Thursday, July 31, 2014

Breakfast: Your Biggest Meal of the Day

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I LOVE this visual!! This is exactly what I try to teach everyone. We should eat like a king for breakfast, a queen for lunch, and a prince/princess for dinner.

If you think about it, your body has been asleep for 8 or so hours without food or water, but it’s still burning calories even while you’re asleep. When you wake up, you’re both dehydrated (I try to drink a 12 oz glass of lemon water when I first wake up) & need to fuel your body to turn on your metabolism for the day. If you’re not hungry when you first wake up, you could be eating too large of a meal too late. Regardless, you have to train yourself to eat the best way for your body, and this is it.

Balanced meals with an even protein to complex carb ratio, fruits at breakfast, and tons of veggies in the afternoon/evenings. Snacks are also important- you should try not to go more than 3 hours without eating. Oh, and don’t forget about the healthy fats! (nuts, seeds, avocados, nut butters) If you think about your metabolism like a fire, you have to keep adding wood to the fire to keep it burning. Our bodies are the same way…we have to properly fuel them to keep that metabolism burning.

For breakfast, I love a bowl of 1/2 c quick cooking steel cut oats, cinnamon, sliced almonds, ground flax, chia seeds, and a dash of local honey (if I’m not on a cleanse) made with water I boiled in the tea kettle + a grapefruit + 5 boiled eggs (I eat 4 of the whites only, and the fifth one I eat the whole egg). If we are in a hurry or traveling, or when I worked outside of the home, I had a meal replacement shake every day. Jonathan still drinks them every day. My favorite is currently chocolate mocha, but I drank berry for my whole first year and got on a big vanilla kick after Jase was born. Jonathan is chocolate fo life! I love that she shakes have a super high quality protein, the perfect 1:1 ratio of protein to carbs, actually fill you up, and they taste great. Friends, if you’re trying to eat low-carb to lose weight (unless you’re training for something or have specific dietary restrictions), STOP. You need complex carbs for energy. My favorites are steel cut oats, sweet potatoes, quinoa, & brown rice (in moderation). Veggies & lentils and fruit are also great. We eat unlimited veggies throughout our day & stick with fruit after breakfast. If you’re not super active, you don’t necessarily need that carb at dinner.

Y’all know I’m a big fan of Tosca Reno & I encourage you to buy her books because they teach you HOW & WHY to eat clean.Love this grocery list.

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These are two more simple visuals I love regarding basic clean eating principles and appropriate portion sizes.

Eat Cleanportion size using hands

Eat clean, my friends!! And amp up that breakfast. You’ll feel SO much better!!

Mountain Visit

Jonathan is originally from the beautiful ‘mountain town’ of Dahlonega, Ga, which is where I went to college and where we met. His family still lives there & we love going to visit. Y’all, it is such a beautiful place to visit & live, so if you’re ever in the area, make it a point to check it out.

We have been looking for land for a while because we eventually want a small farm. We LOVE, LOVE, LOVE our house & the location, but want more land and some animals, so we’re going to have to move eventually to make that dream come true. We are just praying for God’s direction and timing and trusting Him totally- no rush. So funny how things change, huh? We for sure thought this would be our ‘forever home,’ and we’d definitely be content with it if that were to be the case. However, the desires of our heart have changed, so we are following wherever God may lead.

My parents found a beautiful tract of 43 acres with a ready-to-go “gentleman’s farm” in Blairsville, so we decided to make a day trip last Sunday afternoon after church to check it out. We stopped through Dahlonega on our way to let Baby Jase take a nap and play with his grandparents. They got out lots of Jonathan’s toys from childhood, & I know he had a blast with them!!

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Three generations of Butler fellas. Incredible legacy. And some serious beard growing abilities!! (Love me some facial hair! ha)

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We were only gone a few hours, but had such a BLAST with my parents. The land was gorgeous, but we didn’t feel a peace about it so it must have not been where God wants us to go.

