It’s Been Almost a Decade. Is It the Coffee, or Do I Just Feel Better Than Ever?

Healthy Living - Why Wait Until After Christmas

Tis the week before Christmas.  I know what we’re all thinking about right now:  The most natural way to clean a bathtub.  Obviously.

No?  Perhaps that’s because you’re more focused on making a plan for your garden this spring.  Maybe you’re distracted with all the excitement in the air over the joy of creating a balanced budget.  Oh, wait.  I’ve got it.  You are deep in thought about ways to incorporate more kale into your diet.

I know you all so well, don’t I?  Or maybe my crazy self forgot what day this is and that the countdown to Christmas is ON!  Wrap, decorate, bake, peace, joy, love, go, go, go!!!!!!!!!

It’s okay.  We are all very busy and also likely a tad more interested in frosting cookies than steaming brussels sprouts or cleaning bathtubs with vinegar.  This time of year is FUN!!!  There’s much to be said about taking time to enjoy this season with all its tinsel, peppermint, gift giving, and focus on Christ.

But I also wanted to take the time to share something really cool with you, even if “a healthy lifestyle” may not be at the forefront of your mind in these last few days before Christmas.

It’s been nine and a half years for our family.  That’s how long we’ve been on this healthy living journey – ever since our youngest was born with chronic eczema and turned our lives upside down (which totally spilled my Pepsi).  I get tired just thinking about all the hundreds of changes we’ve made during this “almost decade.”  From boxed cereal to homemade granola, from chemical-filled cleaners to non-toxic options, from conventional doctors to homeopathic doctors and herbal remedies – we’ve made huge strides.

We love this lifestyle, recognizing more and more that we still have much to learn, that balance is key, and that if Jesus isn’t in the center of it all – none of it really matters anyway.  There were times we felt better immediately after making a healthy change, and times we felt worse as our bodies had to get used to the good changes we were making (fun times).

Change can be very difficult, and I’m telling you – making transitions from poptarts and boxed cereal every day to learning to make wholesome food from scratch was hard at times.  I didn’t even know what wholesome food was (or where, pray tell, to buy it).  Ditching the comet, lysol, palmolive, and tide to find non-toxic cleaners?  Overwhelmed doesn’t even begin to describe how I felt.  Finding doctors and home remedies that treated root causes instead of slapping a band-aid on symptoms was foreign to me.

But dear ones:  That was just the beginning of the journey.  It wasn’t the end of the story (though it was the end of my Pepsi drinking days).

The journey never ends.  We will all continue learning more and becoming healthier.  It’s exciting, really!  The changes we’ve made on our healthy living journey have been so very worth it – even (especially) the really difficult changes.  At 41, I feel more physically and emotionally stable than I ever have.  This is absolutely because of God’s work in my body and my heart.

Are you on a healthy living journey too?  I hope so.  No matter where you are in your journey, I want to offer you encouragement.  Stick with this!  Don’t be discouraged about the difficulty that comes with trying to do what’s right in a fallen world.  God’s grace covers all in a powerful way.  (Picture it!)

Do this with me, will you?

I’m taking the FREE 4-Day Healthy Living Challenge: 4 Simple Steps to a Healthier, Better You and I want you to join me.

Yes, right now.  Each step will take us no more than 5 minutes a day.  This is SO doable, even during this busy time of year, I promise.  The challenge is so easy, so simple, yet so effective. Most of all: it will change your life.  (Feeling good feels so good!)

Learn more and sign up for the challenge here.  The smallest changes can be the biggest blessings in your life.  Let’s do this together!  You have nothing to lose.  It’s FREE!!!

How’s you’re healthy living journey going? 

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When Thanksgiving and Christmas Collide ~ And It’s a Good Thing

give thanks

Today, my family is celebrating Thanksmas.  Hey, it’s a real thing.  It’s when Thanksgiving and Christmas collide because of travel plans and family circumstances.  We won’t be able to see my Kansas family on December 25.  Instead, we’re celebrating both holidays together – today, at the same time.

“Oh no!” one might think.  “We should never skip through Thanksgiving and jump into Christmas, forgetting to be thankful.”

