Do You Enneagram?!

Are you a Five? An Eight? A Three? A “I Have No Clue What You Are Talking About”? 😉

The Enneagram is a system of personality traits that describes a persons personality, emotions, and how they manage those traits and emotions in the world around them. If you are a fan of the Five Love Languages, then you will love the Enneagram. Much like the Five Love Languages, The Enneagram helps to understand yourself better and those around you. While the Five Love Languages focuses on how to best love someone and how they express their love (be it affirmation, gifts, etc) as well as how you show your love, the Enneagram looks more at how you are wired and your personality traits. The Enneagram is a great way to learn more about yourself, how you function, what your strengths and weaknesses are, and how to best relate with those around you.

God has created us all unique and one-of-a-kind. We have been wired with our own personalities the God has given us. By assessing your number on the Enneagram, you are able to work better with others, and unlock some insight into your own inner workings.

The Enneagram Institute describes the Enneagram as such:

“From one point of view, the Enneagram can be seen as a set of nine distinct personality types, with each number on the Enneagram denoting one type. It is common to find a little of yourself in all nine of the types, although one of them should stand out as being closest to yourself. This is your basic personality type. Everyone emerges from childhood with one of the nine types dominating their personality, with inborn temperament and other pre-natal factors being the main determinants of our type. This is one area where most all of the major Enneagram authors agree—we are born with a dominant type.”

Each number represents a “type” on the enneagram scale.

From The Enneagram Institute

The Enneagram Institute states that “these one-word descriptors can be expanded into four-word sets of traits. Keep in mind that these are merely highlights and do not represent the full spectrum of each type.”

  1. Type One is principled, purposeful, self-controlled, and perfectionistic.
  2. Type Two is generous, demonstrative, people-pleasing, and possessive.
  3. Type Three is adaptable, excelling, driven, and image-conscious.
  4. Type Four is expressive, dramatic, self-absorbed, and temperamental.
  5. Type Five is perceptive, innovative, secretive, and isolated.
  6. Type Six is engaging, responsible, anxious, and suspicious.
  7. Type Seven is spontaneous, versatile, acquisitive, and scattered.
  8. Type Eight is self-confident, decisive, willful, and confrontational.
  9. Type Nine is receptive, reassuring, complacent, and resigned.

But it doesn’t stop there!

Each person also has a “wing.” The Enneagram Institute states, “Everyone is a unique mixture of his or her basic type and usually one of the two types adjacent to it on the circumference of the Enneagram. One of the two types adjacent to your basic type is called your wing.”

So if you are mostly a Five, for example, read the qualities of a Four and a Six and determine which is more like you.

I took this free Enneagram test on Truity.com and here are my results:

As you can see, I am mostly a Two: The Helper, at a 98% match.

Type Two in Brief

The Enneagram Institute states that “Twos are empathetic, sincere, and warm-hearted. They are friendly, generous, and self-sacrificing, but can also be sentimental, flattering, and people-pleasing. They are well-meaning and driven to be close to others, but can slip into doing things for others in order to be needed. They typically have problems with possessiveness and with acknowledging their own needs.”

A Two is afraid of being unwanted and feeling unworthy of being loved. Some key motivations for a Two is the desire to be loved, to express their feelings for others, to be needed and appreciated, to vindicate their claims about themselves, etc. If they are a Two with a One-Wing, they are the “Servant” and if a Two with a Three-Wing, “The Hostess.”

From enneagramandcoffee

The Meaning of Two’s Arrows

4 & 8

The Enneagram Institute claims:

When moving in their Direction of Disintegration (stress), needy Twos suddenly become aggressive and dominating at Eight. However, when moving in their Direction of Integration (growth), prideful, self-deceptive Twos become more self-nurturing and emotionally aware, like healthy Fours.

While I was reading my results and more about my number though the Enneagram Institute, I stumbled on this section:

Addictions:

Abusing food and over-the-counter medications. Bingeing, especially on sweets and carbohydrates. Over-eating from feeling “love-starved;” in extreme cases bulimia.

WOW! If you haven’t read my brief story about my past health issues, I touch on it a bit here but in short, I was very abusive to my body as a teen/young adult. I struggled with over-exercising, binging and purging, took diet pills, laxatives, and extreme calorie restricting. All for the need to control (like a One and unhealthy Two) and seeking approval from others. I will expand on all of these issues and how I healed in a later post.

Type Two Wings

From Enneagramashton and ashton.creates

Now for the wing. I looked at both One and Three and I feel that I am really close to both, as you can see in my results above.

As a One-wing, I do have a “strong sense of right and wrong” and I get fired up when there is injustice. I like to be right (who doesn’t?!) and tend to justify myself as well as be perfectionistic in some areas.

As a Three-Wing, I have a bit of the ambitious quality as described, “competent, and energetic, Three’s can also be status-conscious and highly driven for advancement. They are diplomatic and poised, but can also be overly concerned with their image and what others think of them.”

If I had to pick just one of the wings, I think during this current season of my life, I lean more to the Three, even though I do have some of the qualities of a One.

I think of my weakness and one of the hardest things about being a Two is that I get easily frustrated when people don’t reach out to me like I do to them. If I let myself get in that headspace, I feel sad and disappointed…but it’s realizing that I am that way and not everyone is like a Two. All that to say…if someone you love is a Two, make sure to reach out to them occasionally and see how they are doing. 😉

From kristaleighsmith National Parks series

It really is fascinating to see where I fall and how I can best grow and learn from my weaknesses as a Two and my Three-Wing and to move towards becoming a healthy Two!

What number are you? Feel free to share below!

If you want to learn more about the Enneagram, Jen Hatmaker’s current podcast series (Series 27) is all about it with each episode dedicated to a number! Check it out here!

I haven’t read this yet but it is on my list…but I have had a lot of people recommend this book!


Don’t forget that my favorite protein powder is on SALE for 50% off until Wednesday!! Hurry and grab yours before you miss this insanely good deal!

Till next time, friends!

References:

https://www.enneagraminstitute.com/type-descriptions

https://www.truity.com

Images:

https://www.instagram.com/enneagramashton/

https://www.instagram.com/brushandbarley/

https://www.instagram.com/kristaleighsmith/

https://www.instagram.com/persikadesignco/

https://www.instagram.com/enneagramandcoffee/


My Top Five Favorite Christian Children’s Books

I asked my oldest son, who is now seven, what his favorite “Bible” books are and below are his selections. He has a couple of Bibles, but the books that he selected are not his Bibles, they are more storybooks and picture books that are perfect for reading aloud with his younger brother at bedtime. I did add the Bible that I use to read aloud to my boys below. I received this Bible in our home school curriculum and really love it!

