Best Laid Plans

Sometimes things don’t go as planned. Life is just like that — you can have the best intentions, and then life will throw you a curve ball, and things turn in a totally different direction.

Best Laid Plans | Life, Unleashed

For example, today I’d planned on getting to the gym for a workout, and writing a handful of blog posts. My son had a doctor’s appointment for 5 p.m, so I’d planned on taking him to that, then coming home, having dinner, and then finishing writing the blog posts.

Instead, it’s now 11 p.m. at night, and I’m writing this from the ER at the hospital, as the doctor my son saw decided we needed to rule out appendicitis. We spent 5 hours in the waiting room before even seeing a doctor in the ER. And now, they’re running various tests.

So, yeah. The gym will wait for another day. And I did manage to write four blog posts before heading to the original doctor’s appointment, so after this one is written, I have just one to go.

All this to say that, when our plans get messed up, all we can do is make the best of things, and just go with the flow.

Like Little Children

Why so serious?” – The Joker (The Dark Knight 2)

Do you ever let yourself relax enough to feel like a kid, again? Do you splash in puddles, or do you complain every time it rains? Do you ever run away from your significant other, sing-songing, “You can’t catch me!“, or are you too worried about what others might think?

Like Little Children | Life, Unleashed

As adults, for whatever reason, we seem to lose our ability to play. Instead, life becomes serious, and we worry about keeping up appearances.

In Matthew 18:3, Jesus says that, in order to get into heaven, we need to become like little children {note: He doesn’t say become children, but become like little children}. And what I believe He’s getting at, here, is that we need a renewed sense of awe & wonder.

Have you ever looked at a gorgeous sunset, and marveled at God’s artistic talent? I like to think of the sky as His great big canvas, and the sunsets as His works of art displayed for us to gush over!

Have you ever laid outside at night and watched the stars, and felt overwhelmed by the wonders of how deep and wide the universe actually is? It’s so mind-boggling, because our tiny, finite minds can’t even begin to grasp its size!

When is the last time you sat down and did some finger-painting — just got all-out messy, without a care?

I honestly think that part of why we suffer from so much stress and anxiety is because we spend most of our time worrying, and not nearly enough time playing.

Dr. Stuart Brown has a book called, “Play: How it Shapes the Brain, Opens the Imagination, and Invigorates the Soul“, in which he actually makes a scientific case about this… about how, when adults bring PLAY back into their lives, their health improves, their relationships improve, and more!

For me, incorporating “play” looks like taking time to color in my sketchbook, or getting creative with fingerpaints, or splashing in puddles after it rains, or climbing trees in my backyard, or rolling down the hill at the park with my kids.

Worried about grass stains, or ruining your clothes? Who cares?! Does a stain really matter in the grand scheme of things? Isn’t enjoying your LIFE far more important? Personally, I’d rather have ruined clothing and a carefree, relaxed spirit — a life full of joy! — than a pristine appearance, any day.

………………

How can YOU add more play to your life? What inspires awe and wonder for you?

A Story of Transition

Finding one’s purpose in life is hard. Figuring out God’s calling on your life is also hard. This is something I’ve been struggling with, for years.

a story of transition | Life, Unleashed

When I started my self-employment journey in late 2013, I was mostly concerned with pursuing my life-long dream of being my own boss. And I chose to become a virtual author’s assistant, then, because it’s what I knew — I had gone to school for office administration, had worked in various receptionist positions since, and was an avid reader with a long list of authors with whom I’d already been building relationships. And while this niche proved profitable for a time, I came to realize that it wasn’t really bringing me joy… which is one of the reasons I was pursuing self-employment — so that I could love what I do for a living.

Next, I thought I’d pursue Life Coaching. I’ve always loved to advise, encourage, and support others, and I’m passionate about hearing of and seeing others’ transformations. Add to that my fascination with personal development, and it seemed like the perfect fit!

…That is, until I realized that getting my certification and training would cost far more money than I had or could come up with at that time. Needless to say, that idea fizzled out pretty quickly.

Around this time, God was really starting to speak to my heart about my motives. I started desiring to know what path He wanted me to take, and I agonized over the fact that it seemed like He wanted me to be a Writer.

To be honest, while I enjoy journaling, and do that for my own development on a regular basis, I have never really loved the idea of writing a book, or anything similar. I mean, sure, I participated in NaNoWriMo in 2006, and completed the goal (50K words in 30 days). But I had — and have — no desire to be a published author.

So the question, then, became, how can I fulfill this supposed “calling” to be a Writer, without actually having to write or publish a book?

