Navigating Life

Wouldn’t it be great if the day we graduated from high school, someone would have handed us a roadmap for the rest of our lives? I visualize one that would tell me not only which way to turn at every crossroads, but would also warn me of certain hazards… “Storm ahead! Slow down!” Right? It would certainly help make all of those tough decisions easier and would lend a lot of comfort when we we’ve ended up in the wrong place and don’t know how to turn-around. Sort of like a GPS for our lives.

Each day we could wake up and feel prepared for what was ahead of us, knowing just what the day would bring, how we should react to it and that no matter what, we’d be okay. How much more could you accomplish if you could envision the road ahead and know that ultimately, only good will come to you?

What would you be willing to pay for such a devise?

What if I told you that you already have, within your reach, this amazing piece of equipment? What if the only thing you had to give in return was your love? That the only payment needed was to spend some time each day with God?

God is ready to guide you through every step of your life, to keep you strong in the storms and to help navigate your way out when you’ve made a wrong turn. He is there, like both a GPS and a best friend, to hear your worries, lift you up and send you back in the right direction. And the coolest part is, it doesn’t matter how far off course you’ve gotten, He will show you the way back.

All you have to do is ASK.

“Seek the Lord while He may be found, call upon Him while He is near. Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts; let him return to the Lord, and He will have mercy on him; and to our God, for He will abundantly pardon.” Isaiah 55: 6-7

The words I want you to dwell on from the above are “Seek the Lord… for He will abundantly pardon.” Is there anything more beautiful than that? If we seek Him, if we commit to our relationship with Him and to spending some time with Him each day, He promises, not only to pardon us of our sins, but to love us and guide us on our life path. He promises that He will never leave us and that He will put in our minds and our hearts all that we need to ultimately live with Him again. He will redeem us.

For Further Study

Oh my goodness! There are so many great verses on this topic! But start here and just keep reading. Pray on these my friend, and I promise your heart will be opened. It is His promise to all of us! (sorry, I’m not yelling, I’m just so excited to share this with you!!)

“For God so loved the world, that He have his only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.” John 3:16

“Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me.” Psalms 51:10

“But from there you will seek the Lord your God, and you will find Him if you search for Him with all your heart and all your soul. When you are in distress and all these things have come upon you, in the latter days you will return to the Lord your God and listen to His voice. For the Lord your God is a compassionate God; He will not fail you nor destroy you nor forget the covenant with your fathers which He swore to them.” Deuteronomy 4:29-31

“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.”  Joshua 1:9


Fabulous Fireplace Redo

I am so excited to show you my fireplace redo on the cheap! I fell in love with this house the instant I saw it, and new that I’d soon being calling this place home. The fireplace in the master bedroom was just an added bonus! But, it was one of those fireplaces from the 70s with all the really heavy, dark lava rock. A major turn off for most people. I don’t mind it so much, but the rocks were REALLY dark, so not only did it date the room, but it kept it too heavy for my taste. Not wanting to go through the mess of tearing it all the way out and rebuilding (although that’d be cool too), I thought I’d see what I could do to just lighten things up a bit.  I’m pretty happy with the results, and spent less than $20!  Whoo Hoo!

Here is what it looked like. You can see that on the right side I’d already started to lighten the stone. I just wanted you to be able to see the contrast. This stones on the right side have had a mixture of white paint and water brushed on. This is just one coat, which may have been enough, but I kept going.

I have one coat almost complete here.  So, I just grabbed a sample jar of paint in white. Some store give these to you for free, I think I had to pay $5. I poured about a tablespoon of paint into my mixing jar, and added about 1/2 a cup of water. Thats it!

All done with the first coat on the top half. Still haven’t done the hearth. But starting to really love this new look!

This is now two coats up top and one on the hearth. The top of the hearth is a smoother stone, so when I painted those, I waited just a minute or so and then wiped the paint off with a rag. It worked really well!

I dries pretty fast, so you can do multiple coats pretty quickly. This is an afternoon project for sure. Although, I drug it out over several weekends. I also painted the grout in between the rocks because it was a super dark brown. But it might be cool to leave it – all just depends on your taste!  This picture is after 3 coats.

I’m not sure the pictures do it justice, but after the entire thing received 3 coats of diluted white, I took another brush and using a dark grey paint (another sample jar) I just barely brushed over the rocks so that the grey only landed on the high bumps. Use a VERY, VERY dry brush for this. I had far too much paint on the first time, and screwed it up. Once I used a dry enough brush, I really started to love it!

Here is the finished product!  I am so excited to have a fire tonight. With the storm going on outside, this is the perfect, cozy edition to my girly-girl bedroom!!

New Year Detox… Or Not?

I LOVE a new year. Although I set goals and try to live well through each of the twelve months, there is just something sort of cleansing about a new year. A fresh start, if you will. I am sure your Twitter and Facebook feeds are full of plans for jumpstarting a healthy new year. New Year – New You! Prescribing detox plans and rigid exercise programs will sell a lot of books in January.

But is any of it necessary?

We expose ourselves to myriad toxins all day, everyday, even while we sleep. Poor dietary choices, alcohol, prescription drugs, recreational drugs, air pollution, water with added crap in it, lazy attitudes, stress (financial, emotional etc.) and so much more can create a build up of toxins in our bodies, causing illness, fatigue and weight gain. The good news is, our bodies are amazing things, capable of so much more than we give them credit for. On their own, our bodies are in a constant state of detoxification, night and day, 24-7 ridding themselves of the damage our bad habits can cause.

Because our bodies were purposefully created to detox, going on that New Year juice cleanse is not only unnecessary, but can be dangerous. While billed as a weight loss tool, or a great way to recover from the additional abuse we endured through the holidays, a complete cleansing can actually backfire. If your liver and kidneys aren’t clear, the toxins being expelled through a typical juicing plan have nowhere to go and can actually make you sicker.

