Monday, March 31, 2014

Prayers for my family…

Saturday, March 29, was the worst day of my life in all of my 28 years.

My big brother Michael unexpectedly went to be with the Lord. He was only 40 years old. He went to sleep Friday night and didn’t wake up Saturday morning.  We are beyond devastated & absolutely heartbroken…

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My heart hurts especially for my sweet parents & the precious family he left behind. No parent should ever have to bury a child. And my sister-in-law, who has been by his side for the last 21 years, is now a widow and going to be raising their four beautiful kids (including a 6 month old baby who will never know her father) on her own. I just cannot imagine…

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Michael & I had a really special bond.  He was my friend & he meant so much to me. His speech at our wedding was one of my most precious memories of the whole weekend, especially because I know how much he hated speaking in front of people. He was so nervous! He really loved Jonathan too….always called him “brother” and they were pretty inseparable at family functions. They were supposed to work together today actually. I just can’t wrap my mind around the fact that we are never going to see him again and I feel totally overwhelmed when I start thinking about it.

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And of course I can’t help but have regrets. I wish I would have spent more time with him…told him how much I loved him….prayed for him more. Friends, go hug your loved ones and tell them how much they mean to you often. I know we hear that often, but tomorrow is not promised to any of us and you just never know…

Our faith, family, & friends are getting us through day by day. I cannot imagine going through this without faith….the only comfort we have in knowing the promises of God’s Word.  Knowing that God will never leave us and never forsake us. That He works together for the good, even we do not understand it. That He will give us peace that surpasses all understanding and comfort us as we mourn. Michael knew the Lord as his personal Savior, and we find comfort and peace in knowing he is in the arms of Jesus.

Still, this is the hardest thing I have every experienced. My heart hurts beyond words. The next few days are going to be unbelievably tough for our family as we lay him to rest on Thursday. I know I have some prayer warriors that read the blog, and I  would really, really appreciate prayers for our family during this time. Especially for my parents as they bury their only son. For my sister-in-law as she buries her husband, best friend, provider, and the father of her children. And for the kids as they bury their daddy. Also, for us siblings as we say goodbye to our brother.

RIP Michael Rainey. You are forever in our hearts and will be so missed…

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

A Day in My “Diet”

There are so many misconceptions about healthy eating.  Even the word “diet” has a negative connotation. The reality is, everyone has a diet. What you eat- healthy, unhealthy, Paleo, fast food, Atkins, junk, high protein/low carb, whatever- what you eat makes up your “diet.”  Unfortunately we often assume a “diet” means starving yourself, completely eliminating food groups, or eating cardboard to be healthy skinny. This couldn’t be further from the truth!

I eat a good bit throughout the day. I never feel hungry, I have great energy. And I enjoy a variety of very flavorful foods. I enjoy eating.

Being totally transparent though, I used to spend a lot of time thinking about what I eat (in a negative way). I counted calories or points, tracked everything, etc. Honestly, it was exhausting and consumed my mind. After learning HOW to eat the right way, I am SO THANKFUL I don’t have to spend time obsessing over it anymore. That is very freeing. I still spend a decent amount of time with meal prep, but it’s absolutely worth the effort. Honestly, I have learned to listen to my body and what it needs. I eat a good balance of protein, complex carbs, healthy fats (I love cooking with coconut oil & olive oil, eating raw nuts & nut butters, avocadoes, & 1-2 egg yolks + Omegas), & a TON of veggies- eat the rainbow!

It is SO worth taking some time to educate yourself. If you don’t know where to begin, I love Tosca Reno’s book The Eat Clean Diet or The Eat Clean Diet Recharged as a starting place. Super simple. Very interesting. And it teaches you the basics what you need to know to eat healthy.

Here’s an idea of what I eat each day. Of course I mix it up (especially for dinner), but this gives you an idea.

