Who I am is greater than who I am not.

I do not fear who I am not; I fear not being who I was created to be.

All I am is You!

I stand in confidence in who you have created me to be.

Let the fear of not walking in Your obedience be my driving force.

If I am a fool, let it be the seeming foolishness of walking out your plans.

Lord, you know all things; You see all there is to see.

I choose to listen today, walk today, and live today shouting “YES” to You!

Let my life shine faith and trust in You alone!


You Want ME to Speak on Nutrition and Exercise?!!!

A real conversation between Ray and I when I was asked to speak on nutrition and exercise, “I am not an expert in nutrition and exercise.”

“Are you kidding me? You have spent hours and hours over the course of years studying nutrition and exercise.  Why do you think you are no expert?”

This begs a question for me.  “Do you have to have a formal education, degree, or certification to be an expert?  I am not an ‘nutritionist’ and I am not a ‘personal trainer.’ In fact, I know how much I don’t know, have, and would turn to those experts for advice on many, many things.”

On the other hand, I’ve had doctors, nutritionists, and personal trainers come to me for advice too.  And so, yes, I am here to talk about nutrition and exercise not as an expert but as a woman who cares about health!

Here’s what I know.

We will never have it all right, and we can never know all the answers.  Every single person’s body, needs, and abilities are different. The theories are too vast. BUT…we can always make our own best choices today with the knowledge we have.  And we can have grace for ourselves when we do not.  Tomorrow is always a new day!

Every single one of us wants a healthy life.  Health used to be something that I thought I understood, but as with everything else in life, I have learned that health has many different meanings.  

The truth is that wherever we are, each of us want to be healthier.  How do you do that? 

How do you eat an elephant_Make one choice at a time.  I started about 15 years ago with a New Year’s resolution.  That resolution was to try one new vegetable each month. I didn’t really like vegetables back then and that was a HUGE goal for me.  I have since learned to LOVE vegetables and typically plan my meals around vegetables as the main source of food. I’ve learned to reach WAY beyond salads.  Although salads are yummy too!

Since the days of hating vegetables, I have tried something new each January to add or take something away from my life to move one step closer to health.  Sometimes that is exercise. Sometimes it is a personal growth area. Sometimes it is food. One year it was to rid our home of plastics. I have found that by doing one thing at a time, I find more success in long term change.  That’s not to say there haven’t been pushes towards big change. But the long term changes always stick when I do one thing at a time!

Life Matters Daily HabitsThis photo is a list of personal daily goals.  Every day that I accomplish most of the things on this list, I have a much better day all around.  The most difficult for me to achieve daily is laughter, water, and intentional God time. I spend time with God daily, but I often “fit it in” rather than to take the time to ‘sit with him.’  (even as I type this, my Bible and journal are to the left of my screen waiting for my attention – yikes) What about you? What intentions do you have that you find the most difficult to accomplish?

I was specifically asked to talk about nutrition and exercise in a 10 minute block of time which took me 17 — oops.  Rather than to just leave it in a video, I am writing my long notes here to share with you in long form.  Each of the sections below could be there own one hour or even semester long class in and of themselves. My notes are from my head. I’ve done tons of research, taken classes, and have benefited from many who have gone before me.  I don’t have references at this time, but if any of the topics speak to you, I encourage you to do your own research. One of my favorite learning experiences of all time was a semester long class I did with my daughter Emma from Food Renegade.

Here’s the video whose content is similar but NOT the same!

Let’s talk about Nutrition

1. The thing I have learned more than anything is that WATER is the most important part of our nutrition.  A minimum of 2 liters of water a day is going to help all the systems of your body. Better sleep, healthier skin, more balanced hormones, less hunger, beat the sugar cravings, increased oxygen, and so many more benefits come from this ONE FREE thing!

Some tricks I have learned to get my water intake up include:

  • I drink from a 1 liter water bottle.  If I drink 2 a day, I have my minimum water intake
  • Adding citrus essential oils to my water gives me a flavor burst AND I also know it is detoxing my body and lifting my spirits!
  • Sometimes I drink a liter quickly.  Even though this is not the most recommended, I figure it’s better than not getting my water in.

2.  Two-Thirds of our food intake should be Fruits and Vegetables (with vegetables being in higher portion than fruit).  I have learned to love vegetables steamed, grilled, sauteed, chopped and added to meat, and so many more ways. For most of us, we are not going to get enough fruits and vegetables in our diets, so supplements and healthy snacks become important.

