Friday, April 27, 2012

Raising My White Flag

**** WARNING****
This post is not for the faint of heart. 
It is likely that I will either step on your toes or tick you off entirely. 

Jesus is leading me on a journey. One that I know will utterly result in the end of "me."  The end of my dreams, my desires, my hopes, my future, my plans, my goals, my ambitions, my careful planning. The end of all that I hold dear.  My spirit has been restless for ages. My flesh has sensed the undoing of all that I have ever known. This morning I encountered Jesus in such a way that I know, from this moment forward, I will never be the same.

Let's just say this... I'm not on a journey of self discovery- for I can already tell that there will be no more "self" at the end of this journey- only Jesus.

He is beckoning me to come and follow.

I could no longer ignore His gentle whispering. I could no longer ignore the inner gnawing of the Holy Spirit. I could no longer ignore my spiritual anemia- malnourished and in desperate need of an intervention.

Until this morning, the question remained: Do I remain where I am?
Seemingly secure?

Or do I raise my white flag in surrender- accepting the invitation to follow at any cost?

I was at a crossroad this morning, and Jesus was making it abundantly clear to me that it was time to make my decision.


You see... for years I have been disgruntled and discontent with the way American Christians "live out" the Gospel. I've been frustrated with the growing apathy many Christians display towards those who are suffering- the broken, the oppressed, the widowed, the orphaned, the poor... "the least of these". It seems that we are much more concerned with building bigger sanctuaries, padding our already large bank accounts, designing Bible studies and church programs to further bless the "blessed." Church leaders across this nation are misguiding their flocks into thinking that God's primary aim is to make us happy. That nothing pleases Him more than to see us successful and prosperous. Friends, this notion of a "Prosperity Gospel" could not be further from truth, and to buy into this is to miss out on God's heart entirely.

As the Bride of Christ, we are called to be broken and poured out (as Christ was) for a world that is lost, suffering, broken, and in need- both spiritually and physically.

The statistics on global poverty and human trafficking are alarming. A quick Google search reveals the following:

  • Almost half the world- over 3 billion people- live on less than $2.50 a day.
  • 1 billion children live in poverty (1 in 2 children in the world). 640 million live without adequate shelter, 400 million have no access to health services. 10.6 million died in 2003 before they reached age 5 (or roughly 29,000 children per day.)
  • 15 million children are orphaned due to HIV/AIDS (similar to the total children population in Germany or United Kingdom
  • 1.6 billion people- a quarter of humanity- live without electricity

  • There are more than 30 million slaves in the world today, more than at any other time in history. 

  • Human trafficking is the second largest global organized crime today, generating approximately $31.6 billion USD each year. 
  • Trafficking for sexual exploitation generates $27.8 billion USD per year. 
  • There are 1.39 million victims of commercial sexual servitude worldwide

 Where is the American church in all of this? Why are we not taking a stand? We have the money. We have the resources. We have the information and statistics staring us directly in the face. We have the ability but lack the heart. It's not enough for us to send over our people for a week long mission trip, passing out tracks and telling the locals that "Jesus Loves You," while their most basic needs are continually going unmet. 

My aching heart has been crying out from within me, "Is this it? Is this all we can do? There has to be something more. There has to be a different way. A way for the church to be the hands and feet of Jesus- to meet the tangible needs of the poor and oppressed. There just has to." 


I am at a crossroads because I can no longer look at these numbers and do nothing about it. I look around at all of the excess and it literally makes me sick. I cannot watch my favorite tv channels anymore because the constant message being broadcast over the airways is the idea that we need more. More money. More education. More space. More prosperity. More influence. More security. More luxury items. More possessions. 

We are spending far too much time chasing after worthless things the American Dream. I spent far too much time chasing after the American Dream. But as I said before... after today's encounter with Jesus, life for me will never be the same. 

I do not know yet what this journey will look like. I do not know where God is leading. I do not know how God is planning on using me to bring about His Kingdom purposes. All I know is that God is stirring. All I know is that God is at work. It's a leap of faith. It will require me dying to my selfish wants and desires daily- moment by moment even. 

But I am certain of this:
Where He leads. I will follow. No turning back. No turning back. 

