Thursday, December 20, 2018

Be a Lioness

“Our generation is so busy trying to prove that women can do everything men can do, women are losing the unique qualities that set us apart. The God-given femininity & unique way our Creator designed us. Women weren't created to do everything a man can do.... Women were created to do everything a man can't do." - unknown

The lioness does not try to be the lion. She embraces her role as the lioness. She is powerful, strong, and nurturing. She does not mistake her meekness for weakness. The world needs more kind, compassionate, humble, faithful, persevering, confident, fierce, bold, pure, and tender-hearted women.
Be one of them ❤❤

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Monday, November 5, 2018

Healing Strong Live

As most of you know, I am super passionate about health, wellness, and disease prevention. The Lord recently opened the door for me to become the group leader of our local Healing Strong chapter. Although I don’t have much room on my plate or extra time in my schedule, Jonathan and I both felt this was to be a “YES” for us.

So here we are.

Healing Strong is where my holistic health journey began nearly 5 years ago & where I have learned so much of what I know about “clean living.” I love the mission, the vision, the support, the education piece, the community, and most importantly that it is founded on Christ and a faith-based non-profit/ministry. It really is a perfect fit for me.

If someone you know is on a healing journey or interested in prevention, it’s worth checking to find a local group close to you. You will not regret it!

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This weekend I had the privilege of attending the Healing Strong Live conference at the beautiful In Touch Studios in Atl. Some sweet friends, group members,and my sweet parents all joined me for the event. (Jonathan would have because he loves it as much as I do, but our babysitters were out of town.)

It was so powerful! The entire event was executed with such excellence. They provided awesome goody bags, a delicious organic lunch, and sevel yummy healthy snacks like smoked salmon, homemade nut mixes, and juices. The name of the Lord was lifted up, & I believe people left empowered to take control of their health.

I have been on my health journey for a while & am already familiar with several of the things they shared, but my mind is still blown every time I go to something like this. I wanted to pass along a few notes i took:

- in 1900, only 5% of the population had cancer. In 2016, that number rose to 40%.
- United States had over 600,000 cancer related deaths last year and 1.7 million diagnosed.
- The most consumed “vegetables” in America are french fries, onion rings, and ketchup.
-nutrition should be frontline therapy in cancer patients but unfortunately it's rarely discussed. Most oncologists have zero training in nutrition.
- The average American consumes 150 pounds of refined sugar a year.
- every cell in your body is eavesdropping on your thoughts. It matters what you think.
- you cannot be grateful and unhappy at the same time.
- your genetics make up a very small portion of your chances for been diagnosed with cancer. Your epigenetics play a much bigger role.
- ballroom dancing lowers risk of Alzheimer’s disease by 73%.
-1 out of every 3 Americans will get cancer. Only 1 out of every 7active Americans will get cancer.
- our toxins are expelled through our urine, feces, liver, and sweat. Stop using anti-perspirant and allow your body to sweat!
- What factors most affect our overall health and chances for cancer? Exercise, detox, nutrition, microbiome, attitude, & energy. Small portion is genetics.
- as a nation, we are eating TOO much, TOO often, & the WRONG food!
- intermittent fasting helps prevent cognitive decline and insulin resistance. “it’s not just the notes, but the space between the notes that matters.”
- The typical Western diet is fertilizer for cancer cells.
- 92% of Americans don’t even get the RDA of vitamins, which is an extremely low standard for nutrition.
- Our soil has 80% less minerals than it did in earlier years because of soil degradation.
- during the first eight hours of fasting, the body goes into the glycogen stores. The next four hours it starts burning fat. you want to shoot for going past 12 hours (14-16) because the body starts burning fat past 12 hours.
- 10 PM to 2 AM is when the body ideally heals. You want to be asleep during this time.
- fasting expresses our hunger for God. It says “God, I desire you above all things.”
- if fasting stresses you out, don’t do it. It is more important to not be overwhelmed with stress, which has extremely negative impact on your overall health.
- is it fasting from food or is it FEAST with Jesus?
-you can inherit up to three generations of trauma.
* note to self, order Shaping a Christian family by Elizabeth Elliott ❤️
- know your purpose: your what, what for, your why, and your how.
- They shared some really interesting connections Between emotional hurts and various types of cancer. Example, prostate cancer can often be linked to worrying about future generations or the loss of a child. And breast cancer, right side is many times as tide to father issues in the left side is tied to maternal issues.
- unforgiveness, bitterness, guilt, etc can often manifest in the form of health issues.
- The Bible says “my people perish for lack of knowledge.”
- The fuel you put into your body affects the way that it runs. You wouldn't put sugar in your fuel tank and expect it to run. And then when it breaks down, you don't just completely remove the fuel tank, right?
-You are ridiculously in control of your health and your LIFE!!
-you have options. Cancer does not have to be a death sentence. Most cancers are slow growing and you have time to research and make a decision.
-We all have cancer cells. We are either feeding or starving them based on our lifestyle choices. Our bodies should be able to combat unhealthy cancer cells.
- there is healing power in MUSIC!
- laughter really is medicine for the soul and adds years to your life.
- if you’re not already juicing, start ASAP.

Whether you are on a healing journey, standing in the gap for a loved one who is, or focused on prevention and taking the best possible care of your family (like me), you’ll want to pay the $25 to get access to this recording of the day. And take notes!!

I cannot stand to watch ONE MORE PERSON lose their life too soon to this disease, & I hope you’ll join me in helping spread awareness.

Healing Strong Live Stream Replay

Tuesday, October 2, 2018

Tips for Helping Kids Eat Healthier

"The most comprehensive survey done on this topic, a University of Michigan report that examined how American children spent their time between 1981 and 1997, discovered that the amount of time children spent eating meals at home was the single biggest predictor of better academic achievement and fewer behavioral problems. Mealtime was more influential than time spent in school, studying, attending religious services, or playing sports." - The Secrets of Happy Families

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Wow. I know we lead busy lives, but that is powerful. Mealtimes are so important, but so many times it can feel like a struggle. “What do I make? I don’t have time to cook! My kids won’t eat anything I make! Healthy food is so expensive!”

I’ve heard all of those a million times…and probably said them myself a few times too! I don’t have all the answers, but I hope to at least offer a few tips/suggestions. Some are tried & true in the Butler house, and some are brand new ideas we are going to work on.

Wives+ mamas, we are the nutritional gatekeepers of our home. Instead of viewing that as a burden, we have to shift our perspective and look at that as an awesome responsibility! We can choose to make it a journey rather than something that overwhelms or annoys us. Our attitude in how we approach our family’s nutrition makes all the difference! And if there is anything I know about nutrition, it is one of the most powerful aspects we can control regarding our health and the health of our children.

Did you know…this is the first generation of kids not expected to outlive their parents?? As in, if we don’t make some changes, we will be burying our children some day. (I know that sounds dark, but it is our sad reality and sometimes I think you have to share something in a way like that to understand the severity of the issue.) I don’t know about you, but I assume you are probably with me on this…I am just NOT.OKAY with that statistic. Friends, we have to do better. When we know better, we do better. And that doesn’t mean it’s easy, but there aren’t many greater investments we can make.  It is worthy of our best time and attention.

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I recently listened to an awesome lecture from an expert in this area (which I certainly am NOT), so I wanted to pass along some of the tips I heard from her that I plan to start implementing (as well as I few I already do & some AWESOME tips from wise mamas in our Healthy Mama/Healthy Kiddo Hacks FB group!).

Tips for getting kiddos to eat healthier:
1. Involve them! Of course this isn’t a guarantee, but studies show they’re at least more likely to eat it if they have a hand in preparing it. Involve them in the whole process. Planning, shopping, prepping, cooking, seasoning. Takes longer, a little messier, but LOTS of benefits! Quality time + they’re learning + more likely to eat it.

