New Horizons

This blog has served as a platform for me to express myself in our family’s new health journey. Four years ago I had my heart attack and so much growth and change has occurred since then. We continue on that journey. We’re still imperfect but keep trying. We still try to stay away from added sugar and still try to get our workouts in.

In those four years, I have survived but in the process…I have lost my dad, my niece, and one of my younger brothers. I have matured. I have gained new friends. I have lost some friendships. I have reprioritized what is important to me. We have switched churches. We have minimalized what is in our house and continue to do so. We have solidified our marriage even more. We’ve had another son.

In all of those changes, I’m realizing more and more that the small amount of time I have on this earth is so very precious. I don’t do this blog for money. I don’t post ads. I do this to share my heart and hope that in doing so…in being transparent…it may help someone else in the process. So I am reevaluating using a paid webhosting platform for this blog. I’m still praying about it and would need to switch to another site and name most likely. But I feel like even the money we have on this earth isn’t mine. It’s God’s. It needs to be earmarked to make this world better. It needs to go to something more worthy than a new shirt, new shoes, or my mindless ramblings on a blog. It should be used to help those in need. To sponsor another child overseas. To help a local mission with the homeless.

We as Christians can talk the talk but I’m feeling called more and more to walk the walk. Less truly is more. In reclaiming my life I want to prioritize the little time I have left. I want to spend it with my sons and husband and not worry about making a blog profitable or popular. I don’t care if people know me on the internet. I do care that my sons and husband know me. I want us to truly know each other. I want to be known by them as someone who shows Christ’s love to them in the small details of life and doesn’t just pretend to for a blog’s sake. I want to help those in need around me and not just talk about it.

So in being real with you…I’ve felt less of a call to blog here and more of a call (as I care for our third baby Superhero) to be a mom. I feel like God wants me to spend my time not on Facebook or blogging but on my family. He’s given me a job and I need and so desire to do it.

So if I blog less or if I switch sites I’ll let you know. I feel that there are changes ahead and there is a sense of urgency that I follow them. Thanks for listening to my ramblings…


Those Sneaky Slippery Slopes

I know I am a sugar addict. I love sugar. It’s great! If I’m down…I have some sugar and feel happier. For a little while…

4 years ago, after my heart attack, my Handsome Hubby and I made some pretty dramatic changes in our standard diet. We cut out all processed food and started eating Paleo. I baked with only maple syrup, coconut sugar, or raw honey. We had the occasional high quality dark chocolate.


Fast forward to the birth of our third son in May of last year. I’m 37 at the time, having a harder time losing the weight, don’t have much time for the gym, my friends have gotten into being fitness coaches and share some protein shakes with me. I was skeptical. It wasn’t “real” food. It was advertised as being real but really it wasn’t. It was still a powder and just bits and pieces of real substances processed to make a palatable drink. But I tried it and was hooked. It was sooo sweet and delicious. So I took the bait and went forward. I ignored my questions such as is it non-GMO, is it organic, what about the agave in it?

My morning green smoothies went out the door and I switched to my protein shake. But the weight stayed and my sugar cravings increased. It was strange to me. Everyone else in my fitness group saw their sugar intake decreasing and I felt like I was having more than I had in the years past or at least craving more. I really was having a tough time. My chest pains had returned that I had experienced when very stressed, run down, or eating wrong.

Then my Handsome Hubby and I watched That Sugar Film. This documentary follows a previous healthy, whole food diet eating man’s journey into consuming 40 grams of sugar per day (the Standard Australian and American for that matter diet). I looked up the American Heart Association’s recommendations for added sugar intake for women and men. It’s 6 teaspoons (24 grams) per day for women and 8 teaspoons (32 grams) for men.

So the protein shake I was drinking had 18 grams of sugar. If I divide that by 4 to figure out teaspoons…it’s 4.5 teaspoons of added sugar. Sure it was agave but that is still added sugar. So that meant I only had 1.5 teaspoons of added sugar allowed in the day to take care of my heart. No wonder I was having a sore chest again! That 1.5 could be a bit of raw honey in my tea, or a touch of my half sweetened almond milk splashed into my chai. Bam…sugar limit met.

