Merry Christmas!


Truly He taught us to love one another
His law is love and His gospel is peace
Chains shall He break for the slave is our brother
And in His name all oppression shall cease
Sweet hymns of joy in grateful chorus raise we,
Let all within us praise His holy name

Fall on your knees
Oh hear the angel voices
Oh night divine
Oh night when Christ was born

Who Are You and What Have You Done with My Friend Mary? – Part 2

Alright y’all.  Let’s get oily.

I’m sure by now you have heard all the rage about essential oils.  You have no clue what they are but just know they’re essential, right? And oil.  2 points for you.

Essential oils have been used for thousands of years!  They can be diffused, inhaled, applied topically, or even taken internally.  Oils can be used to enhance your physical wellness, for purifying your home, refining your skin, and creating better awareness.

I was first introduced to these by a friend a couple years ago.  I was getting terrible migraines and nothing worked.  I was frustrated by the fact that I had to wait 6 hours to take another Excedrin and just had to deal with the pain.  She gave me some peppermint oil to sample and I was amazed at how quickly the pain was gone.  I remained skeptical but continued looking into essential oils and then went to a class where I learned about a wide variety of them and what they could potentially do for me.

YL Oils


There are many brands out there, but Young Living appealed to me the most.  I purchased their starter kit, which came with 11 bottles of oil plus a diffuser.

diffuserThe diffuser really sold me.  It works like a humidifier…you fill it with water and then can add drops of whichever oil you’d like.  You can use lavender to help promote relaxation and sleep, Thieves to help prevent illness, lemon for a fresh, invigorating scent…and that’s just a few.  Each of these oils have a myriad of uses and are natural ways to help prevent illness and help heal your body.

Some of our favorite oils are:

(p.s. this was a difficult list to make…I really love them all!)

deep relief

Deep Relief is one of the first oils I started with.  It comes in a convenient roll on bottle and I use for headaches, migraines, and tension.  Occasionally you may notice I smell like a peppermint.  This could be why.


Enough said.  DiGize isn’t the best smelling oil but works every time.

peace and calming

Ahhh…my favorite.  This should be a touchdown with young kids.  Peace and calming was out of stock for a couple months and I about died.  LOVE how this smells!  I apply every morning to my wrists.


RC is another awesome oil.  We use this a lot in the winter when everyone gets all congested.  It is being diffused a LOT this week!


Oh and how could I forget Thieves?  This might be my second favorite.  I try and apply this to the kid’s feet most nights as a preventative oil.  As soon as they start getting a runny nose or cough, I will apply more.  I’ve even been ingesting this in vegetable capsules this week so that I feel better sooner.

tranquilTranquil is another awesome roll on…it contains lavender, cedarwood, and Roman chamomile and I use this on my wrists and feet before bed each night.

I could write 10 pages on what I love about oils but I’ll spare you the pain.  I would LOVE to share more about these and answer any questions you might have.  Feel free to comment on this post or email me (

If you’ve heard enough and feel that you’re ready to start on your very own oily journey…go to this link:

and you can sign up as either a wholesale or retail customer. (Enter my number #1780697 in the sponsor and enroller boxes)  You have to buy one of the starter kits (I highly recommend the premium starter kit!!) to become a wholesale customer but the benefit is that your prices will be 24% less than retail!  I’m also happy to add an oil or two to my monthly order if you’d like to try them out first.

These would be a great Christmas gift to you or a loved one this holiday season!

Better than those dress socks you know you’ll probably get anyway.


Who Are You and What Have You Done with my Friend Mary? – Part 1

So I have had a couple questions lately like “Why are you drinking that crazy Juice?” or “Where is my friend Mary who eats all the Blue Bell?” or “What kind of oil are you using?  Vegetable oil??”.  I figured it was time to come clean.

About a year ago I decided to pay more attention to what I was letting fuel my body.  I honestly didn’t care too much because I ate whatever I wanted and my body didn’t seem to change.  Who cares, right?


I had no energy, was grumpy a lot, felt like I needed a nap every day, felt awful, had stomach pains almost daily, started getting terrible migraines, and worst of all didn’t get the greatest test results when I had bloodwork from a physical.

I understand there are worse problems out there but the idea of prevention versus treatment really resonated with me.  I’m only 31 and hopefully (surely!) have more than half my life to go.  I wanted to make sure I started taking better care of myself (and my family) NOW before it was too late.

