Women Unite!

You can always tell who the strong women are.  They are the ones you see building each other up, instead of tearing each other down.” –unknown

I couldn’t agree more with this quote and have made it a priority to notice, acknowledge and compliment the strong, beautiful women that I cross paths with.  A stranger in the store, waitress, flight attendant, friendly face at the gym, exotic woman on the beach on my vacation…any women who has made a positive impression on me, I will share my sincere compliments with them and I truly enjoy the impact it has on them.   I know what I feel like when I receive a compliment from another woman; it brightens my day and makes me feel a little stronger, more confident and united with that woman.  Have you tried this?

Sadly this was not always the case for me, it took 34 years and some life changing experiences to get to this point (and I am 38 next month!).

As a young, newly married woman I was insecure with my looks and my body, especially around beautiful, confident women.  I didn’t share that with many people and I didn’t come across inferior or insecure, in fact most people thought I was a very confident person; I was confident in my talents and abilities but not so much in my own skin.  I will admit that looking back at pictures, I was fit and looked pretty darn good, especially after having babies!  Why do we do that to ourselves?

I will share my thoughts on why I struggled with self-confidence and how that affects others.

PERFECTION

I felt that to be loved, accepted, wanted and needed I had to be perfect in every aspect.  My hair, makeup, and especially my body had to look like the models or like the beautiful women I would run into daily that I envied for their slim, lean, “perfect” bodies.  I compared my faults with their strengths.  This only set me up for failure and unsatisfactory standards that I could never meet as well as jealousy toward others.

 

LACK OF MATURITY

Yes, I am calling myself immature and if you are reading this and have felt this post describes you then I guess I am calling you immature as well.  What I mean is that I was so focused on myself and what I felt I should look like but also what I felt others thought I should look like.  Most people are so focused on themselves that they don’t really care about me, they are doing the same thing comparing my strengths with their weakness.  Exhausting.  Having daughters of my own, facing trials and learning opportunities, my perspective changed and I began to realize that 1- life is too short to be so critical of myself and I began to be grateful for the things I could do and the things that I have.  2- I didn’t want my daughters feeling the same way about themselves so I had to change something.  3- Gaining a closer relationship with my Father in Heaven and realizing that I am blessed to be me and that WHO I am is much more important than what I look like.  Don’t get me wrong, I still work on being fit and healthy but my insecurities have lessened drastically!  Stages in life and experiences in life change our perspective and in my case helped me mature.

 

BEING IN THE WORLD NOT OF THE WORLD

I cared too much about what others thought of me more than I cared about what God (my Father in Heaven) thought of me.  Our world focuses more on what we look like, what is “cool” or in style and what is socially acceptable more than how we treat others, our relationship with God, serving, loving and holding standards, morals and values.  When I began to release emotions I was holding onto for years, implementing positive thoughts and words into my mind, applied the atonement of Christ and humbled myself to care more what God thought of me, I transformed and have become a different, better person and more confident in WHO I AM.  This has created a confidence to be able to look at another woman and appreciate her beauty and be able to express positive comments instead of feelings of insecurity and feeling threatened.

Imagine what a strong community we as women can build when we are able to recognize someone else’s talents or beauty and compliment them rather than scowl, think negative thoughts and put down another.  Women need to unite and be the example to the youth of how to build one another up instead of tear each other down.  Start today with yourself by saying positive affirmations and then when you see a woman who may have different strengths than you, compliment her and mean it.  We are powerful when we as woman unite!

 

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Recipe Share!

Time for another recipe share (or two) that is easy, delicious and healthy!  On the menu today is Crockpot Chicken Tacos and Gluten Free Banana Bread.  The chicken is so diverse and can be customized which my kids love, it’s in the crockpot which I love and the banana bread is a gluten free treat that we can all enjoy and is completely devoured by my whole family.

CROCKPOT CHICKEN TACOS

1 taco seasoning packet or use homemade

6 frozen tenderloins or 3 breasts (if fresh, takes 2-3 hours less cooking)

2 cup fresh pico de gallo

1/4 c olive oil

1/4 c water

***Spray the crockpot with non-stick spray.

Take taco seasoning packet and cover the bottom of the crockpot.

Lay the chicken on top of the seasoning.

Cover chicken with pico.

Pour water and olive oil on top of everything.  Do not stir.

Cook 6 hours on high if frozen, 4 hrs on high if fresh.

Shred chicken and cook for 3o minutes more.  Serve on tortillas (we use gluten free) with sour cream, lime and anything else you desire.

 

GLUTEN FREE BANANA BREAD

Find the recipe Here (which I modified to my liking)

2 cups gluten free all purpose baking flour

1 tsp. baking soda

1/4. tsp. salt

4 eggs

2 c. mashed ripe bananas (4-5 medium)

1 c. sugar (I use 1/2 c sugar, 1/2 c stevia

1/2 c. applesauce unsweetened (I use homemade)

1/3 c. canola oil (or any oil you prefer- I like coconut oil)

1 tsp. vanilla

add chocolate chips or walnuts if desired (I like to use cacoa chips)

***Mix dry ingredients together.

Mix wet ingredients in separate bowl.  Combine wet and dry ingredients and mix well.  Put mixture in (2) 8×4 bread pans.

Bake at 350′ for 45-55 minutes.  Cool and enjoy!