Well, I’d already been blogging (as a hobby) since 2005, and had grown my following to over 1700 people. I knew others were having great success, monetarily, as “professional bloggers”, by way of sponsored posts, ads, and affiliate links. So I decided that was as good a solution as anything, and I opened up a new blog.

By this point, mind you, a lot of my previous followers were getting tired of my indecision. So they started leaving, choosing to no longer follow me. And really, I don’t blame them (I was getting frustrated with myself!).

I continued to try and figure out what God wanted me to do — what to write, who to target, etc. — and felt like the name I’d chosen (A Daily Rhythm) wasn’t the right fit; it was too mellow, and my heart was screaming for something upbeat and empowering. So, much as I hated changing things up yet again, I knew I had to — and the Life, Unleashed blog was born.

(side note: I’ve gotten several comments from new acquaintances, saying that they love the name of my site — so that has helped me to feel better about the decision!)

Shortly after opening Life, Unleashed in early 2016, I finally stumbled on what I believed was God’s plan for me… as well as my ideal reader, what I should write about, and my “niche”. I was super-stoked to finally feel I’d found it.

Through research, and through talking to various people, I realized that the best way for me to reach the most people with my message, and to have the greatest impact, was going to be through creating an eCourse. So, I did some surveys, and I started learning all I could about what would be involved in course creation. I brainstormed, and I created an outline, and I came up with some preliminary content.

I’ve always loved to share (advise, coach, teach, support, encourage), so teaching an eCourse felt like a good thing for me to do. However… as I was working on that, I was still hesitating. Partly out of fear of the unknown, sure. But part of it, I discovered, was because I have an issue with trying to teach something that I, myself, haven’t yet gotten at least somewhat of a grasp on. It’s hypocritical, and I can’t do it.

As such, when another job possibility came up that would allow me to continue working from home and still allow me to help others experience transformations in their lives, I couldn’t help but think that maybe another transition was needed … at least, for now.

healthy living

Long story short, I have decided to become a healthy living coach. Since I’ve previously had some success in this area, and since I needed the accountability that would come from continuing my own health journey alongside others who are looking to do the same, I figured this would be the best option.

What about my supposed “calling” to be a writer? Honestly, I don’t know. Maybe it’s something I still am supposed to do, eventually. Or, maybe I had it wrong all along. I don’t know, yet. But I do believe that God will show me.

In the meantime, the really awesome part about this new role is that it still fits with a lot of what I’ve already been sharing, here at Life, Unleashed. It encompasses mindset, choices, practice, and perspective… all of which are the foundational values this site is built on!

So, if you would like to join me in taking back your health, I have a free community on Facebook called Unleashed Nation, where I will be sharing motivational quotes, tips, and the occasional mini-challenge to keep things exciting. Hopefully I’ll see you there!

Seasons

// “There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens…” ~ Ecclesiastes 3:1 //

seasons

I was talking with a new friend, today, and bemoaning the fact that I’m not very consistent with posting on my blog — something that really bothers me a great deal. I would love to post more frequently. I also commented that part of what has stolen my attention away from creating blog posts is the fact that I’m (finally) working on creating my first eCourse!

My friend was kind enough to offer the gentle reminder that it’s all about seasons … we can’t do everything, all the time. There’s a season for this, and a season for that — a time for this activity, and a time for that one. Perhaps I’m just in a season where I need to focus on creating my course, right now, and I can come back to blogging more regularly after the course has been launched.

Ecclesiastes 3:1Of course, this has made me think of other life “seasons”, too.

Some seasons are easy. Everything feels like it falls into place without much effort, and all seems right with the world.

Other seasons, however, can be really, really hard. They’re places where you struggle, and waking up every day is a chore. What gives me hope in the hard seasons are these 2 things:

1) Just like nature’s seasons (Spring, Summer, Fall, & Winter), this “season” will eventually end, and another will come. The hard seasons won’t last forever. (And, thank the Lord for that!)

2) Despite the loneliness that can often accompany my hard seasons, I know God still walks beside me, through each minute of each day. He has promised never to leave or forsake us, so I can cast all of my anxiety on Him, because I know He cares.

So, I am choosing, in this season of creating, to give myself grace and patience, remembering that everything will balance itself out over time. And I hope you’ll do the same, no matter what season you may find yourself in, currently. Remember, “This, too, shall pass.

REVIEW: Moving Forward by John Siebeling

Moving Forward: Overcoming the Habits, Hangups, and Mishaps That Hold You Back” by John Siebeling

 

In Moving Forward, John Siebeling talks about the habits and mindsets that hold us back from living the abundant life that God has promised to us (John 10:10), and from moving forward.

