Tuesday, December 30, 2014

New Years Resolution {OR} a New Days Resolution

New Years Resolutions.  Those 3 words either excite you or scare you.  We all tend to sit down with our list a mile long of the things we promise to do better this year.  Most tend to revolve around exercising more, eating right, reading our Bible more and so on.  I used to make these resolutions myself but being the human being that I am, noticed that I always fell short of those goals before the new year. So now what?  We need to wait until next year to do better with those things?  I don't believe so.  I believe this scripture from Lamentations 3:23 sums it up perfectly:

Great is His faithfulness; his mercies begin afresh each morning. 

If God's mercies begin new each morning than why do we put so much pressure on ourselves to be perfect?  There is nothing wrong with setting goals to be fitter, stronger, and succeed in all areas of life.  But we don't need to think it is over when the first mistake is made.  Pick yourself up, wipe yourself off and start new the next day or even the next moment...not the next year. :)  When we do this it becomes a lifestyle change.

How about you, do you like new years resolutions?  Why or why not?  I would LOVE to see as much hype around a new days resolution as there is new years resolutions!

From our family to yours....Merry Christmas and a very Happy New Year!!

Monday, December 29, 2014

6 Fitness Tips for the Busy Woman

I have been in the fitness industry for almost a decade now.  I have my Bachelors in Health & Exercise Science and am a certified group fitness instructor.  However, even I, have struggled with finding time to exercise and take care of my body.  After having 3 kids(and gaining quite a bit of weight with each pregnancy) I had to figure out how to take care of my body without it taking too much time away from my family and other commitments.  Here are some tips that have worked for me when time is of the essence:

1. Make a plan.  
This one may seem like such common sense but if you don't put it on your calendar to exercise it most likely will not happen.  Taking care of yourself can so easily get pushed to the bottom of the list.  While you can function that way temporarily it is not a long term solution if you want to be the best wife, mom, friend or employee.  You must make a date with yourself to take care of your body so you can have the energy and stamina to do all God has called you to.  Find what time of the day works best for you then stick to it.  Before you know it exercise will come as natural as brushing your teeth...you feel yucky when you don't do it!

2. Find your passion.
Now that you have found your time you will exercise figure out your how.  I love to tell people to do something they enjoy.  God created our bodies to move and function in a beautiful way.  Too often we get into the comparison game and think we have to exercise exactly like someone else.  But the problem is if you hate the format of exercise you chose you will have a very hard time sticking to it.  Do you like to run, walk, lift weights, dance, roller blade, play a sport or compete?  Figure out what it is that makes you come alive when you do it.  That thing is a gift God has given you to connect with him while you take care of the body He has given you.  God would not ask us to honor our bodies and take care of the temple without creating a way for us to do that with joy and peace.

3. Do HIIT or Interval training.
High Intensity Interval Training(HIIT) is my favorite and most effective way to lose weight and get in shape without spending hours in the gym.  A TABATA is an interval that consists of performing specifically chosen exercises at a very high intensity for 20 seconds, followed by 10 seconds of rest. The beauty behind these short microbursts is that 20 seconds at high intensity is doable and the 10 second rest allows for brief recovery before moving on to the next exercise interval.  This short duration, but high intensity interval training (HIIT) creates a prolonged afterburn, or EPOC (excess post oxygen consumption). This type of training causes the body to take longer to return to its state of rest, so it continues to burn calories (5x more) at a higher rate long after the workout session has completed. Put simply, a 4-minute Tabata workout can reap the same benefits as a longer but steady workout, like running for a half hour.

 You can focus your Tabata on lower, upper, core or cardiovascular activity. I recommend doing a strength Tabata first so you use your immediate energy stores then follow it by a cardio Tabata since you will already have used all glucose in the strength round and will need to utilize fat for energy for cardio.  Put those two together and you are done in 8 minutes with the same effects as a 30-45min run!

Lower Body example: Sumo squat, lunge, X-jumps, Plyo lunge(repeat).   Upper Body example: Pushups, Overhead press, moving pushups, V-pushups(repeat). Cardio example: High knees, sprint, squat jump, mountain climbers.  The possibilities are endless here, be creative!!

4   4. Use fun and free tools!
      I love using apps and gadgets when I exercise because it mixes things up and helps you execute the workout more effectively and efficiently.  Here are some of my favorites:
  •      I recommend the free Tabata Timer app.  You can also get a GymBoss for $20 and set your intervals for different times.  I like to wear it while exercising and then it vibrates or beeps when it's time to rest or change exercises.
  •      I love using Gliding Discs  for core and lower body. You can also use paper plates(if you have hardwood or tile floors) but they wear out easily so the investment in these are worth it.  I've had mine for 8 years and they are still in great shape.  You can see some examples of exercises to do with the discs here.
  •      Nike Training Club(NTC) is another great, free app you can use to do 15, 30 or 45 minute workouts.  You get to choose from Get lean(cardio), Get toned(light weights and intervals), Get Strong(strength) or Get Focused(15 minutes workouts to target specific areas). When you complete a workout it saves and you get points so you unlock badges(great if you are competitive). 
  •      When you are in a crunch for time and can't make it the gym a great option are BeachBody programs.  I have used several of them to lose post baby weight with my favorites being P90x, Insanity, ChaLean Extreme, 21 Day Fix and PIYO.  

5. Get an accountability partner!
Everything is so much better with a friend so find someone to exercise with or just hold each other accountable.  If you enjoy working out in groups find a class that you love and don't be afraid to try new ones!  One of the best ways to train our bodies is by cross training which means we change things up and try new things to keep our body guessing.  

