Whoa. Having been a dieter ALL.MY.LIFE, that date makes my blood run cold. Having been a big planner, big talker, big dreamer, and a professional “some day”er ALL.MY.LIFE, this date sorta ticks me off. Why? It means I have to put my money where my mouth is, put the pedal to the metal, get a move on. START.

All my life, until right now, if I DIDN’T start (which I only rarely did, if I’m honest), then I felt like a failure, felt sorry for myself, beat myself up, isolated, pouted, added one more item to a long list of reasons I loathed myself. If I had a decent day with an ounce of self-respect, I told myself weakly and ineffectively that I’d get ‘em next time.

But who says?  Who says you need a MONDAY?  Who says you need the FIRST of the month?

There’s no better time than right now. It’s just providential that right now is MONDAY THE FIRST. Maybe you’re reading this on THURSDAY THE NINETEENTH or SATURDAY THE ELEVENTH. Those are GREAT days to START!!

Start something good. Today. I’ll focus on a healthy habit (You know, that’s sorta my thing.) But, really, anything positive should be started immediately. You don’t have to wait to have

  • all the information
  • all the tools
  • all the support
  • all the supplies
  • all the nerve
  • all the history
  • a completed plan
  • the perfect idea

That will all come eventually. Or not. It’s okay if it doesn’t and great if it does but START.

So start your healthy lifestyle. Start your business. Start your cleaning regimen. Start your lessons. Start your Bible study. Start your gratitude journal. Start your blog. Start your podcast. Start a new friendship. Start calling your mom more often. Start counseling. Start being nicer to your sister. Start taking care of your skin.

Not sure what you’re doing?  ME NEITHER!!  Hahaha!!  If you’re reading this post on the day or week or even MONTH that I wrote it, it’s not very pretty. I don’t know how to Word Press yet!! I have some folks helping. I’m going to a weekend shindig on how-to. One of these days, my website and blog are gonna be prettier and fancier with pictures and links and formatting. But right now, today, at this moment as I type this out, I’m merely impressed that I know how to post my thoughts. I’ve waited for years because I’m a silly perfectionist and where has it gotten me? Who has it benefitted NOT having my awesomeness out there? No one.

*If you’re reading this in the future, when my website looks awesome and I have pictures and links and I come off as knowing what I’m doing, please contact me and tell me you’re impressed or some other nice thing. I will appreciate it greatly and pass it along my friends who helped me as I flopped around.

Here’s what I’m STARTing. I’m going to start Periscoping regularly. I plan to make them into edited videos on YouTube. Maybe it’ll morph into a regular encouraging video series for you to share and enjoy. I hope you’ll feel better, feel encouraged, and know that if I – a chronically ill, chubby, middle-aged, scatter-brained, late-starter – can be real and honest, share my struggles and successes, and make progress while getting healthier, then so can you. 

I don’t have all the training, all the experience, all the know-how, all the talent, all the support, all the help I need.

Oh, well; I’m STARTING anyway.

I don’t yet have a schedule, an outline, a map, a completed plan.

Oh, well; I’m starting anyway.

If don’t start now, when will I start? Will I even start?

I’m starting. I may have to re-start. I may have to re-group. I may fail at this and then re-direct. But I will. I can.

It isn’t a rule that you have to wait for a MONDAY THE FIRST. I can start anything on any day.

And so can you.

So, what are you starting today?

(Hint: Don’t try to come up with THE perfect answer. Name something and start. Then start something else soon. It doesn’t matter what, in which order, or if you’re ready.)

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Hundreds of thousands of folks are Gluten-Free this day and age, for a variety of reasons. I’ll be bringing my friend, Chef Amy’s stuffing with me to church on Sunday for our monthly Lord’s Supper Meal. As it’s November, the theme is Thanksgiving. Obviously, This can be served year-round with almost any fare.


