a Strong Foundation in Your Child: the Magic is in the Details

I’m convinced that the fundamental and distinctive characteristics and qualities of an individual – call it their moral and spiritual DNA, is formed by what is taught and trained, ingrained in them day-by-day over years and years. This process creates the very essence of their lives, the vital foundation from which future life decisions originate.

We humans like to compartmentalize everything. But life is holistic.* Everything’s connected.

For instance, our kid gets acne so we buy the cadillac of zit creams and slather it to remedy the crisis. But in actuality did you know that skin issues are most often a symptom of what lies beneath in the gut, the foundation of a healthy body?!

This revelation as it applies to our physical health is truly revolutionary – but it’s just as powerful in our parenting.

The value of a solid, healthy foundation really cannot be exaggerated. It’s essential to a solid life. It’s the result of a consistent, faithful presence doing what needs to be done over the course of someone’s life development.

Find any individual having a positive impact in the world, look over their shoulder and it’s likely you’ll see a dedicated parent or parental figure who invested a lot into their foundation. It’s precisely what made the person who the person is.

A mother and a father have such power. Super powers in fact, but the most important people on the planet are ofttimes hidden and underestimated, and eclipsed by the myths of popular culture.

Historically, many mothers dismiss their influence as inconsequential. They imagine vainly that they’re flunkie moms, glorified maids, dull nannies.

They don’t comprehend that their daily multitudinous tasks for their family’s benefit are setting the mold for their children. They reckon, “if women can have it all, why on earth would I not hire out all the unimportant tasks to someone less gifted?” But very little is unimportant in the scope of parenting.


It’s easy for parents to overlook the fact that the most important moment of their lives is always **NOW**!

Yes, everything matters because this is a holistic, comprehensive approach to developing a human being.

  • the organic green smoothie you’re blending
  •  the chore chart you’re making
  • the book you’re reading aloud
  • the iPhone you’re denying
  • the attitude you’re correcting
  • the big screen television that’s not running
  • the thank you note you’re requiring
  • the bed you’re making
  • the prayer you’re praying
  • the credit cards you’re shredding
  • the marriage vows you’re honoring
  • the political discussion you’re broaching
  • the foster child you’re nurturing
  • the meal you’re delivering to the elderly neighbor
  • the gossip you aren’t tolerating at the dinner table…is all working in synergy to produce a combined effect in your child that is greater than the sum of their separate effects to build a healthy, whole, stable individual who will in turn, build a healthy, whole, stable society with their influence on the world around them.

You are developing a culture in which your child is eternally influenced through all their five senses, soul and spirit.

Children do not primarily need the benefits of a mother bringing home an additional paycheck, but the entire household needs the influence of a mother in the home in these formative years.

We have only to scan the news headlines to see life after broken life, fool after fool, train wreck after train wreck of lives coming undone.
Unstable people without a clue.
Their foundations weren’t laid properly.
They are sorely lacking in substance.
It’s not a speech they need – too late for that.
Rehab may help. But it’s iffy.
It was the tireless, unending, laborious, exhausting, discipline and discipleship of a mother and father that was foisted off on others who didn’t have what it takes to get the job done in a youngster’s life.

Dr. Caroline Leaf, cognitive neuroscientist and best selling author confirms this principle in her book, Who Switched Off My Brain. “Childhood is a particularly crucial time for the brain because neural sculpting is at its lifetime high. Many of our abilities, tendencies, talents and reactions are hardwired in childhood and set a mental stage for adulthood.

Herein lies the root of the corruption of public morals in our day. Character is developed over time and it’s what makes the world go round. It’s what determines decisions and divorces and successes and failures, monies made, stolen and given. Character drives the course of history, the condition of nations, cities, villages, communities and neighborhoods.

The dominant, constant force in that kid’s life is going to constantly dominate in his life.
It’s really quite simple.
Who’s imparting to your children-reminding, hugging, instructing, mentoring, training, re-training, repeat?
It’s all so clear.
This is easy.
This is too easy to miss when so many have their hands outstretched to take this responsibility from you.

It’s about developing values and conscience and conviction and perceptions and judgments and discernment both intentionally and ‘accidentally’ in a human being who will, in turn, touch so many other human beings for better or worse.

Your Two-Minute Takeaway

  1. What specific, helpful thoughts came to mind as you read this post? Write these thoughts down, as they are the revelation you will be inspired by into the future so that you can be aware and take appropriate action for positive change as you build a healthy foundation in your home, for the benefit of your children.
  2. Look at the big picture of your family’s weekly and monthly schedules and evaluate what really needs to change. Are you so busy and distracted that you are missing so much of ‘The NOW!’ of daily life? I’ve been there and I understand. It could be time for a course correction. Pray and ask for wisdom to bring practical change to your weekly, monthly and quarterly schedule.

*Holistic: characterized by comprehension of the parts of something as intimately interconnected and explicable only by reference to the whole.

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Surprised Myself

Hello friend,

This coming Wednesday, November 11th is a federal holiday here in the U.S. when we pause to thank our military veterans; those who have served or are serving in our armed forces in peace and in war.

In light of all we’re seeing play out before us regarding our recent bizarre, unprecedented election process, it’s a moment to reflect, talk to our children, and remind ourselves of our great Republic and the miracle of its ‘birth,’ our responsibility to protect it, and the necessity to demand truth in this pivotal moment in history.