6. Fill up.  
I don't have time in this post to address nutritional advice, however, I will give one healthy eating tip.  Fuel your body with fresh fruit, veggies, healthy fats and proteins....and do NOT starve yourself!  Food is our friend, not our enemy.    We also need to fill ourselves with God's word so we fill the hole in our soul that only He can fill, which keeps us from turning to food for comfort.  

(Please note: this article contains affiliate links.)

Monday, December 15, 2014

Scared Skinny {A letter to my 15 year old self}

Before writing a blog post I always ask the Lord what would be an encouragement to my readers. Today I had a few moments to write and I felt Him tell me to write to the woman who is struggling with her appearance.  I could take so many angles on this post since I have been through thick and thin in this area(literally) but I felt Him lead me to write a letter to my 15 year old self.

Before you read this letter you need to know that I was a very overweight and plain Jane child.  I spent my free time eating Snickers and powdered donuts all while watching TV.  I wore nothing but athletic clothes and never fixed my hair.  When I was in high school I got injured and had to quit playing sports.  My doctor told me I couldn't play anymore and let me know I would need to watch what I was eating so I didn't become even more overweight.  I started by simply cutting out sodas and candy and dropped 30 lbs in a month.  That was it....I was hooked.  I never realized what you ate effected what you weighed or looked like.  I loved the attention and became addicted to losing weight.  It became an obsession, almost a hobby if you will.  Not only was I addicted to this way of life but I was terrified of going back to being overweight....or as I like to call it I was "scared skinny".  From diet pills, to starvation, to working out late at night, I did it all.  

While I do plan on writing a post specifically on recognizing and overcoming low self-esteem and eating disorders, this post is not about that.  Here is a letter from God I would give to my 15 year old self if I could go back in time:

Dear Rachael,

You are beautiful.  Not just beautiful on the outside but so beautiful on the inside.  I knit you together perfectly in your mother's womb.  I did not create you to live a life full of fear and worry but instead of joy and freedom.  I carefully chose your dark brown hair, blue eyes and olive skin tone.  I even gave you an athletic build that will one day be used to inspire others to be strong and physically fit.  You have a unique gift on your life that only YOU can fulfill.  You also have an enemy, satan, who sees these gifts in you and is terrified of them.  Because he is terrified of you he will use small things to detour you from walking out your destiny.  He will try to get you to believe that if only you could be thinner, more beautiful, or look just like someone else then you will be happy and successful. But that is a LIE.  Please recognize his voice and turn away from it and towards my voice.  Here is the truth: you are perfect the way I made you.  I am not capable of making mistakes.  If you have to change who you are or what you look like to be accepted by someone then that person was never meant to be in your life. I will complete the good work that I have began in you.  It grieves me to see you and my other girls rejecting who I created them to be.  I have plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.  You will be a world changer, paving the way for generations to come.  Take a step of faith in being the change you want to see in the world by simply embracing yourself.  I have already embraced you right where you are.  I love you and am so proud of you.  


P.S. I have also created a man specifically for you who will be attracted to your God given features.  Please do not try to be anyone else or you will miss him too.  

Will you please read the letter again but this time insert your name and any specifics God says to you? I believe this a message God has for each one of us today.  No matter the age, it is easy to believe the lie that if we looked different or weighed the right amount that we would be happy.   Ask God to speak into this area of your life today, He wants to speak truth over you and bring healing and freedom.  

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

C-section, VBACS and a Miscarriage {My Birth Stories}

With Christmas coming up there is so much to think about and get done before the big day.  Now that I am a mom my focus has shifted from myself to my kids and those around me.  I could care less about receiving one gift because the look of excitement on my kids faces when they open their gifts is priceless.  Another view of Christmas that I never stopped to look too hard at until I was a mom was the perspective of Mary's birth story of Jesus.  When I really stop and think about the circumstances in which Mary gave birth to Jesus I can't help but think "Mary gets me!"  Mary's story of birthing Jesus in a manger with smelly animals around and no bed to lay on but hay makes my birth stories seem so small yet they have one thing in common....the element of surprise and faith in God.

Meet, Ellie, my oldest child and our big "surprise" as we found out I was pregnant only 9 months into marriage.  
Ellie's middle name is Joy(like me) and she is just that...so full of joy and she brings joy to everyone around her. 

When I was pregnant with Ellie I had only happy thoughts about how it all was going to go down...I would go into labor naturally(a few days early of course), all while having makeup on, hair done and a nice easy trip to the hospital then out would come baby!  No c-sections, no complications, everything exactly as I had planned.  Wow was I wrong.

I did not take care of myself like I should nor did I do any research or think I had any say in the decisions made for the birth.  I began to develop pre-eclampsia the last few weeks of my pregnancy so one day before my due date my doctor had me induced.  The induction did not go well and they gave me an epidural(strike one against my "plan") and the epidural completely stopped my labor. The doctor came in and gave me the news no mother longs to hear...I was having a c-section.  I remember bursting into tears.  All my hopes and dreams of natural childbirth crushed.  Yet despite it all I had my beautiful and healthy Ellie Joy in my arms.

My recovery from my c-section was hard physically and emotionally.  I could barely walk up stairs or stand upright without feeling like my scar would re-open for a few months after I had my daughter.  I remember hearing stories of other moms who had such easy vaginal deliveries and I would just crumble on the inside.  I struggled with questions like "What was wrong with me that my body couldn't deliver my baby naturally?  Why God?"

When Ellie was a little over a year old I became pregnant with our second child.  Meet Olivia Grace:


Olivia Grace is just that....full of grace and such a sweet spirit.  She has the softest, sweetest voice you have ever heard and she has such a nurturing spirit.

