Thursday, March 31, 2016

Thankful Thursday ~ Sunsets

Beauty and blessings surround us everyday. Are we paying attention to these gifts? Sunsets... just one form of God's beautiful creation. I stand in awe of the colors, the glow, the rays... This gift uplifts my spirit; it is a moment that flees quickly, a moment that many have the opportunity to see but miss. I am thankful for this moment captured, to remind me of something bigger, greater and amazing. It is beyond me or any man... it is something that can not be recreated.

What are you thankful for today?

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Candy Free Easter

I hope you all had a wonderful Easter celebration. This was our third or fourth year going completely candy free. With kids that may be kind of rare, but once we realized the allergies we were dealing with we decided we just didn't want to risk health. The good news is, no one misses the candy. Kaelyn still has so much fun. She gets a basket with goodies and she hunts Easter eggs but they are filled with coins. She loves saving up for things to purchase in the future. Egg dyeing is also a hit every year. She had a very memorable Easter celebration at the farm this year and it had nothing to do with candy. :)

Easter morning she was thrilled to find her basket and see what the contents were. She had been begging for a Bible like mine, one that is easier to understand and she got what she wished for but even better... it was pink! Mama almost had to get another one for herself! Ha!

She liked that the eggs had coins in them, but more than that she liked the search. She talked a few family members into hiding them so she could search again and again. Eggs could hold so many other things than coins or candy... we've done words in the eggs that she has to piece together to see what it says, you could also do puzzle pieces, small trinkets, beads, stones... Have you made the search creative? If so, we would love to hear about it.

Thursday, March 24, 2016

Thankful Thursday

"For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only son, 
that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life". John 3:16

I have started reading One Thousand Gifts by Ann Voskamp and it is so good! This book reminds you to stop and think of how many blessings we have been given right now, in this very moment. Presently I am thankful for the beautiful sunshine pouring in through the window, the peace and quiet while Kaelyn is outside having fun with other children, for a warm and cozy home, for being able to design and create from home... there are just so many wonderful gifts. But there is one that exceeds all others and that is the gift of Jesus, given to all of us. Because of Him, salvation, forgiveness of sins, healing, power over evil and so much more is made possible. And we did what to deserve this? All I can say is, I am thankful, very thankful, and all I can do in return is praise God for all these gifts, because they can't be earned. They are freely given to me and to you. We are blessed. I hope you have a wonderful Easter!

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Newsletter... Breakfast Plus

The first Enduring Health Journey newsletter will be coming out towards the end of next week! Recipes, health tips and other inspiration will be included in each letter. Thank you to all those who have already signed up. We are looking forward to sharing more health info with you! This first quarters newsletter will contain some of our breakfast ideas along with the recipe of our favorite which is pictured above. If you are interested in signing up please go to the bottom right of any of the home pages HERE and type in your name and email. We hope you will be inspired. ♥

Friday, March 18, 2016

Uplifting Music ~ Ryan Stevenson

With the wide variety of music to choose from, what draws you in? What causes you to stay on a station and not click on? Is it the tone, the beat, the lyrics? For me the lyrics are important, what really pulls me in is if the message is something I can relate to. I remember in my college days I was all over the place with my music preference. My mood had a lot to do with what I was going to listen to, and often times I was not content until I found something that matched whatever I was dealing with. Sometimes I couldn't find anything going through the many stations available. Fast forward several years and I found Christian rock and surprisingly (or not) I was content with that kind of music... all the time. Sure not every Christian artist is my fave but the messages, the lyrics hit me in a way like nothing else had. I've been stuck on 96.5 and Christian music on Pandora for awhile now, and I know I won't find anything better.

My husband surprised me for our last wedding anniversary with Christian music concert tickets! We really had no idea what to expect, but it turned out to be such an amazing experience! I could definitely take more nights like that with my man. :)

Ryan Stevenson was the opener for the night, and all I have to say is, words are powerful. His "Eye of the Storm" is one of my favorites. He is so easy to listen to and his messages are uplifting, filled with hope. Listen and enjoy HERE.

What are some of your favorite, uplifting songs to listen to. Feel free to share in the comments. I would love to hear!