 

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Sibling Rivalry Solutions

I’ve been blessed to be the mother of children with strong personalities.  I know many moms can relate!  Some days the kids get along great, but other times it seems like they argue almost constantly!  And it drives me cRaZy.  If I only knew what fighting children did to a mother, I would have been a much better child.  But deep down, I’m grateful they’re so strong.  Strong-willed children can turn into leaders with steadfast convictions if we help them learn to channel their strength for good.

Why the contention?

Sibling rivalry is natural for kids.  We believe children are innocent through the Atonement of Jesus Christ, but “when they begin to grow up, sin conceiveth in their hearts”.  It’s true that children can be delightful, loving, and sweet, but they can also be petty, selfish, and demanding.  And it’s up to us as adults to teach them a better way.

I am so passionate about this.  My greatest desire right now is to have peace in our home.  In fact, for every Christmas or Birthday or Mother’s Day gift- when the kids ask me what I want, each time I say, “PEACE.”  My 4-year old misunderstood me, he recently said, “Mommy, for mudders day, “I’m gonna give yew peas.”  So cute.  But that wasn’t exactly what I had in mind!

When we allow contention in our homes, it negates everything we try to do as mothers.  We work so hard to create a warm and loving atmosphere.  We try to keep our homes clean and orderly and pleasant for those we love.  We try to teach our children good values and principles.  But if the spirit of the Lord is not present- what’s the point of any of it?  Without the spirit, our teaching does very little.  The Holy Spirit is the great teacher.  The Holy Spirit carries truth to their hearts.  The Holy Spirit is what helps them develop their own testimony, the very thing they will need most as we send them off into the world.

What to do about it?  

Thankfully we’ve been blessed with the ultimate parent how-to guide.  The scriptures have the answers to all our parenting questions.  The Lord created our children.  He knows them better than we do and He knows how to help us reach them.  But it’s up to us to turn to Him and ask for guidance, and recognize we can’t do this alone.  He will lead us to the answers that He’s already given us in His word.  There are thousands of parenting books out there- and many are wonderful.  But the information often seems to change based on the latest study and contradicts itself.  Thankfully, we have access to a timeless parenting manual… and the author is God, Himself.  What a tremendous blessing!

I’d like to offer a few suggestions here based on the scriptures and experience (usually learned the hard way ;))

 

This does not work:

Lecturing/Nagging–  It belittles our children, sends the message that they can’t think for themselves, and it rarely reaches their hearts.  Basically- it’s ineffective.
And, ye afathersbprovoke not your cchildren to wrath: but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord. (Ephesians 6:4)

This can also provoke children to feelings of anger and defensiveness.  But when we nurture them in the ways of the Lord and gently teach them- it allows the spirit to speak the truth to their hearts.

Yelling– The scriptures teach that a soft answer turneth away wrath.  (Proverbs 15:1)  It’s hard to supress our own anger and frustration with our children- especially when they are disobedient and bickering.  But we are the adults, right?  They are looking to us to be the example.  I find that I must prepare myself each day spiritually- and take the time to be at peace within before my kids wake up.  That might include prayer and scripture study, uplifting music, exercise, or whatever I need to do to be the stable and calm mother my kids deserve.

Stepping in/ Being the judge–  As we try to determine who was the offender and who was right during an argument, it only seems to create jealousy and blaming and more rivalry among our children.  I think it’s best to allow them the opportunity to work things out.  If we step in every time to solve all their problems, they’ll never learn how to get along without us.

Punishments– only causes more friction in the home and often resentment toward the parent.

 

These methods WORK:  (Kids still have their choice, but these principles will set them up for the best chance of success:)

Example– As much as I’d love to leave this one off the list, I know how important this is.  When I’m stressed out or have a short temper, my children feel the tension and they often react accordingly.  It’s actually a little intimidating to realize how much influence our attitude can have on them.  But we can choose to be a role model of positivity and love, despite our moods or circumstances.

Prevention:  When our family is consistently praying together, studying scriptures, and holding regular FHE (family home evening) there is much more peace in our home and our kids are much more likely to get along.  I know these practices foster unity among us, and increase the spirit of reverence in our home.

Another practical tip about prevention- We need to be aware of when and what our kids argue about, and try to find ways around it.  For example, we used to have plates for the kids in all different colors.  For some reason everyone wanted the green one.  (Don’t ask me why)  And they would argue over it almost every time we had dinner.  I got sick of it, so I gave those away and bought all white bowls.  Also each kid has an assigned seats, and their own day to say the prayer, etc.  We can look for simple solutions to prevent contention in our homes before it happens.

Look for the Good!-  It’s so important to catch our kids getting along with each other.  Notice it- and reinforce that behavior with praise, affection, and other forms of positive reinforcement.

Teach them to apply the Gospel of Jesus Christ-   This is not the same as preaching.  We can help them understand the effect of their behavior on others.  We can teach them about Christ and His life of love and sacrifice.  We can teach them about repentance, and the importance of prayer.  One idea is to pray with our children- individually.  Recently, the kids were fighting over a toy, and one of them lashed out and was really upset.  So I took him to another room to pray.  Just him and me.  I asked him to offer the prayer- he didn’t want to, but I waited on my knees until he offered it.  Finally, his heart softened, he repented, and love and unity was restored in our home.

