Revival: Going through a Storm

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Alot of things have been going on in life lately.  I haven’t been directly experiencing anything too crazy… except for normal life, which in a sense, always has its fair share of chaos. But I have been witnessing many storms happening to people very close to me. And because of the way I am wired up, I feel very deeply for the circumstance, the pain, the fear, the doubt, whatever emotion is joining that experience.  I want to help, I want to be there for the people, I want to lend a helping hand.  But in these certain situations, the distance is a little too far to stop by and drop in to help.  So it leaves me feeling a little helpless. Which in reality, it is not my fault if I cannot be there to chip in. It is a blessing to love to serve and love to help out, but I can’t take that to a whole other level of obligation.  If I believe God’s power is as mighty and powerful as God’s word and the truth I believe says it is, I have to believe in that power in situations where I feel helpless also.  Ultimately I have nothing to give in and of my own power.  My own strength, my own love for people, and my own servants heart belongs to the Lord.  So out of a position of gratitude, honor, and praise to the Lord I can sometimes be of help to people.  But I forget sometimes the best thing I can do is pray. Pray for them, pray with them, pray about them… Prayer is powerful.

How do I find peace in this chaos?

So if God is the perfect peace in the storms of the Bible, he can also be the perfect peace in my life and the lives of those around me.  He didn’t just wake up on the boat and calm the storm the one time.  He shows up day after day and calms the storm in situations we are going through today in the present. But that calmness doesn’t always look the same.  It may not be the rain or the winds stopping.  It may just be a change of heart, mind, and surrender.  Peace is not in the circumstance, it is in the heart. I read in a bible study the other day, “Christ doesn’t change the circumstance to make it bearable, he masters them at the peak of their impossibility” So no matter the circumstance, trust in the Lord.  Have faith that can move mountains.  Trust that God is in the storm with you along with the smooth waters.  And step out of the boat.  Walk in faith. We may never experience the abundance and power of peace by sitting in our comfortable lives that become mundane and routine. Maybe it’s time to take a risk or think out of the box.  Think about your storms.  Think about how you can find a quiet moment to reflect. Be content in whatever storm you are in, but find the peace to reassure the hope that is there for you to grasp. And be ready for the joy of the sun at the end of the storm. Then look back and see the footprints that were walking with you the whole way.  There is a perfect peace within a storm.

One of the best books I have ever read that has led me to recklessly abandon is Ruthless Trust by Brennan Manning. Ruthless Trust: The Ragamuffin’s Path to God. Brennan Manning writes, “Henri Nouwen wrote of the spiritual work of gratitude: To be grateful for the good things that happen in our lives is easy, but to be grateful for all of our lives—the good as well as the bad, the moments of joy as well as the moments of sorrow, the successes as well as the failures, the rewards as well as the rejections—that requires hard spiritual work. Still, we are only grateful people when we can say thank you to all that has brought us to the present moment. As long as we keep dividing our lives between events and people we would like to remember and those we would rather forget, we cannot claim the fullness of our beings as a gift of God to be grateful for. Let’s not be afraid to look at everything that has brought us to where we are now and trust that we will soon see in it the guiding hand of a loving God.” So no matter the storm we face, we serve a loving God.  In whom we can put our faith, our trust, and our everything.  Are you ready to face the storm and trust in the glimpse of light coming through the clouds?

Storms give us an appreciation for a sunny day.  Storms remind us that we are not in control.  Storms of life bring us to our knees before our Savior.  Storms of life remind us that we serve a big God that will be with us to get through the storm.  No matter what chaos comes your way, trust in God, know He is with you, and hang on through the storm. You will come out of it stronger.  You may come out of it more broken.  But in your weakness the Lord is your strength. Therefore, your strength rests in something immeasurably stronger than you could ever imagine.

Where have you been experiencing a storm?  How can you find peace within those moments?

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Maybe You Needed This, Too

I sat down to write my post yesterday when I came upon this article. As soon as I started reading it, I knew that it was something I needed to see. And, if it was something I needed to see, then someone else out there may need this encouragement, too! So, today I have decided to share with you an article from Relevant Magazine to remind you that…

“God is far more gracious, more gentle and tenderhearted toward our                                           anxious hearts than we understand.”

