Goals

Happy New Year to you and yours!  I don’t know about you, but we like to set goals in the beginning of each year rather than resolutions. We like to have something concrete to work towards.  One of those goals is focused on wellness.  Gary and I have fallen off a bit on our healthy eating over the holidays and we are committing to doing a Whole30 together.  We love working together to plan meals and keeping each other on track.  Wellness is always a big focus in our lives and we’ll admit that with the busyness of this past year, we’ve let eating well take a bit of a backseat.  We’re on Day 2, so the sugar detox will begin soon and we may be a little crabby for a few days, but it will be SO worth it!  Gary will tell you that I am not one for fad diets and never recommend them to my patients.  I was even skeptical of his first go around with the Whole30, but after reading the book and studying the science behind it, it makes sense and it’s not a fad.  It’s really straight forward, common sense eating.  There is REAL food involved and you eliminate most if not all of the inflammatory foods from your repertoire.  It’s a 30-day reset to help break those strong cravings for foods that don’t serve our bodies well.

Plus, at least for me, when I eat better, I have more motivation to exercise which allows wellness to move on up in the priority list.   Gary is a rockstar when it comes to exercise, but I need more motivation.  This morning, I’m starting my day with an elixir recommended by my dear friend and health and nutrition guru, Caroline Stahlschmidt. Gut health and decreasing inflammation are super important to our overall health and function.  She’s taught me the digestive and health benefits of apple cider vinegar and adding a drop of citrus oil can help too.  In the glass, I have 12 ounces of water, 1 tbsp of Bragg’s ACV and 1 drop of essential oil. It’s not too tart and is actually quite refreshing.   As far as essential oils, I only use pure, therapeutic grade oils and do not ingest an oil that is not labeled as a dietary supplement and when I do, it is in very small quantities.  So, have you set your health and wellness goals for 2017 yet?  We’ll be cheering for you to meet them.  Blessings to you and yours for a happy and healthy year!

With Peace & Love,

 

Earmuffs

Words are powerful. They can uplift and inspire or they can cut and leave marks. Without much effort, you can likely recall the last compliment you received and similarly, the last insult hurled in your direction. Words pour from our televisions and radio. With the advent of social media, it only takes moments for words to fill the screen of your laptop, tablet, phone and now even your watch. They can be overwhelming.

This is nothing new as even without today’s technological advances, words have carried their power since the dawn of time.  But for me, this year struck a chord. Election years are usually challenging, but the rhetoric and caustic dialogue that has become the basis of many a political campaign has been a bit much. It’s carried past those trying to “serve” us by running for public office and into the day to day dialogue many of us experience. What’s particularly frightening is that our children are paying attention…

I vote “NO” on this.

Words should be inspirational. They should be intentional and flow from each of us with the purpose of pouring into and uplifting others. They should teach. Remind you of your greater purpose. Make you smile. Make you laugh. Fill you with emotion. Make you feel happy. They should remind you that you are not alone. That there’s a God that loves you.

But how do we change the vernacular and get people to remember all of this?

Welcome to FLOW Inspirations – our family collaborative with aspirations of changing the world. Our goal is to inspire those around us by creating hand-painted, custom wood signs, with reaffirming and uplifting messages. Whether it be a verse from the Bible or a quote from one of history’s great leaders, our artwork is designed to have a positive impact on you, your family, and your friends, and anyone that sees one of our signs.

How are the signs made? We take old pallet wood pieces that we clean up and restore. The pieces are cut, sanded, painted and turned into something greater than if left onto itself. The wood still bears signs of its past life, but those marks give it character. Kinda like us when you think about it.

Beyond that, each month we are going to spotlight different organizations that are helping to make our world a better place.  Places local like Abba House that has such a profound impact in the lives of women and their children and places global like the International Justice Mission, whose efforts are directed towards ending modern day slavery.  To help support their work, we will be donating 10% of the purchase price of each piece directly to our monthly spotlight non-profit organization.

Now changing the world sounds like a big job, but if we all do our part, who knows what’s possible? Thank you for joining us on our endeavor.

Jumping For Joy

This is us, on a recent family vacation to the Dominican Republic.

I love my husband.  Yes, I could blab about him all day, but I will refrain.  Just know that he is really quite amazing and I’m so ecstatic that he’s going to be hopping on here in a bit to share a little bit about a project that we are doing together.  We have found such joy in this and we hope that you will too!  FLOW isn’t just a word for us, it’s a way of life.  Our prayer is that this project will be an extension of that and that it will serve the greater good.  Stay tuned!