Enter JuicePlus+

I was introduced to this product by both my doctor and a friend at church.  JuicePlus+ is whole food based nutrition, including juice powder concentrates from 30 different fruits, vegetables, and grains.  JP+ helps bridge the gap between what you actually eat and SHOULD eat everyday.  (Did you know you should be having 7-13 servings of fruits and veggies daily!)  It’s not a multivitamin, medicine, treatment, or cure, but provides the natural nutrients your body needs to be at its best.

ex pic

Speaking of eating real food, let me tell you what isn’t the best for your body:

Anything I was eating a year ago.

(Except I ate bananas occasionally.  So those were fine)

JP Effect w info

There have been umpteen studies done on JuicePlus+ and how it can improve your health.  Real, whole food is always the best option but can you consistently get the 7-13 servings of fruits and veggies every day…365 days a year?  If so, I applaud you.  Before I started this, I realized I probably had maybe 1 serving a day.  ONE.

Since using JP+ we haven’t had any sick visits to the doctor (with small kids that is a feat!).   JuicePlus+ has nutritional facts vs. supplement facts (compare to your daily multivitamin) so you can take as much as you need.  Drew and I have felt a little under the weather this week so we have doubled up to help power our immune system and really flood our body with fruits and veggies.


You know what’s really scary?  THIS:


Look at those stats.  I do NOT want my kids to fall into those categories! More than 25% of kids on prescription drugs regularly??  Hardening of the arteries by age 12?  I don’t think so.

I realize we can’t be perfect, and there are always going to be exceptions to eating our healthiest.  But I have seen such drastic changes in this past year and more than anything, I feel confident that my family is getting the proper nutrition they need.  There is so much I have left to learn but I have really enjoyed learning more about health and wellness and helping educate others on how to start taking care of themselves and their families.

priceThe best thing is, you can get JP+ for less than a cup of Starbucks today (don’t lie, you know you’re headed there in the morning).  It comes in both capsules (for adults) or chewables (for kids…or adults that want to be kids…i.e. me) and is safe for everyone! See, it’s not a crazy juice. :) There are no warning/risk labels to avoid if pregnant, nursing, sick, etc.  JuicePlus+ is simply FOOD!. They also have some awesome Complete shakes that I use daily that are packed with lots of whole food phytonutrients and have improved my energy so much.  I can’t imagine not drinking them now.

So that’s part 1 of who (or what!) has hijacked your dear friend.  I am still here.  Just healthier.  A little less full of Blue Bell.  And just trying to add a rainbow of healthy nutrition in my diet.

If you’re interested in learning more, check out my website at:

What are you waiting for?  Get a kickstart on YOUR New Year’s Resolutions and make a positive lifestyle change now.  Before it’s too late.

Dum dum dum (imagine daunting, spooky music)

Next up.  Why we’re so oily.

Oh, and maybe next up after that.  Mary does boot camp.  And why that is both entertainment and beneficial for her physical health.  Really y’all…who am I?


Dinner is Served!

I know what you’re thinking.

Broccoli CheddarI should probably be a professional food photographer.  I’m not sure why I haven’t been approached yet but I feel it coming soon…

This soup is unfortunately not Transform30 approved, but I couldn’t help it.  I haven’t cheated in forever and it’s just so DANG cold outside.  And this is hands down our family’s favorite soup!

Broccoli Cheese Soup

6 tbsp butter, divided

1 cup carrot, chopped or shredded

3 cups low-sodium chicken broth

1/2 tsp garlic powder

2 cups milk

freshly ground black pepper

3/4 cup onion, chopped

4 cups small broccoli florets

1/2 tsp onion salt

4 tbsp flour

2 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese

In a large stockpot, melt 2 tbsp butter over medium heat. Add the onion to the pan and saute until tender, about 5-7 minutes. Add the carrots to the pan and cook a couple minutes more.  Stir in the broccoli, chicken broth, onion salt and garlic powder.  Bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce the heat to a simmer.

In a medium saucepan, melt remaining butter.  Add the flour and cook for 1-2 minutes until golden brown, whisking constantly. Whisk in the milk and cook until the mixture thickens and bubbles, about 5 minutes.  Once the mixture has thickened, whisk in the cheese until completely melted.  Remove from the heat and add the cheese sauce to the soup pot.  Allow to simmer until warmed through and broccoli is tender.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.  If desired, puree the soup with an immersion blender for a smooth texture.



All in the Family

Family pictures – everyone’s favorite day.  Why do men/boys hate these so much??  I love taking pictures and capturing memories!


One day these squirts will be taller than me!


Jake (5) Drew (3)

IMG_7672 IMG_7675 IMG_7688 IMG_7702 IMG_7708 IMG_7726Love my little family so much!  If you’re local, check out Jess Coleman of Frugal Fotography on FB.  She is awesome, quick, and cheap!  We have been so lucky to find her and get so many great pictures!