When I was pregnant with Olivia my husband was in chiropractic school and we learned more about our options in regards to natural child birth.  I was told I could not have a vaginal birth after my c-section by all but one doctor.  When God lead me to Dr.Cummings I knew it was confirmation that He was going to give me the desire of my heart, a vaginal birth.  I took better care of myself with that pregnancy, I prayed, stood on scripture and believed for a vaginal birth.  Because I was doing a VBAC(vaginal birth after cesarean) my doctor would not induce(nor did I want to be) and I went 10 days past due.  My beautiful Olivia Grace was born in the hospital and I did it completely drug free.  The Lord had given me the desire of my heart.

After our second daughter was born my husband felt the Lord tell him we would have a son.  I became pregnant and felt better than ever in my 3rd pregnancy.  Until I started bleeding at 14 weeks pregnant and ,to make a very long story short, was taken to the hospital because I had passed out on my sisters bathroom floor and was unresponsive.  It was by the grace of God that I was at my sisters home whose husband is a doctor and who knew what to do for me until the ambulance arrived.  I remember waking up in the ER with doctors talking around me about how to get the bleeding to stop...I just remember thinking there was no way this was happening to me because I would never have a miscarriage.  I was surprised and heart broken all at the same time.

The next few weeks after my miscarriage I felt very distant from God.  Wondering why He allowed it to happen when He could have stopped it and really just feeling sorry for myself.  I even questioned if what He had spoken to my husband about having a son was true. Until one day God spoke to my heart and reminded me that He was grieving with me and that He wanted to redeem what had been stolen from me.  

Meet Ezekiel Wayne:

Ezekiel means "strength of God" and he is just that....strong in both body and spirit.  

After I prayed that day for God to redeem what was lost, I became pregnant the next month with our first son(though we did not know it because we did not find out the sex of the baby). I went 10 days past due and went into labor and had my second VBAC. My first and only son was born on my birthday(my birthday boyfriend).  It was a sweet sign of Gods redeeming love.

So what does my c-section, VBACs and miscarriage have to do with my talk of Christmas and Mary at the beginning of this post?  Just like Mary did not plan to become pregnant with Jesus before she was married and definitely didn't plan to have him in a stable, we also have things in our lives that we did not plan. Mary was taken by surprise with the birth of Jesus but God sure wasn't.  I did not plan a c-section or a miscarriage but God redeemed both of those things with beautiful gifts.  I had a c-section with Ellie but I still received my gift of a beautiful baby girl.  I may not have planned my miscarriage but God used what the enemy intended for evil and turned it for good.

I could write several points on how to find God in the hard times or how to encourage someone walking through an unplanned c-section or miscarriage but I felt the Lord wanted me to focus one simple thing....God is a redeemer.  He is so many other things but in this story He is a redeemer.  And he longs to be one in your life too.  Do you have an area of your life you need redeemed?  Give it to Him and allow Him to restore all that has been stolen from you.

Saturday, November 22, 2014

The Christmas Angel

Every year as Christmas comes around I pray about how to make sure my kids get the message of the real reason we celebrate Christmas.  As much as I love gifts, cookies, lights and decorating, we would have none of it if Jesus had not been born so many years ago.  I was beyond excited last year when I heard of the Christmas Angel so I wanted to share it with you in case you are also looking for a fun way to celebrate the real reason for this Christmas season.

What is the Christmas Angel?   It is very similar to "Elf on the Shelf" except instead of getting into trouble the angel leaves messages of inspiration that teach the joy of giving.  They even provide you with a calendar full of ideas!  You can learn more about the story of how it got started here. 

I didn't use all of their ideas(couldn't do a garage sale in December) but did use it for inspiration:  

I love how a few days on the calendar have a memory verse to memorize!  Here is a picture of the first day I introduced the angel to our kids last year:

Our kids LOVED the Christmas Angel and I LOVED that it helped us focus on giving in a season that can be so "me" centered.  You can purchase a Christmas Angel at some local christian bookstores OR order online here.  They even have a boy Christmas Angel! :)  (Please note:  I do NOT get paid to promote this product, I just think everyone needs to know about it!)

I LOVE hearing other creative ways families come up with to stay focused during this holiday season.  What traditions do you and your family do to keep Christ at the center?  

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Our Spartan Race

You may remember when I mentioned in this post that I registered us for a Spartan race.  After much running, lifting and burpees the big day finally came for the race.  I really wasn't too nervous until race day arrived.  As we were driving to the race I felt like I do when I get on a big rollercoaster....all excited until we start going up the first big hill and I decide I would like off but it's too late.  The only way off is to scream your head off and ride it.  Which is exactly what I did with the race. :)

There really is no way to describe the true thrill of what we experienced in our Spartan race.  I am going to try though because it was just too awesome to not share.  

The first obstacles started out pretty easy with a little over and unders...then they took us into a creek that was up to my chest in muddy water with dead fish floating around.  I admit I screamed when I hit the water and felt how cold it was.  After that we went on a trail up and down hills, jumping over walls, flipping tires and logs, climbing ropes(or trying to I should say), throwing spears, scaling slippery walls and much more.  Spartan is kind enough to catch some oh so flattering shots of you throughout the race.  Here is one of me climbing up the bridge wall:

The one on the left is when the photographer yelled at me to look at him and that was the best smile I could muster up. :)  

When you fail an obstacle on the Spartan you have to do 30 burpees before you can move on.  I failed the rope climb(shocking, I know), the side wall climb and the spear throw....leaving me with 90 super fun(insert sarcastic smiley here) burpees!  