Love and Serve one another-

But ye will teach them to walk in the ways of truth and soberness; ye will teach them to love one another, and to serve one another. (Mosiah 4:15.)

One idea to break up an argument- a friend told me when they started quarreling, their parents made them hold hands and sing a song about love and family.  She said they couldn’t help but laugh- and it immediately dispelled the negativity and helped them feel close again.  Love that!  Here’s another idea- Give them all cut-out hearts and have them do a chore, or write a note, or any kind act of service for someone in the family and leave the heart behind as a token of their love.

Since no success in life can compensate for failure in the home, this cause is noble and of greatest importance.  There will be times we mess it all up.  There will be moments we feel like failures.  But thankfully we know that we only truly fail when we stop trying.  So mommas, keep on trying.  Keep on striving for peace and harmony in the home.  It will be worth our every effort.

 

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Healthy Recipes: Chicken and a Treat

I love finding yummy, healthy recipes, that my 4 kids and husband all love and I approve of. I search a lot of paleo and gluten free sites since that’s what agrees with our bodies- I have a highly gluten sensitive child, 2 moderate gluten sensitive kids and I try to stay away from gluten, lactose and refined sugar as much as possible. I thought I would share a couple of my favorite recipes with you to try! Chicken and a treat is on the menu today.

This comes from the paleomg blog. I use it often and have found some meals and desserts that are DELISH!

Crispy Chicken Dippers  or as I call them Chicken Nuggets:

Prep time:  20 mins     Cook time:  10 mins   Total time:  30 mins
Serves: 3-4
Ingredients
1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breast, cut into strips (your choice is size)
1 egg, whisked
1 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
½ cup almond flour
pinch of salt
coconut oil, for greasing pan
Maple Mustard Paleo Chef Sauce (for dipping)
Instructions
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Cut chicken into strips.
In a shallow bowl, whisk together egg. In another shallow bowl, mix together coconut, almond flour and salt.
Dredge chicken strips in the whisked egg, then straight to the coconut mixture. Coat on all sides then place on a plate. Repeat with all chicken strips.
Place a large pan over medium heat. Add a tablespoon or two to the pan. Once the pan is super hot, add the strips to the pan without crowding it. Cook for about 1 minute on both sides. You may need to do this in 2-3 batches depending how big the strips are.
Place the strips on a cooling rack that has been placed on top of a baking sheet. This will help the chicken strips cook on both sides without getting soggy. If you don’t have a cooling sheet, you will just have to flip them half way through the baking.
Place baking sheet in the oven and cook for 10-12 minutes or until no pink remains inside the chicken.
Let cool on baking sheet before serving. Dip them into maple mustard sauce!

Chicken Cashew Lettuce Wraps

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1 Tbsp olive oil

1/2 c finely diced yellow or white onion

1 c finely diced (or shredded) carrots

3-4 cloves garlic, finely minced

1/4 tsp. salt

1/4 tsp. black pepper

1 lb. boneless, skinless chicken breast or thighs cut into small pieces.

3 Tbsp. low sodium soy sauce (or I use Tamari)

2 Tbsp. pure maple syrup

1/2 c chopped raw cashews (lightly toasted if desired)

Bibb or green leaf lettuce leaves for wrapping

Chopped cucumbers and tomatoes for serving (if desired).

1- In large 12″ non stick skillet, heat oil over medium heat- add onion and carrots.  Add garlic, salt, pepper and cook for 2-3 minutes until veggies soften.

2- Season chicken lightly with salt and pepper and add to skillet.  Cook until no longer pink, 4-5 min.

3- Stir in soy sauce and maple syrup and ooh over medium heat 2-3 minutes (simmering and bubbling).

4- Stir in cashews, cooking until they are heated through.  Season to taste with additional salt and pepper if needed.

5- Seve in lettuce leaves topped with tomato and cucumber.  ENJOY!

 

Our favorite treat that is simple and as healthy as you want to make it is what my kids call “granola”, which is really called PB Protein Snack and you make it as healthy as you’d like.

PB Protein Snack

1/3 c raw honey/agave

1 c Oatmeal (I use gluten free oats)

1/2 c Peanut Butter (I use Adams Natural PB)

1 tsp. Vanilla

chocolate chips, cocoa chips, Karob chips- whichever you prefer.

I also add flax seed for more nutrition.

Add all ingredients together in a bowl and mix.

 

Let me know if you try these and how you like it and please feel free to share your favorites with me!

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Happiness or Joy?

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I recently attended an evening meeting with women from my area where the topic of happiness and joy were discussed. It was then that I really started to think about the two, the differences and what I do daily that contributes to one of the other. There is a difference between the two that I never thought about.

Happiness

Happiness is that feeling that comes over you when you know life is good and you can’t help but smile. It is a sense of well-being, joy or contentment.

Some things that make me happy are: playing volleyball, working out, alone time, vacation with the family, the cabin, when I’ve had a successful day of eating healthy, chocolate, shopping, girls nights, date nights, bedtime for the kids, music, a walk outside in the sunshine.

IMG_8958Joy

Joy is the emotion evoked by the prospect of possessing what one desires: delight; the exhibition of such emotion. Bliss. Intense and especially ecstatic or exultant happiness.  The definition of the word “rejoice” from which our word “joy” comes, is to “feel great delight, to welcome or be glad.”

