The Passion-Filled Life: Cheers to 2019!

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The past few weeks I’ve been a bit of a hermit.  On purpose.  I took some time to be still and reflect on the highs + lows of 2018.  My missteps.  My shortcomings.  My victories.  My growth.  And where I want my focus in 2019.  My hopes.  The areas of my life where I still see God challenging me.  The accomplishments I hope to achieve.  And the person I continue to hope I become.   

Each year I choose a word.  A word that has significance in my life.  In 2018 that word was BELIEVE.  Guys + gals, I love life - everything about it.   But as I’ve mentioned before, the past few years have been a real bitch to say the least!  To be completely authentic with you, I hit some real low points over the past year.  I knew coming into 2018 that I was going to have to believe in God’s faithfulness more than ever, because honestly, I hadn’t yet seen him deliver in my life the ways I felt I needed Him most.  It’s those critical moments when we feel completely stripped that our faith is put to the test.  How are we going to respond?  Do we give up, wallow, or persevere like the warriors we were created to be?  I will always choose to be a warrior.  That’s what my parents taught me.  And coming off of Christmas, that’s exactly why God sent us His Son in Jesus Christ.  So that He could bare our sins and shortcomings so that we could have life.  He has already fought all of our battles so that we can be victorious.  And so, I will continue choosing to BELIEVE.  That I am free.  That He has my hand.  That He has a beautiful story laid out for me as the Author of my life.  And at the end of my story, which is ultimately His, I win.  All to glorify Him - my loving and faithful Father.  And guess what? He has continued to refine me over the past year (that's a beautiful thing!) and there were also many high notes! I'm grateful for it all; He is oh so good. All the time.

So as we close 2018, here’s 3 ways God delivered:

  1. I learned to embrace + accept my solitude and singleness by choosing Jesus first.  Not gonna lie, it’s hard to be 35 + single when all of your friends are married and/or with children.  My life looks completely different; it’s not my ideal.  And being totally raw with you, I struggled with it at times over this past year.  There were moments when the silence in my life was deafening, and so I turned to the dating scene which ultimately proved to be disappointing.  But through some missteps of opening myself up to a few relationships which weren’t up to par or worthy of my attention…I found myself back with God.  And I realized that I am perfectly content with this season of my life. I’ve enjoyed the rest and the tranquility. So for now, I’m grateful for Jesus as my true Romancer, teaching me my worth and preparing me for the time that He unveils the righteous + worthy man for me.  And I refuse to settle for less than.

  2. I turned 35 and God showed me the art of living.  By having a voice.  By standing up for what He wants for me as His beloved daughter.  By going against the grain at times.  By being bold and unpredictable.  By having fun.  And by freaking laughing at the humor of it all.  So as Proverbs 31:25 was etched in my heart over the past year, so it was etched on my forearm with my first (and last according to my dad) tattoo:  “She laughs.” 

  3. Prayer after prayer for a new opportunity in my career, and God delivered.  I rekindled a friendship with an old co-worker all because of my tattoo - and through her, I received a great job opportunity that uses my education and experiences, provides me health benefits (after two years of having none), monthly bonus opportunities, and the chance to finally work my way to get ahead instead of in a hole.  Praise Jesus!

So here we are, about to embark on a new journey in 2019, and I have a new word to live by:  PASSION.  I saw a great definition of what this word means - “a willingness to suffer for what you love.”  The best example of this being the passion of Jesus Christ.  And with that being said, not settling for a life that is mediocre.  I want all the feels this life has to offer.  I want pursuit.  I want love.  I want goosebumps.  I want greatness.  I want PASSION!  And that’s what I choose in the coming 12 months.  With fire in my heart and sacrifice, I will live passionately in my faith, in my work, in my relationships, in my health, and in my creativity. 

And here are a few of my passion goals:

  1. Pay off my debts and be a better steward of God’s resources. 

  2. Recommit to my wellness ways - clean up my eating, exercise (even if a little) daily, and maybe lose a few healthy pounds. 

  3. Continue to choose God first and follow with intentional obedience.  Be open to His new opportunities.

  4. Live boldly + creatively.   I’ll be writing more + more. Providing more content. Picking back up on a creative project that requires me to learn a new skill.  And after a few gray hairs surfaced this past week (eek!), I’m thinking of a big change-up.  I’m thinking a blonde version of me in 2019!?!? Yay/Nay?

  5. Read more.  Learn more.  Grow more.

  6. Take faith-calculated risks. 

  7. Love with my whole heart.  And be loved by a whole heart.

  8. Be in the Bible daily.  The Word is alive!

  9. Get involved with a charity or volunteer organization.

  10. Remember this: more of Him, less of me. Period.

So what do you think?  Do you want to join me by living a passion-filled 2019?   

Cheers to a great year ahead!

xx

“The purposes of a person’s heart are deep waters, but one who has insight draws them out.” (Proverbs 20:5)

“The beauty of a woman is not in a facial mode but the true beauty in a woman is reflected in her soul.  It is the caring that she lovingly gives the passion that she shows.  The beauty of a woman grows with the passing years.” (Audrey Hepburn)

“My mission in life is not merely to survive, but to thrive, and to do so with some passion, some compassion, some humor, and some style.” (Maya Angelou)



 

Happy 35: A Life Crisis or An Awakening?

