I am BLESSED and encouraged to share this beautiful word from my good friend Sarah Shaffer! She is an amazing woman whom I met through health coaching, and God is now using her to help other women find freedom! She is a mom of two, and here she shares some practical and real-life tips on balancing it all, and staying mentally, spiritually, and physically healthy as a stay at home mom! (Even if you aren’t a mom, there is such rich wisdom on overcoming food related temptations!) I hope it blesses you guys as much as it did me!
It’s Hard to be at Home
By: Sarah Shaffer
When my daughter was born four years ago, my husband and I took a huge leap of faith, one of the biggest in our life together. We prayerfully decided that it was time for me to leave a successful career in public relations and marketing to stay at home full-time with our kids. When I left my career, there were things I expected. I expected to buy more yoga pants, and fewer heels. I expected to have more playdates and fewer lunch meetings. I expected children songs to become embedded in my mind, and to embrace the routine of picking up toys over and over again. However, one thing that I did not expect, or adequately prepare for was the isolation that can come from being at home. While I considered (and still do) the ability to stay at home a huge blessing, the fact is, that it can be very lonely. Though I had battled eating disorders for most of my adult life (specifically binge eating), I was not prepared for how much more severe it would become for me as a stay-at-home mom. It didn’t take long for me to recognize that my binge eating was getting out of control and that the Enemy was getting a tighter grip on me in that area. I remember desperately crying out to the Lord asking Him to reveal ways for me to avoid eating inappropriately, out of isolation and loneliness. He is always faithful! Almost instantly I felt hope as He inspired thoughts that would help set and keep me free.
My prayer is that the Lord would use my struggle to help set other women free. I pray that what the Lord has graciously revealed to me over the past four years will bless you. If you are struggling today, you are not alone and the Lord who sees knows your pain. He will free and restore you, it’s His promise!
These are just some of the ways the Lord has shown me how to live in freedom:
• Pray! Something I asked of the Lord when I cried out to Him was that He give me a quick, easy, instant replacement for thoughts of food and eating. I knew that in the chaos of my day, it had to be simple or it wouldn’t be done. His response was, “pray for someone else”. The most powerful way that the lord helped me overcome eating out of loneliness or isolation, was to immediately shift my focus to praying for someone else. How powerful! Not only was the Lord keeping me from my own sin, but calling me to be more effective for the Kingdom! “Is anyone among you is suffering? Let him pray!” James 5:13
• Rest! I am a doer, I feel more fulfilled when I’m accomplishing something. This was something I had to work through (and do daily) with the Lord. I would run myself ragged trying to accomplish tasks around the house. After leaving my career, I no longer had a boss to report to, I wasn’t getting performance reviews, and I wasn’t getting promotions or accolades. As a result, I felt that my value could only be measured by what I had done. In my mind, if the house was clean, meals were prepared, and everything and everyone smelled, and looked, and acted nice I was successful. I was also exhausted. Rest was a rare indulgence. As I worked myself into a weary state, I would become weak and more vulnerable to attack. The Lord revealed to me that it’s not only okay to rest, but it’s critical to keeping me strong against attack from the Enemy.
• Enjoy a healthy indulgence! Flipping through a magazine is one of my favorite things to do. For me, reading a magazine is a luxury. So, when I’m tempted to fill myself in inappropriate ways, I’ve learned that it’s okay to luxuriate like that. I’ve also learned that enjoying a “treat” that won’t cause me to stumble can help me avoid eating when I’m not hungry. I love a club soda was fresh lime; it makes me feel like I’m on vacation. Or, an iced coffee in the afternoon. Enjoy it and offer praise for that time to “fill your tank”!
• Run away!!! One of the most powerful tools I’ve learned to use are my feet! When the attack is fierce, my defense needs to be stronger as well. Sometimes I just need to literally turn off the lights in the kitchen, and run from the temptation! There have been times that the pull has been so strong I’ve even had to walk out of the house! “God is faithful. He will not allow the temptation to be more than you can stand. When you are tempted He will show you a way out so that you can endure.” 1 Cor 10:13
• Find your people! On the days when I feel the temptation to binge coming on, I need to be purposeful to be outside of my house. It’s those days that I schedule a play date with friends, or spend the morning at the park surrounded by the sights and sounds of other people, or even just spend the morning walking around the mall. Being intentional about staying out of the house and surrounding myself with others really helps mitigate the battle.
