Faith, Family, Love and Reviews

Birthday Party!

This past Sunday the girls were invited to a birthday party for a friend and they were able to pick a piece of pottery to paint.  It was so much fun.  I got to see some friends I hadn’t seen in awhile, hold my friends 10 week old baby and my girls got to see their friends as well.  It’s hard to believe how fast our children are growing – my friend’s daughter turned 13 and next month my oldest is going to be 11.  Where have the years gone?  Truly they are like a vapor.

The frame that my oldest painted for her friend. I love the tree with the added owl sticker.


Bethanne, prepping her bear pottery piece.


Bethanne working on painting her bear – it’s quite colorful. I’m excited to pick them up next week.


Hannah working on her pottery piece – a vase.



Bethanne working on a sewing craft that she wanted to give to her friend. Her friend enjoyed it.



Review: For Girls Like You Magazine

I’ve been on the look out for a magazine for my daughters for awhile – I wanted a good, strong Christian magazine that allowed them to be girls, have fun and bask in the Lord’s love so when I had the chance to receive some issues of For Girls Like You  I jumped at the chance so I could introduce my girls to this publication.  For Girls Like You is a quarterly magazine geared for girls ages 6 to 11 years old and is unashamedly Christian in it’s viewpoint as well as very girly!

The founder of the magazine is Wynter and she knows girls because she is a mom to four of them and she wanted to make Christian values accessible and understandable to girls – and I will say that she is succeeding.  The magazines held both of my girls, almost 11 and 8, attention and they devoured them as soon as they arrived in the mail.  They are colorful and modern but chock full of Scriptural advice and how to have fun being a girl who loves God.

Each issue is different and has different features, one had a short interview with the girls from We Bought a Zoo, When I Grow Up is a section on girls pursuing God’s dream for them whether it’s a missionary or a prosthetic maker if it’s a girl who is following what God wants her to do and be they can be featured.  Around the world, what are you wearing and Sprinkles are just a few of the fun features in this magazine – Sprinkles are also where girls can draw or write and then submit to the magazine for a chance to be featured in it!

Craft ideas, recipes, puzzles, fashion (don’t worry moms, it’s all modest 🙂  ) makes this a magazine that almost all girls will enjoy.  Even though my girls are so different they both found items in the magazine that related to them in their own way and it’s all about honoring God and being the girls that God wants them to be – both now and in the future.  You can order a 1 year subscription (4 issues) for $18.99, a 2 year for $29.99 or individual issues if you want to try it first for $3.99.

For Girls Like You isn’t just a magazine though there is a journal, which Wynter also sent and I have to say it’s beautiful.  Spiral bound with the NIV version of Psalm 139 and then scattered through out the lined pages are the verses and pictures that go along with them in black and white so your girl can color and decorate as she feels led.  She can use it for a prayer book or use it for devotions, the options are only limited by her imagination.

If you’d like a chance to enter to win a 1 year subscription for your daughter or grand-daughter or other girl in your life visit An Ohio Reviewing Mom for the Rafflecopter form!

**Disclaimer:  I was provided four copies and the journal from Wynter of For Girls Like You in exchange for my honest opinion, no other compensation was given.  Images above come from For Girls Like You.


FIRST Tour: The Juice Lady’s Big Book of Juices and Green Smoothies by Cherie Calbom

It is time for a FIRST Wild Card Tour book review! If you wish to join the FIRST blog alliance, just click the button. We are a group of reviewers who tour Christian books. A Wild Card post includes a brief bio of the author and a full chapter from each book toured. The reason it is called a FIRST Wild Card Tour is that you never know if the book will be fiction, non~fiction, for young, or for old…or for somewhere in between! Enjoy your free peek into the book!

You never know when I might play a wild card on you!

Today’s Wild Card author is:
Cherie Calbom
and the book:
The Juice Lady’s Big Book of Juices and Green Smoothies
Siloam (January 8, 2013)
***Special thanks to Althea Thompson for sending me a review copy.***

Cherie Calbom, MS, is the author of The Juice Lady’s Turbo Diet, The Juice Lady’s Living Foods Revolution, and Juicing for Life, which has nearly two million books in print in the United States. Known as “The Juice Lady” for her work with juicing and health, Cherie has taped HealthWatch for CNN and scores of TV and radio shows and has appeared in Shape, First for Women, Women’s World, Men’s Journal,Vogue, Quick & Simple, Marie Claire, and Elle Canada. Cherie earned a master’s degree in nutrition from Bastyr University, where she now serves on the Board of Regents, and has practiced as a clinical nutritionist at St. Luke Medical Center in Bellevue, Washington.

Visit the author’s website.


Juice and smoothies are sweeping the nation! Why? They’re fruity, delicious, easy to make, and packed with powerful nutrition. It’s no wonder everyone is enjoying the convenience and great taste of these healthy meal and snack alternatives. Bring your blender or juicing machine into the twenty-first century with the most updated versions of Cherie’s recipes to be found anywhere—more than just refreshment, these recipes enhance your energy and boost your mental and physical health.

Product Details:

List Price: $17.99

Paperback: 208 pages

Publisher: Siloam (January 8, 2013)

Language: English

ISBN-10: 162136030X

ISBN-13: 978-1621360308


The Juice Lady’s Big Book of Juices and Green Smoothies


MORE AND MORE celebrities, athletes, and people of all ages and walks of life are turning to juicing and green smoothies to lose weight and to improve their overall health. Why? Because they have found that juicing is changing their lives—giving them more energy, better sleep, stronger immune systems, brighter skin, and a younger appearance. It’s even helping their bodies heal from a variety of ailments. Below is a testimony I received recently from someone who has read my books and come to me for counseling.

It’s been about a month since you last spoke with me. You may not remember me because you talk with so many people. But I will never forget you. I told you about the more than fifty pounds of fluid I had retained. Using both natural and medical prescriptions, I had not been able to get rid of that fluid. I have also not been absorbing my food. You told me not to worry about my diet because I already had a healthy one but to add a green juice drink with every meal. About three weeks before I spoke with you I started drinking pure cranberry juice every day, and that was helping with the fluid. Over the three weeks I lost fifteen pounds, but I would bounce back and forth with my weight. When I added the green juice drinks, it put my body in high gear. I have lost thirty pounds. The water weight is literally just falling off of me.

You have no idea how much better I am feeling. I have energy and can physically work. I have not had energy or felt good since my last baby was born twenty-five years ago. I have not been able to push my body to work for the last five years. Now I am splitting firewood and stacking it. I shoveled rock for our drainage system in our yard. I can clean my own house again. Yesterday I cleaned house and stacked two cords of firewood. If you haven’t stacked firewood, let me tell you, that’s a lot of wood. And I can walk again. For the last two years I have been fighting just to walk up and down my short driveway, feeling totally exhausted and in pain afterward. Now I am easily walking a mile and have energy to burn. I feel great and have no pain when I’m finished. And my fibromyalgia pain is almost gone.
For the last five years I have been fighting to stay alive.

Now for the first time in years I feel alive. I am no longer on Lasix and have cut back most of my nutritional supplements. I was taking over $500 worth of supplements a month, and it was bankrupting us. Last year my doctor told me to apply for disability because my body was dying. I could no longer function. The naturopathic physician I used to work for told me that my husband and I needed to accept the fact that my body was dying. He told us to purchase better health insurance and prepare for the worst. I wish he could see me now.

Long story short, Cherie, I am so grateful to you for taking the time to talk with me. I know you probably hear stories like mine all the time, but for me it’s new and life saving. Thanks for pointing me to the path of life. You have been one of God’s blessings and a lifesaver in the most literal sense of the word.

I hope her story encourages you to juice every day. With more than four hundred delicious recipes, The Big Book of Juices and Green Smoothies can help you change your life, just as juicing has changed the lives of thousands of people who have adopted this plan for themselves—people just like me. My life changed years ago when I discovered the healing, vitality-producing power of freshly made juices and raw and whole foods.

Sick, Tired, and Completely Toxic

I sat by the window in my father’s home in Colorado staring at the snow-topped mountains in the distance, imagining that people were enjoying the hiking trails; perhaps someone was climbing the mountain that day. It was early June and a beautiful, sunny Colorado day. I wished I had the strength to just walk around the block. But I was too sick and tired—I could barely walk around the house. I had been sick for a couple of years and just kept getting worse. “Would I ever be well again?” I wondered.

I had to quit my job when I turned thirty. I had chronic fatigue syndrome and fibromyalgia that made me so sick I couldn’t work. I felt as though I had a flu that just wouldn’t go away. I was lethargic and constantly feverish with swollen glands. I was also in nonstop pain. My body ached as though I’d been bounced around in a washing machine.

I had moved back to my father’s home in Colorado to try and recover, but not one doctor could tell me what I should do to improve my health. So I browsed around some health food stores, talked with employees, and read a few books. I decided that everything I’d been doing was tearing down my health rather than healing my body. When I read about juicing and whole foods, it made sense. So I bought a juicer and designed a program I could follow.

I began my health program with a five-day vegetable juice fast. On the fifth day my body expelled a tumor the size of a golf ball. I was totally surprised that in five days this amazing result could take place. I never did have the tumor tested because I was too taken back and overwhelmed by the event. I just flushed it away.

I then continued to juice every day and ate a nearly perfect diet of live and whole foods for three months. There were ups and downs throughout. On some days I felt encouraged that I was making some progress, but on other days I felt worse. Those days made me wonder if good health was an elusive dream. I didn’t realize I was experiencing detox reactions—no one had told me about them. I was very toxic, and my body was cleansing away all the stuff that had made me sick.