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This past weekend I did yoga with goats, smoked a cigar at a cigar bar, drank beer (maybe two), and ate all kinds of glutenous things (and enjoyed it!).  Those who know me might ask what the freak is going on with me!?  And some might even call me a hypocrite after all my healthy, wellness ways.  

Today I'm 35.  For the past few months I've dreaded this birthday.  Somehow 35 seemed catastrophic.  And maybe you can understand why...

35 and divorced.  35 with no kids.  35 with a genetic mutation that makes childbearing difficult and already risky.  35 and still chasing my dreams.  35 and still struggling to stand on my feet as a single woman.  35 and not where I had hoped to be at this age.  My life looks NOTHING like I thought it would.  Not. At. All.  Do ya get me?

34 was rough + tough.  To be brutally honest, the past several years have been.  I was hit at every angle.  You name it, I've probably endured it.  And while I tried to model grace, it wasn't pretty every day.  Some days I would come home fatigued and allow myself to crumble at the foot of God.  I would cry, I would feel weak, I would feel discouraged, angry, and maybe even question Him.  Lord, what the heck are you doing???  Why do I feel like I am being stripped?

 But you know what?   Those raw moments of vulnerability--I wouldn't take them back.  The past few years have tested me, yet somehow my faith has remained, and I have smiled the whole way through it.  Because those were the very precise precious moments when I felt God draw so near.  And as He peeled back layer after layer of my being, I felt more "me" than ever before.  Stronger knowing His power reigns within me.  More confident in my walk with Him.  Peace even when life felt unsteady.  Joy even in the moments of despair.  Hope in the goodness I know life has yet to bring.  And all of it - ALL OF IT - absolute beauty.  I credit my faith in God for giving me my warrior spirit - He who loves me so purely and tenderly even in my weaknesses + imperfections, and even when I stumble and lose sight of Him.

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 I have learned so much.  I have grown so much.  And because of it...because of all that I have lost...I can now regain and fully experience life.  Each cherished moment of it.  As I dreadfully approached 35, I realized that I was allowing an age to label me.  I was permitting a # to define my life.  And then it hit me how silly I was being.  Because through all the ups + downs, I am so appreciative of WHO God has made me.  And how even though my life looks differently than I had envisioned, I love my life!  I love the journey.  I love the people.  I love God.  And I love ME!

So, if you’re feeling a little down and you aren’t quite where you wish to be, I want to share 10 quick tips that I’ve acquired to help embrace this thing called life.

1.         Remember to breathe.  Close your eyes.  Drop your shoulders away from your ears.  Open your chest and inhale deeply into your belly through your nose. Feel your rib cage expand with air.  Hold your breath for a moment.  And exhale completely.  Wow, does that feel good or what!?  I remember when I first started to practice Pilates, the teacher would have to remind me repeatedly – drop your shoulders, drop your shoulders, drop your shoulders.  Remember to breathe, remember to breathe, remember to breathe.  Those are the same shoulders that carried my daily stress.  And I began to realize that when I hiked my shoulders up to my ears and forgot to breathe, I wasn’t allowing space for oxygen-rich nutrients to enter my cells.  I literally had to practice the act of breathing.  And with time, and focus, and maybe a little Pilates, I began to breathe with more ease.  My shoulders felt lighter.  I gained strength in my core.  My mind and body felt more relaxed.  And I began to carry myself with more confidence.  Remember to breathe deep, cleansing breaths!  It calms the central nervous system, lowers blood pressure, decreases the effects of stress, and aids in better sleep!  Drop your shoulders.  Remember to breathe. 

2.        Remind yourself to be present.  Stop worrying about yesterday.  Stop worrying about tomorrow.  And as you remember to breathe (see above), take in this exact moment.  Because this, this right here, is all that you are guaranteed.   Fully experience the now.  Who are you with?  What do you see?  What do you smell?  What do you feel?  Be mindful to breathe it all in.  Press the pause button and sit in this very moment for a little while.  Appreciate it.  Love it.  Be thankful for it. 

3.        Allow yourself to be vulnerable.  This is hard.  As a recovering perfectionist, I always say that I used to have my life in a box wrapped in pretty, sparkly wrapping paper with the most perfect bow on top.  That was the image I put before the world.  I have all my sh$t together.  My life is perfect.  I am perfect.  And it was exhausting and couldn’t be further from the truth.  When I began to deepen my love relationship with God, He helped me to see with His eyes that my imperfections were beautiful.  They gave me character.  They made me human.  And that by being open and honest, sharing my story with others was darn liberating.  And now I can walk in confidence accepting myself as perfectly imperfect.  Allow yourself to be vulnerable – your life is a magnificent story to be told.  And you’ll see that people appreciate your vulnerabilities and love you just the same.

