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Wednesday, May 12, 2021

Into the Canyon - The Miracle of Fasting and Prayer

 

It was Sunday morning, January 13, 2019 and I was lying in bed between that beautiful moment of dreaming and awakening when my 3½ year-old little boy Canyon spoke to me.

            “Mommy,” he said.

I opened my eyes and looked into Canyon’s face.

 If love was electric, my love for him could light up the entire world. He was my 5th son, my biggest surprise and most difficult pregnancy. 

I had paid an immense price for him, but over the last year, the light in him had dimmed. Canyon was experiencing seizures and after several hospital stays, all tests pointed to an absolutely horrible, terminal diagnosis. If we were lucky, my little boy might live to his 5th birthday. 


Perhaps this sounds like the start of a tragic story and there were days where it was the saddest story I could ever have experienced, but if you stick with me and keep reading, you’ll see this is a story about God’s miracles, His perfect timing and how the power of pray and fasting blessed our family in the most glorious way.

 

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Six months earlier, it was a blistering hot August day in Phoenix Arizona. I was pregnant with our 7th child and Canyon was scheduled to have eye surgery to correct two wandering eyes. His eye doctor reassured us it was a common procedure and had nothing to do with the terrible seizure Canyon barely lived through just a month earlier, which included 5 days in the pediatric ICU. The life-threatening seizure had been a truly grueling experience and after sleeping night after night on a hospital bench, I was certain if I was ever to get into heaven, sleeping on a hospital bench while 6-months pregnant would most likely do it. 

After Canyon’s eyes surgery, he was brought to me blindfolded and I carried my 35-pound little boy, draped him over my pregnant belly, waddled out of the building with the sun glaring down on us like a heat lamp,  and buckled him in the car. Once home, we both fell into bed and slept most the afternoon. I was so happy that would be Canyon’s last doctor’s visit for a while.

My beautiful baby Ruby was born emergency c-section on September 25, 2018. 

Her birth was a miracle all its own, and I was finally home recovering. Most nights were sleepless and I was having intense pain from a reoccurring staph infection. Ruby wouldn’t nurse, so I was left pumping breast milk and feeding her from a bottle. My hard-working husband Derek was self-employed, so taking a day off to help was not an option.

(Canyon and Ruby)

Our oldest son Chandler had recently moved to the Philippines to serve a full-time mission and I looked forward to his emails. Because of the time difference, we communicated back and forth in the middle of the night. My younger children started school early in the morning, so the newborn wasn’t the only reason I had bags under my eyes.

Sunday November 11, 2018 was a typical night with my 6 week-old baby, up and down with feedings and when I finally fell asleep, I had a dream. In the dream, I was walking in a creek with Canyon. The water was cold and I looked up at the magnificent cliffs all around us. I took my eyes off Canyon for just a second when he stumbled and feel deep into the dark, murky water. Frantic, I swam down, found him right away (which was such a relief) and pulled him up to safety. After I held him in my arms and patted his back, he looked at me with this huge smile, the biggest, most reassuring smile confirming he was perfectly fine. Although I was sleep deprived, the dream was so real, it woke me up. Instinctively, I had to check on Canyon. Because of his previous seizures, I felt like I needed to know he was alright. I laid there for another minute. Ruby wasn’t awake and it would be so easy to drift right back to sleep, but the impulse to check on Canyon pushed through me again, so I forced myself to sit up. I walked down the hallway, into his sister Eden’s room where he liked to sleep and could see Eden, but where was Canyon? That’s when I saw him, he’d slipped between the wall and the bed, pinched in the corner. His eyes wide open, staring up at the ceiling. He was pale and twitching, barely breathing!!

(the night before his seizure, you can see the droop in his smile)

I grabbed him in my arms, pain pulsed through the incision of my c-section and screamed to my husband Canyon was having a seizure. The other kids woke up and were crying, scared and I wondered how could I leave Ruby? Would Canyon be alright? We sped to the hospital and once in the emergency room, were rushed down a hall way to a room full of doctors and nurses. Canyon was unresponsive, so they started the treatments I’d seen done to him month’s earlier including incubation, medication to increase his heart rate, IV fluids, anti-seizure medication, but his time they did something different. They wrapped him in a blanket that looked like tinfoil. Quickly, it started to inflate.

