I Used to Ask God Why…….

I used to ask God why it is so hard for me to lose weight……
> He reminded me that every time I eat healthy and exercise more I tend to manage my weight better and it’s not His fault if I am lazy sometimes.

I used to ask God why my children have to deal with allergies……
> He reminded me that there are some children around the world who don’t have any food to eat and that I have the capability to cook healthy food for my children that is safe for them to eat.

I used to ask God why my husband and I can’t afford an extra vehicle for my family for convenience…..
> He reminded me that I also asked him for more quality time with my family and I get that by default carpooling with my husband and boys as well as the chance to save money on insurance.

I used to ask God why there is so much suffering in the world…..
> He reminded me that every person has free will and that if He suddenly took away all of the evil in the world and made everyone love and honor Him, He would be treating us like puppets and forcing a decision to follow Him. He does not want His children to suffer, so why don’t I start acting more like Jesus did and do something about some of the suffering in the world? He created everyone for a purpose, but it is up to each individual to pursue it. If He has given me a deep concern for those that suffer, perhaps that is a sign that I am one that is supposed to do something about it.

James 1:2-5    2Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters,whenever you face trials of many kinds, 3because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. 4Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. 5If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you.

Check out this awesome video and song from Matthew West reminding us that before we start pointing to God and blaming Him for all of the problems in the world, we should do our best to do something about it! Then take a look at the clip from the movie Bruce Almighty that reminds us that God gives us so much strength and determination to solve some of our problems on our own!





The Time Out Tango

Mommy and Shawn at Aubree's pizza

This is my handsome, smart, funny, and very strong willed child, Shawn. He  will be 2 in May and he has already started displaying some “terrible twos” behavior that make my husband and I have to back track and game plan just to stay on top of it.

Let’s be honest, he’s always a step ahead of us! Shawn, much like myself, wants to do everything himself, wants to show everyone how good he is at something and wants everyone to agree with him. I totally get where he is coming from since, like I said, he is just like me in these ways. However, it is very difficult to watch a toddler struggle to take his coat off and hang it on the coat rack when you have had a hard day, still need to get dinner on the table, and know that he can’t reach or can’t completely do this task alone yet. I can see the wheels turning in his head and I know that if he just had longer arms, he’d get it done. He’s a “Git ‘er done” kind of guy! I’ve learned that I have to pick my battles with Shawn. Ethan was a little easier in the sense that he has never had a hard time accepting help. In fact, he’s the opposite in many areas. He still wants me to get his clothes out in the morning for him and tighten his boots up before we head into the freezing Michigan weather.  Who could blame him for accepting help in some areas? Everyone needs help sometimes, right? Apparently, my youngest has not learned this one yet. He tries to climb up to sit on his high chair, he tries to get his own toothpaste and tooth brush. He has attempted to undo his own diaper before and would probably potty train himself if he could reach the toilet seat with out me picking him up. He would probably want to dress himself if not for the fact that he prefers nakedness over any type of clothing out there.

Lately, that strong willed attitude has snuck it’s way to our dinner table. Shawn has not been a picky eater in the past. However, he has had a battle with allergies ever since I stopped breastfeeding. He was recently diagnosed with the following allergies: wheat, dairy, soy, eggs, nuts, codfish, pet dander – oh and we now suspect melon as well! His most frequent reaction to an allergen is puking, sometimes itchy skin, sometimes a full body of hives if it’s severe. With each new reaction and each new discovery that yet another food that he has always loved has something in it that we didn’t notice, he starts to hate trying new things. Poor guy, who could really blame him when so many things make him gag, puke, or break out. The problem with this is that he sometimes reacts by throwing entire bowls of food on the floor, kicking the table or his chair, or screaming at the top of his lungs. These are not the foods that he has reactions to, these are foods that are allergen free, that we know he likes, and that many times were homemade by my husband, Sam, or I, which is new for us!

I would love to say that I have always known exactly how to handle these fits, but that is definitely not the truth. Sam and I frequently take turns. One turns around and laughs while the other one handles the fit or the punishment or the mess, whichever is more urgent at the time. For awhile, I was able to threaten sending Shawn to bed early if he didn’t stop and he understood and stopped. On occasion, I have placed him in his crib while he kicks and screams and set the microwave timer for a minute or two just to give myself a break from him while he has his “time out”. There is no verbal reasoning with a toddler – especially a stubborn one! Therefore, we have been brainstorming and just taking it a day at a time. Some days the time out or early bed time works, other times, they don’t.

Another thing about Shawn that will be helpful for you to know is that he is very shy and laid back in public, but at home, he is a social butterfly. He wants to be in the middle of the group, involved in the conversation, and usually the topic of conversation. My wonderful husband, who is king of the social butterflies, had a genius idea one night when Shawn was screaming at dinner. He turned Shawn’s high chair around completely – facing the corner of the room – and told Shawn that he has a time out until he stops screaming and starts eating. We also set a timer just to keep track. Shawn was sobbing by the end of the 1-2 minutes that he was in time out. After we turned him back around he did not scream, just kept eating. Sam and I looked at each other with giddy faces just praying that this was really the success that it appeared to be! It worked great for that night, thank God, but it may not work tomorrow if it were to happen again. That’s just how kids are. They adapt, they play parents off of each other. They figure us out before we even figure ourselves or our parenting styles out sometimes.

