If I had to describe 2019 in one word, it would be BLUR! An absolute blur. But, just like you, I survived. We made it! It is hard to believe that we are wrapping up the last few days of the first month in 2020- I find myself asking where does the time go? I also ask, did anything change just by turning the page on the calendar into a new year? Did I bring some of the bad habits into this year? With that in mind, I find it necessary to take a glimpse back simply to reflect on the things I learned. You see, 2019 holds the key as to what 2020 will look like. So before we move on into this year, let’s reflect back on the lessons learned in 2019.

One lesson I learned is to navigate differently (after all, we are on a journey…big smile). Often, life will have us moving so fast, that we are just going through the motions. I feel in part, that 2019 was that way for me. There were some amazing highlights of the year…but for the most part, it was a year where things moved fast and I tried to keep up. Not going to happen in 2020! I choose to navigate differently.

Another lesson I learned is to enjoy the small things. We have a tendecy to let the BIG things navigate our day, month or even year. But, there are so many small things that happen EVERY SINGLE DAY that we may overlook. Things like a smile from a cashier, a single flower that just popped up in our yard, a driver letting us in front of him/her in traffic…these are GOOD things! I will take a “goodbye, Mom…I love you” on a Monday over a much anticipated overrated party on a Friday!

One final lesson I learned is to put value on others! I am learning the importance of this more and more. There is so much satisfaction in taking our eyes off of ourselves and putting them on those that are around us. And that does not always include our family members or friends. There are people who we see on a daily basis and pass them right by. I am learning to take the time to strike up a conversation. People all around us are hurting! Just maybe, God put that person in our path for a reason.

So what does reflection look like? Here are a few tips to help you look back at 2019 and set the tone for 2020:

  1. What are the 5 major events that happened in 2019 that moved you emotionally the most (good or bad)? Why did you choose these 5? What did you learn from these events?
  2. What are 5 minor events that happened in 2019 that perhaps you overlooked the impact they made on you (you may need to pull out your calendar for these)?
  3. Does your daily routine so far in 2020 look the same as it did in 2019?
  4. What is one word that perfectly describes your 2019?
  5. What is one word that will define your 2020?


Often, we may feel as though we have accomplished nothing but if we take a look back, we can see the trails we have blazed, the valleys we have navigated, the lives we have influenced and BAM….maybe things weren’t as bad as they seemed. Maybe we moved forward by leaps and bounds. Maybe we grew more than we thought. Hmmmm!? REFLECT…what did you learn in 2019?

Let’s Live!


Healthy Holiday Eating…Hmmm

Healthy Holiday Eating…Hmmm

Ok….I have to go there.  No one wants to hear about how to eat healthy during the holidays.   Seriously,  isn’t that what the holidays are all about….gatherings, celebrations, all centered around good food? I know Thanksgiving in particular, is the one time of the year when we can feast.  That is true.

The good news is that we can still feast without sacrificing our health goals!

For some, it is very important to manage health conditions such as keeping a target blood sugar range or a good blood pressure so you’re not feeling crummy at the end of the day or the next day.

Tips for healthy holiday eating:

Fill up on lean protein and non- starchy vegetables.  Turkey is a lean protein which means it is ok to get seconds.  Non- starchy vegetables are also low in calories (when not cooked in fat) and have very little carbohydrates which will not spike the blood sugar.  Non-starchy vegetables such as green beans, collards, cabbage, okra, or squash should be the go to at holiday gatherings.  Choose fresh herbs to season vegetables and other foods instead of salt.



Plan ahead. Eating healthy during the holidays requires a little bit of planning.  For example,  choose a low calorie breakfast on Thanksgiving morning.  It is not the time to fill up on pancakes and syrup (sigh).  Also, do not skip breakfast.  It is important to not skip a meal to avoid overating at the next meal.  Desserts are a must, so plan ahead for them by eating smaller portions of other heavy carbohydrates such as mac/cheese, rice and potatoes.

Move!  While food is a central point of our holiday gatherings, don’t forget the other F’s….family, friends and fun.  Get everyone together and go for a walk either before or after you eat.   Choose activities that will get every one moving and involved.

Enjoy every bite.  Eat mindfully by not eating fast.  Create a plate that appeals to the eye and enjoy every single bite.

Get back on track.  Even if you don’t meet your health goal at a holiday gathering, remember there is always tomorrow.   Don’t beat yourself up….start again the next day.

Let’s live!




Fall, Fun and Food….My Top 5 Fall Recipes!

Fall, Fun and Food….My Top 5 Fall Recipes!

