[Know someone who may need a dose of encouragement today? Pass along this article here! What ways do you stay encouraged in the midst of health battles? Share below!]
[Know someone who may need a dose of encouragement today? Pass along this article here! What ways do you stay encouraged in the midst of health battles? Share below!]
Quite frankly, I’m beginning to expect change.
The way my life seems to be running recently, I should be a “adaptability” pro. I always thought I was decent at adapting and finding solutions. But I can’t lie, its been pretty tough to adapt to the continued changes in my life. Believe it or not, I’m not talking about moving, or adjusting to new friend groups, or even road trips. I’m talking about health challenges.
Two days ago I received an email from my doctor that started out with “but you're probably not going to appreciate my feedback”. You know there’s something up when you read those words from a doctor. I braced myself for the news and to be honest, I wasn’t surprised by her words. I was pretty disappointed though.
The last month I had been doing pretty well with all the health challenges. I got off my recently discovered allergens (beef, eggs, pineapple, beans, green beans etc). I established a new routine. I was doing really well. Physically my energy was returning somewhat nicely. But I emailed my doctor because the bloating, inflammation, and abdominal comfort continued with a vengeance. I had sent her a log of my diet, asking for suggestions. Low and behold, she had a thing or two to say.
Apparently my joyous experience with SIBO is continuing strong due to the sugar in my diet. Now let me preface that the amounts of sugar I had been eating were on average less than 25 grams per day, including fruits and veggies, and anything else I might consume. I had been really careful to go very low with my sugar intake, but apparently, my doctor thinks its not enough.
In her words, my further healing will be halted unless I cut sugar out of my diet completely. She didn’t mean just sugar. She meant anything that the body uses to turn into sugar: All grains. Fruit. High sugar veggies. And also fake sugars like splenda or stevia.
I stared at her words and my heart sank. Another huge lifestyle adjustment ahead. My usual morning Green Smoothie / Protein shake with just 1/2 blueberries and only 3grams of sugar? Out. My morning sugar free almond latte? Out. A quick “Kind Bar” when in a pinch on the road? Out. I know these things seem so small, but they were staples that I had worked into my routine. It’s not so much that sugar must be eliminated; It’s the idea that the things I’ve worked into my life - the replacements of replacements - now must go.
SIBO feeds off sugar. But when it gets really low amounts of sugar, it goes dormant, using the little sugar in the system to just survive even if it doesn’t flare up. In order to get rid of it, I literally have to starve my system entirely of sugar. Otherwise it will remain in my system, and could flare up again later.
Even still, with this news I know that the Lord is working in my soul, because I don’t feel the intensity of disappointment that I would have felt two months ago. The only intense thing I feel is the possibility that I could go to such extreme lengths and have this not even bring about the desired outcome. It takes so much work to live when you have these kind of conditions. Most people don’t remotely understand what it takes.
About 10 minutes after the email, my mind went to a very health place. I thought: Yes, I was disappointed but the practical side is what I felt stress from. I needed a plan. If I have a plan, I will have food. If I have food, I won’t cheat. If I don’t cheat, I will feel empowered. If I feel empowered, I will settle into a routine without too much emotional chaos. No, it’s not easy. Yes, it takes a boatload of work. But for all my adapting I think I have finally found a process that will help me get past the Dietary LifeStyle changes without feeling like my life is falling apart.
1. Realize the situation i.s. a big deal. You will have people tell you that food shouldn’t control your life. You will feel like, if you are fully functioning, can walk, talk, breathe, and live on your own, it shouldn’t be a big deal. Truth is, in this kind of transition, food d.o.e.s. control your life to a degree. For example, having these limitations and being on the road is next to impossible to manage. The amount of mental and physical stress that is caused from having to wonder where you are eating, if they have something that won’t make you sick, or what store can facilitate some organic produce or uncultured meat - those are no joke questions to face every.single.time. you need to eat. With the new changes in my diet, my husband and I are contemplating canceling our great summer road trip - simply because my food lifestyle requires a great deal of planning, and prep, and work.
On the flip side of this, I have friends who have similar conditions to myself, but they have a lifestyle of travel. And they struggle because the two conflict at every single turn. These lifestyles are a BIG DEAL. Acknowledge it and give yourself some grace.