On our way home, we stopped at a fun little place on the river that had some general stores, restaurants, farmer’s market, etc. We had lunch before we walked around to check everything out.

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Ohhh how I needed a relaxing afternoon with lots of laughs.

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Loved the big porch. The “people” laying around were a little bit creepy & reminded me of a haunted house.

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My goodness how I adore these two people. My parents are ROCKS. They are both so full of wisdom and love and have such a rock solid marriage. I am so thankful for their example and their friendship. And Jonathan loves them like I do, so it’s always fun to hang out with them. Super thankful for a great in-law relationship.

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Jon was super silly & had me cracking up all afternoon. His humor is part of what drew me in & keeps our marriage FUN. Glad one of us is funny. I’m usually the only person laughing at my own jokes.

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I bought these 5 little bars of soap from one of the stores. Random, but I couldn’t resist. They were $1 a piece, homemade & local, all natural, & smelled great. I am ALWAYS down to support local businesses when I can. Jonathan used them as a peace offering to the random statues. He wasn’t having any part of it.

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We have a fun event coming up & thought about buying a new outfit to rock to it. What are y’alls thoughts?

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Thankful for both of our parents & for my hot hubby. I know I brag on him all the time, but he deserves every bit of that praise (and some kind of award for putting up with me). No, he’s not perfect, and neither am I, and our marriage isn’t either. But we are definitely better together! I am thankful for his companionship, his true friendship, his leadership, and for him being my biggest supporter.

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Thankful for a much needed mountain day with our families!

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Protecting Your Marriage From Adultery

God cherishes marriage, so naturally the enemy wants to attack and destroy families. I have a whole post coming on how I truly believe one of the BEST ways to be a great parent is to be a GREAT spouse.

I’m sure no one enters into marriage thinking they or their spouse would ever ‘cheat.’ Unfortunately we live in a highly sexualized culture today, and that coupled with the fact the sanctity of marriage and the covenant does not hold as much worth as it did years ago means that adultery is even more common. No one is immune to the temptation- not even Christians- so we cannot let our walls down and must make a point to protect our marriages. There is so much destruction in relationships and families because of adultery, so we want to guard our families from that type of devastation.

Sometimes it roots back to selfishness. One of the spouses does not feel like their needs are being met are so they attempt to find someone else to “meet their needs.” (It’s the 80/20 principle I discussed in the Godly wife post.) Other times is starts as something ‘innocent,’ which is again why we must be so cautious when it comes to guarding our hearts and marriages. Sometimes it has to do with insecurity. Or a lack of self-control.

Obviously I am not in any authority to teach a man, so this post is geared to what women can do to protect their marriages. (Men have a huge role in this too of course, but again, this is what wives can do to protect their marriages.) I know I am also extremely conservative in my views and beliefs, and that is OKAY by me. You can see where all the leniency has taken us in the past few decades, and that’s not somewhere I want to go with my family.

First and foremost, I believe PRAYER is foundational. Daily prayer. Cover yourself, your marriage, your husband, and your family in prayer. Pray God’s Word over your marriage, and pray for a hedge of protection from the enemy, lustful desires, and temptations.

Second, I believe you have to be extremely cautious about what you allow in your home. I am talking most specifically about entertainment choices here. Would you let an unmarried couple have sex on your couch? If not, then you probably shouldn’t watch t.v. shows or movies portraying the same thing. We have become desensitized to some sins (particularly sexual ones) in our society, while still very judgmental of other sins. That is not okay. We all fall short of the glory of God, but the WORD is our measure and should be our standard. The way we (Jonathan & I) personally choose the standard for what we allow into our home is simple. We follow this one simple rule (question really). “Would I be okay if Jesus came back in this very moment?” As a Christian, our ultimate goal is to bring God glory through our lives, so it is simply a question of whether or not it brings God glory. If not, we shouldn’t allow any part of it in our homes. End of story.

