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FAMILY

FAMILY/ Leaving A Legacy

Blogging Then and Now + Blogging as a Business

Blogging Then & Now Plus: Blogging As A Business

When I tell people what my job is, the first question they ask is “how do you make money blogging?” I thought it would be fun to write a post explaining some of the ways this blog provides income for our family, and talk about how blogging has changed over the years.

Blogging Then and Now

The world of blogging has changed so much in the past 10 years. When I first started blogging in 2009, there were very few people actually making a living by writing blogs, and many people instead used it as an online journal of sorts.

When I first started, social media was just beginning to go mainstream–now I can’t imagine NOT having social media, as it is one of the key ways to market a blog.

I started blogging as a fun, easy, creative way to share recipes with friends and family and also show the crafty things I was doing with my 3 girls. It is so funny to look back and read my writing, see my typos and dark, unedited images.

I never dreamed when I started that I would end up connecting with so many people and help support our family financially in the process!

Continue Reading…

Emotional Health/ HEALTH/ Nutrition

How Technology is Helping Me Reach My Wellness Goals in 2018

Thank you Nokia for sponsoring this post. Visit the Nokia Body+ site for more info and start the new year off right!

I am constantly looking for ways to integrate health and technology into my daily rhythms.  I want the pursuit of health and wellness to become second nature to me. I’ve found that using technology is a great way to create healthy habits that stick!

I am a 2-time cancer survivor, and I have shared several ways I pursue continued health, but I have not told you how simple technology makes it possible for me to move forward toward my health goals.

One of my goals is to create seamless daily systems that are as natural to me as brushing my teeth. Things I do without much thought; decisions so second nature that I make them automatically.

It might sound too good to be true, but this is where technology comes in. Technology keeps it simple, makes it possible and keeps it fun.

Using Technology To Reach Wellness Goals

Energy to pursue wellness goals is often dependent on a good night sleep. Good sleep is important for good health!

I read right before bed. Reading every day is good for the mind and soul!  I’m amazed that thanks to technology, I can have my whole library at my fingertips on my Kindle Fire tablet.  I make sure it is set on Blue Shade, as this blocks blue light which makes it easier to fall asleep after nighttime screen reading.

I also use my Kindle Fire to set my alarm to wake up in the morning. I love this alarm because when I set it, it tells me (in hours and minutes) exactly how many hours and minutes I have before the alarm will go off. I like the automatic awareness of how many hours of sleep I’m getting each night. I aim for 7 hours of sleep and most nights reach that goal.

When I wake up I do a quick morning yoga flow to get my joints working and blood flowing. I use the Yoga Studio App on my iPhone, or sometimes I grab my laptop and find great ‘good morning’ asanas on YouTube.

I then fill my water bottle with crushed ice with the press of a button–the technology of our refrigerator has been key to get me to drink my water each day. I am a crushed ice lover! My goal is to fill my 24 oz water bottle at least twice a day.

I then quickly set my Instant Pot up, and with another few pushes of buttons, make One-Minute Quinoa. This has been my go-to favorite breakfast for a while now, as it is so satisfying and full of great plant protein. Read about 3 of my favorite ways to eat quinoa for breakfast here.

I grab my cup of coffee that has been brewed automatically for me. I have learned to drink it black in the morning which steers me clear of starting the day out with sugar-laden creamers. Speaking of coffee, have you seen the new intelligent coffee mugs at Starbucks? They use technology to keep your coffee at the perfect temperature. I drool…and digress.

I then take my coffee up to my favorite nesting chair in my bedroom, and this is where technology really comes into play for me.

Using Technology for Emotional Health

I’m going to be dramatic here and say I do not know where my emotional health would be without technology. There are so many apps on my phone that are part of my daily routine that keeps my heart, mind, and soul healthy.