2. Keep It Simple. Now is not the time to find the most culinary adventurous recipes to implement every single night. That’ll cost you an arm and a leg, and produce extra stress - especially when a recipe doesn’t turn out (and trust me, on these diets there are plenty that don’t). You need to think through individual foods you can eat, and then which of those foods work well together.
For example: I love deli turkey with tomato and avocado. I literally smile when I eat that. Simple. Satisfying. I know that if I find a health food store, I can get those things and be ok. These are the things that aren’t gourmet. They aren’t exciting. But they get the job done and I don’t feel like I’m signing away my life to make it, or my pocketbook to pay for it.
3. Realize you eat for energy first and for most. Anything else is an added plus. Phillip is the most laid back eater I’ve ever met. Of course, he has foods he really likes, and food on his favorites list (sushi, sushi, and more sushi); But he will literally eat anything. I didn’t understand this right away, so he had to explain. In his mind, anything that wasn’t an MRE was great. If it had nutrition and substance, he was down. It was that simple. This is one of the most difficult transitions I know. But in my experience it’s the only way to get away from the mindset of what you “can’t eat” to being grateful for what you can.
4. Create a Daily plan and Menu. Above all, make a plan. If you don’t, you will fall. Plain and simple. Ask yourself questions like this: What meats do you like best? What ways can you cook them that are simple and not crazy time consuming? What veggies go well with those meats? What combinations of veggies do you find satisfying? I personally love sautéd mushrooms and onions. If I have those two things with any combination of meat, I’m good. I can’t do food on the fly right now. It doesn’t work. A weekly menu overwhelmed me, so I just create a day by day plan. Sunday night I plan for Monday. Monday night I plan for Tuesday. etc. This eliminates the stress that comes from wondering “what is my next meal”?
5. Do your prep work: Remember the health food stores that have pre-made fresh food in the refrigerated section? Why do we like those? Because when you pick them up out of that fridge, all you need to do is eat it. Doesn’t get any more simple. When you have a full work schedule, you need the ease of that, otherwise no good will come. Nothing feels better than when I’m in between appointments and can reach in the fridge to pull out my quick already made lunch, waiting for me to eat it. You need that. (Check out this incredible post for a detailed walk through of Food Prep)
6. Set up Accountability. I have two friends who play this role in my life - outside my honey of course. My friend Hannah has seen pretty much every health and physical experience under the sun, so when it comes to working through the emotional issues tied to my food lifestyle, she’s the one I call. She helps me know I’m not alone. And when I know I’m not alone, I feel stronger. When I feel stronger, I much less likely to succumb to depression or temptation.
My other friend is the one I text when I fall of the wagon. Kristi is a gem of gems. With similar dietary lifestyle necessities, she knows how I feel when I text her that I just ate something I shouldn’t. The way God works it, half the time we both fell off the wagon on the same day so we can acknowledge our indiscretion, and laugh about it. Then we encourage each other to get back on the wagon, and we know we are getting on together.
7. Find Support. My family is incredible. My mother - a sort of Jedi Master when it comes to food and all things kitchen - trained my sisters to be culinary masters themselves. (She tried to teach me but I gravitated to baking. Defintely should have stayed with cooking). When my sisters and Mom found out the news all they wanted to do was hunt for recipes that would be aligned with my new specifications, but still be delicious. I am so grateful for this. Sometimes having support rather than figuring it all out on your own can be the difference between feeling like you can handle it vs. being caught in a downward spiral of depression.
Finally, the biggest lesson I am learning about this adaption process is the importance of taking things day by day. To be honest, I can’t think about living this way for 3 days, let alone 3 months. It’s beyond overwhelming. But Jesus tells me that my heavenly Father knows my needs before I do. Jesus tells me that I don’t need to worry about tomorrow. Jesus tells me that all I need to do in these times is cast my burdens on Him. I can’t carry these issues and the repercussions to my lifestyle. But He can. And He will.
And I am so beyond grateful for that.
[Do you have experience with dietary changes? Comment below with what works for you! Encouraged by this article? Share it on Facebook! Know someone who needs to read this? Forward on here - you never know the difference it may make in the life of someone going through a similar experience!]
Life is all about investments.
We’ve all heard the phrase” You make time for what you love”. I think it may also be true that you make time for what you invest in.