1/2 cup butter, or butter sub, or olive oil

1 cup celery, mediun diced

1 16 oz pkg. cremini mushrooms, [baby bella], quartered (I use whatever mushrooms I have)

1 cup vadalia onion, medium diced

1 tablespoon sea salt

1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper

2 teaspoons dried sage or 2 tablespoons fresh sage

1 teaspoon dried parsley or 1 tablespoon fresh parsley

1/2 teaspoon dried thyme or 2 teaspoons fresh thyme

Pinch marjoram

3 cups homemade chicken, turkey, or vegetable/mushroom broth/stock OR Pacifics Free Range Organic Chicken broth is safe

4 quarts [16 cups] GF bread, diced, toasted or untoasted (2 standard loaves) (We like Rudi’s)

3 eggs, beaten

In saute’ pan, melt butter or oil. Add celery and onions and saute’ until soft. Add in mushrooms and spices [if using dried…if using fresh, add with eggs], and saute’ until mushrooms are tender. Let cool. In bowl, place bread, broth/stock, and eggs. Add in cooled vegetable mix and toss. Add more broth or water if necessary…you want a very moist stuffing. Place in greased 13 X 9 baking dish or stuff in turkey ONLY if it is completely cooled before adding to the turkey. Bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes or until golden brown.

**Enough stuffing to stuff a 10 – 15 lb. turkey

~Chef Amy


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On Probiotics

My uncle just got out of the hospital with a bacterial infection called C.Dif. My aunt called me while they were discharging him to ask, “So, you’re a health coach. Can you explain to me what a probiotic is and where I can find one?”

Yes. Yes I am. Yes, I can.

First, we need to understand that magic happens in our guts. Magic, people. And by GUT, I mean BOWELS.  That’s right, our colon. Where the poop is stored. The poop. (Aside: You’ve heard the term “leaky gut?” Yeah. Basically, our poop makes its way into our blood stream. How? Diet. Moving on….)

That’s right, our colon. Where the poop is stored. The poop.

By MAGIC, I mean lots of good stuff, but specifically our immune system is located, housed, fed, maintained in our guts. Our gut is called a BIODOME. It’s a beautiful, incredibly complex place where our bodies house incredibly important activity.

Our bodies are an ecosystem of a bajillionty things, especially cells and bugs and stuff. By “bugs,” I mean bacteria. Bacteria isn’t all bad, guys. A lot of it is good.  GREAT, even.  Like, we can’t live without it. And a lot of that good stuff lives in our gut, which is where the term “gut flora” comes from. We’re programmed to consider bacteria to be bad, but it’s not all bad. In fact, we cannot live without the GOOD bacteria that lives in our gut.

When everything is balanced, the good bacteria outnumbers the bad and the bad stays in check. Unfortunately, we are very often unbalanced. When this happens, we get sick in a myriad of ways. So, then what happens?  A doctor prescribes and anti-biotic. Seems to make sense, right? Except that it kills the good stuff, too. When this happens, all hell can break loose. At some point, we can go into greater detail on this, but for now, suffice it to say that IT IS OF UTMOST IMPORTANCE TO PUT THAT GOOD STUFF BACK!!

How? By eating the foods (and possibly taking supplements) that supply probiotics. These foods are fermented foods, such as: Kefir, Kombucha, Yogurt (with live cultures), RAW sour kraut, Kimchi (a spicy fermented cabbage common in the Korean diet), Dark chocolate (a good, high-quality chocolate), Tempeh, Microalgae, Miso, Pickles (Bubbies are my favorite) (link), Natto (fermented soybean), Some soft cheeses (such as Gouda) and sourdough bread contain Lactobacilli bacteria, Fruits &  Vegetables like artichokes, green beans, leeks, bananas and tomatoes, Some whole-grain breads, Raw Honey.

But that’s not enough. Once that good stuff is in there, we need to FEED it so it stays strong and health and able to fend off the bad guys. How can we give it the strength and courage necessary?  Phytonutrients.  That’s right – plant-based foods – good ole fruits and vegetables, and the denser and RAWer, the better. You thought salads were just for weight-loss?  Au contraire, mon frere.