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2. Sneak it in. Try veggie noodles. Add veggies to muffins, omelets, stews/soups, casseroles, etc.

3. Smoothies & juice! My kids love to help with both of these & it’s a great way to get in some great foods they wouldn’t ordinarily eat.

4. Offer it every time. Maybe you offer something 30 times & the 31st time they actually try it! Maybe it takes 60 times, but they end up loving collard greens or spinach salad or kale chips on the 61st time? Keep offering! Again, not a guarantee, but worth the effort to offer it.

5. Be the example. Eat healthy yourself & talk about enjoying healthy foods. Talk to your kids about how much better you feel when you eat nutritious foods! We can enjoy treats, but not all the time because they can make us feel yucky.

6. “Smell/lick/taste.” When offering something new, give them the option to either smell, lick, or taste the food.

7. Choose your battles. You cannot force a child to chew and swallow, so this is a power struggle you could potentially lose. Make sure you don’t make that mistake. At 3ish, kids are testing boundaries just for the sake of testing them. Just keep that in mind.

8. Don’t be a short order cook. Don’t make them separate “kid foods” or they’ll always be a picky eater. But, you can still give them options and let them take ownership. For example, when we make homemade pizzas, they choose what toppings they want.

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9. Watch out offering snacks too close to meal time. (Or after a meal time if they chose not to eat what you made.) They’re more likely to eat whatever you give them when they’re really hungry.

10. Offer the healthiest stuff first. Sometimes I’ll chop veggies & set them out with Greek yogurt ranch or sliced apple wedges or a puréed soup for them to snack on while I’m finishing up dinner.

11. Make homemade treats. I don’t believe in depriving your children, but i can make a homemade version of something & it is MUCH healthier that way!! Homemade pancakes, muffins, protein bites, cookies, etc. I let them help me too. They take so much pride in it & love to Share what they make with others.

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12. They don’t know what they don’t know, so hold off on the junk as long as possible. It can change their taste buds. I will never forget that Jase did not want cake on his first birthday because he’d never had anything with sugar. Clearly I ran a tighter ship when I just had one…Ha!

13. Give family members healthy options/suggestions. This is probably the toughest scenario because many loved ones (especially grandparents) like to show love through treats. I don’t want to be a dictator, so i just try to make sure they eat as healthy as possible during the time they are with me. Could I stand my ground and win that battle? Sure. But my husband and I (mostly him) agreed it’s better to just ride it out. Still, there are some things I do have to watch. When my oldest has too many grains/sugar or my littlest has too much dairy, I see asthma + eczema flair. My husband has too, so he is more on board now with trying to guard that. Anyway, if you just give them some ideas for healthier options, they’re usually very happy to comply and still feel like they’re spoiling them!

14. Really focus on good fats!! Very, very important for developing brains!!

 

15. Many kiddos have slight allergies to gluten. Try to eat real, whole foods as often as possible. (Also, our littles’ digestive systems are NOT able to digest grains the way adults are, and this is one of the reasons I do not give rice cereal or oatmeal in a bottle. We prefer Baby Led Weaning, but you definitely want to read the book before pursuing this method.) We make our own bread too usually so I just leave the gluten out.

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16. Kids are supposed to have less than 25 g of sugar a day. Many kids are getting this all at breakfast! Make sure they’re not drinking their sugar allowance either. (Sports drinks, soft drinks, many juice boxes, lemonade, etc. are all PACKED with sugar!)

17. I have my kiddos sit at the table to eat. Not in front of a tv or tablet. I want them to know their hunger cues. I don’t make them clean their plate, but i do sometimes encourage them to take “one more bite” or two more bites of something.

18. Try different ways of preparing a particular food. Kale salad...baked kale chips...sautéed kale...kale & banana smoothies. You might find they like it prepared one way but won’t touch it another way. My boys LOVE sweet potatos & kale baked in this way, but sauteed kale or even a baked sweet potato? Prob not happening!

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19. Offer the food buffet style and let them make their own plate. Have them choose one of everything, and at least try everything before allowing seconds.

20. Have them help set the table.

21. Eat outside!

22. Try the "love it, like it, learning it" approach where you eliminate saying we don't like it & rather saying it's a “learning it” food.

23. Be sure to offer something familiar too when you’re offering a new dish.

24. Try shopping at a Farmer’s Market, local farm, and Aldi. I also LOVE Thrive Market & save a ton there!

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25. When eating out, choose the healthiest options you can find. We like Moe’s/Chipolte, Zoe’s, Taziki’s, Natural Juice Cafe, & Panera.

26. Avoid transferring preferences or making assumptions about what they might like/dislike! For example, just because I HATE olives (gag!) doesn’t mean my kiddos will. Still offer it, let them try it, and don’t talk about how much I hate olives in front of them.

27. Make your food FLAVORFUL!! Eating healthy doesn’t have to be and shouldn’t be bland. Add lots of herbs/spices, healthy salt, quality butter, etc.

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28. Try giving them a dip! My boys will eat almost any veggie if they can dip it in Greek yogurt ranch. You can get creative here, but try offering a dip.

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29. Don’t get all cray about the mess. Let them make memories with you in the kitchen, and make it a JOYFUL time! Crank up some Pandora. Laugh with your babies. Double check their measuring. Winking smile 

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**Unrelated, but I also have them ask to be excused before they get up, and they put their plate/utensils in the sink. Teach em young, right? Raising great adults!

Best advice I’ve got- start small. Choose something from the list you can start with, and just do that. Believe it or not, I am not as hard core as you might think. i just can’t control everything and it’s not worth stressing over, so I do the best I can as often as I can. I do consider it a responsibility though, so I do try to be conscientious and mindful of what I’m feeding my family. I am always seeking to learn in this area so I can make it a part of my normal life & routine (and don’t even have to think about it anymore.)

**One more last minute tip to save you time/money & it is DELISH!!

Here’s how i kill several birds with one stone. (Punny, right??) Cook one whole organic chicken (from trusted source) in crockpot. I love this Bragg’s seasoning because it adds so much flavor! I also add organic carrots & celery about 1.5 hours before it’s done.) Then I use 1/2 the meat for dinner one night, and use the rest to make chicken noodle soup or chicken & rice (with organic Sprouted rice from Thrive Market) for the next night. I also use the bones (2x) to make homemade bone broth. **Watch for bones when pulling the chicken apart.

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Friday, September 14, 2018

The B-I-B-L-E

I was talking to a friend the other day about the best selling book of ALL time & wanted to share some of these “fun facts.”

There are actually over 100 million copies of this book sold each year, and many households report having 3-4 in their home.

Yes- I’m talking about the Bible. This has been my Bible for the last 11 years and it is one of my greatest treasures.

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There are 66 books in the Bible. There are two main divisions- Old Testament (made up of 39 books), which was written before Jesus’ life on earth, & the New Testament (made up of 27 books), which were written after Jesus’ life, ministry, death, & resurrection. These books were written by approximately 40 men over a 1600 year span (from 1500 BC to 100 AD). The books of the New Testament were written within 100 years of Christ’s death by disciples…Men who knew/encountered Jesus or served closely with him. There was also a 400 year time frame between the OT and NT where they didn’t hear from God (often referred to as the years of silence)until the angel spoke to Mary.

40 different authors /writers...from all different backgrounds...over a 1600 year time period...and the theme is the same throughout. It is SO powerful seeing prophecies fulfilled, & I don’t see any other explanation besides “Well that was God.” (If you’ve never read John Bevere’s book called “Good or God,” I think it’s chapter 4 ? that has some really fascinating thoughts on the “chances” & probabilities of the specific details of those prophecies actually being fulfilled in the way they were...mind boggling numbers/statistics that I believe can only point you back to Jesus.)

