"Don't Look around, look up!"

2017 was a year of intense life changes. Some of those changes were the fulfillment of goals and amazing positive learning experiences. I graduated with a degree in Nutrition and Functional Wellness and started working as a nutritionist. However, some changes were not all what I would qualify as positive, though there certainly is things to learn from it. My marriage of 14 years unexpectedly dissolved and I have found myself a single mom of four. Speaking of children, my oldest became a teenager which is inherently an intense change - not to mention the new phases and life changes each of my other 3 children have experienced. 

It has been a year where my faith, confidence, and patience (not to mention mental/emotional health) has been tested like I have never experienced before. And sitting here at the end of it, I can now say that I am stronger today than I was before. I'm more compassionate, better at maintaining healthy boundaries, and learning to be more kind (to myself and others). 

In short, I choose happiness. I choose to not consider circumstances outside my ability to control with negativity any longer. I choose to see it as an opportunity for greater growth, new experiences, and possibilities. Anger doesn't serve me and I don't like how I feel or respond when I allow anger, hurt feelings, resentment, or blaming to take up residence in me.
I also won't just be nice anymore (Hear me out on this one). Most of the time people are "nice" to each other, which is...nice. However, what you and I need to be more of is kind.
The difference is that niceness has a tendency to sacrifice personal happiness or well being for the happiness or well being of another. That's nice, but it robs the one sacrificing and breeds resentment, defensiveness, taking advantage, and misunderstanding.
Kindness, on the other hand respects each individual person's boundaries and limits, while also acting or speaking in ways that promote the well being and happiness of another.

I'm heading into the new year with a plan, hope, and faith, despite all the remaining fears. I'm looking forward and up. I have so many amazing things in the works for the newly revamped Food & L'amor this coming year. Bring it on 2018!

"Don't look around, look up!" - Yoon Hwan Choi

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I'm going to be "that" mom.

I'm going to be "that" mom.

 

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Kisses For Kycie

Kisses For Kycie

It's part of human nature to forget; Forget how blessed we are, how important each one of us is, and how loved we all are by our Father in Heaven. I believe in a loving God who understand perfectly every facet of our lives and loves us perfectly.You can learn more hereI've been so caught up in the business of raising four children, blogging, and all the other details that I felt like I'd kind of lost the bigger picture. I forgot why I started blogging about gluten free food and fitness goals in the first place. Luckily, we have lots of opportunities to be reminded of why we started the journey in the first place. Mine came the other day.I'd seen a few posts on my Facebook feed with the picture of a beautiful blond headed little girl and a request for prayers - Kisses for Kycie. This little girl lives in my area, although I have never had the pleasure of meeting her or her family. However, as I read their story tears ran down my face. Kycie had diabetes...but no one knew until her blood sugar levels skyrocketed and she was life flighted to Primary Children's Hospital where she is now struggling for her life. I continue to see updates on Kycie's condition via Facebook and my most heartfelt prayers are with her and her family.I was so touched by their story because I've been there. Yes, our circumstances were different and although my Miah was also fighting for her life with an autoimmune disease of the intestines, her fight was and is different. I believe as a parent the feelings of helplessness and hope, fear and faith, are the same no matter what kind of struggle our children are going through. More than that, a life changing event like this makes more evident the miracles and mercies in our lives.Each of us are fighting for our lives - fighting for the life we want, hope for, or feel we deserve.  Each one of our struggles are different, yet no one's fight is any less important or necessary for their personal growth.I'm so grateful for the constant reminder of the change I went through two years ago. To keep my daughter healthy now I have to make a constant, conscious effort every single day by learning to cook in ways I'd never had to before and with food I'd never heard of. Miah's personal struggle benefited our entire family and changed me for the better. Yes, I may have developed some serious anxieties over the last two years, but maybe with a little more reminding and a little more faith those fears will subside.We were so blessed then and now and, even after spending nearly a month at the children's hospital, have had to pay a substantially small amount of the high medical costs involved with her care. Please keep Kycie and her family in your prayers and if you'd like to help with the medical cost you can donate HERE as well as read the full story and updates.

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I Think I'll Run A Marathon...

I Think I'll Run A Marathon...

A few years ago I started running. I ran track in high school a little as a sprinter, but no long distance for me! I'm not sure what changed, but I saw all these other mom's running miles everyday and loving it! They claimed it made them a better mom, helped them refocus, recharge..."ridiculous", I thought.Of course, I had to see what they were talking about. I started running. I worked up to a few miles and my competitive spirit was giddy with excitement prompting me to run a 5k or two. I surprised myself by taking 2nd in the overall women's category in my first race and 1st in my age group in my second. My oldest son ran the second race with me. He told me after the race that I had slowed him down a little. He could have run it faster. Haha! The apple didn't fall too far from the tree I guess.So it was true. Somehow this repetitive motion - the rhythm of your feet beating on the cement and your heart drumming in unison has an unusual effect. Maybe it's because you're forced to breathe deeply and concentrate on yourself and clear your mind for a few miles. For women and mothers this is especially valuable.For years since my on-again, off-again relationship with running began I've wanted to run a marathon...someday. Recently as I went for a quick run I realized that I didn't have any valid excuses why I shouldn't run a marathon this year.Oh, dear. Here we go again.

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Waking Up To Snow

Waking Up To Snow

Over New Years we woke up to snow. This is kind of an anomaly in the desert and my children were beyond thrilled. It wasn't a ton and it melted by the end of the day, but the kids pulled on their snow gear and played in it for all they were worth.