Let me back up…sugar causes inflammation. Inflammation can lead to heart disease. Inflammation irritates your arteries, drains your body of Vitamin C as it tries to deal with all the crazy free radicals in your body, Vitamin C is key in keeping your arteries and veins strong without lesions/tears and as a result…your body…to protect itself…produces cholesterol to cover any lesions.

So we cut it out. My husband and I went back to square one. It’s harder this time but I’m doing it. Before, the stent placement was new, painful, and it helped I had a massive bruise extending from my groin to my knee for a “leak” where the stent entrance site was. I was more afraid.

We are one week into the change. My body is detoxing. I’m having my kale smoothies and one to two local free range eggs every morning. My skin is breaking out as I detox from it all. I no longer touch the chocolate chips in the cupboard or my sons’ candy on the fridge. You see…for me…I had already cut most of my sugar out.

So when I added the shake in…my body jumped on it. Sure I had a nice high from the shake and looked forward to it every morning. Added sugar is like cocaine. Studies have shown that it’s just as addictive or worse than cocaine. Veggie smoothies are not cocaine but they do cleanse your body and you still can look forward to them.

So I had to reassess and am thankful for a husband who reassesses with me. We are back to hardcore. I even left the complimentary candy at the table when I paid a restaurant bill this week.

Our Superheroes aren’t too pleased about it but they are surviving and hopefully my heart will beat on for many years to come. As a side note… my veggie intake is back to what it once was and the moods and peace in our house have been restored as a direct result of the sneaky sugar exiting our house. If you haven’t gone hardcore…you should try it. It’s tough but it’s worth it…especially when I have these guys to live for.



Running the race…

I repeatedly tell my son’s that God doesn’t promise to make life easy, but He does promise that He will help us through the tough times. I don’t want them to live under the illusion that God is a vending machine. You put in a dollar (your prayer) and He spits out the candy you want. It’s not that simple. Our lives are more like impressionist paintings. All of those tiny little brushstrokes on their own make no sense. However, when they’re added together…it brilliantly makes sense!

Our lives are like this. The trials my Handsome Hubby experienced, the trials I experienced attracted us to each other. God knew that we would recognize the depth of pain that the other one had gone through and come out on the other side. In the midst of the agony of my painful past, I wanted it to end. I didn’t see how anything good could come of it. I still believed God was God and that He loved me but I just couldn’t figure out how He was going to get me through it. But I was so broken all I could do was cling to Him. Now that impressionist painting makes more sense.

My sister and I were talking about life trials and she made the comment that life is like one huge marathon…you don’t come out of it all neat and tidy. No way! 2 Timothy 4:7 says…”I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.” The bible even alludes to the struggle and challenge we face even more in verse 6 when it says “For I am already being poured out as a drink offering, And the time of my departure has come.”

So think about this…we have it incredibly good in the U.S. Life is easy. A lot of Christians go to church, pray, and life is smooth sailing. But what if trials come? Does that mean God doesn’t care? Or does that mean we are being “poured out as a drink offering”. When we face struggles year after year…does it mean God doesn’t care? Or does it mean He’s using those trials to finish His artwork in ways that won’t make sense until we see the full painting. He is NOT inflicting the pain on us. That is just a result of sin entering the world and pain, death, and sorrow coming with it. However, He can take those painful things and turn them, work them for good, by touching our lives through the pain, by touching other people’s lives through the pain, by life after life being touched in a domino reaction.

When we finish this life as a Christian…my sister said, and I agree…we should be pretty beat up. We are fighting the good fight! We are finishing a race! It’s our own ultramarathon. Through rain, snow, mud, heat, cold, soiling our pants, falling and getting back up we’ll eventually make it to the end knowing we did it! We kept our eyes on the prize and God helped us make it!

So do not be discouraged. Keep the faith. Finish the race. God is waiting for you.