Some things that bring me JOY are: making a family member or friend feel loved or happy, vacation with my husband, seeing my children excel in a sport or activity, connecting with God, hearing my child say a sincere prayer, the beach, the mountains, girls getaway, helping others accomplish their goals, serving others, when a friend or family member feels joy.

Self Reflection

As I looked over my list I realized that most of what brings me joy and FILLS MY SOUL comes from connections with nature, God, my family or serving others. My happy times come mostly from superficial and temporary things.  Experiencing true joy leads to happiness and seems to overflow into many aspects of my life.

How do I accomplish this?  How do you accomplish this?

Focus on others, enjoy the simple things in life, find gratitude in life’s blessings, be the best version of me, seek for light and peace on a daily and sometimes hourly basis and “dance in the downpour”.

This self-discussion and reflection reminded me of what is truly important in my life and that if I desire joy, I need to “throw away the mirrors and look out the window”. (Talk given by Cheryl Esplin which you can find here .)

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What is it that makes you happy and what truly fills your soul?

 

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The Roller Coasters in Life

Life is amazing. And then it's awful. And then it's amazing again. And in between the amazing and the awful its ordinary and mundane and routine. Breathe in the amazing, hold on through the awful, and relax and exhale during the ordinary. That's just living heartbreaking, soul-healing, amazing, awful, ordinary, life. And it's breathtakingly beautiful.

You’ve finally got it figured out.  You feel good, you look good, things are going well.  You’ve read books on self-improvement, health, happiness and can check those off.  You are becoming who you want and life is wonderful, beautiful and amazing.  Then an emotional event or something occurs that throws you off and out of routine.  Pretty soon you are two steps back, the guilt seeps in, frustration takes over and you’re flooded with feelings of failure because you have done this over and over.  You are back on the roller coaster that seems to be a regular ride.

Why does this happen like a rollercoaster in life?  Up, down, all around.  Emotions, thoughts and feelings all over the place.  I know it’s not just me, although I often feel that way.  I’ve met with many woman who go through the same eating roller coaster.  On the up we are doing well and feeling great; in control and making healthy choices and feel peaceful.  On the down, there’s more sugar, more portions, less control = more guilt, frustration and less patience.

I’ve been on this roller coaster for most of my life but recently I thought I had it figured out.  I’ve transformed in many aspects and KNOW HOW and WHAT to do.  I have tools, not just mental and spiritual tools but tools to provide success with my eating- which I use regularly.  For some reason I jumped back on the ride and the roller coaster continues.  You know what I’m talking about right?  When you worry a lot about what you can and can’t eat, how it will or won’t affect your body and that seems to consume your thoughts?  Yeah, that’s where I’ve been AGAIN and I really don’t like it.  Do you enjoy the ride?  I can’t say that I do so here are a few things that I do to get me on solid ground again.

Call it what it is.

I know what is happening, it’s what has happened all along but unlit the past two months I didn’t recognize what it REALLY is.  It’s the cunning devil.  Seriously.  Who else know knows how to make me frustrated, upset, insecure, think unkind things about myself and to think that food will make me happy.  He does and he loves it because it takes away focus from happiness and good.  If he can get me to ride the coaster and feel down about myself, stumble and fall then he is successful- misery loves company.  So I call him out and change my focus.

Choose your ride.

To become grounded again these are a few tips that may help:

*Enjoy the moment.  What is going on RIGHT NOW that I am loving and excited about?  It may be that I got a killer work out in, maybe I had a great hair day or HOORAY I get to watch my kids in their athletics today and see how they have improved.  Maybe it is the WHOLE bag of Cadbury Eggs that I somehow just ate…enjoy it and move on.  Whatever it is, enjoy what is going on at that moment and be grateful.

*Recognize what is happening.  I notice that I am thinking about myself, my body, food, how my clothes fit way too much and not in a positive way.  I feel more emotional, stressed and frustrated.  Is this me?  Do I enjoy this?  Is this happiness and what I want?

*Share your fall or frustrations with others. You’ll be amazed at the support you will get and the support you are to others.

*Relax and focus your attention on others.    At this frustrating moment I realize that I am too focused on me.  Once I begin serving others, focus on my kids, family, neighbors and less on my frustrations, I begin to forget myself and my problems.  The coaster is coming to a stop for me to get off.

As a woman who craves balance, peace, “perfection”- the ups and downs drive me crazy so I seek solid ground as soon as I can.  Life is a journey and I am working on enjoying it with more rides I choose and will enjoy.

What are some things you do when you find yourself out of balance?

 

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Battles We Fight That Change Us Forever.

My Story

Everybody has a story, a battle to fight that changes us forever, inspires others and transforms who we are.  I love hearing them. There is so much to learn from someone who has had a trial and becomes stronger; it explains who they really are and why they believe the way they do. I love connecting with people who will open their heart to me, share their story so I can become a better person. Through these stories we can find hope, peace, knowledge and the fight we didn’t know we had to get through our own trials. I want to share my story so I can be reminded of my fight but more importantly I want to help someone else who needs strength to get through their battle.