• Sing! It’s hard for a mouth filled with praise and worship to be sinning. When I feel tempted to fill my mouth with food inappropriately, I purposefully start praising (and praying). Almost immediately I feel my soul fill and the presence of the Lord fill the lonely spaces. “I will sing to the Lord as long as I live. I will praise my God to my last breath!” Psalm 104;33
• Get support! The Bible tells us that iron sharpens iron!! Friends, I cannot emphasis enough how critical this point is. CRITICAL! Please, if you haven’t before, ask God to give you someone, just one person that you can depend on and be accountable to. Second only to prayer and worship, this has been the most vital to my success! On the days, and in the moments when you feel alone and tempted to fill that void with food, you’ll have someone to pray for you. I have been blessed beyond measure to have had an accountability partner for the past four years! Almost daily we touch base to make sure that we are filling our souls with the Word of God, disciplining our bodies with both proper eating and exercise, and asking for specific prayer needs. Katie’s health coaching is an incredible resource to help fill this need! I absolutely would not be where I am today without it! “But instead warn admonish, urge, and encourage one another every day, as long as it is called today, that none of you may be hardened into settled rebellion by the deceitfulness of sin by the fraudulence, the trickery which the delusive glamor of his sin may play on him.” Hebrews 3:13
It’s almost Memorial Day…Which means it’s almost Summer Time! What a Better way to Celebrate the Coming of Summer than a Recipe Round-Up of Summer & BBQ inspired Dishes?
I Hope this Round-Up of Cool & Refreshing Summer Time Meals, Snacks & Treats Inspires You to Get Healthy in an Enjoyable Way this Summer!
My mom is truly one of the most amazing women I know. I know many of you can relate because let’s face it, moms give their lives for their children. The main reason that my mom is so special to me is because of her constant life of love that she has displayed to not only our family, but to everyone that crosses her path.
This life of love is displayed in many ways, but one that stands out the most to me is the way that she prays for our family. One of the greatest memories I have of my mom is her tucking my sisters and I into bed at night and praying over us. She would never even let us leave the house without praying protection and blessings over us! My mom is nothing short of a prayer warrior, and I am confident that it was those prayers that protected my sisters and I from danger, wrong paths, and even poor decisions.
The most amazing thing to me is the way that she prayed for me specifically when I was going through eating disorders. I tell people all the time when they asked me how I got free that I am convinced that I wouldn’t have the testimony I have today if it weren’t for the power of a praying momma! I remember there were a few times when I would come into my room and find her on her knees by my bed. I could tell that in my darkest hour that she was behind the scenes fighting for me, even when I wasn’t fighting for myself. For this, I could never thank her enough, and I am sure that my mom’s prayer life will be a great part of her legacy.
The second attribute that really stands out about my mom is how she gives. For as long as I could remember, she was always giving, whether it be in acts of service, generosity, or compassion. She has always been the type of woman that pours out love in tangible ways to others. I have often heard people say that when my mom walks in the room, you just feel loved. She portrays this love with her warm embrace, sweet encouraging words, and selfless attitude. I can truly say with everything in me that my mom is the kind of woman who shines the love of Jesus everywhere she goes. I truly hope to carry on this amazing trait as I can see a world that is in growing need of love, encouragement, and compassion.
And last but not least, the thing I love most about my mom is that she truly is a woman after God’s own heart. Lately I have been studying the life of David, and in doing so I have learned a lot about what makes someone a woman or man after God’s own heart. One of the greatest qualities that I have found to be so evident in David’s life is that he worshiped and trusted the Lord with everything in him. Sure, David (just like everyone of us) made some poor choices, but despite his imperfections, he had a heart that was truly committed to the Lord.
I can truly say that my mom has this same heart, which is evident in everything she does. The neat thing about my mom is that I don’t even have to be around her every day to know how she spends her time. I know by the fruit that is growing in her life that she stays connected to the ‘vine’ and author of life, who is Jesus. Because of her rich and vibrant heart for the Lord, His life flows through her onto others in a beautiful and effortless way.