I’ll agree with you completely on one point:  We should never forget to be thankful.  Never, ever.  But blending the two holidays?  I have decided that it’s perfect.  I’ve also decided that this same concept is perfect in the middle of February, early in April, and during summer break.  After all, if I only choose to consider “what I’m thankful for” during Thanksgiving season and “how wonderful it is that God sent Jesus to earth” during the Christmas season – I have completely missed some major Truths in the Bible about who I’m called to be, and where my heart should be focused.

Hooray for holidays that bring our attention back to these important areas of focus!  But not only do I disagree that we shouldn’t blend the holidays, I believe we’ve actually missed something very important if we don’t.

Our God is an amazing God - today, on December 25, and even on Black Friday, if you can possibly imagine.  But, ack!  What about all the commercialism?!  Marketing tools!  Flyers and ads and sales – they are everywhere this time of year!  That is a true fact.

Also a true fact:  There are gimmicks and commercials and marketing ploys 365 days of the year – all of which are insisting I need their product in order to have a full and happy life.  The only difference right now is that commercials slap the words “gift giving” on the reason they’re asking us to buy stuff.  At least it’s better than telling us to buy something for ourselves because “we’re worth it,” wouldn’t you say?

Are we losing Thanksgiving because of all the Christmas hype?  My thought is that it’s not up to what time the stores open their doors, or the fact that some are not closing theirs at all.  It’s not up to sale flyers or commercials.  It’s up to you and me.  It’s about our heart focus.  Nothing in our lives can be separated.  I don’t care when you shop, what you buy, how much you spend, or whether you ate turkey or ham.  Jesus and a thankful heart go hand in hand, every single day - no matter the holiday, season, or date on a calendar.

For the record, today, not only am I celebrating Thanksgiving (so much to be thankful for!) and Christmas (how exciting that God sent His Son!) - I’m also celebrating Easter (praise God, Jesus died and rose again!) and Valentine’s Day (Love you, Matt!!  XOXOXO).  I’ll celebrate it all over again tomorrow.  And since tomorrow just so happens to be Black Friday, I might also pick up a good deal or two.  Bonus!

Have a blessed holiday season!  May our hearts yearn for Truth, may our souls find peace, may we always be grateful.

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Lord, Get Me Off This Crazy Brain Train

All aboard!  Who’s with me?  We’re heading south toward Crazy, passing through Unproductive, Distracted, and Terribly Unpleasant along the way.

Lord! Get me off this Crazy Brain Train!

Do you know what’s great about women?  We are multi-taskers.  We can get things done like nobody’s business.  Our brains are wired to think about what to make for dinner – while we’re switching out laundry, while we’re on the phone setting up an appointment, while we’re watching the kids to make sure they are safe.  This is a gift!  God made us this way!

Satan though.  He’s a sly one.  He likes to take what God did and flip a switch – just a tiny one – to mess up what God created perfectly and turn it into something miserable. He makes it seem okay, or at the very least, he makes it easy for us to shift the blame to others so that we not only justify our actions and attitudes - we don’t even recognize them for what they are: sinful.

So hello, fellow multi-taskers.  Praise God with me for the gift He’s given us to be able to think of so many productive and meaningful thoughts at the same time.  But be on guard with me, too.  This unique and blessed gift often causes more anxt, worry, and fear than godly productivity.  I can make breakfast, plan dinner, be mad at my husband, be worried about my teenagers, and re-play a conversation with a friend that’s bothering me – all at the same time.  This is multi-tasking in a gruesome form.

The noise is deafening – turning my focus in eight different directions at the same time – none of them focused upward.  I hear the battles raging for my mental energy to dwell on what I can not change.  I groan inwardly at all I wish I would have said and what I hope she heard when we visited.  I look ahead four years and try to create the impossible.  It’s loud here.  It’s confusing.  It’s physically exhausting.

The Crazy Brain TrainWe have got to get off.  Don’t even wait for the next stop.  Just take a huge breath and jump.  You’ll be safe.  What?  Like it’s any better aboard the train?  What holds us here?  Do we enjoy the crazy?

Take Every Thought Captive

You know how we gain knowledge of God?  We read His Word.  Like we need food and water – we devour everything He has to say.  We feast on it with our very breath.  His Truth becomes our life.  Our sustenance.

You know how we demolish arguments and every idle thought that wants to make itself more important than the words the Father is trying to tell us?  We take the thought captive.  We stop the thought in its tracks.  We drop-kick it in the name of Jesus.  We listen to God’s voice - the voice we can only hear when we get rid of the other noise and listen to His – strong and clear.  We replace the ugly, unproductive thoughts with Truth.