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4.       Ask for help when you need it.  Be open with the people that love you.  Talk to them.  Cry with them.  Allow them to help you.  As a therapist and wellness coach, I’ve always struggled to admit when I need encouragement, confrontation, and help myself!  But my life circumstances have humbled me so much.  And if I am asking for people to let me help them daily, I too must be open to letting others help me.  I began to see just how deeply I am loved by my family and friends.  They believed in me.  They pushed me.  And my heart was so moved by their love for me.  Let others help you when you need it.  And may your heart be touched like mine.  For those who have helped me, in whatever capacity, you know who you are.  Thank you. 

5.        You can reframe any situation.  A shift in perspective; it’s all you need.  I swear.  Try it.  Label yourself a victim.  Then label yourself a victor.  Label yourself as alone, lost, and abandoned.  Then label yourself as loved, found, and never alone.  Remind yourself of the truth of God.  It will never fail you.  And it will give you life. 

6.       Have fun.  Get out and do something new.  I don’t care what it is.  I am not an opera fan, but it’s not about the opera.  It’s about the experience.  Go with someone you love and care about, have fun, and enjoy the EXPERIENCE.  Make memories.  Now that’s what I call living. 

7.       Look for the glimmers of beauty.  I know, sometimes we fall into moments of hopelessness.  When finding “the good” seems like a feat.  But I promise, glimmers of beauty lie underneath.  Look for them.  A smile.  An encounter.  A conversation.  People that care.  The breath of life in your lungs at this very moment.  Trust me, beauty is always here in the midst.  Open your eyes.  Open your ears.  Open your heart.

8.       Laugh.  Laughing heals.  Stop taking everything so seriously.  Be silly.  Loosen up.  Find the humor even in the serious things of life.  Roll around.  Dance around.  Joke around.  Just freaking laugh!

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9.       Believe.  Trust that your Creator has a plan for you.  A plan to prosper you and not harm you.  A plan to give you hope and a future.  Set your intention on that which is good.  And believe.  Believe in abundance.  Believe in opportunity.  Believe in greatness.  Believe in love.  When you believe, you open yourself up to receiving.  Be ready for it. 

10.    Show yourself love + grace.  You are an exquisite masterpiece.  You are worthy and valuable.  God loves you.  God forgives you.  God sets your free.  So how about you stop all forms of self-sabotage and show yourself some love and compassion.  Honor your body.  Rest.  Pamper yourself.  Surround yourself with good people.  Pray.  And pleeeeaaaasssseee show yourself some love and grace.

So yeah, what the freak is going on with me!?  An awakening. that's what!  I want to squeeze every drop outta this life.  And maybe living well is about balance and actually LIVING!  So if I want to get dirty in the field with some goats, so be it.  If I want to have a cigar every once in a great while, I will.  If I want to celebrate with a rare beer, cheers!  If I want to indulge in gluten today...maybe I will deal with some consequences, but for today, it tasted good.  I am all about healthy living; with my occasional autoimmune challenges, I most definitely have to be.  But my birthday is about my gratitude for life.  And boy am I grateful for it all.  My life might not look like I wanted it to today, but I am joyful and hopeful for the greatness yet to come.  And here I wait with anticipation and open arms.  Happy 35.  

xx.

 

 

 

Who the Heck + What the Heck?!

Who the heck am I?!

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  • Beloved daughter of the Highest King
  • Jesus lover first
  • Doting dog mom to sweet baby Josie
  • Pilates junkie
  • #worshipmusicobsessed
  • Recovering perfectionist (who occasionally relapses)
  • Matcha latte mornings
  • Rainbow chaser
  • Devotionals on the balcony are my early morning jam
  • Peace seeker
  • Getting caught in a rain storm exhilarates me 
  • I eat lunch/dinner for breakfast
  • Overcomer
  • Leap of faith jumper (I've learned that I'm more of a risk taker than I ever knew...)
  • Fave quote - "Feel the fear and do it anyway" (Susan Jeffers)
  • Proverbs 31 woman - "She is clothed with strength and dignity; she can laugh at the days to come" (vs 25)
  • Lover of all things love...I doodle hearts...
  • Spirit led, spontaneous writing is my favorite
  • The hardest moments of my life have been the most profound
  • Believer that miracles are everywhere, all the time
  • Fascinated by the healing process
  • Food is thy medicine and medicine is thy food
  • Striver of simplistic living
  • Co-author of book From Pain to Purpose

Credentials:

B.A., Psychology/Communication from Duquesne University

M.S.Ed., Marriage + Family Therapy from Duquesne University

INHC, Integrative Nutrition Health Coach from The Institute for Integrative Nutrition

Cellular Expansion + Healing Practitioner from The Vanati Center for Energy Medicine

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What the heck is Mind. Body. Jesus.?!

I worked as a therapist and researcher in the mental health field.  I saw a real need when I noticed that the majority of my clients being seen for mental health also struggled with some form of a chronic illness or health condition.  I could equip clients with a toolbox of skills, but if they ate like crap, I knew they would continue to feel like crap.  If they didn't move their bodies and get exercise, they wouldn't feel strong and confident to fight the battles they faced.  If they didn't have Jesus, would they ever be set free from past regrets, know how incredibly loved they are, experience peace and joy even in the storms of life, and find meaning in the ups + downs?