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

The Battle for Intimacy

It's yet another Monday morning. You accidentally  overslept. You have a grand total of 10 minutes to get your  family dressed, fed, and out the door or your husband will be late for work. You stumble into the kitchen to pour yourself a cup of coffee, meanwhile- your dear hubby is calling your name from the other room- he cannot seem to find his work shoes. You remind him that he packed them in his suitcase for the weekend trip to see the family. While you are digging through a pile of dirty laundry {that you are oh so not looking forward to washing later that day} for your husband's shoes, you hear screaming coming from the other room. You run into the kitchen to find your youngest child covered in milk and cereal with your oldest standing over him laughing hysterically. Never mind brushing your own teeth or changing out of your pjs, you now have only 3 minutes left to change the kids' clothes, get their socks and shoes on, and teeth brushed. You grab your ball cap off the dresser and shove it on your head- glancing at your reflection in the mirror, you shudder, wondering how on earth you went from hottie to... well... lets not go there.

You dash out of the room, purse and car keys in tow, when you spot it.

Your Bible.

Just laying on the end table next to your favorite spot on the couch. It's been days since you last sat in that spot and marinated in God's Word. You gaze longingly at it. You recall a time when you used to get up hours before the rest of the family just to sit at the Lord's feet. Now... between t-ball practice, committee meetings, birthday parties, play dates, field trips, t-ball games, family outings, grocery shopping, running errands, working out, spending quality time with the boys, spending quality time with your husband, cleaning house, folding laundry, and the like... you barely have enough energy at the end of the day to squeeze in a 10 minute devotional before bed, and let's face it, you've never been much of a morning person.

You suppress the longing for time with the Lord, grab your coffee to-go cup, and shut the door.

Just another Monday.

Only it's not just Monday. It's Tuesday. And Wednesday. And Thursday. Friday. Saturday. And before you know it- Sunday is upon you.

And so the cycle continues.

We live in such a fast pace, overly committed society. Our children are expected to be in every extra curricular activity under the sun, or risk not being considered "well rounded" enough on their college applications. Our churches expect us to be involved in not only teaching a Sunday School class, but leading Bible studies throughout the week, on at least 2-3 committees, and heading up the upcoming church wide pot luck. Our employers no longer consider a 40 hour work week acceptable. Try an average of 60-70 hours. Not to mention that our doctors recommend us getting at least an hour of exercise in every single day. Oh yeah, and you are supposed to squeeze in a social life somewhere in the midst of all of this as well.

Don't get me wrong. These are all "good" things. But I'm beginning to wonder if these "good" things are really all that good for us in the first place?

Here is what I think: there is a battle raging. And I'm afraid that we are so busy living out our lives that we miss it.

There is a battle for intimacy.

Your husband craves it.
Your children crave it.
Your friends crave it.
You crave it.

Let's face it. We were created for community. We were meant to be in relationships. Even the most introverted person out there is designed to walk this journey we call life surrounded by others. We cannot survive without it.

And yet, that is exactly what our enemy is out to destroy.

He is raging war on our intimacy with our Creator. 

Only, if we do not recognize that we are at war, we cannot fight to keep that intimacy in tack. We will simply live out the remainder of our days in this rat race we call "life," over committed and burnt out. We are so busy that we don't even realize how utterly busy we really are.

This is what Satan wants. He wants us to remain ignorant of this battle, because when we neglect our relationship with Christ, all other relationships suffer. Our marriage suffers. Our children suffer. Our friendships suffer. Our co-workers suffer.

I have found in my own experience, that it is only when I am in right standing with Christ, that all other relationships in my life are healthy, vibrant, and full of love. We were created first and foremost to glorify God and enjoy His Presence forever. When that is no longer our top priority- when we no longer fight for intimacy with our Creator- everything else is out of balance until our relationship with Christ is restored.

So fight! 
Fight for what you hold dear. 
Do not allow the enemy to distract you from that which you were created- to enjoy an intimate relationship with your Creator. 

Carve out some time in your day for Jesus.
Quiet your restless heart and simply listen.
He desires to commune with YOU!
I know it's difficult.
Wars are always difficult.
But you'll be grateful you did it.
I know I am.

