Whole 30 Journey

food-1284236_640The love of my life and I are starting Whole 30 for the month of May. So, I thought it would be fun to blog through my meals, share how I feel (emotionally and physically), and ultimately share my final results and thoughts. This program is pretty restrictive, as we will only be eating meat, veggies, fruits, and nuts/seeds. No sugar. No processed. No grains. No bread. No CHEESE!!! NO CHOCOLATE!!! No fun! HA!! (That’s really how I’m feeling right now, besides quite overwhelmed!)

However, when I jump into something, my research brain goes full bore and I JUMP IN! I’ve been on Pinterest more these last few days than I’ve been in months combined. I’m scouring blogs for recipes we will actually eat and trying to find ways to make lunches for my husband without using many of the normal things I would typically pack. For instance, how in the world do I make a wrap, or burrito, or a sandwich with no bread or tortilla? (I actually just found this recipe for Coconut Flour Tortillas, which I am really excited to try.)

With meals chosen and a shopping list in hand, I ended up going to our local Farmer’s Market, Costco, AND Whole Foods, and STILL could not find everything on my list. Hello Amazon!! Let me tell you friends, this is why throwing a pizza in the oven is so much easier!! Oh, and did I mention the kids were in tow?? They were probably more patient than I was with all my obsessive label looking and taking 3x as much time to get all of this done. When I got home, I was fully exhausted!

But Test #1 has already come: The Costco sample stations… oh, all the yummy goodness!! The crackers and hummus, the guacamole and chips, and then there were jelly belly’s, which I must admit were really hard to pass up.  But THEN, the Holy Grail of all sample stations… Queso and Tortilla Chips. AHHH!!!! The smell was incredible and technically, we hadn’t started this program yet… or, so I tried to convince myself. But, I just kept on walking by, half bummed out and half proud of myself, while I picked up a bag of asparagus.

But alas, groceries are mostly bought for Week 1 and so we begin…

Q. Have you ever tried Whole 30? If so, did you feel overwhelmed when you began?

What the Bible Says: Sneak Peek and Final Giveaway

9781449734237_cover.inddChapter One: Should Christians Use Essential Oils?

I used to be in the camp where I thought essential oils were weird. I only knew a few people who used oils, and each person had a more holistic and natural approach to health care than I did. Honestly, I didn’t understand why people would rub oil on their bodies, use herbs to treat illness, or eat dirt as probiotics, instead of popping a pill or turning to modern medicine. With my medical history of cancer and child loss, I’d built up a lifetime of trusting in modern medicine for every ache and pain, and on more than one occasion, my very life.

To further the discomfort I felt for essential oils, I found that my brain automatically translated the word “aromatherapy” to “New Age” and “crystals”.  My ignorance made me uncomfortable because I listened to the loudest voice: the one that talked about finding your “chi”, or your “energy”, or your “life force” — none of which I knew were lost, or why I should be looking for them in the first place! So, I disregarded the voices of well-intentioned people who were trying to offer help in ways I was seeking, but who didn’t provide the answers I thought I was looking for.

Then everything changed!

We were at Disney World and our three-year-old son was having the mother of all meltdowns before we even got into the park. Now, I get Disney World is overwhelming and can be very over-stimulating. But friends, we were standing in the entrance line just trying to get into the park when he began to scream hysterically over ants — ants that were five feet away from him! I don’t even know how he saw them.

Had we not been meeting friends in the park, I would have turned around and gone home. It was that bad. Ten minutes later when we reached our friends I was DONE!

Seeing what was happening, my friend Traci asked if she could try something on him. In total and complete exasperation, I said, “Girl, I don’t care what you give him. If you can make this stop, make it stop!”

Traci placed an essential oil blend meant to bring focus and calming on the back of our son’s neck. Within minutes our sweet boy was totally chill, calm, and collected, bending down playing with the ants on the ground.

Did you catch that? He was playing with the ants!

Had I not seen this meltdown recovery unfold with my own eyes, or other witnesses to remind me I was not dreaming, I would not have believed it. And, this wasn’t just a momentary blip in his freak-out session; our son stayed relaxed and calm throughout the rest of the day and all through the night. At that point I was hooked. I told Traci I would need “that stuff” by the gallons.

In that moment I decided to pull back the curtain of essential oils and take a deeper look. What I found rocked my world as I began to uncover hundreds of references to plants, spices, and oils used in the BIBLE. While Id read the Bible cover to cover more than once, somehow Id totally missed this!