  • Dice mushrooms and add them up to 50% into your ground meat — you won’t even ningxia redtaste the difference but you WILL get some great nutrients.
  • Take 30 minutes once a week to chop up vegetables for the week and then you can add them to most anything you are making.
  • Drink 2-4 ounces of Ningxia Red daily (notice the graphic which shows the value of fruits and vegetables contained in just 2 oz)
  • Take multigreens capsules
  • Drink a Pure Protein Complete or Balance Complete Shake full of superfoods that will fill you up and give you amazing nutrients.
  • Enjoy the Protein Power Bites
  • Pack boiled eggs, carrots, celery, and nuts as snacks and bring them along with you.
  • Don’t forget Enzymes and Probiotics to help your body break down the nutrients of the foods and help you get the most benefit from them!

3.  Choose whole, real food whenever possible.  There is just no replacement for the God-given, grown foods packed full of nutrients.  Do your best to avoid prepackaged foods.

4. Good fats are GOOD for you!  Olive oil, avocado oil, and coconut oil are my personal favorites.  They are the only cooking oils you will find in our home. Seed, corn, soy, and canola oils are NOT good for you.  This is another reason we avoid prepackaged foods. Most prepackaged foods use all of these cheaper, not good for you oils.

  • Another way to be sure you are getting good fats is getting supplements that have them.  OmegaGize and Olive Essentials are two products that have great benefits.
  • This is especially important for brain function!!!

Let’s Talk Exercise

There are a ton of excuses to not fit exercise into my daily life but they are ALL excuses.  When I make it a priority, there is ALWAYS time! No matter your stage of life or your budget, you can find a solution to any excuse.  

  • Time – multitask – walk while on a meeting; drop kids at an activity and walk; wake up 30 minutes early or go to bed 30 minutes later; say ‘NO’ to something less important
  • Injury – unless you are strictly on bedrest, there is some exercise you can do even when injured.  Yep, I’m speaking to my often injured, self-pitied self here! Swim, walk, bike, arm row, arm weights, leg weights, head lifts, bridges….there’s something!
  • Kids – have them join you or swap childcare with someone else
  • Money – soup cans, body weight, and putting your two feet in front of you count
  • I don’t want to – well, at least your being honest.  I will admit that in 2013, this was actually a prayer of mine.  “God, I want to want to exercise 5 times a week.”  Guess what, I do.  I WANT to exercise.  When I don’t, I don’t like it.  So, being honest with yourself is a great place to start!


  • Ningxia Red honestly helps me sleep AND gives me energy – it’s a win-win – I need less sleep and when I’m asleep, I sleep deeper – it easily gives me 30 extra minutes a day
  • Using oils to help stretch – Aromaease, Ravintsara, and Frankincense essential oils are all great to breathe in and stretch into
  • Weight Lifting – a drop of Valor essential oil under the tongue to increase your ‘can do’, Panaway and Peppermint essential oils on your muscles before and after will help your muscles relax and prepare
  • Cardio – put RC or Raven across your sinuses to breathe deeper; put peppermint on the back of your neck to cool down; bring Panaway with a roller or Deep Relief to roll on sore muscles as you need it during a workout
  • Nutrition – You want a drink that is going to hydrate, replenish, and repair muscles before, during, and after your workout.  I personally use Aminowise for this. I LOVE IT!  For long-distance or competition, you’ll definitely want Ningxia Nitro for an extra boost along the way too!

I believe with all of my being that health is a Mind – Body – Spirit connection.  When one area of our life is not healthy, it’s hard for any other part to be healthy as well.  Take a moment and answer this question – for yourself or for all of us –

What is one thing you can do for your mind?
What is one thing you can do for your body?
What is one thing you can do for your spirit?

Take the time to make a plan for each of these areas.  Implement them one at a time and watch yourself grow in health!

Athens: History and Time

I am utterly at a loss for words. I feel like the words that I could bring out of my mouth could never produce the emotion, thought, or power of what my body has observed today. 96810969-AC0D-491F-9C62-9868C3A6FFCBI could talk about the wild cats, the penis bottle openers and key chains, toilet paper in trash cans, motorcycles on sidewalks, delicious food, bakeries on top of bakeries with amazingly gorgeous food, being proposed to by a Greek man, graffiti everywhere, the mass of buildings all around, and so much more. But today it was time, history, and philosophy that left me with an emotional joy and heaviness.



As I sat atop the Acropolis, overlooking the city of Athens in the afternoon, with the sun beating down upon me, I was awestruck as I read the words of Luke in the book of Acts regarding Paul’s time in Athens. It was as if I the words came alive to me and gave time and life greater significance.IMG_7895 2

Paul got angrier and angrier as he waited for his friends to arrive in the city in which he was waiting for them. He was filled with righteous anger because he saw man made gods that the people of Athens worshiped. He saw the people of Athens were a faith filled people, but they did not know the one true god. The people of Athens created many gods and served them.