What Am I Feeling?

by  Dr. Josh Straub

Y’all! This is the sweetest book! It is SO helpful for kids (and even us adults!) to understand that our feelings are important, but if left unchecked, it will wreak havoc on our day and those around us. In this book, Dr. Josh beautifully reminds us to ask God for help and to not let our emotions rule us.

It’s show-and-tell day at school, and Sam and his friends are feeling lots of emotions. He wonders why he feels flippy in his tummy. And why is Alex stomping his feet? And does Hudson usually have such a big grin?

After several unchecked feelings threaten to ruin the big day, Sam and his friends start to learn how to give each emotion a name and ask God to help them remember that “a feeling is just a feeling—it’s not in charge of you.” In a world where kids are dealing with everything from sibling rivalry to bullying, divorce to tragedy, What Am I Feeling? offers a biblically grounded way for children to verbalize their feelings, develop empathy and self-control, and understand their wonderful God-given emotions.

– Amazon

The Jesus Storybook Bible

by Sally Lloyd-Jones

This is by far my sons favorite book of all time! The Jesus Storybook Bible is beautifully written and shows how all the stories of the Bible weave together seamlessly, all “whispering Jesus’ name.” Each “chapter” probably takes about five minutes to read, which is perfect for bedtime.

“If you are a parent, grandparent, pastor, or teacher looking for a way to teach the children in your life about God’s “Never Stopping, Never Giving up, Unbreaking, Always and Forever Love,” look no further than The Jesus Storybook Bible.”

– Amazon.com

God Gave Us Easter

by Lisa Bergren

All of the ‘God Gave Us’ books are wonderful! We own a few of them and I love reading them around the holidays to help discuss what the holidays are about, in kid language. This one, God Gave Us Easter, is my personal favorite.

“A delightful illustrated picture book for readers ages 3 and up, God Gave Us Easter features the adorable polar bear Little Cub, talking with her father and learning about God’s design for the Easter season and what it really means.”

– Amazon.com

Big Thoughts for Little People

by Kenneth Taylor

When I was a little girl, my grandmother and grandfather gave me this book. I remember looking at the pages and hunting for the little ladybugs throughout the book as a little girl. When I was going through my keepsake trunk my mom saved for me, I found my original copy and it brought back all the sweet memories! I knew I needed to find a copy for my son and we love reading his copy often!

For quick bedtime reads, I ask him to pick two letters and I read the pages that go with the letters he chose.

“Ken Taylor’s best-selling book is now updated with all-new bright and colorful illustrations and a larger trim size. Using the alphabet as a learning tool, the easy-to-use format of this beloved picture book connects Bible themes and verses that teach kids ages 3-7 Christian values. Each spread represents a letter of the alphabet and a Christian value or moral lesson beginning with the same letter. Kids are encouraged to find the lesson being modeled (or not) in the illustrations. They are also asked questions to help them apply the lesson to their lives. This book is sure to win the hearts of kids and parents alike.”

– Amazon.com

Will, God’s Mighty Warrior

by Sheila Walsh

My grandmother gifted this book to our boys and it is so cute! My boys can relate to Will, and I like how the book addresses putting on all the armor of God.

“Will is a fearless, lovable superhero, well, at least in his imagination. He can leap tall buildings…from his bed…and he can rescue his sister from the jaws of a ferocious beast: his dog, Ralph! Complete with cape and sword, Will’s adventures take him on dangerous missions through the jungle…his backyard. But when he gets confused by the meaning of God’s armor, his dad teaches him that he can do anything with God’s strength and protection. After all, he is Will, God’s Mighty Warrior!”

– Amazon.com

BONUS!

My favorite Bible to read to our boys is….

Egermeier’s Bible Story Book

This Bible is written in a more kid-friendly manner that is aligned to Biblical text and doesn’t sugar-coat the big stuff, which I appreciate. I learned a lot reading it aloud to my boys and I know they are learning in a way that is approachable and accessible for their age and development.

“The Egermeier’s Bible Story Book is a complete narration from Genesis to Revelation for young and old. A classic edition of Bible stories for young children that, while written in an interesting, easy-to-listen-to style, sticks very close to the Biblical text.”

– Sonlight.com

Final thoughts from this former reading teacher…

Did you know that reading to your child or with your child, for as little as 20 minutes a day, could improve their reading level by an entire grade level

The memories made are an added bonus! Make this a daily priority for your family!

What are your favorite Christian books that you love reading to your kids? Comment below!


What’s Up Wednesday – June 2020

It’s my second edition of What’s Up Wednesday!

You can catch my May post here.

The last Wednesday of the month I link up with Mix and Match Mama and share all the things! It’s a little food, a little family, a little what we’re doing, a little what we’re watching and a little bit of everything else, all in one post.

So let’s dive right in!

WHAT WE’RE EATING THIS WEEK:

Monday I made Danielle Walker’s Orange Chicken, we had leftovers Tuesday, tonight is Pesto Pasta night, Thursday I am making Carne Aside burrito bowls, with leftovers the following night. Then I will reevaluate for the weekend and see if we have any other hodge podge meals I can make or leftovers for the weekend!

WHAT I’M REMINISCING ABOUT:

Time with family!

We had a wonderful visit with the grandparents at Green Acres and loved every minute of it!

WHAT I’M LOVING:

Swimming with the boys and soaking up all the lake time!

WHAT WE’VE BEEN UP TO:

Recently just spending time with friends! It has been nice to expand our quarantine circle a little bit and see friends that we have missed so much!

WHAT I’M DREADING:

Fear of the unknown.

I signed our oldest up for a church camp and I am excited for him and happy to have him there, but anxieties are starting to build up and I am fighting fears.

WHAT I’M WORKING ON:

It is so weird to say, but I have submitted my book proposal (about my testimony and how God has worked in my life) to three different literary agents and waiting to hear from them.

I am also interviewing to teach with VIPKid! I interviewed a couple years ago and was approved for the next phase of interviewing, but then sat on it and never did anything. Clark was still waking in the night a lot and I was exhausted with my Candida and hormone imbalances and was just not in a good place to work nights teaching children how to speak English. Fast-forward to today and I feel so much better and excited for the possibility of this new venture!

I’ll keep you updated!

WHAT I’M EXCITED ABOUT:

Just all of the upcoming work-from-home possibilities that I mentioned above!