My mom has always said that being a mom is one of life’s most rewarding jobs, all while being the most difficult at the same time. I know one day I will get to experience this first hand when I have my own children, but for now, I fully trust this statement as I work one on one with hundreds of women that call themselves “mom” on a daily basis. For that reason, I chose not only to write this tribute to my mom to honor her, but also to bring encouragement to all of the amazing mothers out there as well!
I want to encourage you that every prayer you have ever prayed for your family has not gone in vain. Even if it seems like it isn’t really doing much or that you are not seeing the fruit, I can promise you that every time you kneel down beside your child’s bed or pray a prayer of protection, that those prayers are shaping their destiny…and they are powerful!
I want to encourage you that your constant giving is making a lasting impact on your family and those around you.. You might feel some days like you have nothing left to give, but I can promise you that every ounce of love, encouragement, compassion, and comfort is never wasted. Whether you know it or not, every time that you give of yourself, you are shining Jesus in a tangible way…which I can guarantee stands out in this world today.
And last but not least, I want to encourage you that the Lord sees you. He sees your heart and He knows how hard you work for your family every single day. He doesn’t look at your imperfections or even your less than perfect actions, but He looks on your heart. He knows that your greatest desire is to be the best mother to your family. For this, He is is proud of you, and not a day goes by that He is not cheering you on!
To my amazing mom and all of the wonderful women that call themselves ‘moms’ out there, Happy Mothers Day!
This program was designed with brides in mind, but it is awesome for anyone who wants to get in shape for a big day!
Happy Spring Everyone!!! What a glorious time of year this is, when the dead things come back to life! Such a beautiful season, that can’t help but remind us of the redeeming goodness of our God! My husband always buys me tulips (one of my favorite flowers) at the beginning of spring- which always reminds me- sunshine and warmth are near! :) This makes my heart happy!
Another way that spring has made it’s way around our house is by changing up the decor! We finally took down all the winter themed decor (I couldn’t stand to see snowflakes any more- until next year anyway!) So, even when it was still snowing outside in April- yes- snow in April…I put bursts of spring around the home! I told my husband, hey- it’s spring somewhere! :) Here are a few pictures of some of the little spring accents I brought in around the home to brighten things up!
One of my favorite parts of spring is of course Easter Sunday! It is one of my favorite times- to celebrate the resurrection power of Jesus! Here are a few of my favorite pictures of the day, which was spent at my sisters house!
Easter Sunday this year was a double celebration, as it was also my oldest sisters birthday! We had Grilled Chicken and Veggie Kabobs, and instead of a traditional cake, my sister wanted fruit, so I created a fun way to serve it, to make it extra special for her birthday! :)
We also had some Greek style salad on the side! One of my favorite meals!
And of course- your never too old to color eggs! :) What a wonderful day it was to spend celebrating Jesus, my sister’s birthday, and spend time with family! Hope you all had a great Easter as well!
Other latest happenings this spring have been going to the Kari Jobe Majestic Concert- AMAZING!!! You have to download her new CD called Majestic if you haven’t already! I’ve been listening to it on repeat- it’s that good!
I have been enjoying wearing spring colors- even if it’s still a bit chilly here in Michigan! It’s the little things that make me so happy! :) Nothing like switching from black scarves to pink! It just does something to your heart- ya know!?
And…Last but not least, I have been enjoying my new spiral vegetable slicer! This thing is amazing! It was a gift…but I think you can get it for around $40 at Williams and Sonoma! :) I will have to use these zucchini noodles in a recipe soon!
Also, I have been enjoying making new Spring Inspired Recipes for you guys! It might be my favorite time of year for creating fresh new flavors! Be sure to check out the Top 30 Spring Recipes on Dashing Dish right now if you haven’t already done so!
Well that’s about it for now…Been hard at work preparing my Bridal Bootcamp (coming May 1st) for you new brides-to-be…and of course the upcoming new Dashing Dish website and books! Can’t wait to share them with you guys! Hope you are all having a great start to this beautiful season, where our Great God makes ALL things NEW! xo Katie
“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!” (2 Corinthians 5:17)
As the winter turns to spring around us, I am reminded in such a powerful way of how the Lord takes what was once dead and breaths His life into it, making it new.
