3 Day Challenge

We are only 8 days away from the new year, 2014 is almost here. Here come the New Year Resolutions!

Here are some of the old favorites:

new years resolutions

I think you set yourself up for failure with such huge expectations, and all to start on one day. Ugh. Just the thought of tackling the huge lists is overwhelming. So where do you begin, and what can you do?

I can’t tell you how to be a more patient mother or father. I can’t force you to go to the gym everyday. I can’t go shopping with you and tell you not to buy that purse, the one you don’t need. I can help you start small with changing just a bit in your diet.

I offer up to you a really simple 3-day challenge.

I recently fell off the wagon. My cheese addiction had reared its ugly head and taken over my life. I literally could not get enough. My mom tells me that as a little girl all I wanted was cheese, grilled cheese, mac and cheese, veggies with cheese, just plain cheese. It makes me feel good. When I eat cheese I definitely feel a change in the chemicals in my brain, a release of dopamine, a rush. Ah, yes it’s my feel good food. At times I can control it, at times I just become lazy and give in to the dopamine rush.

i love cheese

That pretty much sums it up for me.

I returned from California last week and decided it was time to make a change. I honestly thought that I was going to struggle to give up dairy. My goal is not to forever eliminate, but to temporarily eliminate. What happens when you cut that leg off for a while? I was going to find out.

The past month I have been in severe pain everyday. I recently had my thyroid medication lowered down, and it has negatively impacted my body. The pain in my joints is at an all time high. Dairy causes inflammation, it didn’t take me but a second to realize it was the first thing I needed to let go.

I was at a point where I was eating dairy at every meal. I wasn’t sure if I was going to be able to just stop that on a dime.

I did!

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My goal was to get to a place where I could eat small amounts of dairy. I am typically not one who can just eat a little dairy, if it is in front of me I will eat a lot of it. I wanted to get to a place where I could take it or leave it, enjoy it as a treat, rather than a staple of my diet.

Tuesday of last week I started the day with my intention. I would not eat any dairy. I made it the first day and by the second day my craving was starting to wean. By the end of the second day I wasn’t even thinking about dairy. The 3rd day came and went uneventfully. Here I am on day 7 and I have only had a tiny amount of dairy. I made delicious meatballs with our deer meat on Friday. I used a small amount of parmesan cheese in the meatballs, I didn’t even eat any when I was grating it. Huge success. It only took 3 days to re train my brain.

You can do it. Don’t bog yourself down with a huge list of resolutions that you HAVE to attain. Start small, make it manageable. Give yourself 3 days. Is there food that you want to eliminate from your diet? Is there a shift in your eating patterns that you want to change? Give yourself 3 days. I am not telling you that this is a magic pill. I am not saying that in 3 days you can go from eating McDonald’s everyday to eating a raw food diet, and be forever changed. What I am telling you is that you can help shift food cravings and habits in a short amount of time. Once you begin to make the shifts you must keep moving forward. Keep finding other replacement foods for your new diet. Keep making small changes along the way. You can’t climb to Mt. Everest in one day, and you can’t completely change your life in one day either. You can climb the  small summits along the way. You can ascend just a bit each day. You will eventually get to the top.

What are some of the changes you want to make on your 3 day challenge? I would love to hear from all of you. What small summit do you think you can make in your 3 days?

I am so excited to hear from all of you!

I say a little prayer for you.

I was born Jewish. We practiced Judaism as a family until my father’s death in 1983. I have spent time in many synagogues and churches over the years, I am always willing to experience something new. I don’t consider myself a religious person, but more of a spiritual person. I married into a Southern Baptist family, it was quite a culture shock. It was not normal practice for me to pray at meal times, it was something I had to get used to doing. Almost a decade later we still pray at meal time. I actually like it now, and so do my kids.

Over the last few years my children have been very interested in praying before dinner. I think it is a great practice to put into place.

Here’s what I know about praying before a meal with your kids.

Teaching your kids gratitude is crucial. We live in a very hectic world, we need to slow down. Teaching gratitude for all the things we have in our lives is an invaluable lesson, one your kids will never forget.

My kids say meal prayers like this.

Thank you for the sun, thank you for the farmers who grew the food, thank you for hats, thank you for my brother, thank you for money, thank you for mommy and daddy, thank you for friends, thank you for family.

 It’s such a great practice that my kids are really serious about.

thank you

I  believe that stopping before we put the food in our mouths helps set the tone for our meal. Let’s stop and acknowledge the people who sit with us, acknowledge our food, take a minute to settle in, and then move on to a peaceful and enjoyable meal.

The culture today is eat fast, drive fast, talk fast, and get to where your going fast. Meal time is something really special. We should help our children see that showing gratitude for your plate is a way to slow down and really see what is in front of them.

We also want to teach our children gratitude for all the food they eat. Children need to know where food comes from. My kids know because we raise our own chickens, turkeys and have a large garden, but so many children don’t know. Not all kids live on farms. We can help all of our kids understand that food doesn’t come from the grocery store. We can teach our children to thank the farmers who grow the vegetables or the dairy cows. We can thank the sun for shining so the food grows. We can thank the animals who gave their life(if you are meat eaters). I know this sounds airy fairy to some of you, but it works.