As Paul talked to a few, they were intrigued and wanted to know more; they didn’t want to leave the conversation private. They asked for a public conversation, so they took Paul to the top of a hill just northwest of where I was sitting today, where he spoke to the masses. Paul told them of the one true God. The one God that man did not create but was the creator of all things. As he related to the people of Athens with relativity, they wanted to know more. It wasn’t until he started speaking of the resurrected God that some of the people began to mock him. While others still listened, were intrigued, and wanted more.
IMG_2891 2
These were words that were spoken just less than 2000 years ago in or near the place that I sat. The words spoken so long ago are no different today than they were at that time. As I took pictures of relics that were created 250BC, others created 2000 years ago, I was filled with the weight of time’s reality. My country, the USA, was created about 250 years ago and sometimes I think the history of my country is so ancient. Today I was presented with time perspective -a theater that was used for over 10000 years built into a hill and remains yet today as a reminder of our history. As I read about parts that were added over a 250 year span, I realized 250 years is truly a blip. Even 2000 years is a blip in the reality of eternity.

I have always “known” that my life is a mere blip in comparison to the history of man. Today, that reality became clearer and clearer. “Does my life really matter?” Yes, for sure. EVERY SINGLE person that was ever created has lead to the reality of where I am today. If they didn’t exist on the time continuum, today would not be the same.

I don’t know how long my – will last, but I want to know that I have lived with truth, integrity, and a life that matters. God created me as his masterpiece. He created me because He loves me. He wants my life to matter, but really, my life DOES matter because He created me for His purpose. My dash matters. 1973 – ?

In a shop today, I saw a blue and white banded circle with an “eye” in the center. I asked the shop lady what that circle was. She just said, “it’s protection. Greeks believe this stuff.” Right above that circle was a picture of Jesus. She will never know the significance of that moment in my life. Her dash matters. I continued on with my day and noticed statues, keychains, and many other items that brought idols to life in a way that I had never noticed. And it was atop the acropolis with the book of Acts in my hand that I realized that though I have spoken of idols in my life and talked about what idols look like in the lives of others that I have never lived with a man-made physical item that mattered to me in a way that Paul was describing to those in Athens at the time. I see them all around me in America too. It’s not that Athens is unique to material idols. But it was the weight of the history that surrounded me along with the truth of God spoken in the place that Paul spoke so long ago that it became real to me.

What I want every day is to know that the dash I lived is a dash that I lived in obedience to my creator. A dash that is filled with the love of God, others, and myself. I want to be known as someone who makes others feel good. Others matter.

So, Athens, I have been in your city one day. That one day has already filled me with the significance of your history. I cannot wait to see what the next 31 will bring.


Healthy Donuts for Breakfast

The look of this glorious treat gives me the emotional feeling of guilt as I look upon this deliciousness for my breakfast.  But truth be told, I am making a healthy choice this morning for breakfast.  Zoe made these last night for our morning’s breakfast and Ben plated them up with some sliced bananas.  I have made them before with muffin tins before we purchased the donut pan.  They are truly better with the donut pan.  There is a crispness surrounding the donut that was not there before.  You won’t regret making these – or eating them!!

No Guilt Needed!!!  Simply Enjoy!!!

Chocolate Protein Donuts

  • Servings: 10 donuts
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print


  • Preheat oven to 350
  • Spray donut tins with coconut oil spray


  • 1/2 cup YL Chocolate Pure Protein Complete
  • 1/2 cup almond meal
  • 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 2 Tbsp. avocado oil (or coconut)
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened almond milk
  • 1/4 cup coconut yogurt
  • 1/4 cup dark chocolate chips (optional)


  1. In a bowl, combine all dry ingredients and stir to combine.
  2. Add the rest of the ingredients to the bowl and mix until combined.
  3. Scoop 1/10th of the batter into each donut tin
  4. Bake for 15 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.

Optional: Add toppings. We added a chocolate drizzle made with maple syrup and cooca powder. A peanut butter drizzle would be yummy too!

The Movie Pass Literally Saved Our Lives

Happy Birthday almost became Happy Homecoming Day to 5/6 of us!happy birthday

I’m not even kidding.

I woke up this morning to birthday greetings from my husband and all four of my children.  Those living in our home made me an amazing breakfast, gave me homemade cards with promises of greatness to come.