- If you work outside the home: There should be no man (not even your boss) that you respect more than your husband. Talk about your husband often (never anything negative) and never be alone with another man for any reason in a private environment (car, lunch, office, etc.) Dress modestly and appropriately. (Consider how you would want other women to dress around your husband.) Keep your priorities in order. God, family, career. Don’t allow those to get out of balance. If your career demands more of you (your time, attention, best efforts, etc.) than you are able to give your husband, it is probably time to find something new (even if it’s good money).

- If you stay home or work from home: Watch out for being idle.  Being a stay at home mom is no joke. It’s one of the toughest (yet most REWARDING and FULFILLING) “jobs” callings I have ever had. Honestly, I feel like I have less time now than I did when I worked. BUT, I am also extremely active in our home. I prepare lots of healthy, homemade meals for our family. (Fo real y’all, it takes a ton of time, but I consider that time I am working for the Lord.) I am always cleaning or organizing something. I make an effort to take meals to others when they are in need. I lead Bible studies for women at church and in our home. I work out. And when Jase is awake, I spend a lot of time playing with and teaching him. I am extremely passionate about homemaking (post to come on that too). That is a daily choice though. I could choose to lay outside and tan, read celebrity gossip magazines, watch reality tv, and spend time gossiping with friends on the phone or via text. That does not bring God glory. (Note: Not trying to act holier than thou or like I’m perfect. FARRRRR from it, actually. However, I have had some awesome mentors and I read a lot of books about this topic so I want to share what I have learned. I still make lots of mistakes every day and have to ask for forgiveness more than I’d like.)

Here are a few other things you can do:

  • Pray for a hedge of protection around your husband and your marriage. Pray he will not lust.
  • Never go to bed angry.
  • Recognize that you are not immune to the temptations and make an effort to guard your marriage.
  • Make an effort to meet your husband’s needs.
  • Enjoy sex. It is designed to be pleasurable (WITHIN THE MARRIAGE BED). Men are born with more testosterone and need sex more than a woman, so do not use it as a tool of manipulation.
  • Have a rule that neither of you are ever to be alone with someone of the opposite sex.
  • Invest in your own marriage. Make it a point to focus on your hubby’s strengths.
  • Saturate your mind with the Word. Start your morning with a Bible study or devotion.
  • Do not engage in inappropriate relationships, conversations, etc.
  • Apply the Golden Rule in your marriage. If you wouldn’t be okay with your husband doing it, don’t do it.
  • Communicate. If another woman (or man)is making you feel uncomfortable, let your husband know. Ask him to address it while you are present.
  • Avoid alcohol. It just seems that more poor decisions are made when people are drinking because judgment is altered.
  • Take care of yourself. I’m not saying you have to look like a super model, but put some effort into your physical appearance. Men are visual.
  • You’re never going to be perfect, so don’t try to be. But, you sure can make your home an oasis. Make him LOVE coming home and sad to leave.
  • Respect him. I will make SURE that there is no woman who ever respects my husband, shows him more attention, affection, or respect, than ME.
  • Serve him. One thing I like to do that is really simple (I learned this from watching my own mama) is to make Jonathan’s plate. He has never asked me to do this. He doesn’t expect me to do it. And he is perfectly capable of doing it himself. But I LIKE to feel like I am serving both him and the Lord, while honoring them both, through this small action. **I feel like I should clarify that I don’t ALWAYS do that. Sometimes he gets on my nerves and I don’t, or I’m busy with the baby and I don’t. Ain’t nobody claiming to be perfect little Betty Crocker/June Cleaver over here.

Bottom line- You reap what you sow. What kind of seeds are your sowing into your marriage and for your family? I am more cautious now about my sin nature than ever before because I know Jase (& future kiddos) will be affected by the consequences of my choices, thoughts, and actions. I try to be the kind of wife I want my sons to marry some day, and the kind of wife I want my daughters to be. When you joined with your husband in marriage, you became ONE flesh. One, to the point that if you are ever separated, it will damage both of you. Guard your marriage. Fight for it. Protect it.