9:00 – (this is when I eat breakfast with Jase) 4 boiled egg whites & 1 whole boiled egg + 1/2 c steel cut oats (quick cooking, organic, gluten-free just for fun) with sliced almonds, ground flax, chia seeds, cinnamon, & raw honey (I used water boiled in tea kettle). If we have somewhere we have to be (Sunday mornings for church, for example) I drink a meal replacement shake. I also drank a shake every single morning when I was teaching.

11:30 – green smoothie or juice (I typically juice vegetables rather than fruit) + handful of raw nuts (almonds, walnuts, etc.)

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1:00 Typically Jase & I eat leftovers from dinner the night before. Sometimes I make a jumbo spinach salad full of veggies & some type of lean meat (tuna, salmon, grilled chicken) + slice (or 2) of cinnamon raisin Ezekial bread with Greek yogurt and cinnamon spread on top

3:30-4ish Here are 4 of my favorite snack options: Apple with raw nut butter, raw veggies & hummus, or homemade kale chips

**On days I work out I have a Vo2 Prime Bar and hour before workouts & Post-Workout Recovery or Pro20 after- around 5ish

7:00 Lean grilled meat (we eat a lot of chicken & fish and use lots of spices or SALSA to amp it up), 1-2 veggies or beans (we love brussel sprouts, asparagus, green beans, broccoli, & peppers) & brown rice or sweet potatoes. We also have a few staples- “fried rice” quinoa, Ezekial wrap burritos with ground turkey & homemade taco seasoning, spaghetti squash spaghetti with turkey meatballs, homemade pizzas on Ezekial wraps, homemade veggie soup, white chicken chili, crockpot meals, etc.

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9:00 Muscle Gain shake or Gingerbread Bar

 

I’m still nursing, so I’m sure I’ll cut back on portion sizes some when I am done with that because right now I eat pretty big portions.

I eat a TON of veggies & I LOOOOOVE them!!!! If I ever still feel hungry, I eat more veggies. Between juicing, smoothies, what we eat raw, and 1-2 veggies for supper, we go through a LOT of vegetables around here. We pick up our produce locally each week through North Georgia Natural, & I get the rest at Kroger. (They have a better organic section than Publix in our area.)

The real key is balance & moderation. Eat real, whole foods as often as possible. Shop the perimeter of the grocery store. When you have a cheat meal, enjoy it and don’t feel guilty. Just don’t let it become a habit. Oh, and the other key…..PREPARATION. One of the main reasons we go out to eat, order take-out, pull through fast food, or make a microwave meal is because it is more CONVENIENT, right? If you take the time and make meal prep a habit, it becomes a part of your lifestyle & it throws the convenience excuse out the window.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Fertility & Women’s Health Clinics Sharing AdvoCare with Patients

I love that there are AdvoCare products to benefit everyone and we are passionate about helping people manage their weight and improve nutrition. I have personally experienced the benefits & know the crucial role nutrition plays in our overall health & well being- everything from mood, to energy, to sleep. This is important all the time for a healthy lifestyle, but it is especially important for women trying to get pregnant or planning to start a family in the near future. Check out this article about a Fertility & Women’s Health Center using AdvoCare products to help their patients improve these areas. Healthcare professionals across the country are continuing to recognize the power of these products.

The products are scientifically formulated by some of the top doctors, nutritionists, oncologists, etc., on our science and medical advisory board. We may not be the brightest bulbs in the box, but we are certainly smart enough to trust that these guys know what we’re doing when they put these products together.  That has become increasingly obvious to us  through our own personal experience and the results of people we have coached. It’s simple. When taken correctly in conjunction with a healthy diet, the products work. They do what they say they’re going to do.

Still, I can’t help but get excited when I read articles like this about how it is catching on across the nation. This just further confirms for us that we are a part of the right company- a company based on integrity that is truly geared toward helping people improve their health (& financial situation if that’s something you’re looking for extra income like we were).

Do you have any friends who you think would be interested in that article? Definitely worth passing along if it can help even one person.