“This is how we treat drowning victims,” the doctor said, “to quickly bring their body temperature up.” I suddenly remembered the dream of Canyon drowning. I realized somehow, with the help of God, my little boy had found a way to communicate with me he needed help. In the dream I had found Canyon quickly and he had assured me he was perfectly fine with that huge, undeniable smile. I leaned into the comfort of that image, knowing there was hope he would smile like that again very soon.

It was the third day of our hospital stay and Canyon still had tubes and monitors connected to him. After evaluating the brain MRI, the doctor said “We think your son has a condition called adrenoleukodystropy, or what is sometimes called white matter disease.”

I was so naive, so unaware of the monster lurking around the corner, I immediately suspected this odd-sounding, difficult to pronounce condition was something that could be fixed with medication or another surgery. In a conversation with Derek later that night, I’d barely remembered to mention it, but he had looked it up on the internet. Derek spent the next 20 minutes filling me in on the horror of adrenoleukodystropy, how it takes a child from thriving and developing to blind, deaf, lifeless and eventually death. Derek must have had it wrong.

After Canyon fell asleep in my arms, I lay with him in that small pediatric bed, numb, pumping milk for my newborn baby who was staying with a friend, and I scrolled through my phone looking at the symptoms of adrenoleukodystropy.

 

Wandering eyes

Limp or difficulty walking

Unexplainable seizures

            White matter dissolving

            Most common in boys

            Average age of onset age four

            Speech impairment

           

Canyon had every single symptom. I felt like I was going to throw up. I stared at my little boy, begging the God of the universe, “This can not be true!”

Canyon had developed a droop in his smile, slurred speech and a noticeable limp. And what about the horrible seizures? I was becoming too familiar with speeding down the freeway and running into the ER with him in my arms begging the doctors to save him. I hated that Canyon now had a pediatric neurologist who knew him by name.

There was no way. The doctor had mentioned is so casually, he couldn’t really mean it. He just meant there was a chance, if everything else was ruled out. Canyon would be discharged and they were starting him on a daily seizure medication. He would be alright.

“Honey,” Derek had said to me, “adrenoleukodystropy is terminal, there’s no cure. Canyon would have maybe two years.” My husband, the strong one, so logical and consistent, so reliable, so capable, why was he crying?

When Canyon finally came home, our family was not the same. I didn’t recognize the sounds coming out of my teenage son’s mouth when we told our kids the news. It was like we were all grasping for air. It had caught us all by surprise. What about our perfect lives? Our happily ever after? What was it all about now?

Canyon had a follow up appointment the next week. Although it was November, he insisted on wearing his Halloween custom to the visit. During the exam, Canyon followed the instructions to his best ability in his little brown monkey suit. While I held my newborn close to my chest, my mom and I spoke with the doctor.  I was nervous, but optimistic the he would rule out adrenoleukodystropy. He hadn’t mentioned it yet.

“We tested Canyon’s blood work in the hospital to see if he had fatty acids in his blood.”

I had no idea what fatty acids were and mentioned to the doctor the night before Canyon’s last seizure, he’d had salmon and avocado, high fat foods?

“No,” the doctor said, “foods don’t cause fatty acids. Fatty acids can take years to break down into the blood stream and we can detect what part of the body is releasing them.”

This was the first I’d heard about such a thing. “Well, he doesn’t have them, does he?”

“He does, and according to the numbers, they are the break down of his white matter.”

I literally felt like a black hole in the ground opened up and I was falling into it. How could everything keep lining up in the wrong lane? I sobbed into my hands, sinking, barely able to hold onto my baby.

The doctor pulled up Canyon’s MRI and showed me the pattern in the back of the brain, where his white matter was falling apart, dissolving like melted snow. Without the white matter, eventually, my son’s brain would stop functioning all together.

(you can really his facial problems here, heartbreaking)

This was the day life stopped for me. My little boy was dying. It was December, a time to celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ, but Derek and I lived in a state of mourning. Every time Canyon spoke, when we couldn’t understand what he was saying, it was like the disease was mocking us. Canyon loved the park, but one day, as he was running he fell. I picked him up in my arms and cried a thousand tears. Every experience was now evidence of our little boy’s decline. A friend at the park brought a blanket and wrapped us in it while I shock and sobbed. My eyes remained swollen and my days were blurred like murky water. I would try to hide or quiet my cries, but Canyon would always find me and hold onto me while I released the pain.

