In Time

In time they will thank you, with an understanding beyond their current capacity.

In time they will see what you sacrificed. Who you sacrificed. And how often you sacrificed.

In time they will slowly start to comprehend the magnitude of the job. The tears that come with it. The sleepless nights. The endless task lists. The worldly criticisms. The constant mental and physical motion. The fatigue of the heart, mind, body and soul, quickly followed by the nourishment of blind faith and God’s yolk.

In time they’ll sing your praises. The ones far past due. And they’ll realize the older they get, the wiser you were.

In time it’ll come full circle. And they’ll wish they had your strength, your wisdom, your abilities.

And in that time, you’ll remind them they have exactly what the need, through Him, who strengthens all. You’ll smile. And trust that your time, those really really hard times, will now serve as a beacon of hope that they, too, can persevere, serve and still be fulfilled by the only supreme Being that matters.

Motherhood knows no time. It’s endless. Sometimes thankless. Often criticized, overlooked. But never, never marginalized to One who allowed you to obtain the title.

An Open Letter from a Christ-serving Sinner

It doesn’t matter that I’m white. It doesn’t matter that my husband is black. Or that he, his parents and my father have spent their entire careers in the public service sector – on the streets and in the prisons – serving others at their not-so-finest hours with dignity. It doesn’t matter that my three young children are biracial.

It. Doesn’t. Matter.

Right now, what matters is that each one of us, as Christians, regardless of the color of our skin or our native language, remain committed to regular self-heart examinations.

How easy it has been to put my hands on my ears and silently scream ENOUGH over the last 10 days. Enough killing. Enough violence. Enough assuming. Enough criticizing. Enough sensationalizing. Enough generalizing. Enough screaming. Enough cursing. Enough looting. Enough politic’ing.

E-NOUGH.

In times of crisis, I tend to watch, listen and soak in information, conversations and reactions. My mind quickly moves to a root-cause analysis exercise, often looking past the first hot topic making headlines and deeper into what and why something sparked. I think it’s the former reporter in me.

Then, I talk. Mostly to my husband and then to others. I’m always optimistic, early on, of an easy solution. But then reality settles in that, often times, there isn’t one when it involves the complex creatures known as humans, born into sin.

These last 10 days have been a rollercoaster of thoughts, emotions, reactions and desires. There is no doubt the devil is alive and well. And oh, how I know he is loving the destruction he has spun up in our great country.

Speak up. Get criticized. Don’t speak. Get criticized. Have a different perspective, get criticized. Have a lifetime of actions showing you support people that don’t look like you and say one wrong thing, get criticized. But isn’t that what happened to the single, perfect person who walked this earth – who also likely had dark-colored skin? No matter what He said, how He said it or in what context His message was given, He got criticized. And He never let the critics derail His mission.

As a wife and mother of three bi-racial children, I spend hours every day investing in their hearts. Talking about and showing them what being strong, tough and brave look like while still being compassionate, kind-hearted, hoping to mold them into a servant leader.

At four, six and eight years old, my two oldest identified that their skin looks different than mine several years ago, and at times different than others around them. And it doesn’t bother them, so why should it bother others? I’m not too sure there’s a black and white answer.

There are so many layers and topics of conversation about a deeply-rooted issue that predates anyone speaking out right now. So here’s where my mind settles, not just at this time with the latest news cycle of injustices, but all the time.

It starts from the heart. And then in the home.

Every day, I fall short of glorifying the God my family serves. There is a reason God put it on my heart to re-read the New Testament in a year starting January 1, 2020. I’ve ignored that calling some days, and my actions those days showed it. When I fall short and it affects others, I often times – not always – fess up publicly. There is something so freeing to talk about how imperfect I am to another person and seek forgiveness.

As we get better about self examining our heart, we can identify blind spots and work to improve them. I look at the heart like the foundation of a home. You can dress it up with the best Instagram post you want in a time of crisis, but, if there are cracks in the heart, in time, it will garner an examiner’s attention and, if not fixed, destruction is inevitable.

Water

Our bodies are made up of 80 percent water. We [should] drink about 8 glasses of water a day. We use it to shower, wash clothes, clean dishes, water plants, wash hands. And don’t think twice about our access or supply.

Until … its unavailable.