Anxiety Is a Spiritual Issue 

How the Bible deals extensively with anxiety—and its roots.

by RACHAEL DYMSKI MAY 26, 2015

Anxiety

One of the easiest ways to disable a person, I think, is to make them anxious.

I am not talking about an anxiety disorder, a diagnosable mental disorder that can be treated by doctors, therapy or medication. (To learn about about anxiety disorders and how to receive help, you can visit NIMH.NIH.gov.) I am talking about a general anxiousness, worrying, asking what ifs that are a part of everyday life. I am talking about the discomfort caused by the mind racing faster than mouth or logic, worrying about tomorrow, worrying about all that we don’t know or about what could happen. 

The Bible is far from silent on the topic of anxiety. It says so much about worry, the faithfulness of God, and how we are to respond to it. Here are a few ways the Bible addresses anxiety.

We Are Cared For

Often in the Church, worry is looked upon as a sin. Often, people don’t like to talk about it because it’s almost taboo; those who do bring it up are frequently offered quick solutions of “God is good” or “Have more faith.”

The Bible though, is gentle toward those who worry. In 1 Peter 5:7, the Bible tells us to “cast all your anxieties on Him because He cares for you” . In Matthew 11:28, Jesus, with arms wide open, calls for the weary and heavy laden to come to Him, and He will give them rest. 

Sheldon Vanauken, the author of A Severe Mercy, wrote that “to believe with certainty, one has to begin by doubting.” In a world where good and evil, joy and suffering exist so painfully close to each other, it’s hard to get very far believing in a Sovereign God without asking difficult questions. Very often, we ask those questions in the midst of pain, grief or anxiety.

How assuring to know we don’t have a God who stares at us from a distance, eyebrows raised and arms crossed, waiting for us to finally figure this all out, but, rather “heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds” (Psalm 147:3). I love the imagery of Psalm 56:8: “You keep track of all my sorrows, you have collected all my tears in your bottle, you have recorded each one in your book.”

I think that God is far more gracious, more gentle and tenderhearted toward our anxious hearts than we understand. Memorizing Scripture gives us a small window into that love, which is a vast and endless sea.

In A Circle of Quiet, author Madeline L’Engle said that we are all afraid of the dark. If worry, after all, comes from a fear of not being in control, then isn’t sleep and loss of consciousness the ultimate act of surrender? Even in darkness though, there is always, always, light. With the blackest of nights come the best view of the stars.

Maybe, even though God made the night and knows there is nothing in it to fear, He gave us stars to light it because He knows we might be afraid anyway. 

God Is Always Faithful

If God is sovereign over us, then He also has authority over us, which means then that He is responsible for taking care of us. The Bible says God is faithful, which, if He is, then He is faithful again and again, because the definition of faithfulness is to remain loyal and steadfast. 

“The Lord’s loving kindnesses indeed never cease, for His compassions never fail. They are new every morning; Great is your Faithfulness” (Leviticus 3:23).

When I am worried or anxious about something, I often write it down on a  piece of paper. Then, below that, I write down every way God has been faithful to me in the last six months. By the time I finish that list, the thing I worried about suddenly seems very small. If God has been faithful to me in every other way, surely He will be again.

God is far more gracious, more gentle and tenderhearted toward our anxious hearts than we understand.

Focusing on the faithfulness of God, then, rather than our worry, is an antidote to anxiety. When we choose to “be joyful always, give thanks in all things, and pray continually” (1 Thessalonians 5:17), we not only complete God’s will for us, but we worry less. 

We Are Not Alone 

Something that really strikes me about the Lord’s Prayer is that it begins with the words “Our Father.” If there were any two words that could soothe anxiety more, I haven’t met them. First, because they mean we have a Father to turn to: a God, immeasurably big and gentle, whose graciousness fills all the areas in which we are weak. Second, that He is ours. We are many and He is ours. 

There are so many things in this life that scare me because I think I am meant to do them alone. This prayer reminds me, more than anything, that we are in this together. He is our Father. You are my sisters, my brothers. 