There are 8 major themes of the Bible.
1. Creation
2. Brokenness
3. Promises
4. Redemption
5. Law
6. Rebellion
7. Grace
8. Eternity

Most of the Bible is not organized chronologically, but rather grouped by like kind. The first five books of the Old Testament are the “Books of the Law.” The next 12 books (Esther - Job) are “history books” known as narratives. Job is considered by many to be a “wisdom book” & Psalms through Song of Solomon are the “poetry books.” Isaiah through Malachi are “the prophets.” The first 5 (Isaiah - Daniel) being considered ‘major prophets’ and final 12 books in the OT (Hosea - Malachi) referred to as the ‘minor prophets.’

In the NT, the first four books are “the gospels.” Matthew was written thematically, & Mark, Luke & John were written chronologically. The book of Acts is considered a “history book,” and the book of Romans begins the letters/epistles. Revelation is the 27th book of the New Testament, and definitely one of its own kind...a book of prophecy.

Here are a few of my favorite verses about the Word of God.

“All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness.” - 2 Tim 3:16

“The grass withereth, the flower fadeth: but the word of our God shall stand for ever.” - Isaiah 40:8

“For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.” Hebrews 4:12

Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path.” - Psalm 119:105

The Bible is transformative when you apply it in your life. The Word never returns void. It doesn’t matter how many times I’ve read a particular verse or passage...God always has something new to show us. It won’t change us if we are simply a ‘hearer of the word’ thorough...because that is just ink on pages. The power lies when we allow the Lord to speak to us, mature us, and mold & shape our hearts & as we become ‘doers of the Word.’

I am so grateful to have the freedom to be able to freely read & study my Bible. And my prayer is the the Lord gives us all an overwhelming hunger & desire to study it, meditate on & pray the Scriptures over our lives, and learn the character of God so we can become more like him. It is SO rich, so interesting, & so powerful. It is the best “self help,” inspirational, parenting, finance, work, marriage, leadership book there is. It has a remedy for every ailment, and a solution for every issue. Yes, even though times are different, we can still apply the wisdom of this book. If we will just FOLLOW it, He gives us the equation for “success.”

What a gift He has given us in His Word!! There is just nothing like it.

Thursday, September 6, 2018

What’s In Your Cup?

Love this analogy. I needed to hear this today and I thought someone else might, too.

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You are holding a cup of coffee when someone comes along and bumps into you, making you spill your coffee everywhere.

Why did you spill the coffee?

"Well because someone bumped into me, of course!"

Wrong answer.

You spilled the coffee because there was COFFEE IN YOUR CUP.

Had there been tea in the cup, you would have SPILLED TEA.

*Whatever is INSIDE your cup is what will spill out.*

Therefore, when life comes along and shakes you (which WILL happen), whatever is inside you WILL come out. It's easy to fake it, until you get rattled.

*So we have to ask ourselves... “What's in my cup?"

When life gets tough, what spills over?
Joy, gratefulness, peace and humility?
Or anger, bitterness, harsh words and reactions?

You choose!

Today let's work towards filling our cups with gratitude, forgiveness, joy, words of affirmation; and kindness, gentleness and love for others.

Being Offended

{My sweet friend Christi Johnson shared this and it was just too powerful not to pass along. I have seen so much destruction happen as a result of people being offended and acting on it. It’s at the root of many broken relationships & arguments. I truly belivee it is a tool in the enemy’s toolbelt to cause division. While we should never be seeking to purposely offend people, I think it’s even more important to focus on how we respond when we feel offended. This is an area where the Lord has matured me tremendously, and I am so thankful for His work in my life in this area. Of course we have never “arrived,” so I am still working and this was such a great reminder for me. Hope it is for you too!}

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OFFENSE

Every day, we are presented with multiple opportunities to get offended. It can be as minor as someone cutting us off in traffic or stealing our parking spot. Other times we can feel deeply hurt by a friend's rude or harsh comment.

What many people don't know is that offense is one of Satan's greatest tools to steal our peace and rob us of God's blessings.
The word "offense" comes from the Greek word scandalon. It is an interesting word that literally describes a trap used to hold bait in order to lure animals.

Similarly, offense is the bait the enemy uses to trap us. He will use people's words and actions to get our minds churning and stir up our emotions. He uses this bait to lure us into a lifetime of bitterness, resentment, unforgiveness, strife, hatred and revenge.

I often say that Satan sets us up to get us upset. He knows our weaknesses and what buttons to push to send us over the edge.
The good news is we are smarter than our enemy because we have the mind of Christ! (See 1 Corinthians 2:16.) We can know the truth of God's Word and don't have to take his bait.
In other words, when somebody tries to give you offense, you decide whether you take it or not.

You may be thinking, Christi, it's so hard not to take offense sometimes! I understand how you feel, but we can refuse to be offended because God gives us self-control, which is a fruit of the Spirit (see Galatians 5:22-23). This means we can control ourselves with God's help and take responsibility for how we respond to life's situations.

It's easy to deflect our problems and place the responsibility on someone else, thinking, If you didn't upset me, then I wouldn't feel this way or If you would just do this, then I would be happy.

But the truth is we will never be free from any problem as long as we're blaming somebody else. I'm not saying other people don't do anything wrong; however, we can't control what everyone else does, but we can choose how we are going to react!

First Corinthians 13:5 says love "is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs" (NIV). Love is a choice! I can choose to forgive and let it go, or I can hold on to the offense and let the hurt turn into something even worse.

For example, sometimes an offense starts out like a paper cut. It's seemingly small, but if you don't take care of it properly, it can begin to fester. In time, it can become infected and cause you a lot of pain.
I can tell you from experience that it's so much better to take care of a problem when it's little. It's good to address it as quickly as possible before it has an opportunity to take root and turn into something more serious.
I've learned that the quicker I can forgive somebody, the easier it's going to be. Sometimes this means being the first one to apologize and make peace — even if it's not my fault!

However, the more we do the right thing, the easier it gets. The quicker I forgive others and get rid of any offense, the more peace I have in my life. After a while, you realize that staying offended doesn't change other people or solve your problems — it only makes you bitter and angry.

I often say that staying mad at someone who has hurt you is like taking poison and hoping your enemy will die. You don't hurt them at all — you only hurt yourself!

Psalm 34:14 tells us to "seek peace and pursue it" (NIV). I've learned over the years (many times the hard way) just how valuable God's supernatural peace really is.


Now, I absolutely refuse to live without it!
It is so much greater than living with the toxic results of holding unforgiveness in my heart.

Opportunities to be offended will never go away, but we can grow wise to the enemy's tactics and learn how to respond in a godly way.

So, the next time you are tempted to be offended, don't take the bait!

Always remember that you have a choice. You can choose to be angry and bitter ... or you can decide to forgive, believe the best of others, and enjoy God's supernatural peace.

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Sunday, August 19, 2018

FAVOR in Obedience

The more obedient I am to what God has called me to, the happier I am.

Is it always comfortable? Is it always what I “want” to do? Does it mean life is perfect & without trials? NO.

But I firmly believe personal “happiness” is tied strongly to obedience.

For the record, I believe God is more concerned with our holiness & shaping us to be more like him than he is our “happiness.” I also believe we can have JOY that comes from the Lord even when our circumstances aren’t necessarily “happy." But I do believe God wants us to live an abundant life (John 10:10) that far exceeds all we could ask or imagine (Ephesians 3:20).