That’s why, when I heard about Marie Forleo’s B-School, I jumped in. And I can’t even describe to you how excited I was to spend $2k of my hard earned money.
Marie Forleo is basically the new “Who’s Who” of the business world. Boasting 60 million dollars in sales, her empire is second to none in my opinion. Largely because her mission is about more than making money. Her philosophy is that business is a tool that should enable us to make our world a better place. I love Marie Forleo.
Now, I don’t go out and blow $2k without a good reason. So let me tell you why I decided to join Marie Forleo’s B-School. And why making a crazy huge investment may just be the thing to get you going on your business too.
1. Put your money where your mouth is:
I love business development. I can’t even tell you how much. Every time I have worked on a business or business development project, I have had the time of my life. I talk a lot about knowing this or that about business, but it has been some time since I put it into practice. I needed this to change. I had several business ideas for a while, but I had not acted.
It’s so easy to talk. It’s a lot harder to act. Sometimes when you make an investment, it motivates you. Am I going to waste $2k by sitting around on my booty? No sir! Not a chance! I want to get out every possible ROI that I can - blood, sweat, tears and all! If you have a dream to build a business, you may actually need to make an investment to get yourself from the talk to the walk.
2. Build your dreams:
One of my dreams is to have enough money to travel working on philanthropy projects, and also give a good portion to building orphanages around the world. I have a good job, but that won’t happen on my salary. It’s not a problem that will change overnight. I have to work at it and work hard and long to make it happen.
What dreams do you have? What is stopping you from going after them? For some people having a lack of information keeps them from acting. For others, not having someone to handhold every step of the way and that may stop them. Stop and take a moment to reflect: What do you need to take action? Maybe it’s a deadline. Maybe it’s a scheduled and day by day plan. Whatever the case may be, find not only your motivation, but your start button. Then, do whatever it takes to put that into place. Because once you hit that start, there will be no stopping you!
3. Prioritize what you love:
I have recently acquired a distaste for the tyranny of the urgent. It kills me that I have had such difficulty making time for what I love. If I love business development, if I love starting projects and working through goals, that is what I need to be doing. Life doesn’t often like to accommodate what we love or enjoy. Its so frustrating but true. Sometimes, a hard investment can offer motivation; When we have made a sacrifice for something, it eliminates those moments when you just want to go sip a pina-cololada instead of putting in some quality work time.
How much are your dreams worth? What would you invest if you know that the ROI would be out the roof and far above what you could imagine??
I can’t give a full description of what I’m working on now - have to build some good old fashioned suspense - but I can promise that every day I am working on something I really hope will change the face of the photographic industry for good. I hope to offer something that, if I had when I first got started, I probably would have taken over the world by now. But that’s ok. I still have time for that. And when I reach that point, I will have Marie Forleo to thank.
[Check out Marie's website here! Take a moment and write down below: What is y.o.u.r. Start button? Know someone who may need to hear this in order to make that jumpstart? Share here!]
This story is about how I found the path to walk on water.
It wouldn’t surprise me if every kid hears the story of Jesus and Peter walking on water, and then imagines what that experience would be like. It’s like flying - those few things that we humans just can’t do.
But then you read the Bible, and suddenly, you see that Jesus can.
I know I wondered what it would be like to walk on water. But I didn’t realize that it would take me a cross country move to become a Water Walker.
That sounds really cryptic I know. Let me explain.
One week ago today, my honey and I set out to begin our new life. We packed the trailer. Installed our Mini’s tow hitch. Cleaned the apartment. Picked up an audio book. Then set out on the road to drive through the night where we would stop in St. Louis after the first leg of our journey. It didn’t go as smoothly as we expected - we were almost to St. Louis and then found out that our trailer was smoking. No kidding. As it turns out, U-Haul had to give us a new trailer. Something had broke and by the grace of God did not cause a major accident. We spent hours getting the situation under control; unpacking one trailer, repacking the other. I never in my life thought I'd be sitting on a curb with all my junk surrounding me on display for the world to see. What can we say. It didn’t rain. It didn’t storm. So we dealt with the trailer and moved on.
After a night in St. Louis, we set out at 10am the next morning. It would be another 22 hours of driving straight before we got into Davenport Florida, where we would stay with a friend. It was a long drive, but with so much anticipation I think we hardly noticed it.