WHAT I’M WATCHING/READING:

Y’all! I am so late to the game but Schitt’s Creek is so great! Episodes are less than 25 minutes (Amen!), light, funny, sarcastic, and easy to watch. I am loving it!

I am currently reading A Woman is No Man and it is so fascinating!! Goodreads describes it best: “In Brooklyn, eighteen-year-old Deya is starting to meet with suitors. Though she doesn’t want to get married, her grandparents give her no choice. History is repeating itself: Deya’s mother, Isra, also had no choice when she left Palestine as a teenager to marry Adam. Though Deya was raised to believe her parents died in a car accident, a secret note from a mysterious, yet familiar-looking woman makes Deya question everything she was told about her past. As the narrative alternates between the lives of Deya and Isra, she begins to understand the dark, complex secrets behind her community.”

It is so good!!

WHAT I’M LISTENING TO:

Currently I am listening to Jen Hatmaker’s podcast about the Enneagram (post coming out next week with my Enneagram number).

And my boys sitting next to me playing with Legos 😉

WHAT I’M WEARING:

My NEW Lovebug Apparel tee!!! I LOVE it!

WHAT I’M DOING THIS WEEKEND:

Going out on the boat of course! 😉

We didn’t go the last two weekends because we were out of town with family and then had other stuff going on…so we are making up for it this weekend! It looks like it will be windy both Saturday and Sunday (bummer!) but we will still venture out one of those days and find a cove to anchor and swim!

WHAT I’M LOOKING FORWARD TO NEXT MONTH:

4th of July on the lake!

We are going to watch fireworks from the boat this year and super pumped for the boys to see them from the lake this year!

My cousin is expecting her first baby and I can’t wait to see her, her momma, and sister, who will be visiting and celebrating the new baby girl with family! We are having a little family dinner and swim at my grandmothers home and I can’t wait to see everyone!

I have a girls day planned with some precious ladies from our Life Group and we are taking our boat out for the day and it will be so nice to just chill and float with such sweet women!

WHAT ELSE IS NEW:

I go back to see my alternative doctor at the beginning of July and interested to see how the Candida is healing now that I have added back in fruit and the occasional honey. Praying for good results and blood work! And excited for my IV therapy! 😉

Well, that’s it for June!! It has already come and gone!

Have a blessed rest of the week/month and make sure to come back on Friday to read my latest Friday Favorites!


Sugar-Free Lemon Mug Cake!

If you know me, you know I LOVE lemon anything!! Lemon pies, lemon cupcakes, lemon bars, lemon anything!

However, some of my favorite lemon recipes are loaded with cane sugar and dairy…which I cannot have because of my health issues (you can read about my health journey with Systemic Candida here).

This microwavable lemon mug cake is sugar free, gluten-free, Keto-friendly, dairy-free, and Candida-safe. If you are further along in your Candida journey and can have fruit, you could top this cake with fresh organic raspberries and coconut cream! It is perfect!! If you are more of a chocolate fan, this recipe will hit the spot as well!

Photo by Lukas on Pexels.com

SUGAR-FREE LEMON MUG CAKE

This sugar-free lemon mug cake is the most easy recipe to dive into at the end of a long day and it is made with only six ingredients:

  • Tiger nut flour is an amazing gluten-free flour! I wrote up a lot of info about this amazing nut-free flour here.
  • Egg – I use only one pasture-raised egg in this recipe.
  • Baking powder – I use Danielle Walker’s homemade baking powder recipe, since a lot of store bought versions have gluten, aluminum, corn, and/or GMOs. It is super easy to make your own and you probably have all the ingredients on hand!
  • Lemon juice – I use the juice of one fresh, squeezed lemon
  • Organic Stevia – I use only a couple drops of organic, whole leaf stevia for added sweetness.
  • Alcohol-free Vanilla Extract – I use Sprouts-brand organic alcohol-free stevia extract, or you could use this one as well.
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

COOKING MUG CAKES

Mug cakes are usually baked in the microwave for only 90 seconds at high power (800W). Or, if you are more patient and/or don’t have a microwave, you can make this mug cake in an oven-safe ramekin and bake for 12-15 minutes in a preheated 350ºF oven. Whichever way you decide to bake your mug cake, you will know it is cooked through when you insert a toothpick in the center of the cake and it comes out clean or with no crumbs on it.

So without further ado, here is my favorite lemon mug cake!

SUGAR-FREE LEMON MUG CAKE

Total Time: <5 minutes

INGREDIENTS

INSTRUCTIONS

Microwave:

  1. Mix all of your ingredients in a microwavable coffee mug or bowl (make sure it is a large mug as the cake will double in height).
  2. Microwave on high for 90 seconds.
  3. Remove from the microwave and let cool a few minutes. Top with fresh organic raspberries, lemon zest, and a dollop of organic coconut cream.

Oven:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350ºF
  2. Thoroughly mix all ingredients in a small bowl and pour the batter into two small ramekins, or one medium ramekin.
  3. Bake in the preheated oven for 12-15 minutes or until cook through. Check after 8 minutes as it make cook faster depending on your ramekin size. Use a toothpick to test doneness.
  4. Let cool for a few minutes and then top with fresh organic raspberries, lemon zest, and a dollop of organic coconut cream.

Did you make this recipe?

Tag #lifestylewithlauren on Instagram!


Who Is Your Daddy and What Does He Do?

PSA: My husband is an Arnold fan, thus I am an Arnold fan, so I had to throw that GIF in there…and the fiting title for this blog. Love ya, dear!

My sweet husband, Stephen, gifted me an Ancestry DNA kit for my birthday a few years ago.

To most, this is just a cool way to learn about your genealogy and connect the dots on the family tree. For me, it is my identity.

Prior to meeting and marrying my mom, my Dad was married a few times and had three children. My mom wanted children of her own, but my dad had a vasectomy by the time he met her…so they enlisted the help from a local hospital and a donor. From what I have gathered, the donor was a med student and worked/had his residency at the hospital where the procedure took place. At that time (early 1980’s), artificial insemination was a very hush-hush procedure.

My mom passed away in 1997 when I was 13 years old. My dad told me shortly thereafter about the procedure and I have to tell ya, at that age, it is a hard concept to process and a lot of identity issues arise. I get into all that later. 😉

Fast forward to when Stephen handed me this DNA kit. I was so excited when he gave me the kit to figure out my genealogy and to see what else I could learn. Little did I know that there would be so many other siblings that were also products of artificial insemination, and we all have the same story! It is so crazy and exciting! And to find out my origins as well…y’all…it has been so much fun!

I mean…88% British! The postal service must have lost my invitation to the Royal Wedding!