His Truth silences the crazy.

“…Let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.  Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith…”  Hebrews 12:1-2 (read the whole chapter!)

Hearing too much noise and not able to hear God?  Look up!!  Fix your eyes on Jesus.  Let the Lord take you off the Crazy Brain Train so that you can enjoy the Peaceful Heart He is waiting to give you.

Still multi-tasking?  You bet.  We’re killin’ it, knocking out everything on the to-do list God calls us to do.  But our hearts and minds are at peace.  We’re using this gift, and we’re doing it right – with our eyes fixed on Him.

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Raising Thoughtful, Hardworking, Servant-Hearted Kids

You know those kids who don’t think about others, who pout when they don’t get their way, and who sometimes are not even a little bit aware that the world does not revolve around them?

Yeah, those are my kids.

But kids nothin’.  That’s me too (all 41 years of me) when I forget what I know to be true.  Indeed, God made us in His image, then Satan swooped in and works to destroy all that is good.  We are, our kids are, all of us are in a battle.  Jesus already won the victory (shout hallelujah!) but Satan works all the harder to win anyway (ever heard the definition of crazy?).

malachi_apple_pie_344

You know those kids who speak politely when spoken to, who aren’t afraid to visit with the older folks at church, who run up ahead to get the door for the lady carrying a box, who happily join the leave-raking crew with the youth group, who sit by the one no one else seems to notice, who remember that their mama likes purple wild flowers and grabs a handful for her whenever possible?

Yeah, those are my kids.

Our boys don’t always get along (see first paragraph).  They are not always excited to clean out the dishwasher (see first paragraph).  They sometimes do things that make me wonder who in the world raised them and what in the world they could possibly be thinking when they did such a thing (Lord, help us).

crazy family

But after lunch today, as Asa left for his college class he hollered back, “Thanks for lunch, Mom!  It was really good.”  After church last week, Malachi ran up and hugged one of our ministers and told him he loved him.  While we picked apples recently, Justus grabbed the ladder and climbed up so his brothers and I could have the easier job.  When the compost bucket overflowed this morning, spilling tomato guts all over the floor, Matt asked Elias to please clean it up before starting school – and he did it…without a complaint, even though he hates tomatoes and their guts.

Oh my dear fellow parents.  Our jobs are not easy.  In fact, let us, in unison, throw ourselves down onto the carpet as we sprawl out in full surrender.  Raising kids is hard – harder than I ever thought, imagined, or read about in books.  But we are not alone.  We have each other, and more importantly, we serve a God who loves our children like none other.  God wants our kids’ hearts, and we can be sure that He is fighting for them.  Isn’t that the best parenting news you’ve heard…ever?  (Remember this truth the next time your child disobeys you for the 82nd time in one hour.  Keep on it, Mama.  God’s on your side.)

be still 2

I have something for you.

See, my kids are mostly big now.  Two out of four of them have man voices, and the third is working on his with an occasional crack.  Our car insurance rate is growing in scary ways as more drivers of the teen boy variety are being added to our policy.  This is where we are now.  Car insurance rates aside, I love this place.

It’s easy for me to reflect back on when our boys were little and have regrets about what I wish I would have done differently and better.  This is a wonderful way to waste time and be miserable, but do feel free to join me in this activity if you enjoy unproductive awfulness.

Take Every Thought Captive 2

I have not parented perfectly, mostly because I’m clueless most of the time and because of that Satan swooping in thing I mentioned above.  Welcome to being human, Laura (and everyone else).  God is ever gracious and my kids are very forgiving.  Here’s how I know this about my kids.  While I’ve been busy crying over all my parenting imperfections, here are some recent conversations my boys have started around our dinner table:

  • “Remember those charts we used to have on the fridge?  The ones with the stars or fruit?  That was a good idea, Mom.  I used to love those.”
  • “Oh I remember the girl you’re talking about.  We took a toy to her on ‘Tt Week‘ when I was little.  That was really fun.”
  • “I used to love it when we made Monkey Bread.  I always wanted to be the one to punch the dough.”
  • “My favorite Blue’s Clues episode was the one where they made the banana bread, and I don’t even like bananas.  I just like food.  Good thing you like cooking with us, Mom.”

boysbreaddough15sm.JPG

True story.  And here I thought they’d surely be offering statements like:

  • “Mom, remember those times you yelled at me and it wasn’t even my fault?”
  • “Mom, remember how busy you were those times I wanted you to sit down and play a game with me?”
  • “Mom, remember how many times you’ve failed me and why I’m going to need counseling and be bitter toward you forever??!!?”