We see over and over in the Bible how God rewards those who are obedient. He is faithful, and He blesses those who are faithful in return with His favor. There are countless Biblical examples. Abraham, Noah, Moses, Job, David, Daniel, Sarah, Hannah…the list goes on. If you want a modern day example, take a look at Chik-Fil-A. The restaurant, which closes on Sundays so employees can go to church and spend time with family, generates more revenue than all other fast food restaurants (including McDonald’s) that are open 7 days a week. There are all kinds of speculations about WHY this is, but want to know the real answer? FAVOR.

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Favor from the Lord. I’m sure most “business experts” think that’s crazy and advised against it. But Truett Cathy’s decision to stand firm & follow the Lord, even if it wasn’t popular, led to massive success. Because God honors obedience.

We don’t like to talk about it, but there are consequences for sin and disobedience, which usually come in the form of circumstances that make us “feel unhappy.” Many times we blame God or question if he’s really there, when in fact we should really be looking in the mirror for who is responsible. A wise Sunday School teacher once taught us that “disobedience hurts.” Ever seen a mom tell her kiddo to stop doing something, the kid not listen, and end up getting hurt? Picture it. A little boy running around the swimming pool. Mom: “Stop running. You’re going to get hurt!” Kid: continues running. Slips, falls, busts his head. DISOBEDIENCE hurts.

Now think about that in life circumstances. Know someone who married someone God did not intend for them to marry? Everyone in their life warned them against it, but he/she was soooo “in love” they did it anyway? There is a big chance all those red flags continued to unfold, and now that person is unhappy in marriage or even divorced. Is it God’s fault that person didn’t seek the Lord? Or someone who spent a LOT of money buying something that felt good in the moment, but is now spending a lifetime of regret attempting to pay off the debt, and absolutely miserable? (These are just examples. It doesn’t always happen this way, of course.)

No, this doesn’t mean that life is going to be perfect and that we’re never going to have trials... because we are. But If you want his hand and his anointing on you...then you must walk in obedience.

His Word is not a list of rules preventing us from having any fun. It’s boundaries set in place to protect us from harm. Because He can see things we cannot see, and doing things HIS way are far better than doing things OUR way. There is such reward in obedience. And we have way more control over our circumstances than we realize. I don’t always get this right, but praise the Lord I am learning! I have spent way too much time suffering consequences that resulted from my own disobedience. I’m grateful I’m finally mature enough to take personal responsibility and ownership. (There is so much freedom in that actually. No blaming, making excuses, etc. Just owning it.) The seeds we plant now will result in the fruits we eat later. Choose to obey the Word of God! His promises are real & so, so sweet.

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Friday, August 17, 2018

Healthy Kiddo Hacks: Boosting the Immune System

Benjamin Franklin said “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” This is SO true!
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It’s that time of year. Back to school. Flu season will be here before we know it. (SHEW- it was BAAAADDD last year. Like epidemic levels.) My goal, like all the rest of the mamas, is to keep my boys as healthy as possible, so I wanted to share some of my favorite homeopathic/natural remedies for boosting their immune systems and keeping them well. (For the record, it’s not fool proof. My boys had a summer cold/cough last week. But I do believe this helps + shortens the length when they do come down with a little something.) I don’t think there are many things more heartbreaking than seeing your baby not feeling well, so I want us to help with that some if I can.
I also have an awesome FB group called “Health Mama/Healthy Kiddo Hacks” where all my mama & grandmother friends share their fave resources, ask questions, etc., and I’d love for you to join us there if you like. You can just click on that link & request to join.

Disclaimer: I am not a doctor, and I am not offering any medical advice/prescribing anything here. I am simply sharing what we choose to do for our boys to boost their immune systems. I do believe parents are the best advocates for their own children’s health, and I highly encourage parents to do their own research/consult with a doctor on each of these supplements to make the best possible decisions for their babies.
As promised, here is a list of our fave homeopathic and natural immune boosting secrets. (I included direct links to purchase.)
  • Probiotics. ALL of us, every single day. Over 80% of your immune system is housed in your gut, so gut health is VERY important. Your gut is often referred to as your “second brain” because so many aspects of your health (even mental health, which is astounding) is tied back to gut health. (P.S. Antibiotics destroy the gut. They kill ALL bacteria, both good + bad, so probiotics are especially important in maintaining gut health while on an antibiotic and/or rebuilding it after. And we personally try to use antibiotics as a LAST RESORT. I have three babies, 5 & under, and have only had one kiddo on an antibiotic ever.)  I like Klare Labs & Garden of Life (although they were recently bought out so I’m on the look out for ingredients to change). I put it on my breast while breastfeeding, in a bottle if I pump one, and eventually use a clean finger to swab it in their mouth.


  • Vitamin D drops. I think vitamin D is one of the most underrated supplements there is, and people are totally missing the mark. (Most adults are deficient too. (Here is the calcium + D3 we take. One of the doctors on our sci/med board told me it’s important to take calcium, D3, and magnesium together for maximum absorption and they have taken care of that for us in this supplement. It’s a multi-faceted approach by incorporating all three in one. Aren’t you grateful for super smart people like them?) I give Jase 1000 IU, Kade 800, & Beau 400. I do this daily, with breakfast, year round. The liquid drops are easiest, and I start at around 6 months (even while breastfeeding). I like for them to get as much sunshine as possible when the weather is nice because our body stores it up and this helps us fight off infections during the winter months. (I don’t use much sunscreen for this reason unless we are going to be in direct sun for extended periods.) There is nothing better than the real deal vit D, but because most of us aren’t getting enough, we need to supplement. P.S. I’m not super picky about the brand, but do yourself a favor and get the kind with the dropper. It’s such a pain trying to get them to hold their mouth open long enough for the other kind. I’m finishing a bottle of this brand now and it has lasted forever!!
Vitamin D Drops for Infants - Liquid Vitamin D3 for Adults, Kids, Baby - 400iu Per Drop - 2oz 2140 doses
  • Citrizinc chews. These help support your immune system with these grab-and-go chews that offer a great source of vitamins C and D as well as zinc.* You do want to keep them put up though because the kids love them and think they’re candy. (We take these as well, especially when we’re traveling.)

  • Bone broth. If you can’t get them to drink it by itself, cook with it. It’s best if you can make your own. It’s very easy. Just google how to do it.
Kettle & Fire Chicken Bone Broth - Organic, Collagen-rich Chicken Bone Broth,Pack of 2
  • Oscilliococinum is an awesome herbal remedy (my personal preference over Tamiflu) if someone DOES catch the flu. I’d stock up now because when flu season hits, you can’t get your hands on any. We have friends that used this + elderberry last year and the flu symptoms eased very quickly.
Boiron Oscillococcinum for Flu-like Symptoms Pellets, 30 Count/0.04 Oz each
  • Colloidal silver spray. I first heard about colloidal silver at a huge holistic health conference we attended a couple years ago. They sold me on it. You can give it daily as maintenance, and amp it up when they’re starting to come down with something. You just follow the directions (age/weight and desired outcome determines the # of sprays). You can get drops too, AND they have some for adults as well.
Sovereign Silver® For Kids Bio-Active Silver Hydrosol™ for Immune Support* - 2oz – Fine Mist Spray - Ultimate Refinement of Colloidal Silver - Safe*, Pure and Effective* - Premium Silver Supplement
  • Vitamin C. I first learned about orthomolecular vitamin C while watching the Healthy Child Summit with Dr. Saul. High-dose vitamin C is POWERFUL for healing! (Check out the site to read more about the benefits, how it works, etc.) Some people give it to the point of loose stools. I don’t do this, but I do give a pretty good amount if they’re coming down with something. 
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  • Elderberry syrup. We give this daily during flu season and amp it up if they’re coming down with something. (Reminder: NO honey for any babies! Botulism is very REAL, and their digestive tracts aren’t formed well enough to be able to handle raw honey. They say once they’re over a year old it’s okay, but I’m very conservative and don’t do any honey under the age of 2 1/2. I also don’t use as much as the recipe calls for.) We buy our own organic elderberries and make our own (Wellness Mama’s recipe, or follow the recipe on the back), but you can find someone local who makes it or buy it pre-made too.
Viva Naturals Organic Elderberries, 1 lb Bag - The ULTIMATE Superfruit for Defense Syrups and Longevity Teas