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The Power Of Food

The Power Of Food

There's been so much going on in my little world lately. I just learned that I will be doing a regular monthly cooking segment on Good Things Utah and I'm loving sharing recipes and what I've learned with my readers and friends here on Food L'amor! All this on top of a healthy, busy family has made me feel so grateful and more motivated. I find myself wanting to stop and tuck myself away in a quiet corner to read an inspired book or two, listen to inspired speakers, and meditate on my own thoughts. I've come to better understand some powerful things lately... Food for one. Food is powerful! On a molecular level we literally are what we eat. Each system in the body is connected and interdependent on the others for growth, maintenance and renewal. And it all begins with what we put into our mouths. I witnessed the power and effect of the food my daughter was eating before the doctors knew she was experiencing an autoimmune response. I've felt and seen the difference in myself since cutting out all the over-processed foods from my own diet. I've discovered that how one chooses to treat the body day in and day out can ultimately result in how well and how long a life can be. Aside from outside factors, the day by day choices of what is put into the body, and if it's exercised or not, will yield a constant result. Just like falling off a roof will always result in hitting the ground. The laws that govern our bodies are just as sure. Food is powerful!My second realization is that women are powerful! Not in the "I can do or be anything" kind of powerful. I'm not initiating a discussion on equality or a battle of the sexes. I believe there are divine characteristic that are specific to men and women. Women seem to have an natural compass that points North. A magnetism. Almost like a gravitational pull that can (if she is in tune with it) keep herself, her family, and her friends, all centered on what's most important. The influence and insight a good woman can provide is immeasurable and not because she can do or be anything, but because she doesn't have to in order to have her influence felt.E.T. Sullivan wrote in his book The Treasure Chest, "When God wants a great work done in the world or a great wrong righted, he goes about it in a very unusual way. He doesn't stir up earthquakes or send forth his thunderbolts, Instead, he has a helpless baby born, perhaps in a simple home out of some obscure mother. And then God puts the idea into the mother's heart, and she puts it into the baby's mind. And then God waits. The greatest forces in the world are not the earthquakes and the thunderbolts. The greatest forces in the world are babies."  And I might add, the woman who took the time to cultivate herself enough to respond to her inner compass and the whisperings of the spirit. Women are powerful! 

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Gluten Free Road Trip: Success!

Gluten Free Road Trip: Success!

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Life's Harmonies

Life's Harmonies

My senior year of high school I stood in the choir room with the rest of our senior chamber choir. It was the early in the year and even though we had all auditioned and were considered the "elite" singers, we weren't sounding so great. A little more like nails on a chalkboard, actually. We were singing the right notes for the most part, but our voices were just not blending. It was that song. I don't remember what the song was now, but I remember I didn't like it and was annoyed as we rehearsed it again. By this time everyone was feeling annoyed with this particular song and annoyed that our choir director Mrs. Doxy (but we just called her Nina) was still insisting that we perform it. Nina, stopped us in the middle of one refrain and we all breathed a sigh of relief when she said to leave our music and follow her. She led us into the auditorium and asked us all to stand in circles according to our sections: soprano, alto, tenor, and bass.  Then after a stern lecture about appropriate behavior and all the giggling and obnoxious remarks quieted she turned off all the lights and had us sing the song again.In the pitch-black, without our music, without the piano, we were forced to focus our attention on only what we could hear. On each other. We sang the refrain again.  I was surprised how much better it sounded. After a couple more times the harmonies were beginning to really come together and our voices blended beautifully.Nina turned on the lights again and asked us to stand in one big circle, facing each other. Before she turned off the lights again she said something that would completely change my thinking. She told us that when each voice sang in perfect harmony and with the right acoustics something incredible happens. “There is music that sometimes can be heard above the notes being played or sung. I've heard them called by many names” Nina said reverently, “overtones, phantom voices, ghost harmonies…angels. You can't always hear them, but sometimes, when every chord, every voice is in perfect pitch and harmony you can hear them singing above the chorus, notes that no human voice or man made instrument could ever imitate.”We sang the passage again and this time through the blackness of that auditorium our voices blended, moved, soared.  We held the final chord. Listening. Tuning. And then...I heard Them. Faint, yet clear as bells above the sound of the choir. These heavenly voices so high and pure seemed to whisper their approval in our moment of perfect harmony by joining in and adding to our song, notes yet unnamed and unreachable by human voices. I blinked back the tears as Nina turned the lights back on and ushered our silent group back to the choir room.From that moment on this song changed for me. I loved it now. But of course the song hadn't changed at all! It was the same notes I'd been singing the whole time. My perspective had changed. I've been thinking about this experience lately. I'm getting a little metaphoric, but for me at least, it makes life's experiences a little easier to understand.Sometimes we get stuck in a rut with our song of life. We're unhappy with the melody, the rhythm, the overall feel of it. We're annoyed with how things are sounding and just want to pick a different song. But, unlike trading out one sheet of music for another, we can't always immediately change our circumstances. I wish all the best-laid plans and good intentions turned out the way we envisioned them. That everyday was as picturesque as a postcard. 

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Melissa Cornwall has spent years researching and implementing nutritionally-based approaches to health and wellness. Her lifelong love of food and health evolved from a hobby to a passion when her daughter was diagnosed with a rare autoimmune disease.

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