To share in one another’s joy and sorrows is more than to be compassionate. It is to be ourselves, in our truest form. We are communal beings, meant for constant and continual fellowship. When we really care for each other and put on one another’s burdens, maybe we are not simply being nice. Maybe we are simply taking hold of what we all were created for. We soothe anxiety when we act as one, united in the body of Christ.

As a wife of a medical student, there are A LOT of “What ifs…” But, I want to choose God’s faithfulness over the focus on the unknowns, believing in God’s gentleness toward the planning spirit He has instilled in me. I don’t want something that God has created in me to become a spirit of control. God is in control, and I have seen from experience that His ways and His plans are so much greater than anything I could even imagine. Don’t allow anxiety or those unknowns disable you – I know, easier said than done (!) – but try overpowering those anxious thoughts and your racing mind with the amazing blessings that God has given you! BECAUSE HE CARES FOR YOU!!! Never forget that!

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Culture Intersects Truth


Time lines of history buzz through my brain colliding with present day experiences that bring biblical truth to life. As our incredible opportunity of walking on a two week journey following the footsteps of the apostle Paul is coming to its conclusion, my heart is filled with a new passion for examining how Biblical truth intersects with our present day culture. We have witnessed two cultures full of colorful people who have had a rich heritage throughout the centuries. We have learned how the God of the bible has made Himself know to these people groups and how the movement of the early church was spread through Asia Minor ( modern day Turkey) and Greece during the first century. This was in large part a result of the obedience of the apostle Paul and his zeal for spreading the gospel.

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Early cave church from 4th century AD in Eastern Turkey

How am I going to take what I have learned home with me to be an influencer for truth? How can I help shape the culture that is moving so rapidly away from a Christian worldview? 

I will be pondering these questions as I summarize my notes and reflect on my new knowledge and experiences. But for tonight, as I fall asleep and begin my journey back to the reality of real life at home, I will always remember this trip as a pivotal experience that strengthened my faith walk…….more lessons to come!

How can you be a messenger of truth in your circle of influence? How is God revealing himself to you in your culture today?

 

Our Wellness Wisdom Campaign Winner

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Growing Weisser Followers, we hope you liked the start of our Wellness Wisdom Campaign! We are excited to share  more our our Wellness Wisdom with all of you! Congrats Kelly!!

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Memorial Day Fun and Crafts

I love our preschool co-op. Yesterday I hosted and the theme was “Memorial Day.” Just in time to share some fun decorations and crafts with you.

Decorations:

I was very excited to pull out this Red, White, and Blue Felt Garland that I made last year for Fourth of July.

Attire:

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Free Time/Sensory Time:

I made Star-Spangled Slime combining the idea from icanteachmychild and this helpful video from about.com.

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Here’s how I made the slime:

You will need glue (clear glue for transparent slime or white glue for opaque slime), borax, water, food coloring (optional), and star confetti.

Mix 1 tsp borax in 1 cup water and stir to dissolve. In a separate bowl, combine 1 container of glue with 1/2 cup water. You can add food coloring if you want your slime to have a color. Mix the two solutions and add the confetti. HAVE FUN. Store the slime in an air tight container or zip lock bag.

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Circle Time:

To introduce the theme I shared with the kids that Memorial Day is a day to honor the men and women who died serving our country. It is a day for peace and prayer. I introduced some vocabulary words about Memorial Day and had the children take turns matching the words and pictures to the words and picture on my easel.

I passed out small flags to the children and we sang two flag songs from a great pdf file I downloaded from oopseydaisyblog.

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We counted to 70 using groups of 10 stars. I used simple star stickers that I purchased at JoAnn’s.

Snack:

For snack I had the kids make their own flag designs with graham crackers, blueberries, strawberries, and marshmallows.

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Crafts:

1. Flags

We sang a song about the American Flag to teach the kids some facts about the flag and then they made their own. I used this craft from housingaforest.com, but modified the activity by cutting the pieces in advance.

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You will need red, white, and blue construction paper, glue, scissors, q-tips, and white paint. Cut out a piece of blue paper for the flag and 7 red stripes. Glue the piece of the flag to the white paper. Use the Q-tips to stamp “stars” on the blue part of the flag.

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2. Star Stamping

I did a simple stamping activity with star cookie cutters and paint.