Anyone else drinking hot chocolate today? It is FREEZING outside! If only we had some snow…

The View From Here

The nice thing about our neighborhood is that there are kids everywhere!  This summer we had some awesome neighbors move in and the boys play with their youngest son almost every afternoon.  It is torture for them to wait for Kindergarten to let out.


I was about to say how relaxing it was to watch them play but Drew just ran in and had pooped in his pants.  Where’s a personal servant when I need one??

IMG_1501This child is a force to be reckoned with!  He will do great things in this world with his personality.


Jake has been playing soccer again this fall and likes it ok…but really loves just being with his friends.  He has played with many of these boys for several seasons so it’s fun to see them grow up.


And as always, his goal is to win the weekly medal.  The coaches give out one each week to a player who has exhibited a certain quality (teamwork, humility, patience, etc).  Jake has been waiting so impatiently for his turn!


I never thought the blender would be our most used appliance but this thing is working overtime.  Everyone has at least one smoothie a day and the boys like to help make them.  Here is Jake putting together his “salad smoothie” as he calls it.  Our old blender broke and we got the coolest new Ninja.  It has individual cups that you can put the blades on and blend which makes it so much quicker/easier.

And for dinner tonight: Kung Pao Chicken Zoodles

kungpaochickenExcited for this – smells so good!


Everybody keeps telling me that I am on the BRINK of things getting easier with the kids. But it just seems like once we survive one challenge, another one arrives.  The boys are as cute as can be but QUITE demanding.  I mean really.  Don’t they know I have things to do?

I kid.

Actually I don’t.

But just look at those sweet faces…

IMG_7666What was I even saying?

So life.  This year has been a year of finding balance and setting boundaries.  Admittedly I haven’t done a fabulous job of that but I’m trying so I think that deserves 3/5 stars.

I still want to go a do a post on the boy’s 3rd and 5th birthdays because as much as I think I’ll never forget every detail, I am 9 years away from 40 and it’s bound to happen soon.

I’m mostly posting because I was recently told that someone I didn’t know read my blog.  And my first thought was, “What has she been reading??”.  HA.  So I would LOVE for you to comment and let me know you’re still here!!  I love to write and I haven’t done enough of it lately.

But for now let’s talk what we’ve been up to.  I am still teaching accounting at the community college.  #GodblessthefutureofAmerica

I can’t even talk about it.  Y’ALL.  The students of today are lacking something super important called AMBITION.  Or another quality called TURN IN YOUR WORK.

(deep breathing)

On October 1, I also took on a 30 day health challenge (because why not, right?) called Transform30.  My eating/exercise habits were pretty rotten.  I wasn’t taking care of myself and we all felt the strain.  I was tired, grumpy, my stomach always hurt, and had no energy.  So the gist of the challenge was to eliminate dairy and wheat, reduce sugar, caffeine, processed foods, exercise 4+ times a week, and drink 2-3L of water a day along with using the JuicePlus+ complete shakes and trio of capsules.  I also have become more aware of how my choices today will affect my health later in life (#remember9yearsto40) so that’s really why this has become so important to me and my family.

I have been posting healthy recipes we’ve been making on Facebook so now I’ll share them on here too.  I would love to hear any ideas from y’all as well!

On tonight’s menu: Potato Leek Soup

potato soupI survived the 30 days much easier than expected and now am moving forward with making these healthy changes more permanent.

I know what you’re thinking.

Where does Blue Bell ice cream fit into this challenge?



You’ve Been Interrupted…Now What??

“It has become more vital to protect our own station than advocate for a world that needs Jesus, who came to us, wrapped in our skin, speaking our language.  If we were not too beneath Christ, who died for us while we were still sinners, then how dare we take a superior position over any other human being?  How lovely a faith community that goes forth as loving sisters and brothers rather than angry defenders and separatists.”  (Jen Hatmaker)

So one of the first questions I received after yesterday’s post was…now what?  HOW do we respond to this interruption? This passion?  This unsettling? One of the first things we got involved in a couple years ago was an amazing organization in Conroe called Compassion United.  It was formed after the Redus family set out one morning with a cooler full of breakfast tacos to meet the homeless in Conroe.  They had no idea what they were doing, except that God had asked them to do it.  8 years later they have expanded into a large ministry that helps feed the hungry, teach life skills to those in their men’s shelter, help pregnant moms in crisis, and more.