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Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Building Champion Marriages & Families

While in Cabo, we had the privilege of eating dinner with Coach Mike Wade & his beautiful gem of a wife, Dr. Deb. We loved hearing their story and getting to know them better. Even in the short time we spent with them, it was obvious they are both full of wisdom and model the type of marriage Jonathan and I hope to have. 1978609_973545605152_1951975360_n

Dr. Deb is a former school teacher and a licensed psychologist. She just recently stepped away from her practice, but spent many years working with couples and families through counseling. We were blessed to hear her train on “Building Champion Marriages & Families” & I was so excited to bring back what I learned. Does that not speak incredible volumes about the integrity of this company that they see the importance of training on marriage?? I love it. And people think we just ‘sell vitamins.’ Ha!

The first thing we noticed when Dr. Deb went on stage to begin training was…. her arms. Ha! Jonathan leaned over and said “Man, she’s ripped.” I laughed because I was thinking the exact same thing. (What can we say? She’s a product of the products. And we both appreciate ripped arms. And I’m just sayin….I wanna look like that when I’m a grandma!)

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But beyond the surface level, she blew us away when she spoke  & we have no doubt she added so much value to every couple in the room- including us. I asked for permission afterwards to share on the blog (because y’all know I am all about sharing what I learn) and she gave me the go ahead, so here it is my friends. Enjoy!!

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(Seriously, aren’t they adorable?)

#1 SPARK: One of the number one reasons couples come to counseling is because they’ve lost their “spark.” Do something daily to spark your marriage. Schedule 3-4 date nights a month. Make sure you kiss/hug/touch/talk to your spouse the first 5-10 minutes in the morning and the first 5-10 minutes when you get home from work. Treat your spouse like you did when you were dating until it becomes a habit. Find ways to keep the flame burning.

#2 BAGGAGE: Do not live in the past, bringing up previous mistakes, arguments, issues, etc. We all have “baggage” and it’s meant to be in the past. Enjoy the present, focus on positive memories from the past, and dream together in excitement for the future. Guard your heart daily so you don’t add more baggage to the relationship. Learn to say “I’m sorry” and be quick to forgive.

#3 BOUNDARIES: Lots of marriages are ending in divorce over FB. Be VERY cautious with social media. Never, ever be alone with someone of the apposite sex for any reason. Be careful with touch (side hugs are better than full frontal) and how much you talk. It’s not okay to assume you’re a naturally chatty or flirty person- be respectful of your spouse at all times. Be careful what you allow into your home (entertainment), hearts, & minds. Choose other relationships carefully. Be aware of how you spend your time. Eat meals TOGETHER (no electronics allowed).

#4 INVEST: Invest time into each other and into your marriage. Devote intentional time- at least 3-4 date nights a month. Have FUN! Fun is the glue that holds people together. Take turns planning date nights. Seek wisdom. Invest in yourself as well to keep growing and becoming a better wife/husband for your spouse.

#5 THE DEEP END:  Work on getting beyond surface level and into the ‘deep end’ of your relationship. This is a richer aspect where you are more connected (on many levels) to one another than anyone or anything else. As time goes on in our marriage, it should become a deeper bond. Ask thought provoking questions and really get to know each other.

#6 ICEBERG: We tend to focus on the surface level and fight over silly issues, when in fact there are usually much deeper issues to address. Couples typically have the same conflict over and over because they never address what’s under the surface. Be real & vulnerable. Let your spouse know what’s really bothering you (because it’s probably not really about the fact that he leaves his socks on the floor).

#7 BAD MATH: Marriage is not 50/50. It is 100/100. If you’re not giving 100% effort 100% of the time, you’re not going to get that back. Serve your spouse the way you’d like to be served; extend grace the way you’d like to receive grace; speak to them the way you’d like to be spoken to. The golden rule applies in marriage. Also, back to the baggage thing…Multiplying fractions leads to more fractions. It takes two WHOLE people to successfully multiply (have children) and end with more whole numbers. If you or your spouse are broken, work on healing and resolving those issues ASAP.