Our privilege to vote legally in the greatest free nation on planet earth is a grace gift from God that’s been purchased and upheld by the service and sacrifice of generations of these awesome patriots.

This is our moment to stand up and speak up.

Don’t leave your responsibility to someone else.

Yes, shocking. I actually went to a theater this weekend!

I literally cannot remember the last movie I’ve seen in a theater, as much as I love a good flick.

I’ve had a Fandango credit since last summer when hubby and I planned to take our grandkids to see a new movie. We chose a different activity, and banked the credit.

Yesterday was rainy and cold and a reminder popped up to use my credit, so I randomly checked to see what was playing. There were some oldies sprinkled into the lineup and this one caught my eye.

Watching American Sniper from my cozy recliner in a first-rate, heated theater was odd, as you can imagine. The movie was brutal and heartwarming at the same time. Hats off to its production team – I think it’s worth your time.

I thought the lead characters did an outstanding job, but I didn’t leave the theater filled with lighthearted joy, to say the least. But it was a solid, healthy reminder of the price paid (and continuing to be paid) by so many men and women in our military.

Christopher Scott Kyle, the subject of the movie, was a U.S. Navy SEAL sniper who served 4 tours in the Iraq War, and was awarded several commendations for acts of heroism and meritorious service in combat.

May God bless our honorable vets and their families who sacrifice so much for our freedoms and the preservation of our legal, precious vote.

"We sleep soundly in our beds,
because rough men stand ready in the night
to visit violence on those who would do us harm."

Quick, healthy chick food girls love…

Switching gears here, but I promised to share a little time-saving, healthy tip (and a story about hubby’s food preferences lol)

We raised 5 sons – eating machines. Wasting food wasn’t an option so I always found a way to stretch and repurpose pretty much any ingredients. ‘Goulash’ was a fallback for me. OK I’m laughing out loud right now.

My dear husband will eat just about anything and never complains, but goulash crossed a line for him. Still laughing. I would typically begin with ground beef, onion, garlic, seasonings, diced tomatoes…and throw in everything but the kitchen sink. He registered his critique asking if I could limit the parade of items I tossed into it. (leftover veggies, black olives, garbanzo beans, peas, macaroni – you get the picture…)

One day I switched it up and decided to use ground turkey, diced onion, seasonings and just one or two vegetables like diced zucchini and summer squash. Instead of calling it goulash, when he asked what we were having, I said…er, uh, turkey tumble! Now I am really laughing. He eyed it suspiciously and ate it, but it’s not his fav.

I literally crave it. Use the dark meat ground turkey for optimum flavor.

I make a pile of it, keep it in the fridge and eat it until it’s gone (4 days in fridge maximum for food safety) on top of prepared, bagged, washed and ready salad mixes, baby arugula, romaine lettuce leaves, grated carrot – whatever is prepped so I just have to open the bag and dump it on a plate.

Sometimes I drizzle dressing on top; yesterday I went all out and added diced avocado and cherry tomatoes. Here’s how it looked:

Sounds so simple, but it’s delish ?

I’d love to know if you give it a try!

Enjoying the blog? I’m so glad! Have you subscribed for my weekly inspirations, helpful resources and MORE? Just do it, I hate spam too! Find the link HERE

May we summon courage and wisdom and be guided and guarded by our loving Lord in the critical days ahead.

With so much love and constant prayers,

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What’s the Big Deal About Apple Juice and Chicken Fingers??

Moms are savvy. We have to be. Many of us live on a relatively-modest income. We understand firsthand the juggling act of meeting the ever-increasing costs of housing, transportation, clothing, insurance, medical, school supplies, and the myriad of incidental expenditures we incur living our daily lives. We know how to find a screaming deal (or, how to create one!) We don’t mind begging, borrowing, or re-purposing almost anything in order to stretch our dollars like Gumby.

Then . . . there’s food. We raised five boys. Eating machines. Our grocery bill was always our highest monthly expenditure after the mortgage or rent. And nothing’s changed now that our family is expanding with marriages, grandkids and the strays we love to feed. Prices just keep climbing. 1

But groceries cost us more than money. The whole food category can wear a woman down. After inventorying our cupboards and fridge, meal planning, list-making, shopping, paying, loading, unloading . . . we’ve already invested multiple hours of our time and we haven’t even begun to prepare the food to be eaten!


Feeling pressed for time and money, we can become careless about our food choices. With all the other plates we’re spinning, who’s got time to think about balanced diets and nutrition? “Fill ‘em up fast and cheap!” may be your motto. Chicken nuggets, French fries, and mac ‘n cheese, available in bulk at the big-box store, can become very attractive options. An easy fix, and kids will be happy about lunch – one less war. A big fat black checkmark on one of life’s perpetual nagging to-do’s as a mommy, right?

Not so fast. Just by filling them up, doesn’t mean we’ve ‘fed’ them. Food is defined as ‘any nutritious substance that people eat or drink, in order to maintain life and growth.’2 Everywhere I go, kids seem to exist on non-nutritive, high-calorie, refined food-like products loaded with white flour, fillers, chemicals, sugar and salt. Much of what’s going down the hatch simply can’t be considered real ‘food.’

Like I said, “groceries cost us more than money,” but let’s make sure they’re not costing us our health.