Unknown

At noon, today, I got word that water supply was cut off to our neighborhood, and others nearby. As I type, access has yet to be restored. You never know how much you depend on something until it’s gone.

Thankfully, we have a car that took us to HEB to purchase five gallons of water, money to pay for it, and live in walking distance of a SAWS water supply truck to refill the containers when we ran out tonight. Which we did. In just a few hours, we used nearly all five gallons for drinking, bathing, rinsing [dishes], washing [hands] and brushing teeth.

After a few short Google searches, I found these eye-opening stats …

  • The average American uses 80-100 gallons of water a day [source]
  • More than 1/4 of the world’s population lacks access to clean water [source]
  • Nearly 40 percent of people in Uganda have to travel 30 minutes to access clean water [source]
  • The average household can waste 180 gallons per week from household leaks [source]
  • Turning off the tap while brushing your teeth can save 8 gallons of water per day [source]
    • Letting your faucet run for five minutes while washing dishes can waste 10 gallons of water [source]

What are some ways you actively save water?

Raw

Filters. They. Are. Everywhere. In the boardroom, in Roomba’s, on social media. Disguising something. Something … raw. Unembellished. Bare. Undisguised. When did filters become the new black?

Photo filters change the appearance of a moment we desired to capture in its most natural state. Filtered responses often create ambiguity, requiring unwanted, additional effort to clear the air.

Is our reality so demoralizing that we can no longer strive for authenticity? Or do we lack grace in our response in the midst of rawness, driving fear into the depths of the individual with good intentions?

Sure, filters are incredibly beneficial for things like swimming pools, cars, air conditioners and water purifiers, to name a few. But when it comes to human emotion, I much prefer a raw state. Strong and undisguised. A wear you heart on your sleeve type. Not to be confused with rude or brash. Rather, self-aware, humble, genuine.

Many of my friends kick off each new year with the one word exercise – deciding on a single word to focus on for the next 365 days. I’ve attempted the exercise for a few years now. Often times, by Spring, my word fizzles into the background as I get consumed with the day-to-day grind. But, I’m not giving up on the intent of the exercise.

I started to think of that one word for 2019 back in early December. And here we are, approaching the eve of February and I’m just now settling on it. Raw.

For me, there’s never been a more important day than today to be raw: (adj.) (of an emotion or quality) strong and undisguised. 

 

JP+ LIVE Day 2 Recap: Get Inspired

A former NFL player and coach, a Bronx-based global teacher nominee and viral video sensations Danny and Kristen Adams summed up day two in Phoenix! Here are my top three highlights from day two – all of which involve people who have found their passion and calling, and aren’t taking the world’s NOs for an answer …

  1. Danny & Kristen Adams … If you use social media of any sort, you’ve likely seen a Danny and Kristen Adams video shared by a friend. The lip synching comical couple were guest speakers at the Juice Plus+ (JP) prayer breakfast, sharing their journey of obedience to Christ in a comfort-driven world. A few of my favorite messages were …
    • When you obey God, your choices may look like the end to some, but it’s actually just the beginning.
    • Distraction is good for your destiny.
    • Arguments are heated fellowship.

These two were a hoot. You’ll definitely want to subscribe to their YouTube channel for some comic relief! What was even more inspiring was 2,300 men and women kicking off day two at 7 a.m. praising our Lord. This was special!

2. The Green Bronx Machine … Want to be inspired by someone who is doing good for the WORLD? Google/YouTube Stephen Ritz and get ready to watch video after video, because you just can’t get enough of this bow tie-wearing, Bronx-based teacher traveling the world to bring communities together through plants. Where are my teachers at? Let’s get Tower Gardens in your schools NOW!

3. Ricky Proehl at JP LIVE! Former NFL wide receiver Ricky Proehl gave his National Marketing Director speech today, sharing some inspiriting words as to why he left the NFL after 17 years and values the incredibly unique business model that JP has to offer. This is a MUST WATCH!

It wouldn’t be a JP conference without some post-session fun. We went to the hippest restaurant in downtown Phoenix for a team dinner called The Duce. Here are a few fun pics from last night …

Time to head out to the third and final day of conference where I’ll get to see my sweet friend Stephanie give her National Marketing Director speech in front of 8,000 people! Go get um Coach Steph!