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3. Pipe Cleaner Fireworks

This craft was so simple to prepare and fun and easy to do. I found this idea from craftymorning.com. You will need black paper, red, white, and blue paint, pipe cleaners, and glitter.

I made a few different sizes of pipe cleaners with different amounts of pipe cleaners in each bunch to make different sized and shaped fireworks on the paper.

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Action Time/Closing

To finish the lesson we had a great time with patriotic action cards to get the kids moving around and having some more fun together before we finished for the day. I used the patriotic action cards from the oopsydaisy printable.

Screen Shot 2015-05-20 at 9.15.27 PMWhat are your favorite patriotic crafts and activities?

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Remembering…

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This weekend we celebrate Memorial Day. Now we all might not have lost someone in war who is close to us or that we know of that has lost their life.  We may not even know anyone that has fought in a war or served our country. But we can celebrate the day.  We can still celebrate those lives. We can all share in the pride of our country. We can share in what it feels like to experience freedom. We can share in the gratitude and the respect for the people who have served, the families who have lost loved ones, the sacrifices that have been made.

So this memorial day. Celebrate. Remember. Think of those who have lost loved ones. Think about our country.  Think about those that are serving right now. Remember our fallen heroes.  Remember the men and women that went to serve. The ones who have won our independence. Don’t take what they have done for granted.  Celebrate them. Remember them. And live with the gratitude of living in a free country. People had to make sacrifices. Be thankful for their strength.  Be thankful for their endurance. Live thankful.

“Thus, the men and women we honor this Memorial Day are all those who have served this nation from its founding 239 years ago–since the Revolutionary War, we have lost 1,010,485 men and women in combat–as well as all those who defend us now against the threat of global terrorism.” (Dilenschneider, Robert; Huffington Post) As with the motto from September 11, Never Forget.  Kids today didn’t live through September 11. They don’t know yet what our country means, what our freedom stands for. Never forget. Never forget by talking about it and remembering it. Talk about our Founding Fathers. Talk about the struggle of war.  Talk about the reality of terrorism. But also talk about the amazing diversity of our own country. It doesn’t have to be tainted with prejudices and racism that our country is more superior than everyone else.  Just be proud our country is strong. Be proud of our people, men and women, from all different countries, who fight to serve the United States.

Ironically, I was in Washington D.C. this week, which is a pretty amazing opportunity the weekend before Memorial Day.  Here are some quick pictures I snapped while on a run around the National Mall. Not great quality because I was running. :)


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This week my goal is to get a flag. I can’t believe we don’t have one.  I would love to have one hanging by Memorial Day. I guess we will see if Amazon Prime pulls through.

Get yours here! American Flag

What are you remembering this weekend? What is your favorite part of our country? Have you lost a loved one? Be thankful for them this weekend.  And also remember our fallen heroes.

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Taking a Pause

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Sometimes the best thing you can do to create wellness for yourself is taking a break, taking a pause from your busy life to remember what is really important. That’s what I needed yesterday when I decided to read my devotional, Jesus Calling.

I want you to know how safe and secure you are in My Presence. That is a fact, totally independent of your feelings. You are on your way to heaven; nothing can prevent you from reaching that destination. There you will see Me face to Face, and your Joy will be off the charts by any earthly standards. Even now, you are never separated from Me, though you must see Me through eyes of FAITH. I will walk with you till the end of time, and onward into eternity.

Although My Presence is a guaranteed promise, that does not necessarily change your feelings. When you forget I am with you, you may experience loneliness or fear. It is through awareness of My Presence that Peace displaces negative feelings. Practice the discipline of walking consciously with Me through each day.

“Now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.” 1 Corinthians 13:12

“The Lord gives strength to His people; the Lord blesses His people with peace.” Psalm 29:11

Jesus Calling is one of our all-time favorite devotionals! You can buy it HERE CURRENTLY ON SALE at Lifeway.com. There are also multiple VERSIONS now, including a Women’s Edition and Jesus Calling: Devotions for Kids!

What do you do when you need to Take a Pause from the busyness of life?