The key is to slowly ease your body into it, and provide your system with added tools to boost its natural detoxifying ability. It is true that a sluggish system can be responsible for weight gain, fatigue and even certain cancers, but this cannot be fixed in 3-5 days of juicing carrots and spinach. In fact, fasting and quick cleanse plans can cause headaches, nausea, diarrhea, constipation, irritability, fatigue, insomnia and more, making them very difficult to stick with.

You don’t need a quick cleanse, you need a lifestyle change

Your body’s own detox system is made up of the liver, the intestines, kidneys, lungs, skin and the lymphatic system. Let’s take a closer look at how we can give them the boost they need and be on the road to a healthier more energetic life!

  1. The liver. This organ eliminates toxins through urine and bile. The best thing we can do for our liver is avoid alcohol. I am not suggesting that we don’t enjoy a good Cabernet from time to time, or even a little bourbon, but as with all things in life, moderation is the key. Our liver can also benefit from amino acids, which can be taken in a capsule or by eating raw walnuts; chlorophyll from leafy greens (kale, spinach) and vitamin C (add a little lemon to your water).
  2. The intestines. These guys are responsible for balancing the good and bad bacteria in our gut, which helps us to produce natural antibiotics. In order for the intestines to do their job properly, we need to avoid sugar, coffee (sorry), white flour, dairy products and alcohol. I know, it seems impossible, but I think you’ll find that if you ease into it, after a while, you won’t even miss those things. You can also help by adding fiber (eat an apple) and sulforaphanes (broccoli, cauliflower, brussel sprouts and cabbage).
  3. The kidneys. Your kidneys filter the blood. They can’t do that well if we don’t help out by keeping them clean, which means… drink water! Drink enough water that your pee is clear. Hippuric acid helps too by cleaning out the uric acid. You can get this with cranberry juice. I don’t like cranberry juice, so I drink green tea, which I add a bit of dandelion to. You can find dandelion extract at most health food stores. Dandelion contains a lot of potassium, which acts as a diuretic.
  4. The lungs. These awesome tools expel toxins out of the body through our breath, so the best thing you can do for the lungs is USE THEM! Yoga and other exercises that require slow, deep breathing are essential, as is good posture. Also, and this should go without saying, stop smoking. Period.
  5. The lymphatic system. This system is many parts working together, using our white blood cells to pick up bacteria and other harmful agents, move them home (like to the lymph nodes) and then destroy them. Exercise is the key here, as it helps pump blood throughout the body at a quicker rate. Also, eat more raw fruit and on an empty stomach. Eating them on an empty stomach helps you digest them faster and adds maximum lymph-cleansing benefits.
  6. The skin is our largest organ and should NOT be neglected! Taking care of your skin not only helps you look more youthful, but because healthy skin eliminates toxins faster, you will find you feel better overall. One awesome thing we can do for our skin is SWEAT! The other is to stay hydrated (which of course allows you to sweat even more). I also have a few things I like to do occasionally just to offer my skin a boost (especially after indulging in the holidays).
  • Use a dry, soft bristled brush in a circular motion all over your entire body. This removes dead skin cells. Then apply a little sesame oil, which is a natural detoxifier and adds moisture too. Leave it on for about 5 minutes and then hop in a warm shower.
  • Soak in a tub with 1 cup Epsom salt, 1 cup baking soda, one cup sesame oil and a few drops of your favorite essential oil (I like lavender at bed time).
  • Look at your favorite store for a clay mask, or make one at home. Use 1 TBS of either Kaolin Clay or Bentonite Clay (available on line or at your local health food store), with 1 tsp apple cider vinegar and any essential oil. You can also mix the clay with a tsp of coconut oil and a tsp of raw honey.

Finally, I will add mindfulness to each of the above. Simply taking the time to relax, mediate, walk, pray, live in the moment. When our bodies are filled with stress, we struggle to move the toxins out, and instead more toxins build inside, making us literally sick with worry.

Water, exercise, mindfulness. Three essential daily habits. 

So here is the BIG question… can you stick with it?

Of course you can. I am a firm believer that you can do anything, if it’s important to you. For me, I am not super happy with my weight, but I am not unhappy enough to give up sugar, butter, bread, coffee or Wild Turkey.

What is important to me, is being here to raise my kids. I battled breast cancer this last year, which was determined to be environmental, not heredity. I never want to put my family though that again, so I’m pretty motivated to keep the toxins moving out of my space as quickly as possible. You need to find your own motivation. Motivation and practice are the keys to your success here. Don’t be discouraged if you slip up once in a while. Perfection is not the goal. The goal is overall better health, so even if you only adopt one or two of these items into your lifestyle, you’ll be doing better than you were before, right?

If you’d like to read some supporting scripture to help you focus on your new healthy habits, start here:

1 Corinthians 6:19-20
Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your body.

Daniel 1:8, 12-15
But Daniel resolved not to defile himself with the royal food and wine, and he asked the chief official for permission not to defile himself this way… ‘Please test your servants for ten days: Give us nothing but vegetables to eat and water to drink. Then compare our appearance with that of the young men who eat the royal food, and treat your servants in accordance with what you see.’ At the end of the ten days they looked healthier and better nourished than any of the young men who ate the royal food.

1 Timothy 4:7-8
Have nothing to do with godless myths and old wives’ tales; rather train yourself to be godly. For physical training is of some value, but godliness has value for all things, holding promise for both the present life and the life to come.

Matthew 6:16-18
When you fast, do not look somber as the hypocrites do, for they disfigure their faces to show others they are fasting. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full. But when you fast, put oil on your head and wash your face so that it will not be obvious to others that you are fasting, but only to your Father, who is unseen; and your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.