Here are a few Scriptures about adultery:

He who commits adultery lacks sense; he who does it destroys himself. –Proverbs 6:32

But I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lustful intent has already committed adultery with her in his heart. –Matthew 5:28

Let marriage be held in honor among all, and let the marriage bed be undefiled, for God will judge the sexually immoral and adulterous.- Hebrews 13:4

Flee from sexual immorality. Every other sin a person commits is outside the body, but the sexually immoral person sins against his own body.- 1 Corinthians 6:18

To preserve you from the evil woman, from the smooth tongue of the adulteress. Do not desire her beauty in your heart, and do not let her capture you with her eyelashes; for the price of a prostitute is only a loaf of bread, but a married woman hunts down a precious life. Can a man carry fire next to his chest and his clothes not be burned? Or can one walk on hot coals and his feet not be scorched? –Proverbs 6:24-29

No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it. – 1 Corinthians 10:13

“You shall not commit adultery.- Exodus 20:14 (One of the 10 commandments)

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Honoring Your Parents

Many of us are familiar with the 10 commandments, and even if you’re not a believer, you can probably agree the world would be a better place if everyone put these into practice. Exodus 20 breaks them down for us, and verse 12 tells us to “Honor your father and your mother, so that you may live long in the land the Lord your God is giving you.” Did you know this is the first commandment tied to a promise?

It is repeated in Exodus 6:2-4…."Honor your father and mother"--which is the first commandment with a promise--"so that it may go well with you and that you may enjoy long life on the earth."

I think it’s important to note that it does not provide any stipulations or conditions. It simply says to “Honor them.”

I cannot sit here and tell you I have always done that. There have been times I have disobeyed, been disrespectful, dishonest, and downright defiant (particularly during my teenage years). However, I have since asked for forgiveness. Of course my precious parents were gracious and quick to forgive and forget. I am so beyond THANKFUL for both my mom and dad and know that I am truly blessed to be their daughter. I pray both of them are around for many, many years as they bring so much light, love, generosity, and wisdom to everyone who knows them. The truth is, it’s EASY to love them and honor them.

I know that is not always the case. However, the Bible does not say to “only honor your parents if they are Christians” or any other conditional statements following that commandment.

Once you are an adult, you no longer ‘answer to’ them and must make prayerful decisions for your family, but there is still a respect factor. You may not always agree with everything they say, do, etc., but you treat them with respect regardless. As an adult, I believe it is important to take care of our parents if they need it. (Truly NEED help. Galatians discusses two different types of burdens, and we are to take care of our parents when their burdens are so crushing they can no longer carry their own ‘baggage.’ Really interesting word study in those two verses.)

That is one things many other cultures got right and we can definitely take a lesson from them regarding that issue. Jesus even corrected the Pharisees for not taking care of their parents. They were too busy being “religious.” I(n today’s society, I believe many of us are too selfish to take care of our parents.) Check out Matthew 15:1-9.

“Then the scribes and Pharisees who were from Jerusalem came
to Jesus, saying,“Why do Your disciples transgress the tradition of the elders? For
they do not wash their hands when they eat bread.”He answered and said to them,

“Why do you also transgress the commandment of God because of your tradition? 

For God commanded, saying, ‘Honor your father and your mother’; and,

‘He who curses father or mother, let him be put to death.’
But you say, ‘Whoever says to his father or mother, “Whatever profit you might
have received from me is a gift to God”— then he need not honor his father or
mother.’ Thus you have made the commandment of God of no effect by your
tradition. Hypocrites! Well did Isaiah prophesy about you, saying:  ‘ These people
draw near to Me with their mouth, and honor Me with their lips, but their heart is
far from Me.  And in vain they worship Me, teaching as doctrines the
commandments of men.’”