We need to understand the impact that producing food has on our planet. Children today need to know how hard it truly is to produce the food they eat. Let’s teach gratitude for that food, and hey, maybe they can even start to learn that mommy and daddy work really hard to give them that nourishing meal.

We started a new rule in my house, meal times are a quiet time for us to sit and be together as a family. We can’t always be together to eat as a unit, but when we do, it is family time. There is no television on, no music playing, and no electronics at the table. Yes, that means mom and dad put their phones down too!  I keep candles lit nearby and we are learning how to listen to each other. We all take turns talking about our day, and we don’t interrupt the person who is talking. You think to set the mood when your on a date, well set the mood for your family, they are just as special.

prayer meal time

Take back meal time as a special time. Slow down. Chew your food. Show your gratitude for your loved ones and the food on your plate.

Namaste lovelies!

The Ghosts of Past

In July of 2011 we lost our home. It was a great house, it was our first house. It was the biggest house I had ever lived in. It had beautiful granite counter tops, beautiful hardwood floors, a huge kitchen, a bedroom that could sleep 4 people, a whirlpool tub to soak away the day in, and a perfectly manicured lawn. I can honestly say that living in that house made me feel secure, it made me feel that I was finally settled.

All of that changed in 2008. It was the first year that things started to go south with the economy. Year after year things got worse but I kept saying that all would be okay. I never gave up hope that our lives would stay the same. Well, they didn’t. When it was time we finally had to let go. We moved into a rental home and never looked back. I tucked away all the sad feelings into the furthest part of my brain. It was over.

We moved into a home that had more land, the house was really small, and I really struggled at first. My husband was thrilled , we were in the woods and he had more freedom. We began to build our lives over. We got chickens and goats and built a huge ramp in the backyard (my husband is a skatepark builder). Then as luck would have it the house next door came up for sale and it had even more land. It was a steal, it needs a lot of work, but slowly it is coming together.

We have even more animals now, turkeys and ducks now call my land their home too. I still dream of my big kitchen and a bathroom that feels like a spa getaway. In time….

Then in October I got invited to a party back in the old neighborhood. Ah, the ghosts of my past come back to haunt me. I kept telling myself I was fine, going to the party would be fine.

The day of the party came. I almost felt sick to my stomach. I would have to look at all the old neighbors, all the people who saw us lose our house, lose our life. I started to feel a deep sadness. I wasn’t sure where it was coming from, I had moved past all of that, I thought. Our lives were better now. We barely have any bills, we live a much simpler life, and things are so much easier, right?

It was about an hour until the party. I felt my heart beating in my chest and I was anxious. I didn’t know what I would say to all those people. I started doing my nervous twitch and my OCD kicked in. I count on my fingers when I get nervous or anxious. I wandered around the house and realized I was actually really sweaty. What the heck was going on inside me? I didn’t want to drive past my old house. I didn’t want to see it or ever remember it. It represented so much more than just a house we lost. To me it felt like a failure, a big fat in your face you couldn’t make it. I felt sick to my stomach. I had to go to the party and put on my best face, let nobody know that I was a wreck inside. How could this be so hard, it’s just a house, some wood and plywood with a few stones on the front, that’s all. It was starting to look like I was the house, the structure that couldn’t see it through, I was the thing that was lost. I didn’t know where the house ended and I began.

Truth be told, at the heart of it all was the “what will they think of me” that drives all of my anxiety. One of my biggest challenges in life is letting go of what “they” think of me. So I put on that pretty party face and got in my car and went to the party.

Walking up the driveway I whispered to myself, ‘let it go’ and I did. My sister Jennifer often uses this quote in her writings and workshops. It is a favorite of mine. I had no choice I was getting dragged, I had to let it go.

Let-go-or-be

I walked in and let my ghosts go back to the place that they came from, the past. It was a great party. I had such a good time. Nobody really cared that we lost our house, that we were struggling, or that we weren’t where we used to be. Nobody said a word. Everybody was amazing. In fact in reality we aren’t the only ones who are struggling now. It turns out that having gone through the fire can help somebody else who is in the pit now.

I don’t particularly enjoy the feeling of anxiety, it sucks. This is what my ghosts do, they come back for a visit, and stir the pot up. I can take their hand and walk the road with them, or I can leave them in the car and go to the party.

Here is what I know:

If you lose it all then you have a big open place to fill back up.

and most importantly what I learned from Dr. Seuss

You have brains in your head.
You have feet in your shoes.
You can steer yourself 
any direction you choose. 
You’re on your own. 
And you know what you know.
And YOU are the one who’ll decide where to go….Dr. Seuss, Oh! The Places You’ll Go!
US author & illustrator (1904 – 1991)

And then there is always a handstand on a skate ramp with goats. Now that is living.

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