Mind. Body. Jesus. is the embodiment of the human experience.  The mind considers our mental and emotional well-being.  The body is our physical health and how we care for it through food and movement.  Jesus satisfies our spiritual need to find forgiveness, love, wisdom, freedom, strength, peace, and purpose through all things.  Each facet is absolutely necessary to attain "whole health" and healing.  No part can be ignored if we want to achieve true health and wellness.  

I work with my clients to bring balance to imbalance. To bring alignment to what is misaligned.  To find direction when lost.  To find wholeness from brokenness.  To bring restoration to that which needs repaired.  To walk with confidence and no longer insecurity.  To love, not hate.  To bring healing to injury.  To find peace in unrest.  To stand as victor, not victim.  To stand with faith, not fear.  To be unshakeable instead of shaken.  To stand with strength not stumble from weakness.  And to find joy in the midst of pain.  

When life is a dichotomy of good + bad, we remain whole. 

And that, my friends, is who and what the heck!  

In mind, body, + Jesus,

Lauren 

xx

Why I Toss Protocol in the Trash

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I got beef.  With the wellness industry.  With diets.  With fads.  With super foods.  With protocol. Call me crazy.  And maybe you will (and that's okay).  But here's why.

If you know my story, you know I wasn't physically well.  I struggled with various health challenges since I was 16 years old. I had severe digestive issues that spiraled out of control which led to anxiety and depression.  I had irregular menstrual cycles, prolonged bleeding (sometimes lasting 45 days), hormonal imbalances.  Nausea.  Skin rashes and breakouts.  Weight gain and rapid weight loss.  Difficulty putting sentences together.  Worsening food allergies.  Bone and joint pain.  Excessive fatigue.  When I was married, I was told my body was unable to sustain a healthy pregnancy.  And at my worst, trembling in my hands.  I was terrified.  I didn't know what was happening to me.  Nobody did.  Not even the doctors that were supposed to have all of the answers.  

Years of questioning and frustration led me on a path to become my own healthcare advocate.  Instead of wallowing.  Instead of being paralyzed by fear.  Instead of giving up.  I took matters into my own hands.  I researched.  I talked to wellness experts.  I enrolled in an integrative nutrition program.  And I set out on a journey to make changes in my life.  Healthy changes.  I was paving my own way towards healing.  

Gluten free.  Grain free.  Soy free.  Egg free.  Dairy Free.  Hemp.  Turmeric.  Lots and lots of kale.  Raw juices.  Detox programs.  Wheatgrass shots.  Supplements.  Fermented foods.  You name it.  

Yeah, I lost weight.  Rapidly.  But I got worse.  My symptoms intensified.  How?  Why?  I was doing everything right!  I was living a healthy lifestyle!  I fell to my knees, crying out to God for help.   

What I learned is that I had a genetic mutation that was working against me.  My body wasn't able to eliminate toxins like a "normal" person without the mutation.  Our fat cells store toxins.  And as I would lose weight, those toxins were released into my body, circulating throughout my bloodstream without an exit strategy.  What resulted was underlying inflammation which led to some pretty serious health challenges.  As I got an understanding for my body, I was able to make appropriate changes that were safe for me and my body's needs.  But those changes did not include fad foods or specific trending protocols.  It included an intuitiveness and the knowing of my own body with the help of a humble practitioner I found who did things the old school way (no receptionist, no computer, not even an answering machine - say whaaat?!).  He wasn't in it for the money, for the fame, for the sale of his product.  He was in it to peel back the layers of the one + only me.  And guess who was in the driver's seat?  God + me.  

Here's a dose of truth.  Dr. So and So's general protocol wasn't going to help me.  They didn't know my body like me.  They didn't know my underlying genetics.  And the fact is, our bodies are living and dynamic, ever changing.  What I need today may not be what I need tomorrow.  And so forth.  Two people can be diagnosed with the same exact condition, but they may require two very different forms of treatment based on their unique body's needs.  It's called Bioindividuality.  And we need to keep it in mind on the healing journey.  

Here's what else I want to tell you.  Sometimes when our health spirals out of control and we are looking for answers, [x] diagnosis becomes something we identify with.  And on our quest for answers, our practitioners or certain products and/or supplements easily become our lifeline, our God.  The end all be all.  The source of our healing.  The answer we seek.  

Now, please know that I am not bashing practitioners.  They have been blessed with a set of gifts in order to diagnose and bring treatment options to the table for those suffering with health conditions.  But I don't want us to get lost and lose our focus on two important facts.  

1.  You are not your diagnosis.  

2.  God is ultimate Healer.

Be firm in who God says you are.  I have seen far too many chronic illness "online chatrooms" that only confuse, overwhelm, and scare its members.  Many, many members then allow fear to consume them and rule their lives, filling them with lies of who they are.  They live labeled by their diagnosis.  Not all, but I do believe many practitioners prey on these fears.  I fell for it too.  And that's why I do things differently in my practice.   