  • Limit sugar. Too much sugar at one time shuts the immune system down for 5 hours at a time. FIVE hours!! No wonder “flu season” shows up right after Halloween & Christmas and all the parties, treats, candy, and cookies. We are basically filling them with poison and shutting their immune systems down. (For the record, I’m not a total weirdo and my kids aren’t deprived. I haven’t totally found a solution for how to navigate this and I do let them have candy. I’d like for them to consume less sugar though.) We should shoot for LESS than 25 g a day.
Sugar recommendation in kids infographic
{image from here}

  • Make sure they get plenty of sleep. Sleep is when their bodies recover, their brain grows, etc. Not getting enough sleep weakens the immune system & hinders their ability to fight off viruses.
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{chart from here}
  • On Guard + Thieves (oils on the bottom of feet & diffuse). I use them interchangeably and like them both equally. I diffuse oils every single day & I love them as an alternative to toxic candles, scents, air fresheners, etc. I also uses Thieves hand sanitizer and clean our house with Thieves (I just ordered some Thieves oil, but before that I made my own with a recipe I found online.) Make sure you do your research to determine what is safe for littles (not everything is) & proper dilution. Also, I personally do not ingest or use neat. I know some people do, so you’ll want to come to your own decision on that. You can find your fave oils person to get hooked up.
  • Don’t wear shoes in the house. You track in all kinds of yucky germs from the outside. Easy peasy, just take them off at the door. I love cleaning our floors with Norwex items! (I love their cloths too. This is what I use to wipe down our counters, the baby’s high chair tray, etc.)
  • Nutrition. I try to help them eat real, whole foods as much as possible. Lots of fruits + veggies. Organic when you can. Avoid processed food, junk food, and fast food. I sneak in Superfoods when I can by making homemade smoothies, grain free muffins with Superfood blends, etc. I have some tips for these are in some previous blog posts, so feel free to scroll back through to take a look at those.
  • Homeopathic allergy relief. This is my preference over Claritin or other OTC drugs when it comes to allergy relief.
Genexa Homeopathic Allergy for Children: The Only Certified Organic Kids Allergy & Decongestant Medicine. Physician Formulated, Natural, Non-GMO Verified & Non-Drowsy (60 Chewable Tablets)
  • I am not one who is quick to go to the doctor. I avoid antibiotics at ALL COST unless 100% absolutely necessary. If we’re not careful, we can develop a resistance to antibiotics which would make them less effective in the future if we ever had a serious infection and REALLY needed it. Plus, antibiotics destroy your gut by killing the good bacteria (it has know way to differentiate between the good & bad guys, so just kills them all.) I have also found that it seems lots of antibiotic use leads to more sickly kiddos. When you don’t develop and immunity to something, you won’t be able to fight it off next time. Most things will run their course if you allow them, & you’ll want to use common sense/discernment here. I personally VERY RARELY use fever reducers anymore. Like, I can’t even remember the last time. Thankfully my boys haven’t had many fevers, but fevers are actually our bodies’ way of fighting something off. They are for our benefit. Our bodies heat up to kill whatever is trying to take us down. When we use a fever reducer, we are many times extending the life of the virus & interfering with the body’s natural ability to heal itself. Febrile seizures typically happen when fevers spike very rapidly, so definitely keep an eye out for that & reduce that fever! Also, I definitely encourage you to do some research on the topic for yourself. I recommend reading THIS BOOK (absolutely NO offense to doctors- so grateful for their knowledge! I wish it had a different title, but it is FULL of valuable info nonetheless) for a more comprehensive overview & explanation about this topic. Maybe check out this article about Tylenol raising risks of asthma. If you’re in need of a more natural fever reducer, I recommend this homeopathic option. 
Homeolab USA Kids Relief Pain & Fever
  • Wash hands often with non-toxic soap and warm water. I’m not a fan of antibacterial soap or hand sanitizer (endocrine disrupter), but if that’s all that’s out, it’s better than the alternative. Teach them to wash their hands OFTEN & how to do it the right way. (Tip: Teach them to sing their ABCs or the “Happy Birthday” song while scrubbing, then use the paper towel to open the door if in public.)
Image result for how to properly wash hands

**I also love earth clinic to look up a collection of natural cures and remedies. Awesome resource to keep in your back pocket!
Sweet mama friends, I hope this is helpful for you. I know mommin’ ain’t easy, and we all want to do the very best by our children. Praying that if you’re reading this, the Lord blesses your children with a hedge of protection and thriving HEALTH in the upcoming year! Also praying He gives you wisdom as you navigate the BEST way to take care of your babies. I truly believe God has given you instincts to know how to best care for them, but I also know that when we know better, we DO better. Knowledge (applied) is power.
P.S. I’m always looking to learn! Anything else you use I need to know about??

Positive Affirmations for Kiddos

The Word is VERY clear that there is power in the tongue. Take some time to read some of the verses about the power of the tongue and the power of our words.

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So I got the idea to do this with my boys because this is something I personally do in the form of belief cards. That might sound silly or lame or whatever, but it has led to personal breakthrough for me. It has changed the way I view myself, allowed me to tear through some lies I have believed, and helped me grow into who I know I can be, even if I wasn’t there yet. It has changed my beliefs and shaped my thinking, and if it can do it for me, I know it can do it for my boys.

The words we speak to our children and about them become their inner voice. There are so many “voices” speaking to who they are and their identity, that Jonathan and I want to make sure WE are the loudest voices in their heads. We want our boys to have a strong foundation. Our hope and prayer is that as they grow up, their choices and decisions will align with the TRUTH about who they are and who they are created to be.

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Here are some of our affirmations we go through at night with the boys. We start when they’re really young (we even do them with Beau). We don’t do it every single day, but we try to. It doesn’t matter when you do it, but you really want to be as consistent as possible. We say them then have them repeat them loudly and confidently after us in the form of an “I” statement. They don’t always love it, but we make them do all kinds of things they don’t necessarily like to do…because that’s life. (I mean hello…I don’t LIKE to do laundry, but we don’t wanna be nasty & stanky so I do it anyway.)

Image result for words create the world you live in

- I am a champion.
- I am a leader.
- I am a child of God.
- I am strong.
- I am brave and courageous.
- i am healthy.
- i am wise & make wise choices.
- I am fearfully and wonderfully made, and made in the image of Christ.
- I am a hard worker.
- I am a problem solver.
- i tell the truth.
- i am a protector.
- i am friendly & enjoy making new friends.
- i enjoy talking in front of others.
- i like to share.
- i am helpful.
- i am respectful.
- i have a grateful heart.
- i love to learn new things.
- i honor my mom & dad.
- I am smart & have a great memory.
- I use my gifts for God’s glory.
- I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength.
- I trust in the Lord with all my heart.
- I love the Lord, my God, with all my heart, soul, mind, and strength.
- if God before us, who can be against us?
- i’m going to change the world.

Parents…your words have POWER. You are not raising kids…you are raising future adults. That perspective is POWERFUL, so wrap your mind around that and parent them in that way. Talk to your spouse about the kind of adult you want your child to grow into, and then start speaking that into them, over them, and have them learn to speak it about themselves. Then watch that manifest into their reality.

