So, if you are feeling a little guilty if you are not participating in something special continually during this holiday season, let the guilt go!Read More
If there is one holiday mishap I want to avoid this season, it's all the sugar! Two years ago around this time, I had been in and out of the ER every month for several months in a row.
At first, my vision would blur, and then the headache would begin, followed by vomiting for hours on end until I would find myself on the floor delirious. It would take days for the migraines to clear and not without repeated trips to the hospital for fluids and pain meds.
I started getting migraines in my early twenties and there seemed to be no particular pattern. Some years, I went with almost no migraines at all. Other years I was plagued by them. Neurologists educated me and I found relief in some measure but every time one would hit, it took me out and landed me in serious condition. I had two different specialists tell me I was there most extreme case of migraine sufferer and that I was highly resistant to meds.
They recommended that I take 2-3 times a normal dose, just to try and cut the pain. Every time a migraine hit, I wanted to die.
Something extreme needed to happen. I was suffering terribly and it was affecting my everyday life. I lived with the fear that a headache could appear at any time.
That December, two years ago, my husband and I decided to do an extreme cleanse and stop eating sugar, caffeine, processed foods, and alcohol. After 11 days of detoxing, we slowly introduced other healthy foods into our diet and began to view food as medicine.
My moods improved.
My psoriasis healed.
And my headaches STOPPED.
My son Quinn had also been having migraines for several years, beginning at age 2. We put our kids on the same eating plan and sure enough, cutting out sugar and processed food did what pediatric neurologists, allergists, surgery, and ENT’s could not. His headaches disappeared too and his joy-boy personality returned!
When my health and my son’s health were compromised, our entire lives felt out of control and we lived on edge. Living that way not only triggered migraines and other health issues, it triggered my anger, my irritability, and my moods.
I was not living life to the full as God intended because my TEMPLE was a mess. I’m certain that much of my son’s hard-to-handle behavior was a direct link to the sugar and processed foods as well.
This holiday season, it’s easy to let loose and indulge. My husband and I did our cleanse over his birthday, my birthday, and Christmas—a total of 11 extreme days. No figgy pudding or ham. No chocolate birthday cake or creamy pasta. No bags of chips or eggnog. It was HARD but I finally felt like I was doing the right thing.
Two years later, we still eat this way 80% of the time and I have only had 1 migraine since then—and that was a year ago when I decided to overindulge at the holidays. I learned my lesson-everything in moderation this year!
So let me challenge you, today. PUT A PLAN IN PLACE to enjoy your holiday treats but not at the expense of allowing it to TRIGGER your moods and angry reactions or if it will flood your mind with feelings of guilt.
The negative impact of sugar and other unhealthy foods is a holiday mishap we can avoid! DECIDE today to have self-control, make a plan, get accountability, and make healthy eating choices this holiday season, both for you and your children.
“Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body.” (1 Corinthians 6:19-20) “Beloved, I pray that all may go well with you and that you may be in good health, as it goes well with your soul.” (3 John 1:2)
“Be not among drunkards or among gluttonous eaters of meat, for the drunkard and the glutton will come to poverty, and slumber will clothe them with rags.” (Proverbs 23:20-21)
“I can do all things through him who strengthens me.” (Philippians 4:13)
SHARE: Is sugar or processed foods and dyes a TRIGGER for you or your children? How can you take care of your temple this holiday season? Share one specific plan you can make here in the comments!
P.S. I just picked up a copy of Monica Swanson's new book, The Secret of Your Naturally Skinny Friends: a simple path to your best body and a healthy mind! Join me in reading this book as we look forward to healthy changes in 2016!
This post contains affiliate links to a book. That means that Amazon gives me a few cents when you make a purchase through the link, at no extra cost to you! Thank you for supporting my ministry in this way!
Today, my longtime friend, Kristie Christie (yes, you read her married name right) is sharing a beautiful message here at Mother Of Knights. Kristie and I have known each other for more than a decade-long before either of us was married. We have been bridesmaids together, laughed our heads off over anything and everything, and we share a mutual passion for Jesus Christ. Will you give her a warm welcome--I love what she has to share about a Merry Family Christmas!