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Your Creator never called you by your diagnosis.  He called you, Beloved.   And He wants you to experience an abundant life, regardless of your circumstances.  Receive it!  Sometimes this abundance takes form of healing miracles.  Sometimes spiritual growth.  Sometimes beauty in the midst of chaos.  Sometimes bringing hope and inspiration to others facing similar trials.  But you were saved by blood shed so that you could experience abundance.  Live it.  Feel it.  Believe it.

So, I'm here to say, rise above protocol.  Get to know your body.  Take a stand for it.  Love it + nourish it with God's Truth and the food and movement that only your body knows it needs.  Open yourself to healing and grace.  Turn to the only One.  Let go of labels.  And allow Him to lead you on your path towards wellness.  

Peace, Love, + Healing!

xx

[If interested in learning more, head on over to "Contact" and send me over a quick message!  I'd love to hear from you!]

 

Beat the Bloat with Proper Food Combining

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When we think of good 'ol American food, we might salivate over the thought of a good juicy cheeseburger, barbecue sandwich, or hotdog...but ever notice that bloated, heavy, fatigued feeling afterwards?  This feeling is not normal!  Instead, we should be feeling strong and energized after a meal!  So, today I'm going to burst your bubble with a few food combining recommendations to create an environment that promotes better digestion and absorption of minerals.  

More than ever, our bodies are overstressed and undernourished due to processed foods, pasteurization, antibiotics and the like.  And it has affected our inner ecosystem, including our digestive tracts.  It's important to note that how we eat is just as important as what we eat.  Digestion requires a lot of energy, so we want to make the process as efficient as possible!  While the below guidelines can be pretty complex, I'm going to break it down as simple as possible.  If you are struggling with bloating + digestive issues, I encourage you to incorporate the below and see how your symptoms might improve; you might even lose a few lbs in the process!

1.  Eat Protein with Non-Starchy/Ocean Vegetables

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Animal protein is broken down in an acidic environment.  Our stomachs produce hydrochloric acid and the enzyme pepsin when we eat protein.  On the other hand, grains/carbs require an alkaline environment.  Our stomach produces an enzyme call ptyalin to break down carbs.  When protein and carbs are eaten together, the enzymes neutralize each other and inhibit/slow down the digestive process.  As a result, food can putrefy and become toxic, circulating in our bloodstream.  This acidity in our bodies can lead to inflammation and an environment that cultivates disease. 

Therefore, with proper food combining, it is best to eat protein with non-starchy/ocean vegetables.  I know, this means avoiding the burgers and sandwiches!  Eek!  But try it out; see how you feel!

Examples:  Salmon salad with leafy greens. Chicken with broccoli and cauliflower.  

2.  Eat Grains/Starchy Vegetables with Non-Starchy/Ocean Vegetables

Examples:  Grain soups with a mixture of potatoes and veggies.  Rice stir-fry with carrots, mushrooms, snow peas, lime, cumin.  

3.  Eat fruit alone.  

Fruits are simple sugars that break down very quickly in our bodies.  It is best to eat fruit alone and on an empty stomach.  I prefer to eat fruit as a mid-morning snack.  Also, avoid mixing fruits (goodbye fruit salad!).  

Quick tidbits:  

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-Start your morning with a warm mug or room temperature glass of lemon water.  Lemon contains ascorbic acid which stimulates digestion.

-To make it easy, pick one category at each meal:  fruit, starch, animal protein, nuts/seeds.

-Besides fruit, once you pick a food category, fill the rest of your plate with cooked or raw non-starchy veggies.

-Wait 3-4 hours before switching food categories after each meal.  

-Avoid cold or iced drinks as they distinguish your digestive fire.  Stick with room temperature or warm water and herbal teas.  Drink lemon water 20 minutes prior to each meal to further prep digestion.  

-Avoid sugar as it suppresses the immune system and does not combine well with the other food categories.  

-You may want to consider incorporating digestive enzymes to help aid digestion.  

I know it's not what you want to hear; these aren't the most fun guidelines to follow, but next time try that beefy burger on a lettuce wrap and pair it with a nice leafy greens salad.  You might just notice yourself feeling stronger, healthier, more flat-bellied, and energized to take on the rest of your day.  And who doesn't want that!?

To learn more, schedule a complimentary session with me!  I want nothing more than for you to feel healthy, confident, and radiant!  

xx.

 

 

 

 

 

Weekly Wellness + What to Expect!

The weekend is coming to a close, but I wanted to share with you a little about what to expect from me moving forward.  In the next week I'll be posting a VLOG explaining exactly what Mind. Body. Jesus. is all about.  I'll be sharing more about our mission and you will be hearing much, much more from me in the coming days.