What we’re eating is, quite frankly, a life or death matter. Here are the facts:

  • The rate of chronic disease among children has doubled in the past two decades, with much of the increase a result of obesity.3
  • An estimated one-third of American children and two-thirds of American adults are overweight or obese. 4
  • Being overweight is a main cause of Type 2 diabetes, an epidemic in our nation, which can lead to heart disease, blindness, kidney failure, impotence, amputations, and mental decline. America spends more than $100 billion on healthcare needs related to obesity every year with prescription drugs for controlling diabetes making up much of that cost. 5b

But, here’s the good news…

  • A diet in which fruits, vegetables, and other natural plant foods supply the vast majority of calories, affords us powerful protection against disease. 6
  • Although at epidemic proportions in our nation, Type 2 diabetes is primarily a lifestyle-induced disease that can often be reversed through lifestyle changes: eating a healthy, fiber-rich diet and getting regular exercise.7

“My clinical experience over the past ten years has shown me that almost all the major illnesses that plague Americans are reversible with aggressive nutritional changes designed to undo the damage caused by years of eating a disease-causing diet.” Dr. Joel Furhman 8

By our daily example, we parents are not only managing our homes and children, we are imparting a lifestyle with far-reaching implications. What happens in our kitchens, ladies, will literally affect every aspect of our family’s lives; body weight, moods, allergies, anxiety, regularity, energy levels, sexual dysfunction, adolescent acne, depression, immune system function, time spent at doctor’s offices, annual medical costs . . . all the way to life expectancy. Many would argue that eating right is too expensive, but eating poorly is costlier by far.  9

Here are five helpful keys to realizing an all-around healthier level as a household:

1. Take inventory. Honestly list and evaluate what’s been on the menu at your house the past couple of weeks. It’s easy to say, “we eat pretty healthy,” because we believe we should, and we know better, but what we’re actually doing may not line up with our convictions. Clean out the cupboards, fridge, and freezer, and trash the ‘decoys.’ It’s time for change!

2. As a rule of thumb, eat food the way God made it. Keep an arsenal on hand of everything that grows in the ground. Require the daily eating of (organic if possible) fresh, colorful salads with a variety of vegetables and fruit in the mix. Radishes, broccoli, oranges, sweet red peppers, sugar snap peas, purple cabbage, sprouts, sweet onion, spinach, apple, romaine, strawberries, cherry tomatoes, mushrooms, grated carrot, and turnip are some great salad ingredients. I didn’t say iceberg lettuce drowning in bottled ranch dressing with so many preservatives it will never die.

3. Fresh or frozen fruit should be part of the daily diet. Smoothies made with frozen fruit are a super alternative to a bowl of ice cream. As the blender whirs, toss in fresh spinach, romaine lettuce, chia seeds, peanut butter, cacao powder, celery, and spirulina to get a mega-boost of goodness without any flavor loss.

4. Ration minimal and rare portions of processed foods such as sweetened breakfast cereals, deep-fried chips, cheese crackers, white bread, and candy. We all love our occasional treats, but remember why they’re called ‘treats.’ Sidenote: Beware of snack bars. The plethora available is dizzying and many are billed as healthy or natural. These are typically loaded with harmful fillers like fructose corn syrup, genetically modified components, chemicals and copious amounts of sugar. Ingredients are clearly listed on the items we purchase. Read the labels!

5. Make water the drink of choice at your house. Buy distilled or invest in a good filter. Unfortunately, we often can’t trust our city water supplies to deliver the real thing to our pipes. Apple juice, soda, energy drinks, and iced coffees belong in the ‘occasional treat’ category. Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate with pure, filtered H2O.

We cannot feed our families a standard American diet and expect them to excel. Perhaps you, Mom or Dad, didn’t have the privilege of learning this as a lifestyle while growing up. It’s not too late! The power for change is in your hands.  Pioneer a better path of ‘eating to live’ for your family. Before you know it, these forays into nutritious eating will become lifelong habits. 10

Our family is the perfect test case. I remember when one or more of my five boys would wrinkle up their noses at some of the things I habitually fed them; now they insist on those very same ingredients in their regular meals and especially request big colorful salads  at my house, while they enjoy every vegetable under the sun. They thank me regularly for ‘teaching their tastebuds’ to like a broad variety of flavors and textures their friends were never expected to eat.

Want to read more? Here ya go… Grab my free E-book 15 Minutes to Raising an Extraordinary Human HERE






  1. (3 On Your Side: Climbing Food Prices by Jim Donovan.
  2. New Oxford American Dictionary
  3. (, February 16, 2010, “More children have chronic diseases; study cites obesity,” by Liz Szabo.)
  4. ( March 28, 2010 Junk Food Addiction May Be Clue to Obesity: study by JoAnne Allen)
  5. (Helping One Another page 5 a publication of Christian Care Medi-Share. By William H. White, Ph.D, director for Health Initiatives. And Readers Digest, March 2008, Health IQ Type 2 Diabetes, Joel Furhman, M.D. pg 50) 5b(Costco Magazine January 2010 pg 35)
  6. (Walter C. Willett, M.D., Ph.D., chairman of the Department of Nutrition at Harvard’s School of Public Health and a speaker at the American Association for Cancer Research) (Eat To Live by Joel Furhman, M.C. pg 57)
  7. (Reader’s Digest, March 2008, Health IQ, Type 2 Diabetes, pg 50 and Helping One Another, Christian Care Medi-Share, Diabetes Can Be Reversed, by William H. White, Ph.D. Director for Heath Initiatives)
  8. (Eat to Live by Joel Fuhrman, M.D., pg. 143)
  9. (World Health Organization, 1999. World Health Statistics Annual WHO Statistical Information System-WHOSIS-Table 1: number of deaths and death rates, age 55-75 inclusive.) (Eat To Live by Joel Fuhrman, pg. 144)
  10. (‘Why Kids Are Still Obese’ Parents have the greatest influence over what their children will eat. July 5, 2007)
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Waiting for Apple to save YOUR kid? Why I think the stockholders’ counsel to Apple is so messed up.

