Thursday, October 27, 2016

I am blessed!

Today, I am blessed!

As I reflect on the past 40+ years of life, I came to a realization that I am blessed beyond measure. I am the healthiest, wisest, strongest, and happiest that I think I have ever been. Do I still have desires, dreams, goals, fears, guilt? Yes I do. But they do not control me. I have finally figured out a few things that used to cause anxiety but now I realize that they are part of the journey. Living life every day, doing what we do. That is the journey. Life is a journey, not arriving. Not settling. Not becoming complacent. But truly living. Always improving and dreaming but not to the point of letting it drive you crazy because you are not where you thought you would be at this point in your life. I am not the same person I was 20 years ago or 10 or even one. I have grown wiser in every way. Everything that I have lived through in my life has been a learning experience. I might have felt weak while going through things but it has made me a much stronger and wiser person as a result. I might not be where I want to be yet in business, physically, or spiritually but I am happy to say that I am on my way. I am moving forward every day. My business is growing every month. It has been an excellent journey. I love what I do. I have finally found something I believe in and that I like helping others achieve their health goals. I continuously learn about God and the many facets of His personality. I love how freeing it is to only focus on a relationship with Him instead of religion. I can honestly say that I have never felt healthier or stronger than I do right now. I have learned what healthy is for me. What exercise I enjoy and what foods make me feel the best. Not following a diet or program but just learning about myself and what my body needs has been very freeing. I have a strong mind, body and spirit. Life is truly about the journey, not the end result. I hope I never stop striving for excellence in every part of my life. It's what keeps me motivated and moving forward. 

I am blessed! In work that I love, in my health, and in my relationships. I have surrounded myself with uplifting and encouraging people. They are all different but enjoying their journey. I am especially blessed with a great family, immediate and extended. Great parents, inlaws, and siblings and cousins. I have four amazing children who are truly the joys of my life. They have made me the woman I am today. But most of all I am blessed with a wonderful husband. He is strong, hard working, stubborn, and loves his family above himself. He loves me unconditionally the way I love him. He truly is my best friend and I couldn't imagine doing this life without him. 

I am blessed!

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

13 Easy Ways For More Fun & Less Stress Part 2

In last weeks post I gave some tips on how to start managing your stress. I hope you took the time to write down the things in your life that causes you the most anxiety, or at least made a mental note, and have a good idea of the things that do. Also, that you noticed the things that you can change verses the things you cannot. 

Now let's put together a game plan for adding more joy and less stress in our lives. I have 10 things listed that if taken to heart and applied to your life will definitely make you feel better. You still might need some outside help if you are really depressed but these things will get you moving in the right direction. 

1.  Eat healthy, real food, not junk.
What we eat has more affects on our body than we realize. Food changes the chemicals in the brain. Certain foods bring us down while other foods raise us up. We want to eat foods that are as close to nature as possible with the least amount of processing. Most people do not eat the perfect diet but you can start with small changes. Start by adding more fruits and vegetables in your diet. If you do not like to eat them, blend them up into a smoothie. This is how I prefer to eat mine. I will be doing a separate blog post on this very thing in the near future because it is so important to eat healthy. Especially in this day and country.

2.  Get enough sleep.
It seems to be a badge of honor in our society to be able to function on as little sleep as possible. But this causes stress on the body and mind and causes you to age faster. I do not know about you but I am trying to age as slowly as possible. Most people need 7-8 hours of sleep each night. Below is a great link to the benefits of a good night sleep.

3.  Practice relaxation techniques.
There are many techniques for instant relief from stress. The quickest and easiest is deep breathing. Take 6 slow deep breaths. Inhale slowly for six seconds, hold for a few seconds, then exhale slowly for six seconds. Hold for a few seconds then repeat. Do this six times and it is amazing how doing this one thing will help to relax you even for a few minutes. If nothing else, it might keep you from saying or doing the harmful thing you were thinking about doing. 

