Five Ways to Focus on Your Life

“The days are long, but the years are short.”  

-Gretchen Rubin

The word Mindfulness is boldly written in the front of my daily planner as a necessary reminder that it is my word for 2017. I quickly forget in the rush of the hours to concentrate on the moments of my days. Therefore, a focus on how to be mindful is a pursuit worth undertaking.

Learn to be present. Everything I have read this year about mindfulness included breathing. Taking a moment to stop, breath, look around, and concentrate on that moment does a lot for our well being. Being present is noticing the beautiful colors around you, smelling the scents that float through the air, and hearing the birds singing out to each other. It means deeply listening to the person in front of you. Stop right now and use your senses to notice your surroundings. What have you been missing?

Find what lights you up. What can you spend hours doing and still want more? What do you desire to learn more about? What class would you sign up for if you had the time? Discover what you enjoy and making time to do it. This adds a lot of beauty and energy to our lives.

Spend time with people who encourage you. Notice how you feel after encounters with each person you see today. Find those that make you feel happier and lighter. Spend time with people who make you want to be better and do more. Your life will feel much bigger when you spend more time with those who exude positive energy!

Create some space in your days. Margin in our lives is essential if we want to cultivate mindfulness. This means that your schedule leaves time for small moments that are yours to design. Perhaps you like to sip tea, take a long bath, or read a book. What ways can you find space in your day?

Make sure to move. There is so many benefits to adding movement to our lives including helping to clear our minds and keep us healthy. What are your health goals for 2017? What is one thing you can do to move more right now?

Let me encourage you to find one way to focus on your life and live a little more mindfully today!

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Adovia Dead Sea Mud Shampoo Review

Disclosure: I got this product as part of an advertorial.

Do you like soft, healthy hair?

Then you may want to look into Adovia Dead Sea Mud Shampoo. (amazon assocMay 2014 028iates link)

I do not have issues with my hair, so I was not looking for results as far as any hair problems. What I found interesting is that just using this shampoo even without conditioner, my hair looked healthy, fuller, as well as shiny. I also liked how it styles and feels. The shampoo itself smells good but the dark color does take a bit to get used to, I just reminded myself of all the benefits that I have read of using dead sea mud. I would recommend this to my friends.

May 2014 026

Company description:

Adovia’s Dead Sea Mud Shampoo is specially formulated with natural ingredients such as Dead Sea Mud, Chamomile & Olive Oil to bring deep hydration and moisture to the scalp, relieving itching and flakiness. Dead Sea Mud has been known for centuries for it’s healing properties and people travel from all over the world to come and experience it’s effects at the Dead Sea. Dead Sea Salts and Mud have been featured on CNN, in the Wall Street Journal and New York Times. Dead Sea Mud contains the highest concentration of minerals found in mud anywhere in the world. Finally the benefits of Dead Sea mud and salt are presented to you in shampoo form! These minerals are all essential for proper skin function and help to regulate moisture retention as well as hydration. You complete satisfaction is guaranteed.

I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free using Tomoson.com. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.

What I’m Into {April 2014}

 

Books:

The only book that I finished in April was A Renaissance Redneck in a Mega-Church Pulpit by Randy Elrod. {Read my short review on GoodReads by click the title link. Follow me, while you’re there!}

 TV:

I am loving Jimmy Fallon on The Tonight Show! If I can’t make it until 11:30 pm, I watch it on hulu.com. The following lip sync battle with Emma Stone the other night is pure awesomeness …

I am also enjoying The Mindy Project! Mindy’s one-liners are super funny. You have to be listening when she adds things like, “I zero out my fridge every night before I go to bed” at the most hilarious times.

Movies:

I saw Noah. {meh!} I clearly missed a lot of what actually happened in my Bible readings, but I have confidence that Hollywood would not make anything up! {winky face}

Music:

This is my latest favorite:

Other Things I loving…

Fat Mum Slim’s Photo a Day challenge – I have been following along since January. I upload my photo to the free Collect App on my iPhone and then add it to my Instagram (amyconcafe) feed with the tag #fmsphotoaday. Join us, it makes each day exciting!

— Instagram – amyconcafe

– Subscription boxes – Wow, this could become an obsession! Are you into this?

– Jimmy Fallon {oh really, I already mentioned him?}

-The library – I added all my future reads to my library wish list. Here is the problem, when I go in to pick up my pile of desired reads there are also other books at the library. I know! AND, all the new books are close to the check out section, so I usually have to grab a few of those too. It is a lot of reading stress!

