Five Tips and Activities to Engage Your Kids and Lower Stress at the Same Time

Crazy right? Sometimes when we are stressed out the only thing we can think about is how we need to just get away for a while.

It would be fabulous if we could all get away for some “me time” by ourselves each day, but as you know, if you’re a parent especially, that just does not always happen. Yes, we all do need to get away sometimes and breathe a little, read a book in peace, or grocery shop without a fight. For sure! But if I dwell on how I don’t get enough alone time, odds are, I won’t be a very happy mother! And it can create a downward spiral of unhealthy thinking. Can you relate?!

This morning in Yoga I looked down and realized I had a gigantic smear of baby food on my pants. Great. I easily pushed the thought aside. It didn’t matter. Actually, it made me smile. My life is so about my kids so much of the time, I don’t even notice things like that anymore. Yoga was my “me-time” today, obviously, but I love that even there, in that quiet kid-less space, the daily mess of motherhood is present… and I actually love that. I embrace that. It’s who I am! And I love my kids enormously.

But that in mind, I definitely need creative outlets for myself. I think it’s important for my kids to see me doing things that I enjoy. It’s important for them to see me working out, creatively using my talents, visiting friends or what have you. That being said, I’m hoping to encourage you with ways that you can take care of yourself too while still rocking this motherhood thing.

 

Five Ways to Include Your Kids In Your Self-care Routine

  1. Make them a real priority. This may seem like a strange tip to offer as number one on this list, but seriously… when we truly unplug and get out of our own head long enough to play one more round of hide and seek or build one more lego masterpiece, we are investing in what really makes our little ones happy – time with us. This makes for happier lives all around- less whining, less drama, and consequently less chronically stressed out parents! Am I right? Makes sense to me. And I see this truth in our home, for sure!

 

  1. Show them how it’s done! I want my kids to learn what healthy self-care really looks like. To develop healthy attitudes and become successful adults someday who can handle anything life throws at them. My parents were good at this. I have clear memories of them doing things they enjoyed and including me in those things. I think it’s so important to teach your kids team spirit when it comes to working together as a family unit. Everyone in the family has valid needs and important responsibilities, and everyone needs to know that they are loved and cared for so that the family unit runs as smoothly as possible. It’s good for kids to be shown needs outside of themselves, even if they don’t understand the whole aspect of self care yet. My gym has childcare so I bring my kids with. We make it a fun family outing, pack snacks to enjoy together afterward, and I make a habit of conversing with them about what they enjoyed in kids gym and and how it made them feel. Now eventually my son who is three has now learned to ask me in return, “How was your workout mom?” So I like to think I’m encouraging good communication skills as well, through all of this! A win-win!

  1. Do creative projects together. I feel great when working on creative projects. It’s a huge part of maintaining “me”, if you know what I mean! If I’m playing around with a new recipe or working on a DIY decoration for my home, I obviously would prefer to do it alone. But if I always waited to do it when I was alone, I would hardly ever get to any of these projects, am I right? So sometimes I improvise. I’ll pull up a stool and my kids will join me, and I just have to remind them to follow my directions so we can work together effectively. I’m not about to let having littles at home limit me and my creativity! Since we moved into this apartment more than two years ago, I’ve wanted to get some of my own art up on the walls. Finally this last week, I set everything up and had my son create some art alongside me. (Better late than never, right?) I created some stencils of dinosaurs and had my sweet boy create his own wall art for his room. The results turned out fantastic and he was so proud of his work! I also gulped, let go of perfectionism, and let him help me create a large canvas painting for the living room. I had an old painting I’d found at Goodwill a few years back, and just painted over it with a solid color, and we added our own design inspired by…well… my three year old! And the results totally impressed me, and he was so proud to have contributed! He couldn’t wait to show it off. Processed with MOLDIV

 

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4. Strap in and GO! For the days when I just need to pull out the quiet box of arts and crafts supplies –  complete with glue and glitter –  for my older boy and get some peace and quiet for twenty minutes, I strap my little baby girl into my Tula baby carrier (Can’t live without my Tula!) and hand her a teether. I can then usually pace the floor and fit in reading almost an entire chapter of a book, listen to a sermon or podcast, phone a friend for a few minutes, even catch up on emails. Watch yourself, however, that you set yourself a time limit so you can come back to life in an appropriate amount of time. Hence, the final point, point five…

 

5. I’ll be honest, this doesn’t always work, but it definitely has worked for me often enough  times to make number five on this list… Set a timer! I have an adorable little old school timer that sticks to my fridge and I use it for everything from baking cookies to letting kids know how many minutes until bedtime, and my personal favorite… quiet time. I will set the timer for however many minutes I need, usually no more than 20 or 30, and I will take that time to do a little tidying, wash the dishes, do a little yoga, or even pay a few bills. Not exactly glamorous, but to me, staying on top of life in general clearly helps reduce and lower stress, am I right?