As a recovering Essential Oil Critic, I have come a long way from my original understanding of what essential oils are, what they are not, and how they should be used. If you are anything like me, perhaps you have also struggled with wondering if using essential oils are compatible with a faith in God. I know the debate is out there, so let me share with you three reasons why Christians can in good, clear conscious use essential oils.

1. The problem is NOT with using essential oils, but in having an unclear understanding of where oils come from.

Modern-day essential oils (and even the infused oils of the Bible which we will uncover soon) all come from the vegetation God created.

Then God said, ‘Let the earth sprout vegetation, plants yielding seed, and fruit trees on the earth bearing fruit after their kind with seed in them’; and it was so. The earth brought forth vegetation, plants yielding seed after their kind, and trees bearing fruit with seed in them, after their kind; and God saw that it was good.” Genesis 1:11-12

In His infinite wisdom, God created plants and trees to be our source of food and to sustain our life.

Then God said, ‘Behold, I have given you every plant yielding seed that is on the surface of all the earth, and every tree which has fruit yielding seed; it shall be food for you; and to every beast of the earth and to every bird of the sky and to every thing that moves on the earth which has life, I have given every green plant for food’; and it was so. God saw all that He had made, and behold, it was very good.” Genesis 1:29-31

One could even argue that a plant-based diet might be everything our human bodies need for optimum health and wellness; for a plant-based diet is exactly what God gave Adam and Even. It wasn’t until ten generations later (roughly 1100 years) in the time of Noah (after the flood), that God gives animals to become another source of food for us.

Every moving thing that is alive shall be food for you; I give all to you, as I gave the green plant.Genesis 9:3

2. The problem is NOT with using oils, but in how the use of oils has been distorted.

Since the beginning of time, most of what God has created has found a way to become distorted. Look at sex, marriage, food, relationships; even angels found a way to become corrupt. The problem is not with the essential oils themselves, but the way humans have once again distorted something God called “good”.

Because many people in the New Age movement encourage people to use essential oils in an ungodly way, it is easy to perceive essential oils as “bad”. And yet, essential oils are the very immune system of plants, protecting the plant from disease and bringing healing when needed. Think about how the very creativity and wisdom of God allows for plants and humans to have a similar structure — creating a unique relationship where plants have the ability to help our human bodies heal themselves.

3. The problem is NOT with using oils, but in how the oils have become branded.

Most of my initial exposures to essential oils were hearing of them being used for “spiritual awakenings” and in ways that are meant for God alone to spiritually uncover. I would hear of people using oils to “guard against negative energy”, to “enhance spirituality”, or to try and bring about visions and dreams. Therefore, I branded essential oils as being “scary” and “bad”, because of the appearance that they were being used as a form of spiritual manipulation.

However, like many things in life, I don’t believe this was God’s original intention!

If we want to re-brand what has become corrupted in the eyes of many people, we must first educate ourselves with a clear, biblical understanding of where oils come from, how they were used in biblical times, and how we can use them appropriately today. We must also be gentle in the way we respond to the concerns of others, and careful in how we market these products. Essential oils are not meant to replace God; they are not “miracle drugs”, nor are they the answer to every medical problem we face.

While essential oils can aid our bodies, God created our bodies to be MIRACULOUS!

Imagine what would happen if our skin never healed itself. We’d walk around with open cuts and wounds oozing blood everywhere we went. (That’s a pretty gross picture, isn’t it?) Now think about how our bodies constantly create blood, produce different tears based on why we are crying, fight bacteria and viruses, and constantly pump blood through our veins. This happens every second of every day.

Unfortunately, despite our best efforts, sometimes we still get sick! In those times, I am so incredibly grateful that essential oils are a God-given, natural way to help our bodies heal. And, as I keep my eyes on the Maker and Creator of not just these plants, but more importantly, my very soul, I find confidence and peace in His wisdom and design ingiving us this incredible resource. I’ve learned that I am able to honor Him when I choose alternative therapy for my family because essential oils are simply another way He has chosen to provide for us.

If this Chapter peaked your interest, check out the book on Amazon!

What the Bible Says sets a biblical foundation for the use of modern day essential oils by studying Hebraic and Greek words and Bible verses used in the Old and New Testaments. You will learn where oils came from, how they were made, and how they were used in biblical times. As we dig deep into Scripture, we will also uncover an incredible story of God’s love and redemption.