Another technique is meditation. Meditation is different from prayer. This is a time to clear your mind and not think about anything for a while. Meditation is for everyone and every religion. There are many websites devoted to just this thing. Maybe I will do a post about this subject because there are so many benefits to meditation. Below is a great link to learning the basics of meditation.

Prayer is another technique that can relieve stress. It helps to believe that someone has your back and you can ask for help when you need it. The important thing to remember is to not use prayer as a time to relive past hurts or to wallow in self-pity. Make your request known, then be thankful for the answer you are searching for. Gratitude goes a long way in reducing stress.

Yoga is a great exercise to do to relieve stress. Almost anyone can do a beginners yoga program. You can find many free beginners classes online and most towns have at least one yoga studio. There are too many benefits of yoga to mention here so below is a website with a large list of the benefits of yoga. 

4.  Exercise.
Everyone by now has heard how good exercise is for the body. It keeps our weight in check and prevents every major cause of disease. Nothing can protect you from everything but exercise is one of those things that has too many benefits to mention. It is an amazing stress reliever. There are a few important points to make about exercise, especially if you are using it to reduce stress. 

First of all, you need to do something you enjoy. I know many exercise gurus will tell you that you have to do certain types of exercise for maximum results. Everyone has their own take on what that is. If you are trying to build muscle then there are certain things you should do. If you want to lose weight then you have a different set of rules. If that is what you really want and it helps you to reduce your stress then by all means find a great program or gym and go for it. But speaking from experience, the only exercise you will stick with is if you are doing something that you really enjoy.

Second of all, there are no excuses. There are as many different ways to exercise as there are in your imagination. The sky is the limit. You just have to be moving your body. 

Walk, hike, run, jog, lift weights, yoga, play a sport, basketball, baseball, soccer, gymnastics, rock climbing, gardening, walking your dog, playing with your kids, dancing, boxing, tai kwon do, karate, take the stairs, bike, roller blade, tennis, swimming, etc, etc, etc. As you can see there are no excuses. You can just do something that you are thinking of as a chore and turn it into a workout. Yard work is a great exercise. Playing with your kids or walking your dog are great examples. You can even turn housework into a workout. You just have to be creative. Below are two great videos of how to incorporate your baby or housework into a workout.

5.  Think positively.
I know what you are thinking. How can I think positively when I am under so much stress!? Well, here is the thing, our attitude is our choice. We cannot always control our situation but we can control how we deal with it, how we react to it. Thinking positively is our choice. Anyone can go around with a poor pitiful me attitude but it takes some work to not go that route. Do you really want to be one of those people that everyone avoids? You know when you are in Walmart and you see that person that never has anything good to say so you duck away hoping they didn't see you? You don't want to be that person. 

Learning that our attitude is our choice regardless of our circumstances was a real eye opener for me. It was both liberating and frightening. I had no one else to blame for how I acted. Only myself. There are a few things that you can do to help yourself on the path to positivity. 

First of all, listen to your inner dialogue. How do you talk to yourself? Are you always telling yourself you are stupid, fat, ugly, useless, and putting yourself down? That needs to stop. If you cannot love and respect yourself, how is anyone else supposed to? The first step is noticing when these negative, self-defeating thoughts come up. As soon as you recognize that you are doing it again, replace the thought with a positive one. Maybe right down all of your good qualities. The things you like about yourself. Then when you find yourself thinking those negative thoughts, replace them with the things you like. This takes time and practice but you will start to realize that you will start having more and more good thoughts every day. 

Second, what is your inner dialogue like when you are around others, whether friends or strangers. Are you critical, judgmental, or prejudice? Or do you think kindly of others? Just remember this, however you judge others is how you will be judged. That is a fact. Also notice the things we judge others for are sometimes the very things we do not like about ourselves. 

Lastly, spend some time not saying anything negative. Let no negative talk come out of your mouth. You might be very quiet for a while but at least you will not be spreading negativity to others. 