But one morning I woke up around 8:00 a.m., which was early for me, without an alarm sounding off. I felt like someone had given me a new body in the night. I had so much energy I actually wanted to

exercise. What had happened? This new feeling of good health and vitality had just appeared with the morning sun. Actually, my body had been healing all along; it just had not manifested fully until that day. I felt such a wonderful sense of being alive! I looked and felt completely renewed.

With my juicer in tow and a new lifestyle fully embraced, I returned to Southern California and my friends a couple weeks later to finish writing my first book. For nearly a year it was “ten steps forward” with great health and more energy and stamina than I’d ever remembered. Then all of a sudden I took a giant step back.
The Night I’ll Never Forget

The Fourth of July was a beautiful day like so many others in Southern California. I celebrated the holiday with friends at a backyard barbecue. That evening we put on jackets to insulate against the cool evening air and watched fireworks light up the night sky. I returned just before midnight to the house I was sitting for vacationing friends, who lived in a lovely neighborhood not far from some of my family members. After such a full day I was in bed shortly after I arrived at the house.

I woke up shivering some time later wondering why it was so cold. I rolled over to see the clock. It was 3:00 a.m. That’s when I noticed that the door was open to the backyard. “How did that happen?” I thought as I was about to get up to close and lock the door. That’s when I saw him. Crouched in the shadows of the corner of the room was a shirtless young man in shorts. I blinked twice, trying to deny what I was seeing.

Instead of running out the open door, he leaped off the floor and ran toward me. He pulled a pipe from his shorts and began beating me repeatedly over the head and yelling, “Now you are dead!” We fought, or I should say, I tried to defend myself and grab the pipe.

Finally it flew out of his hands. That’s when he choked me to unconsciousness. I felt all life leaving my body. In those last few seconds I knew I was dying. “This is it, the end of my life,” I thought. I felt sad for the people who loved me. Then I felt my spirit leave. It felt as though it just popped out of my body and floated upward. Suddenly everything was peaceful and still. I sensed I was traveling through black space at what seemed like the speed of light. I saw what looked like lights twinkling in the distance.

But all of a sudden I was back in my body, outside the house, clinging to a fence at the end of the dog run. I don’t know how I got there. I screamed for help with all the energy I had. It was my third scream that took all my strength. I felt it would be my last breath. Each time I screamed, I passed out and landed on the cement. I then had to pull myself up again. But this time a neighbor heard me and sent her husband to help. Before long I was on my way to the hospital.

Lying on a cold gurney at 4:30 a.m., chilled to the bone, in and out of consciousness, I tried to assess my injuries, which was virtually impossible. When I looked at my right hand, I almost passed out again. My ring finger was hanging on by a small piece of skin. My hand was split open, and I could see deep inside. The next thing I knew I was being wheeled off to surgery. Later I learned that I had suffered serious injuries to my head, neck, back, and right hand, with multiple head wounds and part of my scalp torn from my head. I also incurred numerous cracked teeth, which led to several root canals and crowns months later.

My right hand sustained the most severe injuries. Two of my knuckles were crushed to mere bone fragments and had to be held together with three metal pins. Several months after the attack I still couldn’t use my hand. The cast I wore, which had bands holding up the ring finger that had almost been torn from my hand and various odd-shaped molded parts, looked like something from a science fiction movie. I felt and looked worse than hopeless. The top of my head was shaved, and my eyes were totally red and swollen. I had a gash on my face, a weird-looking right hand, terrorizing fear, and barely enough energy to get dressed in the morning.

I was an emotional wreck. I couldn’t sleep at night—not even a minute. It was torturous. I was staying with a cousin and his family, so there was no need to worry about safety from a practical point of view, but that made no difference to me emotionally. I’d lie in bed all night and stare at the ceiling or the bedroom door. I had five lights that I kept on all night. I’d try to read, but my eyes would sting. I could sleep only for a little while during the day.

But the worst part was the pain in my soul that nearly took my breath away. All the emotional pain of the attack joined with the pain and trauma of my past to create an emotional tsunami. My past had been riddled with loss, trauma, and anxiety. My brother died when I was two. My mother died of cancer when I was six. I couldn’t remember much about her death—the memories seemed blocked. But my cousin said I fainted at her funeral. That told me a lot.

I lived for the next three years with my maternal grandparents and father. But Grandpa John, the love of my life, died when I was nine. That loss was very hard. Four years later my father was involved in a very tragic situation that would take far too long to discuss here, but to sum it up—it was horrific. He was no longer in my daily life. I felt terrified about my future. My grandmother was eighty-six. I had no idea how much longer she would live. The next year I moved to Oregon to live with an aunt and uncle until I graduated from high school.

As you can probably imagine, wrapped in my soul was a huge amount of anguish and pain—it felt like gaping holes in my heart. It took every ounce of my will, faith, and trust in God; deep spiritual work; alternative medical help; extra vitamins and minerals; vegetable juicing; emotional release; healing prayer; and numerous detox programs to heal physically, mentally, and emotionally. I met a nutritionally minded physician who had healed his own slow-mending broken bones with lots of vitamin-mineral IVs. He gave me similar IVs. Juicing, cleansing, nutritional supplements, a nearly perfect diet, prayer, and physical therapy helped my bones and other injuries heal.

After following this regimen for about six months, what my hand surgeon said would be impossible became real. My hand was fully restored and fully functional. He had told me I’d never use my right hand again, and that it wasn’t even possible to implant plastic knuckles because of its poor condition. But my knuckles did indeed re-form primarily through prayer, and my hand function returned. A day came when the surgeon told me I was completely healed, and though he admitted he didn’t believe in miracles, he said, “You’re the closest thing I’ve seen to one.”

It was a miracle! I had a useful right hand again, and my career in writing was not over as I thought it would be. In the end it seemed my inner wounds were the most severe and the hardest to heal. Nevertheless, they mended too. I experienced healing from the painful memories and trauma of the attack and the wounds from the past through prayer, laying-on of hands, and deep emotional healing work.

I call them the kitchen angels—the ladies who prayed for me around their kitchen tables week after week until my soul was restored. It seemed I cried endless buckets of tears that had been pent up in my soul. It all needed release. Forgiveness and letting go came in stages and was an integral part of my total healing. I had to be honest about what I really felt and be willing to face the pain and toxic emotions confined inside, and then let them go. Finally, one day after a long, long journey—I felt free. A time came when I could celebrate the Fourth of July without fear.
A New Beginning

When I look back to that first day in the hospital after many hours of surgery, it’s amazing to me that I made it. My hand was resting in a sling hanging above my head. It was wrapped with so much stuff it looked like George Foreman’s boxing glove. My face had a big cut running down the left side, and my eyes were red—very little whites. A maintenance man came into my room for a repair and did a double take. He asked if I’d been hit by a truck! He was serious. I felt like I had. As I lay there alone with tears streaming down my face, I asked God if He could bring something good out of this horror. I needed something to hang on to.

My prayer was answered. Eventually I knew my purpose was to love people to life through my writing, juicing, and nutritional information— to help them find their way to health and healing. If I could recover from all that had happened to me, they could too. No matter what anyone faced, there was hope.
Juice Recipes for Health and Healing

In the pages that follow, you’ll discover a wide variety of juices for every possible need and occasion. I have basic juice recipes for those who are getting started and want something simple. There are yummy fruit juice recipes for those with picky palates who want the sweet taste of fruit. Green juices are my favorite and offer the most nutrition; you’ll find a big selection of green juice recipes to choose from.

Check out the chapter on juice remedies and rejuvenators for juice combos that address what ails you. And I think you’ll really like the gourmet juice chapter that has a lot of unique combinations and delicious drinks. There’s also the green smoothie chapter with one hundred smoothie recipes and great combinations. And I also included my old favorites from The Juice Lady’s Turbo Diet and The Juice Lady’s Living Foods Revolution. Have fun trying some new and unusual combinations. There’s a lot to choose from with more than four hundred recipes.

And if you’re struggling with your health, there is hope for you, no matter what health challenges you face. Never, ever give up. There’s a purpose for your life, just as there was for mine. You need to be healthy and strong to complete your purpose. To that end, The Juice Lady’s Big Book of Juices and Green Smoothies can help you live your life to the fullest. My hope is that this book of delicious recipes will truly inspire you to juice each and every day and that you will experience firsthand the healing, rejuvenating power of fresh juice and green smoothies.


My Opinion:


Have you been curious about juicing?  Not sure where to start?  Well The Juice Lady’s Big Book of Juices and Green Smoothies may be just what you need!  For me, I don’t have a lot of time to read about all the juicing world has to offer so I need something short and concise and with easy and fast recipes to use – and that is what you get in this book.  The first chapter is short but gives you the minimum outline of what juicing is, what kind of machines are available and how to pick one that fits your needs and budget, as well as what sorts of foods to stay away from (organic vs. non, etc) and much more but all in a quick and easy to read format.


The rest of the book contains over 400 recipes for simple and delicious juices and smoothies that can be quickly made and affordable!  There are simple juice recipes, gourmet and exotic, green juice, yummy fruit juice blends, ‘old favorites’, juice remedies and rejuvenators and green smoothie recipes.  If your children don’t like vegetables but love fruit you’ll be able to hide a multitude of veggies in the fruit juices and if you’re looking for a juice to boost your adrenals or combat gout then they’ll be a recipe for it.  This book is a one stop for your beginning or even to re-charge your old juicing recipes.