Below is our weekly schedule of daily social media posts, so make sure you like/follow my Facebook and Instagram pages to keep up-to-date!  Here is a little background about why each day of the week is important for your overall health and well-being:

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#MusicMonday:  Bottom line, music heals.  And we'll be talking more about how in the coming days.  A few years ago I was certified in an energy practice called Cellular Expansion + Healing.  The basis for this practice is that every single cell, all matter, holds a vibrational frequency.  Those vibrational frequencies can be affected by our environment, our words, trauma, fear, negativity, and the like.  Yet, we have the opportunity to also introduce healing frequencies through words and music.  Consider church on Sunday.  We worship through music.  I stand there singing, focusing on how Great our God is, and a blanket of peace, love, and joy covers me.  I feel a great healing overtake me.  It doesn't matter the chaos going on in my life in that moment because it all fades away into the background and I'm focused on the very Presence that surrounds me.  On #MusicModay I will be posting a song for you to take a few moments to close your eyes, let the lyrics sink into your heart, the healing vibrations enveloping your body, and your mind in total self-reflection.  More on music and frequency therapy to come.

#TuesdaysTip:  I will post a weekly health tip centered around mindfulness, nutrition, exercise, stress reduction, etc.  It's all about promoting a healthy, balanced lifestyle.  I promote "whole" healing in mind, body, and spirit.  Without one, we can't have the others.  It's all about small, simple changes to lay the groundwork for your health!

#WellnessWednesday:  Wednesdays are about education!  With knowledge comes power.  I can't urge enough the importance to become your own health advocate.  Nobody other than the God that created you knows your mind, body, and the state of your soul more than you.  You hold the keys.  You are in the driver's seat.  It's time to get empowered and initiate the changes necessary to meet and exceed your goals.  Never forget that you have the power of God within you!  With Him, all things are possible!

#ThoughtfulThursday:  Ever notice that natural high that follows a good deed from the purity of your heart?  "A generous person will prosper; whoever refreshes others will be refreshed" (Proverbs 11:23).  #ThoughtfulThursday is all about loving others as you love yourself.  If we love others generously, help someone in need, give with the resources God has abundantly provided us with, it takes the focus off of the struggles that we face.  It's no longer about "me"!  And with that, comes refreshment.  While #ThoughtfulThursday is not about boasting about our good deeds, let's share the fullness of God's goodness in return.

#FitnessFriday:  I can't stress enough the importance of moving and using the bodies that we have been blessed with.  Whether stretching, strengthening, or conditioning - all of it has great impact.  It's about making a decision to take action.  Let's release those healthy, happy, "feel good" endorphins.  Let's strengthen your body so you feel confident to go out there and slay the day ahead.  #FitnessFriday will promote exercise and bring you fitness tips, research, and inspiration.

#SelfCareSaturday:  I'm a firm believer that we can't take care of others unless we first take care of ourselves.  Boundaries - both physical and emotional - are essential to our health.  Self-care is not about selfishness, it's about taking a critical time-out, scheduling a date with God, nourishing your mind, body, and soul, and loving yourself the way God loves you.  Self-care is about restoration, grounding, and alignment.  CRITICAL for your whole health. 

#SoulSunday:  "If you cling to your life, you will lose it; but if you give up your life for me, you will find it" (Matthew 10:39).  I can't tell you how liberating it is once you accept this principle into your life.  When we realize that our lives are not about us, but about God, a huge burden is lifted.  Once we surrender that our lives are in His control, the more ease the flow of our lives.  We realize that He is the Author of our stories.  He holds the beginning and the end.  And all of it...every single moment...is to be used for His purposes.  This fact also helped me to walk more confidently knowing that His power is within me.  And He does all things for our ultimate good.  #SoulSunday is all about worshiping Him -- His is love, His freedom, His grace, His healing, His wisdom, His goodness, His peace.  It is He who is everything we need.  May we honor our minds, bodies, and spirits knowing it is all a gift from the Artist that brought them to life.

May each day bring you new life, inspire you, motivate you, and bring you a great healing.  A great new chapter awaits!

xx

 

Running: A Metaphor

I had a Facebook memory pop up in my feed yesterday that reminded me that it was 4 years ago that I had my 2nd knee surgery in a period of 4 months.  It was a long road to recovery,  so I celebrated my working legs by intentionally leaving work a little earlier to go on a prayer run.

I'm not a strong runner yet; I have about 3 straight miles in me for now, but I will get better. And those 3 miles are invaluable to me.  They are my outlet. They clear my head. They push me and challenge me - physically, mentally, and spiritually. They are painful and they hurt. Sometimes I gasp for more air in my lungs. They beg for me to slow down and give up. And in those moments when I don't think I can do any more, I keep calling out to Jesus for help.  I pray for Him to provide me the endurance and the strength for one more step, one more step, one more step... and He does, if I just focus on that one step right ahead of me. And then, I notice a shift, and the pain begins to melt away as I get into a rhythm. The run that was fatiguing me starts to energize me. I start to feel strong and my body tight. I have a natural high.  I feel accomplished.  Peace and joy overtake me. All that begins to matter is this time that I have, just me and God, being completely reliant upon him.

Last night I realized why I have grown to love running; it's a metaphor for life.   It takes me through a series of feelings, both in body and in mind.  I get to a point where I have to make a decision, to give up or push through.  And so I push through, one small step at a time.   If I focus on what more I have ahead, I get overwhelmed.  But if I just focus on what's right in front of me, God gives me strength.  And I realized how blessed I am.  How much I love to feel.  How little I am and how big God is.  How much I need Him in every moment of every day.  How He supplies for my every need.  How He is with me always, never leaving my side.  And all the chaos that surrounds me, it begins to lose its significance as I focus on The Great One. 