1 Chronicles 16:24
Tell of His glory among the nations, His wonderful deeds among all the peoples.

Psalm 86:9
All nations whom You have made shall come and worship before You, O Lord, And they shall glorify Your name.

Psalm 86:12
I will give thanks to You, O Lord my God, with all my heart, And will glorify Your name forever.

Oh! How Pinteresting

I'm really loving this weekly link up with Michelle over at The Vintage Apple

Last week was my first time to ever link up with her.

This week I have decided to showcase my love for hair and makeup.
I discovered the following blogs because of Pinterest. And I am forever grateful!

I'm a girlie girl, y'all.
I love me some great tutorials on how to style my hair 
{not that I'm very good at it... I need all the help I can get} 
and different ways to wear my makeup. 

If you haven't discovered Kate over at The Small Things Blog, you are missing out!
I want to move to Raleigh, North Carolina just so that she can style my hair for me.
She's THAT good!

These are a few of my favorite tutorials from Kate:

The Beauty Department is another great resource that I reference all of the time for all things beauty/fashion. Like this great tutorial by Lauren Conrad on how to contour 

Or this tip for fuller lips

Or this post on how to achieve the perfect red lip

What are some of your favorite Pinterest discoveries?!

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

I've Got Guts

I can now cross another thing off of my bucket list! You know... the one I have yet to actually create. But if I had a bucket list, this would definitely be on it. I keep telling myself that I should at least create a 30 by 30 list, seeing that my 30th birthday will be here before I know it, and some of the things that I would love to do require planning and saving money. 
{I honestly think I haven't created one because I am denial that I am quickly approaching my 30s.} 


I did something this weekend that I have always wanted to do but never had the guts  to actually do it.

I got a TATTOO



I love it! 
I cannot stop staring at my wrist. 
And you know what...

If you are in the Dallas area and are thinking of getting a tattoo, go see Jon at Cat Tattoo in Addison. 
He did a fantastic job and I highly recommend him! 
{This opinion is my own. Cat Tattoo did not pay me to endorse their product.}

So... what do you think?

5 Reasons Why I Love My Firstborn

It's that time of the week! Time to link up with the fabulous Nicole over at Moments that Define Life for her weekly {Listable Life} series. When I saw the prompts for this week I immediately gravitated toward writing about my firstborn son, Hayden. Only... it took a lot longer to come up with five attributes that I love most about him. Not because I don't love the kid- but because there are SO MANY reasons why I love the kid!

1. I love Hayden's compassionate spirit

He is by far the most tenderhearted little boy that I know. He loves to help people. If he sees a need, he is the first to offer his aide. I've seen him weep over the conditions that other children are forced to live in around the world. He relentlessly asks Greg and I when we will bring his baby sister home, because he has now discovered what an orphan is, and he cannot stand to hear that other boys and girls grow up without a Daddy and a Mommy to love them and care for them. This kid is going to change the world. I know that I am his Mommy and I am somewhat biased... but I truly believe he is going to change the world.

2. I love that Hayden is a fierce and loyal friend

Hayden is the sort of friend everyone dreams of, mostly because he is loyal. He's got your back. Always. Loyalty is one of those rare character qualities that are almost unheard of these days. And it is definitely an attribute that I plan to cultivate as he grows into manhood. 

3. I love that Hayden LOVES music

Even in the womb Hayden was rocking out to music. 
Anytime I turned on music, no matter what genre, he would immediately start movin and groovin. 
And he hasn't stopped since! This is his current favorite tune. 

Always by Kristian Stanfill

4. I love Hayden's smile

Cute, isn't he?!

And last, but certainly not least. The one quality that I love the most about Hayden:

5. His Love for Jesus

I will never forget this particular moment as long as I live. 
It was Christmas Eve. 
Hayden turned 4 the next day. 

We were all sitting in the candle light service at our church here in Texarkana, listening our Pastor teach on the birth of Jesus. I look over at Hayden and he has the pew Bible open in his lap, completely engaged in what Pastor Jeff was teaching. Anytime we would turn to another passage of Scripture, Hayden would nudge his Daddy in the ribs and ask him to turn the pages and read it to him so that he could follow along.  Later that night, as we tucked him into bed, I remember him saying that he was looking forward to the following day; not because it was Christmas and he would be getting presents, not because it was his birthday, but because it was another day to spend with Jesus- the most important person in his life.