God is so much bigger than you and I!!!  Not only that…our kids are amazing!  Remember these truths as you parent your babes.  You focus on loving them and being Christ-like.  The rest will all fall into place.  I wish I would have understood this earlier.

So here’s what I have for you.  Most of these resources have been available on my site for a very long time.  They’ve blessed our family so much – more than I ever realized based on our boys’ teenage hearts looking back at their little boy days.  (Thank you, God, for making those convos happen over the past few weeks.  You knew my heart needed to hear it.)

I’ve heard from many of you that our Learn Your Letters, Learn to Serve curriculum has been a blessing as you’re teaching your kids academic basics and more importantly, the heart of service.  I’ve heard how much you’ve enjoyed our Character Charts.  I’ve heard how much you’ve loved time in the kitchen with your kids as you teach them cooking skills.

I also know that for some of you, money is holding you back from enjoying these ready-made resources.  This week, we’re putting together a package we pray will be a great big blessing to your family – financially, spiritually, and parentingly (don’t forget, I make up words).  Check it out…

Bless Your Parenting Packet 2

$78.80
$49.00

add to cart green

The “Bless Your Parenting” Packet includes:

~ Learn Your Letters, Learn to Serve 183 page complete downloadable curriculum kit for early learners, $45.00 value
~ Teaching Your Kids to Cook 111 page downloadable guide and cookbook, $12.00 value
~ What to Do With the Kids in Your Kitchen recipe eBook, $5.95 value
~ Heavenly Homemakers Guide to Holiday Hospitality for Kids eBook, $6.95 value
~ Fill ‘em Up Bible Lessons and eCookbook, $5.95 value
~ “Be Imitators” Kid Character Chart, $2.95 value

Total value of this package:  $78.80
“Bless Your Parenting” Package Price:  $49.00
Time teaching and enjoying your kids:  priceless  :)

Here’s what we’ve done:  We took the price of our Learn Your Letters, Learn to Serve down to just $49, then we threw in five other products for just $5 more.

add to cart green

May God bless each of us as we teach, train, and love these children He gave us!

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You Need Only to Be Still

The Israelites had finally escaped years of being enslaved and harshly treated by Pharaoh.  How excited were they?!  They weren’t.  Fear overwhelmed them as they turned and saw a great army of Egyptians ready to overtake them.  Somehow, I guess they forgot how God had just delivered them in a mighty and miraculous way.  Eh, I can relate.  I forget easily too.  (Forgive me, Lord!)

As the Israelites grumbled to Moses about how he had surely brought them out of Egypt just to die in the desert, I love the truth he shared with them:

Moses answered the people, “Do not be afraid. Stand firm and you will see the deliverance the Lord will bring you today. The Egyptians you see today you will never see again.  The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still.”  Exodus 14:13-14

This is so powerful!  Let’s break it down:

  • Do not be afraid.
  • Stand firm.
  • You will see the deliverance the Lord will bring you today.
  • The Lord will fight for you.  (!!!!)
  • You need only to be still.

Yes, yes, yes!

We’re in a battle, no doubt.  But our job is easy.  We make it difficult by worrying, wallowing, and being afraid of the unknown.  This helps….nothing.

Let’s be reminded of the beautiful truth that God is fighting for us.  All we need to do is be still and trust.  No fear, just faith.  Thank you, Jesus!

Be Still, The Lord Will Fight For You!

We made a printable of this graphic.  Need the reminder of this truth like I do?  Download and print – share if you like!  The LORD is fighting for us.  Praise Him!

Download The Lord Will Fight For You!

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How the Story Ends

Ephesians 210

I am the mother of a high school senior.  Can you guess what the question of the year is from every family member, church friend, grocery store employee, neighbor, and person we just met five minutes ago?

“So Asa, what are you going to do next year?”

Mmmhmm.  It’s a fair question.  People are curious, and in fact, I appreciate that so many care enough to ask.