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FIRST Tour: The Skinny Budget Diet by Linda Goff

It is time for a FIRST Wild Card Tour book review! If you wish to join the FIRST blog alliance, just click the button. We are a group of reviewers who tour Christian books. A Wild Card post includes a brief bio of the author and a full chapter from each book toured. The reason it is called a FIRST Wild Card Tour is that you never know if the book will be fiction, non~fiction, for young, or for old…or for somewhere in between! Enjoy your free peek into the book!

You never know when I might play a wild card on you!

Today’s Wild Card author is:
Linda Goff
and the book:
The Skinny Budget Diet
Siloam (January 8, 2013)
***Special thanks to Althea Thompson for sending me a review copy.***

Linda Goff was obese for more than 20 years. She was told by a professor at one of the top journalism schools in the nation that her “look” wasn’t professional enough for television. When Linda left the university, she believed she had wasted four years of her life and thousands of dollars on an education that she could never use because of her size. God had other plans.

After her 155-pound weight loss, Linda quietly began writing again. She was hooked. A blog grew into a talk show on the CTN network and a weekly newspaper column – reaching thousands of readers every week with her message of healthy weight loss. Now Linda speaks with groups around the country and runs a comfort food test kitchen with her family and friends as official “tasters.” To get her latest low-cal comfort recipes, visit


Get the strategy that was created in the kitchen of a 300-pound wife and mother who couldn’t afford another expensive weight loss plan. There was no more room in the family budget for ordering diet foods and supplements through the mail, no money to buy ongoing weekly support, and no way to pay for a high-priced weight loss surgery. Linda Goff had to find budget-friendly way to lose half of her body weight and keep it off for good. The Skinny Budget Diet was born.

Read the secrets Linda shared with the Today Show, the Doctors, on the cover of Woman’s World Magazine, the Huffington Post, and Prevention Magazine. Inside this book, she will give you the step-by-step tools that allowed her to lose 155 pounds with sanity instead of starvation. You can eat normal meals with your family, drop the weight, and lower your monthly food budget.

Product Details:

List Price: $16.99

Paperback: 256 pages

Publisher: Siloam (January 8, 2013)

Language: English

ISBN-10: 1621360016

ISBN-13: 978-1621360018


Wasting Time on a Growing WaistI WROTE THIS BOOK for you. And throughout these chapters you and I are going to get very close. There will be no such thing as TMI. I am happy to provide “too much information” on every page of this book if it will give you your life back. Want to hear about the roller coasters I couldn’t fit into or the lawn chairs I broke when I weighed three hundred pounds? You got it. I’ll even give you the blow-by-blow of how I shaved my legs every day without the ability to see my feet.

It may not be pretty stuff, but I think it is important for you

to understand that there is no such thing as “too broken” or “too

far gone.” And while I’m not a fan of beating myself up over bad

choices, you can learn from my twenty years of mistakes. I wasted thousands of dollars trying to buy my way out of obesity. It left me with a heavier body, heavier debt, and some heavy lies in my head: “I really shouldn’t eat the rest of these cookies. Oh, go ahead. You are so fat . . . what’s a few more pounds? But what if I can’t find clothes that fit anymore? This little plate of cookies won’t make any difference. You work hard. You deserve a treat.”

I wish I could claim that underlying mental scars or repressed

abuse led to my constant cycle of overeating and guilt. It didn’t. I

could tell you that I was obese because of past pregnancies and

post-baby weight. My youngest son weighed more than twelve

pounds at birth. Twelve pounds! But that wasn’t the reason for my


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I ate when I was happy—to celebrate friends and family, to

reward myself after a stressful day of work, even to enjoy my

favorite TV shows. I ate because food tasted good. When I left my

mom’s healthy table and went to college, I gained my “freshman

fifteen” and kept on going. I can’t blame my obesity on a thyroid

problem or even a slow metabolism. I ate myself to morbid obesity through daily, unhealthy choices—each seeming so small and insignificant at the time.

There are as many reasons for overeating as flavors at Baskin-

Robbins. You may have a story that is similar to mine, or your

story may be filled with true sadness. I understand that food can

be an anesthesia to make the world seem less painful or a weapon

to keep the world a safe distance away.

It is not my intention to minimize the underlying causes of obesity. We’ll get into some of these reasons in more detail as we work through this book. At the moment simply understand that your reasons for overeating can no longer be used as excuses to stay obese. Excuses (even excuses that seem valid) won’t make you one pound lighter. They serve no purpose for good.

Two Decades of Weight-Loss “Practice”

“Honey, you have such a pretty face. Have you tried losing weight?” I’m generally not a violent person, but questions like that made me see red. If I could have lifted my foot above my waist, I would have kicked these well-meaning, skinny people in the gut . . . or the ribs . . . or whatever thin people have around their waists in the place of fat. Have I tried losing weight? You can’t be serious!

I had more failed weight-loss plans in my past than candy wrappers on the bottom of my purse. Each one had a price tag. At the time did I understand the science of losing weight? You bet. I was an obese woman living in the United States. As a group we are probably more informed about calories and exercise than the general public. Ironic, isn’t it? I’ve spent hours watching people “sweat

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to the oldies” and sculpt “buns of steel.” I have vivid memories of

spreading cream cheese on a bagel while watching Tony Horton

sell his latest exercise plan.

I think the biggest myth going is that obese Americans don’t

understand how they became overweight and have no idea how to

lose it. Here is one lie that I always told myself: “I’m so confused.

I don’t know whether to count calories, carbs, or fat.” That excuse

was a great way to start a heated debate in any crowd and kill my

dieting plans before lunch.

The results of all these failed diet attempts were damaging—not

only physically but also spiritually. I began to truly believe that:

1. Losing weight the “old fashioned way” with diet and

exercise is too hard and takes too long.

2. People who lose weight and keep it off obviously

have more willpower than I do. “Face it, Linda.

There must be something wrong your character. You

are just too weak to lose weight.”

3. Maybe it is God’s plan for me to be this big. After all,

He created each one of us to be unique and different.

I’m supposed to be three hundred pounds.

Most of us are obese because we eat more food than our bodies

can burn, and we’ve been doing it for years. Mystery solved! What’s not as easy to understand is the role that the brain plays in this behavior. I’ve tried to honestly examine the choices I made at three hundred pounds, and the constant dialogue that ran through my brain. I think some of my daily thoughts about food may sound familiar to you. And so I present . . .

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Looking at my “Day in the Life of” menu, I don’t know whether

to laugh or cry. It is a true account of the crazy, internal battles of

an obese woman. Being this honest may not be easy for you, but

here is what I learned by writing down my daily menu:

1. I had no idea at the time how many calories I was

eating. If you quizzed me as I was brushing my teeth

before bed, I would have guessed that I’d eaten about

three thousand calories, not a button-popping fivethousand-

plus in just one day. I’d skipped the Coke,

potato chips, ranch dressing, and whipped cream.

That’s healthy, right?

2. Most of my food was coming from restaurants and

not grocery stores. This is an important thing to

realize . . . both in regard to maintaining a healthy

weight and a healthy wallet. More on this later.

3. I often ate while doing other things such as driving,

working, and watching television.

4. Frustration about dieting and weight loss was often

my first thought of the day and the last thing in my

head before falling asleep. So many precious hours

that I gave away to my obesity.

5. My size was changing my life: the clothes I wore, the

people I ate with, and the intimacy I had with my


As I was starting diet number forty-seven (or maybe it was diet

number forty-nine), I caught an interview with NBC weatherman

Al Roker in which he talked about his gastric bypass surgery. It

was a fascinating idea to me. You just make your stomach smaller

and force yourself to eat less food. If you screw up, you throw up.


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I was now a woman on a mission, searching the web and reading

every magazine article I could find with details on the procedure.

The before and after pictures for celebrities such as Carnie Wilson, Roseanne Barr, and Al Roker were amazing. They had lost hundreds of pounds in a short amount of time. Gastric bypass surgery was going to be my answer, my quick escape from morbid obesity.

My Gastric Bypass Obsession

I contacted a surgical weight-loss center in 2002 and began the

long, pre-surgical process that included a consultation with a psychologist, an exam with my local doctor, and blood work. My primary physician went over the risks for gastric bypass surgery in great detail, and I’m sure that I smiled and nodded back when she told me that:

1. The procedure has a death rate that some doctors

estimate to be as high as one in one hundred. What

went through my head: “Those are still pretty good

odds, right?”

2. The surgery can lead to vitamin and mineral deficiencies

requiring daily supplements and B12 shots at

least once a week. My thoughts: “Maybe Flintstone

vitamins will come out with B12 in a gummy fruit.

That would be cool.”

3. There is a syndrome called dumping where your

food can move too quickly through the small intestine

causing nausea, diarrhea, and vomiting. Inside

my head: “Did she just say something about a dump?


There was a big disconnect between the information given to

me by my doctor and what I was focused on. When you believe

that gastric bypass is your only ticket out of morbid obesity, the

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risks don’t matter. I was willing to live with almost anything to be

thin . . . especially if the solution didn’t require a lot of willpower

on my part.

From all of my research I knew that qualifying for gastric bypass

surgery wasn’t going to be easy. I had to show my insurance company that I was unhealthy enough to need the procedure but healthy enough to live through the surgery. My weight wasn’t a problem. With a BMI (body mass index) between 47 and 48, I met that requirement. A healthy BMI range is between 18.5 and 24.9. I also had to show a history of failed dieting attempts. That was an easy requirement after two decades of being obese.