If you’ve followed me for any length of time, you’ll know that I feed my family Juice Plus products. We use Complete protein powder in our smoothies in the morning, along with fresh greens and fruits. And we take Juice Plus whole food supplements.  This way, I am assured that my peeps walk out the door every day with MOST of their recommended daily intake of phytonutrients.  (Learn more here:)

The more you know, huh?  It actually is not hard. There are other supplements on the market. I know folks who are happy with their brands. I’ll have a post in the near future outlining some of the better ones.

So, tell me, what changes are you about to make to ensure that the good-guys in your gut outnumber the bad guys?




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What even IS this?? Dudes. You need to eat vegetables. Seriously. You MUST.

In fact, my rule is that one-half of all we eat every day should be plant-based, but 75% of that needs to be vegetables because fruit has a lot of sugar.

“But, I don’t like vegetables.” What? At all? None?? Whoa.

Okay. That’s a challenge. Here’s the thing, though: We NEED them. I mean, how is this any different from saying, “But, I don’t like to pay my bills.” Too bad. Time to adult. I’m here to serve.

“My kids won’t eat vegetables.” Umm…..  You’re the boss of them. I’m sorry to seem harsh, but you provide them food and you make the rules. You can be accommodating to a degree, but hello? You’re the parent. Vegetables are necessary. End of story.

I see this a lot. Adults who don’t like vegetables are grown from kids who weren’t taught to eat vegetables. See the trend? So, let’s teach our kids to enjoy them. Ready?

I have a few tricks for “hiding” veggies, and I’ll share them. I’m not a total hard-ass.

  • Smoothies. I make one every morning for each of us. I use protein powder with plant protein (veggies), and use whole fruits and vegetables in each smoothie. Is it green?  Usually. You’ll get used to it . (link recipe)
  • Pasta sauce.  I make it pretty often. I throw every veggie I have on hand in there, then I puree it with an immersion blender like this one (affiliate link). Sometimes I add some texture back in (chunks). I often use meat, too. Sausage is strong enough to kill other tastes. When you use a lot of tomatoes, it comes out (mostly) red, so no one really has to know. It may take a few tries to adjust your taste, and you may want to tweak it, but this is a great solution. (link recipe)
  • This cookbook by Jessica Seinfeld (Deceptively Delicious) has some fantastic and tasty ideas for adding vegetables to meals. (link)
  • Juice your veggies at home, add fruit and herbs, spices or sweetener to make it palatable until you get used to it. (link to recipe)  If you want, try V8 (link) and other fruit/vegetable blends, like……
  • Juice Plus. These are whole food supplements, not vitamins. Take nature’s nutrients from 30 fruits, vegetables and grains and pack them into a capsule or a gummy- then you’ve got whole-food-based nutrition and wellness. I’ve sworn by Juice Plus for about 20 years. They take whole organic fruits and veggies, pick them ripe, juice them immediately and then dehydrate them and put them in a supplement capsule or chewy.  Hello?  Brilliant, or what? Learn more here:

Vegetables are more than just boring, dry salads. It’s more than bunny food. There are thousands of recipes, tips, tricks, methods of preparation and combinations. Let’s find some together, because it is truly imperative that you add MORE veggies to your diet. I tell my coaching clients they don’t HAVE TO give any food up, but they GET TO add veggies, and eat them first. I raise my kids this way, too. Eat them first. Offer them as a snack to starving little lovies while you’re preparing dinner. Let them dip them in a yummy sauce or dressing (a healthy one).

Also, when you pack their lunches, offer fresh veggies and fruits and insist they eat them first. I tell my kids that if they bring anything back home with them, it had better not be the vegetables.

Which trick will you try first? What are your tried-and-true methods?


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We are all WAY different. We have different goals, values, pasts, triggers, habits. We come from different cultures, backgrounds, classes. We have different work ethics.

