Motherhood, mothers day, Uncategorized

Mamas and strawberry lemonade

My mom is genuinely my best friend. My husband jokes about the amount of time I spend with her…but I explained to him how she’s not like “most moms”. How she will stand with me in the pit at a concert drinking wine and dancing or go totally natural with our similar wavy hair or the way she chases adventure and gets me to teach her how to ride horses. I explained to him how she was just nice to be around, a kindred spirit now that I’m older and out of the house. We’re just enough different and just enough similar.

I’m an old soul and my mom and I share a love for antiques and nature. So we both enjoy reading the old timey magazine called Victoria magazine. I saw where I could send in a letter for Mother’s Day explaining what I loved about my mom. I saw this at 8 am and not even 20 minutes later I had written something to send in before work. It was so easy to write and recall all the ways she was a good mother. It got published in the magazine for the May/June issue along with many other women writing about their great mother’s. It was cool to see my mom’s attributes displayed in a magazine we both loved alongside so many other amazing tributes to women’s mother’s. It made me realize how powerful womanhood and motherhood is.

I thought I’d go ahead and share with you what I wrote in honor of Mother’s Day and in remembrance of all the amazing mothers out there who work so hard to cultivate lives full of joy and peace:

“As a child, I would always tiptoe down the stairs in the morning-greeted by the aroma of fresh coffee-to find my mother wrapped in one of her pink or floral robes. Before doing anything else, I would crawl onto her lap and rest my head on her chest. Planting a kiss on my forehead, she would ask me how I slept. She always smelled like peonies, and I think this was because she adored them. I believe that what you love, you in some way become.

Today, newly married, I have a painting hanging in my house of a woman with auburn hair smelling roses. Her eyes are closed, and her head is lifted, as if she is inhaling the best perfume in the world. This portrait reminds me of my mom because it captures her approach to motherhood: soaking it up for all it’s worth and savouring it completely. She cooked heavenly food, cultivated an inviting and orderly home, and loved us with grace and kindness. As I grow older, I realize what a job that was and how she took it on as her purpose.

She raised five women, all of whom have grown and are thriving but still dearly love their mom as a friend and confidant. I notice qualities my sisters inherited from our mother in the way Claire cooks, how Mary loves coffee and can brew the perfect pot, the way Lauren nurtured so tenderly, and how Cate loves to keep things homey and clean. And me? I love flowers. I pray everyday that when I have children, they will see things in me that make them feel safe and warm inside, just like we all feel with mom. But more than anything, I hope I will smell like flowers.”

Here’s a recipe to treat your special mom with a refreshing drink you can make on Mother’s Day. It’s a delicious strawberry lemonade that she will love.

Simply smash in a sieve 4 or 5 fresh, ripe strawberries or frozen, thawed, into a two cup measuring cup. Squeeze two lemons into the cup. Add three teaspoons of sugar or stevia ( I use Pyure) to taste. Fill with water and stir vigorously. Taste and adjust sugar and lemon to suit your taste. Pour into glasses, add ice and garnish with lemon slice and mint.

Serve immediately to your mom!

Xoxo,
Nan
freedom, i am enough, made in God’s image, quit comparing, love

Enough.

    I have a tendency to look at life through how can this be improved lenses. Some people might call that having goals or always trying to improve. And my husband is the same driven type. So contentment isn’t our strong suit. I found myself being especially hard on my body.

Even at my skinniest I was always trying to loose weight. I had a scale in college with a goal weight written on it. I had a bodpod scan done a few years ago which tells your muscle mass, bone mass and fat percentage. With no fat or muscles, my bones and skin would weigh that exact “goal weight”. I’ve been skinny, weighed as much as my husband and somewhere in the middle. I’ve been my fittest self and my weakest self. And through all of that one thing never changed, I was never enough. Always trying to improve.

Genesis tell us that God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them. – Genesis 1:27

I am made in God’s image. Yet in my eyes I am

Not enough?

We know the Bible says “For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place, when I was woven together in the depths of the earth.”

I am wonderfully made but I’m not enough in my eyes?

Your eyes saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be. -Psalm 139:13-16

God made me and only me to be me. In the body I am in. With the scars, stretch marks and cellulite. But I am not enough in my eyes?