If you are like me, you can’t help but wonder where this year has gone.  We just slid right into Fall a few days ago.  Seriously, did Spring and Summer even exist?  We are into the last few months of 2018.  Sigh!  I am ok with Fall though.  It just happens to be one of my favorite seasons.  From the nice cool weather and the beautiful colorful leaves to the festivals and fairs, and yes, yes…football!  We are a football family!  Football for us,  means gathering, coaching the teams (because we know more than the paid coaches), and eating!!! Throw in some apple picking and hands down fall is all about food and fun- (I threw in a throwback pic of some apple picking fun).

I want to share with you my top 5 favorite Fall recipes.  Some are a classic in my home and others…well, they are just my favorite and my family could care less.

First up is a recipe that my husband actually stumbled upon in the Charlotte Observer a few years ago- Chicken Tortilla Soup.   What I love most about this recipe is that it is very low maintenance and the crock pot does most of the work (plus, the quick-grab rotisserie chicken, really does the trick).


My second favorite recipe is one that I recently stumbled upon….Loaded Nachos (Pioneer Woman).  I can’t say enough about Ree Drummond.  She is my kind of girl.  I love this recipe because of all of the colors that somehow remind me of the Fall leaves.  Plus, a colorful plate really is an appealing plate! I use ground turkey and it tastes just as good.


Next up is a Skillet Granola- Apple Crisp recipe from Food Network.  Fall is all about apple picking so any recipe that calls for apples, are perfect.  Plus, I love pumpkin spice anything!

apple cobbler

The next one to make my list is a recipe for Roasted Vegetables that I found on Pioneer Woman (did I mention that Ree Drummond is my girl- Ha).  I love the simplicity of the recipe, and I have added several other vegetables and each time, the taste never disappoints.  The beautiful colors create a beautiful plate!


The final recipe to make my top 5 Fall recipe list is a Slow Cooker Lemon Garlic Chicken recipe that I found on WebMd a while back.  I love the slow cooker because dinner can be cooking while you are going about your day.  Also, it gives extra time for the spices to marinate slowly. Yum!! Lemon…garlic….chicken….need I say more?!


We better buckle up our seat belts because this year is flying by.  Let’s try to somehow enjoy this season and each day with those we love.  I would love to gather more fall recipes so please share your favorite!


Let’s live!


It’s Simple….Move More!

I do not own the rights to this song.

Can you believe how fast the summer is flying by?  It has been a busy summer for me and my family.  Adjusting to a ‘non-school’ routine is always interesting especially when kids are home.  Plus, I work from home, so there is a bit of an adjustment when you have others home with you during the work day.  One thing is for sure, I am totally off my routine.  Since I am a creature of habit, I tend to not be as productive, but I am learning to adjust.  Keeping up with an exercise routine…out the window.  I have adopted a new mindset which is just MOVE MORE!

I think my childhood and where I grew up has molded me to be somewhat of a ‘wanderer’ anyhow.  Summers as a child meant getting outside and moving!   We lived near a lake so my sister and I would walk to the lake or several nearby ponds.  We voyaged the nearby woods scavenging daily for plums, blackberries, muscadines and even pears (we had most of these in our own backyard).  Also, we made several walking trips to our grandmother’s house and continued on to find family and friends who we could play baseball and kickball with.  I miss those times!  I also think just being outside is what I prefer even to this day.  Therefore, it is very hard for me to hit a gym.  When it comes to exercise, we are all different.  The key is to find something that we enjoy and will simply keep us moving!

Leisure Activities

Playing a game of kickball or simply shooting hoops will get our hearts moving.   It doesn’t mean we have to move around like Lebron James (haha); simply standing in front of a hoop and shooting the ball in the basket, gets us moving. My pre-teen is always dancing and making videos.  Dancing is not one of my strengths at all, but jumping in on one of my daughter’s routines, not only gets me moving, it is also a way for me to spend time with her.  Children can be a great resource to keep us moving!

Sneaky Exercise

Chores…we all have them.  So why not make the most of them!? Turn on some music and get the duster, mopper and brooms going.  Set a timer, don’t stop, and get those chores done!   If you have to head outside, there is always mowing the lawn and planting flowers that will keep you moving as well.

Partner Up

My husband and son do a great job of sticking to an exercise routine.  They will hit the gym and think nothing of it.  I look to them for accountability; finding others we can be accountable to is very important when making lifestyle changes. In my previous job, we had “Walking Wednesday’s” where a group of us would meet up for a quick walk outside at a specified time.   It was a way for us to catch up and made moving fun and easy!

Exercise Resources (click on links below):

What type of exercises are important? 

Exercise and goal setting

Exercise and Mental Health Benefits

Exercise and Aging

Exercise for those with limited mobility

Remember, it is important to speak to your health care provider before starting a strenuous exercise routine.  The most important thing is to never give up!  We got this!

Let’s Live,


Food, Stress…what’s affecting our blood pressure!

Food, Stress…what’s affecting our blood pressure!