I was happy (practically giddy) the day I mailed my huge stack

of forms back to the surgical weight-loss center. Clearance from my doctor and psychologist? Check. Blood work proving that I didn’t have thyroid issues? Check. The name and policy number for my insurance company? Check. I was cleared to have the surgery and ready for takeoff.

Unfortunately my insurance company didn’t agree. My calls to

the surgical weight-loss center became more frequent as the weeks went by. A very patient lady in the admissions department gave me updates about her discussions with my insurance company. Even with gallbladder disease, occasional chest pains, and a scale at three hundred pounds, my insurance company said I didn’t have enough risk factors to justify the surgery. I wasn’t diabetic— yet. I didn’t have high blood pressure or breathing problems—yet. Basically I was too healthy.

From Little Control to Out of Control

The day I received the final no from my insurance company is

one I will never forget. I was crushed. I believed my insurance

company had just sentenced me to a lifetime of morbid obesity. I

was so angry inside I gave up on the idea of ever trying to diet or

exercise. If I needed to be “sick” to qualify for the surgery, fine.

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Diabetes is common in my family, so I’ll just keep eating. Maybe

my insurance company will pay for the procedure if I weigh three

hundred fifty pounds. And I’m sure I will get the green light if I

weigh four hundred pounds.

Looking back, my daily plan to add another hundred pounds

was nearly flawless. It could have been called a personal weight-

gain plan. I ignored food labels, lived in the drive-through lane,

and ate whatever was put in front of me. I even stopped going to

the doctor so that I could skip that awkward “let’s get your weight” moment. I went three years without a yearly exam or checkup of any kind.

There are very few “before” pictures of me during this time. I

remember sitting in my car and going through stacks of developed

pictures. Before letting anyone else see the pictures, I would

throw away any photos showing my body (especially from the side). When my boys look back at their childhood photo albums, they are going to wonder if their mother ran off with the circus during this period of their lives. My kids loved disposable cameras and knew that they could take pictures of their dad, the dog, even our half-dead cat, but never, never take a picture of mom.

I was hiding from my appearance, and I honestly have no idea

how much I weighed at my heaviest. I do know that I didn’t fit in

airplane seats, roller-coaster seats, theater seats, or even the seats

at some of my favorite restaurants. How is that for irony? I was

wearing a size 4X, and buying clothes was a horrendous experience.

There are a few things in the world that I’ve always found impossible: folding a fitted sheet, safely clipping my cat’s claws, and finding size 26 clothes that made me “look skinny.” At three hundred pounds, shopping for jeans was an aerobic activity that often left me sweating. I’d walk into the dressing room, turn away from the mirror, and do the dance.

Do you know the one? You start by jumping up and down to

get the denim around your lumpy parts. Follow that up by lying

flat on the ground to get the jeans buttoned. If you are successful

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with the first two steps, it’s time for the final challenge. You must

get back on your feet without popping a button or ripping out the

seams in your seat.

It was generally in these dignified moments that I asked myself,

“When did I get this large? What am I going to do when even the

plus size clothes are too small? How did I let myself get this out of control?”

I enjoy living in a small town, but the closest mall is more than

one hour away. I remember being so relieved when a local clothing store expanded their sizes beyond a 3X. It can be terrifying when

your body is too large to wear anything in the store. Forget about

dressing fashionably, I was just worried about dressing at all.

When My Bottom Hit Bottom

The stages of obesity are strangely similar to the stages of grief. If

you’ve struggled with your weight for a long time, you may see

yourself in one of the phases below. Because I’m such an overachiever, I had to hit all five stages before my bottom hit bottom. It was a twenty-year spiral down.

1. Denial: “I’m not obese. I just have a lot of curves.

This can’t be happening . . . not to me. Gaining a few

extra pounds is simply a part of getting older, right?

I don’t have the metabolism I had in high school, but

it’s not like I have a serious problem.”

2. Anger: “It’s not fair. If my spouse (children, friends,

coworkers, and so on) didn’t sit around eating

so many high-calorie foods, I wouldn’t have this

problem. How could anyone lose weight with this

many temptations? They are to blame.” Once we are

in the second stage, we recognize that denial cannot


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3. Bargaining: “I know I have a problem. I’m going to

lose the weight but not today. My schedule is just

too hectic, and I’m too stressed out. I’ll start the diet

on Monday.” In this stage we want more time before

confronting the tough work we see ahead of us.

4. Depression: “Why even bother to try anymore?

What is the point of starting another diet? This isn’t

going to work anyway. I might as well eat whatever

I feel like. I’m always going to be fat.” This was

the stage for me where I gave up on weight loss and

exercise completely. I stopped going to the doctor

so I didn’t have to get on the scale, and I started

making fat jokes at my own expense to cover my


5. Acceptance: This is the hour, the minute, the second

when you finally hit bottom. If you’ve ever fought an

addiction and won, acceptance is a moment in time

you will never forget. Mine was a Saturday morning

in March 2007 at about 7:30 a.m. Oh yes, I can be

that specific.

I think the world has a misconception about acceptance. We

imagine people standing up, dusting off their hands, and working

to fix their problems. There is actually more to it than that.

Acceptance is when you are willing to put your trust in something

beyond yourself. It is an attitude that “I will do whatever it takes,

no matter how hard, because I can’t live like this anymore. I will

no longer value pride over health. I need help, and I’m not going to be afraid to ask for it.”

For the first fifteen years of my obesity I bounced from anger

(when a weight-loss plan didn’t work) back to bargaining (before I started the next diet). After being told no to gastric bypass surgery

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by my insurance company, I finally slid into the depression stage. I gave up on weight loss and ate whatever was in front of me.

When I travel and speak with groups, I get these questions more

than any other: What happened in 2007? Why did you lose the

weight? That question makes me sweat! For more than a year I

gave the safe, comfortable answer that I wanted to be healthier

and set a good example for my children. And while that is true, it

wasn’t a part of my “bottom hitting bottom” moment.

I’m going to be honest here because I believe it is important for

other married people to understand that they aren’t alone. One

weekend in March of 2007 it became clear to me that the awesome man I married couldn’t pretend to find me attractive anymore. Our intimacy was precious to me, and we were losing it. I was daring him to find me attractive at two hundred pounds, two hundred fifty pounds . . . OK, how about three hundred pounds? It was like my weight was a third person lying in our bed between us. I saw a day coming when we would live together “just as friends,” and it broke my heart.

I have to stop for a moment and tell you a little bit about my

husband. When we said our marriage vows in 1992, the man was

serious. I never worried for one minute that he would cheat on me

or want a divorce. Every day he told me he loved me. It was just a

problem that there seemed to be a lot more of me to love every day.

I don’t believe that wives should torture themselves trying to

look like models. Let’s be honest. Even a supermodel doesn’t really look like a supermodel when you take away the hour of expert makeup and the magic of Photoshop. I do think we owe it to our spouses, however, to take care of ourselves. At three hundred pounds I stopped getting haircuts, considered makeup a waste of time, and avoided mirrors like the plague. Men are visual. God created them that way, and I can only imagine how tired my husband must have been seeing me in baggy sweatpants every day.

I think my “bottom smacking” moment went back to those

marriage vows we had said to each other fifteen years earlier. My

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husband promised to love me in sickness and in health, but I was

choosing sickness over health. It wasn’t fair to him. My out-of-control eating habits and lack of exercise were hurting my marriage and slowly killing me. I was ready to lose weight like a grown-up.

Does this mean that I lost 155 pounds for my husband? No. I

didn’t lose the weight for him. I lost the weight for us. I think if

my only motivation had been to make my husband happy, my diet

wouldn’t have lasted a week. This is at the core of why we can’t nag, badger, or beg our spouses to be healthier. A guilt trip or mean comments from my husband would have sent me to the nearest buffet line with a battle cry of, “You think I’m fat? I’ll show you fat!”

Your parents may be worried sick about your growing size. Your

spouse may be secretly throwing away your snacks. Your kids may dream of having a parent who is active and involved. That alone won’t be enough. A healthier you is a gift to those who love you, but it is a gift that must be given of your own free will. Has your bottom touched bottom?

From Willpower to “Thy Will ” Power

“I tell you the truth, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed,

you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.”1

I did a little bit of research about the mustard seed. It is generally

about three millimeters in diameter and is one of the smallest

seeds on the planet. What I found interesting is that the tiny mustard seed can grow to be one of the largest plants in the garden. But in March of 2007 all I knew about mustard was that it tasted great on a hot dog.

Looking back, the mustard seed really was the perfect symbol

for where I was at in my head. Because of so many past diet failures I had almost no faith that I would ever lose weight. I had

almost no faith that God would listen to my prayers. I had almost

no faith that He could give me the strength to try again . . . almost.

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It turns out that the three millimeters of faith that I had in my

heart was enough. Actually it was more than enough.

To say that I probably didn’t look my best on that day in March

of 2007 would be an understatement. I want you to give you clear

picture of my “before” photo—no touch-ups. It was early on a

Saturday morning, so you have to picture an obese woman with

her hair standing straight up, not a lot of clothes on, and teeth that

probably needed to be brushed. My eyes were practically swollen

shut from my tears, and an occasional snot-bubble is not outside

the realm of possibility. I looked rough. God didn’t care.

He listened to me make an ugly, honest confession. I had allowed

food to be my god. It had become my comforter and my crutch.