It would be nice if we had an answer. It would be great if there was plan in place.  But right now, the answer is a solid, “I don’t know yet.”

Not only does he not know, I mean – he does not know.  The options are pretty much without limit, which makes the decision both very exciting and occasionally very overwhelming.  The months building up to this school year as I was figuring out his senior year curriculum just about did me in.  What should we focus on?  How much should we work to improve his ACT?  How should we guide him?  What will be best for him?

All are valid questions.  But when I started losing sleep and noticing a shortage of oxygen at the very mention of Asa’s future, I recognized that I had taken this all upon myself and landed myself in a pool of worry.  I hate it when I do that.  I know better.

So I’m wrestling.  I’m walking a brand new path and learning as I (let) go.  I started to tell someone recently, “Hopefully, this time next year we’ll have a great story to tell about how God opened and closed doors to lead Asa to whatever he’s going to be doing.”  Then I stopped myself.  Hopefully?  Hopefully?!!?  Have I not experienced God at work before?  Do I not know the truth from Ephesians about God preparing works in advance for us?  How about we switch the word “hopefully” with “definitely”?  Definitely, this time next year we WILL have a great story to tell about how God opened and closed doors to lead Asa to whatever he’s going to be doing.

He will.  God will do it.  We will have a story.  Our job is to trust.  And maybe to cry a little here and there.  Hey, he’s my firstborn.  You want to try and tell me it’s easy to think of launching this fantastic kid out of the nest a year from now?  (I know.  11 months from now.  Hush.)

One particularly weepy day for me last week, God put a dear friend in my path whom I haven’t visited with in several months.  I didn’t tell her I was wrestling with this.  In fact, I didn’t use many words at all.  I didn’t need to.  Just sharing the words “senior year” was enough for her to read my mind and heart.  See, she’s done this before…four times.  Her youngest graduated last year.  She knows.  She knows.  God used her to bless me, encourage me, and to remind me of what I already know to be true:

God already has this figured out.  He will make it happen.  Our job is to listen and walk with Him.

She told me about a fun card someone had given her last year when she was going through a difficult time with her dad’s illness.  I loved what it said and decided to recreated it for you (and me).

I hate to spoil the ending...

Yes, yes, yes!  We know this.  We’ve experienced this.

The end of the story?  We already know how it’s going to turn out.  We might not know the specifics, but we know it’s going to be great, because God is in charge, not us.

Oh, God.  You’re so good.  You know what we need, and you bless us constantly with your truth.  Help us to hear it.  Help us to live it.  Help us to accept your continual gift of peace.  We trust you.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

If you’d like, feel free to download the images on this page to print and use.  Click the links below:

I Hate To Spoil the Ending ~ Create a Card

I Hate to Spoil the Ending ~ Full Size Wall Print

For We Are God’s Handiwork ~ Full Size Wall Print

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5 Ways To Save Money While Becoming Healthier

blueberry_streusel_muffin

Remember how my healthy living journey started?

A decade ago, clipping and using coupons was one of my favorite hobbies.  I got Hamburger Helper for 33¢ a box, Windex for 49¢, and cans of green beans for a dime.  Cheap or free – that’s what I looked for when purchasing the food we ate, the cleaning products we used, and the tissues that wiped our noses.  I was the Coupon Queen, and I rocked that job.

Then, our fourth baby was born with chronic eczema.  Suddenly our poptart-filled lives needed to change drastically.

We recognized right away that we could no longer use regular (cheap) laundry detergents as they caused major break-outs for Malachi.  Anytime a spray cleaner was used, he would be even more miserable.  Before he was a year old, we realized that everything we brought into our home – from food to cleaning supplies to medicine – needed to be changed.

dark_choc_granola_3

Dark Chocolate Almond Granola - Less Than $1 Per Serving

I’m thankful for the kick-start we received so that our whole family could become healthier, but it really was quite a difficult and discouraging time full of question marks.

A loving friend who knew I was trying to find better foods and cleaning supplies for my family handed me her health food co-op catalog.  She said it helped her family save money.  Excitedly, I started skimming the pages.

With one glance, I was soooo disappointed!  These were the best prices to be found on healthy food and household products?  Seriously?  I was used to paying pennies for our food and cleaners.  And what even was half of that stuff they listed in there?  Kimchi, kombucha, coconut milk?  Weird…and expensive.