Missing those gone and Pointing up

Grandpa's hand

I miss my dad. I miss my brother. I miss my grandma. I wish I could have known my niece. Today, in a quiet moment in the car as we drove home from an appointment it hit me hard that my dad will never know our third superhero. This has struck me before but for whatever reason…today…it felt raw and new. It cut deep.

In my mind’s eye, I could see the picture above of him holding my second superhero’s hand in his when he was just 3 days old. I kept seeing this image and remembered all the rough weathered details of his hands and remembered his voice…how it soothed away my hurt ego and pains of the past…how his hands held my mom or us as we cried and how they could show incredible strength as he worked on equipment in the garage or cut wood with the chainsaw.

When I see something funny or laugh about our water problems I can hear his voice, how he would laugh and sympathize at the same time…not making you feel bad and yet seeing the humor that you saw. I read a blog today about someone dying well because she lived well and you know…there is truth in that.

Both my brother and dad had huge funerals. They lived. They touched lives. They loved. They helped those who needed it often to a fault and were at times, taken advantage of. Yet, that was who they were. They shared their faith in Christ but in a gentle, honest, way…like breathing…it was never forced…it just was. They both knew how to admit when they were wrong and apologize from the heart.

Did they have faults. Yes…but don’t we all? I see mine daily but also am thankful for who I am growing to be. It’s like an adventure that I don’t know the ending to. I just pray I can finish it with dignity and impact the lives around me in a way that points to the ONE who has changed, continues to change and has rescued me.

Top 6 things I’m Learning in our Pioneer Days

So as many of you know and some of you don’t…we have been without running water since March 1st. It’s a long story and it involves cold weather, frozen underground pipes and waiting for the thaw. What my handsome hubby and I are finding is that we are learning a lot about each other and ourselves.

So life lessons from pioneer days…

1) We take our easy access to clean water for granted. Washing dishes, flushing toilets, dishwashers, washing machines…Oy. I think of in other countries and how clean drinking water is a luxury and flush toilets are unheard of let alone a machine that would wash your dishes or clothing for you. It’s insane.

2) Learning to let go of things out of our control needs to be a daily exercise. We can’t control how fast the ground freezes or the thawing of the pipes or the forces that be that make it difficult to move forward. All we can control is our acceptance of what is and our attitude to allow it to ruin everyday or move past it and through it. Even the yucky stuff can serve a positive purpose if we allow God to use it to shape us.

3) People as a whole want to help. Friends and neighbors have been so incredibly supportive and helpful. God has been so good to us by surrounding us with people who care and genuinely step up in practical ways. It’s hard to rely on other people. I’m a naturally independent person so accepting help is difficult. However, I am also 7 months pregnant so to take care of myself and our little guy…I need to accept help.

4) Humor can be found in even the worst of times…it’s all in how you look at things. Today we went to church and the sermon was on patience. My handsome hubby and I literally started laughing. It was hilarious. I came home and saw a post saying today was World Water Day. I laughed. We have a hose connected to our neighbors behind us and my hubby said it was time to jump the fence and get set up for the day. We contemplated whether someone unaware of our situation would call the cops on him. I reminded him of his words that one day we’ll look back on all of this and laugh.

5) People in pioneer days were in excellent physical shape. Hauling buckets of water and laundry across the street or in and out of friends’ homes has caused me to tone my back and arm muscles. I am officially all baby belly. I don’t know how women kept up with everything back then.

6) God is always with us. We had a dear friend pass away in a dune buggy accident. He left behind his wife and two kids. It was a very vivid reminder of the deaths my family has gone through this past year and the faithfulness of God to walk with us through it all. This water stuff is inconvenient…it stinks. But losing my husband would be so much worse and I need to cling to and remember that on the days I feel like breaking.

So as we wait…we continue to learn and grow. As I traveled through one particularly difficult time in life, my grandma reminded me that I was God’s precious gold and was being put through the Refiner’s fire. I told her I better be platinum when I’m done with this trial. I still laugh at that but I also recognize the truth in the refinement that is happening. I see things in myself that need work. I’m a work in progress and that’s a good thing. I don’t ever want to stop learning or growing.

What Does Our “Healthy” Look Like?