Let me give you a little background: I have played sports my entire life. I thrive on working out and working hard. I am competitive. I am fit but I have always struggled with what I wanted my weight to be and my body to look like which has caused some self perception distortions as well as an emotional relationship with food.
I played college volleyball then got my BA in Physical Education and Health, taught high school and coached for years in Utah. I got married and had 3 kids during the span of 8 years then in August of 2008 we moved to WI from Utah and this is where I will begin…

Although I don’t remember when “it” started I do remember approximately one year after living in WI, I noticed a dramatic drop in energy. I remember laying on my living room floor feeling so exhausted I wanted to do nothing; no ambition, no motivation and no energy which was very unusual for me. I would lay there and think, “What is wrong with me? This is not normal. I don’t like this; I’ve got to get up and get going!” so I did. Every day I would go to the gym even if I was tired because I thought if I didn’t work out I would gain weight. If I gained weight I would get fat and I dreaded the thought of that and what came with getting fat.

I had three kids and knew that being a mother was tiring but this exhaustion seemed different yet I didn’t have any reason to think that anything was really wrong. The bouts would come every month for 5-6 days then I would go back to normal for 3 weeks. Life continued, I got pregnant with my 4th child and I continued being very active, working out daily and going 24-7 despite my lack of energy or my bummed left knee that would always hurt. I wasn’t going to let the exhaustion or my knee hold me back from who I wanted to be.

Changes Ahead

When my baby was 18 months old we moved to a new house and new neighborhood and I found myself on the floor more often, more random aches and I noticed that my period was different- which was very unusual.  I was working out and eating healthy but  could not get rid of 5-7 lbs that I typically could release when I focused on my eating and working out a little more. I brought it up to my OB during a visit but he didn’t seem to think it was anything to be concerned about. Once again I brushed it off but deep down I knew something was wrong. Around this time (October) I was introduced by a friend and neighbor to Nutritional Cleansing. I noticed she lost her baby weight and some, looked healthy and energetic and I wanted to know what she was doing. Isagenix and Nutritional Cleansing was something I hadn’t heard before and although I was very curious and I trusted her I was VERY skeptical so I began to ask a lot of questions and do a lot of research on my own. I was desperately looking for answers: more energy, better control with my eating, weight loss, SOMETHING…but not just anything. This was my answer.

After 2 months of research I was ready. I ordered my first cleanse and did the 11 days over Christmas break, talk about discipline! On my first cleanse day I actually threw up and didn’t have a lot of energy so when I called my friend to ask if this was normal she was a bit surprised and told me throwing up wasn’t. I chalked it up to catching a bug from the kids and continued to push through my cleanse. I actually loved it. I loved the discipline although it was challenging. I loved how lean I felt and even more I loved what I was learning about toxicity in our food, air, environment and how it is affecting our body. I loved the ingredients in the products and was BLOWN AWAY when I listened to a Product Analysis Podcast by Peter Greenlaw. He discussed key ingredients in the products, why they are in there, what they do for the body and why our body needs it. After my 11 days I lost 8 lbs and 13″ and I knew this was an answer to my prayers for NUMEROUS reasons; it was more than weight loss

I continued cleansing regularly, taking a shake every day and telling everyone I could about Nutritional Cleansing because it was making such a big difference in my life. I felt fulfillment educating myself and others about what I was learning everyday as I studied nutrition, toxicity, Isagenix and our bodies. I was able to help people reach their health goals and be more confident with themselves. I was happy but I still couldn’t figure out why I continued to have my week of exhaustion every month. I soon realized it occurred when my hormones were at their highest every month. Little did I know that Nutritional Cleansing was going to be more of a blessing than I realized.

A Turn For the Worst

Close to 1 year after I started Isagenix, in September of 2012 things took a turn for the worst. My exhaustion turned to CHRONIC FATIGUE, migraines and pain (which I had never had before) from my shoulders through my neck to the top of my head. I couldn’t sleep because my neck was so sensitive that it kept me awake, tossing and turning. My back and hip began to hurt, I was extremely nauseous and had GI issues and even more frustrating my vision was getting blurry and I kept forgetting things which wasn’t like me at all. I was internally torn knowing that I should be feeling so good because I was taking such good care of my body, making huge changes to my diet as well as my family’s yet I was worse than I had ever felt in my life. Frustrated, being challenged mentally, physically and emotionally I didn’t know what was going on but I knew I had to figure it out, this was NOT okay!

I started with my OBGYN since I knew symptoms were related to my hormones. I got blood work, ultrasounds, more blood work and all of them came back perfect. My OB sent me to a Family Dr and I knew the moment he sat down and started talking that he wasn’t going to help me. He looked at my chart, asked me a few questions and told me he thought it would be a good idea to get on depression medication. He even told me a story about a woman who thought she didn’t need them and ended up back in his office a few months later, tried them and felt so much better. I told him, “I have worked hard to balance my pH, cleanse my body and this is not what I am going to do when you don’t even know what is wrong with me. Thank you.” I left and called my OB for another suggestion. Over the course of 3 months I went to my OB 3 times for more tests all which came back normal; his last suggestion before I gave up on him was that maybe I had Seasonal Depression Disorder…I am not going to lie, I may have, WI has LONG, dreary winters and I love and need the sun but nice try Dr. that wasn’t it and I knew it. It was at that moment that I felt he along with the other doctors I had seen didn’t believe me. He sent me to another family physician who I actually liked and she took the time to listen to me, do more blood work on different panels and realized that my ANA panel was positive. That means that my autoimmune disease test was positive. She called me and told me not to freak out but look up Lupus because that is what I may have according to my symptoms and I need to make an appointment with a Rheumatologist. I was a little freaked out but at least had some relief that we knew what it was so we could work on fixing it. I called the Rheumatologist… and the chase continued. I sat on the table, he looked at my joints, my neck, my head and checked my chart over and over. It was very obvious by his body language and observing him that he was puzzled and didn’t know what was wrong with me. He finally told me that I don’t have Lupus nor MS nor Rheumatoid Arthritis so he didn’t know what was wrong but that he felt I should get a cat scan and go see a GI Dr. I refused the scan and made an appointment with the GI Dr. for the following week.