1 Peter 2:9 says “But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.

I am chosen. By God. A part of His holy nation. But I am not enough in my eyes?

“Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies. “- 1 Corinthians 6:19-20

My body is a temple. But yet, somehow, still I am not enough in my eyes.

1 John 3:1 says “See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are! The reason the world does not know us is that it did not know him. ”

We are loved, children of God. And yet…

I decided this year the and yet had to change. I had enough. A little therapy, a lot of prayer and really trying hard to stop the self criticism. Looking in the mirror and saying hey good looking! Nice butt. To say you are enough. You’ve been through a lot. You’ve kept me alive. Safe. You’ve given me two beautiful kids. It’s been cut open three times. And recovered. My body lets me jump on the trampoline with my kids, run with them and swim with them. It’s extra squishy so they can snuggle right in.

For me, this is a work in progress. I still easily fall back into old habits. Little things will set me back. But I’m trying to give myself grace. Work to slowly replace the negative thoughts with positive ones. Being gentle.

So I’m here today to tell you that you are enough. Today. Right where you are. Go find a mirror and tell yourself how beautiful you are. You are chosen. Loved. Made in the image of the Highest God. Who also created you and had a plan for you. And for your body. So get outside, soak up some sunshine and breath in that you are enough you beautiful person. -Lauren

divorce, self love, relationships, Uncategorized

Divorce is a dirty word

When mom asked me to write for the blog, I couldn’t think of anything to write about for the longest time. I thought about writing on fitness and the new 6am workout classes I have been killing myself with. Or nutrition and the 1,300 calories I consume daily in order to maintain my 175 lb body. But then it hit me… write about the one thing that’s had the biggest impact on my life…My divorce.

 Divorce.

 It’s a dirty word. It’s a word happily married people shudder at and push out of their head, like they can’t even fathom the idea. I know this, because I used to do it.

Here’s the thing about divorce… rarely does one get married thinking it will end in divorce… its never a planned event that will happen in X amount of years. Divorce sneaks up on you. Sometimes for years, sometimes it only takes weeks. But let’s be honest, we never plan for divorce. That’s why its so tragic. There’s no preparation. No time to figure everything out. It just happens and you react.

[The following story is a one-sided journey. This is my story. My journey. My words. Its also only a very small portion of the full story.]

I got married when I was 23 years old. In my family, that was pretty normal. My mom and dad got married young and have had a beautiful marriage. All my sisters got married young and have also had successful marriages. So, when 23-year-old me walked down the aisle to say “I do” to forever… I didn’t think anything of it. But here’s the thing about being 23 and in love. You are blind. You think you have it all figured out. Well you’re probably wrong. So, there I was. A pretty idiot, standing in front of everyone I knew and loved, committing to something I knew nothing about.

At 23 years old I did not know who I was. I was insecure, afraid to be on my own and too scared to find the independence I yearned for. I was a lost little seedling looking for guidance and I rooted myself into the closest thing I could find to security. A man.

I threw myself into my marriage. I was determined to be a perfect wife. Determined to have a home cooked meal on the table every night. A clean house every day. Determined to keep my body tight and healthy so that my husband found me attractive. Every breath I breathed was for the approval of someone else. I lost myself completely. I lost my identity. At social gatherings, I would stand in a room full of strangers, being introduced as his Wife. That was what I had become, his. Wife.

 In same cases this works for couples, a woman can find total fulfillment in being a housewife. But it takes appreciation from the spouse to find that fulfillment.

So, there I was… 5 years into a marriage where I felt lost and under- valued. I begged for attention, for praise, for my value to be seen. But the truth was… I didn’t see my own value, how could I possibly expect another human to see it? I was a shell of the woman that I had wanted to be. Growing up, I envisioned myself as a CEO of a fashion label or a successful marine biologist. I wanted to be powerful and strong and independent and a boss. And here I was, a sad and lonely housewife working part time as a personal trainer, married to a very successful and powerful man. I felt like nothing.