JP+ LIVE PHOENIX! Day 1 Recap

Today kicked off the semiannual Juice Plus+ (JP) Live National Conference in Phoenix. This is the second time I’ve attended this event and, like the first, hasn’t disappointed.

Whole food nutrition has been a part of my life from birth, thanks to my naturalist parents. But it’s now become a part of my family’s day-to-day life in a much more intentional manner.

Almost two years ago, I was introduced to JP by a dear friend of mine who invited me to a nutrition lecture from a Florida-based Pediatrician. The lecture rocked my world. We ordered these powerful plant-based capsules and chewables immediately and have never looked back. For more about this 25-year product, click here. In the mean time, here my top five takeaways from day one.

  1. Capsule Product Update – This debt free, multi-billion dollar company has developed only six products in 25 years. Talk about quality over quantity. Here are a few updates coming to their products …
  • Out with papaya, in with mango. Non-Genetically Modified (GMO) papaya is scarce around the world, and JP wants to maintain its Non GMO status. So, IMG_3171there’re swapping out the fruits. Plus, mango has similar properties as papaya but even more vitamins A and C, protein, potassium, fiber and B6!
  • Bye bye oat, hello more rice bran. Despite using a Gluten Free (GF) oat, some countries around the world deem anything with oat in it as a gluten product. So, for consistency, JP is removing the oat and increasing the rice brand to maintain the GF status.
  • Additive folic acid is going away and being replaced with lemon peel. Lemon peel is naturally high in folate – so it’s a plant WIN!
  1. Research galore! JP is up to 38 published research studies with more on the way! Check out this unbelievable video on study #36 showing how taking just one capsule of the fruit, vegetable and berry capsules are helping produce other phytonutriants that aren’t even in the capsules!

  2. How do you Omega? Fish Oil is a billion dollar industry with little to no positive results, according to this Washing Post article. We still need omegas – but we need them from original omega sources, which are not fish. It’s algea, and plant oils. God news, JP has the only plant-based omega on the market. BOOM!
  3. Black thumb, green thumb or anything in between, you’ll want to hear this one. Within the next 25 years, at our current growth rate, the U.S. will not have enough land to grow food for it’s population. Not so fun of a fact, I know. But, we can become our own farmer, save money and increase the quality of our food all while skipping the soil, weeds, backyard space and gardening hassle with a vertical aeroponic system like the JP Tower Garden.

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  4. JP always gives back. Representatives and the JP+ Corporate Office collectively contribute $15 million annually to St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital, the Children’s Hunger Fund, Volunteers of America and Boys and Girls Club. Know that this is a company of great integrity.

BONUS TAKEAWAY … because this is just too good not to share. Later this fall, what’s currently in conception stage will become formal. JP+ is developing a Global Science Institute which will be a separate noncommercial entity designed to gather scientists around the world to further understand and share knowledge of whole food nutrition.

Ok, that’s it for now. Off to Day Two of learning!

 

 

Thank you, Sandwich Man

After church today, I took the crew to Whole Foods to grab some lunch and pick up a few items while my husband studied for an upcoming test. We arrived right around 11 a.m. and the pizza gal was tossing the made-from-scratch dough while informing me she already had several orders in and it would be 20+ minutes before a pizza came out to buy by the slice.

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It was more of a sandwich kind of day anyways, so we patiently waited in line, behind two other people, for the sandwich-making team to come out. A young man, likely in his 20s, came out with a beanie on and started serving the customers. I watched as he took his time, slowly placing each ingredient on the bread of choice with so much care. He never got rattled that a line was forming. When it was our turn, he maintained his careful, methodical methods, spreading the mustard, doubling up the oven roasted fresh turkey meat and perfectly placing each pickle, tomato and spinach leaf. I couldn’t help but think WOW, he really takes pride in his job. It was like watching someone paint. And while my kids were running in circles, begging for a cookie off the cookie wagon right behind us, I was honestly mesmerized by how much pride this young man took in his job.

After we thanked him for serving us and paid for our lunch, we stepped outside of the doors to eat on the front patio. Ironically enough, I had engaged in a long, difficult discussion with Jeremiah, age 6, earlier this morning about gratitude. Specifically noticing how much adults do for him and being in a constant state of gratitude instead of pouting when the answer is no or not right now.