Six weeks later, we were still waiting on one final test, blood work that had been taken during our November hospital stay. Adrenoleukodystropy was so rare, the genetic test that would confirm our son’s death sentence was packed in ice and sent back east to a lab at a medical university. We were told the test would take a month to conduct. I called our doctor’s office and spoke with the nurse, reminding her the results should be in. She called the lab and the week of Christmas informed us the blood work had been lost. No one knew where it had been sent and we would need to reschedule to have Canyon’s blood drawn again. I remember staring at the Christmas tree, the lights blurred together because my vision was altered. Every Christmas carol carried a sentimental feeling, a sense of loneliness and pain that I knew only Jesus could heal someday.

In the Philippines, Chandler had been given permission to call to let us know he’d been experiencing horrible stomach pain. He was going to be taking a train to the hospital in Cabanatuan to have testing done. Chandler confessed he didn’t want us to worry, but after months of debilitating pain and weight loss, he finally told us in detail what he was going through. Until we had a definitive diagnosis, we didn’t want Chandler to know the extent of what was happening over here with Canyon. I couldn’t believe we were both keeping secrets because we didn’t want the other to worry.

I met with our stake president to discuss what we could do for Chandler and what was happening to Canyon. After our meeting and a beautiful prayer, I’ll never forget what he said to me, “Sister Lofgreen, you’ll never know the blessings your family will receive from your son’s missionary service.”

(the train ride to Cabanatuan)

I wanted Chandler to be healed so he could stay out on his mission. I wanted Canyon to be healed from this horrible hell-on-earth disease. Our family and ward were fasting and praying, but the waiting game was impossible to win. One night, completely lost in a sea of heartache, I woke up. Derek was awake and like a pathetic choir of two, we both started sobbing these unrecognizable cries, holding onto each other in our pitch dark room. We would never function normally again. Derek was actually taking breaks at work to cry between appointments. We couldn’t live like this, but I didn’t know how to pull back from our downward spiral of grief.

 

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I promised this would be a story of healing and the powerful reality that God hears and answers prayers. God is the beautiful orchestrator, the perfect story teller, the immaculate artist and I would have never believed what he was about to paint into our lives.

 

Back to that Sunday morning, January 13, 2019 when I was lying in bed between that magical moment of dreaming and awakening, my eyes not yet swollen with tears, that moment when I’d forget I had a child who was being taken from me, Canyon said my name.

            “Mommy.”

I opened my eyes and looked at my precious boy. Blonde hair, golden skin, chocolate chip brown eyes, pink lips, blushed cheeks! What was this I saw? At that moment, I noticed his skin was so bright, so healthy, the pink back in his cheeks and his eyes seemed to sparkle. Before I was even fully awake, I knew.

“Canyon, you’re better,” I said, practically tripping over my words. “Honey, you’re better.” I grabbed him in my arms and held him close to my heart, staring back at his face, examining how different he looked.

I don’t know how I knew, but I knew the disease the doctors were certain he had battling inside him was gone, healed, restored. I dared say the name, even though I’d finally learned how to say it without having to reference it on my phone.

That’s when I remembered my dream. I’d had a dream.

I ran into the kitchen, my husband was getting breakfast ready so we could leave for church on time.

“Canyon’s better, look at him, he’s been healed!!”

Derek had no idea what I was talking about, so I told him about the dream.

“I was in our bedroom with Canyon and several of the walls had large glass windows. Outside, I noticed a picnic basket with helium balloons attached to it. The picnic basket was full of light and it started floating up into the air. I told Canyon to look at it, but as he turned around the picnic basket floated behind the house. I looked up and noticed our ceiling was glass, so Canyon and I lay down and stared up.  It was floating up towards the sky, it would just be a moment before it appeared again. Suddenly, there it was. It seemed to be on a path, intentionally going somewhere. That’s when I realized it was floating to the sun. The sun was so bright, but still, I looked at it. That’s when I saw him. It was Jesus. Jesus was in the sun. It was really Him, the almighty, powerful Savior of the world. If I didn’t wake up, I felt my spirit would go to Him.”

