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Saturday, February 15, 2014

Family Day

So Ryan instituted this thing called Family Day, where I have NO commitments and we get out of the house and do fun things.

Today we drive around Bainbridge Island and looked at all the huge, gorgeous houses. 

Then we went for a rain soaked walk at Fort Warden.

Finally, Blackbird Cafe for hot chocolate, lattes and elk cookies. (Thanks, Arbonne for letting me treat my family!)

Then we went to Churchyard teas & yarn (where we ignored all the yarn), to look at their loose-leaf teas. The clerk gave us a generous sample of the rooibos mango, and we bought a small thing of ginger rooibos. 

Since Ryan and I are seriously cutting back on coffee, tea's become our thing. 

Little miss decided to take a turn driving. Backseat driving just wasn't good enough.

We'll go home and have some delicious quateel (Thai chicken noodle soup.) And you should be jealous! It's one of my fave meals ever. 

Yep. I make my kids eat weird things.

After folding tons of laundry, and putting the girls to bed, Ryan and I will play games. 

Last night, we watched Monuments Men, and I highly recommend! The house was packed. We got free readmittance tickets because one of the employees was super rude to us on the phone when we were asking about showtimes. So now we can see another movie! :)

Last night, we attempted to get a good shot of the girls togerther for Valentine's day. I'll let you be the judge of how well that went:

We got a few OK ones ....

This weekend has been a welcome relief from, well, from this ...

Just keepin' it real, y'all. 

What fun things do you do with your families?

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Ever wonder what a detox bootcamp is?

"So, let me get this straight. You're thin . . . and you want to go on a diet?"

"If you don't eat dairy, wheat, gluten, alcohol, coffee, different fruits, processed foods, white anything . . . um . . . what DO you eat?"

"Why is it called a detox?"

"So, are you not eating any REAL food? Are you filling your body with artificial supplements?"

"Are you  supposed to eat this way forever? And if not, what's the difference between this and a diet?"

All perfectly valid questions. And I'm happy you asked. (Aren't you?)

I like to call this detox a BOOTCAMP. Here's why:

When you go to bootcamp, it's meant to be for a season. You take away distractions from your focus. You surround yourself with people who are like-minded. Every day, discipline and regulations are pounded into you until they become second nature. You are out of your comfort zone, and only then, can you change. You break free from relying on others for your emotional health, and learn to rely more on yourself. You forego some rights, but for the greater good. You take the good habits, the discipline, you learned at camp and you begin to apply them to help you achieve your goals.

In short, it's a season of intense training to help you develop HABITS that will help you become successful in the future.

And that's exactly what this detox bootcamp does.

It is meant to be for a season (1-2 months). You take away the food that could be potentially allergenic, cause inflammation, cause blood-sugar spikes, or overall is simply not healthy to your body.

By joining our Facebook group, you are surrounded by 50+ people who are working toward the same health goals you are. You encourage each other, and admit to them when you are having a hard time.

Every day of the detox, you learn discipline. Every time you say "no" to an unhealthy snack, or a craving that you really don't need, you learn how often you used to say "yes" to those things. Constant repetition in a short amount of time really settles in the discipline. Toward the end, you become more addicted to how you FEEL when you are eating clean, than you are to all those unhealthy cravings.

You are out of your comfort zone. Only when we challenge what we believe to be true about our food -- only when we do our due diligence -- do we find that we really can change and WANT to change.

You break free from relying on coffee (ME! ME! ME!) for your emotional health. (or soda. or sugar. or cake. or bread. or wine.) You realize that instead of buying a Starbucks to feel better, you can buy yourself a $5 bouquet of flowers. You can write someone you love a letter. You can give yourself 15 minutes extra time to read a book you enjoy. You learn that,

You forego some food. Yep, it's hard. When I go to someone's house for a party, it's hard to turn down a cup of coffee or glass of wine. It's hard to forego the cake and ice cream. Like I said in my previous post, this isn't a namby-pamby detox. But -- it IS worth it. And that my friends, is what really takes the cake.