By this time I was so frustrated, tired, mad and starting to feel a little depression from the lack of help I had received. NOBODY understood what I was going through: I felt like a 90 year old woman on her death bed and I didn’t know how long I wanted to hang on. I don’t remember ever feeling that way before in my life and I didn’t like it. I had no control and couldn’t do anything about it. I was sick and nobody believed me. I wondered if my husband, my friends, my family believed me because the doctors weren’t and they couldn’t find anything wrong. I would get up and try to go to the gym to get myself going but it only made it worse. It took everything I had to get up, take care of the kids and try to live a “normal” life. I put on my happy face because I didn’t want people to know how bad I was suffering on the inside because on the outside I looked fine. On my couch, on my floor, on my bed I would cry and pray that someone/something would help me.

Answers

My prayers unknown to me were being answered. I had a friend suggest that I see her natural path Sue as I was going through this but I pushed it aside, continued seeing doctors who I thought were going to do a test, find out what was wrong and get me on my healthy way. I was skeptical of Sue and her ability to help me, it sounded a little hocus pocus when my friend would say, “she works on you through energy, she can read your energy and tell you everything that is going on inside of your body!” Really? Well after 3 months of getting nowhere with doctors, feeling alone and that nobody believed the pain I was going through and that I REALLY WAS sick I decided to make an appointment with Sue. I had nothing to lose. In the meantime I did make an appointment with a GI Dr which was just as pointless as the rest. The only “good” thing that came of that is a couple days after my appt. with him I had blood in my stool so he got me in for a colonoscopy…awesome. I had had one before when I was first married for some bad stomach issues but the results were fine, so I knew what I was in for. Let me just say that NO a colonoscopy prep and Nutritional Cleansing have NOTHING in common. The Dr. did find a pre-cancerous polyp which he removed and advised I get a colonoscopy every 3 years. Ugh.

The November day arrived for me to meet with Sue and I was nervous but more sick than anything. I needed help and I didn’t know that I was going to get it immediately from her. I found a babysitter for my little girls and was with Sue for 4.5 hours!! Her Quantum biofeedback was the COOLEST thing I have EVER done. Our bodies are made of energy and this machine reads that energy and can look through every panel of your body and tell you what is going on. She told me things about my body (like I am lactose intolerant) that I didn’t tell her. She is not an MD and does not diagnose but she did tell me that it was showing I had Lyme bacteria all over my body and as we went through the panels it was the cause for all of my issues. Late stage Lyme and I was affected neurologically. My body was a mess but at the same time she said my environmental toxin levels were lower than she had ever seen and she could tell that I was giving my body good nutrition…THANK YOU ISAGENIX! I knew it was awesome but what I didn’t know was how I got Lyme? I never saw a tick, nor a bulls eye rash.

Long story short, my vagus nerve was severely damaged by the Lyme which was causing my neck and head to hurt and since it is the source of all automatic responses it is also the source of my blurry vision, plugged ears, memory loss and digestive issues. Before I even left her office I felt better and I knew this was the answer to my MANY prayers. My next concern was how I was going to pay for all the treatments since insurance didn’t.

My symptoms returned a week later and I went back to see Sue. My husband wasn’t sold on the idea of me having to pay so much for an undetermined amount of time and questioned if I was sure this was the right thing to do. I knew people thought I was crazy and they were concerned for my health and wellness but what they didn’t know is what I was feeling inside and how I KNEW without a doubt that is what I needed to do. Once again Sue helped me feel better, educated me, gave me some supplements and we discussed a plan… antibiotics came up. I was hesitant to take antibiotics and Sue wasn’t sold either, but I knew I wanted to do everything I could to get rid of this hell inside me.

I began researching Lyme Disease, hours on end. I wanted to know everything about it, how to treat it, what it does and I wanted to talk to others who have gone through it so I could be prepared to fight this. I was able to get in contact with numerous people all over the US who have Late Stage Lyme and the symptoms and experiences with doctors all seemed the same. I learned that the natural healing route was the most successful; nutrition, rest and cleansing were a must. I had a new appreciation for Isagenix and knew it has been placed in my life for a reason. Every doctor, nurse, person who had experience with illness and natural healing all focused on cleansing. I would continue cleansing but I needed antibiotics.

Sue wasn’t able to give me a prescription for antibiotics because she was not an MD so I had to find someone who could. I went back to my GI Dr and without telling him I knew I had Lyme I asked him to test for it. He reluctantly agreed to test for that as well as Celiac Disease but was certain the Lyme could not be the cause of my problems. My test showed up negative (which 50% of tests do- they are considered “false negative”); the Dr. would not write me an Rx for antibiotics so I went to my next option. I was referred to Dr. Whitcomb in Brookfield who was a practicing physician turned homeopath who specializes in Lyme Disease from a woman whose son had Lyme. It made me sick to think of spending $300 for 1 hour with him but I knew it had to be done. I was able to be diagnosed by him from my symptoms and was told to go gluten, dairy and sugar free. He gave me a plan, talked about the need to cleanse (I had taken in all my Isagenix products to show him and he was very impressed and told me to keep doing it) and said he wanted to see me in 1 month.