After I make my coffee I sit, sip and open up a Prayer App where I can keep track of my own requests (and those of my loved ones) every morning. I also use an app called Calm to meditate for about 10 minutes and then open up the Bible App — which has been life transforming.  I use Notes on my iPhone to keep track of all my daily affirmations and favorite Scriptures, and sometimes use them as prompts to journal my 3 pages a day.

These routines are a part of my everyday morning routine, and I feel “off” all day if I don’t wake up early enough to do them! They are all ways I reach my emotional health goals.

Using Technology for Physical Health

I continue to use technology as I get ready for my day. I step on my Nokia Body+ smart scale and take note of all the information it gives me in just those few seconds of standing on it. It gives the most accurate body composition readings, measuring weight trends, BMI, fat mass, muscle mass, water and bone mass–it even lets me know the weather! I love this thing.

 

 

The Nokia Body+ is amazing and beautiful–it comes in white or black and has a sleek, simple, timeless design. This is one scale I do not mind leaving out for all to see.

I use the Health Mate App that sinks automatically with Body+ and provides encouragement and tips on how to best achieve goals. It is so handy and convenient. Automatic syncing is my new crush and any smart item I buy that does this for me is always a fav.

The Health Mate App has the ability to sync with other apps (like one of my favorites that my doctor recommended–the My Fitness Pal App) and lets you view a complete history of your health data, including sleep, activity, weight and more. You can track progress and see your improvement over time. I love being able to check out my health stats at any time using my phone. Usually, for me, it is when I’m lying in bed at the end of the day.

Keeping track of my weight and health stats is super important as a cancer survivor. It is also important (as one that takes 2 medications: one to keep cancer away and one for generalized anxiety) that I keep an eye on my weight. Both medications can cause weight gain, which is not fun, but I feel that both have saved my life in their unique way, so I am very thankful for them.

Keeping an eye on my weight is something my Oncologist tells me to do regularly and she wants me to report any sudden weight changes. It can be a sign that something is off. The stage of cancer I had gives me a high chance of recurrence, so we keep a close eye on these things! I love having a scale that is easy to use daily, has such high accuracy, is so detailed and reliable. It can also track up to 8 users which makes it very family friendly.

Technology For a Healthy Flow to My Day

After stepping off my Nokia Body+ scale (weighing at the same time daily is recommended) I then get ready for my day. Technology helps me here, too. I use wireless headphones that connect by Bluetooth to my phone and allow me to listen to podcasts while I put on my makeup and do my hair.

I used to dread this part of my day, but now I look forward to it because I feel productive while I am getting ready. If I’m not listening to a podcast or music, I will hit record on my Voxer App and talk to my dearest friends, walkie-talkie style, leaving my heart and soul recorded right there on the app for them to listen to whenever they have time. Connection with loved ones, especially when they are across the miles, is so good for my health!

By this time my morning routine is almost over, and I glance at my 30/30 App to see the morning routine I set up for myself there. I look through the things I have already accomplished and glance at what else needs to be done.

The app has shown me how technology really is helping me reach my daily wellness goals in an almost automatic way. Most of the morning routines that I’ve listed in the app, I now do without even needing to look at the app. They are all habits that bring a healthy flow to my day and help me reach my goals.

Wellness is holistic, and an organized flow to the day with systems and routines put into place make me feel productive but peaceful at the same time. Integrating technology has been a key player when it comes pursuing my health goals, and I hope I gave you some good ideas and inspiration for using technology to reach your goals, too!

Get 10% off at the Nokia Health store through December 1, 2018 here with this code: NEWYOU-T0T-R02


How do you use technology to reach your health goals?

I was selected for this opportunity as a member of CLEVER and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.

 

Emotional Health/ FAMILY/ Love

Morning Pages + My Birthday!

Morning Pages - Journal 3 pages a day, in the morning

I’m not sure where I found the idea of Morning Pages, I believe it was on Instagram somewhere, and I was instantly drawn to such a simple idea:

Write 3 pages, in the morning, about anything you want.