I realize this all seems like a lot of work but believe me when I say that it is worth every minute spent on improving your life.

6.  Laugh - a lot.
Stress melts away when you are laughing. You cannot be in a bad mood and laughing at the same time. Find things that make you laugh. Watch comedies, watch funny videos, hang out with people that make you laugh. Laugh at yourself. Hang out with children. Watch animals. 

There are many health benefits to laughter. Removing stress is number one. Below is an excellent article on the health benefits of laughter and ways to incorporate more laughter into your own life. 

7.  Take time for relationships.
Spend time with people that make you happy, that make you feel good. Hang out with the friends and family that accept you just the way you are. That bring you up instead of tear you down. Relationships take work just like everything else in our life but we need to put in the time.

If you are in a toxic relationship then you might need to get away from that person. I realize this is easier said than done, but if this person is the reason that you are severely stressed then the only solution might be to move on. Your health could depend on it. I am not encouraging you to get a divorce or quit your job. I am just saying that you need to look at your situation and decide what is the best decision for your health right now. 

Below is an excellent talk given by Robert Waldinger about what makes people the happiest. His conclusions are based on a 75 year study of 600 men. It is very interesting if you have the time. 

8.  Do something you love.
Most of us spend our days taking care of all of our responsibilities. Doing all of the things on our list of things to do. But how many of us actually do things that we actually enjoy? Do things we love? Too many times we just go through life fulfilling obligations while we put what we really want to be spending time on on the back burner. Well it is time to change things up a bit. Pull out those old paint brushes, dust off those old golf clubs, tune up that instrument that hasn't been used in a while and start enjoying yourself for a while. You do not have to be an expert at doing what you love. You do not even have to be that good. You just have to enjoy doing it. Whatever it is that makes you happy, go for it!

So now you are thinking, "right, like I have time for that in my life!" This is where you have to look back at number three in the previous post and say no to some obligations so you can make time for the best things in life. Go ahead - have some fun :)

9.  Practice gratitude.
You might be wondering why I would add gratitude to a post about stress but I will just say that this is the best way to get out of a funk quick. If I ever find myself moving into a negative or unhappy mindset I start naming things I am thankful and grateful for. It is amazing how many things you can come up with once you get started. You can even be thankful for the job you have because it provides money or the dirty dishes because that means you had food to eat. Some people do not have a job or food. 

This is a great habit to get into when you are falling asleep at night. As you are lying in the bed about to fall asleep, start thinking about all of the things you are thankful for. You can name all of the good things or moments from the day and if you cannot think of one good thing that happened to you all day long then just start naming all of the things you like about the world, or your partner, or your children, or your pet, or nature. I am sure everyone can appreciate a beautiful sunrise or sunset, blue skies, birds, fluffy white clouds. You get the hint. 

10.  Get outside.
All of these techniques are useful and help reduce stress. When you combine them they reduce stress greatly. But this is my favorite. I cannot express how good I feel when I can get into the sunshine and nature. Especially a hike to a waterfall. It is a natural high that you could never get from a bottle. We came from the earth and we are connected to it in body and spirit. The fresh air, the sun, they are natural remedies for anyone feeling down. 

Don't take my word for it, get outside! 

I hope you enjoyed these tips for improving your mood and reducing stress. It takes work to feel better and have a better quality of life but it is worth every amount of effort. We only have a limited number of minutes on this big beautiful planet. Make the most of them. 

Go have some fun. Adventure is out there!

Peace and love,


Monday, August 22, 2016

13 Easy Ways to More Fun & Less Stress Part 1

I started writing this post last week. I wrote and wrote until I was finished with all 14 techniques that I have found to reduce stress. It was very, very long. Just looking at all of the words was stressful. So I decided to shorten it and give it to you in segments. I think this approach will be much easier to digest. 