I think the lesson we’ve learned here is that we can’t always just default to some parenting manual or some list of do’s and don’ts in every parenting experience. The Time Out Tango is not always the Answer. Sometimes I have to take away toys or games, tell them that they can’t go on a special outing, etc. We have to be on our toes. We have to set a good example, be involved in our kids’ lives, show love first and foremost, pray a lot, and then be ready to change it all the next day if we need to! My mother is the queen of distraction with toddlers. Somehow, when a kid is being a brat, she can get them to sing a song, while actively engaged in a craft and learning their ABC’s at the same time. I guess that if the child is entertained, has stopped the bad behavior,  and can’t remember what they were upset about, that is a win – win. We can’t all be the queen of distraction or the king of social butterflies, but I take notes and pray a lot, so I am on my way!

Proverbs 22:6 Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it.



Turning up the heat!

I’m celebrating today because I have lost 6.25 lbs in the last 3 weeks! Woo-hoo!  Okay, so I still have a long way to go, but I have to set up little victories and rewards for myself as I go to keep myself motivated 🙂 I think at -20lbs I will be buying new boots. I need them anyways and I need some motivation to get me there, right?

I would like to thank God for pushing me and speaking his good word into my heart to keep going!    Phillipians 4:13 I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.

I would also like to thank Serene Allison and Pearle Barrett for creating the Trim Healthy Mama book and meal plan – see their website HERE. My hubby and I will be having the Skinny Chocolate recipe for Valentines instead of the store bought  chocolates! I would also like to thank my awesome hubby for following along with the THM meals with me so that I can keep up with this and have some support!

Listen to the song above for some inspiration if you are stuck in a rutt of being overweight like I have been for a long time!

A few make or break moments that I have had:

Whenever I was tempted to stop running at the gym I would make a deal with myself that I could make it 1 more minute – I remember a saying from when I was in Volleyball in High School : “I can do anything for 60 seconds”

Whenever I was tempted to “cheat”, I made a Fat Stripping Frappa, Chocomocho shake, or Cottage Berry Whip – sweet and tasty and all good for me on the THM plan!

Good luck on your own health and fitness journey and tell me how things are going for you!



Frozen Peanut Butter Cups – Gluten Free – Dairy Free

Valentines Day is coming up! This is the perfect time of year for Chocolate and peanut butter combos! I am a professed chocolate addict and this time of year is hard for me because while I want to eat chocolates, I don’t want the extra poundage. Here’s a recipe that has no added sugar and is allergen friendly. It is still high in fat but they are healthy fats, so enjoy a few in moderation with no guilt!

Anbody else out there have some food allergies or have to cook for kids with allergies? I will post some recipes that I find that will help you out. On a rare occasion I may have something that I came up with, but don’t count on it:) I usually get my ideas from pinterest, friends or family :). I have a gluten sensitivity and my boys have various allergies: dairy, nuts, eggs, soy, wheat, and coddfish. Dinner is an adventure at our house:) Enjoy!

First Recipe: I did not create these peanut butter cups – but they are my favorite! My friend, Angela Cummings, gave me the recipe and thinks she may have found it on Pinterest. This looks like a similar one that uses stevia instead of honey: Healthy PB cups

I have seen a similar recipe in the Trim Healthy Mama collection that uses just chocolate – no Peanut Butter – they are called “Skinny Chocolate” and I will be trying those soon!

Double "Peanut Butter" Cups! These are so easy to make, and they taste amazing - you can use peanut butter or any nut butter for these, along with coconut oil, maple syrup and/or stevia, and cocoa powder. They're the texture of fudge and keep well in the fridge or freezer---awesome with coffee!

Frozen Peanut Butter Cups: Imagine a cold Peanut Butter cup that melts in your mouth:)

Allergy notes:Gluten free – can make dairy free and possibly nut free:

Supplies you will need: tablespoon measuring spoon, measuring cups, natural peanut butter (I like JIF Natural Honey Peanut Butter because it is Gluten Free – could use sunbutter if have allergy to nuts), coconut oil, butter or coconut butter, natural honey, regular unsweetened cocoa powder, sea salt, some EV Olive Oil spray, mini muffin pans, mini muffin cups, 2 sauce pans. This recipe makes about 20-22. I usually double the peanut butter layer and triple the chocolate layer just because I seem to run our of the chocolate faster. You can tweak it to your liking!

Peanut butter layer: 1/4 c. Coconut oil, 3/4 c. Peanut butter, 2 tbsp honey.

Melt coconut oil in a small saucepan over medium heat.  Turn off heat and stir in peanut butter and honey. (Do not try to use “PB2” (defatted peanut butter) to lower the fat content – I have tried this and it does not work well!)

Line muffin tins, put the peanut butter mixture into cups and put in freezer until set ~10 min.