Here’s ONE THING we all have in common that cannot change: we all have only 24 hours each day. This ONE THING makes us all the SAME.

We have one-hundred, sixty-eight hours in our week. 168. Period.

We can’t BUY, WIN, EARN or be GIVEN any more time than this each week. It’s a level playing field in this respect.

I’ve been pondering the concept of The Hustle.  You know: the effort, time, sweat, education, digging, scratching, winning & losing, one-step-forward-three-steps-back grind of being successful (whatevertheheck that means.) I’m in accountability groups, encouragement communities, and circles of friends and peers who are hustling together. We all have different ideas of how to spend our time. Some seem to be KILLING IT, while others seem to be spinning our wheels. And each of us has periods where we’re doing both.

We all prioritize our time differently. Society tells us that we need to be all in, on it, awake, alive, hustling, grinding it out 24/7.  In fact, that’s encouraged, revered, expected, worshipped.

Well, friends, that’s crap. 

Just like our financial budgets, we need to our TIME carefully, intentionally.  With financial budgets, there are non-negotiables that get plugged in first, and the rest get moved around, juggled, toggled, adjusted as necessary.  The two biggies are HOUSING and FOOD, right? Then, after that, we have other priorities like debt, day care, utilities, transportation.  We’ll let stuff go if we have to so we can get those non-negotiables covered.  Who hasn’t canceled their cable or skipped a loan payment? But we can’t skip rent, or go hungry, so if we skip steak, we’ll still eat rice & beans.

What are our biggies with time?  SLEEP, FAMILY, WORK/SCHOOL, EXERCISE. Maybe we go to church, volunteer, serve. We must commute. And then the rest filters through as we can fit it in the week: paying bills, errands, praying/devotionals/meditation, cleaning, meal-prep, hobbies, Netflix, social stuff. It differs with everyone, and certain issues take priority at different times, but this is how it generally looks.

So why do we get so upside-down with our time management? It’s a budget. The top line-items are non-negotiable. I’m guilty of this, too, guys, but let’s look at it. Why do we let TV take our sleep? How can we watch football when we haven’t exercised? We’ll join the PTA when we haven’t dated our spouse in months?

Who do we think we are….. letting our hustle have more of our time than our family?!?!

Let’s go back to the drawing board and re-prioritize. 

Let’s take the TIME to prepare our MEALS for our FAMILIES, spend the time eating with them and talking with them each day.  Let’s put our DEVICES away while we eat and before we go to sleep.  Let’s set aside chunks of time for SLEEP, SELF-CARE, and EXERCISE. Let’s take care of our bodies, our minds, and our souls so we can be present and available for our people.

Let’s all start a time budget. Here’s a rough chart. I challenge you to fill in the blanks and stick to it this week.  Then lets check in and talk. 

<Insert Table here>

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We went out for lunch after church yesterday. The chicken tortilla soup was divine. I shared with Anna, and she asked why I don’t make this at home more often. I decided to make it today. Unfortunately, my frozen, homemade chicken stock is gone! Egads! So, I made it from scratch for the purpose of this recipe. There are dozens of recipes available for this soup using chicken breasts and cream soup. This is the one we love at home.

CHICKEN STOCK (for this purpose; my regular bone broth is different (link, eventually)

  • 1 whole 3-4 lb chicken
  • One onion, quartered
  • 3-4 ribs celery, rough chopped
  • garlic
  • salt & pepper
  • Any other herbs or veggies you have that maybe don’t look great, but are still good and will add flavor or nutrition to the stock.

Rinse and empty chicken (if it has stuff inside). Place all the other stuff into the crock pot, place the whole chicken on top, cover with water. Cook on high for 3-4 hours. Take the cooked chicken out and place on rack or platter or cutting board to cool. Use a slotted spoon or a small sieve to scoop all the ingredients out of the stock so it’s just liquid, and discard (the stuff, not the broth). When the chicken is cool enough to handle, take the skin off, the bones out (and discard), and shred/chop the chicken into bit-sized pieces.  *Don’t skim the fat. I know you want to, but the fat is magical, so keep as much as you are almost comfortable keeping. Trust me.