He touches on topics like our emotions, and how we are responsible for how our lives turn out (how we react to life’s ups and downs is up to us). He talks about mindset and choices, too, which I love, as it aligns with what I teach, here on my blog!

Lastly, John also talks about dreaming big, and about our financial habits. There’s even a budget guide included in the back of the book!

Overall, I enjoyed this book, and found it to be a quick, easy read with lots of practical information. Definitely recommended.


A complimentary copy of this book was provided for review by the Baker Books Blogger program.

REVIEW: “Without Rival” by Lisa Bevere

Without Rival: Embrace Your Identity and Purpose in an Age of Confusion and Comparison” by Lisa Bevere

 

Lisa has a way of writing & teaching that really sparks a fire within me. She writes to empower other women to live boldly for the Kingdom of God.

In “Without Rival“, Lisa tackles the issue of our identity, and ushers a wake up call for us to remember who (and Whose) we are … and what that means for us, as we live out our daily lives.

Other topics that are touched on include: comparison, insecurity, responding to others’ judgment or insecurities, genders as equal in God’s economy, fearless living, God’s unrivaled nature and His unique love for each one of us, as well as our legacy, and the promise we have that all will be restored.

I loved this book, and underlined quite a bit. I will probably need to re-read it at some point, in order to gather even more… there’s a lot of great stuff here.

 


Note: Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc.

Also, this post contains affiliate links. Please see my disclaimer page for more information.

True Nourishment

I recently shared my own take on what true nourishment looks like. Today, I’d like to follow up, and expand on each point, a bit.

True Nourishment | Life, Unleashed

TRUE NOURISHMENT…

TAKES SOME TIME

This is two-fold. First, you aren’t likely to completely change your habits overnight. If you’re used to eating processed foods and sweets, and rarely eat healthy, you aren’t going to be a consistent healthy eater from today, forward. However, you CAN start to practice eating better and making healthier choices.

Second, studies show that it takes 20 minutes for your stomach to signal to your brain that you’ve eaten just enough to be satisfied (not stuffed). So, it’s important to eat slowly, and watch for the “cues” your body will send you.

PAYS ATTENTION

In addition to eating slowly, you need to pay attention to what your body is telling you. We have built-in sensors (the hormones, Ghrelin & Leptin) that tell us when we are physiologically hungry, and when we’ve eaten just enough to refuel ourselves.

Unfortunately, most of us have lost the art of paying attention, so we aren’t familiar with these feelings, or “cues”.

However, if you choose to pay attention, you will begin to recognize your body’s unique signals, and can then respond accordingly.

Fun Fact: Did you know that most people will “sigh”, or pause, during a meal, when they have reached their “satisfied” point? If you stop eating at this point, you will find that you’re no longer over-stuffing yourself!

REMEMBERS ITS SOURCE

It is important for us, especially as Christians, to remember that everything we have has been given to us by God — He is our Source.

At the same time, it’s helpful to also, occasionally, reflect on how our food got to our tables in the first place. We can choose to thank God for the people who worked to produce this food for us, from the farmers (or factory workers), all the way to the hands of the one(s) who helped to prepare the meal.

HONORS THE GIVER

Here, I am thinking not just about nourishing foods, but also our entertainment choices. 1 Corinthians 10:31 says, “whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do”, it should all be for the glory of God. So, before you eat, or partake in an activity, think to yourself, “Does this please God? What might be a more God-honoring choice?

DOES NO HARM

Yep. I borrowed this phrase from the medical profession. But, it fits. Think about the food you eat regularly: Is it helping, or harming, your body? Is that can of soda beneficial to your health (really)? While no foods are inherently “good” or “bad”, some are obviously more beneficial than others. Some foods give us energy (eg. water, fruits, vegetables, legumes), while others leave us feeling sluggish (eg. refined sugars).

 “You say, “I am allowed to do anything”—but not everything is good for you.
You say, “I am allowed to do anything”—but not everything is beneficial.
// 1 Corinthians 10:23 //

KEEPS IT SIMPLE

Meals don’t have to be complicated, or include big productions in order to be considered healthy. You could have an Antipasto platter, and call it a meal. Or, you could steam some veggies and get a Rotisserie chicken, pre-cooked, from the grocer’s deli department … all in under 30 minutes!

The key is to do what feels right for you. Don’t make things more complicated than they need to be.

OFFERS GRACE

We are al human, which means none of us are going to do things “perfectly” all of the time. If you slip or stray from your good intentions, give yourself grace, forgive yourself, dust off the crumbs, and try again. You haven’t truly ‘failed’ unless you stop trying, and stop moving forward.