 

If you take away one thing from this post, I would encourage you to readjust your expectations of what it might take to lower stress, especially if you’re a mother of little ones. The answer is probably so much more simple, straightforward, and more pleasant than you think. Maybe consider lowering your expectation a little so that you don’t become discontented or discouraged if you feel you aren’t getting “adequate” you-time on a daily or weekly basis. What is “adequate”, even!? I don’t know. I don’t have the answer to that, it’s probably different for each of us! But I’m finding what works for me, what keeps everyone’s best interests in mind, and helps me not lose myself in this wonderful, amazing journey that is motherhood.

We all can’t wait for that one big break, or even that next vacation… we have to find ways to engage our kids and lower stress right now in this moment so we can continue being an attentive engaging parent. What does this look like practically for you? I bet you have some pretty creative ideas. Leave a comment and let me know!

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Long Term Skin Care Solutions for Truly Radiant Skin (and how we healed our skin for good)

 

Nowadays it’s not uncommon for me to be seen going about my entire week with nothing but a touch of mascara… and lipstick. I am extremely happy with my skin and never feel ashamed of it anymore. I don’t experience oily days and dry days, I don’t have an oily T-zone, or any such thing … and I used to have ALL of those worries!

I get quite a few comments and questions about how I keep my skin so healthy and clear! So I’d like to share with you that it has not always been this way, and what I did about it!

Healing my skin has been part of this journey, this road to better health. You never used to be able to see me leaving my room without makeup, namely, foundation. I was very aware that I had breakouts and deep pores that I needed to do my best to cover up. Not to mention, I spent quite a few dollars on just trying new brands, wasting half (or more) of each bottle, trying to find the right formula for my skin. Not too drying, not to heavy… sigh. I am SO thankful that is all behind me.

I used to pick at my breakouts as well. I know, so bad! Then consequently I’ve had to heal from that scarring as well. The good news is, I am and I have! So let me tell you how.

I can’t actually tell you 100% that it was ONE thing that cured my skin issues. This is because I cleaned up my entire life kind of all at once back in 2013. My skincare, my food, my environment and lifestyle (well, it’s all an ongoing journey!), but since I improved in all of those areas at the same time, you’ll have to leave room for your telling your own story in your own way. But here’s a little snapshot of mine!