Chocolate layer: 2 tbsp coconut oil, 2tbsp butter (use coconut butter or olive oil butter to make dairy free), 2 tbsp cocoa powder, and 2 tbsp honey.  I also put just a little sea salt on top once I pour the chocolate layer on.

Melt the coconut oil and butter in small saucepan over low heat.  Turn off heat and stir in cocoa powder and honey.

Remove peanut butter cups from freezer and spoon chocolate mixture on top.  Sprinkle with sea salt if you like (trust me – the sea salt makes this dessert gourmet!)

Place back in the freezer, ready to eat in about 10-15 minutes or transfer to Tupperware and store in freezer. Can store in your fridge temporarily if need be.

These are a hit at parties with finger foods – gluten free/dairy free foodies will love these because they do not get to have this kind of yumminess on a regular basis!

Enjoy and Happy Valentine’s Day!


The Slow Girl

The slow girl in class:
I attend a Zumba class 1-2 times a week and we have a few regulars, but every now and then, some newbies get started. Usually they quit after it gets hard or just after a few weeks of giving it a try. One time we had a girl in there that was trying really hard to get the movements down and she kept getting lost. The instructor tried to slow things down a bit so that she could catch up and get back in to the swing of things. I tend to not have patience on the inside even though I’m smiling and going with the flow on the outside.  So, inside I was getting frustrated because I knew this girl would probably quit in a week anyways and we were spending all of this extra time on some basic moves just for her.
At the end of the class , the girl came up to me and said “You give me such hope!” I asked her why. She said, “Every time I get down on myself for missing a step, I see you still going and I remember that you have been doing this for longer than I have and I just need to have patience and trust that practice will help me improve.”
Needless to say, I was incredibly humbled and felt rotten for my thoughts just moments before. How dare I look down on someone who is just trying to get in shape and needs a little extra practice.
Then I realized something even more humbling. This could be an analogy for my faith walk with Christ. Only this time, I am the slow girl who just can’t catch on to what I’m supposed to do. I keep stumbling, I keep making the wrong move, but then after awhile I start correcting it and improving when someone takes the time to slow down the pace and work with me on it. That someone is always God. He never shames me, never laughs at me, never tells me “If you don’t get it this time, I’m giving up on you!”. When I mess up, God calms my stressed out, hot mess of emotions and reminds me that I am not supposed to be perfect yet. He is slowly making me into just the right person that I am supposed to be. I will not reach perfection until Heaven. Until then, there will be many times when I am the “slow girl”. And if I happen to be good at something and catch on quickly, I should use that gift to reach out to the slow girls in class and help them instead of judging them. I am supposed to be an example of kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self control! Why would I think for one minute that I can act like I’m better than someone?

Thank God I am not in charge of things around here!

1 Thessalonians 5:14 “And we urge you, brothers, admonish the idle, encourage the fainthearted, help the weak, be patient with them all.”



The best Christian workout music!

My first 5K

Hi guys,

I have put together an awesome playlist of fun, pump-you-up, work out songs that I use personally. I think these will really help you when you don’t quite feel like working out and need some help finding motivation. This is me like every other day, so I understand!

Steady Beat songs to warm up with:

Good Morning: Mandisa

Heartbeat: Beckah Shae

No Limit: Beckah Shae

Stand: Beckah Shae

Rock What You Got: Superchick

Inspirational Lyrics and a great beat to get you through the tough parts:

Come Alive: Barlow Girl

Do Not Give Up: Beckah Shae

Gold: Beckah Shae

Incorruptible: Beckah Shae – favorite song for workouts!

No More: Beckah Shae

Turbo Style: Beckah Shae

We Are: Beckah Shae

What I’ve Overcome: Fireflight

Stronger (Regular or Movin Remix): Mandisa

Shackles: Mary Mary

I Will Not Be Moved: Natalie Grant

Soldiers: Out of Eden

Stand in the Rain: Superchic(k)

Not Done Yet: Superchic(k)

Get Up: Superchic(k)

Never Going Back to Okay: The Afters

Burn for You: Toby Mac

Get Back Up: Toby Mac

Fast and loud songs to really kick your own butt!:

Incorruptible: Beckah Shae – my all time favorite running song!

Music: Beckah Shae

Supernova: Beckah Shae

Gonna Make You Sweat: C+C Music Factory (okay, not a christian song, but it is appropriate:)

Manifesto (Running Mix): Christian Workout Hits: Running Workout

Fire In My Eyes: Fireflight

Stronger Than You Think: Fireflight

Unbreakable: Fireflight

Keep Goin’: Group 1 Crew

Movin: Group 1 Crew

Revolution: Kirk Franklin

Stomp: Kirk Franklin

Anticonformity: Krystal Meyers

Make Some Noise: Krystal Meyers

Move: Mercy Me

Shake: Mercy Me

Restart: Newsboys

One Girl Revolution: Superchic(k)

Cross the Line: Superchic(k)

Boomin’: Toby Mac

Catchafire: Toby Mac

Eye On It: Toby Mac

Funky Jesus Music: Toby Mac

Enjoy your workout and let me know if these songs keep you motivated!