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Live Simply ~ Restoring Health

One of the key points to restoring our health has been to simplify. We've all heard the saying, "Less is more." But do we really stop to think how important that statement really is? When we first took our health into our own hands, food was our first priority. Hello ingredient labels. Every single item we picked up at a store, the ingredient list was read. If you have food allergies or have a family member with them you are probably aware of how important this task is. But everyone who suffers from not feeling their best should really start looking into what is actually in the foods they are eating. The fewer the ingredients the better. Make sure you know what the ingredients are. If it states something you haven't heard of you might not want to be eating it. And if there are artificial or GMO ingredients listed, put the box back on the shelf. Seriously, you don't want to be doing your body more harm! Another common saying, "You are what you eat." Are you junk? No. Do you eat junk? Well, if you do you might not be feeling so great and if you don't feel the repercussions now you most likely will sometime in the future. I know this very well. Oh how I loved to eat a LARGE bag of M&M's, plain or peanut... I was happy. I was also very happy eating an entire box of macaroni and cheese, and no, not the homemade, healthier version. I vividly remember my husband telling me how terrible the mac & cheese was, that it WAS NOT cheese! I paid no attention to him. I loved the taste, didn't feel bad when I ate it, so I ate a lot of it. Down the road I most definitely paid the price for how I treated my body. You could say I fed my body trash, and I was becoming what I was eating. I felt terrible!

So back to simplifying... we had to take steps. First my daughter and I made the move to what we thought was healthier, premade gluten, dairy, egg, nut free products in the health aisle. If it is in the health aisle it should be healthy, right? Not so much. Marketing friends, can be quite evil. Claims on a box, fancy packaging, commercials and such does not mean an item is good for you. Smart marketing means more sales and more money made. Being a graphic designer, I have worked in marketing. Its all about making something look good to make a sale, so beware of who's pocket you are filling. Is it someone who cares about your health? When our health was still failing, we had to look more seriously into what we were eating. Our food list was then simplified... a lot. Try an ingredient list with only one ingredient. Pure, nothing else added, certified organic... free of chemicals and other harmful substances... this was our healing food. This kind of food restores the body. A way to feel good and alive again... it is food simplified. Grow it, eat it. Buy meats/produce from a Farmers Market. Know where your food comes from. It's worth it to feel good, so do what you can to eat good. It makes a BIG difference!

Living simply doesn't end with food. Look at what's around you, what you put on your skin, what you use on your laundry, all your cleaning supplies... the environment that surrounds you. Less is more. Again, we made several changes. It took time, but we simplified and honestly it is quite freeing to be rid of so much... junk. I still need to work on simplifying clutter in my home but I'll get there... in time. Begin with one step. If I can do it, you can do it. My fridge is clean and only houses what we need for the week, healthy food. My shampoo is one ingredient. Same with my conditioner. I had no idea that two simple ingredients plus water could clean my hair so well. Our laundry detergent is non-toxic and hypoallergenic. Our soaps are simplified. Our water is now filtered and free of contaminants. Yay! We have made so many changes and I will be sharing what we have done over the next few weeks. Be purposeful with a positive mindset to live simply, healthier and your entire body will thank you. Don't wait, start now.

Friday, March 11, 2016

Heavy on my heart... time... purpose.

I promise to share more health related posts as well as other sources of inspiration, but first I feel the need to share something that has been weighing heavily on my heart. It has to do with time. Time seems to flee so quickly. We are always rushing to do this or that. Before we know it the day has come to an end, and no matter if we accomplished all we set out to do, the day is finished... we close our eyes to hopefully be blessed with another day. When we look back at our day, how we spent our time, do we find purpose, or has it passed by in a blur with us not even really paying attention to what all happened. Were we thankful for the blessings that were poured upon us throughout the day? Or were we too busy to even notice... the blessings. Do we even think our day was a blessing? Anyone of us, or our loved ones could pass at any given moment. Are we thankful for the time we have, right now? For so long I have gone about my days, thinking I need to get this done, how I wish I had time to do that, praying for changes I wanted to see happen. Looking back I was focused on what I wanted. Sometimes I would get lost in the very things I wanted; wanting to control things to make certain situations happen, wanting to get certain things done to try to get ahead. But was I truly getting ahead? Was what I was spending my time doing, possibly meaningless? Time... it flees quickly. Are we making the most of it? We are given the choice of setting our priorities of what we will do and get done in a day. If we take the time to look at the greater picture, our entire day, everything we touch, see, taste, hear is a gift. Our time is a gift. If you believe in the Lord, you know where these gifts come from... God, the source of all good things. Knowing He is the giver, He is the Creator, are we taking time for Him? Are we praising Him for all He has given us? If we go out of our way to do something nice for someone else, don't we hope to get a thank you in return? We like to know the other person was touched, grateful for whatever we did, right? Otherwise we might start to think it was a waste of our time. Well, if God is constantly giving to us and never feels or sees any gratefulness from us, why would we expect Him to keep giving? Why is it we often need to be brought to desperation before we make the time to pray and talk to God. In actuality are we just demanding more from Him? It seems like it is usually in the hard times when we make it a point to cry out to Him for help, but why should He listen when He was never given any time beforehand? God, the Creator of all, has left us one very important tool, a book that shows us all how to live the very best life possible. If we turn to Him, put our focus on Him, He promises to heal our land... not in the future, but now. I challenge you to read the Bible for yourself. His promises are huge, powerful... life changing. And I feel bad I haven't taken the time to get to know Him better before. But now I am thankful because he has given me more time, to understand Him, His ways... directly and through His word via the Bible. Making time for Him daily, praying, reading His word, allowing Him to guide me has changed me. He is making me better on so many different levels. I want this so bad for everyone. God is the only way to a better life and it is possible for everyone who makes time for Him. We are His children, He loves us no matter what, but His great desire is for us to love Him in return, but in order for us to do that, we need to take the time for Him, to get to know Him, to build a relationship with Him, where in the end we fall in love with Him with our whole heart, we see Him clearly for all He has done for us. Jesus died to give us more than salvation. He died to free us. He took the curse from us on the cross. He wants us to know ALL things are truly possible for us NOW because he blessed us with the Holy Spirit to dwell in each believer. Hello power! It is right there, in me, in YOU waiting to be used! I believe He truly wants the very best for each and every one of us, but are we taking the time to find out what that is, where He wants to guide us? This is where our purpose will be found. This is were we will be fulfilled... through Him. I pray you will take time for Him every day. It is a choice to be made by you. I know I have become thankful for all the gifts God has given me, big and small, the beauty that surrounds me, health, family, home, good food.... I know He answers prayers, I want Him to always answer me, so I am determined to set aside time for Him and to praise Him for all His good gifts, that I am so undeserving of.