Mommin’ Ain’t Easy, But it is a BLESSING

Children are a gift from the Lord. (Psalm 127:3)

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If you’re having a “moment” & not feeling like it for a second, that’s okay. We’re all real people & we have real nerves & these little people that call us Mama know how to get all over them sometimes.

Just don’t let yourself stay there, friend. Remind yourself that your child is a BLESSING! A gift entrusted to you. Chosen specifically for you and you for them. They require work + patience + training. And God has called YOU and will equip you to that work if you recognize what a mighty & wonderful calling it is.

Choose to enjoy them. Get yo mind right & do it quickly. Memorize Scripture & renew your mind in the Lord. Guard your heart. Pour into your children. Invest in them. Treasure them.

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God doesn’t expect us to be a perfect parent, but we should be a present & praying parent. ❤️ and p.s. Kids spell love T-I-M-E.

Closed Doors

Today I am grateful for CLOSED doors.

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That may sound strange, but one of the ways God shows us his love is through CLOSED doors. Many times it doesn't feel that way at the time. In fact, in our immaturity we tend to think the opposite and that it is unanswered prayers. Sometimes, we become bitter, we try to force our own way, we pout, and we stop seeking the Lord. But in reality, closed doors often mean God has something better for us that fits in HIS perfect plan & HIS perfect timing. We will get to experience His faithfulness if we allow the Lord to lead, stay in His will, and don't force anything on our own. We can usually look back and see that closed doors were actually Him protecting us from something. Isn’t He GOOD??  YES! He works together for the good of those who love Him, so we can fully trust Him.

Next time you experience a closed door, choose the perspective of gratitude. Be thankful for his protection, provision, and omniscience. Declare that you trust Him fully, and praise Him in the waiting. He knows and wants the best for YOU, so keep seeking Him.

I just wanted to share that in case you’re in a season of experiencing closed doors. I know if can feel disheartening, but hang in there! Your best days are yet to come.

But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. – Matthew 6:33

But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him. – Hebrews 11:6

Homeschooling Update…

When people ask how homeschooling is going...ummm, it’s going.

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Transparency moment: I don’t feel like i have been totally honest with everyone about homeschooling. When people have asked me about it and said “Wow, i could never do that!” I really wanna say “Yes! Same here! Me neither!” Cuz that’s how I feel. I feel like I can’t. And I know that although according to the world’s “standards” I should be equipped (from an education and experience standpoint anyway), I am actually having to unlearn many things from my teaching background because this is SO, SO different. I think people assume I chose to homeschool because have unlimited patience with my boys or something...& while I’m working to grow in that area, I just want to confess: I’m not the most patient mom ever. Sometimes I lose my cool & don’t react/respond the way I’d like.

I have also been telling people i feel “called” to it because I feel like that eases the awkwardness of the conversation. But again… I don’t necessarily feel “called” to it. This is very much a CHOIE. I believe it’s the best choice for our family & our boys & the fruits we are trying to produce..but y’all, it.is.HARD. I’m not scared of hard things because I’ve done hard things before. And while many times I feel like I “can’t,” I know I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. So I’m clinging to that!

Hopefully at the end of this year I’ll be saying “Whew, we’re getting this thing figured out & we are thriving!” But for now, it’s just plain hard, & if I’m totally honest, i don’t necessarily ‘want’ to do it. Navigating this new journey with two other littles running around… while we’re living 5 deep in a friend’s camper in our driveway…(that’s a different post for a different day!)…it’s just a little crazy.

But, I want to be super transparent about my thoughts, feelings, and insecurities in our journey. SO I’m sharing my “struggles” because I fully believe there is some other mama reading this that has felt a tug on her heart to homeschool, but is maybe feeling some of these same obstacles I am. I just want you to know, you’re not alone & you CAN do it. God planted that seed in you for a reason. Don’t allow the enemy to steal this from you.  Yes, it is hard. But many of the most worthwhile things in life come with challenges. And there isn’t a better way to teach our kids to do hard things, even when you don’t feel equipped, even when you don’t necessarily “want to,” than to lead by example.

My major goal is for my kids to be worshippers, to know God and make him known, to love the Lord with all their heart, soul, mind, and strength, to be entrepreneurs or in ministry, to be effective communicators, to enjoy learning, to be avid readers, to live healthy lives as productive members of society, and to have the Word hidden in their hearts. And this is the approach I feel like is best for our family in this season to make those things a reality.

Now back to Butler Academy...