My Skincare Plan

  • I cleaned up my diet. The first thing for me was giving up dairy. I have proven that, for my skin anyways, I will get a breakout very shortly after consuming dairy. It’s a fact. Dairy isn’t great on my gut anyways, so I just cut that out completely. That was step one for me. Gluten: This is still somewhat controversial, and I’m not 100 percent sure that gluten directly causes me to breakout, but I DO know for sure that it causes some inflammation and an overall upset body. It has definitely contributed to clearer skin, and a drastic decrease in dandruff. Yes, that’s right… dandruff. Crazy, right!? I experience an itchy scalp if I eat too many grains. I’f I’m piling on the fuits and vegetables and cutting grains with gluten, particularly, I notice a drastic improvement in scalp health. My solution: I just went whole foods vegan. Problem solved. Ha! I laugh, but in all seriousness, it’s true! That was totally the answer for me. A whole foods plant based vegan diet ensures I am getting quality nutrition, TONS of fresh fruits and vegetables, and nearly none of the processed foods. For me this really has been problem solved. However that’s not why I chose this lifestyle, it just happens to be yet another fabulous perk!! Cutting out oils for me has also been huge. Really huge. (Note: I mean processed oils and adding straight up oils to foods, I do not mean healthy fats like avocados, nuts and seeds- those are fabulous in appropriate quantities.)
  • I use ONE skin care product. Thats it. And it’s seriously the best ever… haha and it is in fact called Best Skin Ever (BSE.)  –  Seabuckthorn Best Skin Ever by Living Libations. Nadine is absolutely stunning and perfectly inspiring. This organic skin care product is absolutely heaven bottled up and prepared for the face. I have been using best skin ever for just about three years now. And now we use it all over our bodies – it’s rich and luxurious and the only product we need. It’s the ONE product that sits on our bathroom counter and we use it for cleansing, moisturizing, post shaving, or even while shaving, and it’s gentle enough to apply to my sweet baby’s skin as well. Yes, it even takes care of diaper rash!! Nadine from Living Libations uses very pure, organic essential oils in her blends. They truly work wonders. The essential oils in the BSE have polished away both my and my husbands acne scars. We have thrown out all our unused bottles of ineffective skin care products away – good riddance.
  • Stop using soap and cleansers! Most skin care products alter the delicate PH balance of your skin. I haven’t used a soap based cleanser on my face is years now, and it’s been the best thing that has ever happened to me.
  • Clean up the Air. I make a habit of using and diffusing essential oils in my home to keep the air clean and pure, this makes a big difference in the quality of air that we breathe in –  this is especially important to me becuase we have rented several places and oils are a great way to get toxins and allergens out of the environment even before we move in! Living Libations also sells very pure, high quality essential oils, and Nadine is an absolute wealth of knowledge. Check them out.
  • Hormone Balance. This is another big one for me, my hormones were a big fat MESS growing up, and not balanced until I started taking control of my health in recent years! There is lots of fantastic information out there about balancing your hormones naturally. Reducing stress, avoiding hormonal birth control (boy, have I got a story about THAT!), and getting all your nutrients in. Nutrients like magnesium and selenium I make sure I get enough of. These aren’t major like calcium and vitamin D (also sooo important!), so they can be overlooked. I use this Magnesium Balm made locally, it’s absolutely fabulous. Magnesium can benefit people on multiple levels, and balancing hormones is just one of those ways. My favorite ways to get enough selenium is through eating Brazil nuts once in a while, and portobello mushrooms! Love me some portobello burgers! Mmm!

If all of this sounds like a lot, keep in mind that Ive done these things over a three year period. That’s why I titled this post “long term skin care solutions” because it takes time! Best Skin Ever excellerated the process greatly, but it takes years to heal from acne scarring. There’s really no overnight solution.

My Daily Face Care Routine

  1. I use this Norwex body care cloth in my daily routine, it exfoliates, removes makeup… this thing is amazing.
  2. Add my BSE, (video tutorial instructions on Living Libations website)
  3. Carry on with my day!

Seriously, that is it. This has been my routine for almost three years and it’s been so healing, time saving, and healthy for both skin, mind, and confidence.

I got my husband and friend on board too…

My husband has a history of acne and when I met him he was alternating a few different drug store brands of medicated skin care products. When I started working as a consultant for a major skin care brand, he tried the products and had no success with those either. Then BSE entered the scene. I started my lifestyle of cleaner slower living, tried the Oil Cleansing Method, with a little success, had a bad run in with coconut oil (my skin does not fancy coconut oil), and then one day reading an article about actress Shailene Woodley she said she swears by this product by Living Libations and it transformed her skin. So I was sold! I had to try it. And it has been our skin’s savior. I’m here to attest to it’s magical powers of lowering my stress level too, because its the only product I ever need to use –  no line up of bottles step one, two three. Just one bottle, one easy routine.

A good friend of mine started using BSE this summer as well, and she’s been totally shocked by the results. She’s got the before and afte photos to prove it. She loves that it’s so easy and admits that she was very skeptical going into trying it, but she’s SO glad she did, and it has given her so much more confidence. When she does get a breakout, it’s tackled by the BSE in record time. She’s a huge fan as well. The reviews on Living Libations site speak for themselves, people all over the world are showing their adoration. That’s what originally sold me on it. So you don’t have to just take my word for it.

Clear skin really does begin on the inside. Clean up your mind and clean up your gut. Clean up your home and environment as well. Essential oils are a great way to do all of this, and obviously I’m an advocate for truly clean eating and getting back a whole foods plant based diet.

I am a huge advocate for tackling skin issues with food, first, but BSE is so incredibly wonderful that even if your diet and lifestyle aren’t perfect, BSE is there to give you grace. It’s literally the most amazing thing. I would NEVER promote this if I didn’t believe in it. I’ve been using it for SO long now, and results just keep improving with each year. Unlike many brands or products that will work for a little while and then seem to not all of a sudden… I don’t know if there’s any science behind that, but doesn’t that always seem to happen!? Consequently, I stand behind this enough to write about it, it’s my story! And I realize that I took some pretty extreme steps in my journey to get to this place, so what does your baby step number one look like?