For, though I fall, I will rise again.
// Micah 7:8 //

INCREASES ENERGY

This goes along with two of the points above. Again, certain foods will benefit you more than others. If you pay attention, you’ll start to notice which choices give you energy, and which ones drain you. Obviously, plant-based foods will be a better energy source than, say, a cookie (not that there’s anything wrong with the occasional cookie, of course!)

IS ENOUGH TO SATISFY

Ever notice how, some days, you can eat and eat and eat, and never feel satisfied? My guess is that, on those days, you aren’t really asking your body what it truly needs, and then listening for the answer!

Sometimes it’s not even food, at all, that our bodies are calling for! It could be that we need a hug… or, some time to ourselves… or, maybe you’re just dehydrated, and need a drink of water.

Also included, here, is the fact that our stomachs are, in fact, designed to hold very little food (approximately the size of your closed fist). It doesn’t take much to hit that “satisfied” point — at least, physically. So, check your emotions, and see if something else may be eating you!

NEEDS NO EXTRAS

For those who have trained their tastebuds to no longer crave refined sugars, many fruits & vegetables taste great on their own, without the need for anything “extra” (eg. butter, fruit dip, salt, etc.).

True Nourishment also feels satisfied with a single serving, and doesn’t need to go back for seconds (or more!). 

The truly healthy choices will leave you feeling energized, satisfied, and vibrant (not sluggish, stuffed, or guilty).

DO YOU HAVE ANYTHING YOU WOULD ADD TO THIS LIST? FEEL FREE TO COMMENT, BELOW!

Before It’s Too Late: Relationship Red Flags

They are always there. But you’re probably not looking for them. Maybe you weren’t taught to. Yet, it’s so important that you are aware!

Relationship Red Flags | Life, Unleashed

I’m talking about the signs… red flags that warn you to pay attention, take notice. Subtle clues that things aren’t as bright as they may seem.

I wasn’t taught to be aware of these things. (Then again, I didn’t have the Internet so readily available back then, either!) So, I blindly stumbled through my dating years and into marriage, naive about how to guard my heart.

I see it so clearly now. A person’s true character will always be revealed, eventually. This is part of the reason why it’s better to take your time in getting to know someone.

Does this person that you’re dating treat everyone kindly — from the CEO to the janitor? Do they support you in your dreams, and listen to your ideas? Do they comfort you when you’re upset?

Too often, we get so caught up in the googly-eyed part of romance that we get swept away, and forget to listen to our intuition. Family and friends will sometimes see the “red flags” before we do (since they aren’t as close to the situation), and they’ll offer up warnings; they’ll state their concerns. Problem is, we’re so taken by our partner that we brush off these well-meaning comments. We think, “They just don’t know him/her like I do”. Or, we make excuses for our partner’s behavior.

Heads-up: That right there is a red flag. You should never have to make excuses for your partner’s behavior!

Think long-term: Do you want to be constantly defending yourself? (hint: you shouldn’t have to). Do you think it will be okay if you and your partner don’t see eye-to-eye on your deeply-held values and beliefs? (hint: you’ll grow resentful and bitter). Do you believe that he or she will change, over time? (hint: it’s not impossible, but it’s highly unlikely). And please… do NOT think that you can ever change another person! It is absolutely not possible. Change is an entirely personal (internal) responsibility. And, if you accept this person’s bad behavior now, why should they ever feel the need to change it later?

You are worth FAR more! Do not settle! I know this isn’t easy. But, trust me on this: you will save yourself years of grief and heartache by being aware and discerning up front.

Know your limits. Decide — before you even get into a relationship — what you are, and are not, okay with (remember: think long-term). The whole point of dating, really, is to prepare for marriage … to see whether you and this other person would be compatible as life-long partners. So, keep this in mind as you consider entering into a relationship with someone.

Read up on relationships — the good, the bad, and the ugly. Learn what the “red flags” are… and if you find even ONE, run away! (trust me on this). You are worth so much better! Do not let fear tell you that you may never find anyone else, or that truly good, loving men (and women) don’t exist — those are LIES! The devil wants to keep you stuck and miserable! (John 10:10). God, on the other hand, wants you to trust Him with your love story! He wants you to trust Him to show you exactly the right person for you. After all, God knows you inside & out, so He also knows who would be the perfect compliment to your life!

Here are some of my favorite resources:

And here are a few more links, if you’d like to continue reading:

Have the courage to be honest with yourself. It takes guts, but you’ll thank yourself later. Know that you don’t have to go it alone. There is always hope!

{PS… I’ve created my own list of “red flags” to watch out for: Red Flag List}