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Cranberry, Date and Orange Crumbly Bars

Are you looking for a new twist to the typical fruit bar? This recipe is delicious and nutritious and full of fiber. You can take these to your next summer picnic for a tasty dessert or snack or serve them as a breakfast bar for a high energy “running out the door” breakfast. Store them in a tupperware in the refrigerator until ready to use but once you pack them to go they do not need to be refrigerated and they will be gone before you know it!

Ingredients
2 cups chopped dates
1 ½ cups fresh orange juice
1 cup dried cranberries
1 Tablespoon grated orange peel
3 cups oats
3 cups flour (I used a combo of whole wheat, white-wheat and almond meal flour)
1 cup brown sugar
½ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
1 ½ cups butter (I used 1 cup butter and ½ cup coconut oil
1 Tablespoon water

In a medium saucepan combine 1 cup orange juice and dates and cook over medium heat for 5 minutes. Stir often so dates do not stick. Add remaining ½ cup orange juice, ⅔ cup dried cranberries and orange peel. Stir and set aside to cool. In a large bowl, combine oats, flour, sugar, baking soda and salt. Mix until combined. Cut in butter/coconut oil until a coarse crumbly mixture results. Press ⅔ of the crumbly mixture into a lightly greased 9 x 13 pan. Spread cooled date, orange, cranberry mixture evenly over cookie crumble base. Add remaining ⅓ cup dried cranberries to the oat mixture with 1 Tablespoon of water and mix thoroughly, to make topping. Sprinkle topping over date mixture and press down lightly. Bake in a 375 degree oven for 25-30 minutes until slightly golden on top. Cool and cut into bars. Makes 24-30 (2 inch square)bars.IMG_7288IMG_7286

Cranberry, Date and Orange Crumbly Bars
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Author:
Recipe type: Dessert, Snack, Breakfast Bar
Cuisine: American
Serves: 30 bars
Ingredients
  • 2 cups chopped dates
  • 1 ½ cups fresh orange juice
  • 1 cup dried cranberries
  • 1 Tablespoon grated orange peel
  • 3 cups oats
  • 3 cups flour (I used a combo of whole wheat, white-wheat and almond meal flour)
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 ½ cups butter (I used 1 cup butter and ½ cup coconut oil
  • 1 Tablespoon water
Instructions
  1. In a medium saucepan combine 1 cup orange juice and dates and cook over medium heat for 5 minutes.
  2. Stir often so dates do not stick.
  3. Add remaining ½ cup orange juice, ⅔ cup dried cranberries and orange peel.
  4. Stir and set aside to cool.
  5. In a large bowl, combine oats, flour, sugar, baking soda and salt.
  6. Mix until combined.
  7. Cut in butter/coconut oil until a coarse crumbly mixture results.
  8. Press ⅔ of the crumbly mixture into a lightly greased 9 x 13 pan.
  9. Spread cooled date, orange, cranberry mixture evenly over cookie crumble base.
  10. Add remaining ⅓ cup dried cranberries to the remaining ⅓ of oat mixture with 1 Tablespoon of water and mix thoroughly, to make topping.
  11. Sprinkle topping over date mixture and press down lightly.
  12. Bake in a 375 degree oven for 25-30 minutes until slightly golden on top.
  13. Cool and cut into bars.
  14. Makes 24-30 (2 inch square)bars.

What are your favorite Pack-N-Go Snacks?

Last week we introduced our  “Wellness Wisdom” Campaign. We all believe that a healthy life includes being healthy mentally, emotionally, spiritually and physically.  We would like you to join us in our “Wellness Journey”.

Need healthy snack ideas? Want options for delicious and nutritious on-the-go snacks?

Here is your first opportunity to join us in our “WELLNESS WISDOM” campaign!!!

DOWNLOAD THIS FREE PRINTABLE-“Top 20 Healthy Pack-N-Go Snacks”

Regular subscribers will have received their newsletter and an email  last week and again this week with a link to this first printable list. The first tidbit of “Wellness Wisdom” with many more to come!

Not a regular subscriber yet? CLICK THIS LINK

 to get your first of many exclusive Growing Weisser tidbits of “Wellness Wisdom”.