Our Sunday school class started volunteering to prepare and serve dinner and/or breakfast every month or two at one of their locations.  I was so overwhelmed and intimidated the first time we went.  I had recently completed a study by Kelly Minter where she challenged us to actually know the needy so I intentionally introduced myself to those that I could.  That day I met Diane.  Her feet hurt, life was hard, and she just needed a good meal.

Every Tuesday in the summer our church helped prepare and serve breakfast to families in need in Willis, TX.  My eyes were opened to the fact that many needy families struggle more in the summer to provide food to their children.  Many of them live on one meal a day, if not less.  During the school year they receive the free reduced breakfast and lunches so summer becomes a huge expense on these families.  This was an activity my kids could attend too.  We only got to go 2 times this summer but I love opening my kids eyes to serving others. breakfast IMG_20140715_095405942We have also recently become involved with a kinship family through the Angel Reach organization.  Angel Reach provides transitional services for kids aging out of the foster care system. They also help support kinship families – those that have taken in/adopted a family member’s child.  Unfortunately these caregivers do not receive state funding, like in other adoptions.  So depending on their situation, they may struggle with supporting the extra kids.  Angel Reach provides them with food, clothing, home repair assistance, support, among many other things. keans

Meet Brenda and Loretta.  Without hesitation, Brenda took in her husband’s 3 grandchildren when their mother lost custody.  Her life was majorly interrupted 4 years ago.


Meet sweet sweet Norma.  Don’t you want to take her home with you???

Loretta and Norma also have a brother but he runs too fast to be in pictures.  I’m sure all you boy moms can relate.

keans2We have just begun this relationship with their family but I have the privilege of speaking with Brenda (the mom/grandma) weekly and getting to know them better.  Such a simple thing that has already blessed me so much.  We are supporting them with several other families from our church group and are so excited to see how our resources and gifts can help them realize their own gifts.  Sometimes it’s as simple as throwing an 11 year old girl a birthday party.

Sometimes you may have a neighbor that is in over their heads, new to the neighborhood, or struggling with something you don’t know about.  Invite them over.  Take them dinner.  Offer to watch their kids.  I’ve found that so many people are willing to accept help if needed, you just have to ASK.  And if you don’t think you have anyone around you to help, just start praying.  God will show you.

It all comes down to the fact that people crave relationships.  Relationships with each other and hopefully a relationship with their heavenly Father.

“Church should be what ends up happening as a natural response to people wanting to follow us, be with us, and be like us as we are following the way of Christ.” (Jen Hatmaker)

I sit back a lot and get frustrated because I can’t figure out the end game. If God had given me a detailed outline of how my life would go and what I was supposed to do, it would’ve been super helpful.  So we have decided to just say “yes” when we feel like God has called us to something and pray that what we do makes a difference in the lives of others.

Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.

James 1:27

Another piece of advice I was given (but don’t always follow) is to keep your schedule as empty as possible so you are available to others.  Intentionally set aside a day or two a week where you have no plans so when God comes knocking, you can answer.  Maybe it’s unexpectedly being able to meet with someone who needs a listening ear.  Or watching someone’s kids who need last minute childcare.  Taking someone to the doctor.  Satan rejoices in the fact that we are so BUSY.  When we are busy we don’t have time to help others.  We don’t have time to sit down and have daily quiet time with God.  And sometimes I am leading the pack on this so have made it a goal to just slow down and be still whenever we can.

“Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you?  When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’ “The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’

Matthew 25:37-40

Just say yes.  Start somewhere.  We could not and have not done any of this without the help of friends who want to walk this journey with us.  None of this has been done in our strength.  God provides all that (thank goodness).

Would love to hear how any of you have answered your own interruptions!

Posting in 2 days has nearly killed me.  Actually summer is about to kill me.  I only have pre-schoolers and I’m still over it.

Hopefully we will be back to our regularly scheduled program come September when I finally have extra hours each week to use the restroom in peace and sit at the computer without someone trying to staple me to the office chair.  Talk about interruptions! :)


Ever Been Interrupted??

For the past couple years I have lived with an unsettled feeling about life…about our life.  I couldn’t quite place my finger on it but I felt like God was stirring my heart about something.  It’s so easy in this day and age to just tolerate everything, get complacent, become apathetic.  Forget the reason we were placed on this earth and instead put extra value in our possessions, create false gods, and do whatever we please.  Which can be super fun.


Except it’s all so temporary.  I started thinking “there HAS to be something more than this”.

I started reading books like 7: An Experimental Mutiny Against Excess by Jen Hatmaker. The Irresistible Revolution by Shane Claiborne.  Kingdom Journeys by Seth Barnes.  Love Does by Bob Goff.  I read more Scripture.  And the same themes kept arising.