You take the good habits, all the know-how you've learned, the clean-eating recipes and tips, and you start applying them to your real life. We recommend the 80/20 principle. 80% of the time, eat whole clean foods, just like you did on the detox. 20% of the time, splurge a little and enjoy life.

In short, it's a season of intense training to help you develop HABITS that will help you become healthy now and in the future.

So now to address a few of your questions:

- Yep, I'm thin. Thin doesn't always mean HEALTHY. And I still have toxins and extra fat to lose. Eating clean will not be detrimental to my health in anyway. And I'm thankful to lose a little bit of weight, because well, I had it to lose. ;)

- It's called a detox because you are working on two things: limiting the amount of toxins you are bringing INTO your body. And using Arbonne's detox tea, probiotics, and 7-day-cleanse to help flush out the toxins currently stored in your fat and gut.

- As for the real food, I think my previous post explains what I'm eating. But yes, there are these yummy delicious protein shakes that are FABULOUS and really help cut cravings. It uses pea protein, rice protein, and cranberry protein. And it's chalk-full of essential vitamins and minerals. A few other supplements we have are helpful as well. But that is what they are -- supplements. The focus is still on eating whole, healthy, clean foods.

If you still need a few more examples, here you go! (Try not get too hungry!)

-As I explained earlier in this post -- or maybe, that's what this whole post is about to begin with -- NO, you do not eat this way forever. Just MOSTLY forever. ;) We recommend slowly introducing all of the items you did not eat back into your diet, ONE AT A TIME, to see how you respond. Then you can be educated about what you choose to eat. For instance, last time I did this, I realized all processed meats give me reflux. Because I know that, I can choose to eat something knowing it would make me not feel well. Or I can just forego it, and my tummy will thank me.

If you are interested in joining me for the February detox bootcamp, I'd love to have you. Email me at, and I'll send you all the info.

And wherever you are on your journey, I hope you find some wisdom in one VERY important last piece of advice:

Saturday, January 18, 2014

28-day detox -- so, what DO you eat?

I wish I could give you the laundry list of everything I'm cutting out of my diet, and make it not look so hard.

I wish I could sugar-coat it.

(NO really. I want to cover it in sugar. And then add on some delicious bread, and maybe some cheese. And finish it off with chocolate cake with a vanilla breve to boot.)

Except I can't.

Not literally. Not figuratively.

If you are looking for namby-pamby, easy-breeze, no sacrifice required, shed pounds without even blinking kind of diet -- this is NOT the detox for you.

So. Let's just get it out there. What I'm not eating.

-Sugar or honey
-Wheat, or gluten of any kind
-Coffee or other caffeinated beverages besides green tea/fizz sticks
-All fruits EXCEPT green apples and berries
-Anything refined or "white"
-Artificial anything -- dyes, flavorings, etc.

It doesn't take long to go down this list and realize that what is  typical in American diet does NOT make the cut.

So . . . what the heck have I been eating anyway???

Roasted cauliflower and brussell sprouts, with garlicky green beans,
and cilantro-lime brown rice.

Avocado lime chicken salad. Yumm!
A breakfast shake alternative. Brown rice farina (think "cream of wheat")
with mixed berries and coconut cream.
Easy and delicious vegetable soup, seasoned with fresh sage.
Baked green apples with pecans, oats, cinnamon, nutmeg, stevia and a sprinkle of vanilla.

And has all this been delicious?

I'll let the photos speak for themselves.

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

New Year's Resolution... And it's not what you think

I'm a business woman. I'm a mom going through an adoption. I'm a baby-obsessed, ttc woman. I'm committed to leading a healthy life.

As I thought of my new years resolution, some of the desires of my heart came to mind:

-promote to RVP and earn my Mercedes
-earn a trip to Los Cabos for my family
-complete the adoption for little miss
-have a healthy live baby from a healthy pregnancy
-cook more whole foods and begin exercising regularly
-write a book about our losses (or at least start it)
-spend more time reading the Bible and praying
-become a more patient, balanced mom

Except these are not my resolutions.

Goals? Of course. Desires? Absolutely.

But none of these are the one resolution that I can look back on when it's December 2014 and say... "I did exactly what I set out to do."

So what is that one thing?