And if you’ve struggled with your weight or with any addiction,

you know that it can be an angry and unforgiving god. The very

day I cried out and prayed for help, God (with the big, capital G)

gave me a no-thank-you muscle I never had before.

Here is the best way I can describe it. When an obese person

sees something delicious on a plate, the “must have it” meter is off the charts. A piece of warm apple pie with vanilla ice cream would be an eighteen for me on a scale of one to ten. It was impossible to resist. On the Saturday I asked God to carry me, my “must have it” meter for the foods I loved was immediately dialed down. The food still looked delicious, but I didn’t feel as if I would die if I simply said, “No, thank you.”

That feeling of strength has never left me. It gave my soul the

courage to try again even after two decades of failure. It gave my

brain the opportunity to put the science of weight loss into action.

God took my faith (the size of a mustard seed) and moved a mountain; a 155-pound mountain of fat to be exact.

If you can take away just one thing from my story, I hope it is

this. God is still in the miracle business. I learned in a very real

way that God has plans for us. Plans to prosper us and not to harm

us. Plans to give us hope and a future.2 The Father who created you and can count every hair on your head is not a deadbeat dad.

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We’re going to talk about the role that faith and support can

play for you, but our first hour class is science. Don’t worry. You

won’t need a periodic table of the elements or a Bunsen burner. In

the next chapter I want to give you some basic facts about how

our bodies work, use calories, and store fuel. There is a measurement tool called the body mass index and my own creation called a brain mass index. Both can be eye opening.

House Call With Rita Hancock, MD

House Call With Rita Hancock, MD

Question:_ I have a long list of diets in my past. Many of them

were all about restrictions and what foods I could and couldn’t

eat. Do you ever wonder what God thinks about our constant


Dr. Hancock: I think it breaks God’s heart to see us suffer

with the consequences of obesity, but I also think it breaks

His heart to see us chronically diet and fail. Our failures just

compound the feelings of helplessness and hopelessness that

lead to emotional eating. Plus, dieting fuels our obsession

with food. It makes us want the food we think we shouldn’t

eat even more. It’s a vicious, self-defeating cycle.

Because each of us is so different (for example, for some of

us restricting dieting backfires), I don’t believe God would advocate

a single, one-size-fits-all diet for all Christians. No doubt

God would give each of us an individualized diet if we lived

in an ideal world where we could hear His instructions clearly.

Unfortunately we don’t live in an ideal world. Being that

we’re all unique, individual creations, and being that we’re all

imperfect, God gave us only general guidelines to follow in

Scripture. Let’s look at those general guidelines here:

1. You shouldn’t be gluttonous (Prov. 23:2, 20–21).

2. You shouldn’t worry about or think too much

about what you will eat (Matt. 6:25).

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3. You can eat any type of food (Mark 7:15–19).

4. You should eat to the glory of God (1 Cor. 10:31).

Let’s take a minute to talk about each of these scriptures

specifically. First, think about the meaning of gluttony. Generally

most would agree that it means, “overeating.” But how

much is too much? Are you gluttonous if you eat twenty

cookies? Most would say yes. How about if you eat two

cookies? And can you be gluttonous in ways other than

eating? The exact definition of gluttony can be hard to pin

down, if you ask me.

Second, do you worry too much about food and eating?

A long time ago I was in bondage to food. I was either on a

diet or off a diet, as if I was on a dieting roller coaster. My first

thought in the morning was either, “Feed me!” or “I hope I

don’t overeat today,” depending on which part of the roller

coaster I was on.

I most definitely thought about food more than I thought

about God. In fact, my obsessive thoughts about food actually

drove a wedge between God and me. That’s why I think it was


Eventually, by the grace of God and using methods I discuss

further in The Eden Diet, I was able to break free from this

bondage and reestablish the right pecking order. Jesus was

Lord over me, and I was lord over the food.

Third, Scripture says you can eat any type of food. Notice

that God didn’t say carrot sticks are morally superior

to cheesecake. At the same rate Paul pointed out that just

because something is allowable, it isn’t necessarily advisable.

People with fat-clogged arteries ought to avoid eating more

than a few bites of cheesecake, lest they have heart attacks and

die. The point is, you must use common sense and eat potentially

unhealthy food in small amounts, especially if you’re

trying to lose weight or if you have unique medical needs that

require you to follow a strict diet.

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Fourth, you should eat with an attitude of thankfulness

and reverence to God. Eating with the proper attitude, that is,

without anxiety and guilt, leads to greater satisfaction with the

eating experience so that less food equals more joy.
Rita Hancock, MD, is a Christian physician with Ivy League nutrition training and studies of obese psychology. She draws upon her faith and her personal success overcoming

childhood-onset obesity to help those in bondage to food, eating, and dieting. To learn more about

Dr. Hancock’s work or purchase The Eden Diet or other resources developed by Dr. Hancock, visit her

website at

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My Opinion:

I was thinking that this book would give me ideas for making healthy meals for my family while facilitating weight loss and inspiration in keeping the momentum for losing weight going – but I didn’t find what I was hoping to between the covers of this book.  There is some inspiration and personal testimonies scattered through out but the premise is to eat low fat foods, which has been dis-proven time and again and you can still have sugar foods – what a cookie?  no problem! – but only in moderation.   Protein is good but only lean protein so chicken is good, but red meat – not so much.  So butter and healthy fats are bad, sugar is okay in moderation, and you should really focus on low fat foods.  Having done research on my own and talking with my friends who also have done a lot of research – low fat and omitting healthy fats is not the way to lose weight.  This is just my opinion though and I’m not a medical doctor.

I think this book would be a good read if you’re needing some encouragement to build yourself up to start yourself on losing weight – but I caution you to make sure you weigh it against your own research as well.  Personally, I don’t rely on my doctor for everything pertaining to my health because it’s my health and my choices that have gotten me where I am – most doctors will put you on medications anyway without making lifestyle changes.  Would I recommend this book to someone wanting a real food lifestyle change?  No.  If it was someone wanting a short term diet (notice the difference lifestyle change vs. diet) to jump start weight loss?  Maybe.


Overall, I didn’t see a lot about how to lose weight on a budget, it was about understanding your issues about why you’re overweight, what to avoid, things to eat, getting a support network.  I just didn’t see where a budget friendly plan came into play though.  One man, a doctor, tells of his year long sabbatical to lose weight in cross the country – which most of us can probably say that isn’t in our budget.  There weren’t any recipes although there was one sample menu which would still leave me hungry even though the calories were around 400 per meal (except dinner) while my meals are less than 300, usually, include healthy fats and keep me satiated longer.


FIRST Tour: Radical Well-Being by Rita Hancock, M.D.

It is time for a FIRST Wild Card Tour book review! If you wish to join the FIRST blog alliance, just click the button. We are a group of reviewers who tour Christian books. A Wild Card post includes a brief bio of the author and a full chapter from each book toured. The reason it is called a FIRST Wild Card Tour is that you never know if the book will be fiction, non~fiction, for young, or for old…or for somewhere in between! Enjoy your free peek into the book!

You never know when I might play a wild card on you!

Today’s Wild Card author is:
Rita Hancock
and the book:
Radical Well-being
Siloam (January 8, 2013)
***Special thanks to Althea Thompson for sending me a review copy.***

Dr. Rita Hancock is a board-certified Physical Medicine specialist with subspecialty board certification in Pain Management, and she has been in full-time practice in Norman, Oklahoma for fourteen years. Currently, she serves as the Oklahoma delegate for the Christian Medical And Dental Association, as well as their official spokesperson on matters of diet and nutrition. Dr. Hancock is married to Ed and they have two children.
Visit the author’s website.


What’s blocking you from experiencing total wellness?

Research increasingly shows a strong connection between our spiritual life, our emotions, and our physical well being. Yet too often our physical conditions are treated without taking our whole lives into account. In Radical Well-being, Dr. Rita Hancock shows you how your mind, body, and spirit are connected and addresses the factors that can contribute, and even cause, illness, addictions, and chronic pain.

If you suffer from medical conditions like fibromyalgia, migraine headaches, neck or back pain, irritable bowel syndrome, jaw pain, food and drug allergies, depression, anxiety, or unwanted behaviors such as overeating, an eating disorder, overspending, drug abuse or alcoholism, Radical Well-being will show you a biblical, whole-body approach to overcoming your condition. With nearly twenty years of experience counseling patients from a balanced, mind/body/Holy Spirit perspective, Dr. Rita gives you practical nuts-and-bolts advice.

Product Details:

List Price: $16.99

Paperback: 288 pages

Publisher: Siloam (January 8, 2013)

Language: English

ISBN-10: 1616389737

ISBN-13: 978-1616389734:


Don’t Believe Everything You ThinkIf I asked you to look at a group of women and pick out the person with the eating disorder, you wouldn’t choose Helen. She doesn’t fit the stereotype. She’s a slightly overweight, sixty-year-old grandmother. Surprise! Not all people with eating disorders are skinny, teenage girls.

As I interviewed Helen about her knee pain on that first medical visit, she repeatedly pointed out that she was desperate to lose weight so her knees would hurt less. On the surface that made sense. However, something wasn’t right about this particular situation. She seemed more fixated on the prospect of weight loss than on relieving the knee pain.

That’s when she starting asking me about my previous book, The Eden Diet. Apparently her daughter had lost a fair amount of weight on the diet, and Helen now wanted to try it.