Right as we were finishing our lunch, Mila says, “Hey, there’s the man who made our yummy sandwiches!” He must have been on a short break. I encouraged Jeremiah and her to go up to him and thank him again, and tell him how much they loved their sandwiches. And so they did. He came over to our table and we had a brief exchange around what it meant to slow down to go fast and taking pride in everything you do.

That young man reminded me of a lesson that’s been on paper for over 2,000 years The Bible is filled with lessons that tells us to give 100 percent at everything we do. Not to be lazy. To serve with a smile, genuinely caring for others regardless of what they look like, how much money they have or what language they speak.

Whether it’s cleaning the toilet at home making the fourth meal of the day for the family, or in the office, cranking away at a report, I think we can all use a little bit more of the Sandwich man inside of us.

 

 

Inspiration from So Cal

It’s been about six years since I last visited the beaches of Southern California. But once you visit this area of Northern America, you never forget it. The white sandy beaches warm your toes up through your soul and the beautiful sunsets falling behind the large crashing waves are visions you take home and dream about.

Day two in Anaheim was filled with inspiration. And we ended it with a trip to Huntington Beach where everyone just seems relaxed and happy.

Yesterday I learned about the 36th clinical research study done on Juice Plus and how it showed DNA was positively altered in over 1,600 genes in overweight adults that controlled metabolic health and inflammatory cells . But yesterday was more than research-based facts. It was a day filled with inspiration. A day that I listened to wives, moms, husbands, cancer survivors, doctors and researchers all share their stories of how and why they said yes to changing their lifestyle when they were at their most vulnerable moment, moments where they were filled with doubt, but acted anyways. Here are my top #OMW [oh my word!] inspirational takeaways from yesterday:

#OMW No. 1: Caring for others is hard work. It’s also heart work.
We kicked off the morning with a praise and worship breakfast. Yes, you read that right. There are thousands of Juice Plus representatives that are believers, and it warms my heart. Nicole Unice, author of Brave Enough, spoke about grace as the catalyst for bravery. From the crippled man who was lowered down into the home where Jesus was teaching [Luke 5: 17] to his fishermen disciples troubled in rough waters [Mark 4: 35] – we all have fear inside that is buried at different levels. But the more we let grace in the less room there is for fear. Unice reminded the crowd that we have one single ask from Jesus … to love others. When you love others, you care for them. And anyone who is a caretaker knows it is HARD work. But it’s also HEART work. When I think about why I’m even here, at this nutrition conference, that’s what it’s ultimately about – caring for others. If a friend knew of something that I should be doing [ahem, taking care of my temple of God] and ideas as to how, telling me and encouraging me is shows love.

#OMW No. 2: Long term vision, short term goals.
Dream big and believe. Sounds so easy, right? If you’re anything like me, I go from dreaming big to reality crashes and I know that’s because I still allow the enemy to inject fear. Jay Martin, founder and CEO of Juice Plus, is of my grandparent’s generation – in my opinion, the hardest working generation of our time. I find many millennials expect instant gratification. Now, I think there are various reasons as to why, some reasonable and some not, but that’s for another blog post. What I took from Martin and a beautiful wife and mother of four children who is a breast cancer survivor was that you absolutely have to have, write, and say your goals, and then you need to consistently put in work to get them. It’s an easy concept, but not many do it.

#OMW No. 3: Get a system.
When you know what you are going after, you have to get a system in place to achieve it. A system marries up well with the whole consistency thing. I think back to my college basketball days when I was told I needed to work on my lateral foot speed after my freshman year. I consistently jumped rope, did ladders and other exercises that summer. I vividly remember my coaches being impressed with my improvement when I got back on campus in the Fall. Whatever goals you have, you will surely fall short unless you get a system in place and consistently put in work toward achieving them.

Say yes, it just might be worth it

Well, I said yes when I usually would have said no. You all have that friend who sells that stuff. Ya … those people. Ten months ago, I was tired of my post-baby internal and external body and said yes to a free nutrition talk from a Miami-based pediatrician. Sixty minutes of hearing and seeing alarming, research-based healthcare and nutrition stats – was all it took for me to start asking people around my table, “So, do you guys take this Juice Plus stuff? And does it reallllllly work?”

Fast forward 10 months later, my entire family has increased our whole-food nutrition intake and decreased the processed junk that we were addicted to with the help of the Juice Plus mission – inspiring healthy living around the world. And now, I’m meeting men and women with miraculous stories from all walks of life in Anaheim, California at the Juice Plus national conference.