We all worked, did school, and walked to “Frys” to get all the ingredients for slamming sandwhiches for lunch and a grilled steak dinner.  It was a great, happy day.

I received tons of wishes for a great day from more than 100 friends and families in the form of letters, texts, FB posts, messages, and a friend even stopped by with a personally delivered piece of love!  I have been loved well!!!

We have had tons of fun this month, with tons more to come, so didn’t want to spend money out even though my family wanted to spoil me.  BUT, because we have these movie passes that we have already paid for, we can see one movie per day every day of the year!  It feels like we get to see free movies because they are already paid for.  So, I decided I’d let the movie pass be the thing that my family could spoil me with!

Tonight, well, tonight, the movie pass became PRICELESS!!!  They literally saved our lives.

I am not a huge movie buff.  There are a few well-placed movies that call me out to the theaters.  Like one or two a year.  And my family “get” me to watch movies with them at home for family time.  BUT my family all loves movies.  I have 4 kids (21, 16, 14, and 12) who ❤ movies.  So, I get into their world  To get into their world more, we all got movie passes.

Since we had the movie passes, I said “Let’s go see Jumanji for my birthday since it will be out of theaters soon.”  But really it was me being cheap and allowing my family to take me out for my birthday.  It was an alright movie…but I would have waited until it was on Netflix if I didn’t have the movie pass.  (this is not a full review of the movie – it was good)

The movie started at 6:20.  We left home at 6:03.  The movie ended at 8:19 and we drove home.  We were home by 8:30.

That’s when we knew the movie pass had saved our lives.  The house smelled of horrible gas.  A quick walk over to the stove and the culprit was found.  The burner had been left on, leaking gas into the house the entire time we were gone.  Had we been home, we would not have smelled the gas.  We would have silently gone to sleep and never woken up.

We have gas appliances and a gas heater, but no, none, nada, zip, zero Carbon Monoxide Detectors.

IMG_4154We opened all the windows, all the doors, turned on all the fans and did the reserach we needed to do.  We ate pie and ice cream and opened gifts outside.  And then we left the house wide open and drove to Wal-Mart.  There we purchased not one, but TWO, carbon monoxide detectors.  Our home is now replete with the tool that would save our lives had it not been for the movie pass.

So, as I end this 45th birthday, I am ending it fully alive and grateful for a movie pass that rescued our family and saved our lives!  I am ready to meet Jesus when that day comes, but TODAY was NOT that day!

So…two pieces of advice…

  1. If you don’t have a movie pass, I highly suggest it.  All kinds of movies are out there waiting to be seen for one crazy low price.  We paid 8.95 per month for ours!   But now, I call them simply PRICELESS!!!
  2. Get carbon monoxide detectors in your home if you don’t have them already.



Dear Dani,

This morning, I am thankful for you.  You already know that you brought me and so many others health we could never have imagined. Taking ownership of health has been completely transformational.  And I thank you for that.

But today, I am thinking of the abundance I have found. I’m not talking about financial abundance (although that is nice too). I’m talking about the personal growth.

IMG_5106In the past four years, here are some of the words I would use to describe my personal abundance:

  • Confidence
  • Purpose
  • Belief
  • Dreams
  • Trust
  • Love
  • Relationship

I have been told I have a story and a life that other’s want to take part in.  Seeing others grow in confidence and belief in themselves is something that utterly drives me, but having the confidence that others care to hear what I know is something that has taken time.  It is something I am still growing in.  But, I now have confidence that I was created a unique being whose life is worth sharing.  I have confidence that the things I am passionate about are important enough to share because there are others who not only care to know what I care about but because there are others who NEED to know why I care.  It doesn’t have to be for everyone.  But for those who care to know, I want them to know and I can stand in that confidence.

I wake up each and every morning with a desire to see others live their lives to their fullest potential THIS day.  We don’t have a day to waste.  Each day was given to us to live.  My desire for others to live for the purpose they were created gives me a skip in my step and pops me out of bed each morning!

I believe in me, but more importantly, I believe in others.  I SEE that every. single. woman, man, and child can do and become whatever they were created for.  As I believe in others, I believe more in myself.  I LOVE seeing others believe in themselves!!!

Somewhere along the way, I stopped dreaming.  I started looking for what’s realistic.  If it wasn’t realistic, achievable, or “sure to be a failure,” I stopped and didn’t continue dreaming.  I have learned to DREAM!!!  I have learned to BELIEVE in the power of dreaming.  If my dreams are in my ability, they are not big enough.  I don’t have to be worried about failure.  I don’t even have to achieve my dream.  But if I don’t reach for something bigger than me, I am holding God back.  I am not believing in His ability to show me what I was created for.

