Thanksgiving

I recently heard part of the story about why we have Thanksgiving. Did you know it was proclaimed by Abraham Lincoln? Did you know that even though there was a war going on with hardship and lives being taken, that he declared to set aside this day as a day of thanksgiving and praise to our Father God Almighty? Wow. His speech is pretty powerful. I googled it. Abraham Lincoln has been one of my heros for a long time. I look up to his character, his faith, and his leadership abilities. You will notice one of his quotes is on my blog page.
So I got to thinking about Thanksgiving and our culture. There is a quote, “It is not happy people who are thankful, but thankful people who are happy.” So, is your outlook on life one of gratitude? So often, we take for granted the simplest things. Are you thankful for shelter, for food, for running water, for sanitation? I’ve traveled abroad several times within the last year, and I will tell you many people would love to have the environment I have. It is a humbling experience. Are you thankful and content with what you have? The phrase, “Cease striving,” has been running over and over in my head lately. Being content is not something our culture in America promotes. The culture is always telling us to have more, do more, be more, etc… But it is a wonderful thing to find contentment.
So I got to thinking about ways of expressing gratitude. It isn’t very prevalent in culture today. I mean a like on Facebook is supposed to mean thank you? What happened to being intentional with people? So here is what I came up with. How often are these a part of your habits: sending a thank you note (yes a hand written thank you note), saying thank you to people you live with for the mundane things, having an attitude of gratitude versus complaining, being present and being grateful for the gift of today, and what about expressing appreciation to people for just being them and being in our lives?
Back in graduate school, we were challenged by a guest speaker to say “thank you” instead of just “thanks” when talking with people or writing emails. She said that the “you” in thank you emphasizes your appreciation of that person. I’ve made a point to say that since then, and I’ve continued to think about what our lives and society could look like, if people were more grateful.
Are you saying yes to being thankful? Gratitude is a precursor of joy.
Have a wonderful Thanksgiving.

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Am I Dwelling?

When I was pregnant and walking a lot this summer, I listened to podcasts. I started listening to ones on prayer, because I was continuing the questioning of: “If God is sovereign and He knows all, how do we pray?” I found this podcast called “Prayer Storm Podcast,” and the main speaker is James Aladiran. Wow! He has amazing points about prayer, and he consistently talks about dwelling with God, praising Him, and focusing on Jesus not ourselves. During one of his episodes, he talks about Psalm 27:4: “One thing I ask from the LORD, this only do I seek: that I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, to gaze on the beauty of the LORD and to seek him in his temple.” His challenge was that if we could only ask the LORD for one thing, would it be to dwell with Him, to gaze on His beauty, and to seek Him? The definition to dwell is: to live in or at a specified place
This week, I prayed that. I told the LORD I wanted to dwell with Him and gaze on His beauty.
To give you a brief history of this week, our daughter is in another growth spurt. Last week, I decided to stop googling sleep techniques and to just be ok with what she wants at this point. I realize that our child is a gift, and she is truly a joy with her smiles and giggles. Her sleeping desires were really bothering me, though, and I just couldn’t get the root cause down and fix it (which is in my DNA to help fix things). You see, she won’t sleep in her crib for naps. For the first 5 weeks of her life, she would only nap if she was being held. Now, she sleeps in her rock n play during the day. She seems to like being around the action, or maybe she just wants to know that I’m near. I also received an email from a friend this week with a blog about how this mom tried everything to help her baby sleep, and she was prompted to invite the Holy Spirit into every interaction with her baby and stop trying to google everything. Hmmm… seems I can relate.
So last night, she was very fussy. More than normal, which is part of the growth spurt. She didn’t want to eat. She wasn’t calming down. I was getting frustrated, and in my head I was saying “I don’t know how to help you or what you want, child.” And then, a thought hit me. What if I just hold her tight to my chest and wrap my arms around her? What if she just needs to feel secure with whatever she is feeling, and what if I can provide her that comfort? So I did; and she calmed within a minute and fell asleep shortly thereafter. As this interaction occurred, it hit me. What if that is what it means to dwell with the LORD? What if He just wants me to feel safe and secure in Him. Sure, I question my prayers and His sovereignty. But what if I am just supposed to live and enjoy His presence and thank Him for who He is. His ways are higher than my ways (Isaiah 55:8-9). I cannot begin to fathom who He is, but He is good, He is my Father, He calls me by name, He calls me His daughter and has made me royalty. I need to dwell on these truths, which characterize Him and His kingdom.
So here I am. Hit by this new realization of dwelling. What my daughter needs is safety, security, and knowing that I will comfort her, as she goes through this time of growing. And that is exactly what I need in being with God – to know that I don’t have to have a plan for my daughter daily, I don’t have to have this mothering thing figured out, but I just need to dwell with Him and invite the Holy Spirit into my interactions with her. As I do this, my daughter will see more of Christ in me, and she will feel more secure with me. So here I am, holding her, embracing the slobber, and cherishing the fact that she trusts me to feel secure and says, “Mom, I need you to hold me right now.”
This can apply to all parts of life, not just parenting. So my question for you is: Would the one thing you ask from the LORD be to dwell with Him, gaze on His beauty, and to seek Him? Are you joyfully being present daily, or do you continuously search out answers and google things (like I’ve been known to do)? What if you don’t need to have the answers and just embrace your situations?

