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!


The Direction of…..Pineapples??

The Direction of…..Pineapples??

The life of a 13 year old…..I am finding out it is quite different from what I remember at that age. My daughter recently turned the big 1-3 and it has been a roller coaster. Nowadays, she is in to pineapples! Pineapple everything….pineapple socks, pineapple necklaces, pineapple stickers, pineapple wallpaper (Iphone), pineapple earrings….everything is a pineapple. When I asked her why pineapples, she had no answer; it is “just the direction” she is headed right now. Next week or next month, it may be something different, but for now, the direction is pineapples. Sigh!

We all go in different directions at times. Most recently, I took a little bit of a “time out” just to see where I was headed in life. I find that is very much needed at times. Plus, sometimes you have to pause, fight some battles, put out some fires, and put that superhero cape right back on. Life has a way of navigating us off course. So, pausing is good!

Regardless of which direction we are headed, we have to remember, that we never stop learning, especially from one another. I am taking some wonderful small group classes, and the people that surround me teach me so much about life and love. We are geared towards learning…it’s in our DNA.

The pursuit to know more, be more, and do more really is a part of our ‘make up’, but these qualities can lead us off course when not balanced with wisdom and a clear knowing of OUR divine destiny.

As we approach this Resurrection Sunday, let’s take a moment to pull out the magnifying glasses to truly examine our lives. Are we just going through the motions? Have we lost our peace….joy….love for others, or even pursuit of Jesus? Has restlessness, hurt, or even anxiety become the norm? God uses these things as warnings, sort of red flags, to get us to slow down or even caution us that we are headed in the wrong direction. We can’t successfully journey with “baggage”…it truly gets us nowhere!

This Easter weekend, celebrate life….celebrate new beginnings….celebrate Jesus!

Let’s Live!


Embracing Boundaries

Embracing Boundaries

I am trying to wrap my head around the fact that 2018 is almost gone! Gone! I miss summer already.  This time of the year with the time change, means less day time hours which can affect many in more ways than one.  Less daylight hours mixed with the upcoming holidays can be a bit overwhelming.  Embracing boundaries can be a useful tool to keep us on track.  Boundaries are essential to maintain a balance. 

Some may cringe at the very sound of ‘boundaries’ suggesting it is always negative in connotation but boundaries can be a key to maintain peace.

One of my favorite past times, now that the weather is cooler,  is to walk around my neighborhood.  I am always on the lookout for neighbors who may be in the yard so I can pause and chat a bit.  At one particular house, I am on full alert because they have a dog that always seems to pop up out of nowhere.  The funny thing is that they also have an invisible fence which should put me at ease, but it does not.  As much as I prepare for that dog, he always catches me off guard.  The reason is,  I can pass by his house one or two times, and there is no sign of him.  But, just when I let my guard down, he flies from the back of the house, and he runs as fast as he can until he reaches the invisible fence.

I am so grateful for that fence even though I cannot see it.  It serves as a healthy boundary between me and the dog.  It protects me because…let’s just say I don’t want to know what that dog will do to me.  The fence also protects the dog from me.  That is his yard..his territory, and I have no right passing that boundary line.

Psalms 16:5 The boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places; surely I have a delightful inheritance (NIV).

Psalms 16:5 is one of my favorite verses.  It indicates that God has boundary lines for each of us. We are all different; we all have a purpose and a destiny.  Those boundary lines serve as a way to keep us in our own lane in other words.  They remind us of our limitations, but they also challenge us to reach higher when we haven’t reached our fullest potential so that we can acquire our delightful inheritance.

Often, when I am tired,  and my children are busy talking or want to interrupt, I will ask them to ‘give me a moment’.   I may need a moment because I need to get my thoughts together.  That small response serves as a boundary as well.  It helps me and them because, when I am not at my best,  they won’t get the best me.

As we head into the holidays, let’s remember to set boundaries.  We want to reach our abounding potential and purpose during this season.  We also want to give others our best and not just our leftovers because we are tired.  Boundaries are good…boundaries are ok, and boundaries can help us to maintain a balance.

What about you?  Do you struggle with setting boundaries?  Do you believe God wants to challenge you more because you have not reached the boundary lines for your destiny?

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!


Identity: So Much Is Settled When We Know Who We Are!

Identity: So Much Is Settled When We Know Who We Are!

School is back in session which somewhat signifies the end of summer.  I have traded in the sound of kids running in the neighborhood for the many after school updates from my middle schooler.  She always has a very detailed update to provide as soon as she opens the car door. I must admit that my curiosity often peaks as to what happened during the school day so I often find myself rushing through the car rider line to catch up on the latest scoop! I remember, oh so well, being in middle school; a very crucial time of body changes and acceptance (among so much more).  It is a time when identity can be misconstrued and even at that young age, our minds begin to battle about who we are.

Even into adulthood, we struggle with identity.  In an age of social media and quick access to almost anything, we can battle with identity because our minds are being infiltrated with images (almost nonstop) of what other imperfect human beings label as being acceptable or unacceptable.  This then, can create an open door for Satan to wage war on our minds, wearing us down until our identity is left in question.

I like to give an example of: if someone called you an apple or a rock, that probably wouldn’t bother you that much.  Why? Because you know in your heart and mind that you are not an apple or a rock!  That statement would more than likely roll right off your shoulders, and not affect you at all. We should have the same approach when the enemy tries to whisper to our minds, that we “are a loser”, “not pretty”, “never will make it”, “not like other women/men” and the list goes on and on!