My husband was so sweet to wait for me at obstacles to help me over walls if I needed it.  If it weren't for him I would have done even more burpees!

You can't notice in any of my pictures because my shirt is covered in mud but I was wearing my 2 Timothy 1:7 shirts that says "POWER, LOVE, SELF DISCIPLINE".  There were a few times during the race that I started thinking I couldn't go on and the Lord reminded me of that scripture.  He reminded me that he made me strong and powerful, not weak and timid.  

As "horrible" as this race may look or sound I would highly recommend doing one if you are thinking about it at all.  I believe that if you can't see God in everything you will have a hard time seeing him in anything.  Here are a few things he spoke to me during my Spartan race:

Know the word.
Like I mentioned, I had the word written on my shirt to remind me of who I am in Christ. Do you need to have a shirt made for everything you do?  No.  But you do need to have it hidden in your heart so you can easily remember it in tough times that you want to quit.

Surround yourself with cheerleaders.
The other really cool thing about the Spartan race was how everyone helped each other regardless of knowing one another before the race.  I was amazed to see random strangers staying behind to make sure everyone made it over a wall or stopping to help me up when I fell.  It reminded me that we need to surround ourselves with people who are working towards a common goal and who believe in what we are doing and will not let us quit.  Ecclesiastes 4:9 says "two people are better off than one, for they can help each other succeed."

Don't be afraid to get dirty.
When people hear my story of our race or see our pictures they tend to freak at how dirty we got.  Normally, in my everyday life, I would never go crawl through mud and make a mess of myself.  However, when I had my mind made up that I was going to start a race knowing I would get muddy, bruised and a little bloody, I was okay with it.  I think too often we want to say yes to God but we don't want to get in the trenches and do the work.  Don't be afraid to get your hands dirty....you may find you like the feeling of doing something so much bigger than yourself that you really don't mind the mess.  Plus other people will respect you for it which is a great leadership tool. :)  

Do your training.
When the day of the race came I knew I had done everything in my power to train for this.  As I was running I had to tell myself more than once "I am prepared for this.  My body is equipped for this."  I think the same thing is true spiritually.  Read the word and spend time with God in worship and prayer and when your race day comes you can easily remind yourself that you are equipped for this.  

Enjoy the fruits of your labor.
In our go, go, go! society it can be easy to not stop and give God thanks for things He has helped us to accomplish.  It was such an amazing feeling to do our last obstacle, the fire jump, and run through that finish line! 

 Here is my husband charging through with confidence:

And then there is me, a little hesitant, but I did it:

Here we are with our hard earned medals after the race:

If you have nothing holding you back physically from doing a Spartan I highly recommend kicking fear to the curb and going for it.  My husband is now trying to talk me into running the Spartan Beast(which is more obstacles plus 12 miles).  I just love surrounding myself with people who challenge me.  Who does that for you?  Find someone who does or read my blog and let it challenge you!

I know not everyone is physically able to do a Spartan race but what is God calling you to do that may seem a little scary or uncomfortable?  Pray about it, train for it and then do it.  It will be so worth it!  

P.S. On a random funny note, every time I typed the word "burpees" my auto correct kept trying to change it to "slurpees".  Oh how I would have loved if we got slurpees instead of burpees for failing an obstacle! :)  

Saturday, November 1, 2014

4 Tips to live as if today was your last day!

God has been speaking to me about the depth of this scripture from James 4:14.  We have all heard the saying that life is short so make the most of every moment.  But how many of us truly live this way?  I know I don't. Yes, I have my moments but I fail to keep a kingdom perspective on a daily basis.  

The question that keeps coming to my mind is: what if today was your last day?  The Bible makes it very clear that this earth is not our forever home.  We are merely passing through until our day comes to meet our Lord and Savior  We will take nothing with us. So why do we work so hard to make sure all of our earthly possessions are secured while taking very little time to think on eternal things?  I believe it is because the enemy knows if he can get us to lose focus then he really doesn't have to worry about us having an impact on God's kingdom.  

I am convinced we should strive to live each day as though it is our last. According to this scripture in James we don't even know what our life will be like tomorrow.  There is nothing wrong with making plans and filling our calendars but we must not be so obsessed with our plan that we miss God's plan.  

Here are a few ways God has been speaking to me about living today as if it was my last:

Stop worrying.  
Matthew 6:34 says "So don't worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring its own worries. Today's trouble is enough for today."  This isn't to condemn us when we worry but instead to protect and enable us to live today to its fullest.

Keep an eternal perspective.
When we focus on the things above, all the worries of this world(like what we will eat, drink, or wear) seem so small.  I know if I was told today was my last day the last thing on my mind would be what outfit to wear or what is for dinner.  Yes, God does care about the little details of our life, but He wants us to rest assured that He has got that all under control so we can focus on the things He has called us to.

Just do it.
I can't write a post about living each day as though it is your last without challenging you to take a step of faith.  If you knew today was your last, would you find the courage to call an old friend to make amends, share your testimony with a lost co-worker or friend, write that book, start that business, tell somone how much they mean to you, or start that blog you've been thinking of for years?  Most of us would throw caution to the wind and just do it.  

Spend quality time.
While my motto and theme of this blog is to be bold and draw our strength from God, I never want to minimize the value of spending quality time with family and friends.  Planning family time, vacations, lunch dates with girlfriends is just as, if not more, important than any major accomplishment we will have in life.  If we accomplish all of our goals and dreams yet have no friends or family around to celebrate with us than we have lived an empty and sad life.  We must prioritize and plan quality time with family and friends or it won't happen.  