On January 7th media exploded with Apple’s two leading stockholders’ urgent request of the tech-world  behemoth: SAVE OUR KIDS FROM YOUR DEVICES!

And for a brief moment, the whole wide world snuggled up together and nodded in agreement as we all pondered the negative stats on our kids by overuse of electronic devices. In a nutshell these trends were cited in the article (HERE) in detail:

  1. students’ increased inability to focus on educational tasks
  2. students increasing emotional challenges
  3. students increasing social challenges
  4. students’ physical and social activity lessening
  5. students with higher risk factors for suicide
  6. students getting too little sleep leading to weight gain and high blood pressure
  7. And evidence tells us that, day-by-day as their heads are buried in social media, modern children are becoming heartless automatons.

A study by UCLA researchers showed that after 5 days at a device-free outdoor camp, children performed far better on tests for EMPATHY than a control group.

Do we really need a test, a statistic or a control group to convince us that kids whose days and nights are dominated by electronic devices rather than by human interaction will be less human, thus expressing less active compassion?

Is any of this a surprise to you parents??!

Of course not, because intuitively as the parents of our precious children, WE KNOW BETTER, which the article detailed (HERE) as follows:

  • 58% of parents say they worry about the influence of social media on their child’s physical and mental health.
  • 48% of parents say that regulating their child’s screen time is a “constant battle,” and
  • 58% of parents say they feel like their child is “attached” to their phone or tablet.


We know how our devices affect us personally, as well as those we attempt to interact with who are dominated by their smartphones and laptops.

But apparently, Dads and Moms can’t seem to find the word ‘no’ in their vocabulary or the courage to enforce it when it comes to electronics and their children.

So we need Apple to, in essence, ‘parent our children’ because we aren’t doing our job?!

All this ‘helpfulness for parents’ is the sunny side of something called CONTROL.

Just like Seattle’s new tax (HERE) on soda and other sugary beverages which went into effect January 1st, adding a whopping cost of 1.75% per fluid ounce (HERE for how this affects our wallets)  to ‘encourage citizens to cut down on the consumption of sugary drinks that have little nutritional value and are linked to obesity, diabetes and other health problems.’ BECAUSE SEATTLE’S CITIZENS CAN’T CONTROL THEMSELVES or their children and limit intake of sugary drinks…am I right??

So…since I can’t or won’t govern myself and my kids, someone else is enlisted to do the job at my expense in the form of increased taxes or hiking the price of my Frappucino, iPad, iPhone or laptop.

Furthermore, because there’s a gun to parents’ heads and parents can’t help but give their kids the password to the iPad or the iphone maybe Apple needs to keep the password from the parents, too, and create a new password daily to dole out on a timeline appropriate to the measure of the parent’s character??

Do you see the insanity of all this chatter?!

Could it be that parents are generally so stressed out, in debt, discontented and distracted that by the time they fly in the door from a long, tiring day at work plus commute, they are all too happy to hand their kid the iPad or the iPhone to get some relief from their restless, noisy children who haven’t been trained to entertain themselves with…

  • reading and appreciating good books
  • playing outside
  • crafting
  • artwork
  • building Legos
  • playing with the pure bred pooch their parents gave them
  • using the expensive playground equipment Santa brought them??

Could it be that children aren’t being trained to regularly carry weight and develop emotional intelligence by…

  • doing household chores
  • serving their needy neighbors
  • playing with their siblings
  • preparing or helping to prepare simple meals?

Parents, what are we willing to do to save our children?
How serious are we about what we say we want for our families?

Some ideas for immediate relief:

  1. talk to our children about our sincere concerns, our hearts for them and their best interest and a clear plan for immediate change
  2. changing passwords and pressing restart
  3. unplugging during the school week with appropriate measures of time allotted as a reward on weekends
  4. declare that evenings are reading/digging in the dirt/art/sibling play time rather than vegging-in-front-of-the tablet time
  5. listen to music
  6. cook together
  7. take a walk together and appreciate nature
  8. sell the iPhones and get pre-paid flip phones
  9. go back to VCRS and dvds

And if that doesn’t quite go to the root of the issue and you really want to go for broke:

You might consider selling the house with the inflated mortgage, buying a lesser home, or renting a modest apartment, selling the second car that’s on payments, stop eating out and cut up the credit cards. Consider job/schedule changes and reduce hours spent commuting, so you have some mental, emotional, and spiritual margin left to cope with this serious mission to raise amazing children.

Parents WE are the example
Parents WE must unplug
Parents WE must address our overspending
Parents WE must make peace with OUR JOB to PARENT our children
Parents WE must train our muscle of ‘delayed gratification’ first, then apply this training to our children

Parents the power is in your hand

We have as our example a man who decidedly chose not to throw his hands up in the air and beg for help from Apple. He knew the power in his own hands.

In a 2010 interview, asked whether his kids loved the iPad, the late Steve Jobs, former CEO of Apple, famously said, “We don’t allow the iPad in the home. We think it’s too dangerous for them.” Even he recognized the threat to the children of the world he himself had unleashed.