Seasons

It seems the theme “Seasons” has been coming up a lot lately. Last Sunday, we heard a message from Ecclesiastes 3 talking about how “there is a time for everything.” And, we were encouraged that today is today, and the time we have today will never be here again. It will be history. So, the season we are in today is what we should embrace. I was thinking how this goes perfectly with talking about seasons in our careers, as well.

1st season in my career:
I started my career in a logistics and supply chain company not knowing anything about the field. My position was in logistics, and I received this position during the recession in 2009 right out of college. This job was in Orlando, FL, and I was so excited to live in a warm climate, having previously studied abroad in the Dominican Republic. I was very grateful to have a good job right out of college, when a lot of graduates were not able to find jobs during the recession. My undergraduate degree is Liberal Arts with concentrations in Spanish, Business, and Accounting with a music minor. But, I had never studied anything about supply chain or logistics. I loved my job and grew so much as a person and professional.

2nd season in my career:
My next position in the company was in Customer Care, where I gained good knowledge of our customers’ accounts and then helped start a new team in the company. During this time, I was in graduate school for my MBA, which was perfect to be learning leadership academically, as well as tactically and experientially in my position as a team lead.

3rd season in my career:
My next position with the company, I went back to the supply chain as a transportation analyst. I was able to utilize my relationships from the previous positions I had to help provide good service to our customers, while maximizing transportation efficiencies and cost effectiveness.

4th season in my career:
Next, I was referred to a new company for a senior analyst position in transportation, which transpired my move from Orlando, FL, to near Chicago, IL.
During this time, I met my husband Raymond online through eHarmony. He was living in Ames, IA, and I was in a suburb of Chicago. Our relationship quickly deepened, and we knew very soon that we were going to be committed forever. So, I moved to IA, while we were engaged and was able to work remotely and finish my position as a senior analyst. The plan was that I would find another job after our wedding in July 2016.

5th season in my career:
Well, the plan changed. I was evaluating my passions, along with my health experiences, and decided to change careers totally. I decided to share health and wellness through the platform of Yoli. After all I had gone through, I was already debating if I should go back to school for a nutrition or dietician degree, but I wasn’t sold on that. Yoli was the perfect way for me to share my health journey and help educate others to be at their optimal health.

6th season in my career:
I also decided to join care.com and look for nanny positions. I had several interviews, which resulted in a full time position starting in October working with a 19 month old. I nannied her and also helped nanny the 2 neighbor girls. After that, I had the summer off and was 7 months pregnant. I will tell you that nannying was the best preparation for being a mom. I was able to be around little children again, learn about their developmental stages, research behavior, come up with crafts, and see how quickly children learn.

Do you see all the changes during my career? Many people wonder why a business professional with an MBA would change careers. It isn’t that I dislike the supply chain or logistics. I really loved what I did. But, I really see how God allowed me to change careers and had seasons to prepare for where I am today. All my previous experiences, including my MBA and work positions have prepared me for the season of today. I am a wife, a mom, an entrepreneur and health coach, and I’m starting an in-home daycare in January.
If you are feeling the need to change or explore other opportunities, don’t be afraid what title you have or degree you have. All your experiences matter.
So, is what you are saying “yes” to for your career bringing you joy?
Live in your today season and don’t be afraid to explore change to really be purposeful and enjoy what you do.