Aside from learning my ethnicity, I also got in contact with my new blood-related brothers and sister!

So far (ha – seriously though…there could be so many!), I have three brothers and one sister…all from the same donor! I am keeping their identity private until I have their permission to share (Bryan has given me permission). I have already met Bryan and love him! We first met for breakfast around Christmastime a few years ago and we have met up other times as well. He even came to my son’s birthday parade (thanks Covid!) this year. We text often and continue to learn more about each other and catching up on 35+ years that we missed. He is nine years older than me…which makes me think about how many other siblings there could possibly be!

Bryan and I meeting for the first time – December 2017
Bryan came for Troy’s birthday parade!

My sister lives in another state so we have not met face-to-face but we have been in contact and chat with each other via Instagram. It is so fun to see her pictures and learn more about her and hopefully one day we can get the opportunity to meet in person.

Brother #1 recently did his DNA testing and a couple of weeks ago his wife reached out and we’ve been chatting occasionally via text. He doesn’t live too far from myself and Bryan so we hope to all meet up with him soon!

I have reached out to Brother #3 on Facebook and email through Ancestry but I have yet to hear back from him.

My grandfather and I already have a wonderful relationship, so I know that connection. 😉 He is my mom’s father and they live in the next city. I talk with my grandparents pretty much every other day and we get together often. It is so nice to have them near and to be in our lives.

There is only that one connection I am unsure about. It is a female but I am not sure if she is a sibling or a different connection. Hope to find out soon!

I just know there has to be more siblings out there! I mean, if Bryan and I are nine years apart, there must be more. If the donor only *ONLY* gave one of his swimmers a year for 9 years – that would be 9 siblings! But what are the chances that he only did it once a year? Or even for a longer time span?!

So for now, I will continue to foster and grow the relationships with my brothers and sister and wait for new emails and connection updates from Ancestry. And I will keep y’all updated as well!

I would LOVE to hear from you! Do you have an interesting DNA/genealogy/family history story? I want to hear it! If you’re comfortable sharing, please share below or email me! I’d love to hear from you!


Sugar-Free Chocolate Almond Butter Mug Cake

This mug cake is one of my favorites for satiating that chocolate craving! I use tiger nut flour instead of almond flour for this recipe because of its natural sweet flavor and health benefits.

Chufa, also known as tiger nuts or earth almonds, are not actually nuts! They are small edible tubers. They are about the size of garbanzo beans and have a sweet, nutty flavor. They are rich nutrients and antioxidants and have been linked to several health benefits – ranging from better digestion to a reduced risk of heart disease1.

Tiger nuts were one of the first plants cultivated in Egypt and traditionally used as both food and medicine.

Health Benefits of Tiger Nuts

Tiger nuts are:

  • tubers rich in fiber, vitamins, minerals and other beneficial plant compounds.
  • a good source of insoluble fiber, which can prevent constipation and help your digestion run smoothly.
  • rich in fiber and arginine, both of which can contribute to lower blood sugar levels. They also contain compounds that may reduce how much sugar is absorbed in your gut after a carb-rich meal.
  • rich in heart-healthy fats.

Tiger nuts may also contribute to a stronger immune system by fighting infections, including those from antibiotic-resistant bacteria2. And since tiger nuts are not part of the nut family, they are completely safe for people with nut allergies and they are naturally gluten-free.

For this recipe, I also use my homemade baking powder (recipe from Danielle Walker) or you can purchase this clean one, too.

Chocolate Almond Butter Mug Cake

Total Time: <5 minutes

Ingredients

  • 4 TB tiger nut flour
  • 2 TB carob powder
  • 1 TB melted coconut oil
  • 2 TB coconut milk (or dairy-free milk of choice)
  • 1/8 tsp baking soda
  • 1/8 tsp baking powder
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 TB organic almond butter (or nut butter of choice)

Instructions

Mix all ingredients (minus the almond butter) in a large microwavable coffee mug or bowl. Once mixed, dollop the tablespoon of almond butter right in the middle (no need to mix).

Microwave for 90 seconds. Let cool 2 minutes. Top with a bit of coconut cream and enjoy!

Variation: You could also omit the almond butter and top with fresh strawberries or raspberries and a dollop of coconut cream.

Did you make this recipe?

Tag #lifestylewithlauren on Instagram!

  1. https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/tiger-nuts
  2. https://draxe.com/nutrition/tiger-nuts/


Holly Tanella’s Top 4 Summer Skin Care Tips

If you’ve been following my posts, you read here that I have fallen head over heals in love with my new skincare routine! Holly Tanella is the founder and medical esthetician at Boho Med Spa in Allen, Texas. She has helped transform my skin and it is looking better than ever!

Since we are entering summer and spending more time outside in the hot summer sun, I asked Holly what tips she has to help keep our skin safe. Here are Holly’s top four summer skincare tips:

Avoid UV damage as much as possible.

UV rays can actually damage your DNA when you get too much sun exposure without any protection (over 15 minutes from 11 am – 3 pm). UV damage causes premature aging and sun damage that shows up on the skin as brown spots and fine lines. UV damage is one of the top reasons that cause our skin to age prematurely.

How to avoid UV damage:

  1. Wear SPF as it blocks the rays which cause damage to your skin. While in the sun, you should re-apply your SPF every 2-3 hours depending on how much you are sweating. Choosing the right SPF is critical. ​Wearing a physical block sunscreen, like zinc oxide and titanium dioxide, is better for you as the SPF ingredients do not mess up your hormones like chemical-based sunscreens. Avoid sunscreens that have ​avobenzone, octinoxate, and oxybenzone. My personal favorite SPF’s are ​Zinc It Over, which is a mist that is super easy to apply and even use on the kids, and Rhonda Allison’s ​Daytime Defense SPF 30, which is a lightweight cream.
  2. Wear hats and sunglasses to physically block the sun. Find the biggest, floppiest hat you can and sit in the shade as much as possible. Wearing sunglasses outside is also a must. Not only will this protect your eyes but it will also prevent you from squinting which can cause crows feet (lines around our eyes). Get spray tans instead!

Add a vitamin C serum into your skincare regimen.

​Vitamin C is high in antioxidants that reduce free radicals that cause your skin to age. This is a great ingredient to add to your skincare regimen for it will reduce premature aging that we commonly get from the sun. The best forms of vitamin C are ​magnesium ascorbyl phosphate and tetrahexyldecyl ascorbate, both of these forms are converted to natural acid vitamin C in the skin causing no irritation, unlike most vitamin C’s on the market. These forms are also the most potent and high-grade you can get. My two personal favorites are Circadia’s Vitamin C Reversal Serum ​and BOHO’s ​YTH Serum.