Our journey was about 38 hours total.
Let me tell you, that car smelled as it never has before.
What happened on that drive was something that I didn’t expect. Through the countless hours, and miles and miles and m.i.l.e.s. of flat open road, something took place in my heart. I didn’t know this needed to happen, and I didn’t know that it could:
I walked on water.
I did. I promise.
In the most literal-figural sense of the word, I walked on water.
In preparation for a crazy long drive, I picked up several resources to pass the time. I got started on my new obsession - the TV Show Dexter (I promise once you get past the initial morbid nature it is actually incredibly fascinating). I also purchased the new Ted Dekker book called Water Walker. I had heard really amazing things about this book, including this incredible review , and thought a 9 hour audiobook would be a great way to pass the time on the road.
I won’t go into the storyline too much, but ultimately, the book is about how to become a Water Walker. I know you’ll be skeptical about this until you read the book yourself, but basically, the process of becoming a Water Walker is the process of taking responsibility of the way we respond and react to the situations in our lives. It is the acknowledgement that no one dictates how you live, except yourself. It is the acceptance that even when we are abused or wronged, we have a choice to “walk on water”. In no uncertain terms, this book explains that we have the power to let our faith control our life, or let our circumstances control our life.
As I listened to the book, something profound happened to me. I learned what it was to be a Water Walker - for myself.
1. Water Walkers “Let Go” of the past. I promise I’m not being cute here by quoting the song lyrics. I’m completely serious. Through this drive, I became acutely aware that, if I was honest with myself, my move was me running away from the reminders of a very painful season of my life. It was a season that was the fault of no one but my own. Deep down inside, I felt like Denver wouldn’t ever free me from my mistakes. I was constantly reminded by fractured relationships, or awkward meetings, or reminders from places. I didn’t feel at home in Denver, because it hadn’t been a “safe place” for me. But those things that pained and bothered me, they weren’t just in Denver. They were still in my heart. Moving from one place to the next became a very tangible process of actually letting go of the last residual affects of what I had subjected myself to in the recent past.
2. Water Walkers move on through life because they forgive. Forgiveness holds profound power. Did not the Pharisees tell Jesus that no one had the power to forgive sins except God? But yet, the cross gave us that power - through Christ. We can forgive the sins done against us. We can also forgive the sins we commit against ourselves. I have gone though countless forgiveness prayers in the last several years, but some things seemed to remain. I have had a very difficult time forgiving myself for my choices. I have never said to myself, “It’s ok. You made mistakes. And the mistakes are ok. It’s time to forget.” In that long drive, I whispered those words to myself. And I felt a load of immense burden release from my soul. It was a burden I didn’t even know was there.
3. Water Walkers chose a life of Peace. I am not being symbolic here. I am talking about inner peace that completely controls. The wind and the waves of life don’t ruffle them, because it is as if the wind and waves don’t exist. I realized that my life wasn’t according to this. If someone doesn’t like me, or doesn’t want to be my friend, or holds my past against me, it causes tumultuous wind and waves in my soul. If I was sitting in a figurative boat, those situations would capsize my heart. So long as I didn’t chose this peace, so long as I couldn’t forgive myself, I couldn’t move on. I felt inhibited by my previous life; held captive from walking out of my prison into the light. Driving in the quiet and the stillness of my little Mini Cooper, I chose peace. And I promised myself that from that day and every day thereafter, I would continue choosing peace.
Thanks to my Lord Jesus that I can.
Moving across the country from Denver to Florida didn’t provide an escape. But somehow, the journey provided a release. The Lord used a story to lead my spirit to where it really needed to go. As it turns out, that wasn’t an escape from Denver after all.
I’m not saying I wished I hadn’t moved - to be honest I was sitting in the sun on a beach when I found out Denver was getting 8 inches of snow. I won’t miss that at all. I do believe that our new life in Florida has the capacity to be better than I imagined. But this new life won’t be amazing because I am now away from the reminders of my former shame. This new life will be amazing because the journey here made me a Water Walker.
[Have you experienced a time of deep pain and found it difficult to move on? Share a comment below how you were able to get out of that place. Are you currently having difficulty moving on? Maybe Ted Dekkers Water Walker will touch you as much as it touched me. Know someone who needs to hear my story? Share here:]