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Did you enter our giveaway last week?? Don’t worry, you didn’t miss it!! Our giveaway is going on all this week, too! Share with your friends [unless you want a better chance of winning, then don’t share it 😉 ]

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Oh! The Places Your PackIt Can Go

I love my busy, fun, on-the-go life with my girls. Sometime it gets a little crazy, but I find that we work better when we get out of the house every day. This is why I love my PackIt and why it is such an essential part of my every day routine.

Packing lunches for myself and the girls keeps us healthy and nourished throughout our day. I love to fill our PackIt with our cold food and snacks. Our family favorites are cheese, nuts, sandwiches, veggies, salads, scrambled eggs (yep I’ll eat them cold!), and fruit.

I have a small Lunch size PackIt for most days or days i just pack snacks, and my Picnic PackIt is essential for day trips.

We love to fill our PackIt with our favorite snacks and you can join our Wellness Wisdom Campaign to get your free Growing Weisser snack list printable here.

Experience all the places you can go with PackIt by getting your own! BUY A PACKIT.

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The Lunchbox PackIt is great for a day trip or for a small number of essentials that need to stay cold.

We want to see where you take your PackIt and how it fits into your life. Post a picture of yourself and your PackIt adventures on social media with #packitandgo and tag us @growingweisser and be sure to add #gwwellnesswisdom anytime you enjoy one of our favorite snacks!

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PackIt at Disney’s California Adventure.

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PackIt at Disneyland.

AND Click the link below to be entered to WIN A PACKIT.

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Mickey says, “Oh boy. These PackIts sure are swell! Make sure you get one and see ya real soon.”

PackIts are Mickey Mouse Approved.

PackIts are Mickey Mouse Approved.

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Athletes PACK-N-GO when you are on the go!

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One thing to the next. Always on the go. You barely have enough time to squeeze a run in let alone think about packing a lunch. That is why the pack-it is perfect to throw some easy pack-n-go snacks in an already frozen lunchbag. As an athlete, a fit-mom, a busybody, a gym rat… you always want to have some easy ready things on the go. If you keep moving, you will get hungry. Burning all those calories, you need to refuel.  So it’s time to get a system to replenish your body with our pack-n-go snacks. (Which you can get this list by clicking here). One thing I always run into when packing snacks is most things I love, melt, or get hot before I have time to eat them. That is why the Pack-it is perfect.  You can throw bars in there, fruit, water, etc. and my snacks do not get hot.

Why healthy snacks? Because taking care of your body matters.  What you put in your body gives you energy, affects your mood, your productivity, your stress level, your self confidence, your life span, and the people around you. Eating healthy takes awareness and a little bit of planning. But it is possible.  Your just have to think through the  combination of different food groups that gets you everything you need in one healthy snack or meal.  Eating fruit will give you a quick energy boost, but won’t sustain you. Eating carbs, protein, and fat at the same time in one snack or meal, gives you a balance.  If you are on the go and don’t have much time, it is best if you find snacks that you like that have each one of those components.  And it is important to fuel your body before you work out, and replenish your body after you work out. All with healthy food and lots of water. After you work out there is a window to replenish in which you should drink water right after and eat something to restore your muscle glycogen 15-20 minutes after. Taking sports nutrition in college gave me a new perspective of how I could not only take care of myself, but maximize my energy and output to perform better.  And I am all for making the most of everything, so I love the thought of maximized potential and more abundant life!

Why exercise? Because taking care of your body matters. Exercise gets your endorphins going, boosts your seratonin levels  to keep you happy, clears your mind, boosts your well being by reducing stress, can alleviate anxiety, decreases risks of disease and sickness, promotes better sleep, and keeps your body healthy. I love getting exercise.  And not because it makes me look a certain way.  But because it keeps me balanced. It helps clear my mind.  It helps me stay competitive.  And I feel accomplished. Exercise is also a fun way to get together with other people and do something.  Being active is fun! Enjoy it. Especially during the summer. Get outside and get moving. We will be introducing lots of healthy things that have worked for us as former athletes and current fitness lovers. Part of our wellness wisdom campaign will introduce healthy living and fitness tips. Please run (or walk) with us on this journey and see how we can all incorporate into our lives to create healthy and balanced lifestyles.

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