Blessed.  Blessed I am.  Blessed we are.

God's Hand is at work in our intricate lives; His love runs deep.  He is molding and refining us.  No matter what we are up against, He loves us and He Has already fought the battle for us.  And He won.

So today, like the full range of emotions experienced on my prayer run, let's embrace life to its fullest.  The joys, the heartbreaks, the unknowns.

God is with us.  He loves us.  He sustains us.  He provides for us.  He fights for us.  He stills waters for us. 

One small step at a time.

xx

The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.  He makes me lie down in green pastures.  He leads me beside still waters.  He restores my soul. (Psalm 23:1-3)

The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.  He makes me lie down in green pastures.  He leads me beside still waters.  He restores my soul. (Psalm 23:1-3)

The Secret to Unleashing Your Glow

With the creative eye gifted to my hubs, sometimes I get to pretend to be a legit model.  My initial shyness seems to disappear, and I start to get lost in this pretend model world.  I ignore the curious stares of passersby and focus on the present moment right in front of me; the camera lens searching deeply into the layers of my soul, hoping to uncover the story that bring me here today.  And in those moments, when everything fades away and it is just me and that camera, my husband captures photographs like the one to your right.  I look into the eyes of the image staring back at me, and I am reminded of the journey.  A journey that hasn't always been easy.  A story of heartbreak, fear, overwhelm, frustration, people pleasing, pain, brokenness, and longing.  But also a story of redemption, of victory.

I find it funny when people who haven't seen me in a while say - "You look great, Lauren!", "You've lost so much weight!", or even "You are glowing!" Truly, I am humbled by the kind words. And today, I'm going to let you in on my secret to radiance. 

Are you ready for it???

...Because it has absolutely nothing to do with me...

That glow...

(Really, it's super simple!)

...is the light of Jesus shining through me!

And because it is He (and He alone) that I thirst after today, I can say with a smile that I am full of peace and joy (even after going through some pretty crappy storms over the past few years!). It is through Him, that I have been rescued from the mental bondage that kept me quiet for a very long time (removing lies and false narratives). It is through Him, that I have gained courage and confidence (trusting His will to be done). It is through Him, that I now diligently live a life of discipline (healthy nutrition/soul-care/physical activity/prayer).  It is through Him, that I have gained the strength to persevere and heal my body from illness (never losing hope or fueling negativity). It is through Him, that I can fully love myself and others (healing and restoring broken relationships with an outpouring of unconditional love). And it is through Him, that I choose to live with intentional obedience to His call (humble submission), even when it doesn't make sense, or it requires taking risks others might not deem realistic or acceptable.

This is the face of victory. The face of Jesus. And it is Love.  Beauty.  Hope.  Forgiveness.  Strength.  Courage.  Confidence.  Trust.  Mercy.  Boldness.  Perseverance.  Wisdom.  And Grace.  

And all of these can be yours too!

If you are interested learning more, or if you are in need of a complete mind/body/soul tune-up - a program that holds you accountable, teaches you to gain an awareness of your own unique body and soul needs,  helps you uncover an abundance of peace and joy in your life TODAY, unleashes your healing potential, and helps you live a life of purpose,  then apply here for a complimentary strategy session with me.  Seasons have gone by, but now is the time...time for you to get your glow!

"As a deer pants for flowing streams, so pants my soul for you, O God."  (Psalm 42:1)

Mmm...Simple, Creamy Homemade Cashew Milk

I realize that I haven't been consistent in my blogging recently, so I've rededicated myself to the blogging process, and I'm coming at you with some fresh new content!  Expect LOTS more mind, body, AND Jesus in your life! 

Today, let's talk cashews. 

Yum!!! I missed them. I have avoided nuts for a while due to some specific nut allergies, trying to heal my gut, and autoimmune issues. But recently, my brain communicated (thanks to some wonderful muscle strength testing techniques) that my body has a need for cashews. We attributed this to my body's current need for some of the healing properties of copper and manganese (in cashews).

Copper: While we only have small amounts in our bodies, it is a key mineral necessary for multiple body systems. Benefits - antioxidant protection, bone and tissue integrity, and energy production.

Manganese: Another important trace mineral! Benefits - bone formation, production of collagen necessary for skin health, blood sugar control, thyroid health, and monitors free radical activity.

Which do you prefer? Left (store bought and full of additives)?  Or right (fresh, homemade, and full of love)?

Which do you prefer? Left (store bought and full of additives)?  Or right (fresh, homemade, and full of love)?

I was about to buy some cashew milk from a local health foods store, but check out that ingredient list (left)! Why do I need all that extra "stuff"? As a purist, I went au natural and made it, with love, in my own kitchen. The photo on the right is my own homemade cashew milk. Easy peasy, I promise.

3 simple ingredients:  raw cashews (1 cup), water (4 cups), honey (1-2 Tbsp).  Soak cashews for at least 4 hours.  Put ingredients in a food processor or blender, and mix until smooth. Strain. Serve chilled.