God is asking me to dream big and do the things He has set before me.  Will you join me in shifting our perspective to have a kingdom view and stopping living life for only ourselves but for God's kingdom?  You never know how your action may light a fire in someone else's life.   

As for me, I will start by running my first Spartan tomorrow.  Where I will go from there I do not know, but I know that I am following Jesus each step of the way and it continues to be the ride of a lifetime!  

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

What word describes your family?

I was recently given a challenge to think about what word or phrase represents our family.  It was really tough because several scriptures came to mind. Some of our favorites over the years have been Jeremiah 29:11(God's plan for us), Ephesians 3:20(God can do anything), 2 Timothy 1:7(God gives us power, love and a sound mind) and Exodus 14:14(Be still).

As I prayed about which of these have remained over the years the Lord drew my attention to Exodus 14:14 "The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still".  The recurring word for us is Be Still.....


My husband and I are very driven people.  We are the type that you don't have to ask us to get work done or go the extra mile, we just do it.  While that is a blessing it can also cause the issue of working too much and trying to control things that are simply out of our control.  Over the years when we need a breakthrough in a certain area of our life the word God gives us is "Be still".  Those words are painful to driven people because you feel a sense of laziness or failure.  But it's in that weakness that God is able to show up and show off His glory.  We need the constant reminder that HE is in control and it's ONLY because of Him that we are where we are today.  

A few of our "be still" moments: the timing of our engagement 10 years ago, where my husband would work after he graduated chiropractic school(if he hadn't been still we wouldn't have encountered a God opportunity of purchasing a practice), the redemption of my miscarriage with our only son being born on my birthday, the purchase of our first home(again if we hadn't been still we would have missed a God opportunity).

And now, we are in another "be still" moment.  We have done all we can do in our own power but we need God to perform some miracles in an area of our life.  When fear creeps in about whether God is going to do it I just remind myself of all the times He has been faithful.  As tough as it is to be still I love watching God move when I step aside.  

What is your word or phrase for your family?  I recently discovered these Letterpress Blocks from Dayspring that you can use to create any word you can think of!  I created the "Be Still" image(above) and here are a few examples of other things people have created with them:



(Discloser: should you choose to click the images above & purchase these Letter blocks I will earn a small commission. I only share the things I love!:))

I challenge you to answer this question as well, what word describes you or your family?  I would love to hear what it is and why you chose it!

Thursday, October 9, 2014

10 Tips to make your resume Pop!

My husband and I are business owners and have seen many resumes over the years.  I had an idea recently to start jotting down common mistakes I see that caused me to never open some of the resumes.  Some of these things are common sense, but many people just don't take the time to think about the first impression they are making. So if you are job hunting, or just need a good laugh, this post is for you!

1. Check your spelling.
I know in this day and age of texting it is so easy to type something and click send.  But misspelling words, especially if it's in the email title or on your resume, almost guarantees your resume will get overlooked.  Please don't send an email with the title "I am intresed in this job".  If you aren't sure how to spell something look it up in the dictionary, I promise you that extra minute to be accurate is worth it.

2. Get a legit email address.
babygotback123@yahoo.com is not a legit email address.  A weird email address speaks volumes of a person.  If you don't have something simple just create an account for sending resumes.  You always want to look professional on every aspect of the application.

3. Keep your name consistent.
This is especially important for those of us who have a maiden name or alternate name(i.e. your name is Olivia but you go by Livvy).  It's all about making an impression so you want the potential employer to know you by one name not trying to figure out who you were.  Make sure your email address(if possible), cover letter, resume and name you use in interview all line up.  

4. Put your name in front of the employer at least 3 different ways.
I can't tell you the lasting impact it makes on me when I have someone submit a resume via email, then I get a message from the staff that they called about the position, then they email OR hand write(gasp) a personal note thanking me for the interview.  Again, the name consistency helps ensure you get proper credit for doing all those things.

5. Address the potential employer formally.
It is not professional to submit a job application with the message in the email stating "hey! I heard you are hiring, would love to work with you guys!".  I see this so much these days and it really is a turn off because it makes me question how professional you will be in the office and with our clients.

6. Be careful with social media.
More and more employers are checking social media to see what kind of presence you have there.  Be careful of the type of pictures you have as your profile pictures and if possible put everything on private or even hidden. 

7. Check the length of your resume.
The general rule of thumb is that your resume shouldn't be longer than a page.  I know we all want to list every wonderful thing we have ever done but you need to know your target population and the job you are hoping to acquire.  Employers will not "dig" through long and wordy resumes so the things that should have been highlighted will just get completely lost.  

8. Know the company you are applying to and send a cover letter.
This goes along with the length of the resume but can be used in the interview as well.  Know what the company does, the type of people they like to hire and their target market.  You will use that information to highlight your strong points on your resume, on your cover letter as well as in the interview. A cover letter lets the employer know you took the time to personalize your application to their company.  You would be amazed at the number of people who come in for an interview who don't even know what the company does.

9. Read instructions!
Most companies have clear instructions on the hiring site how to apply for a job.  When I receive an email asking me questions about how to do it or just completely leave out things I requested I delete their resume without even opening it.  If you aren't able to read simple instructions to apply this shows you may not be able to perform simple tasks within the office.

10. Pray
Last, but certainly not least, pray!  Pray over your resume and cover letter before you send it.  Ask the Holy Spirit to show you what needs to be taken out or added.  Then pray God opens doors only He can open and close the doors that need to be closed.  

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

What is your why?

Have you ever seen the movie "The Island"?  My husband and I were dumb wise enough to stay up until 3am a few nights ago watching it.  I should have just passed out when my head hit the pillow but instead I laid wide awake thinking about a statement that was made in the movie.