I’ve been doing this for about a month and have enjoyed putting pen to paper and the freedom it gives to just breathe out my unedited thoughts. I have found it very freeing.

Some days it is list form and feels productive and a way to clear my head. Somedays I vent and it feels relieving and therapeutic. Sometimes it turns into words of thankfulness for this life I get to live–that is what happened today and I will share what I wrote below.

Write 3 pages, in the morning, about anything you want.

When I write my Morning Pages, I simply use a Moleskine journal and my favorite Sharpie stainless steel pen and make it part of my morning routine. I usually am sitting in what I call my ‘nest’ (a cozy corner chair in my bedroom) with the lights low, soft music playing, the diffuser going, and coffee on the warmer by my side.

Write 3 pages, in the morning, about anything you want.

This early morning routine has become a favorite part of my day, and I will write in full detail about it soon–it involves prayer, a couple of my favorite apps, meditation, music, essential oils, coffee, writing & yoga. Ahh…I’m eager for tomorrow morning just writing about it!

But first, today. Today is my birthday. I turned 42.

As a cancer survivor, I find myself quite surprised to be this old. Because my cancer was a later stage, I have a high chance of recurrence, but thankfully that statistic comes down with each year.

I am 7 years out, and I feel my heart could burst when I think about what a gift it is to have yet another birthday.

When I am 10 years out, my chance for recurrence will plummet. I am careful about expectations, and that is ok because it helps me stay thankful for each and every day!

Morning Pages --Write 3 pages, in the morning, about anything you want.

Morning Pages Journal Entry:

November 27, 2017

 

Lord, you are good.

You’ve given me life…42 years.

 

Today is my birthday.

The blessing of years…of time with my loved ones and this good (sometimes hard) but mostly good life. 

 

You are a gift giver.

You wake me today with a list of gratitude on my mind first thing, you help me to see all the gifts.

 

I sit and inhale–the gift of scent. Frankincense diffused!

Morning Pages -- Write 3 pages, in the morning, about anything you want.

And then, a feast for my eyes…the most glorious of sunrise, pinks and bright shades of oranges! You even sign your name on this gift, an electric wire pole in the shape of a cross, positioned right next to the glorious rising sun, a reminder of your Son. I go to daughters window for a better view!

Morning Pages -- Write 3 pages, in the morning, about anything you want.

I sit back down in my cozy nest chair, sounds of calm music coming from speakers and morning voices of my 3 Lovelies drifting up through the vent.

 

Gifts.

 

I open your Word and you give yet another gift. Familiar words spoken so loud to me over the years, your voice reminding me to delight in you. Psalm 37:4

How could I not?

psalm 37:4

 

I read further and tears come, even a gentle reprimand from your word is so loving and personal.

It shows you know my thoughts, such intimacy.

I am fully known and fully loved.

 

“Find your delight in the Lord. Then he will give you everything your heart really wants. Commit your life to the Lord. Here is what he will do if you trust in him. He will make your godly ways shine like the dawn. He will make your honest life shine like the sun at noon. Be still. Be patient. Wait for the Lord to act. Don’t be upset when other people succeed.

But those who are free of pride will be given the land. They will enjoy great peace.

Those who do what is right will be given the land. They will live in it forever. The mouths of those who do what is right speak words of wisdom. They say what is honest. God’s law is in their hearts. Their feet do not slip.

The Lord saves those who do what is right. He is their place of safety when trouble comes.”

Psalm 37:4-7, 11, 29-31, 39 NIRV

 

You allow my birthday to land on a Monday, you know it is my most favorite of days.

A day to recover from a holiday weekend and get back to routine. You know I thrive on routine especially the one you have shown me:

 

The routine of dawn.

 

The sun rises and with it my most precious moments with you. 

These favorite morning meditative moments of breathing you in and filling my mind what matters most.

Your glory.

You.

 

Thank you for another year of life. 

May I have another and yet another after that?

 

I ask and you remind —

 

“better is one day in Your house than thousands elsewhere.” Psalm 84:10

 

And so I remember, no matter the day, whether here or in eternity, you are and will always be with me.