Smooth, creamy, and delicious!

Enjoy! xx

Prescription for When You are in a Funk

Soapwalla Indulgent Bath Soaking Salts (Lavender & Eucalyptus), "Experiencing God:  Knowing and Doing The Will of God" by Henry and Richard Blackaby, "Without Words: Synesthesia" album by Bethel Music, a deeply connecting soul stroll

Soapwalla Indulgent Bath Soaking Salts (Lavender & Eucalyptus), "Experiencing God:  Knowing and Doing The Will of God" by Henry and Richard Blackaby, "Without Words: Synesthesia" album by Bethel Music, a deeply connecting soul stroll

I hate when I'm in a funk.  I mean, we all have funky days, but I literally cannot seem to tolerate them in my life anymore.  It reminds me of former me.  The me that always felt like a victim.  The me that would get sucked into a dark mole hole, where I hid for far too long.  The me that was fearful.  The me that didn't like herself.  The me that didn't believe in herself.  I look back and I am so thankful that I have been able to grow and mature from that girl.  I have Jesus to thank.  He captured my heart and transformed me from the inside-out.  And I haven't looked back since.

Last week I had a tough day.  I wasn't feeling well to begin with, and then I got some bad news.  To be honest, this past year has been one requiring a constant state of endurance.  The majority of things in my life have not been going as I had planned.  But then again--I guess it isn't up to me.  God, The Author of my life, has something else in store. 

For we are God's handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.  (Eph 2:10)

How amazing is it that God has prepared wonderful things for us in advance?  Things we aren't even aware of quite yet?  A few of my friends and I joke that he has already bought us a puppy...He's just hiding it behind His back waiting for the PERFECT time to present it.  And when it's time, that puppy will come running and jumping into our arms smothering us in those precious puppy dog kisses. 

See, this past year has been one of immense spiritual growth for me.  One that has taught me obedience--the lesson being, DELAYED OBEDIENCE IS DISOBEDIENCE.  All of those little hints, all of the messages in our dreams, all of the tugs at our hearts, all of the moments of inspiration...those are not coincidental.  God is speaking to us constantly, trying to reveal Himself to us.  God doesn't abandon us.  He's right here in all of the muck.  He's whispering to us.  He's telling us to act, not tomorrow or next week or in a few months....but NOW!  He's telling us to step up! And when we act with obedience without hesitation, He will unleash that puppy-full of blessings!  Trust me, I know, we often try to rationalize our way out of the "crazy" ideas that we think we aren't capable of ever achieving...But that only means it is time for us to trust in Him completely.  Time to surrender.  Time to let Him do the work He has set out to complete. 

I make known the end from the beginning, from ancient times, what is still to come.  I say, 'My purpose will stand, and I will do all that I please.'  From the east I summon a bird of prey; from a far-off land, a man to fulfill my purpose.  What I have said, that I will bring about; what I have planned, that I will do.  (Is 46:10-11)

Wow, wow, wow!  How powerful is that verse?  Seriously, reread it and meditate on it.  Let it saturate your soul. Remember, God will always set out to accomplish His good works in you, no matter what the circumstances.  You just have to first put your faith in Him.  Believe.

Okay, so I was feeling yucky the other day and I knew that it was because I had fallen into my flesh.  I had disconnected from the love of God.  So, I chose not to let the enemy of lies get into my head and heart.  I indulged in a day of total self-love and -care.  I relaxed in a hot Epsom Salt bath.  There is something about a hot bath that instantly reconnects and grounds me to my Creator.  Our bodies require minerals to optimally function.  Epsom Salts contain a mineral compound of both magnesium and sulfate, which are easily absorbed by the skin.  Many of us are mineral deficient, one of those minerals being magnesium.  An Epsom Salt bath can help ease stress, relieve joint and muscle pain by decreasing inflammation in the body, alleviate constipation, and eliminate toxins from the body through reverse osmosis.  I encourage an Epsom Salt bath at least weekly!  While soaking in the tub, I played an inspiring, thought-provoking instrumental album in the background.  And I prayed my heart out, completely emptying myself to The Lord, crying cleansing tears.  Yep, emotional tears actually contain stress hormones that are excreted from the body when we cry and stimulates the production of endorphins (feel-good hormones) according to "The Health Benefits of Tears", an article published in Psychology Today (2010).  I intentionally (even kicking and screaming) thanked God for my life and what was yet to come.  I read from one of my favorite, life-changing books.  And, I took myself on a deeply connecting soul stroll (no matter that it just so happened to be one of the coldest days of the season yet! Brrrrrr....!!!  But oh so worth it!)

The result:  I was restored.  I was full of love, hope, and faith that God will complete His works in me.  I trusted my path.  I embraced my failures.  And I believed that God will indeed present that puppy at the most perfect of times.

Rx:  Take care of yourself.  Slow down.  Connect.  Take a hot bath.  Listen to moving music.  Pray.  Thank God for all He is and all He is doing in your life.  Read an uplifting book.  Take a soul stroll.  Act with obedience now.  And enjoy every second of the perfectly woven life you have been gifted with.  Each moment is with great purpose. 

xx