I have had many ask what we eat. People have a concept of “healthy” but due to the media, misinformation, marketing, etcetera…we can often be WAY off base. So here is my breakdown of what “healthy” looks like in our home. This is our heart healing, gut healing, emotion leveling, immune system boosting way of life.

1) The less sugar (natural or processed) the better.

I rarely bake anymore or buy chocolate…even dark chocolate. We have fruit. I use a little juice and frozen fruit to mix my boys vitamins in using our blender. Sugar of any form plays with your body. It’s amazing how sweet mandarin oranges are when you’re not dipping into the addictive homemade chocolate chip cookies. Sugars also feed the bad bacteria in your gut which impacts everything from immune health, digestive health, to moods. Sugar also increases inflammation which leads to a host of other health problems from cholesterol to muscle and joint aches.

2). The less starches the better.

This goes along with the sugars. Starches convert to sugar. The more starches…the more inflammation. Choose starches with a low glycemic index. If you’re eating starchy a lot you will crave more, gain more weight, and have other health issues. Our starches are carrots, fruit, the occasional red potato, occasional beans with a low carb to fiber ratio, and sweet potatoes, occasional steel cut or whole oats for breakfast.

3). Pack in the veggies. Self explanatory…eat your vitamins. In our case we also have a veggie smoothie every morning. Veggies are builders…they strengthen you.

4). Choose organic or antibiotic free/hormone free meat if money permits.

5). Reduce dairy and choose from grass fed sources if possible. This gives you more of the healthy fats needed for brain functioning and even immune health. Dairy is often a catalyst for inflammation so we have limited but not fully eliminated it. We use grass fed butter, cheese etc.

6). Get your cod liver oil for vitamin D. We take this and have not gotten the flu. New studies show most people are deficient in vitamin D since we no longer work long hours outdoors. It helps in the prevention of the flu, cancer, heart disease, etc.

7). Give essential oils a chance. These have also helped our immune health tremendously. I do distribute them but this post isn’t for selling…just to inform.

8). Exercise regularly. Did you know regular exercise cleanses the toxins from your liver? Boosts moods? Improves immune health? Lowers resting heart rate? It’s a no brainer. My boys and I played baseball in the house today with stuffed animals and a soft bat. They were moving…giggling…active!

9). Get sleep! Enough said.

I’m sure I’ve left things out but these are the basics…you need to start somewhere. Baby steps to health…one step at a time. We are a mostly unprocessed family and as a result…we are happier and healthier than in the past. Our processed food is the whole oats and the cheese. That’s it and that has made all the difference. We are preservative free, hormone free, mostly sugar free family.


I realize to some my life may seem charmed and to others it may seem cursed. Charmed in the sense that there is much stability, love, and blessings both material and in the form of friends and family. Cursed in the sense that I am a survivor of a very abusive relationship, a heart attack survivor, and have lost three dear close family members in one year…my dad, my brother, and my niece. I could choose to look at life as charmed or cursed or something in between…an adventure with ups and downs.

I choose 1 Thessalonians 5:18…”In every thing give thanks for this is the will of God.” To me…this doesn’t mean God is saying “suck it up buttercup cause this is as good as it gets”. Rather, He is trying to show us to look for the good. Choose life, choose living, choose picking yourself up and helping others when it seems hard to get out of bed to brush your teeth in the morning. Pray for Him to help you to see the joy when it feels like all is gone.

My current health journey…I am 3 years post-heart attack and stent placement. I eat a mostly whole food diet and exercise more than not. Currently that means 4 to 5 days a week about an hour per time. I am 24 weeks pregnant and am trying to push past the fear and anxiety I have since my niece died at full term 3 months ago. Instead I am trying to rest in God and trust that God has a plan for this little guy kicking in my belly no matter how long or short his life is.