I resolve to make progress in 2014. To give up perfection. To refuse to hang my hat on a certain title, health status, bank statement, number in our family, or any other arbitrary circumstance I do not have full control over.

Instead, I am choosing to judge whether I have had a successful year on the the one thing I can control...

My dedication to growth.

I will not meet each goal perfectly this year. Perhaps I will promote. Perhaps not.

But what is NOT questionable is that I commit to the mindset, the activity and the personal growth that is required of me for my business to thrive.

I am going to choose to grow in my attitude and activity.

I may not perfectly balance Arbonne, family, MEND, blogging, church and friendships. But I will focus on making progress in the way that I book my schedule. Learning to say no, learning to give myself retreat.

Every desire has a few areas that I can work on.

I know that progression sometimes necessitates regression.

For example, as I have gone through grief, there were times I felt lost in emotion, as though the loss just happened. And at different times, it make take a few hours, days, weeks or months to realize I HAVE made progress overall... Even if there were plenty of times I had regressed.

My journey through 2014 might be also fraught with regression. It might also be fraught with new losses, frustrations, or sickness. It may be full of blessings and victories. Or a solid handful of each.

I do not have absolute control over any of those things. But there is one thing I can control.


No matter what this year brings, I choose to grow

P.S. The adoption is pretty much a done deal at this point. We are so close to the end, that making progress in this area is simply following through on the last few steps left to make little miss officially a Lewis. :)

Sunday, December 29, 2013

It's just a cake

This day is supposed to be fun. Supposed to be fun. Supposed to be fun.

No matter how many times I keep telling myself this, my perfectionistic self keeps talking right back.

You won't have enough seating. Everyone will be bored. You didn't plan the snacks well. There's not going to be enough cake. You forgot to pick up ice cream and cups. You procrastinated on too many things.

At least, I consoled myself, I like my theme. And it's not too hard.

Black, white and pink all over.

I got some adorable things. Maddy picked out zebra striped plates. I picked out black and white polka dot napkins. I got clear cellophane snack bags with a Damask print to send home pink sprinkle popcorn as the favors.

And my favorite of all??? A zebra print cake mix. With pink icing on top.

Last year, for the first and last time, I looked up pintrest for maddy's 4th birthday party theme: sprinkles.

Before that event, my party M.O. was lazy simple.

I baked cupcakes and frosted them. Maddy decorated them with sprinkles. They always looked awful, but tasted great. I served it with ice cream. And your choice of water or coffee.

Family came over, and we opened presents. And that was It. No fanfare. No themes. No favors, no games, no nothing. At least nothing Facebook- or pintrest-worthy.

But last year, I wanted do something really special. And with the help of my sisters, we pulled it off, and sprinkle party still gets mentioned by maddy a year later. (And might I add, it took about a year to stop finding sprinkles in the rocks in our floor.)

But as much as that party lives on in Maddy's book of all-time-cool memories... I was craving something simpler this year.

The theme started with a pack of cute black and white birthday candles. And I knew I had to get them.

Same trip, I find the cake to beat all cakes. I'd already tackled tie-dye cupcakes... And what could be more perfect?? Zebra print cake, with pink frosting.

Maddy would LOVE this.

(or maybe, really, this one was all about me.)

The cake started out tonight awesome. The pattern was coming out just like it said it would. I only needed one cake pan --- which was great because little miss has managed to hide one of our cake pans and I can't find it anywhere.

When I cut the cake in half to add icing in the middle, the inside looked amazing.

(And that, my friend, is the very last time anyone will use the word "amazing" for this cake.)

When I added the top layer, it was falling apart. I couldn't flip it over properly, so I had to put the top on upside down. I've done it before without much fuss.

But this time the cake is literally crumbling apart. Ryan tried to hold the sides together as I slathered on all the icing I could. I think I hoped magically the icing would turn into pink, strawberry-flavored glue.

It did not.

And I had used all my icing, and there was none left for the sides.

I only had a can of purple vanilla icing in my pantry.

Ok, I thought. I can make this work. Pink on top, purple on the sides. Maybe I can make it look like this was on purpose.