So let's dig right in with learning how to deal with stress. Everyone has it. Some people are better at managing it than others. The good news is there are many ways to help lessen the strain. The bad news is we all know that sometimes we feel like we have the weight of the world on our shoulders and we cannot see the light at the end of the tunnel. I know, I have been there. And it is definitely not a fun place to be. 

Fortunately, I have learned a few things over the years because I hate the feeling of helplessness and depression. I made a list of 14 things that help me and many others when feeling stressed or overwhelmed that might also help you.

I realize that sometimes we are in a phase in our life that is over the top stressful. Maybe due to a death or illness or job loss. I know that it seems like you will never be happy again or you do not see a way out of your current situation. Believe me when I tell you that this too shall pass. I know because I have been there. I cannot begin to explain what life is like when you are raising a child that is having seizures for three days straight only to come out of that cycle into one where his behavior is so bad that you think he is possessed. But knowing all along that it is just the turmoil going on in his brain and not his fault. To not sleeping for the three nights he is having seizures because you are trying to keep him from getting up because he will fall on his head and cause another knot or back eye or worse.  And the doctors did not know how to stop the seizures or how long they would last. This is not the half of what raising a mentally handicapped child is like but you get the picture. Well thank God that time did pass. I couldn't see the end while living through it but after 10 years of seizure cycles, the doctors finally found a combination of drugs that stopped his seizures. Brandon is now 28 years old and as long as he takes his medicine, he does not have seizures. We learned to do a lot of laughing during those difficult years. Our motto was you either laugh or cry and we usually chose to laugh. I wish I would have known of some of these other things when going through that. But we have many other stressors to practice these out on.

The last major blow for us was last year when Russ was diagnosed with throat cancer. Some days we deal better with stress than others but at least now we have the tools to use when anxiety hits. 

Some of these sound too simple but they work. Try to incorporate as many as you can into your life every day. You will be much happier as a result and those around you will be much happier too. 

1.  Figure out where the source of your stress is coming from.
Sometimes this is obvious and other times you are not sure why you feel stressed or anxious. In the last post I ended with asking you to keep a stress journal. It would be good to do this for about a week to get a real feel for what triggers your anxious feelings. Write down every time you feel stressed or anxious and what the circumstances are during that time. After a week, you will know the obvious and the not so obvious stressors. 

2.  Decide what is in your control and what is not.
After you have made your list of stressors, look at each one and figure out if it is something you have control over or not. Think carefully about each thing because sometimes you have more control than you realize. Sometimes you have to think outside the box. Now when Brandon was going through all of those seizures every week I had no control over that, but I could control my attitude during that time. I wish I could tell you that I always had a good attitude but as you know, that would be lying. Just work on the things you can, and accept the things you cannot.

When Russ was diagnosed with cancer, we were shook up at first but quickly decided to take his healing into our own hands and that made it easier to keep a positive outlook because staying positive is one of the things you must have if you are going to tackle healing on your own. By taking his healing seriously and doing it ourselves, it made us feel in control and not helpless which helped us with the feelings of anxiety. 

Like I said, sometimes your answer may not be obvious. That is why you have to get creative. 

3.  Take control of the things that are in your control.
Now that you have a good idea of where your stress is coming from and what you have control over, start brainstorming ideas of things you can do to improve your situation. I cannot answer this for you, you have to decide for yourself what is the best thing for you, and move towards that. It might mean making some major life changes. You might need to change jobs, or get out of a toxic relationship, or change your diet and lifestyle. Write down the things that you want to start working towards and do something each day to move you in the right direction.

Sometimes you just need to see things clearly and really know what you want out of life to change your attitude and circumstances. I have found that I am much happier and fulfilled when I have a project or goal to work towards. That way I do not feel like I am just spinning my wheels like I am on a hamster wheel going nowhere. 