If you haven't seen the movie here is a short description of it:

"A man goes on the run after he discovers that he is actually a "harvestable being", and is being kept as a source of replacement parts, along with others, in a Utopian facility." 

 To make a very long story short, two of these people were able to escape from a facility that was using them as insurance policies for the humans who had them made to look just like them.  The entire population had believed a lie that there was an uncontaminated "island" they would be going to when their number was drawn in the lottery.  Little did they know that the facility was keeping them as slaves only to slaughter them.  

While it was a great movie the line that was stated by the man who escaped to the woman(who escaped with him) was something to the effect of  "We could set this ship sail(in reference to a sail boat) and be free but what about the others?"

So as you may have guessed they went back to try to set the other prisoners free and reveal the truth.

Why am I sharing with you a very condensed version of some movie I stayed up way too late to watch?  Because God began to speak to me about why I do what I do in sharing His word, hope and truth with other people.

I don't know about you, but there are some days where I just want to crawl under a rock, or back inside my shell, and stay there.  It is so cozy there.  There are no demands on me, no deadlines, no critiques, no judgement, no rough patches and definitely no injuries.  Some days I wonder "why do I have this urge to inspire people?  To shed the truth of God's word?  To lead people to Jesus? There are so many pastors doing this already why do I need to try to do it too? I'm not even in full-time ministry".  You get the point...excuses and more excuses.  

What God showed me through this movie was that while it would be so easy to set my ship sail and live in the freedom that God has given me it would be very selfish for me to not go back and rescue the others.  Even though I am not in ministry as a vocation we all get an opportunity to minister every single day.  Sometimes we miss it because it doesn't look, feel and smell like traditional ministry, but it is.  In fact, those of us in the work force have a unique ministry that not many pastors have access to.  

My questions to you today are:  why do you do what you do?  What drives you to inspire those around you?  What are you passionate about? What motivates you to live a life for God so people will be drawn to Jesus?  

My "why" is because I can remember so clearly where I used to be and where I am now.  I would not be where I am today if it weren't for the grace of our heavenly Father. He has given me compassion and love for people that only He can give.  I never want to lose my awe of what he has done in my life or I might stop going back to rescue the others.  

Will you join me?  We don't have to have it all together to make a difference, I know I sure don't, but we do have to be willing to go and follow Jesus on the journey.  We must not let the fear of man hold us back from allowing the Lord to work through us and rescue His children.  Move forward in confidence, knowing the Lord goes before us and stands behind us.  

Monday, September 29, 2014

Just Jump

As I shared in this article God has really been speaking to me about allowing him into all areas of my life, including fitness.  I have been praying about the time of day to workout and recently God has been asking me to get up and do it at 5:30am.  Oh yes I argued but I obeyed and I have to say that God has been speaking so clearly to me in my early morning workouts and I am a happier mom and person throughout my days.

This morning as my alarm went off at 4:40am I told God all the reasons why today I just shouldn't get up and exercise, surely he would understand?  I didn't feel a peace about not getting up so I went anyway.  I went to crossfit and the moment I saw the WOD I wanted to back out of the room slowly...box jumps, my worst crossfit nightmare, were listed!  I can't tell you why but I have a fear of jumping up on that box.  So my coach stacked up some weights next to it and told me to jump it, which I did just fine.  Then he told me to jump by it....I was clearing it by several inches.  The entire time I was thinking in my head "what is wrong with you?  You know you can jump that high, just jump onto the box!" But as soon as went to do it I chickened out.  

As the workout was finishing up I looked down and realized I was wearing my new tank I had made that said "Power, Love, Self-Discipline". It was then God reminded me that he did not give me this spirit of fear but instead he gave me power.  I walked up to the box and shifted the position in which I was standing.  Instead of standing at the wide part I went to the narrow part.  It was the exact same height but for some reason when I could only see the narrow place ahead I jumped it just fine.  But when I went back to only seeing the wide part it really messed with my mind.  From simply shifting my perspective and position I was able to conquer my fear. 

As I was leaving God spoke very clearly to me "there are things in your life that you are overwhelmed with because you are trying to look at too much at one time. You have everything within you to do what I have called you to do but you won't jump.  Stop looking to the left and the right and just focus on the narrow path ahead. You can do this."  

I felt that was a word many people could use today.  You have what it takes, God has already planted the abilities within you to conquer what lies ahead...just take a leap of faith and jump!

Every step of obedience we take is followed by an opportunity for us to grow and hear the Lord. If I had not obeyed and gotten out of bed this morning I would not have had a revelation moment from God. Obey Him in the small things and He will entrust you with much!

Monday, September 22, 2014

Apple Cinnamon Paleo Muffins

Today's post is just for fun because I am not a food blogger but I do LOVE to experiment with recipes and make them healthy! Now that my girls are in school I am always trying to come up with creative breakfast ideas that they can eat quickly, enjoy and have some great nutritional value. I made these muffins yesterday and all 3 of my kids approve!


  • 2 Cups Almond Meal (I buy mine at nuts.com)
  • 4 T Ground flaxseed (this adds fiber and omegas!)
  • 1 Cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/3 cup Raw honey
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 2 T almond milk, coconut milk or water
  • 2 T coconut oil, melted
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. 
  • Line your muffin pan with liners OR coat with coconut oil
  • Mix wet ingredients well.
  • Slowly add in dry ingredients.
  • Fill muffin pans 3/4 full each and bake for 20 minutes.
  • Combine coconut oil and cinnamon and mix well(for the topping).
  • Drizzle optional topping on the muffins immediately when removed from the oven.  
Even if you and your family don't eat Paleo these are a great muffin that taste amazing and have a lot of protein, healthy fats and fiber without a bunch of added sugar or flour.  Let me know how you like them!
My daughter, Olivia, enjoying one of the muffins on the way to school :)

P.S. In honor of Marriage Monday I want to let you know about an amazing series coming up called 31 Days to a Better Marriage that begins next week, October 1st.  You will hear from 30 different women and my topic will be "the top 4 needs of a man".  Be sure to follow along!