Well, here we are, a million and a half life lessons and experiences later.  Thankfully, I’ve learned the importance of investing in nourishing foods and non-toxic household items for our better health.  I’ve also learned many new ways to save money – the healthy way.  Isn’t God cool?  He always provides what we need – from finances to information to ideas to support.

chicken_pot_pie_5

Easy Chicken Pot Pie – Less Than $1 Per Serving

I still have a lot to learn.  I don’t always practice these money saving methods perfectly.  But I do my best to save money and be healthy at the same time.  I’ll continue to share the great deals I find and the tips I come across.  I know this journey can be hard, and I want to encourage you in any way I can!

The Healthy Living Bundle I’ve been talking about so much this week?  That’s probably the very best deal available anywhere I could find to share with you.  Nine years into this healthy living journey, I am learning so much by reading each piece of information included.  I love that I don’t have to become an expert on everything – I can just learn from others who know more than I.  The bundle is a fantastic investment to save you hundreds and hundreds of dollars as you journey on toward healthier living.  If you can swing it, get it.  You won’t regret it.

You’ll want to be sure and check out our
entire section of real food meals for $1 per plate!

Here are five of my favorite ways to save money while striving for good health:

1.  Make it Homemade

You already know this about me, so I’ll just briefly say – it saves our family hundreds of dollars every month when I make most of our simple meals from scratch.  Here are some of the highest money-saving foods I make:

Beyond food, I’ve found that it saves a lot of money to make our own cleaning supplies (see #2 below).   I’m also very interested in learning to make bars of soap.  That would save loads of money!  I’ve skimmed the Natural Soap Making eBook in the bundle and can’t wait to really dig in.

Natural Soap Making Cold Process Basics & Recipes

2.  Skip it Altogether

While I used to have a specific cleaning product for every single cleaning need on the planet, I’ve found that it’s not necessary at all.  Do I really need to spray chemicals from a can onto my dusting cloth before wiping down my furniture?  Um…who knew a bit of water would work just as well if not better?  (sometimes I amaze myself)

I use a great All-Purpose Cleaner from Tropical Traditions for tougher jobs.  Otherwise, simple household items like baking soda, vinegar, and lemon juice are completely healthy, inexpensive, and pretty much amazing.  A great way to save money is to make your own household cleaners (see #1 above).  I’ve loved learning great recipes and tips for this in the five books included in the Healthy Living Bundle that will save me even more cash.

DIY Natural Household Cleaners

3.  Think Outside the Box

What if the way we’ve always done things isn’t necessarily the only way to do it?  What if doing something different might be healthier and save money too?  It’s hard to think outside the box sometimes – especially if anything outside of our norm seems foreign to us.  But on your healthy living journey, you’ll find it’s great to save money by exploring new ideas.

For instance, I used to run my kids to the medical clinic for every sniffle or bump.  The costs really added up, but what’s a mom to do?  I am so thankful for what I’ve learned the past few years about treating my family at home when possible.  Doctors and clinics are there for a reason, and we certainly use them when we need to.  But home remedies, essential oils (I’m just digging into these and LOVE what I’m learning!), natural options for keeping on top of illnesses - these are keeping us healthier and saving us hundreds of dollars too.

Lavender at Lake Balaton,Hungary

This eCourse is one of the most popular items in the bundle,
so I wanted to be sure and highlight it.  It’s an amazing resource.

4.  Plan Ahead

While it isn’t possible to see into the future, there are a few constants in life we can prepare for.  For instance:

  • You will always need toilet paper and laundry detergent.
  • We all need to eat three times a day.
  • Christmas is always December 25.

Planning for what I know will be needed saves my sanity and keeps us from spending money we don’t need to spend.  Making meal plans each week has saved me so much money!  You can see all my weekly menu plans here.

MEALS ePlanner

Purchasing Christmas gifts throughout the year when I see something on sale saves loads of money – which has nothing to do with a healthier lifestyle, except that it keeps me from becoming crazy, so it totally counts.  Buying cases of toilet paper online so that I never run out is a life saver and money saver too.  Which leads me to…

5.  Use Online Resources

I continue to be amazed about the awesome deals I find online.  Not only am I saving money on the items themselves, I’m saving all kinds of gas money and travel time.  I love that I can shop at my convenience, and save time by having items shipped (usually, for free) to my door.