-ALSO, the library has a little sale room where they sell donated books and magazines.The magazines run from 25 – 50 cents and some are the brand new! In other words, I will not be buying any full price anymore! Sorry, Target!

What about you? What are you into these days?

The Ultimate Guide to the Daniel Fast by Kristen Feola {Book Review}

 

      The Ultimate Guide to the Daniel Fast






Description:

The Ultimate Guide to the Daniel Fast is an inspiring resource for Christians who want to pursue a more intimate relationship with God through the 21-day commitment to prayer and fasting known as the Daniel Fast. As you deny yourself certain foods—such as sugars, processed ingredients, and solid fats—you will not only embrace healthier eating habits, you’ll also discover a greater awareness of God’s presence. Author Kristen Feola explains the Daniel Fast in easy-to-understand language, provides 21 thought-provoking devotionals for each day of the fast, and shares more than 100 tasty, easy-to-make recipes that follow fasting guidelines. In a conversational style, Feola helps you structure the fast so you can spend less time thinking about what to eat and more time focusing on God. You will also discover that “to fast” means “to feast” on the only thing that truly nourishes?God’s powerful Word. For more info, please visit www.ultimatedanielfast.com.

(from Zondervan)

My Thoughts:

Reading The Ultimate Guide to the Daniel Fast helps learn about fasting in general and what the Daniel Fast is in detail. Kristen Feola shares how to prepare spiritually and physically as well as how to come off the fast which is also important. My favorite part of the book is the 21 day devotional to accompany one on the journey and the emphasis on God’s Word.

Enough of the book is recipes (over 120 pages), so I am considering shelving this book with my cookbooks for easier access in the kitchen. The healthy choices can be used outside the fast as well. There are also meal planning tips and helps. This really is an ultimate guide.

Have you done a Daniel Fast?

This book was given to me in exchange for my honest review. I was not required to write a positive review.

My First Whole30 Results {A Journey Towards Eating Whole Foods}

The

A Little Background:

After working hard two plus years ago to finally get the baby weight off, I knew that I did not want to start gaining.  So, when I noticed my clothes were not fitting well this past summer, I began the road to regain my health by eating less, a lot less. I tried to eat what I needed and nothing more. I also started doing the 8 Minute Abs workout (free on YouTube) along with a periodic 15 Minutes of T-Tapp

It was encouraging to start seeing results and I dropped the six pounds that I had gained by doing nothing more. (FYI, I did have the extra motivation of visiting family in Peru where they are not culturally shy about telling you if you’re heavier. I was trying to avoid that as it could hurt my very North American feelings.)

So, I was eating less and better, plus limited exercise for about two and a half months.

and then Whole30:

Several people in my extended family had started eating more whole foods to drop weight and be healthy. I had witnessed huge improvements in my brothers and more recently my parents. I have not seen my mom looking better, I do not think.

I decided to phone my oldest brother to talk about it as he is one of my biggest encouragers in the healthy living journey.  He shared that he and his wife were in the midst of doing a Whole30 and seeing amazing results. It was then I decided to try it.

As I read the website and also the book, It Starts with Food, they suggest starting right this minute. That is what I did. It helped avoid that last huge meal and I was already eating limited sugar and pretty healthy anyway. I was excited to see what it might do for my weight loss, but more then that I was excited to break the sugar cravings and see how it might help with stomach issues that have been bugging me in the last few years.

Day one was November 2nd  finishing on December 1st which means that I was doing Whole30 on Thanksgiving. No, I did not cheat. I was feeling too good at that time to change things.

The 30 days were not without challenges. I will admit too that because we live in Bolivia and can’t get everything mentioned on the website, I did make minor tweaks. I am hoping to have a few things brought down to help me with that as I can.

The Results (insert drum roll):

  • I am sleeping better which means falling asleep quicker, not waking up, and getting up easier. Love this!
  • My energy stays more level.
  • My bathroom habits have improved (ahem!)
  • I lost 6 pounds during this 30 days plus inches ( 1″ from waist, 1.5″ from hips, and 1.5″ from abdomen) too.
  • I had to get out some of my skinnier clothing even some that did not fit me when I weighed five pounds less then I do now.
  • Sugar has lost it’s hold at least as long as I keep it at bay. 
  • My stomach stayed pretty flat this month with no dairy or grains to puff it up!
  • Have not noticed my almost chronic sore throat bothering me at all.
  • My fingernails are stronger.
  • The rest of my family is eating better too.