Friday, September 19, 2014

{Fit Friday} God's Fit Kids

Today's Fit Friday post comes to you from my wonderful daughters, Ellie(age 7) & Olivia(age 5).  At the beginning of the week I had recorded myself doing an oblique tabata because some of my friends had asked for some new core moves.  I figured instead of just telling them I would do it with them in the video.:) While my video was a hot mess, I'm thankful I did it because my girls saw it and asked "Mom, can WE make a video?!"  Of course I said yes so they got to work writing their workout, looking up a scripture to share, naming their class and picking out the perfect outfits.

I am SO proud of them and love giving them an outlet to live life outside of their shell at such an early age.  I shared the videos with friends on Facebook and many kids did the videos! You can see their first few videos here:
Gods Fit Kids (Video 1) from godsfitkids on GodTube.

Gods Fit Kids (Video 2) from godsfitkids on GodTube.

If you have kids be sure to subscribe to their GodTube Channel!

P.S. Here is the sweaty mess video I recorded that same day that inspired them to do their own.  They are WAY cuter than me!

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

What if I fail?

Failure...we all experience it and we all hate it.  Did you know polls have shown that people are more afraid of public speaking than they are of death?  The reason is simple, we get paralyzed by the fear of failure.

I have failed so many times in my life that if I wrote on every failure I have experienced I could have a blog post for the next year(and then some)!  The number one comment I hear from people when I encourage them to try something "outside of their shell" is "But what if I fail?".  

We have all felt the pain of failure.  In my past, if I tried something I just knew was going to be great and it totally bombed I made a vow to never try anything new again.  One area I was very successful in was not trying.  It was great for a while because I didn't experience any discomfort, embarrassment, nerves or people watching me as I tried.  But as time passed I began to notice that life was passing me by.  People all around me were getting promotions, making friends, growing in their relationship with the Lord, getting opportunities to go places and do amazing things.  I remember sharing with the Lord how I wanted those opportunities and His response was simple....then GO.  He reminded me of Moses and though he was nervous and felt completely incapable he WENT.  

Let's look fear in the face and see what is the worst possible outcome of trying something new and failing.  Here is what you will find:

1. Failure reveals your character.
As I began to try new things, though they were small things at first, I noticed how sour my attitude was when I failed.  The Lord used my failures to bring things to the surface that needed to be dealt with and refined. I would never trade all my failures for the kind of character that the Lord has developed in me from those failures.  I know this is not the news we want to hear right after we have failed(it's quite irritating, in fact) but it is so true.

Side note: be slow to "encourage" someone with this nugget or you might get sucker punched. :)  Often times God does His best work when we step back and let Him do His thing in other people's hearts and lives. 

2. Failure brings you back to the heart of God.
Have you ever noticed it's when "things" aren't lining up in our life that we really begin to pray and search God's word for answers?  I've found that I rarely get the answer I thought I was looking for but instead God shows me who I am in Him.  Until we find our identity in Him everything will appear to be a failure in our lives.

3. Failure makes you fly.
I remember when I was young I hated math.  I avoided it at all cost.  However, when I was in 8th grade I moved schools and the math classes there were even harder.  So hard that I was going to flunk if I didn't study.  So my genius older sister, Becky, began to tutor me everyday after school.  The result was that I got so good at math that when I went into high school I took many college courses and was able to clep out of math classes in college.  I even won medals at state on the Math team(yes I know, nerd alert)!  

The moral of the story?  God uses failures to help us dig deep and find something within us we didn't know existed.  If I had never failed at math I would have never discovered my untapped potential in that area.  God has done this with me in many areas of my life. :)

4. Failure is better than not trying.
At some point we have to decide that we would rather live life failing from time to time then to die with regrets of not trying those things God puts in front of us.  I have lived on both sides of the coin and I can promise you the pain of failure is dull in comparison to the pain of not trying!

Do you have an idea or a dream you want to pursue?  No matter how big or small that dream is God wants you to fly.  Just like a baby bird leaving the nest, you may fail first, but you will eventually fly.  

Friday, September 12, 2014

{Fit Friday} Freedom from Fear in Fitness

As I mentioned in this article, God has really been speaking to me about fitness. He has been asking me to allow Him into this area of my life more than I ever have before so He can bring freedom to me and many other women.

If you are anything like me when you think of the word "fitness" an image of a ripped bikini model comes to mind and I automatically dismiss myself from being fit.  With that mindset comes two extremes.  The first extreme is the myth that if we can't look like that bikini model, why even try to take care of ourselves?  With that comes laziness, poor hygiene, sickness and so much more. The other extreme "rises to the challenge" to look like the bikini model and says "I will do whatever it takes to look like that, even if it means sacrificing time, kids, health, money, etc".  The common factor in both extremes is that we are not honoring God with our bodies.

If you are like me you are also thinking "so is it wrong to aspire to have a ripped, lean body?"  When I asked God that question he gave me the illustration of a millionaire being interviewed on how he got wealthy.  If that millionaire takes all the credit for earning his wealth in his own power than he is blinded by pride. The same principle applies to our bodies. If we use God's principles to be healthy and look fit yet take the credit for it like we did it ourselves then we may be blinded by pride as well.