There are many, many stories like this one that I could tell. 
This child.

And that is by far the thing that I am most proud of as his parent. 

I love you, Hayden. Thank you for bringing so much joy and laughter to our family. 
I am so proud to be your Mommy!

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Confessions of the Unfaithful

You know all about the breakup.
You know how we have chosen to go our separate ways.
It was for our own good.

But I was unfaithful...

I ordered a White Chocolate Mocha from Starbucks this morning.

And last night we ate Chick-fil-A for dinner.

I feel terrible.

I should pay some sort of penance for my crimes.
You know...
like writing lines or something.

I will never cheat on my Paleo diet again.
I will never cheat on my Paleo diet again.
I will never cheat on my Paleo diet again.
I will never cheat on my Paleo diet again.

But my body is punishing itself for my unfaithfulness.
I've spent that last couple of hours curled up in the fetal position on the couch because my stomach was cramping so badly. I've been running to and from the bathroom all morning because I've been sick. 
{And NO, I am not pregnant}
My body is in full on retaliation mode.

Dear body,

I promise to make better choices.
I will not do that to you again.
Please ease up on your relentless punishment.
Pretty please.


Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Oh! How Pinteresting

This is my first time linking up with the lovely Michelle over at 

I've seen this link up on several of the blogs that I follow.
how could I possibly pass up the opportunity to talk about my latest obsession...

Let's get started, shall we?!

Pinterest is one of my go-to places for style inspiration. 
I adore these outfits and wish that every single one of them were currently hanging in my closet.

Pinterest has also become a fabulous resource for our family as we have made the transition to living a Paleo lifestyle. I've been able to find several blogs that are full of helpful tips and yummy recipes, like these here:

Not to mention the DIY projects I find!


What are some of your favorite Pinterest finds?!
Not on Pinterest? Let me know and I'll send you an invite :)

5 Things I Wish I Had The Guts To Do {Listable Life}

I've been MIA for a while on the {Listale Life} link up.
I blame the half marathon training.
But that is a totally lame excuse, because I still have time at the end of the day to write a blog post here and there, I've just chosen not to. 

It's Spring.
The sun is shining- for the most part.
Flowers are in bloom.- Cue allergy season.
And I need to get a head start on my tan before vacation is upon us :)

But I headed over to Nicole's blog to check out the {Listable Life} prompt for this week and thought I'd take a  shot at it. So here we go: 5 things I Wish I Had The Guts To Do

1. Go Sky Diving

Let's face it- I will probably NEVER get over my fear of extreme heights. 
But I have always admired those who have the guts to jump out of a perfectly good airplane. 

2. Write a Book

I want to become a published author.... but I am utterly terrified to take the necessary steps to do so.
Confession: this is probably one of the primary reasons I have been an inconsistent blogger as of late. I write blog posts ALL of the time- only to delete them midway through the process. There is just something about clicking that "publish" button that scares me. Especially when I write devotional style blog posts. I've probably written 10 of them in the past week, and have deleted every. single. one. 
I really need to get over this fear. 

3. Get a Tattoo

I have wanted a tattoo for ages.
But I'm scared of needles.
That... and I've finally found what I want tattooed on my right wrist. 
The appointment has been set.
There's no backing out.

4. Sing in Public

This never used to be an issue for me.
As a child, I sang ALL of the time in front of anyone who would listen.
Just ask my Mom. 
She'll tell you.
She loves to tell the story of how we were in Blockbuster {or some video rental store in the 1980s} and I  walked up and down the aisles singing along at the top of my lungs to whatever song was playing over the speakers. I did not have a care in the world that there were people watching me. In fact, the more the better. 

But now... 
oh no... 
I don't even like singing loudly in my own car- unless I am by myself. 

5. Ride the Titan at Six Flags Over Texas

My husband has been relentlessly trying to get me on this roller coaster for YEARS.
Mmmmm... not happening.