Share in the comments below your favorite natural skin care routine, or your road to better skin! I’d love to hear other’s stories of success and what’s worked for you!

I am an affiliate for Living Libations because their products have transformed the health of my skin and healed it from years of product overuse. So follow this link below and check them out! Living Libations Best Skin Ever

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Ideas for Sustainable Gift Giving: may your days be merry… and green

Every year my lists grow…

Christmas card mailing lists, gift giving lists, and it’s a joy! It means we are making new friends wherever we go!

But it can be a struggle to stay creative with each and every gift for each and every person, and you certainly don’t want to just give everyone the same pair of slippers.

Of course it is my goal to find things that are creative, sustainable, as useful as possible, and thoroughly valued by the receiver. Our dollars are also hard earned and few, and the last thing I want is for them to just disappear into the void of millions. This year we will be running our gift ideas through some extra thoughtful criteria: 1) it serves a purpose, 2) doesn’t contribute to waste, 3) comes from a company or market that values health and the environment. 

The real buzz killer of my holiday spirit is walking into mainstream stores where all I hear is grumpy consumers, beeping cash registers, and tired worn out associates. I don’t want it. I don’t want to be around it! So I’m spreading the love to my local hard working businesses as much as I can, buying gifts that say I care about so much more than just the gift giving process… giving gifts that say I care about the people who made them as much as the people receiving them.

Who’s on my Christmas list? Here’s an excerpt…

  • Spouse
  • Kids
  • Parents
  • Grandparents
  • Siblings
  • Aunts, uncles, cousins
  • Preschool & Sunday School Teachers
  • Packaged Cookies for the FedEx man when he delivers our gifts we ordered
  • Secret santas at work
  • Close friends
  • The kid’s close friends
  • Mentors

Did I miss anyone?? I probably did and there’s still time to add them!

What do I have in mind? 

Our dollars are hard earned and few, so we want them to go to people and places that are making the world a better place.

Here are some ideas I’ve had for both wallet and planet friendly gifts this year… (attn friends: potential spoiler alert.)

  • Herbs in a can
  • Reusable drinkware 
  • Coffee & tea or wine (always a hit for me anyways!)
  • Environmentally friendly/waste free food storage like plastic wrap alternatives
  • Subscriptions/event tickets (with babysitting “coupon”!)
  • A night out to a cooking class or painting class
  • Gift cards to sustainable online shops
  • Hand made art
  • Food or wares made locally 
  • Best selling books (for the avid reader of course!) or credit on audible
  • Kids activity subscriptions or memberships to play areas
  • Essential oils and diffusers (for the oilers in your life!)

The list seriously goes on. There are so many unique ways to give thoughtfully and sustainably. 

I saw these adorable herbs in a can at Whole Foods, and you can bet I’ll grab one for myself as well as one or two for a friend! Any foodies on your list? This is a great option. I just recently used up most of my spice cupboard and instead of restocking all my dry spices, I’m replacing many of them by using many more fresh herbs – easy and woah, hello flavor!

 

I already get many of my staple groceries from an online market called Thrive Market on a regular basis. I just love doing this, getting a box from Thrive is like Christmas all year around because I’m getting great deals that allow me to maintain our food values more affordably. Thrive lets me shop by value which is also so helpful to me, all I have to do is click on the tab to shop Vegan values and I’m all set to order with confidence. I also love that Thrive lets me know the values of each brand they represent in their catalog as well, so in a way, they’ve already done much of the homework for me.

Thrive Market has products that are consistently 25-50% off prices you’ll see at health food stores or even Amazon. I consistently go to their site to find my favorite products. Plus, for every membership purchased Thrive Market gives one away to a qualifying family, and that’s something I can get excited about. Their mission is making healthy living more affordable and accessible, and I’m all on board with that! I was lucky enough to be a beta tester for these guys when they first started out, I’ve been hooked on them since, and they’ve just exploded with success! And for good reason! It’s been exciting to see.

Thrive is enabling me to easily stick to my gift giving values this year with lists like these, list of stocking stuffers under $10!

On the Thrive Blog there is also this very helpful post: A Modern Thanksgiving with Something for Everyone (Gluten Free Eaters Included!) if you’re in a pinch for creating a recipe for your family members with certain values. Rest assured, I will be the one at our family’s Thanksgiving celebration this year bringing the vegan options, and I’m SUPER excited about it.