With Peace & Love,

Wide-Eyed Wonder

My faith story is certainly not unique, but it’s also not the norm.  I’ve always been a spiritual person and have felt God’s presence in my life, but I never felt that I belonged to an organized religion. My mom was Catholic and my father is Jewish.  Shortly before I was born, my mom converted to Judaism.  Then, when I was four, the foundation of my world cracked and crumbled as my parents separated, divorced and my father remarried.  Mom continued to raise me and my sisters in the Jewish faith.  Her family and my father’s family were there for us, especially as we navigated through the hardest years. We went to synagogue and Hebrew school, we all had Bat Mitzvahs and we observed all the Jewish holidays.   Plus, we got to celebrate Christmas with mom’s side of the family and that seemed like the best of both worlds to a kid in my situation.  I could never quite harmonize the different beliefs, and so I just put them in two different compartments in my life that didn’t mix.

Eventually, I went away to college and while I was finishing up grad school, I met Gary.  He’s absolutely the person that God designed for me and He allowed our paths to cross at precisely the right time.   I’ll share that story sometime, but for now, let’s fast forward to a time, about 8 years into our marriage.  Our oldest, was in pre-K and had lost a tooth.  She wakes up in the morning and comes to us and says “All I got was a dollar! My friends get toys and other things when the tooth fairy visits them!”  This already tired and stressed working mom almost flipped her lid at the ungrateful words coming out of her adorable little girl.  It was at that moment that we realized that we needed more in our life.  More community, more awareness about the world around us, more help because something was missing from our otherwise good and full life.

I said to Gary, “We need to find a church.”  He probably thought this was a little crazy coming from his Jewish wife, but I had already started researching.  We live in the South, so you can pretty much find a church everywhere you look.  I wanted to find a place with a heart for children and their future that wouldn’t judge us for being an inter-racial, inter-faith family.  I wasn’t even sure where to start.  That very same evening, our sweet friends, Holly and Sean invited us to visit their church and we accepted.

We attended our first service in October of 2010 and the pastor spoke about a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.  I had never heard anything like this and it opened my eyes to a whole new world.  Up to this point, I really didn’t know anything about Jesus or his ministry.  Seriously, thirty-five plus years and I didn’t know the first thing about Him.  I had heard about the Holy Trinity and saw my family members make the sign of the cross when they took communion at mass, but I never understood the meaning.  It’s hard to explain this, but my exposure to the bible was only Old Testament stories taught in Hebrew School and an occasional Catholic mass.  In my uninformed head, I thought that Jesus was a prophet, similar those I read about in Jewish scriptures.  I had no earthly clue that He was God crammed into human flesh.  Wow.  That blew my mind.  It’s one of those things that you just can’t un-know.

I needed to know more about this God-man and so I began studying and reading both the Old and New Testament daily.  I read books from contemporary authors that helped me to understand the teaching better.  I was all in and I was absorbing information like a sponge. My sweet husband has been a Christian all of his life and he patiently let me come to believe when I was ready.  I love him for so many reasons and not pushing me to follow his faith is certainly one of them.

I don’t feel like I have converted from Judaism to Christianity. For me, it’s more like a progression along the same path that always leads to the one true God.  Jesus and his disciples were Jews as well. They continued to observe the traditions and laws of their faith while simultaneously learning a brand new way to love God and to love people as demonstrated by Jesus in his parables and in his actions. There are 66 books that make up the bible as we know it and with my eyes opened, I could finally see that they all point to God’s spectacular plan to send a Savior for us all.

I am forever grateful that we accepted the invitation to visit our friend’s church which has now become our church.   I’m in awe of our God and how He put the people, events and places in our life that have led us to a closer relationship with Him through his son, Jesus. Five years after we first stepped into our local church, my oldest and I were baptized together.  Having her follow into the pool after me made that day so special considering she is the reason we started our search for a church in the first place.  It was so freeing to be able to proclaim that not only is Jesus is my Lord and Savior, but he’s also the Messiah we have been waiting for all along!  My two faith compartments from childhood have become one and there’s a peace  and spiritual wellness within my soul.

Our family continues to grow in our faith and we do our best to show our girls how to be light and love in the world.

With peace and love,

Uncharted Waters

If you ask me what I am or what I do, I could tell you many things.  One thing I wouldn’t say is that I’m a writer, which is comic since I’m writing this blog post.  I’ll be the first to tell you that I don’t know the first thing about blogging, but I will tell you that this has been stirring in my heart for some time.

If you ask me what is important to me, I’ll tell you that there are four overlapping areas that for me, are treasured gifts from God – Faith, the Love of my family, essential Oils and Wellness.  From those four gifts, the acronym F.L.O.W. came to mind and shortly after that FLOW Inspirations was born.  In everything that I do, I am always circling back to these four gifts.  You’ll soon see that my faith journey has not been typical and that the love I have for my family drives me forward each day.  You’ll also find that I am a wee-bit passionate about essential oils and their impact on our health and wellness.

I’m so excited and a bit nervous to open this window into my heart and soul and share it with you.  This is so new to me and it kind of feels like being in open, uncharted waters, and I’m glad to be sailing on this journey called life.  I’m inviting you to come along for the ride.  There will be detours and obstacles, I’m sure, but my hope and prayer is that what you’ll find here is inspiration and a shining light.

With peace and love,

short-signature

Living a life inspired by Faith, Love, Oils and Wellness