#8 BANISH: What takes away the security in your marriage? BANISH anything that does. Busy schedules can be an issue. Even seemingly positive things (like hobbies) can come between a marriage, so be aware of how you spend your time and make conscious effort to keep your spouse first (second only to a relationship with the Lord). Take time to model a loving relationship in front of your children. How else will they learn what a solid relationship looks like? (They certainly aren’t getting it from the media!) Kiss each other! Hug often! Flirt (with your spouse)! Be the kind of wife you want your son to marry and the kind of wife you want your daughter to be (& vice versa for the fellas). It’s probably not a surprise that one of the #1 times for divorce is empty nest. Why? Couples devote all of their time and energy into their children and forget why they fell in love in the first place. That’s why the “deep end” is so important.

#9 DIFFERENCES: Shocker of the century- men and women are DIFFERENT. We have different thoughts, wants, needs, etc. The differences are meant to bring out the best in one another and compliment each other, so the most efficient way to have our differences work to our advantage is through COMMUNICATION. Communication skills take time and effort to develop. Learn how to communicate with your spouse. That means putting down the phone & turning off the laptop and television to really connect and LISTEN. Learn to appreciate your spouse’s differences. (For example, Jonathan is an AWESOME problem solver. One of my strengths is “maximizer” and I do not like to slow down long enough to solve problems. I LOVE that he fills in that gap for me and I need to make sure he knows how much I appreciate that about him.)

#10 DEPOSITS PAY DIVIDENDS: Use your words to build one another up. Discover your spouse’s love language and put it into action. Do something every single day to let your spouse know you care.

#11 INTIMACY: This means both emotional and physical intimacy. This is a gift between you and your spouse that should be freely given. Intimacy is key and part of the special bond between husband and wife. (FYI: Do NOT Google “intimacy” to try to find a picture. Take my word for it.)

#12 BLACK & WHITE: Kids want black & white. There is way too much “grey” in our society today & that is confusing, so establish concrete expectations and boundaries for your children. Have unsinkable standards. Be consistent. Communicate with your children. Deep down, kids do not want parents to be their friends. Be the parent.

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Thank you for your words of wisdom, Dr. Deb!

P.S. I have to throw this out there. Mike & Deb have a single 34 year old son….and seeing as how I have somewhat of a reputation for match-making, I figured I’d throw it out there for all the single ladies! He lives in Tallahassee, FL….I have no doubt is a champion in life based on who his parents are….and know that you would never have an issue with in-laws because Coach & Dr. Deb are the bomb! (I’ll see if she can hook me up with a picture.) Hey, ya never know, right? Any single ladies in the house??

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Cabo 2014

AdvoCare pays five different ways, and one of those ways is TRIPS & rookie bonuses. I am all about some trips! They host unbelievable trips from the corporate level, but sometimes we host smaller trips within our team- like Destin & Amelia Island. (For some reason I didn’t blog about either of those trips.) We decided back in August that we wanted to be a part of this opportunity to host an all-inclusive incentive trip for our team to Cabo San Lucas with several other great leaders throughout the world of AdvoCare.

We had an absolute BLAST in Cabo!! We have been to Mexico before, but this was our first time in Cabo and it was absolutely GORGEOUS! We cannot wait to go back. We were there from March 13th- March 16th.

Our friend Carlos was waiting to transport us from the airport to the resort.

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Here are our fabulous team mates who came with us. Congrats, Chris & Melissa!! (All the way from Evansville, Indiana!) They are a military family- incredible leaders, parents, & now good friends of ours. We are so thankful AdvoCare brought them into our life.

Chris & Melissa- We so enjoyed spending time with you & getting to know you better. Looking forward to many trips with you two in the future!