Bible: Awanas + Character Calendar + Bible Study Fellowship

Memory Work + Community: Classical Conversations

Reading: Teach Your Child to Read in 100  Easy Lessons

Math: Horizons Math

Music: Funderful World of Music

Thursday, June 14, 2018

Simple Tips for Disease Prevention & Holistic Lifestyle

This journey of living a healthier lifestyle started for me as a teenager. Because I was adopted and don’t really know any family medical history, I made up my mind that I wanted to live as healthy of a lifestyle as possible. I’m sure you’d agree with me that it just FEELS better when you’re doing things to take care of your temple, right? So, this meant doing little things like giving up any sugary drinks and switching to only water. (I wish I had known at the time that even though I was trying, refilling the same 1L cheap plastic Deer Park water bottle over and over for multiple days from the water fountain, and even leaving it in my hot car, wasn’t exactly the best option. That releases BPA & that water was probably filled with lots of junk that I’ll get into later.) Anyway, I call this a “journey” because there has been progression. I have continued to learn SO much throughout the years and I don’t plan to stop. I love being a seeking wisdom and I love to learn! (I also love being a teacher and sharing that knowledge with others. Some of this has become such a part of my life that I can’t even decipher what is common knowledge anymore, so I am just going to share as much as I can.)
Sometimes people get offended when we talk about disease prevention as if we are placing blame. I have even had people unfriend me and completely stop speaking to me. However, that is simply not true and not at all my goal. I never share anything to make anyone feel guilty or like something is their fault, so I decided that I’m not going to stop sharing because knowledge (when applied) is POWERFUL & has the potential to save lives. What if one small change you make is exactly the change needed that adds YEARS to your life? Or the life of someone you love?
Have you ever lost someone in your life too soon to disease?? I have. And because 7 out of the 10 top “killers” (heart disease, stroke, diabetes, cancer) can be preventable, it’s part of my mission to help people live as full and HEALTHY lives as possible. Health is a commodity that we often don’t appreciate until we no longer have it. If you or someone you know has ever been sick, you know that is rightfully pretty consuming. We spend most of our time focused on the illness and trying to get better. I know for me, when I don’t feel my best, I’m not the best version of myself. I have more energy, more patience, am kinder, better able to serve, and more focused on others when I feel good. Of course there are some things that just happen and are out of our control, so I’m not speaking to that. I know me or anyone in my family could get sick at any time since we live in a fallen world. And I am so grateful for medical doctors and modern medicine that help us when we need it. But they are meant to help us when we encounter things that are out of our control…not solve problems for us that could have been prevented. Of course this is not a perfect protection plan, as there is no such thing. I am simply talking about the lifestyle choices that ARE within our control that can help the average person live the healthiest, best quality of life possible. Why would we NOT do all that we can to prevent illness & live healthy, robust, productive lives??
Unfortunately, ignorance is not bliss when it comes to living a healthy lifestyle. Just because you don’t know better, doesn’t mean you’re immune from the consequences. (Like me drinking that yucky water out of my cheap plastic water bottle, or baking in the sun with afrosheen. Yes, I actually did that. And I’m sure there were/are consequences.)
“An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure,” so I want to share with you all that I have learned about PREVENTION.  I don’t have any special letters after my name & I’m not an expert. BUT, I have been blessed with an opportunity to learn from some of the top holistic doctors on the planet. For several years I have been attending Healing Strong meetings to learn about preventing and fighting cancer naturally. Jonathan and I attended The Truth About Cancer Symposium with some of the most intelligent people (in their respective fields) offering lots of tips and solutions. I have listened to multiple podcasts, hours worth of docuseries from experts, read articles, books, and scientific journals. I have definitely become a student of this because it is so interesting to me. That being said, everything written here is my personal opinion/experience and things I have learned from others, so it is not meant to replace advice from your doctor.
Most of the time when I talk to people about this topic, they tell me they don’t have time to study up and read and learn everything about this topic. (I have found that you have time for things that are important to you. Can you imagine if you spent 30 min per day of the time you currently spend watching tv or scrolling social media…or listening to podcasts or audiobooks while driving/cooking, etc,?) But, I do get it. Most people just want to know what to do and what not to do. And that’s kind of my goal with this post. I want to share a simple list with some of my top tips of things TO do and some things to avoid.
Still, I recommend making sure you are doing your research and making the best possible decisions for your family. Don’t just trust me, or your doctor, or your mama, or do something because you’ve always done it that way. Not everyone is going to agree with everything on my lists, so if there is something unfamiliar, definitely spend some time researching and learning more.
Side note: I also believe you can become a student of “wellness” without making it an idol or obsession. You can take time to learn without it consuming your life. Once you’ve learned it, it’s really just simple switches and conscious choices. Really, something as simple as using Free & Clear laundry detergent and STOP using dryer sheets can make a big difference!
My prayer is that if you’re reading this, it is because you have a desire for you and your family to live a healthier lifestyle. I wish I could share with you in person, because then you could hear my heart & see that I’m coming from a place of genuinely trying to help and no judgement or condemnation. But, a post is the best way for me to get this info to the masses. So, I hope you are able to let down any walls or feelings of offense and begin making baby steps. (Or jump in with both feel and do a complete overhaul like we did!) Don’t allow yourself to feel overwhelmed because many of these are simple swaps and changes. And don’t allow yourself to buy into the lie that “everything causes cancer so I’m not even going to worry about it.” While it is true that lots of environmental factors can cause disease, we…YOU…have WAY more control than we think. I hope you feel EMPOWERED and more equipped after reading this post.
I prefer to focus mostly on sharing with women because we are the nutritional gatekeepers of our homes and control many things on this list. We have such a great responsibility in helping our children leave healthy lives. Did you know their immune system begins forming the 5th week in utero? (YES! It MATTERS what you put into your body while pregnant! Don’t allow society to tell you anything otherwise.)
Here are two other posts I’ve written previously about this topic:
Healthy Lifestyle Tips for Preventing Illness
Reducing Environmental Toxins to Prevent Cancer
So here we go.
*Did you know..This is the first generation expected to NOT outlive their parents? No parent should EVER have to bury a child, so SOMETHING has to change. This is part of why we are so passionate about what we do and why we have partnered with Champions for Children,  that is partnering with local organizations to fight childhood obesity. (There are lots more issues with obesity than we realize…bullying, heart disease, childhood diabetes, etc.)
*Did you know..90-95% of cancers have roots in environment and lifestyle?
*Did you know…the American Cancer Society says more than half of all cancers can be prevented through lifestyle changes?
*Did you know..diabetes causes more deaths per year than AIDS + breast cancer combined?
*Did you know…1 out of every 3 Americans are overweight/obese?
*Did you know…It is expected that by the year 2050, if something doesn’t change, that 1 out of every 3 Americans will have diabetes and 1 out of every 2 people will be diagnosed with cancer?
*Did you know…in 2011, 2 in 4 children were diagnosed with chronic illness like asthma, ADHD, food allergies, depression, autism, seizures, learning disorders, etc.?
*Did you know…The University of Columbia said 95% of all cancer is due to diet and the accumulation of toxins?
*Did you know…your GENES can be turned ON and OFF with food, chemicals, sleep, and stress?? THAT is empowering!!!
THINGS TO AVOID:
  • acidic water. Here it goes. Do NOT drink tap water. If you can, I suggest a whole house filtration system because if you think about unclean water, we are BATHING in it. Most city water supplies contain Rx meds residue, bacteria, heavy metals, and even parasites. If you can’t swing it, if you have a second home, or even if you do have good water, I still LOVE the idea of having a Berkey. I LOVE my Big Berkey! Whole blog post coming soon, but till then you can check out the videos.
  • plastic. Sometimes it’s unavoidable, but if you can help it, do your body + the environment a favor and bring your own stainless steel/glass bottle. Aquasauna has a bottle that filters dirty water as you drink it.
  • fragrances. Most candles, air freshener, plug ins, body spray= Very toxic. Just switch to essential oils. And safer candle options. Sorry friends, no more Yankee Candle or Bath & Body works.
  • wearing shoes in the house. can you even imagine all the nasty germs we are bringing into our homes on the bottom of our feet? tracking it all over the floors are babies crawl all over? simple fix that will keep your family so much healthier! TAKE YOUR SHOES OFF AT THE DOOR. (Ahem….Jonathan.)
  • junk food/processed food. Just try to eat REAL food as much as possible.
  • SUGAR/refined sugar. Basically white poison. I just do my very best here. Sugar feeds cancer. 
  • table salt. There are lots of salts like sea salt and pink Himalayan salt that are high in minerals, add flavor to your food, and have benefits for your overall health.
  • GMOs. less than a decade after GMOs hit the market, the number of Americans with 3+ chronic illnesses more than doubled.
  • hydrogenated oils.
  • microwaves. I don’t even want one at all in our next house.
  • EMF. Don’t keep your cell phone on you all the time. DEF don’t carry it on your body.
  • non-stick cookware. The toxins in non-stick cookware can leach into your food and begin chipping off over time. I prefer cast-iron because it also releases iron into your food.
  • conventional produce. This means fruit + veggies that are NOT organic, because they are often sprayed with lots of toxic pesticides. If you think you can’t afford it, try cutting cable. We saved $1200/year, and that extra $100/month on our grocery bill covers organic. (Plus, we’re not watching garbage tv and allowing it into our homes, so double win.)
  • plastics. we try to use glass containers to store leftovers & i already mentioned water bottles. i REALLY need to make the switch to cloth diapering, but haven’t done that yet.
  • bleached/refined flour. we also make our own bread with my Breadbeckers bread maker (that has been packed up in storage for the last year and a half). We are moving towards grain free.
  • toxic personal care products. Download the ThinkDirty app to scan your personal care items (toothpaste, shampoo, facewash, deoderant, make up, tampons, hand soap, cologne/perfume, etc.)It also has suggestions for cleaner products. The EWG’s database is very helpful too.
  • toxic cleaning products. We love Norwex! I also make some Thieves & use that to clean.
  • meds/drugs. Unless absolutely necessary, we avoid them at all costs. I try all other natural routes first. I don’t even give Tylenol. (There is a lot of research about Tylenol.)
  • nitrites. They preserve meats but feed cancer. Sorry bacon, hot dogs, lunch meat.
  • smoked meat or foods cooked at high temps over an open flame. Carcinogenic (which means it has cancer-causing agents).
  • olive oil cooked on high temps. quality olive oil is fine. (hint: they’re not all quality though.) just be sure you’re cooking on low heat. if you need to cook on high heat, avocado oil is a better option.
  • flouride. You can read more here. But basically, stay away. Find a way (like Berkey) to get the flouride out of your water. Use flouride free toothpaste.
  • screens before bed. stimulate the brain and make it difficult to fall asleep or get into deepest level of sleep. can try blue blocking glasses or just avoid it all together.
  • birth control pills. the World Health Organization says oral contraceptives fall into a category 1 “known and probable carcinogen.” Carcinogen = cancer causing agent. So, no thank you. There are other ways to not get pregnant, and there are some more natural routes for balancing hormones.
  • mercury fillings/root canals. I watched a whole docuseries called the Oral Health Summit and it was SO eye opening. Def check out a holistic dentist if you can. In short, take care of your teeth.
  • alcohol. Most of the benefits alcohol could give can be attained through other herbal options. Even wine. Grapes are one of the most highly sprayed crops in the world…so we are basically putting poison into our body in the “name of health.” 
  • antibacterial soap & hand sanitizer. endocrine disrupters & create superbugs. normal old soap (i love goats milk) and warm water are plenty.
THINGS TO FOCUS ON:
  • clean water. Again, BERKEY. (I will come back in and add my link, but reach out before you buy- i have a coupon so you can save!)