 

So…for this day,

& all my days,

I thank you.

 


What about you?

Do you regularly journal or want to?

Does the idea of Morning Pages appeal to you?

FAMILY/ Kids/Family/ Parenting/ Simplifying

Why Your Kid Needs A Debit Card

Greenlight, the smart debit card for kids

I have to tell you about Greenlight, the smart debit card for kids that we have been using. It has been such an easy and convenient way to exchange cash with our kids! Gone are the days of making sure we always have enough cash on hand.

Greenlight card was made for children and built by parents. It is a smart debit card and has an easy-to-use app which gives parents a convenient way to stay informed on kids spending, communicate with them and load their cards.

Cash can only go so far and limits you when it comes to staying on top of what your kid is spending, when they are spending it, and where!

For younger kids, this debit card is great to control all of their spending. For older kids, like our teen girls, we use it along with their own cash for the sake of convenience and as a way to teach responsibility when it comes to money.

Greenlight, the smart debit card for kids

Why We Love Greenlight Debit Card for Kids

Here are a few reasons why we love it:

1. The Greenlight App is super intuitive and easy to use and setup.

2. The girls (especially my youngest), like having their own card! Kids feel so grown up!

3. It eliminates the pain of exchanging cash.

4. It keeps the girls from having too much cash lying around. A lost card is easy to replace. Lost cash cannot be replaced.

5. It is safe. If someone gets ahold of their card, we can immediately turn the card off from the app. They will not know the PIN in order to use it.

6. Helps us teach good spending habits in real life situations and prepares them to become financially responsible adults. It makes teaching fun!

7. Sends real-time notifications to parents and kids after a purchase.

8. Gives us gentle and flexible control of where their spending goes.

9. It gives them independence to spend their own money while we retain control over where their money is spent or how much they have to spend in certain stores or retailers.

10. It is fun and easy to communicate through the comments in the app.

Greenlight, the smart debit card for kids; parents dashboard

 

Here are a few examples from our family & how Greenlight debit card has made life so convenient:

~Our girls have earned allowance since they were young. My Todd wrote a few posts about it. We had a chart and chore system when they were younger and were paid a small allowance if they were responsible that week. Now that they are older they get an allowance just for being great and responsible teens! Todd has done a great job of making sure we have the cash to pay them each week, but it takes some thought and even trips to the bank at times. Now all he has to do is get out his phone and quickly send it to their debit card. It is as easy as sending them a text! Easier still–Greenlight card has a convenient automated allowance feature to ‘set it and forget it’ so your kids always receive their allowance on time.

~Our girls often babysit and are sometimes paid with a check.  We would have to cash their checks for them, then remember to get the money to them, hoping we have enough cash on hand. Now, all we have to do is deposit their checks with the rest of our deposits, and simply use the Greenlight app to send them the check total directly to their Greenlight debit card.

~We have 2 teen drivers. I will occasionally send them on errands or to the grocery store to pick up a few things. We used to have an exchange of cash, and often I would forget who I gave money to and for what. Sometimes I would wonder if I had paid them back at all! This was a problem when it came to doing the budget numbers, as I would need to know accurate numbers and what category in our budget those numbers came out of. Now they can bring us a receipt and I can immediately send them the money we owe them, right to their debit card, and then send myself a text as a reminder to which budget it came out of and how much.

Greenlight, the smart debit card for kids. Can specify certain stores!

~My Colsie loves a good deal and does an amazing job finding clothes at a good price. Sometimes she will be out with friends and stumbles upon a great deal, but realizes she does not have cash on her. Now she can send me a text and the Greenlight app has the option of letting me send her money that she can ONLY to spend at that specific store. I love that control. I want her to have the freedom to spend money on some good deals, but I also want to keep her from spending her whole paycheck at one store and keep her from being tempted at other stores. I can send her the exact amount that I think is reasonable that she can spend at that specific store, and the card will only allow her to spend that amount. Brilliant!

