Wednesday, October 27, 2010


It has been seven months since I decided to change my life. We have focused on financial changes, health changes, and changes in our relationship with god. It seems for me, that a lot of these changes have come to a head over the past two months.

After working at our finances on our own, we decided to start one of Dave Ramsey's financial peace university classes. The class officially finished last weekend and I feel like we gained so much from it. Even though we had already made a lot of changes, it pushed us even more. It got us both on the same page, helped us to create a really good budget, and gave me more hope for our financial future. We feel fortunate to have jobs we enjoy, and even though we aren't debt free yet, I am excited about the idea of it. As the year comes to a close we will focus on our last debt (student loan). It's so easy to get discouraged and think it is taking forever, but when I look back and see our progress and how we have come to better understand finances and our financial future, I'm happy with all we have learned. Yes I wish we took this class in high school, or at least before we got married, but we didn't and we can't dwell on that "if only's". I'm just happy to have all this knowledge now.

After about six months of working with my doctor on my health, I was re-evaluated a few weeks ago. It was great to see the progress I have made in my health. Changing my diet was huge, until now I had never really realized how miserable food was making me. I love food, and I had a diet heavy on cow's milk dairy (cheese, ice cream, milk) bread, chips, boxes and cans. I never really realized that I was eating so poorly. I would eat salads, fruit, and veggies. I thought i was healthy, but I was just fooling myself. I felt bad on a regular basis, my digestion was poor, I was tired all of the time. But I didn't link this to my diet or really think much about it. When I decided to change my diet and incorporate whole foods, load up on fruits and veggies, and good meats I was hesitant and skeptical. I cut out traditional flours, most gluten, grains, traditional dairy, processed food, sugar and a lot more. People thought I was crazy and assumed I couldn't eat anything. But the thing is, I have more freedom, I am more creative with my meals. Now that I have fully detoxed I have added by in some grains (brown rice, and occasionally oats and sprouted grain, or sourdough bread). I don't feel deprived, I'm not starving. For breakfast I usually have eggs with greens or some kind of veggie, whatever is on hand. Lunches are salads, or leftovers from dinner. Dinners vary all the time from grass-fed beef and chicken, to soups, chili, wild caught fish, greens, beans, quinoa, curry, sweet potatoes, squash, peppers, pretty much anything we can think of or any creations inspired by our CSA produce. I also juice fruits and veggies a few times a week. My doctor took me off all of my digestive enzyme and some of my other supplements, and I feel great. A year ago if someone told me I would be drastically changing my diet, cutting out the foods I did, I would have laughed. Now, I can't imagine it any other way. Yes I have cheat meals but honestly I don't crave the things I used to. I don't feel like a slave to food, I eat the foods I want to eat when I want to eat them. I can't believe as I look back how much our diets completely impact our lives, out bodies, everything.

My spiritual life has also really come into focus for me. It's a constant journey. Sometimes I feel lost in it and distanced from it, and other times I feel connected. Through out all these changes I was learning how God really helps create a balance in our lives. Biblically it is important and necessary to take care of our bodies and our finances, but it is an area that is often neglected. I've been reading great books like the Purpose Driven Life, that have helped show me areas in my life I need to be focusing on. God has been teaching me a lot through this journey and I know I still have so much to learn. But I am pleased with the progress I have made in this life change.

Monday, July 12, 2010

The Passing Months...

It has been far too long since we have updated our blog. Time has gotten away with us, with the summer and vacations and hectic schedules. Our lives have been going through many changes and we are working hard to achieve balance in all areas. Not the easiest task, but our efforts seem to be paying off.