Stay cool as much as possible.

For years it was thought that direct UV exposure was the only thing that increased pigmentation. We now know that heat also makes pigmentation worse by increasing the activity of melanocytes. This could be from being outside on a hot day. These all increase the skin’s internal temperature. Try to avoid these as much as possible if you’re serious about avoiding getting pigmentation.

To correct pigmentation, Circadia’s White Veil Brightener ​is a must-have product. This product tells your body not to make pigmentation. It inhibits your body from sending messages to the melanocyte to create pigmentation. So if you get too hot, your hormones go crazy, or you get a little too much sun, your body will not form that unwanted pigmentation. Another idea is to use a mister fan to help stay cool while outside.

Drink plenty of water.

Water is the cheapest form of skincare. When we are dehydrated not only do we feel bad but we also look bad. Being dehydrated, which easily happens in the summer, causes dehydration lines. These show up as tiny lines that look like elephant skin close up. Fear not! They are not here to stay as long as you drink the amount of water your body needs, they will go away immediately. You should be drinking half your body weight in ounces every day. If you work out that day, add an additional 20 ounces. If you are outside, make sure you are drinking water every hour!


I hope you found these summer skin care tips as helpful as I did!!

Don’t forget to check out Holly’s gorgeous spa in Allen and tell her I sent you!

Have a blessed, beautiful, glowing summer friends!


Friday Favorites: Christian Reads

It’s another Friday Favorites post!!

I love getting a little creative and sharing a more focused favorites list than just a variety of items.

So today I am sharing some of my favorite Christian chapter books! All of these books I have personally read and LOVE them so much that I have them on my reread list! I included the Amazon link for each book (click the image) and the blurb from Goodreads.

Everybody, Always: Becoming Love in a World Full of Setbacks and Difficult People 

What happens when we give away love like we’re made of it? 

In his entertaining and inspiring follow-up to the New York Times bestselling phenomenon Love Does, Bob Goff takes readers on a journey into the secret of living without fear, constraint, or worry. The path toward the liberated existence we all long for is found in a truth as simple to say as it is hard to do: love people, even the difficult ones, without distinction and without limits.

Driven by Bob’s trademark storytelling, Everybody, Alwaysreveals the lessons Bob learned–often the hard way–about what it means to love without inhibition, insecurity, or restriction. From finding the right friends to discovering the upside of failure, Everybody, Always points the way to embodying love by doing the unexpected, the intimidating, the seemingly impossible. Whether losing his shoes while skydiving solo or befriending a Ugandan witch doctor, Bob steps into life with a no-limits embrace of others that is as infectious as it is extraordinarily ordinary. Everybody, Always reveals how we can do the same. 

Treasuring Christ When Your Hands Are Full: Gospel Meditations for Busy Moms

Grocery shopping. Soccer practice. Dirty dishes.

Motherhood is tough, and it often feels like the to-do list just gets longer and longer every day–making it hard to experience true joy in God, our children, and the gospel.

In this encouraging book for frazzled moms, Gloria Furman helps us reorient our vision of motherhood around what the Bible teaches. Showing how to pursue a vibrant relationship with God–even when discouragement sets in and the laundry still needs to be washed–this book will help you treasure Christ more deeply no matter how busy you are.

Parenting: 14 Gospel Principles That Can Radically Change Your Family

Sometimes parents wish there was a guaranteed formula for raising good kids–a certain list of rules to follow to ensure they’d have obedient children. But if moms and dads view their role through the lens of God’s grace, they will see that the gospel must first shape how they parent before they can effectively shape their children. In this highly practical book, Paul David Tripp unfolds a more biblical perspective on parenting than merely adhering to a list of rules. He lays out fourteen gospel-centered principles that will radically change the way parents think about what it means to raise up a child, informing everything they do as a parent.

Fresh Air: Trading Stale Spiritual Obligation for a Life-Altering, Energizing, Experience-It-Everyday Relationship with God

We’ve all gone through times in our lives when we feel like we need a fresh breeze to breathe new life into us–in our work, in our marriages, with our kids, in our friendships, and maybe at church. We’ve all been drawn to people who exude a kind of positive, life-giving spirit. We’ve also seen the difference between environments that exude a fresh air-like atmosphere and those that don’t. But what is it? What is that energy-giving, life-breathing force that draws you, inspires you, and empowers you to be all God made you to be? And how do we get it? How do we put the wind in our sails again, so we can get unstuck, reclaim our compass, and redirect our course? In “Fresh Air,” Chris Hodges, founder and senior pastor of Church of the Highlands in Birmingham, Alabama, reveals how breath–the breath of God–is the essence of life as it’s meant to be. Fueled by the breath of God, we are not only refreshed in spirit ourselves; we have the power to create a life-giving environment of freedom and joyful purpose around us. Both practical and inspiring, “Fresh Air” offers “breathing lessons” for those who long for a cool breeze to resuscitate their spirit, bring them closer to God, and move them toward becoming the people He made them to be. 

Give Them Grace: Dazzling Your Kids with the Love of Jesus

All of us want to raise good kids. And we want to be good parents. But what exactly do we mean by “good?” And is “being good” really the point?

Mother-daughter team Elyse Fitzpatrick and Jessica Thompson contend that every way we try to make our kids “good” is simply an extension of Old Testament Law–a set of standards that is not only unable to save our children, but also powerless to change them.

No, rules are not the answer. What they need is GRACE.

We must tell our kids of the grace-giving God who freely adopts rebels and transforms them into loving sons and daughters. If this is not the message your children hear, if you are just telling them to “be good,” then the gospel needs to transform your parenting too.

Give Them Grace is a revolutionary perspective on parenting that shows us how to receive the gospel afresh and give grace in abundance, helping our children know the dazzling love of Jesus and respond with heartfelt obedience.

Get Out of Your Head: Stopping the Spiral of Toxic Thoughts

The visionary behind the million-strong IF:Gathering challenges Christian women to transform their outlook and their lives by interrupting their spiraling thoughts and realizing their God-given power to think differently.

Speaker and Bible teacher Jennie Allen hears all the time from women who feel stuck in patterns of frustration and defeat. In her search for a solution, she’s learned that the greatest spiritual battle of our generation is taking place between our ears. How we think shapes how we live. So it’s crucial that we learn how to stop our spinning thoughts and refuse to fall prey to toxic thinking patterns like victimhood, anxiety, and distraction. In this book Jennie draws on biblical truth and recent discoveries in neuroscience to show exactly how we can fight the enemies of the mind with the truth of who God is and who He calls us to be. 