I have to admit that I was a little confused by this point in the visit. She was on the schedule as wanting to be seen for her knees. So I just came out and asked, “Shouldn’t we be talking about your knees?” Helen looked down at the ground and then back up at me. “Well, I heard you don’t see just anybody for weight loss. I heard you mostly treat pain-management patients and just counsel them for weight loss on the side. I guess I figured that you could help me kill two birds with one stone.”

You have to commend her persistence. That’s faith and desperation rolled into one! I figured I’d better help her or she’d get some people to take the shingles off the roof of my office and lower her into the

Hancock-Radical.indd 1

exam room through the ceiling on a stretcher while thinking, “If only I touch the hem of her lab coat, I’ll lose weight.”

As Helen and I dialogued in subsequent visits, I gleaned some insight into her underlying problem. As a child she internalized lies that led her into an eating disorder in her teenage years. She believed her mother would love her only if she was skinny. Her mother had been a dancer in her youth and pressured Helen and her sisters to not eat too much or they wouldn’t be wanted (by men). But Helen understood that nobody, not even her own mother, would want her if she were overweight.

Hence the eating disorder. She was trying to “works” her way into being good enough by manipulating (or trying to manipulate) her weight. Hidden lies and feelings of inadequacy, such as those Helen entertained, lead to emotional stress and strife. In turn those lies lead to overeating and other physical manifestations, such as pain and illness. It’s a common tale, one that another of my patients knows well.

A Little Girl Named Nancy

Nancy’s parents rarely had time for her. Her father was an attorney in a big Chicago law firm, and if he didn’t work long hours he wouldn’t stand a chance of becoming partner. Based on his own standards for success, that would have meant he was a total failure in life. He learned that way of thinking from his dad, who was also a highly successful, perfectionist, workaholic lawyer with low self-esteem deep down.

Nancy’s mother was a legal secretary in the same firm. She didn’t have to work overtime with her husband all those evenings, but she did so anyway, saying it was to help her husband get home earlier. Truthfully she just wanted to keep tabs on her good-looking, wealthy husband. She didn’t trust him around the perky little legal interns.

The one source of constancy in Nancy’s early life was her paternal grandfather. He babysat her most evenings after day care or school when her parents worked overtime, and he watched her most Saturdays too. The babysitting job kept him from getting lonely and depressed

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since his wife had passed away a few years before. Without the pairing,

both he and Nancy would have been alone.

Despite Nancy’s company Grandpa was still lonely in a different

kind of way. To fill that need, he fell into reading inappropriate magazines. He made a halfhearted attempt to hide the magazines from little Nancy but failed. She found them by accident one day shortly after her seventh birthday while looking for magazine pictures she could use

for a school art project.

A flurry of questions ran through her little mind when she found those pictures. “Why would Grandpa look at those magazines? Is this how men are supposed to look at women? Is this how women are supposed to be looked at?”

Though Nancy was young, she knew instinctively that her Grandpa’s magazines were naughty, and she felt bad about herself for having seen them. In fact, she experienced not just a single crush but a double crush to her self-esteem over this.

On one hand she couldn’t help but identify with the women in the pictures. If they were just lowly objects, then maybe that’s all she was too. After all, she was female, just like them. On the other hand, Nancy identified with her grandfather and felt deep shame. “Grandpa is bad for looking at these,” she thought, “so I must be bad too, because we’re

related and that means I’m like him.” The blow to her self-esteem stayed with her for a long time, compromising her romantic relationships with men later in life. She couldn’t trust them. Were they looking at her as a piece of meat or as a person? Would they betray her like her daddy betrayed her mommy? Or would they abandon her like her parents abandoned her to focus on their work? She was never sure.

This incident also marked the beginning of her overeating. On a subconscious level seeing those pictures at that impressionable age caused Nancy to feel vulnerable and out of control in addition to bad and dirty. Nancy decided she didn’t want anyone to look at her the way her grandfather looked at those women. So she ate to put a layer of insulation around her body. It backfired, though, because people looked anyway since she was so large.

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This issue with her grandfather wasn’t the only reason Nancy gained weight as a child. On some level, even though her daddy ultimately made partner in the firm and was able to spend more time at home, Nancy always felt a sense of abandonment due to his earlier absence. She figured that she was unworthy of Daddy’s attention. If she were a good enough daughter, maybe he would have stayed home.

These feelings of low self-esteem and abandonment gave her another reason to eat to keep people away as an adult. If nobody became interested in her romantically because she was overweight, then nobody would abandon or betray her later on.

Of course, during her childhood Nancy was totally unaware of these buried feelings. It wasn’t until she underwent counseling to save her third failing marriage that she began to understand the psychology that motivated her to eat as a child.

Through counseling, Nancy learned that she felt shameful, vulnerable, and out of control as a child, especially sexually but also emotionally. Eating was her unconscious attempt to feel safe and in control. She ate to medicate her low self-esteem and anxiety, and she ate to keep away unwanted attention.

Composite Patients

Can you relate to any part of Helen’s or Nancy’s story? They actually represent composites of a multitude of women that I’ve counseled for weight loss, pain, and other stress-related health problems over the years. In fact, all the patient examples that I present in this book are composites—yet every situation I describe is real.

As you can see by Helen’s and Nancy’s examples, fear, sexuality, and feeling inadequate or out of control are common themes that contribute to aberrant eating behavior in women. Other common issues include guilt, low self-esteem, abandonment or loss (such as parental divorce), parental alcoholism, and physical illness during childhood. Because I hear these themes frequently in my medical practice, you’ll see them often in the patient composites I include in this book.

My intent in presenting these composites is to help you understand

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and manage your emotional triggers and, consequently, have an easier time letting go of your addictions, unwanted health behaviors, and physical pain. Even better than the physical benefits though, is the peace, love, and joy you feel when you break free from false beliefs and feel more of the fruit of the Spirit in your life. I assure you that the freedom from emotional bondage feels even better than the physical health benefits.

The Lies That Bind

In the following pages I list fundamental beliefs that have triggered feelings of stress, depression, and anxiety in some of my patients. In many cases the emotions caused by these beliefs led my patients to reach for false comforters (food, alcohol, gambling, spending, overworking, etc.) to try to feel better.

Before you read the list, please pray (see Appendix A for more help with prayer). Ask God to reveal only the information that you can handle, and ask Him to reveal if you should dig through these subconscious beliefs with the help of a Christian counselor. Not everyone is meant to “go there” without the help of another human. God gave us Christian counselors and psychologists for a reason.

Now if the time is right (and only you and God can be the judge of that, so proceed at your own risk and do so prayerfully), read the list and see if any of the lies strike a nerve. Make a checkmark by each one that does.

Keep in mind that everything on the bulleted list is a lie. Even though you see the accusations against you in print, don’t be fooled into believing them.

• You’re fat.

• You’re ugly.

• You’re stupid.

• You’re unlovable.

• God doesn’t love you.

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• You’re bad (or not good enough).

• You’re worthless.

• You’ll never amount to anything.

• You shouldn’t have been born.

• They’re going to leave you.

• You don’t deserve to be loved.

• It’s all you’re fault.

• You’re dirty.

• You’re shameful.

• It’s your fault your parents divorced.

• You’re unforgivable because of the abortion.

• You’re a bad mother for giving up your baby when you were a teenager.

• If you were worth anything, she wouldn’t have given you up for adoption.

• Your parents adopted you to fix their marriage; now their happiness is up to you.

• If you were good, your dad (or mom) would have stuck around.

• It’s your fault your mom or dad drank.

• It’s your fault your dad abused your mom (or vice versa).

• It’s your fault he sexually abused you.

• You deserve to be treated badly.

• She’ll never let your daddy hear the last of it if you tell on him.

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• Your mother won’t believe you if you tell her about the abuse.

• It’s your fault he (or she) left.

• It’s your fault he (or she) died.

• You’re just like your bad mother.

• You’re just like your bad father.

• You’re not as good as your brother or sister.

• You’re an accident.

• You weren’t wanted.

• You can’t be forgiven for what you did.

• They’re going to leave you if they find out you’re bad.

• You have to try to be perfect to make up for being bad.

• You don’t deserve anybody’s time.

• God’s promises aren’t meant for you.

Remember, these are lies that have nothing to do with who you are today. It’s important to identify the beliefs that you learned in the past, as we will see. Realize that the time has come to let go of the lies, and I help you do that in this book. Now let’s talk about other sources of false childhood beliefs.

Lies That Make You Think You’re Fat

Because my daughter is a teenager, I spend a fair amount of time watching the effects of peer pressure on the kids in her age group. Even the more wholesome TV programs that are geared to her age group show perfectly manicured, extremely cute girls with perfect clothing and most excellent hair. Naturally, real-life girls of that age group are bound to feel inadequate.

I know about peer pressure for another reason. I temporarily volunteered my services to online “ask the expert” websites. I quit after

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having to answer the same anonymous question a thousand times from teenage girls: “Dr. Rita, please tell me how to lose thirty pounds in the next three weeks. I’m going to be in my sister’s wedding, and I’m a total blimp. I’m over one hundred thirty pounds, and I’m only five foot seven inches. I want to get down to the same weight as the other bridesmaids.”

How did I respond? “Honey, your real problem isn’t your weight. You may have an eating disorder. You should talk with your parents and get some counseling.”

I wish I could have spoken freely about my faith to those girls on that secular site. If I had been able to, I would have said, “No matter how hard you try, you will never be somebody else, and you will never feel that you’re good enough after you lose weight if you feel inadequate before. Your greatest journey is to get in line with God’s will for your life, not to get in line with God’s will for somebody else’s life.”