Greenlight Debit Card

~Todd is amazing at spoiling us when it comes to making sure our cars are all full of gas. I rarely have to pump my own! I know…I’m spoiled! He does it on Saturdays so faithfully. It is a great way that he shows love by serving us girls. If he was not so great at this, I could see us really using the ‘Gas’ option of the Greenlight cards, and we may still decide to use it to teach our girls the value and cost of gas. We could give them a set amount of gas that we agree to pay for each week, then they can be aware of how much they use and stay aim to stay within that gas budget. It will also get them used to getting their own gas, as they won’t be around for many more years for Dad to do it for them!

While writing this post, two more scenarios with Greenlight debit card happened:

~My Colsie is driving herself to get some tutoring after school. She needs to pay her tutor $20 and has her own cash on her, but we need to pay her back. I will use the Greenlight app to pay her back.

Greenlight, the smart debit card for kids. Can leave them comments.

~My Teagan got out of school early today and is out and about running errands with her boyfriend. I wanted to make sure she got some lunch so I sent her $15 with a note specifying what it is for. It took seconds and made her day!

Do you see what I mean by convenient? I love being able to pay my girls back the minute I think about it, instead of thinking about it later and wondering if I ever paid them back! I love treating my girls with a surprise deposit and telling them to enjoy it! I especially love when I get a real-time alert when they do spend it.

Do you want to try Greenlight card out for yourself?  Take advantage of the special 30-day trial to see if it is a good fit for your family and get a $20 deposit bonus when you sign up after the trial.

Greenlight is available for iOS and Android and costs $4.99/mo per family and includes cards for up to 5 children. It also offers zero-fee loading for parents transferring money into their Greenlight account.

Sign up for Greenlight before 10/30 and they’ll deposit a $20 bonus into your account after the 30-day free trial ends. *deposit bonus made approximately two weeks after the free trial ends.

——–

“This post is part of a social shopper marketing insight campaign with Pollinate Media Group® and Greenlight, but all my opinions are my own. #pmedia #GreenPMG  http://my-disclosur.es/OBsstV

FAMILY/ Kids/Family/ Parenting

How to Encourage your Kids to Pursue Their Interests

Teens & Knowing Their Interests: Online Guitar Lessons

Thank you Fender for sponsoring this post. Learn guitar at home with Fender Play.

Todd and I work hard at really knowing our girls, encouraging their interests, and helping them embrace strengths and weakness in order to grow and learn through them. We are far from perfect parents, but, we are super purposeful in pursuing a relationship with them and I would say we know them quite well.

They are all 3 so different with different interests and ways of learning and doing things.

Example of Our Girl and Her Interests

Our Colsie is our middle child who is 16 and has several interests that make her unique. It is so fun to see her interests turn into pursuits as she gives her time to them. What a joy to see those pursuits become part of her story and to see how God uses them.

I think about the last few years and all that she has overcome, and my heart feels like it could burst. I’m so proud.  There is so much beauty in watching your children walk through what life brings them, the good and the bad, and see them thrive. Yes, there is even beauty in their hard. I’ve always been able to see God bring beauty from ashes out of my own life, but to trust Him to do the same in my girls’ life is a whole new level of trust. I am learning.

When I see hardship mold my girls’ interests into something good, the learning comes easier.

Teens & Knowing Their Interests: Online Guitar Lessons

Photography

Colsie took all of the guitar photos in this post. I love the eye she has for composition and her ability to edit photos is impressive. I have used this gift on the blog several times, and have even employed her Continue Reading…

Cancer Journey/ HEALTH/ Love

My Cancer World and Be The Match

My Cancer World & Be The Match | #Join4Kami

I am in the cancer world. I am a two-time survivor, take medication everyday to help keep cancer at bay, and question every ache and pain. I have an Oncologist who tells me this: “give each ache and pain a two-week window. If it lasts longer than two weeks, or you find a lump or bump, come see me.”