Health Update:

Where we are at: We are three months into our personalized "12 weeks to wellness" Plan. The plan was given to us by our doctor Dr. Jana. As I have mentioned previously I heard her speak at a wellness conference. If you are looking for a personalized plan to wellness I would highly recommend checking her out. Even if you are not local to the greater Nashville area she does consultations over the phone. We have moved into the second phase of our plan and we are adding back more foods and feeling the benefits of the supplements we are taking with our cleaned out bodies.
What I have learned: While I can't speak for Colin on this one I am discovering how food affects my body. When you are starting with a clean slate you can discover what works and what doesn't for your body(whether it's an upset stomach, a headache, change in energy levels, etc.) I am learning to be more creative with foods. As you know this spring we joined a CSA. I love it! It's exciting each week to see what fresh and seasonal produce we'll be getting and deciding what to make. We both love cooking and it's nice to know we're supporting local farmers and getting produce that is so fresh. I have learned to trust in God made things. While I believe modern medicine is a result of the God given talents many possess, I also recognize as a society we have come all too accustomed to running to quickly to the doctor, the pharmacy, the medicine cabinet. There can be a natural solution to a lot of things and the herbs and supplements we have added to our lives has helped me to realize there are other options. And maybe one of the biggest things I have learned is I can survive without grains, commercial dairy products, and traditional flour products! I never thought that could be possible, but it is. And i don't feel like I'm deprived of anything and in fact my body seems much happier.

Financial Update:

Where we are at: We are continuing to work hard at getting out of debt completely. We have made a lot of progress since we began the journey to being debt free 2 years ago. We are working on paying off the last of it and no longer feeling like we are slaves to money. We are very diligent with following Dave Ramsey's plan. I value his opinions of money and like his philosophy. We just started the 13 week Financial Peace University course. It is being taught at our church and we figured we have been working this plan for a while now and we want to make sure there isn't anything we are missing. I also recently read the book Automatic Millionaire. It's a good read. There are some things I don't really agree with and I prefer Dave Ramsey's plan but it was a very useful and informative book.
What I have learned: If you have a financial plan you will succeed. If you are on the same page with your spouse in terms of finances you will succeed. Life is unexpected and financial emergency will come up no matter what, if you are prepared for them and have an emergency fund you can succeed. You don't have to make 100,000 plus a year to save and retire with wealth. Again, if you have a plan you can succeed! I really believe that and everyday I feel we are a little closer to financial peace.

Spiritual Update:

Where I am at: I have almost finished a book I have been reading for a while now Total Forgiveness.
What I have learned: The book has been very eye opening and I feel like I am  learning so much from it. I highly recommend it. A good friend gave it to me several years back and I just filed it away with a bunch of other books thinking I didn't really have anything to learn about forgiveness. But I was wrong. As we continue to go thru this journey to balance it all comes back here to God realizing if that component is off your whole life is out of whack. There are always moments of disconnect and and lack of faith where I think I am fine on my own. But when it comes down to it I recognize it is impossible and exhausting to try and do it all alone.

So long story just a little bit longer. These past three months have been such a learning experience. I am grateful to have my husband along for the ride with me.

"Life has taught us that love does not consist in gazing at each other but in looking outward together in the same direction" Antoine de Saint-Exupery

Monday, May 10, 2010

The Flood Re-Visited

An incredible thing happened last weekend. Nashville and most of Middle Tennessee experienced a two day flood and storm that rocked our area. It shut down major tourism areas, large and small businesses, roads and freeways, evacuated people from their homes, destroyed possessions and took lives. it was the greatest natural disaster this area has ever seen and some are saying quite possibly the greatest non-hurricane disaster in the Country. It is hard for me to even comprehend that. I spent a week in shock, not really understanding what was happening around me, just knowing I had to act, had to move, had to do something.

One of the strangest things has been the lack of national attention our story received. while most people seem to know what has happened now, it wasn't until we had already begun the recovery process that people began to look in our direction. I got phone calls from people who saw headlines, asking me if we were okay and what was going on. It was hard to find the words to explain what was happening in our city. It was hard to explain to people how big this was when they were only just then getting wind of it. If it had really been a major disaster then they would have known about it, right? And they hadn't, so maybe it wasn't. But it was and no matter how quickly the word got out about our disaster it doesn't change or lessen any of it.