If you found this post helpful, and would like some more practical empowerment for your parenting, grab my free E-book 15 Minutes to Raising an Extraordinary Human for a limited time HERE 

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No, I’m Not Psychic (Part 4)

You could call me intuitive. It’s the way I’m wired. I sometimes get a sense about things before they happen. And sometimes I wish I didn’t know.

A few weeks before our recent move from California to Washington State, I sensed a foreboding of sorts. Nothing alarming, just very real to my heart. Hubby and I were riding our bikes on a trail near our home when I casually announced,

“I feel like I’m going to go through a narrow place in our new city.”

He gave me a quizzical look and in typical black-and-white man-fashion with an Italian twist blurted out, “what does that even MEAN?!” as he went on listing every positive, wonderful and practical reason my thinking was flawed on this matter.

After all, this wasn’t his premonition or revelation, it was mine. About me. So I didn’t get defensive, I simply replied,

“I don’t exactly know how to describe it, but in my heart I understand it.”

And I knew in my knower that this was a thing and it wasn’t going away and it wasn’t gonna be easy. And in typical emotional-woman fashion, I cried. A lot.

The rest is history as you might know from my previous blog posts. (Click>> HERE for all the juicy details!) The week of our move I broke my [driving] ankle in two places and was immediately ushered into a very narrow existence, beyond what I had anticipated.

House arrest. Handcuffed by pain and swelling, crutches, then a cast, a second cast, a scooter, and now – the human cone of shame – a walking boot…in the middle of one of the biggest, most complicated moves of my life – my MIDLIFE mind you! Restrained not only by these earmarks of injury but by my utter and often humiliating dependence upon others; their schedules, their intuition, their personalities, their moods, their decisions…and their Costco runs! Thanks be to God!

Narrow? Try suffocating. At times, infuriating. And yes, in particularly helpless moments, depressing. (I may be whining. Sorry.)

Then, the property I felt really excited about (that was potentially gonna earn me boatloads of cash) I tried to buy twice – didn’t come through twice. Sigh. God always answers our prayers, just not always on our timeline or in the manner we expect or with the answer we want, despite our begging. Sometimes the answer is silence. Sometimes the answer is ‘no’. I don’t like ‘no’ except that a ‘no’ is protecting me from the wrong thing, so a ‘no’ is a good answer, right? And sometimes the answer is ‘here, take a break while I work on that.’ #bigeyesemoji

Consequently we decided to rent (which means now I get to move twice, hallelujah) and moved into one of the cool old mansion-turned-apartment buildings in our city; walkable, bike-able…if only I still had my bike, the one I’ve used for 10 years, my faithful companion through the trails and trials of Northern California, but it was stolen. Along with my laundry. My newest most beloved summer pieces – they left some nice ones, too, which made absolutely no sense. (WT? You don’t like ALL my clothes??) Because yes, now I live in an urban as opposed to SUBurban apartment with communal coin laundry a few floors down. I know, QUARTERS! It makes me feel like I’m at a resort LOL. And hubby and I share a bathroom for the first time in….hmm 36 years. That’ll test your marriage. And my scooter doesn’t fit in there. Talk about narrow. Sheesh. And as I hobble about my new city and my new small spaces, I surrender to the burn of the pressing narrow of my now. Hand me a tissue somebody!

A thought came strongly to me the other day, “in quietness and confidence shall be your strength.” Hmm. Ponder that. I think that’s a verse from the Scriptures. Haven’t read that one in ages. Gotta look that up. Yep. Isaiah 30:15.

Lord knows I’ve experienced lots of quiet and alone places in the past 2+ months, and as I reflect upon my adult life, I’d have to say it’s the quiet alone places I’ve found to be the seedbed for the wonderful things in my life. Solitary places of meditation, prayer and repose – I can envision those actual physical, geographical spots even now – scattered literally across the globe the past three decades, which have been places of preparation, even launching pads, for my future.

And I’m reminded that lots of vital and precious substances like coal, zinc, platinum, pearls, gold and diamonds are created in narrow, dark, alone places. In truth, despite the torture of my narrow, I’ve found an oasis of serenity being stuck on my arse without the usual options I enjoyed in my former existence. And I must confess…….I’m almost afraid to go back.

Sometimes you have to go through a narrow place to get to a broad place. Think butterflies and babies.

And sometimes the road gets very narrow right before the break through. And I have a hunch that before long I’m going to understand the importance of this season, my Summer Break on the Isle of Immobility, and I truly hope my struggles have benefitted you somehow. See you next time…

(If you’d like to read the entire series on this topic or share it with a friend who’s going through the process of rehab from injury, click here. Thanks for sharing!)

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6 Bittersweet Blessings From My Crushing Experience in the Winepress (Part 3)

[In answer to my last blog post called ‘Prisoner in a Minute,’ Part 2 ‘: Is this the proverbial winepress? Am I the grapes? Is this where all the good stuff comes out?]










Here’s what’s emerging from my summer break on the Isle of Immobility, after fracturing my ankle in two places in the middle of a big move to another state.

1. Removing Options Has Simplified Life.
I like things a certain way. More than I knew. I’ve been forced to be a whole lot less particular about everything. Dirty toilets, packing strategies, cream in my coffee, personal appearance. Daily organic green smoothies are a distant, tearful memory. Staring down my Fitbit and bathroom scale, I began living like a prisoner, eating whatever was offered me whenever it arrived, with a grateful heart. Lots of carbs plus digging in the box of Sees candy because I could reach it from my rolling chair. Don’t judge.