Live in Grace, Walk in Love: A 365-Day Journey

Bob Goff’s first two books, Love Does and Everybody, Always, spent dozens of weeks each as New York Times bestsellers with their unique combination of entertaining, witty storytelling, and challenging, surprising perspectives. Now Bob is back with a year-long devotional made up of his distinctive, entertaining, deceptively profound reflections on what it means to live every day in light of the grace of God.

Built on Bob’s trademark storytelling and unique way of helping us to see things in a new way, Live in Grace, Walk in Love takes us through an entire calendar year of meditations on how we can step out in love and confidence in every aspect of our lives. More than a tweet, less than a blog post, these devotional readings–accompanied by Scripture–will inspire and galvanize you live a more liberated, love- and life-giving existence than you ever thought possible. 

Have More Fun: How to Be Remarkable, Stop Feeling Stuck, and Start Enjoying Life

When was the last time you had some good and serious fun? If your to-do list has become the boss of you, if you’re so exhausted and overwhelmed you can’t remember – all of that is about to change. Have More Fun is your crash course to getting unstuck, laughing freely, and enjoying the ride.

MOPS International CEO, Mandy Arioto, is known to thousands worldwide as a lively storyteller, a force of hope, and an audacious risk-taker. She brings it all in this rollicking adventure of a book bent on helping you do more of what makes you come alive.

Have More Fun is for anyone who has forgotten that fun is an option. In a world where political dramas and cultural uncertainties churn through our news feed every day, Mandy is here to suggest that the answer to many of the most pressing questions is fun.

How do I get more done? Fun.

How do I parent in meaningful ways? Fun

How do I make friends? Fun.

How can I find my purpose? Fun.

How do I spice up my sex life? Fun.

How do I adapt when things don’t go as planned? Fun.

How do I improve my marriage? Fun.

Not to mention that choosing fun can be a spiritual discipline – a place to experience the boundless love and joy of God in everyday, surprising ways. If you have ever waited until your to-do list is finished to have fun or you can’t remember the last time you really laughed, it is possible you might be taking life, work, or parenting too seriously. Weaving together science, historical trends, hilarious stories, practical ideas and spiritual truth, Mandy uncovers fresh ways to take fun seriously instead.

Anxious for Nothing: Finding Calm in a Chaotic World

Anxiety is at an all time high, but there’s a prescription for dealing with it. Max Lucado invites readers into a study of Philippians 4:6-7 where the Apostle Paul admonishes the followers of Christ, “Do not be anxious about anything . . .”

Philippians 4:6 encourages the believer to “be anxious for nothing.” As Lucado states, the apostle Paul seems to leave little leeway here. “Be anxious for nothing. Nada. Zilch. Zero.”

What’s he suggesting? That we should literally be anxious for absolutely nothing? Lucado says, “The presence of anxiety is unavoidable, but the prison of anxiety is optional. It’s the life of perpetual anxiety that Paul wants to address. Don’t let anything in life leave you perpetually in angst.”

Americans especially know about living in perpetual anxiety. According to one research program, anxiety-related issues are the number one mental health problem among women and are second only to alcohol and drug abuse among men. Stress-related ailments cost the nation $300 billion every year in medical bills and lost productivity. And use of sedative drugs like Xanax and Valium have skyrocketed in the last 15 years. Even students are feeling it. One psychologist reports that the average high school kid today has the same level of anxiety as the average psychiatric patient in the early 1950s.

“The news about our anxiety is enough to make us anxious,” says Lucado. But there’s a prescription for dealing with it. Lucado invites readers into a study of Philippians 4:6-7, the most highlighted passage of any book on the planet, according to Amazon:

Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

“With His help you will learn to face the calamities of life. You’ll learn how to talk yourself off the ledge. Under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, you will learn to view bad news through the lens of sovereignty; to discern the lies of Satan and tell yourself the truth. You will manifest a gentleness that is evident to others. Anxiety comes with life. But it doesn’t have to dominate your life.”


What are your favorite Christian books?

Share below! I am always on the hunt for more!!

Also, make sure to check out my Facebook page for a CONTEST!!

One winner will recieve a $25 credit towards ANY Truvani product!!!

*CONTEST HAS ENDED*

Congratulations to Kimberly P. and Cheryl P.!

WAIT! There’s more!

If you spend $25, you get Truvani’s Eat Seasonally hardcover book FOR FREE!!

Not only does this beautiful full-color eating seasonal guide offer the best ways to bring the most delicious produce to your table…

… but they also teamed up with the Truvani community to bring delectable seasonal menus to your kitchen.

And it’s FREE when you spend $25* or more on any of our products.

Just click the link here to snag your own copy and don’t forget to enter my contest over on Facebook!

Hope you all have a blessed weekend!


What is Candida?

My Healing Journey

I’ve stated in the past that I have been battling many health issues. One of which is Systemic Candida…that means it is in my blood. Everyone, EVERYONE, has Candida. However, it is contained in the gut and in a good balance. However, as soon as you add antibiotics, sugar, gluten, stress, anxiety, it can cause your Candida levels to get out of control. Throw in leaky gut (which is basically little holes in your gut), and now the Candida is free to move out of its home (your gut) and travel into your blood, and even into your brain and other organs.

Amy Meyers MD’s website states it well:

Candida has the unique ability to change shape in order to protect itself from harsh environments. It responds to a shift in temperature or acidity levels by transforming from a rounded yeast cell into an elongated hyphal cell. These elongated cells have the ability to permeate the gut lining, causing leaky gut. Once in the bloodstream, Candida can invade other tissues. This means that Candida can quickly transition from a gut problem to a full-body problem. It can colonize the skin, mouth, ears, thyroid, reproductive organs, or elsewhere. For this reason, symptoms of Candida overgrowth can be experienced in many different forms.

I was finally diagnosed with Candida in November 2019. This was after spending YEARS getting blood work and seeing doctor after doctor, trying to figure out what was wrong.

Candida symptoms vary for each person and you don’t always get them all. I didn’t get a lot of the tell-tell symptoms (like yeast infections). I was just tired. Not just mom-tired. I was exhausted when I woke up. Lived on caffeine. I would drink 5 cups of black coffee in the morning, drink a Starbucks in the afternoon, and crash as soon as my kids went to bed at 7pm. I would sleep all through the night and still wake up tired. That’s not normal.