And Now:

Today is actually day 60 on Whole30. I did enjoy a few things on Christmas, but that was it. I am down another five pounds making it a total of 11 pounds. I plan to keep eating this way and move into a more Paleo approach as I reach my goal weight.

The goal of it all is health for my body and energy for doing what God has called me to do!

So, if you are looking to make some changes in 2013, I would research the Whole30, T-tapp workouts, 8 Minute Abs, and join MyFitnessPal website to track it all (Check with your doctor before you start anything) and see what you think.

Love Food & Live Well by Chantel Hobbs {Book Review}


Details:

Go ahead. Get passionate about the food you eat!


Don’t fall for the lie that to lose weight you have to endure bland, uninspiring meals—and go hungry most of the time. Starting today you can love delicious food and lose weight at the same time! The secret is knowing when to have carrot cake and when it’s time for just a carrot.


Make food your ally by following Chantel Hobbs’s 80/20 rule. A full 20 percent of the time, splurge on the foods you love and incorporate them into celebrations and social occasions. The remaining 80 percent of the time, choose food that delivers maximum health and fuel for your body.


Using personal inventories, food plans, and new exercises for strength training and aerobic fitness, you will enjoy getting fit and trim. Love Food and Live Well guarantees that you can love what you’re eating while you lose weight.

via Waterbrook Multnomah

My Thoughts:

You cannot help but be motivated by a woman who has been there herself and now, having lost weight, is sharing her story and ideas. If you are like me and need the periodic pep talk to remember what healthy eating looks like and why you need to do it, you will find it here.

Chantel Hobbs encourages us to make changes and shares about the kinds of foods that will benefit our bodies. She even reminds us that we need God for real, lasting change, “surrendering to the living God your life, your own strength, and your ability to change is a daily occurrence. You have to lay down your desire whenever they get in the way of what God wants to do in your life.” (page 57)

Much of what you find between the pages of Love Food & Live Well, you have seen before. This is basically a reminder about calories, carbs, protein, fat, and other basic diet information with her personal push and challenge.  She spells out the 80:20 Rule to help you make the most of your eating and then leaves you with ideas and recipes. There is also a section on exercise with tips for scheduling, actual exercises with photos, and more.

Hobbs writing is easy and fun, plus it is encouraging to learn from a woman who has lost two hundred pounds and kept it off.  If you need a little inspiration, you will want to read Love Food & Live Well.

Are you encouraged by reading books about healthy eating, diet, and exercise?

This book was given to me in exchange for my honest review.  I was not required to write a positive review.



Jump off the Hormone Swing by Lorraine Pintus {Book Review}

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In Jump Off the Hormone Swing, Lorraine Pintus shares openly about the inner tension a woman can feel at certain times of the month between wanting to love her neighbor on one hand, and wanting to strangle her and shoot her ugly dog on the other. While many books discuss the physical and emotional symptoms of hormones, this is the first to explore in depth the spiritual aspects. Jump! is a mentoring book, not a medical book.  The focus is on attitude, not anatomy. Lorraine shares insights from her own journey as well as wisdom from 1,500 women she surveyed. Sound biblical wisdom is laced with humor because after all, when it comes to hormones, you either have to laugh or cry, and laughing is better!

Get answers to these questions:

· What is the number one thing I can do to feel better physically?
· How does PMS and perimenopause affect me spiritually?
· Which foods ease PMS symptoms…which make them worse?
· How do hormones affect my brain?
· Why does stress make my PMS worse and what can I do about it?
· Are there benefits to PMS and perimenopause? (you’ll discover 10!!)
· How can God possibly love me when I hate myself?
Includes a 10-week study for individual and group use.

* from Moody Publishers

My Thoughts

All women deal with issues related to hormones at some point. Loarraine Pintus takes this tough topic and breaks it down into a very readable and helpful book.  Not only is it informative but it is also practical with tips and ideas to help one through the seasons of being a women tackling physical, mental, and spiritual symptoms that occur.

I plan to keep this book around to remind myself of the helpful tips like the ten “brain foods” listed on page 56 or the ways to manage stress that are found in pages 117 –126. I also might reread much of the book and follow along with the videos I just noticed were listed in the Bible Study section towards the end. This section lists questions and points to online videos which could be a nice addition to the information.

I would easily recommend this book to any of the women in my life. It is a great starting point for dealing with female issues and a jumping off point towards discussion and further research. 

This book was given to me by Moody Publishers in exchange for my honest review. I was not required to write a positive review.