2. Unnecessary Toil Is Eliminated
Hubby says I create work for myself. It’s hard to hear, but it’s true, dangit. (Back to liking things the way I like them, which always requires more toil). I’m hosting overseas guests for breakfast in the middle of all my dust and boxes this morning. I want things nice. But I don’t have orange juice, enough tortillas or a pastry to serve with the meal. I can’t thoroughly clean on one leg, or make a quick trip to the grocery store to add all the bells and whistles. Oh well. So I cut the tortillas in half to make them look like more, added toast as an option and pulled out whip cream for the sliced fruit salad instead of serving a coffee cake. Good enough has to be good enough and something about that seems like a healthy adjustment to this driven perfectionist sitting in her chair.

3. Life’s Not So Bad from My Laptop
In case you haven’t heard, online shopping rocks. In the past 2 weeks I’ve ordered everything from t-shirts, sticky tack, and shower curtains to homeopathic remedies and birthday gifts. Free shipping, free returns, to my door, stat. #Thumbsup. Grocery delivery makes perfect sense even if you’re not injured. I’m currently using a mainline grocery store in addition to a local organic delivery service to stock my kitchen. Urban eats is available, too, and has some good options for the occasional splurge. (When all else fails, begging from and co-oping with the neighbors fosters relationship and great conversation.)

3. I’m Learning Patient Endurance




As I sit here typing, surveying all around me that needs ‘doing,’ the simplest of tasks I am currently unable to accomplish; the flies buzzing around my head I can’t chase, the stacks of boxes I’ve yet to unpack and organize, my delayed errands begging to be done, that gadget I cannot reach! ad infinitum,  I feeeeeeel the burrrrnnnnn. I painfully acknowledge my inability to control my circumstances toward my preferred outcome. And I surrender. Several times a day. And pray. And today I wipe away a few tears. And I recall a statement I made in my May 24th blog post, “Patience is produced by painful endurance.” I’m sure all this delayed gratification during my move is working something good in me, somehow.

4. Humility and Friendship Has Been Highlighted







And suddenly my whole life depended on someone else. The day my ankle broke, I felt myself sinking to the bottom of the ocean as I surveyed the moving detail needing attention in the following 6 days. My friends instinctively knew and they texted, emailed, and showed up to help. (Why is it so hard to accept help??!) I honestly didn’t know they loved me enough to serve me so selflessly. We had played tennis, celebrated birthdays, enjoyed happy hours and Bunco….but this??! No one wants to pack someone else’s crap. They saw me at my weakest point and threw me a lifeline as I was drowning in desperation. Hashtag bonding.

5. Unspoken Sentiments Emerged
People often don’t say what they’re thinking until a point of crisis when life as we know it comes to a screeching halt. I was dumbfounded at the verbal expressions of love and friendship I received throughout my dark tunnel from friends and neighbors. Time stood still long enough for hearts to be bared, stories shared, and precious words spoken that might never have been heard, had I been walking on two healthy legs, not moving to another state. Priceless.







6. Daily Life Revelations
Without significant interruptions, it’s easy to live on auto-pilot. But with the formidable barricade of immobility constantly placed before each of my daily life habits, patterns become very clear. I’m being forced to ask, “am I happy with the habits of my life and where they’re taking me? Are my daily choices leading me to where I want to go?? What needs to be adjusted?”

One of my daily habits is to brew a perfect cup of coffee (emphasis on perfect 🙂 are we seeing a pattern here?! LOL) and read/meditate on a passage from my Bible first thing in the morning. This week I bumped into Philippians 4:11-13 for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. (OUCH!) I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do all this through him who gives me strength.” 

I’ve reflected on those words throughout my days, my tears, my groans, and my long waits. Until next time, you’ll find me hanging onto that hope!

Make it a great week. (Click here for Part 4, ‘No, I’m Not Psychic’)

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Prisoner in a Minute (Part 2)

I’m kind of like a Jack Russell Terrier. Perpetual motion. Fitbit freak. Perfectionist. Until I broke my ankle in two places seven days before the moving truck arrived.

In a minute, I was banished to the Isle of Immobility at perhaps the most inconvenient time Providence could have allowed. I became a prisoner of my physical limitations.

Crutches. Handless. Left foot only. Carrying stuff around my neck, in my pockets, held between my teeth…determined, yes, but decidedly deterred.










Messes everywhere.
Sticky counters, clutter, crumbs, moving boxes, bubble wrap.
I hobble past the mess and groan because I can’t fix it.
So I sit, powerless to handle things my way, the only way I do things, my preferred methods and outcomes no longer my reality.
Deep sigh.
Asking for Every. Little. Thing.
“Calling Strategic Command Center…I just want my supplements…to get the mail…change the sheets…shower…pack that closet…do 3 errands in 20 minutes…tidy the house…need COFFEE!…get my cord, NO! NOT THAT CORD….my crutches….I’m thirsty… I just want to ________________” times a million. Hurry up and wait. I’m aging.