Good Friday & Easter are special reminders of God’s amazing ability to take what was once dead and bring it back to life. As we reflect on the true meaning of these days, we remember how He took Jesus, who was dead for three days, and brought Him back to life, so that we could have abundant life and eternal salvation! What a beautiful picture of how He truly does renew and restore!
I am personally so grateful to Jesus for dying on the cross for my sins, but the amazing thing is…He did it for you too! And what’s even more amazing is that He did so much more than wash away our sins when He went to the cross.
The bible explains what exactly Jesus did when He he was crucified, and it just takes my breath away! He not only bore our sins, but the bible says that when He went to the cross He carried our weakness, and was weighed down with our sorrows. He was beaten so we could be made whole…and whipped so we could be healed! In fact, Isaiah 53 paints a portrait of what Jesus bore when He went to the cross for you and I:
Yet it was our weaknesses he carried; it was our sorrows that weighed him down. And we thought his troubles were a punishment from God, a punishment for his own sins. But he was pierced for our rebellion, crushed for our sins. He was beaten so we could be whole. He was whipped so we could be healed. All of us, like sheep, have strayed away. We have left God’s paths to follow our own. Yet the LORD laid on him the sins of us all. (Isaiah 53)
We all have areas weaknesses, and we have all been through things that have caused us sorrow and pain… But we can see in this passage of scripture that Jesus bore it all for you and me to have complete freedom and restoration from anything and everything life brings our way.
Jesus did not promise a life free from pain, in fact He told us in his word that, “In this world you will have trouble…” But He followed this statement with, “Take heart! I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33) Which means that no matter what we go through in this life, we can overcome it with Jesus!
I’m living proof that there is nothing too big or small that you can’t overcome with Jesus by your side! If you don’t know Him personally, just ask Him to reveal himself to you, and I can promise He will! After all, He didn’t die for you and I only to keep Himself a secret! He loves you so much and wants to reveal Himself to you more than you even want to know Him!
It doesn’t matter how hopeless your situation may look, or how dead something might seem. If you bring it to the God who brings life to the dead, you can surely rest in the fact that He will bring hope, restoration, and renewal to ever area of your life as well!
I pray that you come to know God’s great love for you in a deeper way this spring season. xo Katie
Spring Has Sprung! I have collected 30 of my Top Easter & Spring Recipes here to make your meal planning simple and fresh this season!
By Sarah Shaffer
What do you think of when you think of beauty? I think of fall scented days when the sun shines on radiantly colored leaves, a newborn baby’s perfect toes and pink lips, a breathtaking sunset over the Rocky Mountains. However, my mind also conjures up images of thin women with gorgeous, cellulite free legs, long flowing hair, and flawless skin.
Is that the Lord’s view of beauty? Beauty was, after all, the Lord’s idea; the Bible tells us that He is the perfection of beauty itself! Beauty is a gift from the Lord. Look around you – notice the infinite examples of beauty the Lord chose to bless us with each and every day. The Lord could have opted to transform summer’s leaf covered trees into instant nakedness in the fall. Instead, for OUR pleasure, He chose a slow and glorious process of change that includes radiant reds, oranges, and yellows. Fall is such a visual reminder of God’s love for us in the form of beauty isn’t it?
The truth is though, that we are drawn to physical beauty. At some point we’ve all probably favored someone because they were physically attractive. Statistics show that people who are perceived as physically beautiful will earn an average of $230,000 dollars more in lifetime earnings, are significantly more likely to be hired for jobs, and are more often described as “likeable” in pictures when compared to a less physically attractive person. Was that the Lord’s plan for beauty? I don’t think so.
I believe the world’s distorted view of beauty is much like the apple in the garden. It was inherently beautiful, alluring, and delightful to look at, all in God’s perfect design. It was the Enemy who took those characteristics and twisted them – made them dangerous – and in do so, distorted God’s plan for beauty. The value of physical beauty has become something it was never meant to be. Don’t you think that if being esteemed based on physical beauty were God’s plan that he would have made Jesus remarkably, amazingly, drop-dead gorgeous? Instead, the Bible tells us that Jesus had no beauty – that passage is translated into “fine-looking”. Jesus, the Son of God, the Christ, the beginning and the end, was fine looking! That means something to me!