I am following OB, high risk OB, and Cardiologist orders strictly. I wept when my cardiologist said he has no worries and I can stay off some medications after the birth so I can nurse. I feel like I have been given so much and also lost so much but blessed be the name of my Abba Father who cares about a minute detail like my desire to nurse our third boy. He care that I weep when I hear the lyrics to a Newsboys song

Something Beautiful …

I wanna start it over
I wanna start again
I want a new beginning
One without an end
I feel it inside
Calling out to me

It’s a voice that whispers my name
It’s a kiss without any shame
Something beautiful
Like a song that stirs in my head
Singing love will take us where
Something’s beautiful

I’ve heard it in the silence
Seen it on a face
I’ve felt it in a long hour
Like a sweet embrace
I know this is true
It’s calling out to me

It’s a voice that whispers my name
It’s a kiss without any shame
Something beautiful
Like a song that stirs in my head
Singing love will take us where
Something’s beautiful

It’s the child on her wedding day
It’s the daddy that gives her away
Something beautiful
When we laugh so hard we cry
It’s the love between you and I
Something beautiful

Reminding me of my Dad giving me away in our simple state park wedding with our closest friends and family there and how I won’t see him again until Heaven.

I know this is rambling on but my point is this…be thankful. Embrace life and fight for all it’s worth to see the good, to contribute to the positive in your little circle. Be there for your mom, dad, siblings, husband, children, friends. Really, really be there and love on them and thank God that you have another day to love on them. For the alternative is so bleak and depressing and holds us back from really living.

Take care,

A Letter to My Younger Self

A Letter to My Younger Self…repost from July 19, 2013

Sometimes, I wish I could write a letter to my younger self and help myself navigate the pitfalls that I stumbled upon. Life hasn’t always been easy but God has always been good. So this is what I would write if I could send myself a letter back in time. Attending graduation open houses and weddings has caused me to be a bit more reflective than normal.

Dear Me,

I want you to know that you’re important. You will meet people in life that try to use you verbally, physically, sexually, and emotionally. Don’t let them in. It’s ok to stand up for what you believe in and be respectful at the same time. If someone makes you feel “less than” or ashamed for being who you are then don’t take in their yuck. That’s not your “stuff”. It’s their “stuff” You are worth so much more.

Remember to take time for yourself. You know that Bible that grows dusty sometimes that you can’t seem to remember verses from? Read it. The words God put there will write themselves on your heart and you’ll suddenly remember them when you’re at the bottom of the bottom. Your devotional? Use it. Exercise? Do it!

You know how you turn to food sometimes for comfort and then end up feeling worse afterwards. Stop the cycle. You’ll think more clearly and be more able to take care of yourself. Your weight will stop going up and down. Your body and mind will feel better.

Don’t focus on making everyone else happy. Listen to God’s quiet voice and He’ll direct your path to a happier place than you can imagine. I wish I could stop you from struggling like I did with pleasing everyone and losing myself in the process. I want you to know that trying to please everyone else…it just stresses you out and usually…they either aren’t looking for you to please them or they’ll never be happy anyway. You are a precious beautiful child of God. That’s what matters and He’s happy because He made you.

Change the way you talk to yourself. Don’t feed yourself negative messages! You’re hurting yourself. It takes some reprogramming but it’s worth it. When you are positive with yourself and confident in who are, you’ll attract healthy friendships. When you aren’t, you attract others who have low self-esteems.

When you’re dating… make time for yourself. When you’re in college and grad school…make time for yourself. When you get married…make time for yourself. When you have kids…make time for yourself, even if it’s just an hour or two away grocery shopping per week. You need it. If you don’t do it who will?

When the going gets tough (and it will), always, always, always remember to trust and turn to God. He will get you through. I’m here, stented heart, formerly abused woman (past relationship), out of depression survivor and all. He can and will make beauty from ashes. The more I’ve trusted and followed Him the less ashes I’ve had to walk through or the more the ashes look beautiful to me.


Advent: Our chance to celebrate life and giving

This is a repost from 2 years ago. Last year, I was in too much grief over the loss of my dad to do it again. My then 5 year old asked for it but all I could muster was cards, gifts, and the tree. He asked again for it this year and saw the box with the activities and Bible verse for each day. So…this time…it didn’t take any work other than stringing it up and retying all of the clues. I’m thankful for my two little boys who reminded me of the joy wonder of Christmas through their eyes.