In addition to extreme exhaustion, I was experiencing horrible breakouts. I also had digestive issues, which is very common with a bunch of other ailments and thus why I did a comprehensive food allergy testing…and guess what? It came back CLEAR! At that point, I was literally about to cry. I had all this other blood work telling me everything was mostly normal (other than some hormonal imbalances and thyroid not optimal…I’ll get to that in a minute). I was sure I had Celiac or Crohn’s…but nothing. No food allergies. I was desperate for answers and knew something was wrong.

After feeling defeated, I figured I could start with healing my thyroid, so I joined a holistic thyroid Facebook group to try to find a doctor and glen from others. My GP (General Practitioner) told me that my thyroid was not great but never mentioned getting on a medication or something else to help heal it. He focused more on my hormonal imbalances, thus why I joined the Facebook group. I called a few doctor offices and left messages but never booked anything…doctors were too far away, first appointment would be 5-6 months later, etc. I posted again in the Facebook group and asked specifically for a doctor that could help my thyroid and hormones that was close by. One lady commented about an OB/Gyn that specializes in hormonal and thyroid imbalances. I looked up her information online and decided to give it a go. I made my appointment for about a month later, which was a lot faster than seeing a thyroid doctor. In the meantime, I got more blood results back and shared it in my portal with this new OB. I added all my symptoms and she emailed me back asking for me to get one more test done (yup…she added the test for Candida).

The time came for my first appointment with my new OB and I felt welcomed and knew in my gut that I made the right decision by going this route first. As soon as she walked in, she introduced herself and then went right into it. “Know wonder you are exhausted! You have Systemic Candida!” She then showed me all of my blood work, and boy was I a mess!!

In addition to the Systemic Candida, I also had pretty much no testosterone, hypothyroidism, low estrogen, a ton of vitamin deficiencies, adrenal fatigue, MTFHR mutation, and Epstein Barr Virus (a few of these things I found out later with a different integrative doctor that did more extensive blood work and microscopy blood work).

Our first item to tackle was the Candida. She believed that that was the root cause to a lot of other issues I was experiencing. If we could get that in control, then hopefully the other issues would start to balance out.

My Symptoms

There are so many symptoms of Candida overgrowth. These are just a few of the many and these were the ones I was experiencing:

  • Feeling tired and worn down or suffering from chronic fatigue
  • Digestive issues (bloating)
  • Difficulty concentrating, poor memory, lack of focus, and/or brain fog
  • Skin breakouts
  • Irritability, mood swings, anxiety, depression
  • Strong sugar and refined carbohydrate cravings
  • Sinus infections (I was getting a TON of them!)
  • Weakened immune system (I was getting sick all the time)
  • Muscle weakness
  • Sleep problems and night sweats

How Do You Test for Candida Overgrowth?

Blood tests check for IgG, IgA, and IgM Candida antibodies in your blood, and they can be performed at most any lab. High levels of these antibodies indicate that an overgrowth of Candida is present somewhere in the body and that your immune system is reacting to it.

Remember, Candida has the ability to suppress the immune system so it is important to ask your doctor to test your total IgG, IgA and IgM levels along with the Candida antibodies.  Low levels of total IgG, IgA or IgM could cause a false negative response to the Candida antibodies, meaning you have Candida but since your immune system is lowered, you are unable to produce a response and your blood test comes back negative. I see so many patients with suppressed immune systems, so I find that blood tests can often be negative even when the stool or urine tests are positive.

From Amy Myers MD

Mine was found in blood work. I now see an integrative doctor that works on whole body healing and specializes in cancer treatments, healing Candida, and other health issues. Since seeing him, we’ve been tracking the Systemic Candida with microscopy blood work. It is the coolest thing ever! The nurse pricks my finger and places a small drop of blood on a slide, then places it under the microscope. We are able to look at the blood right then and there! The nurse is able to point out Candida, toxins, and allergens. My blood looked so much healthier at my last visit (at the end of March) – blood cells were larger, spaced out more, and moving much better than last time! It is seriously amazing to see! I still have some Candida floating around but not as much, toxins still present (we are doing a push-metals test next visit), but overall it is looking promising!

“How Did You Get Sick When You Eat Healthy Foods?”

I have been asked this numerous times. Or, “why do other people not get sick when they eat crap foods all day?”

Honestly, I don’t know the definitive answer to this because everyone is different. But I will share my thoughts.

I believe a lot has to do with your genetics and how you ate growing up. I ate a TON of McDonalds and Kids Cuisine in my formative growing-up years. My dinner almost every night (up until 5th grade) was a Kids Cuisine, sitting in front of my great-grandmothers tv, watching Wheel of Fortune. I ate McDonalds breakfast on the weekends, chicken nugget kids meal way to frequently, and the Filet-O-Fish.

In the grand scheme of things, I only recently started eating clean. I ate processed, sugar-loaded, chemical-laden food from childhood all the way into my late 20s. I am 36. So I have only had good, clean food for a few years.

I was also abusive to my body as a young adult. I took more diet pills than you can imagine, I suffered from bulimia in college, and would punish myself with over-exercising (I will go into these things in a later post). In recent years though, I was so tired and reliant on my caffeine to keep me going. I would drink a Starbucks Venti light-ice Pink Drink about 4-5x/week. I knew better!! Those things have over 35 grams of sugar (keep in mind that the suggested amount for women a day is 25 grams). I got MORE than that in 15 minutes! In addition to sugar, I was consuming GMO’s, chemicals, and other horrible ingredients. I was also consuming way too much sugar in other foods. My body had no chance!

Stress is also a HUGE factor. And I have had my fair share. I didn’t deal with it well and my body took the toll.

As stated before, I was getting sinus infections a lot. I was always catching something. It seemed like my kids would get a little cold and would get better in a day…I would catch the same thing and it took me 3-5 days to get better. So when I would get sinus infections, I was placed on antibiotics. Antibiotics destroy your gut flora and I was not replacing it with pro/prebiotics, so my gut was never going to fully repair.

How Do You Heal Candida?

First, you need to starve the Candida by removing the foods that feed it from your diet: all sugar (even from fruits), alcohol and limiting carbohydrates such as fruit, starchy vegetables, grains, and legumes. I followed The Candida Diet (which is a low-sugar, anti-inflammatory diet that promotes gut health and eliminates the sugars that feed Candida) to a T. I started as soon as I walked out of that doctors office in November (though it did cross my mind to have just one more Starbucks). I went home, purchased their eBooks and guides. I stuck to it though Thanksgiving, Christmas, even a cruise that we took in January!