I was very aware I sounded completely crazy, but Derek was always supportive of my spiritual impressions. “What do you think it meant,” he asked.

I wasn’t sure, all I knew was when Canyon woke me up he looked noticeably different and I knew he was healed. I felt lighter and a peaceful feeling resided in my heart. It all sounded impossible, but I couldn’t deny what I knew was true.

I walked back into my bedroom and sat on the edge of my bed, amazed. Canyon had been playing in the other room, but as he ran down the hallway and back into my arms, I decided to tell him about the dream as well. Again, I remembered the picnic basket, full of light floating to Jesus and as I described this to Canyon, the spirit of the Holy Ghost ran through my body, helping me understand what it all meant.

“Honey, Jesus took your illness. It was in that picnic basket of light. Jesus took it from the earth. You’re all better. You’re going to be ok.”

From that day forward, I stopped crying. Derek had faith from the dream and he stopped crying. Our children knew Canyon was healed. Our days were completely different. I stopped looking for signs of Canyon’s illness, instead the miracles of his healing became obvious. When people asked how Canyon was doing, we said we were still praying and fasting, but we knew he was going to be alright. At times, I stopped to see if the emotional pain in my heart was still there. Could I back step into it if I tried? I literally couldn’t find the heartache.  Since there was no medical proof Canyon was going to be alright, I knew I should be skeptical, but at the end of the day, I felt this overwhelming presence of peace and hope.

On February 13, 2019 we went back to the hospital to have Canyon’s blood work done again. It would be 4 weeks until we heard any news. The odds were against him, but my heart wouldn’t allow me to sink into despair. I knew he was healed. As the nurse prepared the needle, I had the thought to play a peek-a-boo game and cover Canyon’s eyes. When she poked him, he was so preoccupied, he didn’t react to the procedure.

Meanwhile, in the Philippines, Chandler’s health continued to deteriorate. He was diagnosed with h-pylori, a bacteria infection in the gut most commonly caused by contaminated drinking water or poor sanitation. If left untreated, the inflammation could result in Chromes disease, stomach ulcers or worse, cancer. The doctors tried antibiotics, but Chandler’s protruding stomach, severe pain and a suspected hernia meant he needed to come back to the United States for medical treatment. I received an email from his mission president that Chandler’s departure visa, which should have been processed, had been lost by customs in a pile of paperwork. It would take a miracle to get him home.


Our family and ward continued praying and fasting for both our boys. To feel the love, support and faith from so many around us meant everything. We came home to cookies on the porch, had help with housework and read notes of encouragement. I shared updates on social media, but more than that, I was testifying of God’s love, the power of prayer and fasting and how thankful I was for my family and Savior.

On the morning of March 4, 2019 while taking care of the baby, I missed a call from the pediatric neurologist’s office. The nurse left the most heart-warming, life-giving message. The test came back negative. Canyon did not have adrenoleukodystropy. Because of the lost blood work, we had waited 4 months for the results. The doctor was shocked and relieved. My heart burst open, my eyes filled with tears and I ran to share the news with my husband. It’s amazing when you have a young child unaware of an impending medical condition, how much that child lives in the present, uninfluenced by his or her potential life expectancy. All along, Canyon had played, skipped, sang, loved, laughed, even comforted us as we cried. It was incredible to think he had lived perfectly content.

The next day, I received an email from the mission department. Customs had found Chandler’s travel visa and approved his departure papers. Our missionary was coming home from the Philippines, not exactly how he had left, but in time, we would get him back to health. At that moment, I heard the words from my stake president, “You’ll never know the blessings your family will receive from your son’s missionary service.” I marveled that Chandler was released from his mission after we received the confirmation Canyon would be alright. I thought “What an interesting coincidence?” The spirit whispered to my heart, “The timing is not a coincidence.”


(Chandler meeting Ruby for the first time)

About a year later, as we continued watching Canyon heal, his speech improve, his smile slowly correcting, his energy come back, I was talking to my sister Becky about our miraculous experience. “You know why that first blood work was lost don’t you?” she said.

I hadn’t thought about it that for months, but at the time, I resented the lost blood work, confused why such an unfortunate thing would happen at such a crucial point in Canyon’s journey, but Becky had another idea.