It tells me that beauty our Lord values is not found in the adornments of hair, flawless skin, or a certain size. His plan for beauty is that we reflect Christ. The Bible says that “all of us who have had that veil removed can see and reflect the glory of the Lord. And the Lord—who is the Spirit—makes us more and more like him as we are changed into his glorious image.” The Lord’s plan for us is to measure our beauty in light of Christ’s. We are to use Him as our mirror.
Honestly, for as long as I can recall, I have struggled with what I see in the mirror. What I see is a pudgy nose, less than perfect skin, increasingly deepening creases, hair that takes a lot of heat and product to force into smooth submission, and a number of other self-labeled “flaws”. Most of my life people have said that I was pretty, but I’ve never believed it, I’ve never been able to see it for myself. This struggle is something that I’ve really had to work on. Just as I struggled for years with scale addiction, I also later realized that I had full-blown reflection addiction as well. I would search for my reflection in windows as I walked past stores and up to restaurants. I would intentionally migrate toward mirrors in my house, or at the mall. Anything that would reflect my image would suffice. And, the question would always linger, which is the most accurate reflection of what I really look like?
Thankfully, by the grace of God, I’m learning to realize is that none of them are accurate. They are all a false reflection of who I am. They literally provide a distorted view. They do not reflect my profound brokenness over the sin in the world. They do not reflect my deep commitment to prayer. They do not reflect the unimaginable depth of love and sacrifice I feel as a mom. Just as the scale delivers a false value of our worth, the mirror bares a false reflection of who we are.
When I began seeking God as my mirror, I started to see what He sees in me! In my journey toward both a healthy mind and body, I have made a conscience choice to esteem what God says about me in His Word (after all, the Bible is referred to as a mirror), more than what I see in the mirror. It’s not easy! But, as with all things, our choices either lead us closer to the Lord, or closer to the world. I’m choosing to keep my eyes and my mind on my reflection in Christ.
Today, my prayer us, is that we will seek to find our true, accurate reflection through the eyes of the Lord and there alone, the perfection of our beauty shines forth!
Have you ever found yourself thinking, “If I could just lose those last 10 pounds…”, “If I could only get that promotion…”, ” If I could only have nicer things…”(and the list goes on). If you are living and breathing on this earth, then there’s a strong possibility that you’ve found yourself thinking these types of thoughts whether you realize it or not.
As women, much of where we feel our ‘imperfections’ lie are discovered only after we measure ourselves against others. Often times, we may even feel like we ‘look pretty good’, or that ‘we’ve got great things going for us’ only to go outside of our homes and see someone who has something that we don’t. Suddenly, we find ourselves feeling dissatisfied, wishing that we could change or improve something about our lives.
I’ve definitely been a victim to this way of thinking, and I’ve observed it in people all around me. The problem with this mentality is that it leads us to a place where we never feel ‘good enough’ no matter how we change, what we own, or what we weigh. Often times, even if we do finally reach ‘that goal’ that we’ve set out to reach, we may feel content for a short time, but often times, these feelings of inadequacy almost always find a way to creep back into our thinking. This is sure to rob us of the joy of our present circumstances and the good things that are in our lives.
This cycle of comparing and competing that so many of us get trapped in ultimately means we will always be able to find someone or something ‘better’ than what we currently have, which leads us to constant feelings of discontentment. While doing this, we waste valuable time that we could be enjoying the progress that we have made, and realizing that we have come a long way from where we used to be!
Now don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying that there’s something wrong with wanting to improve areas of our lives and setting goals… But I’ve noticed that our society has a way of pushing beyond self-improvement to a place of striving, which ultimately stems from competing and comparing ourselves to others.
I can testify that I have done this many times in my own life. After reaching many different goals that I’ve set out to fulfill, I have found that it didn’t take long before I would end up focusing on something or someone else that was just a few steps ahead of me. This would ultimately leave me feeling like I haven’t reached where I wanted to be just yet. Instead of taking the time to enjoy the progress that I had made, or just to be content with all the good things around me, I would allow these feelings of insufficiency to continue to drive me.