Thinking you’re fat eventually makes you become fat. Your actions affect your attitudes, and your attitudes affect your actions. Watch what you think because it will affect what you do.

You Have to Ask the Questions

If you aren’t sure about what triggers you to reach for false comforters, start asking questions: “Immediately before I feel tempted to [eat, drink, gamble, shop, overwork, etc.], do I feel fear, anger, or low selfesteem? Do I feel stupid, worthless, or out of control? Or do I feel unnurtured? Or is it something else?”

And how do I feel after I utilize my false comforter? Do those emotions go away? If so for how long do they go away?” As I said, the false comforter is not the underlying problem. It’s only the attempted solution to get away from the unwanted emotion.

Many people feel out of control and hence, fearful or anxious. They use their false comforters to try to regain a sense of control. “Nobody can tell me what to [eat, buy, smoke, drink, feel, etc.].” Or they use the false comforters as short-term distractions to escape their emotions.

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They cover their anger, fear, or low self-esteem with alcohol, drugs, food, shopping, cutting, or some other unhealthy behavior.

The Right Questions Break Down Barriers

Surveying and assessing your emotions can definitely help you identify your triggers. However, it’s even better to petition the all-knowing Creator of the universe for answers. He knows the nature of your deep-down issues better than you do!

You may be thinking, “But I’ve asked Him for answers a million times, and He doesn’t answer!” If you feel as if God isn’t answering you, or if you feel “lost” in your journey for answers, realize the problem isn’t likely to be on God’s end. You may have barriers that prevent you from hearing from God.

Many factors can serve as barriers that block your reception of God’s healing. For example, maybe you believe lies about yourself as a result of childhood events or abuse. Or maybe you need to repent of past sins. Maybe you need to extend forgiveness to those who hurt you. Maybe you are mad at God because you couldn’t find Him during your times of trouble. Maybe you feel ashamed and are hiding from God. Or maybe it’s something entirely different. Maybe you have emotional or physical barriers.

No matter what caused your barriers to go up, asking God the right questions about the nature of those barriers can help to tear them down.

To help you overcome your barriers, at the ends of the chapters in Parts 1-4, I offer sample questions that you can ask God during prayer. To formulate these questions, I borrowed from a number of healing disciplines, including Christian inner-healing ministry, psychology, physical therapy, and manual medicine, all of which talk about overcoming barriers of one form or another. That way, once your barriers come down, you can better receive healing truth from God and, in turn, experience freedom from your emotional triggers and bondage to false comforters.

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Action Point

Ask God in Prayer

* Express your thankfulness and confidence, “Dear Lord, thank You for the healing truth that I am about to receive.”

* Ask for a new start, “As I recall my past sins, please forgive me, wash me clean, and make me brand new.”

* Ask God to help you drop your defenses, “Lord, please amplify my ability to hear and/or understand deep healing truth as I read.”

* Ask for compassion, “Lord, please help me to have compassion toward myself and others. Help me forgive those who hurt me.”

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My Opinion:

This book is one that can really help a Christian who is dealing with chronic pain, illness and addictions (it doesn’t have to be just alcohol or drugs, but maybe it’s food or maybe it’s caffeine) but this book is meant to help bring about healing in a Biblical way.  At first I thought the author was going to assume that all of our troubles stemmed from some sort of wrong (whether to or by us) in our lives, but she did admit that not everyone’s illness or pain or addiction is the result of trauma and some have a physical issue.  She uses stories of her patients to give credence to what she says in her book and it makes the book less lecture like and more personable – and easy to read.

There were a couple areas, where I thought, ‘this is getting weird’ and one of those is when the author talks of a vision she had where “fetus Rita” is talking to her and God wants Rita to look at her fetus self.  I acknowledge that God gives us visions, some are given the gift of prophecy and I’m not doubting the author’s vision but it seemed, well weird to me, the reader to be part of something so personal.  She also discloses a bit about her attempted and failed VBAC in which she also adds a side note that states it’s a procedure that is rarely done because it’s known to be bad.  I’ve had 2VBA1C and while there are risks, as with everything, and I’m sorry she experience what she did, that doesn’t and shouldn’t rule out VBACs across the board or assume they are “bad”.  Keep in mind she is a traditionally trained doctor with training and certification in pain management so as in all medical field there are going to be widely varying opinions on such things as what procedures are bad and what foods are good.

There is a lot in the book that many, even I can find helpful as long as everything is weighed against Scripture – such as the “Let God speak to Your Imagination” chapter to ensure that it’s good and true and pure.  I can attest to the healing powers of Christ when I’ve been prayed over by my daughter during a migraine attack.  I know the Lord can speak to us through His Word and His Spirit and I’m all for laying on of the hands prayer for healing as well.  Like everything Christians take in on a daily basis it should be filtered through Scripture and prayer.

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Abel’s Field DVD review – contest info

About the movie:

Left motherless by tragedy and abandoned by his father, high school senior Seth McArdle (Samuel Davis) faces enormous pressure as he strives to support his little sisters. At school, he endures the daily bullying of the football team. But fighting back only finds him singled out for punishment and assigned to an after-school work detail under the supervision of the reserved groundskeeper, Abel (SOUL SURFER’S Kevin Sorbo). Much to his surprise, Seth discovers that Abel may be the only one who truly understands his struggles. As dark times lure Seth toward desperate measures, the reluctant Abel may be the one person who can point him back toward the light.

My Opinion:

I grew up watching Kevin Sorbo play Hercules and I enjoyed his role in Soul Surfer so when I had the chance to watch Abel’s Field which also stars him I knew I had to grab it.  Knowing that he is a Christian also made me excited to see how he played this role – which is somewhat more serious and heavy than his other roles that I’ve seen him in.  The movie draws you in from the beginning, I can feel for Seth whose mom is dead, abandoned by his dad and his half brother and left alone as a high school student to care for his sisters.  Under his tough exterior lays a young man who is crying out for help even though he says he doesn’t need and thankfully with Abel’s help he realizes he has to ask for it before he runs into trouble.

Now, for my readers and friends, I will say that Kevin Sorbo appears with his shirt off and reveals his fake tattoos – but this all a part of showing who he was and is.  My husband and I watched it with our children ages 10 and down and there was no issue with any behavior or language, this is a movie that the entire family can watch.  There is a momentary lapse of judgement where Kevin Sorbo loses his anger with the character Seth and a time when Seth and a ‘friend’ think it’ll solve his problems to rob the school – and without giving away the whole movie – he doesn’t ruin his life.

As much as I enjoyed the movie and had I been watching on my own I probably would have been emptying a box of facial tissues – I do want to say that Seth circumstances seem a little far fetched in the fact that no social services stepped in, even when the bank begins foreclosure on the house it seems maybe in a small Texas town no one thinks it’s odd for a high school student to work 3 jobs (only 2 are paid), raising his sisters and asking for a loan?  I do appreciate the effort that Seth puts into keeping his sisters with him, even retrieving them from his Aunt when his half brother takes them – but while it seems a little skewed at times the movie was one with a great plot, excitement and an ending in which almost everyone lives happily ever after.

If you’d like to enter the giveaway to win one copy of Abel’s Field then visit An Ohio Reviewing Mom.

**Disclaimer:  I received one or more of the products or services mentioned above for free in hope that I would mention it on my blog. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”


Some pictures from last year, this year!

I just realized that I hadn’t shared some pictures from Christmas Eve or Christmas 2012 and since it’s almost the end of January I thought well, now is the time!  Our Christmas Eve tradition has included going to my Dad and Step-mom’s and then to my in-laws and this year my nephew was old enough to really get into things and my children had a blast playing with him and when I could catch him I enjoyed giving him hugs and kisses!

The girls playing with their cousin.

Isn’t she beautiful?

There is a bit of guinea pig obsession in the house!

Christian opening his Creepy Crawlers present Christmas morning.

A Bitty Baby outfit for Bethanne’s AG Bitty Baby dolls from Grandma Cindy.

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Kregel Tour: The Tainted Coin by Mel Starr

About the Book:

It is the autumn of 1367. Master Hugh is enjoying the peaceful life of Bampton when a badly beaten man is found under the porch of St. Andrew’s Chapel. The dying man is a chapman–a traveling merchant. Before he is buried in the chapel grounds, an ancient, corroded coin is found in the man’s mouth.


Master Hugh’s quest for the chapman’s assailants, and his search for the origin of the coin, begins to make progress–but there are men of wealth and power in league with his old nemesis, Sir Simon Trillowe, who wish to end his search . . . permanently.


But Master Hugh, and his assistant, the groom Arthur, are determined to uncover the thieves and murderers, and the source of the chapman’s coin. They do, but not before they become involved with a kidnapped maiden, a tyrannical abbot, and a suffering monk–who needs Master Hugh’s surgical skills and in return provides clues that assist Hugh in solving the mystery of the tainted coin.



My Opinion:



I’ve had the pleasure of reading two other books in this series, Hugh de Singleton, A Trail of Ink and Unhallowed Ground  and like the others I thoroughly enjoyed this one as well.  I don’t know if I enjoyed this one more because we’ve been studying the Middle Ages and the Plague in our history in our home school or just because I really enjoy the actual series – regardless this book is the next excellent installment for Mel Starr.  Again, we meet Hugh who is recording his story of his continuing job as bailiff and surgeon and he is now a dad to a toddler.  The character of Hugh has really evolved and developed as when I began the series Hugh was single with really no interest but his own – now he is faced with protecting not just his wife but his child and the reader can see and feel this struggle in this book as he carries out his job duties.