The least.  The last.  The lonely.  The meek.  The poor.

And what does the Lord require of you?  To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God

Micah 6:8

I realized I was excellent at following the rules.  Did great with attending church service, serving in the children’s ministry, volunteering on the dotted line, and more.  Don’t get me wrong…all that stuff is great and important.  But I was neglecting to actually walk the walk.  It was easy to just give money to those in need (which is oftentimes necessary).  But did I actually know their names?  Did I know their story?

This is where Interrupted comes in.

interruped book

That unsettled feeling in my stomach?  Jen Hatmaker basically put it into words and published it as a book.  So I think I should get some of the royalties even though we don’t know each other (but would probably be best friends if we did).  She read my mind.  I had the privilege of reading this revised and expanded edition of Interrupted and highlighted almost the entire thing.  Which is totally the point of highlighting right?

Jen started by saying she had similar unsettling feelings and one day prayed for God to raise in her a holy passion.

And holy passion He did raise.



Jen and her husband prayed a life-altering prayer that led them to plant a church in South Austin.  They changed the way they “did” church.  In Romans, Paul says we are all the “body of Christ”.  The root meaning of the word church (I’ll spare you the Greek) is “an assembly” or “called-out ones”.  Church is about the people, not the building.  And so often we are so worried about what happens IN the building, AT the building, AROUND the building that we completely forget to consider those that don’t even know about “the building”.  Jen and Brandon began serving the last and the least of South Austin.  Meeting them where they were and forming meaningful relationships.

Because really, when it comes down to it, we have but one life to live.  We don’t get second chances.  Jen says, “It won’t suffice to claim good intentions.  Saying ‘I meant well’ is not going to cut it.  Not with God screaming, begging, pleading, urging us to love mercy and justice, to feed the poor and the orphaned, to care for the last and least in nearly every book of the Bible.  It will not be enough one day to stand before Jesus and say, ‘Oh?  Were you serious about all that?


“We stand at the intersection of extreme privilege and extreme poverty, and we have a question to answer: Do I care?  Am I moved by the suffering of all nations?  Am I even concerned with the homeless guy on the corner?  Am I willing to take the Bible at face value and concur that God is obsessed with social justice?  I won’t answer one day for how the US government spent billions of dollars on the war in Iraq, nor will I get the credit for the general philanthropy of others.  It will come down to what I did.  What you did.  What we did together.” (JH)


Interrupted has caused me to search my heart. Search my motives.  Reminded me that people matter.  And not just “my” people.  ALL people.  When all is said and done, most people probably won’t remember exactly which sermon impacted them the most.  They will remember the people that lived life with them.  That met them where they were and accepted them with the love of Christ.  I feel like I lived so many years in judgment of others.  Which is truly ridiculous and just exhausting.  Thank GOODNESS I can leave the judging up to God.  We are all imperfect.  We can all be lost.  A life in Christ doesn’t promise us relief from ups and downs.  But it does promise us a loving, merciful, graceful God that walks alongside us each step of the way.

“Jesus’ point was clear:  Don’t get sucked into the game.  Be counter cultural.  Be the opposite of great.  If that means others are ahead of you, so what?  If people criticize your method or motive, what difference does it make?  If you’re removed from the map of recognition?  Good.  About time.” (JH)

“If the kingdom of God belongs to the poor, the bottom dwellers, then rich American Christians are going to have the hardest time finding it.” (JH)


I really could fill this post up with quotes from Interrupted.  So in the essence of time you should probably just buy the book and read it for yourself.  It will wreck you.  If you like being comfortable, get ready to be uncomfortable.  Jen does an amazing job of encouraging you to look beyond the protective walls we build around ourselves and families and break them down to advocate for those who truly need Jesus.

If one of you says to them, “Go in peace; keep warm and well fed,” but does nothing about their physical needs, what good is it?

James 2:16

“If we claim affinity for Christ but turn a blind eye to those He identified Himself with, there is no honor in that. There is no truth in it.” (JH)

Maybe it’s because I’m 30 and rapidly approaching old-age (jokes).  But we don’t have time to waste.  Challenge yourself to do something for someone beside yourself.  Do something uncomfortable.  Talk to the homeless person on the corner and learn their name.  Take time to serve a meal to someone in need.  Be bold in sharing your faith with those you meet.  Pray intentionally for God to raise a holy passion in you for those he came to serve.

On hearing this, Jesus said to them, “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.”

Mark 2:17

**Check out Jen’s blog this week for other blog link ups.  Over 300 of us reviewed the book and I know the rest of the launch team has even better posts!**