I am learning to trust my instincts.  I know everything I need to know to do what I was created to do.  This is probably the area I am growing in the most right now – trust!  I might not have the knowledge, experience, or have done the thing that is before me, but I know everything I need to DO what the instinct inside of me says I should do.  I will pick up the details of how I will execute as I listen to that still, small voice that tells me what to do!

Love for myself, my family, my friends, and my God has grown as I have come to find who I am along this journey.  When I struggle to love, I ask God to give me His eyes.

Because He is patient, I can be patient.  Because He is kind, I can be kind.
Because He does not envy, I don’t have to envy.
Because He does not boast, I do not have to boast.
Because He is not proud, I don’t have to be proud.
Because He does not dishonor others and is not self-seeking, I don’t have to dishonor others or be self-seeking.
Because is not easily angered, I don’t have to be easily angered.
Because He keeps no records of wrong, I keep no records of wrong.
He does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth, and He protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
So I can do the same. 

I will spend my entire life growing in Love.

My understanding of business has grown which has created a depth of understanding in me that goes far beyond business.  Everything in life comes down to relationship.  The way we live every aspect of our life matters.  I could write an entire book on this topic.  Whether if a time span is a moment or a lifetime, the value of others is always priority.  When I consider relationship my question is this, is what I am saying or doing providing value to the other.  As I value others, I value myself more too!  Relationship is everything!

My dear friend, Dani, YOU are the reason I have found amazing abundance.  I am a better person because you chose to invite me to your home to teach me about little drops of plant juice four years ago.  I could never have begun to imagine how plant juice (aka essential oils) would impact every single aspect of my life.

Thank you!

I love you and am forever grateful for your choice to care!

Almost THE final mile

Two weeks ago, I finished a 7 mile run with numb extremities and blue lips. During the week, I struggled to run, so on my Friday run, I was DETERMINED I was going to complete ONE stinking mile before I walked. I was training for a 1/2 marathon for goodness sake, and I should be able to run one, lonely, stinking mile without stopping for air!!! It doesn’t matter that I’m running at 6800 feet because I live here and I’ve been running at elevation for 3 years now.

By the time I finished that first mile, I couldn’t see. I was running with my eyes closed because I was blacking out — but dang it, I finished that mile!
I grabbed ahold of the fence next to me for a few seconds and smiled as I told Ray all was good. I jogged and walked the rest of the two miles. It was a crappy run, but I at least finished that first mile.

An hour later, I was walking across the gym floor to take my position as Zoe’s volleyball coach for her first ever volleyball game. As I reached the chairs, I lost my vision and decided I better take a seat before passing out. After a few seconds on the chair, I was fine. The Volleyball games went on (Zoe’s team won one and lost two).

Many friends suggested that I should get to a Dr. So, this past Friday, my physician was concerned enough that he performed an EKG. ran blood work, and sent me to a cardiologist.

The EKG showed a long QT rate which along with the symptoms I had displayed, suggested it could have caused me to die while running the week before.

I was told that until I was cleared by the cardiologist, I could not exercise beyond walking.

Ray and I have a race in May for which we are going away for a few days to wine country in CA — this news was not welcome for many reasons — running is LIFE! Some people smoke cigarettes, some people have yoga, or soda, or beer, or…. — well, I have running — to not run, is sort of like not breathing to me.

I assumed my running career was over after learning about Long QT rates and finding that my blood work showed a normal, healthy Renee’. Because we are going to live life to its fullest no matter what is thrown our way, we have been planning our life of yoga and golf – destination running for Ray and me finding new ways to embarraas him as a cheerleader while he runs and enjoying the adventure of life without my running.

But guys, today I went to the cardiologist. I DO NOT HAVE A LONG QT RATE!!!! The EKG machine said I do, but the cardiologist said, “I have not yet been replaced by a computer.” I have a “u” wave which caused the machine to read my QT rate incorrectly. (“u” waves are common for runners with a slow heart rate)

She believes the symptoms were caused from a combination of
1. having been sick for two weeks prior
2. running before I was completely healthy
3. needing more sodium for my low runner’s blood pressure
(Ray learned that Cheetos are the best source of salt when in need while running the Pike’s Peak Ascent a few years ago)

My grandfather died at 52, my dad at 37, and my brother has had multiple heart attacks — so….she’s going to run a battery of other tests on me just to be sure she is not missing something.

In the meantime, she told me to RUN — I get to BREATHE again — I have to take it easy and not push it until the other tests are done — but I get to RUN!!!!!!!