“God was going to heal Canyon, so you were never meant to have the results from the first test.”

Such an idea gave me chills. Could it be true? We would never know the specifics of Canyon’s healing, but I did have a testimony that in God’s universe, there are no coincidences.

Canyon is now 6 years old. He has been tested for a variety of other health conditions, one panel had 80 different possible medical outcomes, but the tests continued coming back negative. He remains on a very small dose of anti-seizure medication and continues to grow in strength and healing. Every day is a miracle to celebrate the power of prayer and fasting, to dance in the light of Jesus Christ and praise the God Almighty for each precious moment.



Tuesday, June 23, 2020

Intermittent Fasting - The Last 90 Days



The last 90-days has been absolutely life-changing. I'm so thankful, so very blessed to have found intermittent fasting. The simplicity, the flexibility, the blessing of being hand in hand with God while I improve my physical, spiritual, mental and emotional health - it's truly a gift. I no longer am at war with my body - a reality I've lived with since I was 10 years old.


In January, 2016 when I first felt impressed to fast for 30-days (only eating after 4:00pm ), I was concerned it might be too difficult. Could I even do such a thing? I'd never heard about intermittent fasting, but as I skipped breakfast and lunch every day, I felt a peace I'd never had before. I came outside of my own pitiful self thoughts, victim mentality and body shaming. No longer was I consumed with my own negative, self-destructive energy. This is because I developed compassion for the poor and hungry, gratitude for my food and love for my body.  

I’m learning losing weight is more about my relationship with myself and God then food. I’m not interested in counting calories and restricting food. Do you know how many times I’ve started a diet and focused on what I can’t have? I have felt left out and isolated. Diets of the past have been an all-consuming negative experience. Intermittent fasting provides true freedom, the opportunity to develop trust in self, break bad habits, eat when truly hungry, eat what I want and appreciate my body for the gift that it is.

I am a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. I am studying the law of the fast in the Bible and a book of scripture my faith holds dear, the Book of Mormon. In the Book of Mormon, another testimony of Jesus Christ, a prophet named Alma said “I have fasted and prayed many days that I might know these things of myself. And now I know of myself that they are true; for the Lord God hath made them manifest unto me by His Holy Spirit.” Alma also says they had given themselves to much “fasting and prayer” for the spirit of revelation and that they might be blessed to fulfill their purpose.

Before intermittent fasting, I had not considered that fasting could be an experience to participate in many days in a row. Through intermittent fasting, I don’t have to wait once a month for the blessings of the fast. Fasting has helped me to know the truth about myself and my relationship with God and Jesus Christ. This healing means everything to me. In our church, fasting and prayer has been called “rejoicing and prayer.” I now understand why.


When I participate in my church’s once-a-month Sunday fast (which is supposed to be a full 24 hours, but that is still very difficult for me), I give money as a fast offering donation to my bishop to help those in need in my church congregation and through the world. As I fast for 30-days, I donate to Rising Star Outreach to support sponsoring 100 daughters. I truly believe when we are generous with God, He is generous with us. The word “temporal” means in our worldly needs like in our home, family and other financial needs. God promises to bless us temporally when we give to the poor and hungry by opening up the heavens and pouring out blessings (Malachi 3: 8-12)


Fasting has helped me change and grow in ways I could have never done. Honoring God’s commandments can be an opportunity to become more like Him and His son Jesus Christ.


Friday, May 15, 2020

60 days of intermittent fasting. Here’s what I’ve learned.


I'm so thankful I've continued on my journey with intermittent fasting. It's been over 4 years!! I'm a writer, illustrator, blogger, thrifter, creator, entrepreneur, ADHD, forgetful, impulsive and fashion-crazed mom of seven who wants to be healthy emotionally, physically, mentally and spiritually. Intermittent fasting is the gift I give myself to stay focused, creative, love myself and heal from past trauma! Intermittent fasting and prayer has changed my world.

March 2020 to May 2020!

There’s a simplicity to fasting that is helping me develop a more positive relationship with food, my body, God and my thoughts.

I can go throughout the day and almost forget I’m fasting.

When I break my fast, I eat what I want, but I focus on making healthy and/or healthier choices.