Parents obviously have standards as well, and the Bible addresses that too but that’s a whole different post. This one for children, and obviously ALL of us fall into that category and are commanded to honor mom & dad. Can you honestly say you are HONORING your parents? And if you are blessed enough to be a parent, as you modeling a good example for your children in how you treat your own parents??

I pray our children honor us, and I pray we are the type of parents who make that an easy task.

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Mom & Dad- Thank you for who you are. For the example you are to all of us. For loving all of us even through our little terd years (and moments that still happen). Thankful to have you both as mentors, as friends, and as grandparents. Love you both more than words!

Weaning from Nursing

First and foremost, I want to praise the Lord for the opportunity to nurse Jase. I had major anxiety about it right before he was born because I know some women cannot breastfeed. I am thankful for God’s faithfulness in hearing that desire of my heart and for his provision in answering that prayer for us. It was not easy, but I knew to count it all as a blessing even through the tough times. (And there were DEFINITELY some doozies!) Praying to be able to successfully nurse future children, Lord willing.

After reading a good bit about the benefits of nursing, my initial goal was a year. I wasn’t quite ready to stop yet right at a year and prayed about when we should start the weaning process. Wednesday, July 9 was our last day nursing. Jase was 14 months old.

I planned to stop a little before then, but God had different plans. Poor Baby Jase busted his lip pretty good, so I decided to keep nursing because I know it’s comforting to him, and also because breast milk has healing properties.  Thankfully it healed fast, but y’all, it was so awful. I know he is a little boy and is going to have boo boos sometimes so I tried not to overreact, but I cried & cried, prayed a TON, sent pictures to all my pedi nurse friends for advice, called my mom and the doctor, and almost took him to the ER. Legit MELTDOWN mode over here. 

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At that point he was still nursing briefly for 3 (sometimes four) times a day for very short periods of time. Like I said, I prayed that God would reveal to me the perfect time to start nursing, and I truly felt like this was it for a couple reasons. One of those reasons was that we had a few upcoming trips planned (Indiana & Chicago), and I wanted to be done nursing by the time we left  in mid-July. We have traveled a good bit throughout Jase’s first year, and we always just brought him along so I could nurse him. (Plus, I do not really like to be away from my baby! I know they need their mommies. I do know it’s good for him to have some time with others though too since Jonathan & I are both home with him all day every day. It’s important to us for him to spend time with other family members.) He went to Amelia Island, Destin, Texas (twice), New York City/New Jersey, & Hilton Head with us (little world traveler!) and did fantastic. He has such an easy going  personality, and it was so much easier to have him there with me so I could feed him. Prior to our overnight trips to IN & Chicago in July, the only two times he stayed home with Grammy (away from us) were Cabo & Nola. Obviously I pumped on those two trips, and it was such a pain. I hate pumping anyway, but there is just something about sitting on a toilet in the bathroom stall of the airport, or even worse, in the bathroom on an airplane, PUMPING. It’s not the worst experience of my life by any means, but I’m just sayin…I can think of some other things I’d rather be doing. I pumped and dumped in Mexico because I didn’t trust the water to clean the bottles out, but I brought the milk from Nola back home. (Again, I tried to not complain and be thankful I was able to nurse for so long.) Now that he is 14 months and eating SO WELL (HIGHLY recommend Baby Led Weaning- child eats super healthy, feeds himself, and will eat pretty much anything we give him, which is whatever we eat), I really felt comfortable with him having regular milk & solids.