When I was a little girl I used to lay on my belly looking at the cover of the Amy Grant Tennessee Christmas album. I liked my family, but printed on this album cover was a large happy family in holiday sweaters posed in a house in the snow. It looked like heaven—or at least like a Hallmark movie—I wished they would adopt us into their wintery family. I lived in Burbank—-a bit of a departure from Franklin, Tennessee. As hard as I prayed for a white Christmas, we didn’t get one. Not even once.
The good news is that you don’t have to have snow or perfection in order to have great holiday memories—-just creativity and the commitment to slow down and to savor the moments you’re living. I don’t know why it is, then, that I always think it’s going to take maximum effort to make Christmas really super special. God just wants me—-present-to-my-life—-“me.”
I’m so good at filling up Pinterest boards. I love collecting ideas and dreaming of the moments I could create if I would execute these whimsical ideas. You too? Christmas approaches each year and I dream, “this year…I’m gonna…” and just as soon as the Thanksgiving turkey leftovers are finished it feels like it’s New Years again and think, “Oh next year, I suppose…maybe next year.”
The funny thing is that my favorite memories of Christmas were simple, they were cozy and I look back on childhood with wide-eyed wonder because something special seems to happen at Christmastime. I remember cutting down a Christmas tree with our friends from church and loading it on top of their station wagon. I loved putting out the nativity each year and planning where I thought each person should stand. Christmas memories are made by quality, not quantity. Rather than squeezing it all in—-I want to notice our life and savor it by the Christmas tree with the ones I love.
I have created Sunday School curriculum for the last 10 years—-creative, multi-sensory, and meaningful—-but fun. It’s been my greatest joy because I wanted to help kids know what Jesus meant when he said he had come to bring us “Life to the Full” (John 10:10) and that God isn’t boring like Sunday School had a reputation for being. Because of this, I received a few emails in recent years requesting I create a Christmas devotional for the family at home. I thought this was such a great idea—-but of course, this ended up on the list of “things I meant to do…but didn’t get to.”
This year, I’m making this dream happen and I’m gathering a group of loving, fun parents who want to do more than put an elf on a shelf—-and want to have some fun, meaningful moments that center around what the heart of Christmas. I have nothing against the elf on the shelf or Santa—-all so much fun—-I just want to make sure that we are having conversations that can help us pause together. I want to make sure that we’re not too busy to slow down to think about what this all means—- that God came to earth to love us.
I hope you’ll consider joining us for Merry Family Christmas. Here’s how it will work: each day you’ll receive an email with a daily devotion (story, good questions, scripture verse to read). You can do this around your table, before homework, before bed or in the car before you rush off to school. Next, you’ll receive a well laid out colorful guide to a weekly Family Night. This one will be a little more involved—-but not overwhelming. During the week you can gather a few items and be ready to spend time together in your living room—-making some memories and reflecting on the week together.
Join families across the country and some around the world who are already committed to have a Merry Family Christmas—-a time of intentional, focused time with people you love the most: your family
YOUR TURN! What are some other ways that you focus on Jesus during the holidays? I'd love to hear about some of your favorite traditions!
It was our first Christmas together as a married couple and we had agreed not to go crazy on gifts. My husband’s birthday is in early December, and mine is the day after Christmas! Instead, we chose to give each other Stockings filled with little presents.
I spent months finding the perfect trinkets that my husband would love-all his favorite things in small packages. A high quality utility knife, top of the line socks, his favorite cologne. I told him to open one of his gifts first and I joyfully watched as he tore open the paper, revealing my thoughtful choices.
And then I opened mine, my heart filled with excitement to see what my new husband had lovingly chosen for ME.
I pulled out a pink feather boa. And some silly plastic glasses with a mustache. Then, a pair of crazy fuzzy socks and a roll of mints. (I hate mints.) My husband grinned and I kept digging to the bottom, thinking a set of pearls or a gift certificate must be in there somewhere.
I looked up at him in disappointment—and disbelief.
“What?!” he asked, as his smile faded. He really didn’t know.
In his mind, stockings were for funny gag gifts, a time to be goofy and whimsical. In my mind, they were meant to confirm the idea that good things come in small packages—preferably with brand name labels attached and lots of pricey sparkle. More than that, stockings were meant to communicate that the giver really knew you—knew the things you preferred and enjoyed.
We had miscommunicated and made assumptions about one another’s intentions and plans for what a Christmas stocking should hold. It was a lesson to us that we had a ways to go as husband and wife and learning to communicate and manage expectations, but it also revealed to me that I had a long way to go in learning contentment.