Action Plan:
If you are an unbeliever/atheist I encourage you to reconsider, to do research for yourself. I suggest learning about C.S. Lewis and his findings. I think that if you want hope of better things to come you can find it if you search. Knowledge is powerful. Learn all you can and be open to the words found in the Bible. See if it speaks to you... it could be life changing.

The Bible: This is a very important book. You could call it a map for your life. There are even treasures to be found within, but only by you, by reading it yourself. There are so many different Bibles out there, you have to find one that is easy for YOU to understand. I was surprised how much my daughter's Bible differed from my own. Even though hers was a kids addition, it was hard to understand. Who wants to read something that is difficult? You won't be able to get much out of it if the wording isn't clear to you. I love mine. It is the New International Version Holy Bible with Helps, Words of Christ in Red Letter, by Zondervan. It is the easiest one I have found to understand and be true. I am sure there are many other great ones.

Make Time: Try setting aside atleast 10 minutes a day to pray and read the Bible. Maybe read the Bible for 10 minutes and pray while you are driving, taking a shower, doing dishes. Pray continually throughout your day. God is always listening and enjoys hearing from you. Making time to read the Bible may be more difficult, but I bet you can if you truly want to make Him a priority. Take time out from watching t.v. or from using the many forms of technology... iPad, iPod, computer, facebook, instagram, twitter, texting..., games, magazines, other reading material... you can always find time if you want to. You can even read the Bible with your child before bed... just a few suggestions.

Have Fun! Enjoy your journey while learning about God. Praise Him for the good you see in your day or through His word. A thankful heart is a joyful heart. I don't know about you, but I would much rather choose joy rather than any kind of stress/pain/hurt. Joy is healing, physically, emotionally and spiritually. Always remember, you are blessed!

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Recipe ~ Venison Roast & Red Cabbage

I have to laugh when I think back to my life before healthy eating. I had never bought cabbage let alone eaten it... until I accidentally quickly grabbed a green cabbage head from the grocery story thinking I was getting a head of lettuce, probably to go with some Mexican dish. When I got home and unwrapped it I thought this doesn't look like lettuce and I tried a bite and thought it was completely disgusting. Oh, how I've come a long way!!! Although I threw out that first head of cabbage I now buy green and red cabbages regularly and love it! My family does too. My daughter has not been a big fan of roasts. She thinks the meat is too chewy. On one of the days I wanted to try something new or just didn't have another veggie to pair the meat with I decided to try it with red cabbage, and it was good. So good, my daughter ate her whole bowl full without any complaint and wanted more. :) Red cabbage is a bit sweeter than the green and was a yummy compliment to the venison. This easy to make dish works great for anyone on a limited diet due to allergies, Candida, or pretty much any health issue. I certainly enjoy making dishes that don't require a lot of time and work... this is a good match. We hope you will like it as much as we do.

Venison Roast & Red Cabbage

1 venison roast (or beef roast~we get organic grass fed beef)
5 stalks organic celery (more or less to your liking)
1-2 onions (we usually use white but any color is fine)
1 large garlic clove - finely chopped
sea salt

First wash the celery well and cut about every inch. Line the bottom of your crock pot with the celery chunks. Then peal the onion(s). Cut in thicker pieces, not too small. Layer the onion over the celery. Then put your roast on top, and the finely chopped garlic pieces on top of the roast. Cook on low til done. (mine usually goes from about lunch time to supper on low. Towards the end add sea salt and freshly ground pepper.