The most basic tasks have become tedious brain busters; complex and time consuming. I don’t give up. I have crawled, rolled, hopped and scooted for hours. On moving day my Fitbit registered 6.7 thousand steps on one foot. (clapping)

At moments I’m like a toddler who can’t move her blocks. I’m ramming a box furiously with my crutch and it’s not budging. I want to run away but I’m stuck so I fume and fuss and scream inside.
And I cry; a good cry or three or ten might help.
Tears in front of my friends, my children, my husband. Tears, tears, tears.
What’s wrong with Mama?
Help me, God.

No one can rescue me.
No one can relieve the pressure inside and comfort me.
Venting brings relief, but then I feel guilty for ‘complaining.’

I’m not depressed. I’m hindered.
Activity is my personal drug of choice.
Serving is what I AM not just what I do.
I am being denied my SELF. My identity. My very wiring is being blocked.

“Oh, Denise, enjoy the rest, read a book!”
As if I’m in my home where everything is in its place. No. I’m sitting in the middle of chaos where my stuff is out of reach, still in boxes – in the vast unknown – in my storage unit across town.
My body may be ‘resting,’ but inside I chuurrn.

This temporary double break in my foundation is not without purpose.
Thinking. Asking hard questions inside my head. What is this about? What am I supposed to see and change that needs to be addressed? I don’t waste experiences. I need to know. Is this the proverbial winepress? Am I the grapes? Is this where all the good stuff comes out? Some good stuff next time.

Stay tuned... (Click here for Part 3 ‘From the Winepress’)


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My Left Leg (Part 1)

It was June 9th, T-7 days until our big out-of-state move as I played what would become my final Friday tennis match at my favorite sport spot on earth, the club two blocks from our home, just hours before my going-away luncheon with my precious peeps. Corinne and I were holding our own against a badass doubles duo and I wasn’t going to let a point get away on my watch. I hate losing. And I didn’t want to let Corinne down; she’s the kind of gal who makes you want to fight to the finish. I planned to leave it all on the court that morning…

Suddenly and unexpectedly, two sets in as I went for a ball, I fell to the ground. It was as if time were suspended as I watched (and felt, very clearly) in slow-mo as the full weight of ‘me’ came crashing down upon my right foot. The first thought that entered my mind was that 4-letter word itself…M-O-V-E. Ugh. Bad timing.

All the mothering instincts of 11 women on three adjacent courts converged around me in a mili-second with offers to wrap, wince, ice, massage, give Advil, advice, rub Icey-hot, commiserate, and drive me to the nearest Urgent Care. I writhed in pain like a wounded animal, uttering guttural sounds and clearly instructing them not to even think about touching me. I knew it was only a bad sprain (call me Dr. Denise) and, once the intensity subsided, I insisted on dramatic photo-ops and a “YES! the party WILL GO ON! Don’t even consider taking me to ER!”








Thus began my truly bittersweet journey on one leg, as I hopped, groaned, iced, cried and crutched my way up and down stairs, through hallways and into the dark recesses of my mind, at moments entering into brief mental madness over my suddenly out-of-control impending move, continuing to ‘sort of’ attempt to pack up the house and deal with my new status of handicapped. My husband assured me I had a full week to recover, no worries, I’d be good-to-go!
I didn’t believe it for a minute; my body was telling me an entirely different story. And this time, I was right.

Two bones were broken and this gal – the indefatigable, ever-productive, constantly thinking, doing, moving, and yes, a little ‘loco-in-motion,’ obsessive compulsive, over-achieving ‘can-do’ chick got sat down on her butt until further notice.

My left leg soon became my best friend, and my M.O. was abruptly adjusted.
And next time, I’mma share some nuggets of gold I’m mining during this awkward season. Stay tuned and along the way, please chime in about YOUR difficult journey – I’d love to hear from YOU! (Click here for the next installment, Prisoner In a Minute)


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Why Do People Choose To Live Sick?

I know this conversation may be a little awkward, but I care too much to be silent and I have a question:

Why do people choose to live sick when they don’t have to live sick?

Dr. Mark Hyman, Director of the Cleveland Clinic Center for Functional Medicine, says, “I use the term “diabesity” to describe the continuum of health problems ranging from mild insulin resistance and overweight to obesity and diabetes. Diabesity is the underlying cause of most heart disease, cancer, and premature death in the world.  He adds, “Tragically, these conditions are also 100% preventable and reversible.” Shocking. Read the brief, complete article with citations here!

It seems to me, many doctors help perpetuate Type 2 diabetes by their predictable protocol: ‘see your doctor for mandatory check-ups for refills/adjustments on your medications’, a 5-minute convo, a pat on the hand, a look of concern and “That’ll be $285.00 thank you very much.” Done. Until the next visit or until the patient develops far worse symptoms needing attention.

Life is busy; five, 10, 20 years fly by, and the patient is called ‘longterm.’ Take a look at the long-term complications of Type 2 diabetes: diabetic retinopathy, kidney disease (nephropathy), diabetic neuropathy, macrovascular problems, and cancer. [Macrovascular disease is a disease of any large (macro) blood vessels in the body, including the coronary arteries, the aorta, and the sizable arteries in the brain and in the limbs.]

In essence, people are trading their eyesight, their limbs, their organs, their sex lives, their mobility, their heart health and the breath in their body for a shortened, miserable, sedentary life of swallowing expensive pills and enjoying unlimited sugar consumption. Yippee!
That sucks.

The greatest kindnesses can seem harsh and cruel and the cruelest comfort can seem like kindness. This minute 1 of every 2 people is pre-diabetic. May physicians become brave enough to show true kindness to their patients by speaking these ‘cruel’ truths.