I always try to share great online deals with you here when I find them.  You’ll find a button on my sidebar for our Amazon Deals page, which I update regularly with all the 20% off plus coupon deals I find at Amazon.  Huge savings there!

Tropical Traditions runs free shipping deals every few weeks, along with sale prices.  WHICH, this weekend happens to be a free shipping special AND they finally are offering a 40% discount on their Organic Palm Shortening at the same time!!!!!  I’m so excited about this, I bought two gallon-sized buckets!  Get a great deal on palm shortening and free shipping too!  (Plus get a free coconut oil book if you are a new customer and shop through my referral link here.)  Use the code 12914 for free shipping to apply.

palm_shortening

Phew, this is a long post.  If you’ve stuck with me this long, you’re in for a treat!  MadeOn is offering one of you a $25 Gift Certificate to spend in their shop!

MadeOn is one of my very favorite online resources.  I use their BeeSilk Hard Lotion all the time.  Their products are completely safe and wonderful for the skin.

You may have noticed that every single one of us who purchases the Healthy Living Bundle gets a FREE package from MadeOn worth $16.50.  This freebie along with the other natural living freebies (like herbal remedies from Trilight Health and yogurt starter from Cultures For Health - woot!) make the bundle worth the purchase a million times over.  The bundle will only be around for three more days.

madeon

This is why it’s extra sweet that MadeOn is giving away an bonus $25 gift certificate here!  Leave a comment on this post if you’re interested.  (Subscribers, click over to the post on my blog to leave a comment for a chance to enter.)  I’ll draw a random winner on Wednesday, September 17.  Be watching for a post stating the winner as you will be responsible for contacting me if your name is chosen!

Share with us – what are your best tips for saving money on your healthy living journey?

This post contains affiliate links.

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We’re Hitting Restart – But Before We Do…

http://www.dreamstime.com/royalty-free-stock-images-retro-seamless-pattern-set-image20825059

Thank you all for joining me in hitting the restart button this fall.  It’s going to be so much fun to settle into the season together!  But first, let’s chat…

Once we decide to hit the restart button on our lives, it can be way too easy to get pumped up to jump right into every single bit of every single thing we hope and dream to be and to do – all at the same time.  We know changes need to be made, we greatly desire to offer the best to our families, and we’re tired of not quite hitting the mark.

Before we know it, we’ve made a vow to daily scrub our floor boards, have no less than 28 casseroles in the freezer at all times, and never, ever raise our voice to our children again.  We’ve decided to get back into smaller jeans by Thursday, sleep 8.5 hours every night, and hand-craft all Christmas and birthday gifts with recycled materials.  Because we feel that we can certainly accomplish all this and then some, in an effort to be everything we can possibly be for our families, we eagerly sign ourselves up for yodeling classes.

yodel 1

Clearly, once we all master the art of yodeling, we will have arrived.  Clearly.

You know how this works right?  We hit the restart button and then start restarting everything at once.  Very soon, we get overwhelmed with it all, end up hating every bit of it, succeed at nothing, and hang our heads all the way to the fast food drive-thru four nights in a row.

Deciding to do too much and thinking you can actually pull it off is just…too much.

You can’t put 28 casseroles in the freezer and then sleep 8.5 hours that night so stop thinking you can.  Smaller jeans aren’t the be all and end all, so stop focusing on that and simply work to nourish your body better.   Nobody wants an earring holder made from a toilet paper tube, so if handcrafted recycled gifts aren’t your thing, please do not try to make it your thing.

Am I making sense?  Do you know what I’m saying?  (Am I the only one who dislikes being asked that?)  YouknowwhatImean?  Yeah, Iknowwhatyoumean.  (expressed in my best yodel)

yodel 2

Be reasonable.  You have my full permission to be very eager to make positive changes for your health and for the health of your family!  I highly encourage it.  But be real and be wise.  Changes in our lives need to be God inspired, not self inspired.  The quickest way to feel defeated is to forget the Source of our strength, and the Purpose behind our choices.  Success is determined not by all we accomplish in a day, but by the peace we experience through choosing God’s best for our lives.

I’m hitting the restart button because I need it – mind, body, and soul.  I look forward to learning what God plans to teach you and me during this season.

I like clean floorboards, but I like peace and joy more.  I like healthy food in my freezer, but I like listening to God more.  I like making handcrafted recycled gifts, but no I don’t, who am I even kidding, youknowwhatImean?