Intermittent fasting naturally pushes my mind to stay present, let go of regret and unmet expectations. You’re perfect how you are and no ideal body weight is going to change that. Love yourself the way/weight you are. Pounds do not represent self-worth.

Intermittent fasting means you don’t have to think about any confusing calculations. Yes, you can count your macros or practice keto while you are also intermittent fasting (and hats off to you if you do this. You're most likely having better/faster results then I am), but for now, I'm letting go of restrictions and focusing on intuition.

Exercise before you break your fast, even if it’s a small workout like yoga or jumping jacks. It takes at least 12 hours to digest your food, for your stomach to empty and for your body to start using your own body fat for energy. Click here to learn more. Once this happens, you’re losing body fat. Expedite this process by exercising near the end of your fast. I’m amazed how much energy I have and how good it feels to exercise on an empty stomach. No cramps or bloating.

Pray, meditate, focus on gratitude for self, food, family, life, blessings and more.

Ask yourself how you became overweight? Dig deep. Do you want to be overweight for protection or other emotional/psychological reasons? I’ve cried so much during the last 60-days and it’s helped me break free in many unusual surprising ways! I understand the mistakes I’ve made, how I’ve misjudged relationships, placed my burdens on others and played the victim to my own intentions (self-sabotage at it’s finest!!) I’ve come so far, but I have a lot more baggage (pounds) to let go of.

Study Louise Hay and see if her information about mind/body/emotions makes sense to you? Her book is called “Heal Your Body.” It’s free to listen to on YouTube.

When you break your fast, eat healthy, but don’t restrict yourself.

Eat what you want, only smaller portions. This will naturally happen because your stomach shrinks.

While fasting, drink lots of water, herbal teas, lemon water, sweetened only with pure Stevia. I do not drink soda or coffee, but I know most experts agree black coffee is alright while you’re fasting.

See which type of intermittent fasting you like. I do a daily 16-hour fast, but enjoy extending it 2-3 hours a couple of days a week. Once a month, I like to do a 24-hour fast. I have naturally grown into this and it feels comfortable. You can also fast twice a week for 24 hours with a 500 calorie restriction. Do you own research and be confident in what doctors say about intermittent fasting, what works best and why.

Stay busy. Develop your talents. Find a passion. Be creative. Practice art, creative writing, organize your home, clean out your garage, plant a garden, cut your jeans, make dream catchers, learn 100 ways how to cook zucchini, make your own coconut milk, etc!!! I find most of my eating is because I’m bored, not because I’m really hungry.

Do not weigh yourself. In the past, the physiological effects of weighing myself every day/week/month have been very damaging. Not owning a scale has been a huge relief for me. Do not let your weight dictate your day/mood/self-worth. Wear beautiful clothes. Style your hair. Put on that red lip stick! You are beautiful every day because you are you, the one and only and you are worth it!

Join me on another 30-day intermittent fasting challenge starting Monday, May 18th and let’s see how we can grow/change/thrive! Don’t set a weight-loss goal, set a mindset goal. The weight will take care of itself. Follow me on my facebook page "How to start intermittent fasting" by clicking here.

We all have that one pair of jeans that haunts us (insert laughter!!)! When Eden was a baby we were out of town on vacation. I went to the mall and in that state that all of us moms get in, where we know we deserve something amazing, and we want to indulge ourselves, I purchased these jeans at Buckle for $100! They were my little (big) splurge and I wore them all the time. Five years later, I had my son Canyon. I lost most of my baby weight, but I could never fit into these jeans, so I’ve carried them around for another five years! (Insert desperation!!) I had another baby and she’ll be two in September! These jeans have been with me for 9 years and today, after 60-days of intermittent fasting, I pulled them out and tried them on! They are so outdated, hence I got out my scissors and went to town! Boom! Not to shabby!!

I am not a doctor, just a mom who wants to be healthy, love and thrive! The thoughts and advice given on this blog do not constitute medical advice.

Thursday, April 16, 2020

30-Day Intermittent Fast - What Did I Learn



Intermittent fasting is like travel – you’ll never know the places you’ll end up unless you plan your trip, pack your bags, get on that plane and go. I’m so thankful I had the chance to fast for the last 30 days.

