Friday, August 29, 2014

Simplicity and Grace

"Your Kingdom come, Your will be done..." This snippet of The Lord's Prayer has been resounding in my head multiple times a day for a week. A spiritual discipline I'm incorporating into my life is to pray how Jesus said to pray (the Lord's Prayer) each day. The idea is to orient myself around His will and asking His kingdom to invade my life, every area of my life. It's so simple; nothing fancy. 

Clutter. It seems as I get older, the easier it is to let clutter in my life. House clutter, schedule clutter, relationship clutter, food clutter, etc. Clutter frustrates me. It distracts me from the things that matter and it's hard to dig out of. But ah simplicity. That's the key. Jesus says, don't try clean yourself up first, repent and believe now and let Me transform you. It's so simple. 

I think it's safe to say that this applies to weight loss and living a healthy life. We get all cluttered by this diet, that study, counting calories, fancy meals, shopping at a certain store, reading food labels, weighing ourselves everyday, stressing over every bite and little detail. But the truth is, living healthy boils down to simplicity and grace; taking the clutter out and giving yourself room when you mess up. God's grace stretches even so far as to that cookie you ate, so don't beat yourself up. 

Simplicity. People ask me all the time what they should eat when losing weight. It's really pretty simple, which is why I think it's hard for people to grasp. Jesus was asked, Lord what must I do to enter the kingdom of heaven? He replied that you must be born again; repent and believe. Nothing fancy. Your food is the same way. Bring back the basics; fruits, vegetables and meat. Don't clutter yourself with labels, that's just an indication of rules (and processed food). Eat the foods that bring life; vitamins, minerals, protein, fat, and carbs. Once you get in the habit of shopping on the outside perimeter of your store, it's easier and less cluttered. Cheeseburger for dinner? Great. Just add a fresh vegetable and some fruit. Chicken? Sweet potatoes and sautéed peppers sound awesome! Bring back the basics and you'll find life. 

Grace. This where diets can't meet us. A diet is a plan, a set of rules. Even if we aren't following an actual "diet" how many of us put boundaries on ourselves? Maybe even unrealistic boundaries or ones that put us deeper into the mire of trying to perform, to get ahead, in our own efforts. But we always fall short, don't we? This is where grace steps in. Instead of making a healthy lifestyle or losing weight a chore, a set of rules, why don't we start with the Father? Repent and believe. Let God's kingdom break in. Confession. Yes, it's good to confess that you aren't in a healthy place. It's important to move forward and live out that you are forgiven and loved...even as far as the food you consume. But you must believe that God will change you, that you are changed and walk in that. 

The more clutter I remove, the easier it seems to find God, everywhere. I am left with myself (and my mess) and that makes me turn to the Father, in every single area. 

So how can you simplify? What areas do you need to receive grace? I pray you walk as a forgiven child of God today. Go, and live in His presence....even with your food and exercise.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

The End of an Era

I had a revelation today. Kairos, if you will, which means a moment in time where God breaks through. It was like a mirror on myself. Maybe I'm crazy or maybe it's the Holy Spirit, but I'm over Facebook. Don't get me wrong, I'm not done with it forever as in I'm never getting on again and cancelling my account. But I am done with getting on everyday, during the day, and it being on my phone. 

Scrapbooking. I really enjoy scrapbooking. I love being a mom and staying home. Exercise is a passion that I do everyday and crave. Chasing after Jesus is my main goal in life. Supporting my husband and spending time with him is also at the top of my list. Spending time with family and friends fills me up. Basically, these are my interests and I saw how much Facebook distracts me from those. I'm just being real. 

Lately when I get on, more times than not, I get anxious. Anxious over all the junk in the world. From politics to parenting. There's a blog post about staying off your phone that makes you feel like crap but then there's one cheering you on. There's Obama taking his umpteenth vacation, why you should vaccinate, why you shouldn't vaccinate, debates, arguments, stupid news posts, some business or leader says something people don't like and everyone goes haywire, and the list just goes on. There's also lots of good, like seeing pregnancies announced, kids growing up, updates from friends from far away, events, encouraging people I follow, etc. But I don't need to get on everyday to see that and the majority of what I end up seeing gets me frustrated, down, or distracted.