I felt a flood of emotions regularly: frustration that this disease is so controversial yet so detrimental to the body. MAD that insurance won’t pay for natural medicine when that’s what works best for some (most) people. Guilty for spending so much money on me. Sad for the people who had been suffering for years with no relief. Worry that I would have to deal with this for the rest of my life but happy I found what was wrong so I could work on getting better.

Healing

For the next year I would have good days and bad days but I learned many life lessons along the way. I took a month off the gym and rested my body, eventually I was able to get back 1-3 times a week. It was during this time that my obsession of the gym was thrown out the window. I realized I would be okay if I didn’t make it daily. I couldn’t go daily, and I knew it wasn’t because I was lazy but because my body was telling me it needed rest, from working hard to fight. My feeling toward my body changed, I was more appreciative and felt blessed for the good days I had and took advantage of those days. I had my bad days, bad weeks and I would struggle to find peace that I was ever going to get over this. Would I ever be able to work out as intense as I’d like again? Would I have energy to play with my kids, go hiking, biking, play volleyball, work in the yard even half of what I did before? I felt a lot of discouragement at times but I knew with the support of my family (thank goodness they believed me and did everything they could to help) and my knowledge that my God would help me, I could get through this.

In May 1, 2014 which is 1.5 years after I found out I had Lyme and I was doing well…not 100%, I still have my days of fatigue but instead of 5-6 days a month it is down to 3-4. Well enough that I wake up in the morning ready to go to the gym instead of dreading to get up just wanting to sleep longer. I am able to go to the gym or exercise 5 days a week, play volleyball, play with kids, coach volleyball, and be a wife and mom without feeling like I need to go to bed by 7 pm. I have energy, I have motivation and ambition, I feel like there is hope and that I can overcome this battle as I continue to eat clean, cleanse, exercise but rest when I need to.
I have the energy, motivation and passion to help others achieve their health goals and I feel extremely blessed to have the knowledge, experience and tools to do so. Life is good. Life is hard and challenging but my challenge has made me a better person. I am strong. I am a fighter. I am blessed tremendously to have Isagenix and my natural path as tools to help my body and mind heal. Health is a battle worth fighting for and I am winning the fight.

 

What is YOUR story that has changed your life?

 

Here is more of My Story and journey.

 

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Healthy April Fools Tricky “Treat”

Meatloaf-Cupcakes-with-Sweet-Potato-Frosting-easy-kid-approved-dinner-idea

1 funny snack time treat

Are you the kind of Mom that loves to laugh and be a little sneaky? Hee hee, I don’t know about you, but I plea the 5th! Okay, so the cat is out of the bag—I am a big fan of April Fools and especially harmless pranks that make everyone giggle. A few years back I had a great time coming up with a healthy food trick  for snack time. What I made looked like a cupcake. It was so much fun seeing the kids excitement, wide eyes, and big bites! After taking a bite or two, they cocked their heads to the side and squinted their eyes trying to make sense of what their eyes beheld and their tastebuds were telling them. They tasted…potatoes…and…meat, not cake and frosting. They looked at me like I was a crazy woman, so I took that as my cue and sang out, “April Fools!!” Hahaha Success!! I, the crazy lady, made meatloaf and mashed sweet potatoes in the form of a cupcake—and they totally fell for it! It was awesome. 😉 After that they had to take a few to the neighbors to pay it forward. To this day it is one of their most favorite “treats” to give on April Fools. So, if you are looking for something fun to do and you want to keep it healthy try these meatloaf cupcakes. Get your camera ready and snap some pics of those kids trying out their tasty treat! Then post some pics of their reactions! I can’t wait to see them, mwa ha ha. What other healthy food pranks have you done? Comment with your ideas and I’ll use one for my family and post pics of their reactions! Happy April Fools all you Mamas!

p.s. Here is a great link I found on pinterest for pranks to pull on your husband! I may have to try some of these…

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Easy Easter Activity

 

Easy Easter Activity!

Easy, easter, eggs,

Easy, Easter, Eggs,

When I was a kid, most holidays we’d all gather next door at my Grandma’s house to celebrate family, food, and traditions. Every Easter we’d have a special meal and then maybe my Dad or Mom would share a mini devotional on the reason for Easter. I loved hearing their testimonies and feeling the love and gratitude they have for our Savior, Jesus Christ. I feel lucky to have the parents that I do. After that, we’d all wait in anticipation as the older children would scurry around the yard, hiding plastic eggs filled with candy along with my Uncle Ernie’s special money-filled egg. This year I wanted to not only have a simple and effective devotional, but I also wanted it to be easy enough that our 8 year old could teach it. I am stoked to empower him with a confidence building  experience and found this easy Easter activity by Becky Baudouin that looks just right!