1 Corinithians 6:19-20 tell us "Do you not know that your bodies are temples 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 bodies."

Romans 12:1 also says "And so, dear brothers and sisters, I plead with you to give your bodies to God because of all he has done for you. Let them be a living and holy sacrifice-the kind he will find acceptable. This is truly the way to worship him."  

There is no arguing the fact that God desires for us to honor Him with our bodies, not ourselves. It sounds simple yet we make it so complex. So I began to ask God how to honor Him with my body and he brought me back to the verse in which this blog was founded upon, 2 Timothy 1:7.

"For God has not give you a spirit of fear or timidity, but power, love and a self discipline(or sound mind)." 
2 Timothy 1:7

According to this verse it is easy to determine if we are honoring ourselves or God with our bodies. Is there fear about the way we look present in our lives?  If so, we are more than likely seeking to honor ourselves and not God.  Is there timidity in moving forward in a healthy way of living by moving(exercise) or eating whole, healthy foods that bring life to our bodies?  God did not ever call us to live a life bound by fear or timidity.  God is calling me and I would like to ask all of you to join me.  He has birthed in my heart a challenge to allow His power, love and ability to have a sound mind into the area of fitness and wellness for me. Here is what that looks like:

Life Outside the Shell Wellness

 Here is the 3 parts of the wellness lifestyle:

This element is the fitness component. When you think power in this area think of moving.  Step away from all the FAD workouts for a moment and ask God how he created YOU to move.  Do you enjoy running, walking, swimming, dancing, lifting weights, competing in races, rollerblading?  What is it that connects YOU to HIM?  Get moving not in your own power, but in the power He has put within you.  Pray before you exercise. Ask God to join you on your exercise.  If you can't find God in exercise than you may need to reevaluate if the activities you are participating in are from Him.

2. LOVE.
This is where we connect to God through reading His word and praying.  I don't care how many minutes you pray or how many chapters(or verses) you read.  Just connect to Him on some level.  This is an element of wellness that so many fitness professionals overlook and I am on a mission to bring it to life again.

3. SELF-DISCIPLINE(also translated SOUND MIND).
This involves us eating healthy, whole foods.  I am not interested in counting calories or weighing food here.  I want us to connect to the one who made us and ask Him what foods line up with our body.  Focus on eating whole, unprocessed foods. Pray before you meal plan and before you eat.  I believe the Lord is going to reveal lies we have believed in regards to food and our bodies.  Food is our friend and can be used to bring life into our bodies if we make wise food decisions.

Ask God if you have made an idol of food then allow him into that area of your life to bring freedom.

You can join the challenge on Facebook here and on Instagram by finding others doing the challenge with the hashtag #LOTSwellness.  You will see it as LOTS on Facebook as well and that stands for Life Outside the Shell :)

The Facebook group will not be a place to sell a product or service but instead will be used to post healthy recipes, fitness tips(and videos) and encouraging words from the Bible.  I hope you will join us!

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

The shocking results of my 24 hour iphone activity log!

One of my favorite things to do when I write is to be real.  I had a "step all over your toes" moment with God yesterday that I am so excited to share. Let me start by backing up to how it all got started.

Yesterday morning I was pouring out my heart to God.  Telling him all the reasons I didn't have enough time to do certain things in my life.  Some things I was sharing with him included "Lord, what was I thinking leading a family life group?  I don't have time for this!  God how will I ever find the time to teach these group fitness classes?  I just need to quit.  I can't juggle being a mom, business owner, church leader, blogger...oh that blog!  I haven't written in two weeks what was I thinking starting a blog?!  No one is reading it anyway, I should just quit."

You get the picture of my rant...God was so sweet to allow me to go through my dirty laundry with him before he began to gently speak to me.  After I was done and got quiet to listen to him, He began to show me some errors in my perspective.  He showed me that all the things I was saying I didn't have time for and that I just needed to quit doing were all the things HE called me to do.  I didn't once mention something crazy....like quit spending so much time on the computer or my phone. "Oh no God, please don't bring up the issue of my phone.  Anything but my phone!  I will fast, give up sugar, you name it...just not the phone!"  So, being the loving Father that He is, He asked me to keep a log for 24 hours of my iphone usage.

From 3pm on Monday to 3pm on Tuesday I kept a tally page for every time I got on my phone or was about to get on my phone.  I was shocked that within the first hour I had grabbed for my phone almost 10 times!!  My total number turned out to be 32 interactions my phone in 24 hours(and I was asleep and at work for part of that!)...WOW.  If you do the math and assume a minimum number of minutes on the phone each time was 2 minutes, I was on the phone texting, emailing, Facebooking, etc for over an hour in 24 hours.  That doesn't include other time I spent on the computer(I tracked that and it was a separate 1.5 hours on top of the other hour).

Truth be told, my numbers are a little lower than normal because every time I had to make a tally for grabbing my phone it made me stop and realize how ridiculous it was that I was on it again!

So why am I sharing this with you?  To challenge you to evaluate how you spend your time each day.  You may not be an iphone addict, like me, but maybe there is something that is eating away at your time everyday without you realizing it.

I love this quote because it gets to the heart of the matter on how we spend our time.  We spend it on things that really matter to us.  What matters to you?   I know I am very convicted to take a closer look at my life and the things I am spending my time on.  You can make more money but you can't make more time.  

Ask God to show you today any areas that are robbing your time.  I pray He gives you a fresh perspective on how HE wants you to spend your valuable time!

As for me, I will now be setting scheduled time to do computer work and leaving my phone in the other room as much as possible.  I am going to intentionally unplug so that I can focus on the things God has called me to.