Thrive has gone the extra mile in also creating beautiful bundles for the foodie in your life, the yogi, the tea lover, the morning person, boxes full of all the cookie baking ingredients you’ll need for that baking day with your kids (say what!!??), boxes bursting with organic body care products, and even a gift box for YOUR TODDLER! And they’re at awesome prices, I think! And then your gift is completely ready to go, no more fuss! I’m thrilled. Find these pre-made holiday bundles HERE!!

How do you plan to gift give this year? What ways are you creatively stepping out and making a difference this year?
Share this post with the rest of us who are ready to start holiday shopping this weekend!

FYI: Yes, I am an affiliate for Thrive Market! And I am proud of it! I agree with everything that they stand for, I can stand behind their prices, and I’m thankful for how they’ve made my life easier. Check them out!

Also, Saturday the 26th, the day after the Black Friday mayhem is Small Business Saturday. Get out there and see what you can do to support your community that day.

 

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Slow & Grateful Living (part two): the one lesson I wasn’t expecting

Happy Friday Friends!

If you made goals for this week and are following through with them, let me know, I’d love to cheer you on. Those of you who have told me what your week’s goals have been, how amazing are YOU! You have inspired me beyond belief.

Throughout the week I have been eating the cleanest of clean. My eyesight is brighter, my mind is even clearer, and my energy is quite impressive, especially since sleep is rather an illusion right now with my babes in tow. My intentionality to reach for my Bible first in the morning and shut my mind down a little earlier in the evening have been beautiful aids in regaining some of my brain space and helping me better collect myself each day. All of these benefits from the week have been amazing enough to stand alone, but combining them with my interactions with others, I was reminded of my vision and was able to refocus my mind on my role in community.

This week I had a conversation with at least one person each day going through some kind of difficult situation, some of them even significant traumas. My own personal experiences flooding back. Additionally, My husband experienced a re-injury, my daughter has been teething and sleepless… my heart is heavy for many people right now. But my perspective from the week has been beautifully shaped by this Slow & Grateful Living Challenge. I’ve been seeing day after day the importance of being able to love deeply at a moments notice and what it takes to be prepared for that. Really, to be ready for anything. To be at a place, as far as it depends on me, where I am centered, in Christ, my body and mind in great health, where I am able and eager to respond to the needs of others as genuinely as possible.

I am a very goal driven person, and I’ve come to appreciate that about myself. It helps me get stuff done, and keeps me powered up and motivated. One weakness of mine however is becoming so goal focused that I can sometimes forget to look for growth opportunities moment to moment.

Through all of the conversations, all of the upsets, the daily chaos, my goals for the week kept me well centered on what was important, and I am delighted by that. But I also have realized a new level of community and my significant valuable role.

 

I am one person, insignificant to some, but to the people close to me, my family, my friends I am valued and I am needed. I need to have the emotional and physical energy to live this life with all of these people I love. I want them to experience community with me the same way I desire it with them. I want to be joyful and present, there to care for them and allowing them to care for me too.

I want to be ready to love in a moments notice. I want to be inviting and safe to be around. I want to feel my best so that I can live my best and be ready for anything.

Be open to learning whatever it is that is in front of you today. It might not be what you’re expecting!

What would it take in your life to create that space and take care of yourself and your well-being so that you can be ready to live out your unique role today? Maybe you need to create space to live more slowly and more thoughtfully. What does that look like practically for you today?

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Slow & Grateful Living (part one): Fostering Slow Living in my Kids

“Mindfulness is a certain way of paying attention that is healing, that is restorative, that is reminding you of who you actually are so that you don’t wind up getting entrained into being a human doing rather than a human being.” -Jon Kabat-Zinn

I realize that this post will be meeting everyone at a different place. Right now in my mind I am thinking of people who are going through life change, emotional traumas, exhaustion, wondering what’s next, and also others where life is alright at the moment and relatively put together. Ha! Life is crazy. We all know this. But in the midst of it all, where do are spirits rest? Are we enhancing the chaos in our lives by our reactions or by our daily habits?

I do not want my children to fall into this chaotic life of doing, rather than being. I don’t want it for myself, for any of you, and not for my children who are the future of this country and this world. I desire that my children be just that- children! That they have a childhood rich in nurturing love, joy, not too much to do, and daily living that is simple and high quality. I want them to learn that it is important to be, and to give, and to compliment, and to come alongside. And so much more. The world can be an unfriendly place, but we are the ones who can help make it friendlier.