The second half of this book reveals 12 different oils and spices found in the Bible. You will learn their histories and significance, their Hebrew and Greek roots, along with the verses of where they are mentioned in the Bible. We will also discover modern day oils, similar to these biblical oils that can be used today to help our bodies heal. You can purchase the book HERE!

Free Diffuser: Giveaway #3

Diffusers are AMAZING!!

When you diffuse essential oils, the oil molecules are dispersed into the air. Not only does this leave your space smelling delicious, but the essential oils work with our olfactory system and are immediately sent to the limbic system in our brain, which controls our emotions and long-term memory. When essential oils are used aromatically, they help release neurochemicals – which can either be calming or stimulating depending on kind of oil used.

When our family needs to calm down a bit, we will diffuse Lavender and Frankincense. However, when our family needs a pick-me-up, we will diffuse Wild Orange and Peppermint. I love being able to have these oils on hand to naturally help our bodies.

Recently, Vanderbilt Medical University Hospital diffused essential oils in their adult Emergency Room and studied the effects the oils had on their nursing staff. Vanderbilt saw dramatic results in the staff’s stress and frustration levels and help to create more positive work environment. For more information, you can check out this short news clip on this study!

As we continue to celebrate the launch of my newest book, What the Bible Says, we have chosen to give away this diffuser for our Day 3 Giveaway.

Day 3 Giveaway-2

To have a chance to win this gift, please go to my Facebook Author page, share, and leave a comment below this picture answering the following question: What are your favorite oils to diffuse? I will randomly choose someone tomorrow morning and will announce the winner here!

The Day of Epiphany: Day 2 Giveaway

Today we celebrate the day the Magi came to worship Jesus Christ and to bring their gifts of Gold, Frankincense, and Myrrh.

Gold Frank MyrrhThe gift of gold was a gift of providence for the family of Jesus, but could also have been significant of the Magi paying tribute to Jesus Christ as their King.

“Where is He who has been born King of the Jews? For we saw His star in the east and have come to worship Him.” Matthew 2:2

The gift of frankincense was a gift of experience. Known in the Bible to be a symbol of the divinity of God (Song of Solomon 1:3, Malachi 1:11), when Frankincense is burned the aroma is both fragrant and pleasing. Having the God-given wisdom and discernment to understand the foretold prophesies, this gift could have symbolized the Magi’s recognition of the divinity of Jesus Christ.

“They said to him, ‘In Bethlehem of Judea; for this is what has been written by the prophet: And you, Bethlehem, land of Judah, are by no means least among the leaders of Judah; for out of you shall come forth a ruler who will shepherd My people Israel.’” Matthew 2:5-6

The gift of myrrh would have been a highly unusual gift to give to a child, as it was primarily used in the Bible for embalming the dead. However, this gift could have symbolized the Magi’s recognition that Jesus would fulfill the prophesy of Isaiah and ultimately die to provide salvation to those who would call upon His name.

“For He grew up before Him like a tender shoot, and like a root out of parched ground; He has no stately form or majesty that we should look upon Him, nor appearance that we should be attracted to Him. He was despised and forsaken of men, a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief; and like one from whom men hide their face He was despised, and we did not esteem Him.‬‪ Surely our griefs He Himself bore, and our sorrows He carried; yet we ourselves esteemed Him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted.‬‪ But He was pierced through for our transgressions, He was crushed for our iniquities; the chastening for our well-being fell upon Him, and by His scourging we are healed.” Isaiah 53:2-5

Today as we continue to launch What the Bible Says, our Day 2 Giveaway is your very own set of the gift of the Magi: Real Gold, and authentic Frankincense, and Myrrh that you can burn in your own home.

Day 2 Giveaway

To have a chance to win this giveaway, connect with me on my Facebook Page, share, and comment on the image that looks like the one above. I will choose one winner tomorrow morning and post his or her name here!

CONGRATS to Nicole S. for winning our Day 2 Giveaway 

What the Bible Says Giveaway #1

Promo 1


What the Bible Says sets a biblical foundation for the use of oils by uncovering Hebraic and Greek words used in the Old and New Testaments. You will learn where oils came from, how they were made, and how they were used in biblical times. As we dig deep into Scripture, we will also uncover the incredible story of God’s love and redemption.

The second half of this book reveals 12 different oils and spices found in the Bible. You will learn their histories and significance, their Hebrew and Greek roots, along with the verses of where they are mentioned in the Bible. We will also uncover modern day oils, similar to these biblical oils that can be used today to help our bodies heal.

Click HERE to purchase What the Bible Says now and to download your free copy of The Staycation Jar.