  • homemade chicken stock (first part of the recipe)
  • shredded, chopped chicken from above
  • 1-3C salsa (I’ll add my link here) (or use pre-made) OR – chopped tomatoes and onions
  • Chopped carrots
  • Bell pepper, if you like
  • 2 cups frozen corn – or 1-2 cans corn
  • 1 (15 ounce) can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • any other veggies you want, but probably not potatoes (but your recipe, whatevs)
  • 1t ground cumin
  • ½ t dried cilantro or 1/2C fresh (or not, because yuck)
  • any other spices or blends that float your boat, including pre-blended taco, tortilla or other Mexican mixes, or a packet; as well as hot sauce if that’s your jam
  • Add everything into the crock pot with the broth. Cook on high for another hour, or low for 2 hours (really, you just need the carrots to be soft enough).  Serve while hot with shredded cheddar cheese on top.

Optional Toppings:

  • sour cream
  • green onions
  • cilantro (but yuck)
  • lettuce
  • diced avocado
  • tortilla strips or Fritos

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Who doesn’t love squash??  Holy Autumn, do I love squash!  You can roast, fry, sauté, puree it. The ONLY bummer about squash is the preparation. I spent many years slaving over it – or, otherwise, NOT having squash because I was too lazy to slave over it.  Thanks to the Interwebs and social media, I have found some hints and hacks that help.  I’ll share.

You have your easy, tender squash like yellow squash and zucchini.  These are summer squash. You don’t even have to peel them. Just wash and slice, then cook as desired. You can even shred zucchini into “noodles” with fun new gadgets you can find at Walgreen’s or Bed Bath & Beyond. I love these roasted or grilled, in soups, even steamed.  I love to pair with onions, other squash, potatoes. Use it in casseroles, add to medleys, soups, stews, as a side dish, alone, pair with broccoli and cauliflower. Heck, serve it with ice cream. You really can’t go wrong.

Spaghetti Squash has its own category. It’s easy. Wash it first (because you’re gonna drag your knife down through it), then slice it lengthwise. Scoop out all the goop (save the seeds to roast, if you wanna), brush with EVOO, salt and pepper. Line a shallow baking pan with parchment paper, add about 1″ of water, place the squash pieces, cut-side-down, into the water, and roast on 425 for about an hour (less if you like a firmer “noodle”).  When it’s cool enough to handle, scrape the flesh out with a big serving fork, separating the “noodles.”  Then, just serve this golden yumminess however you choose.

Winter Squash, though. Yeah, baby. Come to Mama. Sweeter, denser, more versatile than summer squash, this is my jam. So many. So yummy.

Butternut Squash is the darling of the gourd world, in my humble opinion. It’s a bear to prepare, though. All winter squash is similar: pumpkin, acorn, hubbard, kabocha, carnival, dumpling. You can peel it and chunk it and steam it. Or chunk it and peel it and steam it. If you choose, you can buy it fresh, already peeled and chunked, or even frozen (because duh). But it’s CHEAPER (and you have more control over where it originates, if it’s local, organic, etc., if that’s important to you) to buy it (or grow it) and prep it yourself. So. Wash it, slice it in half, scoop the gunk out (save the seeds if you want to roast them) and cook it slightly first. If you want, microwave it for 4-5 minutes, let it cool, then peel it. Or roast it for awhile until it softens up (350-425), let it cool, then peel it and chunk it. If you want it even EASIER, don’t even slice and scoop first – just put the whole, clean thing in there (pierce the skin a few times first, so it doesn’t explode). No digits lost, no backache, no expletives thrown around. Voila!

Depending on your recipe, you can then use your prepped squash for a satisfying meal to share with your peeps.  I’ll share recipes.

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