We, who are desiring a slower life, are the forerunners in this rediscovery experience. I believe it is imperative that we reclaim our lives and our culture and restore our days on this planet by being mindful, intentional, looking to God, rediscovering who we are, and living in community with one another.

Slow living, the opposite of fast living, is a movement motivating people to be more mindful of their decisions, step away from mass production, fast food, fast cheap fashion, and get back to the basics and what is essential. Most importantly, raising awareness to the fact that our fast lifestyle is slowing killing us, and that we can reverse that if we make more mindful decisions and become aware of what is really going on. And it takes courage to open one’s eyes to see that truth.

We who are desiring a slower life are the forerunners in this rediscovery experience. I believe it is imperative that we reclaim our lives and our culture and restore our days on this planet by being mindful, intentional, looking to God, rediscovering who we are, and living in community with one another. Below are just a few thoughts I have on how we are incorporating this in our own home, in our own family.

In the way we treat each other

One of the phrases my husband and I like to use and hope to keep it up is explaining “well, this is what our family does! We’re a team!” and this reminds me to keep life simpler, and not to stress so much. That’s right, we are a team. There’s no complex formula for bringing up children that’s ever going to work unless we are a team, and we love on one another the best we know how, showing one another the nurturing love and respect we all deserve as human beings.

In the way we treat ourselves

Giving our bodies the respect they deserve. I think about that phrase so often. And there are many aspects to that, mental and spiritual health, exercise, and food. Food is more important than many people realize, it’s how we sustain our very existence, and unfortunately, in modern culture, we’ve lost touch with what food is. We just need it NOW and we need it with cheese. There is a huge movement today however of people getting back to the basics, and to that can we all say a big Huzzah!! I strive to teach my children what real food is and what is not, and as they get older, we will get into the politics of food a little bit more, and why we make the choices we do, and then they will be free to make it personal to them. They’re ALWAYS included in the making of the meal in some way. My three year old can be heart saying “wow, Mom, we should make that!” or “Mom, this is SO good.” And just over the weekend he declared “Mom, this is the best soup you’ve ever made!” (He’s emphatic, he’s definitely my son!) When he’s playing pretend, his ingredients list for his bakery always includes flax seed, fruit, and the occasional dollop of vegan cheese. Ha! It helps me live in the moment with him even when I’m hurrying to get dinner on the table, if he’s involved in the making and cleaning up. And of course, the kids are learning along the way why we eat certain foods and what they do for our bodies.

 

In the way we look beyond ourselves

This isn’t turning into a post about parenting advice, but part of living more slowly with my kids has been my learning how to play again. As a child I was a master at pretend play, and my son is the same way. But as an adult, I have already totally lost touch with how to play. But something magical happens when I do, and we both gain so much joy from it. We identify on a deeper level with one another. That is all helping to shape the adults my kids will become. I also have found the importance of including the kids in what is important to my husband and I, and what is important to other people. When I head out to the gym, for a run, or to meetup with friends, explaining to them why I do what I do and why it’s important to make space for other’s needs.

It’s my aim and hope that my children will learn more and more, as I learn myself, what it means to live in community. I want them to be among the first to offer to help, provide for a need, or lend a listening ear. I also want them to be brave and strong, and have the confidence that can automatically come alongside a lifestyle of slower living.

In closing, I do things like this Slow & Grateful Living challenge for more than just myself. I love how it changes me, yes. But I also do it to be an example, I do it for you! To be a forerunner in re-learning about what is important. I do it to show my children that life is rich, and that more successes will come when we are more in tune to paying attention. I do it to be an inspiration, even if it’s to one other person, that is worth it to me. And I love what I glean from it in the process and how it grows me.

To see or be reminded of what my goals are for this week and how to make your own, you can read my challenge introduction post here: Slow Grateful Living Challenge: 7 days of creating more space in my life for gratitude. And comment below or follow my Restoring the Day Facebook page HERE! Also follow my instagram here.

Lets check in on one another in this journey of slower living, and finding deep gratitude before we enter into this holiday season! Are you a parent? What will your children learn from you as you make decisions each day to live a little more slowly? Not a parent, that’s ok. We are all in community with one another, people around us pay more attention than we realize. Set a new precedent!