I will never forget the night when it all changed. It was the day after Valentines day (that we didn’t celebrate). We were sitting in his car, in the driveway of the beautiful home we had bought together. I turned to him and asked “Do you think your life is better because I am in it? Do you think I add value to your life?” He thought about it for a while… and then the earth-shattering answer that forged a will of iron in my heart… “No. Everything we have is because I have worked for it”.

I left the next day.

Walking away from my marriage is the best decision I have ever made. It is my proudest moment. It is my greatest accomplishment.

I saved myself.

I took every ounce of courage I had, every ounce of faith I had, and I blindly stepped into a different life. A better life. The moment I walked away, it felt like the weight of mount Everest had been lifted from my chest. There has not been a single moment of regret. I have taken every single thing I learned from this experience and applied it to my life. I learned about myself, about other people, about how to love, about how to be a good person, friend and daughter. I have learned SO MUCH and therefor I simply cannot regret anything. That does not mean this has all been easy and great. There have been many, many, MANY nights crying and mourning for the life that I thought I was going to have. Many days where fear crept in and I didn’t know if I could do this on my own. To start over completely at almost 30 years old seemed like the scariest thing in the world. And it was. It hasn’t been easy.  My road has been long and winding and full of drop offs and twists and hills. But it is MY journey. And the greatest thing to come out of this journey is my self-acceptance. My self-love. I know 100% without a shadow of a doubt, who I am. I am rooted in love for and by my family. I am a child of God. I am strong. I am a boss. I am beautiful. I am a feminist. I am fearless. I am a friend. I am kind. I am powerful. I am independent. I am tenacious. I am spiritual. I am forgiven. And I am loved. And because I know these things to be true in my heart, it allows me to be the best possible version of myself. And isn’t that what we all need? Just a little more love for ourselves?

I challenge you to take a bold step, to find your independence, your voice. I challenge you to stare at yourself in the mirror for 5 WHOLE MINUTES and say everything you love about yourself. I challenge you to affirm yourself sincerely. I challenge you to talk to someone about your pain, your frustrations, your fears. I challenge you to walk away from the toxic relationship that is hurting you. I challenge you to take at least 20 minutes out of your day for yourself. I challenge you to evaluate your life and make sure you are living as the best possible version of you… Why?? Because you. Are. So. Worth. It. And no one, can define your value except yourself.

-Mary

Seasonal, Uncategorized, winter blahs

Keeping the Wintertime Blahs Away and a Springtime Lemon Scone Recipe (GF and Low-Carb) yes

 

Post by Nancy Gordon

Forgive me for complaining, but winter seems to last forever,and I get tired of the overcast skies. I know I shouldn’t complain, especially since I am a Southerner. Ive heard how harsh the winters are in the North.  I am glad to live where I do for that reason.   But are you feeling this way too?    I am over always being cold and going out into the frosty air.  My once cute sweaters and boots that looked so inviting way back in the Fall, now look tired, boring and dull. But instead of wallowing in self-pity I have decided to do a few simple things to change up my routine and scenery.  I’ve written down a few of the things I do to keep my wintertime blahs away. 

Below I share them with you.  

*For starters, fresh flowers are a must. Nothing says springtime like flowers.  They brighten any room.   Aldis had half a dozen lovely roses for just 3.99.  I bought a some pretty white and pink ones.  I stuck them in a vintage blue mason jar, set it on my kitchen table, and every time I look at them, I smile. 

*I also keep Christmas lights up until day light savings time.  Yes, I have a nice long strand of white lights strung in my bay window.   We eat breakfast and dinner when its dark outside, this bring cheeriness to our breakfast nook.

*I’ve discovered it’s a good time of year to look for house plants at your local hardware store.  I found tropical plants on sale there for only five dollars!  I bought a cool spider plant and a tall cane tree.  The greenery is just what these empty spaces in my home needed.  Tropical plants are easy to care for as they don’t require a lot of watering.  They like dry soil and bright light, so I have mine near windows and they seem to be doing just fine. And they remind me of warm, island days!

*I wear pink.  It reminds me of spring flowers such as pink hyacinths and peonies.  Get out of your everyday black.  Maybe pink isn’t your color of choice, but it’s one of my favorite colors.   I wear lots of it, especially this time of year.  And I’m so glad it’s a popular color this year.  I bought a really warm, pink chenille sweater back in December and have worn it so many times.  It never fails to make me happy.  What’s your favorite pastel color?  Baby blue or pale green, there are so many choices out there. Buy one and wear it on those dreary cold days and it will be sure to make you happy.