But the icing on the sides just literally pulled the cake apart.

My beautiful masterpiece looked like a kindergartener's science fair project erupted all over it.

I didn't know whether to laugh or cry.

Ryan promises to bake a cake tomorrow in the copious amount of free time we (don't) have.

But I didn't want just any cake. I wanted THiS one. With the zebra print.

Ryan (the logical one here) reminds me that it is JUST a cake. Maddy will love it. (and she probably will.) "We'll feed this one to the kids, and make a prettier one for the adults."

As I concede and head to bed, I think to myself... You know. It's not just a cake. It's a memory. And I have a choice to make this one a shameful, embarrassing one. Or a memory we can laugh at for the years to come.

I choose to laugh.

As I head into Maddy's room long after she's given in to her dreams, I kiss her soft, squishy cheek and hold her limp hand. And I pray that tomorrow I forget all that party stuff which doesn't really matter anyway... And choose to enjoy and celebrate the most beautiful blessing on earth ...

My (not-so-baby) girl Maddy.

Happy 5th birthday sweetheart. And may we have many more cakes and memories to laugh at in the years to come.

(Maddy's sprinkle party last year... And proof that I do know how to frost a cake:)

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

The spirit of Christmas

The other night while dutifully folding laundry, I was watching a Christmas special. I remember last year, Netflix had a whole bunch of cute Hallmarky kind of movies, and this year I wanted to find one.

I started -- and stopped -- a few different holiday specials. As much as I understand that most of the world doesn't celebrate Christ anymore... I still found the explanations of "Christmas spirit" to be somehow not enough.

Which made me really think about what the Christmas spirit is anyway.

Is it a drive to help others that starts on a Friday in November (and I would argue that it most definitely does not) and ends abruptly on December 26? Is it a time to celebrate family? Is it a time to let each other know how much we love them?

Is it a time to have childlike dreams come true? A time to "celebrate" with every friend and acquaintance? Is it a time of tradition, of making egg nog and sugar cookies? A time to eat delicious food without guilt, and max out our budgets without remorse?

I guess the heart of what I'm searching for is, what is a Christmas without Christ?

Some people may staunchly tell you that you cannot have a meaningful Christmas without Christ. And I would argue that tons of people have a meaningful holiday without God being anywhere near the heart of their celebration.

We all have meaningful days in our lives without including Christ. People around the world will be enjoying deep tradition, new beginnings, first Christmases for babies or couples, thoughtful gifts given and received, a well-deserved break from work, and the joy that can come from being around the people you love.

In short, they will be enjoying the "Christmas spirit" our culture has sold us.

But the joy that comes from those Christmases is all so dependent, isn't it? It depends on being surrounded by all of your loved ones, having hope in your circumstances, feeling healthy and whole, having time to take a break, and being free from the ever-present taint of grief.

Where is the joy of family when when your family is embroiled in a bitter divorce?How do you enjoy unwrapping gifts when the budget is so tight, you couldn't afford to fulfill your own children's wishes? What do you do when you're planning on celebrating new beginnings... But your pregnancy just ended in miscarriage? How do you find joy in delicious food when your body is battling cancer? What if you already feel lonely, or hopeless, poor, sad, angry or hurt?

The traditions and the gifts and the celebrations really aren't enough to satisfy. Not deeply anyway. Not in a way that would cover up all the hurt, disappointments, frustrations, broken relationships and lost dreams that can seem extra hurtful when you surrounded by other people's Christmas spirits. In fact, the Christmas spirit might just make everything hurt MORE.

This year, I am thankful the Christmas spirit is not enough.

I may not be as broken as I have been in years' past. And yet, I find that when I think about all the fun of Christmas -- the presents, the food, the celebrations, the services -- they simply don't add up to a spirit of joy in me.

Our family is embroiled in a painful divorce. I expected to be giving birth in a few weeks, but I am not. I had hoped we would have little miss as ours forever at this point, but we are still waiting. I had hoped to spend time with all my family, dining on our traditional feasts and exchanging gifts with all the kids. But my family is scattered.

The spirit of Christmas is not a balm enough for the hurt I've experienced, the disappointments, the failures.