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Slow Grateful Living Challenge: 7 days of creating more space in my life for gratitude

Dear friends, I am SO very excited and eager to announce that I will personally be embarking on a challenge this next week, the week BEFORE Thanksgiving, to really prepare my heart and create more space for gratitude and joy. I am asking you to please consider joining me! I would absolutely love to have the accountability and partnership of us all doing this together! I am completely ecstatic about this, and I’m hoping some of this enthusiasm will rub off on you so that you’ll do this with me! (Pretty please!)

Here’s what you could expect from a challenge like this. I am going to start on Sunday, the first official day of the week, and I will at least carry on for seven days, if not all the way up until Thanksgiving Day. You can personally decide exactly how long you go for, and what is right for you. You can also set your OWN goals for your week! This challenge will be powered by YOUR goals and what you feel you need this week. Maybe your goal is to not engage in the consumerism around Thanksgiving time and Black Friday. That would be an amazing goal. Perhaps you want to eat clean this whole week. Perhaps you want to get in daily exercise and have been having trouble doing that- whatever your goals are, write them down, sleep on them, dream about carrying those goals out and making them happen this next week, and share them with your friends –  and with me! I seriously CANNOT WAIT to cheer you on.

I am so very passionate about slow living, creating space for joy love and gratitude even in the midst of all of our business. I love being busy, I enjoy being productive, but I want to be productive with a purpose, and be totally mindful and aware during all hours of my precious days here on this earth with those I love most. So lets do this together!

Just to give you an idea of what I am personally going to do this week, here are three totally achievable goals I’m setting for my Slow Grateful Living Challenge. I would totally have more, but sometimes I can get carried away (I’m quite passionate.)! Ha! So I’m going to stick with just three so I can make absolutely sure I achieve them all realistically.

  1. Many of you know I am vegan (for many reasons) and for this week I will be eating a totally raw food plan for 7 days. If this seems extreme to you, remember- This is MY goal. It does not have to be anywhere close to yours! It is slightly extreme. It’s not extreme for me, for me it just means going the extra mile. I cannot wait, you guys. Raw food gives me incredible clarity, and my senses are heightened and clarified, and overall it makes me feel amazing, but I don’t have plans to continue it throughout the winter, but for these seven days I absolutely cannot wait. So that’s part one of my plan for this week. That being said, please do not make this your goal unless you are totally prepared, and are aware of how to embark on this safely and healthfully. If one of your goals is food related, I will be sharing some of my recipes and what I eat in a day so you can add them into your days for some of your own awesome healthy recipe options.
  2. I will touch my Bible and my daily planner every morning before I reach for my smartphone. I’ve noticed that especially since my smartphone is my alarm clock, my access to my work, my friends and family, my bank account, and even the daily weather, that I’ve slipped into some bad habits. So here’s to changing that.
  3. Screens off and no housework 30 minutes before I close my eyes to sleep so I can read and have time to think clearly and journal about what I’m grateful for to help me sleep better and get the most out of the next day. I’m very excited about this. I’ve never been 100% successful at keeping up with this habit, but I KNOW I can keep it up for 7 days. So thrilled to share with you all how the week goes. I’m passionate and ready to go. Follow me on social media to see how I’m keeping up with my week!

Are you ready? Will you take the challenge and set some goals for yourself this week to live more intentionally, more slowly, and more gratefully as we move into this beautiful holiday season? Let’s keep in touch during this challenge, share your goals with me so I can help cheer you on as well! Let me know if you’d be willing to share your experience doing this challenge after it’s complete, and how you plan to move forward after the week is done, intentionally and thoughtfully keeping that momentum. Let’s restore the day, one day at a time this week!

Please reach out to me on social media with ANY questions you may have, or for some extra personal inspiration. Like my page for Restoring the Day on facebook here! – and follow along with me throughout the week! I’ll be posting inspiration for us all. Here’s to starting out the holidays with the right heart. Good vibes to all!

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7 Ways You Can Be Your Best Inspiration

I spent the weekend with my parents. I Love them. What a joy. During the weekend as topics on parenting inevitably surfaced, my Dad reminisced about my childhood. I was incredibly stubborn as a kid. Many kids can be, but I was totally bull-headed. I laughed because I remember. I remember demanding that the color was gray when it was clearly evident the color was actually blue. As we visited, laughed, remembered, we ended with marveling at how we all end up turning out at all! Our personalities and characters are like a mosaic, beautifully crafted and woven throughout our life, the pattern growing in complexity, but we never lose our common threads. God designed us well, for very specific purposes.