I have been in this world for 7 years. It has changed me. I have lived more fully, loved more deeply and know that loss can be right around the corner.

Have you loved someone with cancer? 

Being in this world means meeting others in this world. I am not alone. Oh how I wish my loved ones and I didn’t have this in common. I’m sure you can relate, for who has not been touched by this, with cancer so common?

What can we do with our commonality?

“Cancer is an epidemic.” These words were spoken last week by my very heart friend, the one who talks to me every day and who is texting me this very moment, my phone buzzing at me. She has survived recurrence and spends her days at a non-profit organization that helps women fight this beast. She knows. Her weary words ring true.

My Cancer World & Be The Match | #Join4Kami

How do we fight an epidemic?

My phone buzzes again, a text from another heart friend, so so dear to me. She asks if we can meet Friday morning before she leaves for Houston, gone for at least 3 weeks. This is the place she goes to fight the beast that has shown up for the second time in her delicate neck. How can something so ugly invade such beauty as my friend?

How do we fight the beast?

And then the children.

I remember my brave Lottie Mae, we lost hair together and were on the same schedule of growing it back, the schedule of fighting cancer. I couldn’t fathom her courage or the courage of her parents as she battled leukemia. Lottie’s beautiful red locks are now long, they grew as did she, now a beautiful young lady. Prayer along with the right medical treatment saved her life.

My Cancer World & Be The Match | #Join4Kami

Can I tell you of one more story? 

It is the story of 11-year old Kamryn, another beauty whose life could be saved with the right medical treatment. Watch the video and see courage, light, and life. Even the tears on the cheeks of her Momma are courageous tears, asking others to be the match for her sweet, sick girl. She needs the right medical treatment, but it is on hold, waiting for the right match, a marrow donor.

{Learn more about Kamryn’s story and sign up to join the registry at join4kami.org.}

Can you imagine waiting for others to give?

I can’t imagine having a sick child where there is life-saving treatment but that treatment depends on the giving of others. There are many just like Kamryn who have no donors available.

 AN ANSWER: BE THE MATCH REGISTRY®

A marrow transplant can be a life-saving treatment for more than 70 diseases including leukemia, lymphoma, and sickle-cell. 70% of patients are just like Kamryn and don’t have a fully matched donor in their family.

They depend on Be The Match. This is an answer! We can be available.

Be The Match Registry® is the world’s largest and diverse donor registry, but there are still thousands of patients who don’t have a match.

All it takes to join the registry is a simple cheek swab. It is mailed to you, you swab, then mail it back.

How amazing would it be to know that you helped cure someone’s cancer? Blood cancers can be cured with the help of bone marrow donation. Becoming a donor is something we can do to fight the beast of cancer and many other diseases.

My Cancer World & Be The Match | #Join4Kami

Can you commit to becoming a donor?

Donating is a lot less painful than one might think. Most donate through a Peripheral Blood Stem Cell donation where a machine draws blood from one arm, extracts the cells it needs and returns the remaining blood back to your body through your other arm. Donors are fully awake for this procedure. Lives are saved with this cell extraction.

For some people, the doctor will need to extract marrow directly from the back of the pelvic bone with a needle. In this case, one receives anesthesia, feels no pain during the procedure, and most donors feel completely recovered within a few weeks. This is a sacrificial act, but a small one for the chance to save a life.

Can you help spread the word?

I know I am not alone in watching loved ones fight cancer. I know the whole world has seen and felt the sting of this beast.

We can help others who are waiting. We can reach out our hands, hearts and arms to others who need a life line.

Visit Be The Match. Make a commitment and get on the registry. Spread the word. Every person who joins the registry gives patients like Kamryn more hope of finding the match they need.

Help beat the beast. Be The Match.

A Way to help loved ones with cancer

{Help spread the word by pinning above image}

I was selected for this opportunity as a member of CLEVER and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.

 

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