Go! Go! Go!  We are always on the go to keep up in this world that never seems to stop.  This fast pace can be a plus, but it can also be a minus,  if it creates added stress.  Also, there is an overabundance of fast food restaurants on every corner which poses as an added convenience on a busy day.  When I was growing up, eating out was a treat…it wasn’t something we did everyday.  Now, many eat out every single day.  This coupled with stress, can add on the pounds and affect our health….in particular our blood pressure.

I like to think of blood pressure as water flowing through a hose.  When the water pressure is mild, the water flows gently through the hose.  However, when we turn the water on full blast, there is a lot of pressure on the walls of the hose. The water then comes out of the hose full blast.  The same is true with our blood pressure, when blood is flowing through our arteries and the pressure is high, it is damaging the walls of the arteries and putting a lot of pressure on our heart and other organs.

Often times, high blood pressure gives no warning signs.  That is why as we age, we must keep an eye on our blood pressure.   I must admit though, I have seen an overwhelming rise in high blood pressure in younger children and teens.  It is extremely important for us to keep an eye on our loved ones, regardless of the age.

Stress can be very harmful to blood pressure. The stress we feel when driving or during the work day, definitely influences our blood pressure if it continues to happen over a period of time; so can the abundance of salt that we find in so many of the foods that we eat.  According to the American Heart Association, to lower blood pressure we should limit the amount of sodium to 2400 milligrams per day.  Reducing sodium intake to 1500 milligrams per day is desirable because it lowers blood pressure even more.  My favorite meal plan when trying to lower blood pressure is the DASH diet (click on link below)!!  It has been the #1 diet for managing blood pressure and other conditions for the last few years (according to US News & World Reports).

As a nurse, I think it is very important for everyone to remember that when it comes to our health, we are in the driver’s seat.  It is up to us to take action when changes in lifestyle or medication are not reaching goal.  We have to be very proactive….after all we only have 1 life (at least on this side).


Tips to Manage Blood Pressure:

  1. Manage Stress.
  2. Develop an exercise plan.
  3. Reduce weight.
  4. Quit smoking.
  5. Monitor your blood pressure regularly (don’t wait until you have to go to the doctor).
  6. Maintain a healthy weight.


Resources (click on the links):

Blood pressure chart 

Track your sodium

DASH Diet 

DASH Diet Books


Let’s Live,









June is Men’s Health Month!!

June is Men’s Health Month!!

Did you know that women are 100% more likely to go to the doctor for preventative health than men? That is an astounding 100%!  June is set aside as Men’s Health Month.  So, let’s give all of our hard working men a little push out the door and point them to the doctor’s office.  And if you are a male reading this, grab all of your relatives/friends and take them with you.

Of course, June is also the month we celebrate Father’s Day.  Why not be a little creative this year and give a gift with a health benefit?  Some examples include: a gym membership, subscription to a men’s health magazine, gift certificate to an urgent care center for a physical or even a check made payable to the doctor.

There are a few key preventative tests that all men need routinely:


BP check
Cholesterol screening (to include LDL, HDL, triglycerides)
Blood glucose check (to include an A1c)
Prostate screening (PSA test)
Eye exam
Dental exam

Additional Men’s Health Resources (click on each):

Men’s Health Fact Sheet

Prostate Health Guide

Men’s Health Month

Free/Lost Cost Health Care

Men we need you!

Let’s Live,


Caring For Our Emotional Health

Caring For Our Emotional Health

These past few weeks have been quite interesting!  I mentioned in my last post that I had sinus surgery.  And while, I am still recovering, I am sort of disappointed with the results so far.  Going in,  I was expecting somewhat of a quick miracle.  What I have experienced so far, is a process! For those who know me, I don’t like processes! I kind of want things to be done quickly.  As you can imagine, my emotions have been all over the place!

Most of us do a pretty good job of caring for our physical health.  When we are sick, we are good about taking medication or even going to the doctor.  But, when was the last time we took a good long look at our emotional health?

We are emotional beings….some of us are a little more emotional than others (clears throat).  Emotions can be tricky. They can make us shine and draw others to us.  Emotions can also cause us to overreact or even act out of character.  Emotions play a huge part in our physical health.  For example, some people are emotional eaters and eat when they are stressed or overwhelmed.  This can pack on unwanted pounds.

From being sad…..to depressed….to happy….to angry…..emotions drive us every single day.  Therefore, we need to ‘check our emotional health’ every single day!  Sometimes, all we have to do is ‘get our minds made up’ so our emotions can follow!

Tips for Managing Emotional Health:

  1. Find what triggers negative emotions (for example, if morning traffic brings out the “worst you”, leave a few minutes early or play worship music).
  2. Plan ahead (this can be as simple as planning for a busy week or saving for a rainy day).
  3. Get those negative emotions out (journal, pray, confide in a trusted friend or spiritual leader).
  4. Be realistic (of what you can handle and even expectations of others).
  5. Meditate and combat negative emotions with scripture.
  6. Exercise!!  Exercise has been shown to be a great stress reliever and mood booster.