*This is the time of year for short day trips, such as a visit to the nearby art museum.  There you can bask in the Impressionist paintings of lakes, blue skies and green trees.  The still life paintings of flowers and the landscapes of oceans and fields remind us that warmer days are coming. We are fortunate to have the coast nearby.   My husband and I were recently invited to go to the beach and to stay with friends.  While the weather was still cold and overcast, it was the beach.  There’s something about walking on sand and listening to the ocean that soothes the soul.

*Bake something citrusy and light.  I love lemon scones with crème fraiche or lemony chicken breasts.  If you don’t enjoy baking buy a nice loaf of homemade bread and a jar of marmalade.  Feast on that goodness and think warm thoughts.

*My daughter and I are going to sign up for a yoga class.  Classes are a great way to keep fit in the wintertime, if you don’t like to brave the cold outdoors.  Or maybe you do, then bundle up and try a new hiking trail.  Once I get moving, even I start to warm up and it’s fun to look for signs of spring.  Maybe some bushes are beginning to bud in late February, at least they are in the mid-south.

There are so many other things you can do to brighten your day and your outlook in the midst of these short days and bare trees.  I know for some people seasonal blues is a more serious issue and I’m not trying to trivialize it.  Hopefully theses ideas will foster even more ways to bring springtime inside your home.

And the good news is that Spring always comes.  Solomon, a very wise King in the Bible, once said, “See, the winter is past;the rains are over and gone.  Flowers appear on the earth; the season of singing has come; the cooing of doves is heard in our land. The fig tree forms its early fruit; the blossoming vines spread their fragrance” (Song of Songs 2:11-13a).

I look forward to those days of new life when the earth awakens from its long nap.  The daffodils and forsythia will bloom and brighten my yard with their sunny yellow blossoms.  And I can pack away the sweaters and boots until the chill in the air forces me to bring them out again.  But today I will patiently wait for springtime.

Here is my lemon scone recipe.

 

 

 

Low Carb Gluten Free Lemon Scones

1 cup blanched almond flour

¼ cup coconut flour

3 TB granular sweetener, I use Pyure

½ tsp baking powder

¼ tsp Himalayan salt

2 TB melted coconut oil

1 egg

1/4 cup almond milk

1 tsp vanilla extract

1 tsp fresh lemon zest

2 TB fresh lemon juice

Glaze

1 TB melted refined coconut oil

1 TB granulated sweetener, I used Pyure

2 TB fresh lemon juice

Preheat oven to 350 and line baking sheet with parchment paper.

In one bowl, combine dry ingredients together, almond flour through salt.

In a small bowl, whisk together coconut oil, almond milk, vanilla, egg, lemon zest and lemon juice.

Fold the wet mixture into the dry until a dough forms.  

Place dough on lined baking sheet and form a circle about 1 inch thick.  Cut into 8 wedges and move apart about 1 inch.  Bake for about 18- 20 minutes until golden brown.  Scones firm up as they cool.  Do not overcook.

To prepare the glaze combine all ingredients in a blender and puree.  Let scones cool before drizzling the glaze on them.

 

 

In the Kitchen: Recipes and More, Superfoods, The Creative Home, Uncategorized

Low Carb Blondie Fudge!

What is better than buttery, caramely, soft and fudgey bites of healthy goodness with hints of sweet chocolate bits? We’re not sure. Which is why we are offering you this easy-peasy five minute fudge recipe that calls for some simple yet extremely nutritional ingredients to bring you back to the basics of good eating.

This fudge recipe is decadent and rich. It’s the perfect bite of sweetness for after supper when you don’t want something heavy but just a little something sweet to round out the meal.

Nan_Perrin

Are you aware of the amazing health benefits of butter? If not, you gotta find out! You will be amazed that you never had a good reason to feel guilty for indulging in the delicious spread. If you are one of those people then you gotta know what you are missing out on! However, if you would like these to be made dairy free you have that option too and it is explained in the video! We hope you enjoy these as much as we do!!