1 small to medium red cabbage head
2 large garlic cloves - finely chopped
1/4 tsp sea salt (about)
1 rounded tablespoon coconut oil

Preheat oven at 400. While it is warming add coconut oil to baking dish (I use 3 quart glass pyrex; if you use a larger dish either shorten baking time or lower temp to 375) and put in oven to melt. Wash cabbage and cut into bite size pieces. Part way through cutting cabbage take out the coconut oil that should now be melted and add chopped garlic and sea salt. Stir well. Finish cutting the cabbage and add it to the pan. Mix it well with the oil mixture and put in the oven to bake for 15 min. After time is up take out and stir, the top parts of the cabbage may be getting browned make sure they get put down towards the bottom of the dish. Put back in the oven for an additional 10-15 min. Make sure not to overcook the cabbage or it won't have as much flavor. When cabbage is almost done cut roast into bite size pieces and pair it with the cabbage when baking time is complete. Add more seasoning to the dish if you so choose. Serve and enjoy!

Friday, March 4, 2016

It starts with one...

One thought, one choice, one word, one moment, one person, one step to make change happen. One purpose can be powerful. I have one thought, that there is only one who can change my life, your life, for the better. If I only had one moment left in my life I would reach out to one. That one would not be my husband, my daughter, or even a close family member...

I would reach out to God and pray! Believer in God or not, please continue reading. You see, I would not have always made this choice. Not all that long ago, I was struggling, I felt like I was in a dark, hopeless
pit and it was then that I made one choice, to put my one main focus on God, and everything changed. When I made a point to have a relationship with Him, to make a priority to read His word and learn about Him I found my one purpose. I found one way of living that exceeds all else and I can't withhold it. I found that through reading the old testament (in my New International Version Bible) that it takes only one person to walk in the ways of the Lord to have victory over all forms of evil/battles faced. Every person who put their one main focus on God had victory! I think that is amazing and exciting! I've seen this to be true from experience in my own life, through our health battles. I listened and took the doctor's advice, I tried to take control over situations to regain health for my daughter and myself, but things did not change for the better until I cried out to one that was far greater... God. If you haven't asked Him for help in whatever you are going through I strongly encourage you to do so. If you earnestly seek Him, make Him your one and only focus, to ask Him for guidance, your life will be forever changed and for the better. Guaranteed!

Back to if I only had one moment left to live... I would pray, because I know God could change the situation if it was a great desire of mine to have a different outcome. I know He is all-powerful. My life lies in His hands. I know He wants the best for me and I know He wants His word shared with others, which can't be done by me if I am dead. I know without a doubt ALL things are possible with Him. He shares this promise in His Word several times. He showed me the story of Hezekiah, who walked in the ways of the Lord, but became very ill and was told he was not going to survive. Hezekiah cried out to the Lord, he said one important prayer to One greater, and God answered. God blessed him. Hezekiah was healed and given a longer life. I have seen this happen personally more than once, where someone was given a terrible outlook from their doctor but by faith and prayer the situation was flipped. The prayers were heard and answered! There is always hope with God. There is joy and peace with God.

The one thought that I want everyone to think about and know is that there is ONE creator, one healer, one provider, one God who is above all else and He answers prayers to those who seek Him and walk in His ways. Why wouldn't you put your focus on Him when that is the one way to live your best possible life? I know I want the best for my life, I want the best for my daughter, for my family. Our only way to have victory is with God, so I will make my one main priority, God. What will your choice be? One step forward... in faith? We have one life, one serious choice to make, God's way or our own way? I don't know about you, but I tried my own way on more that one occasion and I failed greatly. But I am thankful for the failure, because I learned a much better way.

Have a blessed weekend!

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Seeing the Positive

I have to say, since having such nice weather this past weekend with temps reaching the high 50's, it was a little disappointing to wake up to a bunch of snow and frigid temps. Oh the wonderful South Dakota weather. But when I looked out the window a few times I saw the sparkles and it made me smile. Whether the sparkles show up in freshly fallen white snow or ice in the trees, it is beautiful. I am reminded there is good in every situation. Sometimes it may take longer to see but there is always something good. Just as in our roller coaster of a health journey, there were some really tough times, but now we can see the good. We see purpose and learned so much. Our experience made us better. It made us stronger. I am thankful for it all. I hope you can find beauty in the life that surrounds you at this very moment. Just as the sparkles quickly disappear, our lives are also quickly changing, enjoy what you can in whatever situation you find yourself in. This moment is temporary.

Snow Angels and Sparkles!