When I decided to fast last month, the corona virus was starting to be mainstream news, but I had no idea how monumental it would be to fast during this time. We had just returned from spring break in San Diego and had the best time. All the restaurants were open, no problem with lodging, we spent the days at the beach, even went to a Disney breakfast.
 Ruby!!

I can’t believe how quickly life has changed. It’s so sad and scary, but I do have faith we will recover from this.

I love intermittent fasting. I truly believe it’s kept me healthy physically, mentally, emotionally and blessed me spiritually. 



After I had my 7th baby Ruby in September 2018, I started intermittent fasting again November 2018 to March 2019 because my little boy Canyon was having serious medical problems. You can read about that here and here. Every day, up all night, recovering from a c-section, bonding with my new baby, dealing with postpartum, completely overwhelmed when Canyon had another serious seizure and spent three days in the pediatric ICU. The doctors thought Canyon’s condition was terminal and God all mighty, I started fasting and praying every day that his health would be restored, he would be made whole and that I wouldn’t have to watch him die.



In March 2019 after 4 months of waiting, we received the miracle news that despite having nearly every symptom, Canyon did not have the terminal illness they thought he did. Our family rejoiced and there’s still not a day that goes by that I don’t reflect on this miracle in our lives. Oh, and I lost 10 pounds from intermittent fasting.

I love walking in the morning.
I want to express intermittent fasting is so much bigger to me then weight loss. Don’t get me wrong, I love that it’s for weight loss because who doesn’t want that nice reward, but I truly believe fasting is a gift from God to restore our health, heal our children, bless our nation, grow spiritually, give to the poor and whatever else God has in mind. 
After all, it’s His law.

During this 30-day fast, I have been praying every day for our nation thinking this was probably why I’d been motivated to do a 30-day challenge at this time, but something happened a couple of days ago that really surprised me. I was feeling really good, but something I thought I’d resolved came up again. I was out on a run in the morning and I felt impressed to fast to help me understand how I should handle what I was going through. I immediately felt so empowered. Wow, I was in a position to turn to God in a fasted state and ask for help. God is so amazing and throughout that run, He spoke to me, made impressions in my mind, helped me understand in ways I would have never considered on my own what I needed to do. By the time I ran back home, I felt light as air. Everything had been fixed. My perspective had totally shifted, my attitude changed and my confidence restored.

For the last 30 days, I was praying and fasting for the world. I didn’t think there was enough room in my fast for me to personally receive such a gift, but God is like that. He loves to surprise us with more. More love, more health, more inspiration, more purpose, more awareness, more growth. More, more, more! He never stops. He’s so good. The God of more!! 

Because of my 30-day fast, I'm going to donate to Rising Star Outreach, to a fund they've started called My 100 daughters, to help those in need. I encourage you to participate in this part of the fast and to let helping those who go without be part of your fasting journey. Giving to the poor and hungry is why God asks us to fast. I promise you will be blessed, even surprised how God restores your offering. How much should you give? It would mean everything to me if you would sponsor a girl. It costs $1.00 per day. If 100 of us did this, my daughter Eden and I would be able to reach our goal and sponsor 100 daughters.

Read more about my 100 daughter project here.


I don’t own a scale. The scale seem to sabotage my wellness journey, so I ditched them about 5 years ago. I occasionally weigh myself at the gym or when I go to the doctor, but other then that, no thank you.

So I tried on some clothes today to see how my body has changed over the past 30 days. I really appreciate that just like my spirit, mind and heart, my body has changed too. Based on how my clothes fit, I figure I’ve lost about 5 pounds. 


I haven't been able to wear this dress since two babies ago!!
I found this old 2013 picture with my Wilma Flintstone necklace I found at Goodwill! The dress is from Goodwill too!!

Yesterday I illustrated a coloring page for you to print off, color and tape somewhere for you to be reminded of your success. Congratulations. This has been awesome. I love you guys.


Just left click the image above, copy and paste it in a word document to print.

Also, tomorrow, April 17, I’m starting another 30-day fast. If you want to go another round of this incredible practice, let’s do it!! I will go through the struggles, inspiration, hunger, benefits, frustration, growth and fulfillment right along with you. What else does God have in store? 