It wasn’t long before the Lord began to deal with this mentality in me. He started by leading me to Galatians 6:4 in His word. This verse says, “Make a careful exploration of who you are, and the work you have been given, and then sink yourself into that. Don’t compare yourself to others.” Now, I know what your thinking… “Wow, this verse instructs that you need to stop comparing yourself to others!” However, I didn’t quite grasp this truth right away… It really took a good period of time of renewing my mind with the truth before I truly began to recognize that my feelings of jealousy and insecurity were doing nothing more than leaving me to suffer needlessly.
Once I began to ask God to help me in this area, He began to show me that He made me perfectly and wonderfully complex! He brought me to verses that said, “He saw me before I was born and everyday of my life was recorded in His book, “ and that “Every moment of my life was laid out before a single day had passed!” (Psalm 139:16). Therefore, I realized that there was no need for me to anxiously strive, compare, or compete anymore, because the Lord has already planned out every day of my life for me. He designed me with a specific purpose that only I could fulfill!
I had a revelation that all we really have to do is come to God every morning and ask, “Lord what would you have me do with this day of life that you have given me?” And from there, all we need to do is sink ourselves into that, setting our daily goals based on what the Lord has instructed us to do! And then we REST knowing he will instruct us and show us the next step to take.
Another neat thing about changing this way of thinking is that it frees up our time and our mind from thinking about ourselves and what ‘we don’t have’ to focusing on others and ways that we can bless them (which is what life is all about after all!).
If you’ve ever found yourself in a place where you feel like you just aren’t measuring up, here is a prayer that I wrote in down in my journal that has really helped me when I find myself struggling with feelings of inadequacy, jealousy, or dissatisfaction, (which is ultimately designed to keep us from enjoying the life that God has planned for us!)
“Holy Spirit, I pray that you would show me when I’m comparing myself to others, and to bring back these truths back to my remembrance when I’m tempted to compare myself with others, and feel like I’m not quite ‘good enough’ yet. I ask you Lord to please show me the work that you have for me, and I pray that you would help me to sink myself wholeheartedly into that and to be content while following your plan for me! I thank you Lord for making me so wonderfully complex and for laying out every single day of my life before I was born. I thank you that I am precious to you, and that you love me just as I am right now. Please help me to see myself as you see me, In Jesus Name, Amen!”
There is something about a snack that gives us the energy boost we often need to make it through the day! Quick & Easy Snacks are great because they usually don’t require a lot of thought or preparation, and yet they can be delicious and satisfying! I personally like to eat one or two snacks a day, which typically range from 100 to 200 calories each. I always try to incorporate some of protein and fiber in my snacks to keep me satisfied until my next meal. Here are some of my favorite snack ideas broken up into sweet & salty categories!
Protein Bars (I like to make my own, but if I buy them, I look for ones that have less than 200 calories, more than 10 grams of protein, and less than 10 grams of sugar. Some good brands are Quest Bars, and Think Thin Bars)
Apples with Peanut Butter (or Peanut Flour mixed with water to make a low calorie peanut butter)
Dashing Dish Protein Baked Goods (I like to make some of my protein muffins/bread and keep them in my freezer for when I need a quick snack, or to bring with me when I’m on-the-go)
Dashing Dish Overnight Oatmeal
Dashing Dish Granola
Greek Yogurt (I like buying the plain or vanilla flavors and adding stevia/honey with creative toppings, such as frozen fruit)
Sweet Potatoes (microwaved, and topped with cinnamon/stevia mixture)
Air Popped Popcorn (with stevia/cinnamon sprinkled on it)
Frozen Fruit (I personally like frozen berries, sweetened with a bit of stevia)
Single Serve Pizza on a High Fiber Wrap/Pita
Roasted Veggies with Parmesan Cheese
100-Calorie Pack of Roasted Almonds
Air Popped Popcorn with salt and/or parmesan cheese
Low Fat Cottage Cheese
These are not all of the ‘clean eating’ snack ideas out there, but these are just a few of my favorites! Please feel free to share some of your favorites in the comments!