Here are my three health #OMW [oh my word] moments from day one:

#OMW No. 3: You can’t compete with what you eat.

I’m a former Division 1 college basketball player. I still play, and work out regularly – running, high-intensity circuit training, spinning, etc – and while I know the best nutrition to eat, I didn’t always chose it, and thought I could get away with that because I exercised hard. I had the honor of listening to Dr. David Phillips – a physician, Harvard graduate and former Ironman World Championship triathlete. Before taking JP and while on a strict nutrition regiment, he would struggle during the same parts of his training regiment and often got sick along with his training partners. When he finally got on Juice Plus, his next Ironman was a personal record and his muscle recovery was faster than he had every experienced. He started noticing he wasn’t getting sick anymore and his training got kicked up a notch. Because Juice Plus is predigested and gets into the blood stream within 20 minutes, it helped decrease his oxidative stress. Guys, if you’ve never heard about oxygen, free radicals and oxidative stress and how they affect the body, here’s an article with the easiest, shortest explanation.

Side note … How it’s made: Because Juice Plus is non GMO, NSF certified (better than organic!) and picked vine ripped from it’s own farms, it will always provide a health benefit that you can’t get through produce at your local grocery store.

#OMW No. 2: You aren’t held captive by your DNA

Research shows we have the power to change our DNA for up to two generations … seriously … just do a quick Google search! We’re only stuck with one-third of the genes our families gave us and the other two-thirds can be altered through lifestyle. Something we actually have a CHOICE over! I SO wish I would have known this during my three pregnancies. My diet would have been completely different. Juice Plus is the most researched nutrition product in the WORLD, with 37 clinical research studies, 20 of which are published in peer-reviewed medical journals with an average impact score approaching 110 (industry average impact score in this field ranges from 0-5!). As a personal skeptic of the universe, that was a game changer for me. This company has a narrow but deep focus on its mission which gives customers confidence that they, and those they surround themselves with, are the experts in this field.

#OMW No. 1: Research shows Omega fatty acid deficiency in diets

Juice Plus has been around 25 years, and for the first time in 15 years they are launching a new product – a plant-based Omega blend. Because research has shown a large deficiency of Omega fatty acids in diets, the company has spent the last two years researching and coming up with its newest product – the Omega Blend. This is a plant-based, oil-based blend of Omega 3, 5, 6 and 7. Think fish oil, without the fish, and with more Omegas. Because there have been so many chemicals found in fish, Juice Plus has taken out the “middle man” and gone straight to the source. The vegetarian capsule includes six whole food plant sources: algae, pomegranate seeds, sea buckthorn berries, raspberry seeds, tomato seeds and safflower seeds where the omega’s are found at their purest and most sustainable.

Saying yes was an uncomfortable answer 10 months ago, but it was the right one. Signing off from Anaheim, for now!

Spring in SA

The best weather in San Antonio always seems to roll in around this time of year. Spring in San Antonio provides fresh blooms, sunshine and a nice breeze – perfect for any outdoor activity, even swimming. Yes, I said swimming in March.

I love going to the local nursery this time of year. Scents of herbs and plants fill the breeze and your lungs fill your lungs as you walk up and down the rows. It’s the most colorful place to go, too.

Every Spring we plant vegetables in our small outdoor garden. This year, we’re growing cherry tomatoes, cucumber, zucchini and sweet peppers. For the first time, we planted bulbs in the front yard and after just a few weeks, they are already sprouting. It will be a joy to see the kids’ reaction when they bloom later this Summer, and serve as a reminder that when you plant something good, nurture it and remain patient, the result will be something beautiful.

 

Lastly, a Spring cleaning check in. I have successfully purged and organized about 85% of our property. Still to go, the kitchen and bathroom drawers. Not bad, right?! Thus far, my personal favorite part has been tackling my wardrobe. I conducted a bit of a clothing capsule, donating about 70 percent, and it was beyond necessary. After having three kids in the last five years, I had no business keeping clothing from over a decade ago that, quite honestly, belong on a 20-year-old. Let’s leave it at that.

Less is more, and provides much more room for things that matter – like using our closet that now looks twice as big for a hide and go seek destination.