Milk Transition:I started giving Jase a sippy of organic whole milk or almond milk here and there right around 12 months to make sure he wouldn’t have a reaction and that he would drink it. At first I would warm it up a little and give it to him out of a bottle because I thought that would be an easier transition. He would drink a little but didn’t seem to love it, so I kinda held off with the milk for another month before introducing it again. This time around 13 months, he did great with the sippy and really liked the milk. Thank the Lord, no reactions. I didn’t have to heat it up this time, and although my mom and Jon both tried a time or two to give him a bottle, I asked them not to do that anymore since he didn’t really need it. (Didn’t want to create another step in the weaning process if he was fine with the sippy.) He drinks mostly water anyway and LOVES it. (Personally I am NOT a fan of juice- but if you do give it to your kiddos, I encourage you to choose organic brands and dilute it. Juices typically have a TON of sugar and it’s not great for their teeth, which are prone to decay at their little age.) We give him milk twice a day with a snack, and he doesn’t usually finish a whole sippy. We mix it up between organic whole milk & almond milk. Our pediatrician said organic dairy is pretty much a non-negotiable if you can afford it, but even then you still want to pick the best. Check this out about milk quality my friend Dana shared with me.

Again, he eats a super healthy, balanced diet and gets plenty of calcium in yogurt and his other foods throughout the day, so I feel confident with what we are doing now. I know every child is different. Their habits, their weaning process, their emotional attachment, their diet, and their tummy’s ability to handle milk, so definitely talk with your pediatrician. This is just our unique experience.

Weaning: I didn’t really do a whole lot of ‘weaning’ per se. Our feedings were gradually becoming shorter and when I would pump, I would only get around 3 oz. or so. I had a feeling the weaning process would go pretty smooth because he is so laid back & has such an easy going personality. So far, every transition has been pretty easy with him, so I didn’t think this would be much different.  He was definitely extra cuddly and especially wanted lots of extra lovin & snuggles in the morning and before bed. No complaining from this mama! I soaked it up!! He started letting me hold him “like a  baby” (the same position he would nurse in) and he would suck his thumb while I held him. SO stinkin SWEET! He tried pulling my shirt down a few times, but I would pull his hand away and redirect him. Most people cut back on one feeding a day for a few days or weeks to gradually wean them, and start offering milk in a sippy at mealtimes instead. He was already eating 3 solid meals, snacks, and drinking milk during the day, so the breastfeeding was more of a comfort/cuddly thing at this point for us. (And of course the liquid gold provides a ton of benefits for mom & baby!)

It wasn’t a super painful or uncomfortable experience for me either. I did wear one or two sports bras a few days, which I typically do anyway when I work out. I will say it definitely took longer than I expected to dry up. I could feel the milk ducts filling up and I was definitely pretty lumpy for several days….weeks actually…especially in the mornings. But again, it wasn’t miserable. There were a few nights I had to sleep on my back instead of my tummy, but it wasn’t a huge deal. It took about 12-14 days total for the milk to completely dry up. I’ve heard of women using cabbage in their bra to help with discomfort, but for me it wasn’t painful at all. (Now in the beginning stages of nursing, on the other hand, that pain was a different story!)

Here are a few other posts about nursing:

Our Nursing Journey

Increasing a Low Milk Supply

Breastfeeding: What I Eat

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Reasons You’re Not Losing Weight & a Leg Workout

This article, 18 Reasons You're Not Losing Weight, is spot on and lines up exactly with the healthy lifestyle habits we promote with AdvoCare. If you’re at a plateau or struggling to get weight off, it may be worth checking this out to troubleshoot & see if any of these could be the culprit.

Also, wanted to share this kick booty leg workout!! I lifted heavy and rested very little between sets, but started running out of time and started super-setting at the end. Don’t forget your Post-Workout Recovery after because that junk is intense.

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Facebook Page & Instagram

Well, I guess it was time for me to ‘get with the times.’

It took me FOREVER to come around to IG, and now I LOVE it. Fo real, I post at least 2-3 times a day.

If you wanna follow there, my username is danielleb2922 or you can just click Here.

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And as much as I would love to accept everyone as friends on FB, I thought it’d be much easier to just create a FB page for the blog. Problem solved, right? I love me some social media, so I post pretty often.

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Here is a link to the page: (It’s just Butler, Party of 3. Creative, huh?)

Butler, Party of 3 on Facebook

Thanks for following along with all of our fun!