This is my second major disaster in my lifetime. originally from Southern California, I lived there during the Northridge earthquake of '94. This was a huge event and even though I was only 9 years old I remember every moment of it. I remember driving around trying to find food and water, looking for a grocery store that hadn't been destroyed. Wadding through crowds of people. Just as I remember every moment of the earthquake and its aftermath, my brain is scarred with the Nashville Flood of 2010. Although I am not originally from this city, I spent half of my life here. I have lived my life on a tight-rope between Middle Tennessee and Southern California. I call both home and love them both for what they are and what they are not. When I was younger I couldn't wait to move back to California, and once I did I never imagined I would ever live in Tennessee again. I was thankful for my time spent there, but imagined I had got all I could get from it and I couldn't move on fast enough. Little did I know then that Nashville still had a few things to teach me.

When the day came that I was called back to Tennessee I took the steps slowly and reluctantly. But upon my return I remembered something I had forgotten, the sense of community. The greater Nashville area is incredibly unique. Although most would consider it a small town and I have been guilty of the accusations myself, it is so much more. Nashville over the past several years has become a place people move to. No longer a city where you have to search for a good meal and somewhere to shop, Nashville has become metropolitan in its own right. Trader Joe's, Nordstroms on the way, countless designer boutiques and local restaurants that don't just serve meat and 3(not that there' anything wrong with that). Nashville has grown, not just a city of country music and cowboys(even though we have those too), but a city that hosts musicians of every genre every night of the week. A place Hollywood celebrities want to buy their second or third home in, where rock & pop singers come to plant their roots. I'd like to think it is that sense of community that draws people here. This community is ever present is the bustling local music scene. A place where it seems like everyone plays in everyone's band, where people aren't stepping over each other to get there big break but holding each other up and celebrating together. It is something I have always admired about this city and Nashville has truly shined in the wake of the devastating floods.

Our community was ever present as volunteer groups large and small joined together, organized, collected, helped, and rescued. Some organizations like the Red Cross, Hands on Nashville, The Community Foundation of Middle Tennessee and the Second Harvest Food Bank, and others were already in place. But across the city and state groups started up in an instant. Churches, neighborhood organizations, small businesses, all these people joining together and organizing food and clothing drives, hundreds of locations across town set up to collect donations, to distribute food, toiletries, and water. No, we didn't wait for the national news to get hold of our story or the federal government to step in and save us, we joined together and got to work re-building our city.

At church on Sunday I heard stories of heroism and love. Men and women giving of themselves to help others. tearing out drywall and flooring, removing insulation and air ducts, cleaning up debris, and freely giving hugs and saying prayers to those in need. We didn't do this for money, in fact many spent money, spent it even though they would have to repair their own homes, bought and donated supplies to those with greater needs than their own. We gave of ourselves. And God has never been more present than the sight of him working thru these people here. It is easy to point fingers and complain and criticize people for what they aren't doing, it's easy to forget our purpose and our responsibility. As I have lived my life I have come to find God. I have seen many people come to God and many people leave. But now more than ever I believe that the fire that God sets inside of you, it is always there. No matter what happens, whether you decide you no longer need God, that you can do it alone, or if you are stagnant in your walk with God, too busy to do anything, that fire is always present. It lies beneath the surface waiting to be rekindled. And when you see your city falling apart before your eyes, when you see homes under water, when you see people joining together hand in hand to help each other, then that fire ignites within you.

I spend last week in a dizzy state. In shock with what was happening before my eyes, and moved by the instantaneous outreach of the people. The sense of community that I always loved about my city, more alive than ever. As I rushed to help my parents who lost more than us, as we dealt with our home and the needed repairs, in my heart I was in awe of my city, of our city. when I couldn't physically volunteer because of needs at both my and my parents homes, I rushed to the store to buy things, I raided my kitchen and closets for things I didn't need. I don't say this to pat myself on the back for doing good, but to explain that this desire, this need we have to help those in need, it is not our own. It is God living and breathing in us. Whether all those helping with the volunteer efforts would boast of a relationship with God or not, in this town which is religiously, politically, and culturally diverse, still God is ever present. And what I have seen over the course of the week are living breathing examples of God's word. It's almost like pages were torn from the bible and reenacted right before my eyes. And when I thought this place had nothing left to teach me, I have realized in a few days it has taught me everything.

Today and always no matter where my path takes me and where I will call home, I am and always be a Nashvillian. To me, Nashville is a living breathing representation of all that is still good on this Earth.