Let’s Live!



Summer Goals….

Summer Goals….

So for the past week or so, I have sort of been out of commission….I did something that I had put off for years…had sinus surgery! Ugh! Ugh again!  I am on day 5 post surgery and finally able to resurrect a small portion of my taste buds.  I still cannot smell, and I have a few days left before I can even blow my nose.  I cannot tell at this point if the surgery was a success.  One thing I do know- NEVER, EVER, EVER take for granted the sense of smell or taste.

I have been dealing with sinus and allergy  issues for years so one of my goals for 2018 was to just DO IT – just get it out of the way! Whether it worked or not, I can check it off my list.  The other part of that goal was to have it done before summer!

Speaking of summer….

Summer is just around the corner so why don’t we jump-start the season with some summer goals?  We all have to admit that life can be a little boring at times. Day in and day out we have our daily routines down packed.

Setting goals add excitement!  It gives us something to look forward to.  Plus, once we reach a goal, it helps us to gain confidence and makes us more aware of just how unstoppable we really are!!

I like the S.M.A.R.T. goal (George Doran, 1981) approach when working towards a goal:

S- specific    (clearly stated)

M- measurable

A- achievable

R- realistic

T- time based

For example: “I will lose 20 lbs in 1 month” is not a SMART goal.  Losing 20 lbs in a month is not realistic and probably not achievable.   A more realistic approach would be: “I will walk .5 mile (3) times per week for 1 month.”  Exercise is a great way to lose weight so that is a more specific approach to an ultimate goal of weight loss.

Below are a few tips to help you set and reach your summer goals:

1. Identify barriers.

a. What has kept you from reaching this goal in the past?

b.  What steps can you take to avoid any setbacks?

2.  Be honest with yourself.

a.  Is this the right time/season for you to accomplish your goal?

b.  Do you need a friend to keep you accountable?

3.  Know that you don’t have to rely on your own strength.  God is always with us to help.       One of the fruits of the spirit is self-control (Galatians 5:22-23) so all we need to do is           ask for help.  Plus “we can do all things through Christ who gives us strength”                       (Phillipians 4:13).

4.  Write your goals down and keep them before you (Habakkuk 2:2)!

5.  Always have a fun goal!!!


Let’s live!




Let’s Celebrate Jesus!

Let’s Celebrate Jesus!

Sometimes we just kick into survival mode…going through our days and weeks pretty much like robots.  And for some of us, we take whatever comes our way.  I am guilty myself!

However, I have to believe that survival mode is an insult to Jesus who came so that we can not only “kick butt” in life but also live an abundant and victorious life.

If we are going to impact the world like God truly intended for us to, we have to wake up, know our rights, and stand. His death cannot be in vain.  As we celebrate His death and resurrection, let’s pray that God will awaken our spirits and cause us to rise up and live out His promises.

Let’s celebrate Jesus and the many reasons He came to this earth.                                        He came to:

  1. Save us so that after this life we have the promise of living forever!    John 3:16
  2. Be an example of how we should love a dying world.         John 13:1
  3. Counteract anything the enemy throws our way.              John 16:33
  4. Give us authority over Satan and the kingdom of darkness.     Luke 10:19
  5. Give us direct access to our Father.                     Matthew 27:51   
  6. Bear all of the sins we could ever commit.         Peter 2:24
  7. Send the Holy Spirit to be with us.      John 16:7



Let’s Live!


March is National Nutrition Month

March is National Nutrition Month

March is set aside as the month for us to take a closer look at our nutrition/eating habits.   So, let’s dive right in… For some, making a few tweaks is all you will need to reach your nutritional goals.  For others, it may take a little more work.

When choosing to make changes in the way we eat, it is very important to set small, simple goals.  During an initial health coaching session, I like to start with breakfast.  Some good breakfast goals may include:

  • I will not skip breakfast.
  • I will add a good protein source to my breakfast.
  • I will reduce the amount of fat in my breakfast.

Once you have reached your breakfast goal, then move on to lunch and finally on to dinner.  Be realistic when setting goals and give yourself some time.  For example, it may take a month before you reach your breakfast goal.

Other nutritional goals may include:

  • I will only eat out twice a week.
  • I will add a fruit/vegetable serving to each of my meals.
  • I will drink water with 2 of my 3 meals.
  • I will make healthy snack choices.

Test your nutrition knowledge by taking fun nutrition quizzes at choosemyplate.gov (click here).

For other nutrition tips, see the nutrition page under health/wellness.  Also, feel free to contact me (under contact tab) with any additional questions.  Be sure to follow this blog by signing up to receive new posts by email.

Let’s Live,