So what are some things that YOU wished you had the guts to do? 
Share them with us, or better yet, link up yourself! Come on! I told you mine! :)

Monday, April 9, 2012

The Breakup

It is with great sadness that we announce


Greg and I are breaking up...

with certain foods that is.

For the past week Greg and I have embarked on yet another health/fitness adventure. {We sure have done a lot of those since the beginning of the year, haven't we?} Only this one was spurred on purely by a desire to fight my fibromyalgia from within and not to lose weight. 

I'm not going to lie to you- I was frustrated after my 5k a few weeks ago. 

Yes, I know that running 3.1 miles in 36 minutes isn't bad. Yes, I know that my time was especially good given the circumstances surrounding my race. But I was still frustrated. I have been training for this race since January. I had been running it consistently at my desired pace {10 minute miles} and yet, I was thwarted once again by my fibromyalgia. And so I began to do some more research. I've discovered that fibromyalgia flare ups can be triggered by a number of different things and they are as unique as the person suffering from the disorder. Disruption in sleep patterns, stress and certain foods seem to be my primary triggers. So, after discussing the matter with Greg, we have decided that it would be best for us to break up with foods that were never meant to be apart of our daily diet in the first place.

Goodbye Starbucks White Chocolate Mochas

Photo Credit: Google Images

I will miss you, so...

Goodbye Chick- fil- A

I miss your tasty goodness already.

Goodbye Dr Pepper

You have been a part of my life for 20+ years. I think I will miss you the most.

We've learned over the course of this process that if you truly want to transform your body and gain optimal health, it starts with the food that you eat. If you put crap into your body- your body is not going to work right. There is no magic pill out there that you can take that will allow you to eat whatever the heck you want and remain in optimal health. I don't care what the label on the back says. Eventually, it will catch up to you. It may take years and years for it to happen, but it will happen. I know that sounds harsh, but it's the honest truth. I'm speaking from experience. 

Our kitchen has gone through a major makeover. 

We no longer have processed food in our house. 
No more refined sugar. 
No more grains. 
No more legumes. 
No more dairy. 

I cannot even begin to count how many confused faces we have received as we have described to our friends and family the transition we have made. No dairy? No grains? No legumes? But aren't those things good for you? No. They are not necessarily good for you. If our bodies have some sort of food allergy, it generally falls into one of these categories. Not always- but a good majority of the time. These foods generally do not have a positive contribution to your overall health. 

So then they quizzically ask, "Well, then what do you eat? We eat: real food. Meat, fish, eggs, vegetables, fruit, healthy oils, nuts and seeds. Whole9 Living has been a tremendous resource for us as we have made this transition. I highly recommend reading it. Greg likes to tell people that when reading the ingredient label, if he cannot recognize it, pronounce it, shoot it, or grow it himself- he doesn't buy it.  

And we are already seeing results. My body feels better than it has in years. Greg has lost 9lbs and 2 inches around his waist. Our energy levels are sustained throughout the day because we no longer have spikes in our blood sugar. Our quality of sleep has improved. Our attention span is clear and focused. My seasonal allergies are no longer bothering me. 

Everything has improved. 

And that's just after 1 week!! I honestly don't know why I haven't done this sooner. It literally has been the best thing that we could have ever done for our health.

The last set of questions that we generally get from people are, "So how long  do you plan to be on this diet?" Our answer: "Ummm... forever. It's not a diet. It's a lifestyle change." Then we get asked, "Well, what if you are invited over to a friend's house for a meal and they don't follow all of these changes that you've made? Are you just not going to eat their food? Or what do you plan to do at restaurants or when you go on vacation?" Great questions! Our answer: "We are gracious guests and will eat what we are served. If there are healthy options available, we will choose those. We plan to not eat out a lot at restaurants and instead, make our own food, but when we do, we know what food items to look for and what food items to avoid. We understand that not everyone follows the same dietary guidelines that we do. We know that there will be occasions where we will eat something that is processed, or contains dairy, or any of the other foods that we  no longer eat. But that's just it- it's occasionally." 

So... yeah. We've broken up with certain food now. And I am SO glad we did! If you would like more information on Paleo living, email me and I will send you links to several blogs and other resources that I have found over the past few days. 