Resurrection Eggs

Retell and celebrate the Resurrection story with your child by creating a preschool version of “Resurrection eggs.” Gather six plastic eggs, each a different color. Place the following items inside, one item per egg: breadcrumb, paper cross, strip of cloth, rock and piece of candy. One egg will remain empty. As you tell the Resurrection story, let your child open the eggs. Explain each item in the following order:

1. Bread crumb: Jesus ate dinner with His friends. (Luke22:14-15)

2. Cross: The next day, Jesus died on the Cross. (John19:17-18)

3. Strip of cloth: He was wrapped in cloth and placed in a tomb.

(John 19:40)

4. Rock: A stone was placed in front of the tomb. (Matthew27:59-60)

5. Empty egg: Jesus’ friends came to the tomb and saw the stone had been moved. The tomb was empty! (Luke 24:1-3)

6. Candy: Jesus is alive. That’s the sweet surprise of Easter. (Matthew 28:5-6)

Once you’ve finished sharing the Resurrection story with your child, encourage her to use the eggs to tell the story in her own words.

After a great lesson about Easter, go ahead and enjoy the sweet surprise(s) by holding an egg hunt. We love this part of the tradition–especially remembering that Jesus lived and died for us, then rose the 3rd day as a resurrected being so that we could also have this gift and opportunity. I’m just so grateful for Him—He is truly the world’s sweetest gift!

child, easter, egg

child, easter, egg

Lots of love,

shannon signature

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The Truth the Media Doesn’t Want you to Know

Her Value is More Precious than Rubies

The other day I walked past the floor-length bathroom mirror and caught a glimpse of myself out of the corner of my eye. I felt truly beautiful and valuable, kind of out of nowhere. It really surprised me! I haven’t forgotten the feeling and want to share because it has calmed all the negative voices once and for all and I am truly happy and working patiently where I’m at. But it wasn’t always that way.

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The struggle is REAL!

Seriously! Can any of you relate? I’ve struggled with self-worth since I was a teenager. I became more aware of my looks and body shape, I started to compare myself with others, criticize my flaws, and cared way too much about what others thought. These feelings of not being enough stuck as I moved through college and marriage.

At the height of some of my most difficult Mom years, I had 5 kids under the age of 7–all BOYS! My husband was in residency and I mothered full time at home with my beautiful babies.  We had a LOT of fun and I worked my butt off, but I was also overwhelmed and stressed out, not to mention sleep deprived trying my best to be a great Mom! It didn’t help that everywhere I went, people bombarded me with rude comments and intrusive questions about my age and the number of kids we have etc. At the time I didn’t know how to handle the emotional attacks other than to feel shocked for the harsh judgments being thrown at me. This happened so regularly that over time, I came to feel so undervalued.

3 Books that Shift Negativity

I needed support and I needed the best kind. I turned to Gordon B. Hinkley’s book Standing For Something. AH-Maaa-zing! He prompts, “The home produces the nursery stock of new generations and parents are the gardeners. In that light, I must emphasize the importance, the value, the singular impact that women have within the fabric of our society and in the makeup of our homes.” I had to let that sink in. Internalizing this idea has been a turning point for me. My role as a mom to a handful of kids wasn’t just valuable, it had the power to influence generations. Wow! This woke me up. I started to see I truly had the power to change how I felt about myself and my role as a mother.

When negativity came my way, I followed another trick from Gordon—as much as I could, I made it an opportunity to respond with humor and love. A couple of my favorites:

1) In the checkout at the grocery store I could count on the clerk to ask with wide eyes and a sagging jaw (in reference to the kids in and on the cart), “Are they all yours???” I’d smile and reply back, “Aren’t they adorable? There’s a buy one get one free sale and there were only 5 left. You owe me a kid!” 😉

2) Going place to place like a Mama with her ducklings all in a line, others would see me and ask, “Are you the Nanny?” (HA!) I’d smile and say, “No, they’re mine.” That was followed by disbelief and the remark “You look so young!” and then (of course) the demand to know, “How old are you?” I decided because this is one of the top questions I get, for my own sanity I’d not just change the subject or ignore it, but answer with, “Isn’t it great? When I’m 50 I’ll be looking fabulous!”

This kind of response either made people laugh, changed their attitude, or shut them up. It’s funny to watch—try it! This positive spin is so helpful in keeping a better perspective for myself and it shows a good example to our kids.

Another book that really helped is I am a Mother, by Jayne Clayson Johnson. She shares, “[M]otherhood involves some sacrifices…You will certainly lose some sleep over the years, and, every now and then, you might temporarily lose your sanity. But you will also learn about yourself…the world…the Spirit…As you learn these things…you do not lose your identity, [but you more] closely identify with God.” Isn’t that amazing? It reminded me of Lucia in Max Lucado’s book, You are Special. She didn’t let the dots or stars others tried to put on her stick to her. I decided, I wasn’t going to either. It’s such a gift that we can become free and unspotted from the judgements others throw our way and identify ourselves as His greatest creations.

Jeffrey R. Holland teaches, God “knows your name and knows your circumstance. He hears your prayers. He knows your hopes and dreams, including your fears and frustrations…and He knows what you can become through faith in Him.” When we truly understand His love for us, the confusion clears and our priorities align. Our walk as disciples of Christ becomes more joyful and our lives take on new meaning. It’s so refreshing to look in the mirror and not focus on the imperfections, but to see myself as a beautiful daughter of God, precious and happy. I’m excited I am finally here!

What are your favorite ways to combat negativity? Do you also have some favorite positive responses? I’d love to hear them!

 

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