Photo by John Lambeth on Pexels.com

I also took prescription anti-fungals (Nystain and Diflucan), as well as a slew of vitamins, 100 Billion CFU probiotic, and another sporebiotic.

For the last couple of months I have not taken any anti-fungals or Candida Cleanse supplements. I am continuing my regular vitamins and supplements, including a really clean probiotic, as well as continuing to eat good, whole, organic foods. I am not sticking to The Candida Diet anymore and able to eat more organic fruits and vegetables. I still see my integrative doctor for follow-ups and I get an IV every visit. So far I have had an H2O2, Ozone, and Diflucan IV therapy treatments. I have one more test to complete in July, along with a follow-up and more blood work to see how my thyroid and hormones are doing. Then we’ll go from there!

How Are You Feeling Now?

Y’all.

I use to LIVE on caffeine and still pass out at 7pm. Now, I don’t drink any coffee or tea and I still have energy at the end of the day to workout after my kids to bed at 7pm. Almost every night after putting our boys to bed, I am sweating it out to a good Tone It Up workout, followed by a quick additional weight-lifting session from Body Beast, and then cap it with yoga or a walk with friends. All without caffiene.

In addition to more energy, my skin has improved SO MUCH! I posted my new skin care routine last week and that has definitely helped to repair, but I am certain that healing the Candida as well as repairing my gut has been the biggest help. Take a listen to this podcast for more about acne and the connection to your gut.

I will have a few other posts to follow up with this one that will go into more details of my diet, how I am continuing to heal, as well as healing my other health issues that we are working on.

Hopefully this helps to answer some of your questions regarding Candida and maybe even shed some light on something that you may have been questioning.

If you have battled Candida or wondering if you have it yourself, feel free to message me and I’d love to help you find answers! If you live in the Dallas Metroplex, I would love to share my integrative doctor with you! He is awesome!

Check back in on Friday for my weekly Friday Favorites! Till then, friends, stay healthy!

xoxo Lauren


Love Like Jesus

Yesterday was #blackouttuesday. Instead of posting a blank image on my IG or FB page yesterday, I decided to wait until today. I wanted to stay silent and not post an image that would take up space for someone else who had something to say that was way more important than anything I could ever say. 

Even though I was silent yesterday, we CANNOT be silent anymore. I am outraged and heartbroken at the suffering and unequal treatment of the black community, the unnecessary loss of life and acts of hate, violence, and racism occurring across our country. 

Enough is enough.

I am listening. I am learning. My heart hurts for our nation, for George Floyd, for blacks, for all Americans, for the good cops out there, for families that are grieving, for the world. For everything. 

I honestly don’t know what to say or how to say it. I am worried that I will say the wrong thing. But even more worrisome is not saying anything. So, I turn to God, my source of truth.

“This is real love – not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as a sacrifice to take away our sins. Dear friends, since God loved us that much, we surely ought to love each other. No one has ever seen God. But if we love each other, God lives in us, and his love is brought to full expression in us.”

– 1 John 4: 10-12

“God is love, and all who live in love live in God, and God lives in them.” ” Such love has no fear, because perfect love expels all fear…”

– 1 John 4: 16-19

The notes in my Bible states, “God’s love is the source of all human love, and it spreads like fire. In loving his children, God kindles a flame in their hearts. In turn, they love others, who are named by God’s love through them. The real test of our love for God is how we treat the people right in front of us. We cannot truly love God while neglecting to love those who are created in his image.”

A friend of mine chose Sociology & Psychology as a major/minor in school and studied race/ethnicity, white flight, white privilege, gentrification, etc. and stated that it taught her a lot, specifically that she (WE) could do better, even though she felt like she treated everyone equally and avoided making assumptions based on race/ethnicity. She posted this and I had to share:

A few helpful ideas to improve communication:

  • White Privilege: If you are white and have ever gotten a job or promotion, gone to a public school, been pulled over, or gone jogging outside, you’ve experienced white privilege (so essentially, all of us). A cop drove by me on my late night run last night, and my first thought was, “I wonder if he’ll stop to ask if I’m okay since it’s so late…” My second thought was, “Wow, I’m white.” The argument that you worked hard to get where you are and thus haven’t experienced privilege is a logical fallacy, BTW. Google logical fallacy if logical methods of discussion are unfamiliar. Edited to add: Social scientists have literally seen employers throw a resume with the name “Tyrone” in the trash and keep the identical “Michael” resume for consideration. Same exact resume. So if your name is Travis or Chad or any other name that “sounds white,” you’ve experienced white privilege.
  • Race is bull anyway. Socially, it’s a thing. Scientifically? Genetically? Not so much. You may have more DNA in common with your black or brown neighbor than your white friend. 
  • On prejudice: Thinking you know how someone will act based on what they look like is the equivalent of saying you know what every kind of beer tastes like because you’ve tasted beer before. Or because your parents told you what to expect from beer. Noticing every time you’re “right” about a group is an example of confirmation bias.
  • If someone tells you something is offensive, Google it. Do your own emotional labor. Don’t make someone explain why something is insensitive or tell him or her they’re wrong. 
  • And lastly, sometimes, despite what we think we already know, we need to open our ears and our minds and shut our mouths. None of us know everything. We can ALL improve. We can all do better.

WE CAN ALL DO BETTER.

Let’s LOVE like God tells us. Let us listen with open ears. Let us hear. Lord, soften hearts and open minds.

And to close this, Ruth Chou Simons stated it beautifully, as only she could:

“Racism is a result of thinking ourselves higher and better than our Creator God and consequently in turn, thinking ourselves higher and better than another. And all of us, in our sinful nature, are capable (if not compelled) to image ourselves and guard our own perspectives. Sin is our desire to rule, rather than be surrendered to the King of Kings.

We can’t simultaneously believe we are desperately in need of God’s grace AND think ourselves better than our neighbor (or defensively deny we ever would.) Jesus came to restore our image-bearing potential. For all us who come surrendered.

So if we are in Christ, WE are conduits of restoration and redemption. WE are the messengers of God’s Way when there is no human way. WE are the image-bearers that lead other image-bearers back to the image of Him we bear.

When words fail, hearts grieve, and all seems lost in this world, I can’t help but realign my heart with the character of God and “walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you’ve been called.” (Ephesians 4:1) 

Looking to ourselves or to others for the answers will always come up short. Looking to Him keeps hope alive.”

Let’s look to Him.

May God bless you.

*Let’s keep the conversation going. Please feel free to comment below, with love and light, and let us learn from one another. Let us grow, listen, hear. Let this be a safe space to glean from one another.