Saturday, April 7, 2012


One of my worst fears as a runner manifested itself on my evening run on Thursday.

I was attacked by a dog. And I was bitten. Not once- but twice.

While out on my run around our quiet neighborhood, I was chased my a group of dogs. Though they were all small in size, they were particularly aggressive. 

I am a dog owner.

 I grew up around dogs. 

And I have never in my life, been afraid of a small dog, until now...

{Sorry for the poor picture quality. It's difficult to take a picture of your leg using an iPhone}

Why, oh, why, do people think that it is okay to let their dogs roam around freely and unsupervised? Apparently, all of our neighbors do, because it's like an open pet store around our neighborhood. There are dogs of all sizes and breeds that literally roam the streets from sun up until sun down. I've seen Yorkies, Schnauzers, Pit bulls, Rat Terriers, Pit bull mixes, German Shepherds, Chihuahuas, Labs, Mutts- you name it. All of them without a collar or ID tag. All of them without a leash or their owner nearby. It's like the owner simply lets the dog(s) out of the house to fend for themselves during the day, and allows them to come into their backyard once night falls. 

I don't understand this. At all.

Perhaps it is because I grew up in large cities where there were city ordinances that stated you must keep your dog on a leash while outside of the confines of your property. But in Nash, Texas- there is no such ordinance. 

And what aggravates me even more than random dogs roaming all over our neighborhood, is the response that I get from the dog's owners when I informed them that their pets bit me while I was out running. They were apologetic, but immediately cast the blame on their children. "Oh, my daughters must have let them out of the house." I'm sorry, but I'm a parent too. And my children have yet to set our animals lose to roam around the neighborhood. And if they did- I would have noticed and immediately gone outside and brought them back into our yard- where they belong. These people acted like it is not a big deal that their dogs are out wandering the streets, attacking unsuspecting people who are merely trying to enjoy their evening run.

So I apologize in advance, negligent neighbors of mine, if I beat your dog upside the head with a stick the next time it attacks me while I am out running.  

Monday, April 2, 2012

Lone Star 5k Recap

I did it!!
I completed my first 5k on Saturday!!!

Despite a tough course

{2/3 of which were uphill}
and an unexpected fibromyalgia flare up,

I finished in 36 minutes and 44 seconds. 
{ I finished with the first half of the 5k runners, so that made me happy!}
My goal was to finish around 30 minutes, but given the circumstances, I'm proud of how well I ran.

I've been asked on more than one occasion what it is like during a fibromyalgia flare up- so I will do my best to describe it to you. Each flare up is unique and different and I can never fully prepare or anticipate how I will feel during each one. This particular flare up effected my energy levels more so than it did my muscles. It would be as if I was running my race while having mono. I had very little energy going into my race, so I knew that I would not be running as well as I have been during my training. And given that I have been training hard for the last couple of months, naturally, I was in a disheartened mood stepping up to the starting line.

And then came the hills...

Y'all... I was not expecting hills to make up the majority of the course.
I was running in a pack of some very fit college students, and they were struggling- which made me feel better- so this may provide some insight into how difficult this course was. So throw a tough running course on top of a fibromyalgia flare up and you get a grumpy runner struggling with all her might just to finish.

What got me through the race was knowing that my family was awaiting me at the finish line.
As soon as I spotted Hayden and Rylan in the distance-waving their arms and cheering- something happened that I did not expect. I suddenly had enough strength to finish strong. I kicked it into high gear and finished the last leg of the race at a sprint. I wanted to show my sons that even when you feel like giving up and throwing in the towel, it is important to finish strong.

Even though I did not meet my 5k goal, I will not let it distract and deter me from my ultimate goal- the half marathon in October. After a couple of days off I plan to get back out there and keep training. I will make some adjustments to my workout routines which will hopefully help me prevent another flare up from happening again on race day.

Each race is a learning experience.
It's important to take what happens-learn from it-make adjustments as needed- and get back out there.

And despite all that went wrong in my race... I really did have a good time!
Greg and I are now addicted to running and we're already in search for another race before the half :)
So stay tuned!