So what I’m trying to say is, do you really need to sign up for yodeling classes?  Or be a part of another program?  Or set 14 new goals for yourself?  Or strive to be what you think everyone else thinks you should be?  I haven’t scrubbed my floorboards since #*&$hc&s#*  <—- dropped call static

(Can you hear me now?)

Make goals based on what God is calling you to be.  Improve in areas that bless your family.  Hit that restart button in an effort to glorify God.  Won’t it be lovely to see what He works out in you through your open heart?

yodel 3

She yodels and she dresses her children in homemade matching outfits. 
As if that isn’t enough, they flit, they float, and bid us all adieu in perfect four part harmony.

Unless God has clearly called you to be a yodeler, then by all means, I don’t know how to even finish that sentence.  Just join me in simplicity, will you?  Join me in making prayerful decisions about God’s purpose for you.  Join me in hitting the restart button that offers something better for our families in the form of peace and joy.

All the rest – the healthy eating, the exercise, the organization, and the clean house – it will all fall into place.

I so totally love this platform.  I love that so many of you hang out with me here each day.  Thank you, my dear readers, for being such an inspiration to me and to all the others here.  Here’s to a fantastic month of prayerfully hitting the restart button together!

P.S. If any of you can actually yodel, I have to know.

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Back-to-School Lunch Box Cards ~ New Free Printable

In celebration of all the back-to-school fun this time of year, we made another set of Lunch Box Cards for you to download and enjoy.  Print these, cut them apart, add your own personal message, then place them in your child’s lunch box.  Home school?  Place these cards under a lunch plate or inside one of the books your child is currently reading for a fun surprise. :)

Free Download - Lunch Box Cards

Download Free Printable Back-To-School Lunch Box Cards

Here are two more free sets of fun Lunch Box printable cards to grab.

Hey, did you sign up yet for the wonderful Healthy Living Refer-a-Friend program?  You don’t want to miss this opportunity to get a free Ultimate Healthy Living Bundle!  Get all the details here.

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Think About Such Things

How easy it is to read scripture, love it, be fed by it, get a happy feeling from it, find God right there in it…then close the Book, walk away, and forget to live by the Truth we just read.

Don’t kick yourself over it.  We’re never going to “arrive.”  We’re human.  We are fighting an enemy who wants nothing more than to see us struggle.  He knows enough about us to know our weak points, and that’s exactly where he fires his arrows.

That’s why we eagerly read this read this…

Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you. Philippians 4:8-9

Great scripture, right?  It’s one of my favorites.  Indeed, we can read it, love it, be fed by it, get a happy feeling from it, find God right there in it, and commit to focus here.  But before we know it, we’re living like this:

Whatever is bothering you, whatever you’re worried about, whatever you have no control over, whatever makes you angry, whatever hurt your feelings, whatever made you sad, whatever may or may not happen, whatever is in the past that you can’t change…think about such things.  Whatever you’ve seen and tried that doesn’t work, keep doing it and remain in that rut of despair.  And overwhelming hopelessness will hold you in bondage.

Been there?  Me too.  It’s painful, pointless, and far too easy to remain in that ugly circle of anxious thoughts that serve only to keep us from peaceful rest in Christ.

It really is possible to re-train our thought life so that we drop-kick the negativity and worry.  We definitely don’t want to stay in this camp, right?  It is not fun here.  It’s cold, muddy, and it rains all the time.  There’s no joy in the prison of fear.  Bleh.  Get me out from under this dark cloud of self pity and bitterness.

And Jesus says, “Yes!  I’d be happy to.  In fact, I already did.  I’m right there with you, everywhere you go.  Turn your focus to Me.  I am love.  I am peace.  I am joy.”

Because of the strength we gain when we take our weaknesses to the cross, we’ve got this!  It takes the power of prayer.  We have to intentionally stop the negative, pointless thoughts that want to take over our minds, take them captive, and make them obedient to Christ.  (2 Corinthians 10:5)

Because of Jesus, we are living in victory!  Remembering this truth sets our hearts free to focus on all that is true, noble, right, lovely, pure, admirable, excellent, and praiseworthy.

Think About Such Things

Want a daily reminder of these truths from scripture?
Download and print this if you like:  Think About Such Things

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