That was just one of many rude awakenings for me that first year together as husband and wife. I allowed my disappointment to hurl me into a downward spiral of discontent, questioning if my deepest longing—to be known and loved—would ever really be a part of my marriage. I became sad, then hurt, then angry, then bitter. It wasn’t just the awkward exchange of gifts. I knew that was an honest mistake, but it left me feeling disillusioned, because I let it. In my mind, I rehearsed all the other shortcomings of my life, besides the challenges of being a newlywed.
There were plenty of other areas of day-to-day living that simply were not measuring up to my ideals. I had been skipping along the treacherous line of thinking that because I had been a “good” Christian, my long awaited for blissful marriage, cooperative children, 4-bedroom house, and selfless BFF should materialize and bring me my heart’s desires. When that didn’t happen, I got angry. Not rage against the machine angry, but a quiet simmering of discontent that infected my heart and clouded my perspective.
I snapped at my kids. Bickered with my husband. Coveted my neighbor.
I guess I wasn’t such a “good” Christian after all.
Over time, I realized that my anger issues were rooted in discontent, which was rooted in pride. The Holy Spirit began to convict me. All my efforts to change my circumstances weren’t working. I needed a heart transplant, STAT.
Linda Dillow, in her book, Calm My Anxious Heart, quotes Henry Kissinger: “To Americans, usually tragedy is wanting something very badly and not getting it.” That was me. The ideal and tranquil life was something I felt I deserved and instead of counting my blessings, I turned my desires into idols.
An idol is anything we value more than we value God and His plan for our lives. I had plenty of those. Had I yielded to this notion sooner, I could have avoided a lot of heartache. I’m still not there, 10 years later, but I’m not where I was either. The truth is, yielding our will is no easy thing, but it is the freeing thing.
My prayer for 2015 has been this, “Lord, help me to hunger and thirst for righteousness more than anything else.” You see, I thought that my husband’s ability to read my mind and shower me with thoughtful gifts would make me content. I believed that a house with a white picket fence, happy kids, and relationships with like-minded friends would satisfy me. The head knowledge that only Christ can satisfy had not made it to my heart.
God took me on a roller coaster ride that pried my clenched fingers off the safety bar of my grand illusions, one white knuckle at a time.
Eventually, I discovered that the Bible that I believed was true was not just true, but true for me. In me. Nothing else really does satisfy like Jesus. I really do love Him, even if He takes everything I have ever wanted, away. I really can be satisfied loving my wild child, instead of a compliant one. I truly can find contentment in the companionship of my Savior when friends seem distant. The Holy Spirit really does give me peace that is supernatural even when my husband falls short….or I do. I really can be satisfied in a tiny apartment where I bedeck myself in a pink feather boa and crazy socks.
Our anger or bitterness may not have originated over night. Maybe, like me, your melancholy is the long brewed product of drinking the poison of discontent. Do you have an idol in your life? Is a happy marriage more important to you than living out the Fruit of the Spirit, despite the hardships? Do you keep wondering why it has to be you with the son who has ADD? Are you having a pity-party because you haven’t had a call from a girlfriend to see how you are doing since two years ago?
Perhaps today is the day you can turn the tide towards humility and contentment by saying a simple prayer, “Lord create in me a desire to hunger and thirst for righteousness more than anything else”. And when the life you want eludes you, you will realize that the better life is not in obtaining your heart’s desire, but in receiving the heart that God desires to give you.
“Not that I am speaking of being in need, for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content. I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need.” (Philippians 4:11-12)
“Now there is great gain in godliness with contentment, for we brought nothing into the world, and we cannot take anything out of the world. But if we have food and clothing, with these we will be content.” (I Timothy 6:6-8)
“Trust in the Lord, and do good; dwell in the land and befriend faithfulness. Delight yourself in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart. Commit your way to the Lord; trust in him, and he will act.” (Psalm 37:3-5)
“You make known to me the path of life; in your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore.” (Psalm 16:11)
Friends, this post contains an affiliate link and when you make a purchase through this link, Amazon gives me a few cents to help my ministry at no extra cost to you! Thank you!
YOUR TURN: Can you relate to my story? Is there some seed of discontent that needs to be uprooted in your life? How can I pray for you?