Take control of your health, time, and relationships. Sometimes you have to say "no" to things. Sometimes they are harmful things and sometimes they are good things that you have to say no to so you can make room for the best things. For example, if one of your stressors is your weight but you eat junk food when you are stressed then you are caught between a rock and a hard place. Take control of your eating by incorporating healthy, real foods into your diet instead of always reaching for the junk food. You will feel empowered over your circumstances the more good choices in food you make. Also, forgive yourself when you mess up. Everyone messes up! Just do better the next time. 

Sometimes just knowing that you are working on feeling less stress and making changes in your lifestyle will help you to feel more in control and less stressed. 

I hope this was helpful for you as you start on your journey. I have several more techniques that I want to share with you on relieving stress. But this week you have plenty to work on while you are waiting. 

Blessings and peace,

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Our Visit to Bio Medical Clinic in Mexico

Last Wednesday, Russ and I got on a plane and went to San Diego, California. We arrived about 12 am and accepted the first driver that offered us a ride. We were quite tired as it was 3 am to us. We got to our room and walked to the nearest restaurant, which was a 24 hour taco stand, because the way the day worked, there was no time for food. We finally got in the bed and slept about 5 hours. Then we met our driver that took us to the clinic in Mexico. We were very grateful to have a driver as we would not have been comfortable at all driving in San Diego, much less Mexico. We spent the entire day at the Hoxsey Bio Medical Clinic in Tijuana, Mexico. It was a great experience, (with the exception of not eating all day). We could have eaten after Russ' tests were done but we didn't know that at the time. Next time it will be different. We were hangry by the time we finally crossed the border back into the states. Anyway, the time at the clinic was very encouraging and uplifting. The people we met were great. All of like minds and spirit. The staff was very friendly and helpful. When we pulled up in the driveway, there was a large bird cage with 100 parakeets singing. It was a cheerful welcome. After all of the tests were complete and much sitting around talking to the other people, we went in to see the doctor. He was very encouraging. He said that Russ was extremely healthy. His organs, blood, bones, muscles, everything was like a young man. The doctor said that when he is 50, if his test results looked like Russ' he would do cartwheels across the room. The only problem is Russ has a tumor the size of a golf ball in his throat. They put Russ on many supplements and a strict diet. He has to go back in 6 months. They are hopeful that this treatment will work since Russ' immune system is so strong. There are never guarantees, but I believe we have finally found the answer we have been searching for. We are very grateful for divine appointments and I believe that finding out about this clinic, all the way to going there, was a divine appointment.

Our time in San Diego was great. We really enjoyed the two days that we had to explore. We spent one day at Mission and Pacific Beach. I tried to get in the ocean but it was very cold. Not like the Atlantic in South Carolina at all! The weather was very different. Everyone kept saying how hot it was. I thought we were in paradise. It was 80 and no humidity. I was cold most evenings. Home is 95-100 all summer with very high humidity. We got to explore some of the city on Saturday. We hopped on a trolley to take us from place to place. We found many things that we want to do when we have the boys with us. It will be fun exploring the city with them and get their perspective on things. Next time we want to go to the San Diego Zoo and the Maritime Museum. I also hope to catch a great sunset over the pacific.

Friday, June 24, 2016

Wow! A year :)

I cannot believe it has been a year since I posted last on this blog. I do have an excuse. I have been writing on another blog. (gasp) Yes. I have been writing on Although after much thought and debating, I have decided to let that blog go and only focus on this blog. I will be blogging about family stuff but also about health and nutrition. The other blog was about natural cancer and disease cures but I realized that we are not really qualified to talk about those things. All we have is our story and what we are doing, but we cannot give medical advice or tell people which path they should take. That is totally their choice. All we can do is tell our story. And that, we can do here. So to take some of the pressure off of me, I will just focus on this blog, my family, and my business and leave the heavy blogging and advice to someone else :) This is much more my style. I look forward to sharing some of the healthy things we have learned over the last 1 1/2 years. I will be fun to write about the family again also. I see great times ahead! Here are a few pictures of our like lately. Adventure is out there! Diane