52 Acts of Love for Your Valentine

52 acts of love for your valentineI find Valentine’s Day a little heavy on the feminine side. The options are plentiful when it comes to gifts: cards, flowers, chocolate, dinner, jewelry, a massage, a night out…the romantic list is endless. All a guy has to do is pick one. But what about the men? Where is the masculine side of Hallmark when you need it most?

My husband is an amazing gift giver. He can pick up on the smallest cues throughout the year and actually remember them. Then surprise me year after year with his thoughtfulness. Me on the other hand? Horribly uncreative. The week before V-day I’m googling the web for “awesome gift ideas for my husband on valentine’s day”. Lame, I know. Gifts are just not my forte. Neither is acts of service. Go figure I’m married to a man who excels at both.

Can a girl get a witness?? Continue reading

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How to Stay Fit in Your Marriage

how to stay fit in your marriage

If January was the health month, then February is the month of love. Valentine’s Day is just around the corner and soon many of our thoughts will be consumed with showing love to our closest friends and family.

This year, I am focusing on getting healthy physically, spiritually, and relationally. I plan to devote a large portion of my blog posts to these particular topics! February is just another good reminder of the importance of relationships. The next few weeks you will see a multi-post series on 4 exercises that will help you stay fit in your marriage.

I am writing this series on marriage because I need it. And maybe you need it too. I’ll be honest; I learn best from my own shortcomings and failures. And just when I think I’ve got this thing figured out, I get another dose of reality that leaves me humbled. But the best part about community is that we can learn and grow together. So join me these next couples weeks as I share the vital lessons I am learning from my own marriage.

If you’re not married, check out my earlier post on Finding Mr. Right: 10 insights from those who are married.

Don’t Be Surprised

Being healthy takes work. And lots of it. Marriage is no different. A good marriage is not something you automatically start out with on your wedding day. It’s something that is carefully and intentionally crafted over time.

Marriage is hard. So don’t be surprised when you hit some bumps along the way. The race is long and the road can be rocky. You may not be able to avoid the tough times, but you can prepare for them. Continue reading

When Healthy Food is Your Enemy

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I’ll admit it. As soon as I get in sight of the bakery section in the grocery store my heart skips a beat. I might drool a little. Donuts make me want to leap for joy. Why are those darn things so cheap and enticing? Don’t they know I’m trying to be gluten-free? Yet they taunt me from behind the glass all innocent looking with their golden, freshly frosted outside and creamy delightful inside. My arch enemy and guilty pleasure all rolled into one.

But the “eat whatever I want” era came to a screeching halt when I was diagnosed as autoimmune. “Natural” and “healthy” was now the new, or not so new, trend. My body no longer functioned properly and healthy food held the promise of possible recovery. 70-90% of the immune system is located in the gut. Fix the gut and you can fix your immune system. That’s what the research said. The argument that food and nutrition could be a better and safer form of treatment for healing chronic disease was all too convincing.

So I got to work. Out with the processed, packaged, and modified foods. Hello antibiotic-free, grass-fed, organic, clean and friendly foods. Donuts took a back seat to their nutritious counterparts (although I have still been known to sneak one on occasion). My disease changed my outlook on food as I began to slowly replace our “American” diet with foods that were hormone-free, organic, grass-fed, local, and non-GMO. Superfoods like kale, quinoa, avocados, kiefer, and nuts littered my diet. I went vegan. I tried vegetarian. I became Paleo. I experimented with exclusion diets and avoided 25 food sensitivities all at once for a month. I went dairy-free, gluten-free, corn-free, and egg-free…all at the same time, for a long time. I took a regimen of supplements so intense that I had 20 dixie cups all marked by time, an alarm set for each one. I saw a naturopath and drank dirt, or what I affectionately called, “bunny farm” (some of you know what I’m talking about). I made high fiber smoothies that made me gag but I plugged my nose and chugged it down anyway. There were moments I thought I would go crazy. But I was desperate. I did it out of necessity. I wanted my health back.

But after two years of eating better, taking supplements, and making meals from scratch, I was still suffering. My digestive and gastrointestinal system were still dysfunctional and my pain was at an all time high. I felt discouraged and was getting depressed. It didn’t make sense. I was eating “healthy”. I tried all the tricks in the book. I was following all the suggested tips for optimal nutrition but I wasn’t improving…in fact, I was just getting worse. What if I was broken beyond repair? I felt frustrated and confused.

Can healthy and nutritious foods actually do more harm than good?

Continue reading

Little Moments of Marriage: 8 ways to stay connected to your spouse

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Our relationship has been pelted by many storms. Our vow to remain faithful “in sickness and in health” became a sobering reality when my health suddenly declined and I became all but crippled for a number of months. Many other physical and emotional issues have threatened our sense of stability and intimacy. These experiences forced us to find ways to stay strong and connected in our marriage. As the storms cleared, we saw how God uses the little moments to keep us anchored when we weather the hard times.

A good marriage is not something you automatically start out with on your wedding day. It is something that is carefully and intentionally crafted over time. Change how you handle the little moments each day and you can change your marriage! Your past doesn’t have to predict your future.

A great marriage is the result of a thousand great little moments. Here are a few little things we have found helpful in staying connected through the stormy seasons. Continue reading