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We stayed at the Sheraton Hacienda Del Mar. It was stunning! We had some incredible dinners & relaxing time to just hang out on the beach and at the pool. The views were unbelievable.

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I pumped on Jase’s schedule to keep my supply up, which was a little tricky since there was a three hour time difference. It made me sad to pour all of that liquid gold down the drain, but it was easier than trying to store & transport the milk- especially considering the water we would be using to clean the pump. (Don’t drink the water in Mexico, friends.)

Now, I have to be completely honest. We *almost* backed out about 5 times. This was our first time leaving Baby Jase and I just didn’t know if I’d we’d be able to do it. (It was as tough on Jonathan as it was on me). We committed to this awhile back and both figured by the time he was 10 months old we’d be okay. Before he was born, we both agreed to regular date nights and occasional trips without him so we could focus on our marriage and reconnect, but that is much easier said than done. We LOVE spending time with him & don’t like to be away from him at all, which is why he has been with us to New Jersey/New York, Texas (twice), Amelia Island, & Destin (the second half of this trip was for our AdvoCare team). A few tears were shed leaving him & LOTS of prayers went up. There were so many more things to consider this time- medical release, a will, etc,; things we’ve never worried about in the past. Thanks to FaceTime & Viber we were able to see him & get text updates a good bit. I know it’s good for him to be in other environments and around other people too. (The research backs that up as well.) Plus, I know his Grammy & Granddaddy took exceptional care of him, but boooooyyyy did we MISS him!!!!

When it was all said and done, we were so thankful we went. Jonathan and I had an absolute BLAST together!!!! It was such a good time for us. I feel like I fell in love with him all over again. We laughed and laughed and laughed…& talked a lot about baby #2! Ha!!

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{Yes, I know if you look at any of our vacation pics we are always wearing the same outfits. We still haven’t busted out of our “no shopping for clothes” streak other than to buy Jon some sports coats and a suit. Shopping is on the agenda…it’s time.}

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We had such a FANTASTIC time with everyone!! The products are phenomenal and the income is life changing, no doubt….but the people are definitely what’s keeping us here. The leaders in this company have marriages, families, lifestyles, and give like we hope to emulate…so it is really cool to rub shoulders, lay by the pool & chat, work out, have dinner with, and pick their brains. There is such wisdom & we are definitely all about “seeking wisdom.” Plus, they are FUN! We haven’t laughed that hard in a while…

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One of my favorite parts of the whole weekend was a training segment led by our Coach Mike Wade’s (one of our sales VP’s) wife, Dr. Deb, about “Building Champion Marriages.” Is that not so cool that they care enough about their leaders to train on topics like that?!? I LOVE it. I am all about learning from others, especially when it comes to investing in marriage. And I got her permission to share what I learned from her, so post coming soon….

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The incredible weather gave me a serious itch for summer. It was PERFECT.

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There was some pretty serious turbulence on the flight back from all the wind. I’d be lying if I said I didn’t get a little anxious, and that’s rare because I’m not a high anxiety kind of person. I was super, super thankful when we landed safe and sound and was ready to get through customs as fast as possible to see my sweet baby Jase!

I wish I had a picture or video. Mom was waiting for him at the top of the escalator above the baggage claim area, and he just giggled and giggled when he saw us. It was SO stinkin CUTE!! It was a funny little laugh- one I’ve never heard before. It’s almost like he was so excited he didn’t know whether to laugh or cry, so that’s what came out. He laid his head on my shoulder for about 5 minutes straight and of course laughed hysterically at Jonathan. He thinks his daddy is sooooooo funny (as does pretty much everyone else who meets him).

So thankful for an awesome trip! For traveling mercies, safety & protection for both us and Jase, for my parents taking such great care of him, for my milk supply kickin strong, for all of the hard work that went into planning the trip, & for all of the champions we spent time with while we were there. We had a blast getting to know our incredible team better and cannot wait to walk the beaches of the world with all of you.

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