The reader also gets a feel for the struggle Hugh has with the laws regarding villeins and the Lord’s of the manors – his struggle is like all men and/or women – against what the world says is okay versus what God says is okay.  I won’t give away the story suffice to say Hugh’s conscience is eased and all is right in Bampton once again – until the next installment.  The every day happenings continue in this book as it’s still being written by Hugh instead of about him and some of the food stuffs mentioned has me wanting to try to find a reproduction Middle Ages cookbook – although fish every Friday doesn’t appeal to me, much like it didn’t appeal to Hugh.


I again enjoyed reading about the medical procedure in which Hugh helps to improve the condition of a monk’s life by fixing his fistula regardless of the Abbott who thinks God gave it to him so he can learn a lesson.  Hugh is a character that I think will continue to grow and learn and ultimately come into his own as he negates the stick path of following what God wants versus what the church or the King wants.  I found some things very interesting such as the last rites that the monk wanted to give a character (won’t say who or what or who) but he turns it down because apparently if given last rites, even if you survive one must walk barefoot, fast perpetually and cannot enjoy relations within the marriage for the rest of their lives – they are effectively dead.  Also of note, Hugh questions the reading of the banns – which apparently are still read in churches in England today.


I could probably go on and on about this book, but I won’t because I want you to read it!  Fall into Hugh’s world and discover his Medieval  world as he seeks to do the Lord’s work within the law of the land and the church as well as trying new medical procedures, such as leaving wounds to the air instead of festering in blankets and wraps and while reading this work of fiction learning some great historical content as well!


For a limited time you can purchase The Tainted Coin for Kindle at Amazon for $5.00


**Disclaimer:  I was provided a copy of this book from Kregel Publications in exchange for my honest opinion, no other compensation was given.

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Science – it’s fun!

We started our second science of the school year this month!  We completed 100% of Flying Creatures and instead of letting a bunch of time elapse we are continuing on with Swimming Creatures.  I have to say I get excited when we complete a whole curricula because that didn’t and doesn’t happen in ‘real’ school.  I remember knowing there was something I wanted to study in school but we never got to it because the teacher’s had to teach to the test or there just wasn’t time because of everything else a teacher has to do.


We’ve finished the first lesson and are once again working in the Apologia notebooking journals as well.  I can’t say what a time saver and space saver the journals are!  At one time I was doing a lot of lapbooking but I began to run out of room and I hate to throw all that work in the trash so now when we do lapbooking I do it in a spiral bounded scrapbook or use the Apologia journals for science.  It’s a bit more expensive when you multiply it by three but since I’m not having to make copies, cut, color, glue, provide file folders, etc it works out in the end – as well as saves my sanity.  Three children lapbooking and completing journal assignments and one of those is still learning to write, well it can get a bit hairy!  I’m not complaining, but I’m just glad there are simple ways to now make it easier for larger families to do lapbooking and such.


The cover of the journals we use for our science, this matches the cover of the text book as well. -Christianbook


So I made a list of what would be needed for the experiments and try its through the book so we wouldn’t have to hunt and find or skip and minus out the goldfish experiment (I just can’t justify adding a fish to our house with two dogs and two guinea pigs for the sake of an experiment 🙂  )  Otherwise we’ll be doing them – I just need to find another triops or sea monkeys kit but that’s later on so I have time.


One of our first try its was to test air pressure since we were studying oceans, currents, etc and while we have experimented with air pressure at demonstrations at the local science museums there is something about doing it at home.  So I barely, blew up a balloon inside a 2 liter bottle and put the cap on, then the children stepped on it as it’s stepped on the balloon gets smaller and as the pressure is released it goes back to it’s original size.



One of the other experiments was to determine whether cold water or hot water is heavier, unfortunately because it involved water, transferring water and food coloring I needed to be more hands on and didn’t get pictures.  Suffice to say it was fun and our hypothesis turned out to be the correct answer!


Another fun thing that is suggested is to do an ocean box – where each child adds the creature(s) being studied each week to their box.  Again, we don’t have room for 3 large boxes, so someone mentioned using the tri-fold display boards.  I didn’t want three of those either but the children were agreeable to doing 1 board for all three as long as they each get to add an animal each week.  This week the children colored the board (light, darker and black – to semi represent the zones of the ocean) then we added our abyssal animals (those that live in the very, very bottom of the ocean where even humans can’t go).  So we added gulper eels, angler fish, giant squid, phytoplankton and tube worms.


My iPod didn’t do the board justice but this will give you an idea until I take another picture later.




Desperate: Hope for the Mom who needs to Breathe by Sara Mae and Sally Clarkson


About the Book:


“I just can’t be a mother today.”

These words have been whispered to God in quiet desperation by mothers who love their children to the depths of their soul, but who are struggling with how hard motherhood is.

Motherhood turns you inside out. Sometimes you feel overwhelmed by how tired you feel; the days go on and on, and you want to be a “good” mom, but you feel like a failure so much of the time. What happened to all your ideals? When did you end up feeling so…lost?

Sarah Mae and Sally Clarkson have been to the edge and back. Desperate is the story of one young mother’s trials and one experienced mentor’s priceless exhortations. Desperate is not a book about despair, nor is it a rule-laden mothering manual. It is a bouquet from a friend who has been there, reminding us that we are not alone. Sarah Mae’s unvarnished account of her own struggles mothering three feisty young children is a lesson in learning patience, loving idiosyncrasies, accepting help, and—most of all—leaning on God.

Each chapter includes a brief Bible study with journal exercises to help you find your own quiet center, and get you back into the fray soul-filled and refreshed. Written with candor, empathy, and faith, Desperate is like coffee with a trusted girlfriend; one who knows how hard being a mother can be, and how to navigate the often turbulent road.


You can purchase the book at Thomas Nelson or at Amazon.


My Opinion:


I don’t think I was ready to be a mom – so my oldest was my guinea pig – I had to teach myself how to breastfeed after a horrible c-section because the only support I really had was my husband and my mom, most people were just like “give her a bottle”.  It was the only thing I had control of in those days, I lost my dream of a natural birth and with that recovery I had a lot of restrictions.  I still remember calling my mom one day and telling her, “Hannah hates me”, it seemed she only calmed when she was nursing or when my husband held her.  I felt used, of course I also had a ton of hormones that were doing a good job of clouding my judgement, but if I had had more womanly friends who had walked the path before me I think it would have been a blessing from God.


Don’t get me wrong, being able to call my mom and have the support of my husband (who was able to be home with us for almost 8 weeks!) is nothing to sneeze at.  What I needed, even though I didn’t know it at the time was a godly, woman mentor.  That is where Desperate comes into play.  Some moms are isolated due to geographic locations or maybe because they are only seeing woman who desire a career more than children and the church isn’t helping by continuing the lie that we can have children, a husband, a home and a career and nothing will feel left out.  Where do we turn?


Thankfully, we have a book full of knowledge in Desperate  Sally Clarkson gives us her years of knowledge and experience and Sara Mae gives us her raw emotions as she goes through bringing up her children.  I ended up joining a local but national moms group that really helped me and I’ve made some friends and wonderful, godly ladies who I am still in contact with – but oh how I wish I had had this beautifully inspiring book when I was crying on the phone to my mom that my newborn hated me!  I can laugh at it now, but at the time it wasn’t funny.  There are still days that I feel like “I can’t be a mother today”, maybe I’m overwhelmed, maybe the children are fighting like cats and dogs or I’m thinking “Lord, really?”.  Children are blessings but even with that realization being a mom sometimes is hard – and we need other moms who can mentor us through the hard times, get us over that hump, and get us to the other side – not false platitudes or an empty “I’m praying for you”, but a real hug while you pour out your soul to her.


I love that this book makes it feel like you are reading a personal conversation between Sally and Sara but also that you are included, you are welcomed into their inner circle, so you can see the struggles and learn from them.  One of the things that jumped out at me was this, “Sally and I want to encourage you to keep going even when it feels like you can’t, and we want to help you.  We won’t offer you formulas, but we will offer ideas, perspectives, transparency, and wisdom.”  Formulas often times make things worse, especially when you fail to do every step, or skip something or your child fails to do what the expected outcome was – but by giving us ideas, being see through and using wisdom – we can take joy in our motherhood and enjoy the blessings that God has given us without fear or trepidation.  There were other quotes but I can’t share them all with you – what I can tell you is that whether you’re a new mom, a mom of 1, a tenured mom or a mom of 10 this book will inspire you and give you breath.


Before you think it’s all what Sally or Sara says – it’s not included are Words from the Lord and journal prompts or, if you don’t have time to journal, questions to ponder as you go through the day so you can focus on what God wants from you as a mom.  Also included are QR codes for those who have smart phones (apps can be downloaded as well for iPod Touches) that will take you to a video based on that chapter that Sally and Sara collaborated on – giving you further inspiration.  I also think that if you know of a mom who may need a pick me up get them a copy, send it to them for their Kindle as a gift, or give them a physical copy – but truly for every woman who desires to be what God wants and who sometimes (and admit it we all think it sometimes) thinks, “I can’t be a mom today”, needs a copy of this book.


**Disclaimer:  I was given an e-copy of this book through Booksneeze through Thomas Nelson in exchange for posting my own opinion, no other compensation was given.



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