Adulthood puts a shock into all of us at some point, I would imagine. I’m sure I’m not the only one who has had moments of panic, fearing I’m losing touch with who I am. It’s scary, especially since as a child I knew exactly who I was and who I wanted to be, and no one and no thing was going to get in my way. My dreams didn’t have limits. Now thankfully, with adulthood comes a healthy dose of reality. This is quite essential and necessary, wouldn’t you agree? But do we let the harsh reality of adulthood put a damper on our souls?
Not every childhood experience is perfect. But children do have an infectiously beautiful heart, full of life and possibilities. Do you still have it in you? Of course. The real true beauty of you comes in the raw organic center of your soul. (yes, that was totally a food reference, and it totally works here.) What makes you laugh, what brings you to tears, and those radical ideas you have that maybe life isn’t so bad after all… these things are important to hold on to. What makes up your personality makes you an indispensable and integral part of the community you live in! You have intrinsic value, particularly among the people placed in your life at this very moment. As a believer in God, I also believe that our identity can be strong and beautiful when we realize why He made us and our worth in His eyes.

Here are seven practical everyday tips I use to check myself if I’m in need of a little extra inspiration, or to see my own value. You are an inspiring being inside your very self, lets uncover that.

  1. Don’t let yourself become isolated. Engage with who you love most. They are a huge reason you’re the person you are. I think it’s easy to lose our identity in our minds when we experience isolation. And we could be seeing thousands of people each day and still be isolated. Mothers can feel isolated even at home as a mother. Double check that you’re getting good interaction with people who are challenging you and spurring you on and loving you where you are at. For me, this is my friends who share my faith. We help remind each other constantly that we are loved and values in the eyes of each other and our Maker. You’re a role player in their life too,  don’t deprive them of your presence.
  2. Be playful! Remind your imagination how it used to fly! For me, this takes a little work. Even if have to work at it, I can get that old rusty imagination up and running again. For us moms this is easy because we always are being begged to play along. Go ahead! Be a goof ball.
  3. Dig up an old dream or desire to learn something new and do it! You’re capable of so much more than you give yourself credit for.
  4. Don’t take your faults too seriously. There is worth in your faults. My bull headed ways have gotten me through some tough mud.
  5. Take a look at that face in the mirror. You look great. Let this inspire you to take extra great care of yourself today. You are worth more than gold, so treat your body with the respect it deserves. Throw on some lipstick and your favorite song as you get ready for your day. Let it get you powered up on the outside, you’ll start to feel the beneficial effects.
  6. You have the power to motivate and inspire someone else the minute you get out of your own head and think bigger than you. You become that inspiration for another, and yourself.
  7. Remind yourself of what you’ve achieved and the people you’ve influenced for the better. I believe that remembering where your life has been and where it’s going is very important. This is one reason I keep a journal, especially to record life’s challenges and gratitudes.

Do you see yourself as inspiring? Are the people around you an inspiration to you? Who’s on your “team”? And are YOU on your own team, believing all the way?

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Are you showing your body the respect it deserves?

Happy Friday!

Over the past few years I have lost 40 pounds (aside from pregnancies), had two beautiful and incredibly healthy children children, learned to be an athlete, balanced my hormones, and enriched my relationships with people around me. All these things I have done without a single dose of medication or major supplementation.

Food is medicine, you’ve heard the adage. But when people truly experience what that means, it’s totally life changing.

I played around with trends in clean eating, paleo, and Mediterranean diets in my quest to find peace in my body. But not until going completely plant based have I felt truly in tune with what my body needs both emotionally and physically.

I’m not going to give you a list of all the food you need to avoid. Although we could go there! Instead, I want to encourage you to love your body and appreciate what it does for you. Show it the respect it deserves. It’s your temporary dwelling yes, but your time living in it here on earth matters a great deal. I nourish my body with foods that truly love me back. I’ve never felt the difference more in my life. 

Fruits and vegetables make me happy. I mean REALLY happy. And it’s not just in my head. I haven’t  always felt like this. Physically, I feel more spirited the more fresh food I eat. Our bodies were designed to function from these micro-nutrients found in plants.

If I encourage just one person to shop the produce section today instead of the processed isles that will be a huge win in my mind. If you already do great in this area, keep it up! We have to spread the love! 

More to come on this topic! What questions do you have? Would you like to hear more of my story? What’s your story? 

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