So what I am saying is that the bad has been outweighing the good. I don't talk to my family and friends (for the most part) on Facebook, I text and call them, I see them in person (I am blessed to be close to most of them). So all I am doing is taking away time from things I TRULY enjoy. Since I have removed the app from my phone, I no longer feel a need to "check it" everytime I get bored for .2 seconds. I enjoy my children more. I have more calm thoughts, I want less, I am focused, I'm not seeing the next person on a cool vacation that I'm not on, I seek God more. 

The mirror was during scrapbooking today. I had so much fun and was enjoying myself with my girls. Then I got on Facebook for a minute and felt all my fun energy drain me. I just realized that actually spending time on FB is not a hobby I enjoy, not like scrapbooking. It's certainly WAY below spending quality time with my girls. But I seem to put it at priority when I look at it repeatedly throughout my day and then get stressed because of it. Besides, if I don't want my girls to be obsessed with the internet/being on devices all the time then I need to work on myself first. More is caught than taught. 

Please don't think I don't want to be social or not see what's happening in your life. I will still get on, just much less. But I'd rather get an email, text, face to face visit (I love those) and you're welcome to follow me on Instagram (I still like to post pics). SLJOHNSON is my Instagram account, my email is, and you can talk to me or email me to get my phone number. I will still be blogging but if you want a quick response, probably better comment on here :) 

I want to stress that this is just MY JOURNEY. I have not always felt this way about FB and this has nothing to do with anyone else. At this point in my life, it's just not helping to produce the fruit of the spirit in me; it's not "healthy" most of the time. BUT I don't want this to be one of those blog posts I mentioned earlier, just sharing my thoughts. Until my next blog post, here are cute pictures for you :)

Family fun :)

Love these 2!!!!

Exercising and time with my family (who are also my closest friends...winner!)

Taking time to play in the rain. Memories for Life.

Huge strides for my oldest with breaking her out of her shell. 

Love my hard-working and HANDSOME man.

Enjoying the little things in life like kid-sized rocking chairs :) 

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Grain-Free Menu

Alright, here are some of my favorites that I eat regularly. I am generally keeping grain-free but have not been 100%. It's still a journey and sometimes you just have to be ok with not being perfect (who is). Eating completely grain-free is still new to me and it's not always possible. Anyways, I'm still feeling good and am in a routine of eating this way all day and I really enjoy it. 

scrambled eggs, cheddar cheese, sweet potato, red onion.

sweet potato, broccoli, onion, one scrambled egg, cheddar cheese

egg, cheese, pepper, onion, sausage

Planning ahead....
almonds, dark chocolate, grapes, turkey and cheese lettuce wraps

walnuts, dark chocolate, peanuts, banana

Lunch and dinner....
mixed greens, taco meat, cheese, red onion, guacamole

burger on lettuce, grilled peppers, homemade fries

salmon on the grill, steamed broccoli

shredded chicken taco in lettuce wrap (my favorite is adding sweet potato and guac)

chicken salad wrap, veggies

chicken salad on apple "rounds" with lettuce, fresh cherries, and carrots

plain greek yogurt, homemade strawberry jam, flaxseed

chocolate chip cookies made with almonds and GF all-purpose flour (I'll post a recipe)

A few other favorites not picutred...
Bananas- we love bananas
Protein shakes- been having after workouts
Peanut butter- yummy with bananas and apples
Gluten free pizza (for me)

That's just a handful of what I've been eating. I cook a lot of things in olive oil or coconut oil now. I have fully embraced healthy fats and using them often. I also am trying to keep towards vitamin-rich vegetables because those are so life-giving. Broccoli, kale, peas, carrots, cucumber, zucchini, etc. are fantastic for the body, and adding those in help curb cravings for sweet things plus add so much nutrition to your day.

 If you are curious about cooking or my family, you saw things I make and I don't do separate meals. My husband is by no means grain-free. When I make burgers, he has a bun, but I do not. It's not too tricky. I have made pasta a couple of times and used a gluten free pasta that tasted no different. But if I use a veggie in place of a noodle, I'll make noodles for him. I do make a lot of meals without any grains for all of us and everyone still enjoys them. 

There ya go. I hope that helps and you are welcome to give feedback of things you'd like to see more of or any recipes you're interested in.