So it’s December 1st. I stayed up late working on a homemade Advent Calendar idea I found from the site Mr. Printables. So cool but I had to create activities or prizes for inside. Since we want our kids to appreciate the little things and have a giving spirit…I didn’t want to have a monetary or candy prize for everyday. I wanted to focus on things we could DO together or ways we could help others. So here is our list. I added a Bible verse to everyday as well since that why we celebrate Christmas. I used the Christmas story from Luke and the Beatitudes in Matthew 5. That gave me a big head start and I also picked others that focused on love, forgiveness, letting our light shine, helping others, etc.

Here’s my list so far…I still have 11 more to add but we’re having fun with it so far! Enjoy!

Our Advent calendar ready to go.



Make Mama and Daddy into a snowman. Use winter hat, scarf, etc and toilet paper. :-)
Do something kind to help someone else in the house. (Including your little brother).
Write letters or draw pictures to people you love.
Go shopping for Operation Christmas Child or another charity.
Wrap Christmas presents!
Make Christmas ornaments with glitter (Glitter is a big deal here!).
Find our old mittens and scarves and sneak them over to a needy families house without them knowing!
Make a list of love and appreciation for each other.
Make ice candles. Fill a bowl with water. Fill a tin can with rocks so it sinks halfway down into the water. Freeze. Remove can and ice. Set ice bowl cube in a larger bowl and light a candle in the center. Have a candlelit dinner.
Make a birthday cake for Jesus and freeze for His birthday!
Make Ice Ball ornaments for the sidewalk. Fill balloons with water. Add food coloring. Freeze. Pop balloons and set on edge of walk to decorate.
Make homemade bouncy balls. I found a recipe here. Mom to 2 Lil Posh Divas.
Have a scavenger hunt. (I’m hiding our Nativity Scene figures).
Make snowflakes for our windows.
Camp-out in our living room in our tent!
Play flash light tag (hide and seek in the dark with flashlights).

Walking The Rough Roads

So a few weeks ago I posted a recipe. I felt like I was getting my groove back after a year of grieving the loss of my dad. Then BOOM….my brother and his wife lost their precious, beautiful daughter just a short time after birth. We made the 15+ hour drive to my hometown for the funeral only to leave my grieving family and trek back a couple days later.

Fast forward two weeks… I get a phone call… it’s my sister…she asks if I’m home and sitting down…it’s my brother…he’s been in a car accident…he didn’t survive. Three deaths. One year.

Each loss compounds the other. Each loss brings more tears and heartache…sometimes finding yourself crying and unsure of which person you’re missing or if it’s all three of them? Each one waking you in the early morning hours unable to sleep so instead you find yourself praying and weeping for your mom who has seen her son leave before her, her husband leave before their 50th wedding anniversary, a grandchild leave before she could snuggle her. Your sister in law and brother losing their daughter before she even had a chance to live…before they could see her smile or sit up or laugh. Your future sister in law losing the passionate, sincere love they both found in each other…losing their dream of moving to Alaska, having a family, traveling…

I am forced to face the reality that this life is full of pain. God never promised us we would be spared from it. Think of Job in the Bible…losing everything. Think of Moses…wanders 40 years only to die shortly after seeing but not entering the land promised to him. And I think of my family…who love each other so much and reach out to others not out of obligation but out of a heart of compassion that only comes from the One who loved us first. The One who died to provide a way for us to join Him one day.

What I do know is that the Bible is filled with stories of Christ hurting over those who hurt, showing compassion on others, and even weeping over those who passed on. It doesn’t show Him vindictively inflicting pain left and right just so we can “learn to be tough”. It shows Him walking alongside the hurt and downtrodden…hurting as they hurt and walking alongside them.

So I see myself as having two choices…believing in a God who impersonally looks down from above and watches us hurt…or believing in a God who loves us and longs to have us be without pain one day but for now…for now… He will be the Comforter through His spirit, through memories of my family members, through the love and generosity of friends, family, and strangers, and through His word…the Bible as it daily soothes my soul.

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