Bazillions of people are being robbed of their vibrant, abundant lives every single day, cutting decades off their lifespan which could be spent serving others, loving their families, nurturing their grandchildren, enjoying their friends, traveling the world to see and appreciate God’s creation, expressing the gift God put in them, changing the world with their impact…by illnesses that could be reversed through lifestyle changes. It breaks my heart.

In light of these facts, are people uninformed, misled, or…………….have they just given up?
Has their illness become a comfortable place to dwell? Their default mode?
Their conversation box?
An sort of twisted, attention-getting ploy?
A tool to control their loved ones through guilt and manipulation?
An excuse to eat and drink what they want, do or don’t do what they want, be sedentary (aka LAZY), while following standard medical system practices of only treating their symptoms?

Is their socially acceptable disease their shield against sound advice that would call them higher to become accountable, make lifestyle adjustments and realize real change, to really live?
Has their illness subtly become their identity?
Their ‘pill routine’ a big part of their everyday lives? Kind of a blankie to snuggle?

I’m suddenly reminded of my favorite childhood novel, Pollyanna, (yes, again!) and the ailing character whom she befriends, Mrs. Snow. Here’s a movie clip to close out today’s blog with a bit of lighthearted humor after our not-so-humorous or lighthearted discussion today. Watch Pollyanna and Mrs Snow HERE.

Thank you for reading and let’s #conquer2017 and realize that our #healthiswealth and share this vital message with those you love so they, too, can have an opportunity to hear the truth that could save them. #amonthoflove #february #truelove
*IMPORTANT NOTE: Type 1 Diabetes is an entirely different condition.

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My Unconventional, Pretty Miserable Birthday.

My birthday was two days ago. I felt like C$@! Couldn’t go swimsuit shopping like I’d planned, hadn’t slept a wink the night before. And, THAT was my cake. Yep, that big blue mug filled with organic herbal cinnamon orange tea, coconut cream and unsweetened vanilla almond milk. mmmhuh. Yum, right? (But not the deep, dark, dense flourless chocolate cake I would have loved.) Why?

Let me explain. As a part of the ‘Kick off the New Year with Inspiration and Tools to Change!’ theme of my January blog, I wanted to address those nagging health issues that keep holding us back from abundant living! So on January 23rd I posted an interview I came across that knocked my socks off. It was the one I begged you to watch. A tiny little 30-minute interview (click here to watch!) with one more health specialist talking, as if there aren’t enough of those people chattering all day long, blah blah blah. But this guy, Dr. Mark Hyman, wasn’t just one more talking head. He had a message that grabbed me and wouldn’t let go! (See, you should have watched it. It’s not too late, it’s still there : ) nudge, nudge, wink, wink.)

His credentials are impressive, of course; he’s written multiple NYT bestsellers, and when asked if he had to recommend just one to the listeners, he answered: The Blood Sugar Solution 10-Day Detox Diet: Activate Your Body’s Natural Ability to Burn Fat and Lose Weight Fast. I couldn’t get it off my mind; and not particularly because of the ‘lose weight’ part – although it’s true, you’ll definitely lose weight, that’s just the click bait – there are infinitely more benefits to this Detox and he lays it out in the interview and those were the details that got stuck in my head. Each of us is dealing with our own set of physical issues and I don’t want to be the victim of mine. Never surrender – there’s always hope! (And I was secretly hoping my hubby would join me on this detox adventure!)

So I got on the library app and downloaded it along with the accompanying cookbook – free! [Just get the app called Overdrive, then get a library card at your local public library and you’re in business.] You can read on your iPad, Kindle, laptop or smartphone. You can’t get every book, but you can get a whole bunch.

Did you know that 1 out of every two Americans is pre-diabetic? Crazy. Crazier still? They don’t even know it. (It could be YOU. Or your child. Or your spouse. Or…you get the picture. This is an epidemic.) The 10-day Detox is described by the author, Dr. Mark Hyman (click here to meet him), as “a ten-day reboot for your entire system. It will re-set your biology and metabolism, enabling you to reverse chronic symptoms and effortlessly break free of your cravings and lose weight.”

He goes on to say that “this is a chance to heal your body on every level. Not only will you drop pounds, you will also find that your energy, sleep, and mood improve; that chronic problems including joint pain, digestive problems and brain fog, sinus and allergy issues, even acne, eczema, and psoriasis will improve or disappear and that sexual desire and function may even improve, because what makes you sick also makes you fat and what makes you fat makes you sick.”

My birthday landed on day 5. (Thus, no traditional desserts and some pretty miserable detox symptoms, which, although not fun, were apparently a good thing. It’s like cleaning out your cluttered spaces at home; everything gets messier before it gets better!) I’m on Day 7. I have experienced so much in just 7 days; the recipes and food options are vast and kind of a game I’m playing with myself! (How many ways can I use this cauliflower?! LOL) Pounds are falling off. But the best part of it all: hubby courageously joined me, trusting me to guide him along the way. He’s on Day 5 and I think he’s secretly tickled pink to be seeing how this simple plan is affecting him 24/7. That was my best birthday gift <3

I’ll keep you posted on some highlights, and a few recipe successes, even as we shift gears and head into our February theme…to be announced shortly :D. (Oh, yeah, sidenote: game-changing video is still here(click HERE to watch!) and it’s half the time you’ll spend on any worthless Netflix sitcom. Just sayin’) xo Denise


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