The truth is, so much is settled when we know who we are and whose we are!

God in His perfection created us. He is the same God who put those bright, shiny stars in the sky.  He is the same God who intricately divided the land to form continents, countries, even down to states and towns.  He is the same God who created vast amounts of water to create the oceans, lakes, and rivers that surround us. He perfectly made everything that we see and even what we don’t see for that matter (heaven).  So why, when it comes down to creating us, would He all of a sudden, not be perfect? God is perfect and He perfectly designed each of us even down to the most delicate detail.

Psalms 139:13  (New Living Translation) You made all the delicate, inner parts of my body and knit me together in my mother’s womb. 

Therefore, we cannot let an imperfect enemy (Satan), imperfect past, imperfect generation before us, and certainly not another imperfect human define who we are!

Genesis 1:27 (New Living Translation) So God created human beings in His own image.  In the image of God He created them; male and female He created them. 

We have to constantly walk closely with God so we can always hear what He says about us. His approval and acceptance of us trumps everyone else’s.  He will guide us and always lovingly bring us back to Him when we are off track.  In our different seasons of life, He is always there to cheer us on and remind us of just who we are!


Let’s live!


Veggies, Veggies, and more….Veggies!

Veggies, Veggies, and more….Veggies!

We all heard growing up that we ‘must eat our vegetables’.  While some of us may have mastered this task, getting the recommended servings each day can be a challenge.  I love the idea of eating lots of veggies because it is a way to fill our plates up without adding alot of calories.  Plus, they add lots of needed vitamins and minerals.  Fiber from vegetables can aid in weight loss, lower cholesterol levels, and assist with proper bowel function.

According to Choosemyplate.gov (click on link for more tips),  “the amount of veggies we need to eat depends on our age, sex, and level of physical activity“.

While we may have some vegetables that are our least favorite, there are so many to choose from!  Below are some tips to add veggies to each of your meals and snacks:


Add veggies to omelets.  Veggies such as spinach, tomatoes, mushrooms, onions, and peppers can add color and taste to those boring eggs.

Add veggies to smoothies.  Veggies such as spinach and kale is a sneaky way to get the veggies in without sacrificing the taste of the smoothie.  Adding avocado can give your smoothie a rich texture.

Add veggies to juices.  Juicing is back on the scene and is a perfect way to toss in veggies that maybe we normally wouldn’t choose (beets and radishes).


Add veggies to salads.  Salads are a go to for lunch but they don’t have to be boring.  Choose dark, leafy veggies such as spinach or kale to be the base of your salad.   Change the veggies from day-to-day (also salad dressing) to give you a different taste.  Don’t overlook veggies such as red cabbage, scallions, snow peas and green peppers which can add a lot of flavor to your salad.

Add veggies to your sandwiches and wraps.  Just like with salads, choose different veggies to change the taste.  Drizzle olive oil or even use pesto to add more flavor to your salad/wrap.


Add veggies as the main side to your dinner.   There are so many veggies (click on link) to choose from so be creative.  Try roasting them in the oven to add variety ( just rub on the olive oil and season).


Yes! Veggies can be wonderful for snacks as well.  Ditch the carrots and cucumbers (maybe) and opt for sliced zucchini, squash, or peppers.  These are great uncooked and if you have already used them in your morning omelet or salad,  just save some over for snacking.  Sweet potatoes when roasted may satisfy the sweet tooth (especially if you sprinkle on some cinnamon).  Finally, make up some kale chips (hmmm) by roasting kale.  I had to save that one for last because kale chips may sound a bit interesting but don’t knock them until you try them!

Challenge yourself!  See how many vegetable servings you can get in a day!  I would love to hear from you!

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,


Stress Eating….My Love for Gummy Savers!

Stress Eating….My Love for Gummy Savers!

I don’t exactly remember when my  love for gummy savers started.  I have always had a sweet tooth but my fondness for gummy savers may even surpass the ‘sweet tooth’ adage.

Before I continue, I need to disclose that I know there is nothing healthy or nutritious about gummy gavers…absolutely nothing!  It is pure sugar and artificial flavors (not to mention all the other ‘not so good’ ingredients).  That often does not stop me though!  I have come to realize that if I am having a stressful or busy day, I want gummy savers.  If I am rushing around or preparing for a busy week, my mind goes to gummy savers. I knew I had it ‘bad’ when I started receiving gummy savers as birthday gifts, Christmas gifts, Valentine’s gifts or gifts for any occasion, and I was perfectly happy!  Ecstastic!  I had my final “aha” moment when I purposely decided to cut back.  It was hard!

Often times, there is a link between the foods/things we constantly crave.  We can become emotional or even stress eaters and this requires a shift to being aware of what we are eating and why we are eating!  Of course we want our food to taste good, but we also want it to provide the nutrients we need for energy to carry out our daily activities.

I wish I could say that I have mastered the consumption of gummy savers, but I haven’t.  I have cut way back and try to think of them as more of a treat.  I have also tried to find more healthy food choices that I can substitute when I have cravings for gummy savers.  Planning ahead helps too.  If I know my day is going to be busy or a bit stressful, I keep fruit or nuts nearby.  I have also found that it is best that I don’t keep gummy savers in the house (yikes)!

So, if you find yourself constantly craving a food item or thing, take a moment to make sure there is no link between it and your emotions.  Remember, we are our very best when we are healthy and making healthy choices!

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,