Health, Pregnancy, and Body pH

I’m so excited to be back. It has been just over 7 weeks, since our baby girl was born. We named her Jordanna Raelyn.
Meaning behind her name: Jordanna – Down flowing Favor, Grace, and beautiful; Raelyn- Wise protector
It has been an adventure to be in parenting. In a later post, I will write about my experience as a new mom right after birth and some encouragement to other moms-to-be.
Today, I want to focus on health. I received compliments about how great I looked during pregnancy and just after giving birth. I also had a pretty great pregnancy with minimal nausea in the first trimester. I strongly believe it has to do with my daily lifestyle choices with food and health supplements.
Lake preggo
Mowing
You see, I have researched many, many things in relation to health, including our food choices, our environment, and supplements. I’ve been through several health issues in life, including IBS, leaky gut, anemia, menorrhagia, anxiety, and other feminine issues. Along my journey, I learned about pH balance and starting changing my lifestyle in 2014 to an Alkaline diet, where I cut out all processed carbs and sugar, along with cutting out dairy and gluten. I also started drinking Alkaline water and moved to an environment, where they didn’t clean or do laundry with chemicals. More later for my journey with my health.
Fast forward to today, my gut has healed, I now can eat dairy again (I choose whole dairy and cheese from my parents’ farm in WI), and I eat very little processed carbs. Our meals consist of a good protein, lots of veggies, sometimes fruit, and mainly rice, potatoes, or quinoa for our carb. We still are mainly gluten free. AND, I feel the best I have ever felt in my health journey and also know I’m taking in good, quality food, and supplements.
Where did I gain healing from my leaky gut and IBS? It was through Yoli. Yoli has a product called Alkalete that helps increase pH balance, since our lifestyles our so acidic (more later on diet and acidity). I have been taking Alkalete since March 2016. I started drinking their protein shakes daily starting in September 2016, and in November 2016, I became a member with Yoli.
PH balance is so important in our bodies – in an acidic environment, heart disease, depression, cancer, and more thrive.
So what is Alkalete?
To understand how Alkalete works, you first need to understand the pH scale. The pH scale indicates how acidic or alkaline something is using a scale from 0-14. A pH of 7 is neutral, a pH above 7 is alkaline or basic, and a pH below 7 is acidic.
The food you eat, your stress levels, and even the amount of time you spend being physically active can all affect your body pH.
Alkalete is designed to promote a healthy body pH and help your body better handle the demands of daily living. It uses mineral salts of calcium, potassium, and magnesium to help reduce excess dietary acidic load. These ingredients are gradually released through a patented time-release delivery system for maximum effectiveness and improved nutrient availability.**Taken from a Yoli Blog**
So, here are some pictures of my progress. Your health choices affect every part of you. Do you feel you are at your optimal health? Why not look at making some changes?
Hospital with Raymond, Jordanna
(Day after Birth)
3.5 weeks after pregnancy.jpg
(3.5 weeks after giving birth)

“I Get To”

Coming up with this next blog post has been a challenge for me. I have so many topics to write about, yet I want to make sure that you get to know me, as well.
So, I’m going to write about my life today and see how this all ties together.
My husband Raymond and I have been married for 13 months now, and we have known each other for almost two years. We were married 10 months after meeting, and I will write more about singleness and dating in other blog posts.
Today marks the 2nd day that I am overdue with our first child. The due date was August 26th and many people thought I would deliver early, but here we are still waiting.
So in this time of waiting these last several weeks with false labor and not knowing what to expect, I started thinking about this time.
Here is what I have been learning – our minds and thoughts are powerful. I’ve had to continue to evaluate if I’m saying “Yes” to the right thoughts. I’ve had to think about if I’m allowing God to control this process, or if I am in the way. God already has the days of this child numbered. He has your and my days numbered, as well. And so, I’m learning to rest in this promise and His plan.
I started reading a book called God Never Blinks.
God Never Blinks
In one of the chapters, the author talks about her friend who lives with the “I Get To” attitude. I have been thinking about this a lot for the past couple days, as it contributes to joy-filled choices. Instead of thinking, I have to do something, spin it instead that “I get to” do something. For example, instead of I have to cook dinner, I get to cook dinner. Instead of I have to vacuum, I get to vacuum. It is about appreciating everything and thinking what a privilege and gift it is to live life.
And so, I leave you this question. Do you appreciate what you get to do in life and adding to how you live joyfully?

Why Joyful Yes?

When I started looking at blogging and the passions in my life, I brainstormed for several hours with my husband about what the name should be. And so, here is the story for Joyful Yes.

We all make choices in life everyday, and we all say “Yes” to things in life everyday. Whether these are mundane, subconscious, or conscious choices, they shape how we live life everyday. But, are we joyful and positive about the choices we are making? Are we living out our talents, giftings, and purpose with the choices we are making?

My hope for this blog is that it inspires people to be confident and joyful about choices made everyday. Whether it is in regards to family, health, career, talents, or purpose, I want to share my experiences and help others see how I have found Joy in my choices of “Yes” everyday and how you too can have Joy.

This will be an adventure, and I’m so excited about it.