  • hydration. Our bodies are made up of primarily water, so staying well hydrated is essential for optimal functioning of our different bodily systems. Dehydration can lead to a plethora of health issues, from headaches all the way to hospitalization. Make sure you’re drinking plenty of that CLEAN water. 
  • plant-based diet. I encourage people to consume as many PLANTS as possible! A great way to do this is through juicing and smoothies.
  • eating organic. Thrive Market has lots of pantry staples for MUCH cheaper, so check out my post about how that works.
  • eating the rainbow. Lots of diff colored fruits + veggies provide antioxidants & other powerful disease fighting nutrients. It’s so important to eat real, whole foods! I do love supplementing the Reds & Greens in addition to a healthy diet though. They have many powerful antioxidants (which fight disease) along with prebiotics, probiotics, and digestive enzymes. I like them because they have several ingredients I wouldn’t ordinarily put in my shopping cart (kelp, wheatgrass, alfalfa, spirulina, Goji berry, etc.).
  • mushrooms. Mushrooms are powerful for our immune system & cancer prevention.
  • clean air. (We have an Austin Air Purifier for the boys’ room and our room. We also open the windows as often as possible and vacuum daily.)
  • bone broth. here is a post all about bone broth.
  • plenty of sleep. Lack of sleep can lead to weight gain, irritability, stress/anxiety, weakened immune system. 
  • strong friendships/relationships. VERY powerful in our health and probably way underestimated by most of us.
  • faith. I am so thankful for the HOPE I have in Jesus. Prayer changes things, including me. Prayer eases any fear and anxiety, and strengthens my relationship with the Lord so I have courage + strength to continue on in this fallen world. Jesus is REAL and alive, my friends.
  • a healthy gut. Your gut is also known as your “second brain” & is the control center for many things- digestion, immune system, etc.
  • juicing/smoothies. We do this daily during a fast, but on a normal basis I shoot for 2-3 times a week. If you’re on a healing protocol, you’ll need to do it daily and even multiple times a day. here is one of my fave smoothie recipes and one of my fave juice recipes. (focus on primarily VEGGIES & very few fruits.)
  • fasting/intermittent fasting. I love both! Here is an article about intermittent fasting and my favorite book about why/how to of Fasting (written by our pastor).
  • healthy fats. this is how you will feed your brain and help prevent alzheimers/dementia. Your brain is made up of mostly fats, so you need them! here is a post i wrote all about healthy fats.
  • essential oils. there is such a wealth of info here, and there are lots of people who know WAY more than me. I personally diffuse them daily and use oils for some of my homemade cleaning products + personal care products. Dr. Z (my go-to for health info on essential oils) said he doesn’t recommend using the essential oils companies personal care products, but does encourage you to make you own with them. i do not personally ingest them or use them neat (directly on skin without a carrier oil).
  • oil pulling. Promotes great oral health. Swish organic coconut oil for 15-20 min/day & spit into trash (NOT down any drain). Here’s a how to guide for oil pulling.
  • apple cider vinegar. SO many health benefits! here is my recipe for drinking it warm that will knock out a sore throat ASAP.
  • chiropractic. for preventative care. i am personally a BIG fan, even while pregnant and for babies. this is our go-to when someone is starting to feel under the weather, etc.
  • soak your almonds, walnuts, pecans, etc. before eating. Here are the details on how to do it if this is a completely new concept for you.
  • CBD oil. great way to treat pain naturally. has other benefits too. Definitely worth looking up!
  • elderberry syrup. i make my own. super simple. I give it daily during flu season, and increase to a few times a day if they seem to be coming down with something. NO honey for the little ones though. here is the link to how i made it.
  • vitamin C. this is my go-to for any type of sickness. 
  • supplements. multivitamins, amino acids (for supporting lean muscle + non-stimulant energy), turmeric (for inflammation), collagen (for skin + joints + gut). Yes, you do need supplements. Unfortunately we cannot get enough in our diet anymore the way our soil is, the SAD way we eat (Standard American diet), etc. Dr. Hyman agrees and discusses it in his book Food: What the Heck Should I Eat?.
  • exercise. Shoot for sweating 3x a week for 20 min….150 min/ week moderate or 75 minutes of vigorous exercise. MOVE every single day. Sitting is the new smoking.
  • positive thinking. This is one of the #1 things the doctors at different events said. Memorize Scripture. I love Phil 4:8.
  • healthy pregnancies. Mamas, you have such an incredible responsibility in helping your healthy child develop! YOU are responsible for helping develop their immune systems, which begins forming a 5 weeks. We should actually be doing the complete opposite of what the world says, and this is the MOST important time to focus on great nutrition.
  • rebounding. tons of benefits. Basically bouncing on a little trampoline. Sounds weird, but lots of benefits.
  • dry brushing. here is a post all about dry brushing- what it is, how to do it, benefits, etc. (Added bonus- did you know that is also reduces the appearance of cellulite?)You can order one off Amazon here for pretty cheap.
  • colloidial silver. Strengthens immune system, helps combat illness. Just make sure you follow directions exactly.
  • turmeric for inflammation. (NOT ibuprofen!)
  • a holistic dentist. I LOVE my dentist, so I still go to her for regular cleanings and thankfully my teeth have been healthy the last decade or so. I had a lot of work done when I was younger though. Mercury fillings are very toxic, and you have to be very cautious with how you remove them. I am also anti-root canals. You do not want to cover up an infected tooth. That is like if you had an infected cut and just put a band aid on it. Gotta clean that bad boy out! Again, floss daily, brush daily, use a water pick, oil pulling, etc. 
  • FORVIGE others. Forgiveness if more for you than the other person. Holding on to bitterness, resentment, and unforgiveness actually cause disease in the body. Study what the Word says about forgiveness, and choose to forgive those who have hurt you.
Of course this list isn’t completely comprehensive, and we don’t do everything perfectly by any means, but it does give some really great starting places. You can research each of these individual topics on your own and more in depth too. I’ll try to post a few more with some specific details- like about the Berkey, about my fave personal care products, etc. I also have a FB group where I plan to go live and share tips for mamas & taking care of kiddos (how we treat fevers, boost immune system, prevent sickness, sneak in veggies, etc.) You’re more than welcome to join if you like!
If I brought a Ferrari over to your house and dropped it off in your driveway and handed you the keys…you would probably take PHENOMENAL care of it, right? Regular oil changes. Regular maintenance. Only the best fuel. Washed & waxed. No kiddos eatin goldfish and french fries in the back. Am I right?
When God gives us our bodies, He calls them a temple. When I shifted my perspective & had some conviction about how I care for my temple, God’s gift to me, everything changed. Take care of your body- it’s the only place you have to live.
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A few of my favorite resources:
Dr. Mercola
Dr. Axe
Dr. Eric Z
The Green Queen
Healing Strong
The Truth About Cancer
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