And I am thankful it is not.

Because that opens my heart to the true Spirit of Christmas. The gift if God's only son. God's heart broke with His gift, so ours no longer had to. The promise of a deeper love, unending and without condition, broke through this desperate world of ours with the shout of angels and a newborn's cry.

His is a gift that can never be destroyed by disease, untimely death, divorce, broken promises, despair, hopelessness or heartache.

His gift is the perfect gift.

Perhaps this just propels the myth that Christ is only for the weak, the broken, the hurting. But maybe it's just that it's when we are weak, when we know the things of this world cannot satisfy, then alone are we most open to the best gift of all.

The gift of Jesus Christ.

Tomorrow, I hope you will join me in celebrating the true SPIRIT of Christmas.

Merry Christmas, from our family to yours --

Rachel, Ryan, Maddy and Little Miss

"But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong."
1 Corinthians 1:27

Monday, December 23, 2013

Women of many talents

The other day, I posted about singing up front at a service for the first time in over a year. A dear friend commented that I was a woman of many talents.

Which was very sweet, but it got me thinking... Aren't we all women of many talents?

Mine just might be more "on stage" than yours. Mine are the kind you can do at your school's talent show.

But let me tell you girls, you have a heck of a lot of talents I wish (wish wish wish) I could possess.

My friends Stacy, Meredith and Deanna have awesome organization skills. I've said if they are Type A, then I am Type Z. They can run organizations, naturally lead, have great business sense, and manage time like its nothing. In fact, they are actually on time to things. (To me, that's right up there with having magical powers.)

My mom is crazy-skilled at home-keeping, time management and hostessing. You will never want for food at her house. (Yet at mine, we are out of milk, bread, cream --and therefore by default, coffee -- cereal, oatmeal, apples and peanut butter right now. Not to mention that we have piles of laundry all over over our living room, a phenomena I don't ever recall seeing in my childhood.) I think my kids will be eating a stick of butter each for breakfast in the morning. (Just kidding... I think.)

My friend Jessica is empathetic, compassionate, soft-spoken and loving. She reminds me of the verse somewhere in the Bible that says, in reference to her kids, "they will arise and call her blessed."

My friend Jeni is a rockstar at getting stuff done. My friends Grace and Emily so impress me with their discipline in running. My friend Melissa loves her kids like no one's business. Kristin will do anything for you, and is one of the most generous and giving people I know. Jeanne is super smart and gives great advice, and always shows that she listens and cares. Marilyn shows so much grace, kindness and strength of character.

My sister Sarah is gorgeous, is the best hostess I know, is a fabulous cook, bakes with the best of them, is super generous and is a fabulous mom. My sister Judy... Well, there's probably nothing you could put in front of her that she couldn't do.

My friend Robin has stuck with me persistently since we were (wait for it ... ) in junior high gym class. She's pursued me through tons of national and international moves between the two of us. She has a heart for God, and doesn't get nearly as caught up as I do in perfectionism. She really balances me out.

Stevie blows me away with her sensitivity, generosity, the way she feeds her family, and runs a business from home.

Bethany has the uncanny ability to meet me and others in grief. She makes me laugh and cries with me. She has a gift of sisterhood.

If I've left you off this list, it doesn't mean I haven't noticed your talents. I have, and do... And yes, every once in a while I wish your talents were mine.

(For those of you who possess the
Magical Power, will you please tell me, is there a pill or something I can take that will make me on time?!?!)

I think sometimes when we see others talents, we wish we had them for ourselves. (Perhaps that's just me though.)

But when I really think on it, I, for one, am glad none of us are perfect in talent.

Think of a girl who is perfect in everything she does. Sound like someone you want to be best friends with? Probably not.

And you know what? She probably would be a little lonely herself. If we knew her, we might be so intimidated we'd completely miss out on her friendship and the joy her personhood might bring.

So my challenge to all of us is this:

Affirm those talents in yourself, and affirm them in your friends. Show everyone the gift of who they are to you. And be happy with the gift you are to others.

And give others and yourself lots of grace, because in their own way, our weaknesses are gifts too.