If this is your first time trying intermittent fasting, or if you are an experienced intermittent faster looking to prolong your fasts, I encourage you to try the Fastwell products. I was finally able to do my fist 24-hour fast.



Wednesday, March 18, 2020

Can God Turn Your Leaves Yellow?


I’ve wanted to write this blog post for a while and today, with everything going on in the world, I thought it was a great time to do it.

Last fall, Derek and I went up to Sedona for our 21 year wedding anniversary. Because we have young children, especially a one-year old, it’s not that easy to get away, but Chandler and his darling wife Sadie offered to stay at our home and take care of our tribe!!

Fall in Phoenix is like any other time in Phoenix, hot and dry, but it was end of October and things had started to cool off. Trees in the desert don’t shed leaves, so I was super excited to see fall colors. Up north, in Sedona and Flagstaff the weather was perfect and I couldn’t wait to wear a sweater and pretend like I was living in a typical fall climate with colorful leaves, hot tea and a warm fire.

We left Mesa and on the way up to Flagstaff, drove through Sedona. We had lunch and decided to hike a trail called Devil's Bridge


Sedona is a glowing red rock desert and the beauty and crisp air put me in a trance. As a mother of seven, when I get away and I know my kids are in excellent care, I really do let everything go and live in this place of gratitude. And to be completely in love with this darling, incredible husband of mine, we were both giddy!

The hike up to Devil's Bridge was a challenge, but I liked how it pushed me, how it opened my lungs and mind. The landscape was primarily scrubby juniper trees which look more like overgrown bushes with alligator skin, (many trees in the desert don’t grow very tall because of lack of water, they produce shade and thorns to protect themselves) oak and desert pine.




Just before sunset, we reached the bridge. 


The top of the hike was a steep mountain landscape with yes, a freaky bridge (I could see why it was called Devil's bridge), large enough for several people to stand on, stretched dauntingly over a bed of giant green pine and juniper trees way below. If I looked too long, it almost made me motion sick. Wow, that would be a deadly drop. People were walking out on the red rock bridge for their photo and I wasn’t too sure I wanted to do that, but I watched as various people went out and did their thing. 

In the moment, with all the beauty and grandeur, with the setting sun turning the rock a glistening red, Derek and I took our turn out on the bridge and had someone take our picture. Now, I’m not sure what happened at this moment, because once we walked out to the bridge, Derek put his arms around me and I was involved in the kiss of a lifetime with my love, like a fairy tale “wake Sleeping Beauty from her trance” type of kiss. I mean, that’s how it felt to be intertwined with my love at that moment.



We walked off the bridge, watched a few more people take their photos, carefully edged our way around the steep, curved mountain ledge and hurried down the mountain before nightfall. 
A picture I took just before we started walking down the mountain. Notice, no yellow anywhere, like it was never there at all.

We were off the mountain just in time to walk under a sky full of stars, the flowing air wrapped around us, desert nighttime sounds, a closeness with Derek that made me feel like we were the only people in the world, and about 20 minutes later, we walked a flat trail back to where we had parked our car. The world had graced us with some of the most beautiful views of heaven and earth that day.

I scrolled through our photos, marveled at how beautiful everything was when I noticed something that at first was just a little nudge of a thought. I looked at the photos up to Devil's Bridge, shrub like trees, green pines, dirt, red rock, all lovely in their own way, but then there was the photo of Derek and I on the bridge kissing. It literally looked like we were standing over a valley of yellow trees, even  sunflowers. At that moment, everything in that landscape below us was touched with gold. I had the thought, “Wow, that’s crazy. I wonder how that happened.”

That night,we drove 30 minutes through Oak Creek Canyon, up to Flagstaff, checked into our hotel, and the next morning, were ready for a hike in the forest. It was windy and cold (perfect) and when we passed through the hotel lobby, we overheard one of the employees tell another couple the leaves were past there peak. Looking outside, around town this appeared to be true. No big deal, right, but to me, oh, I just craved the beauty of fall, so we would go find the colors somewhere.

The drive up Mt. Humphrey was pretty barren. Don’t get me wrong, I was still having a wonderful time, the mountain was still beautiful even if shadows of aspen with their bare branches were the main landscape.  Tall, green pine trees were everywhere. Finally, we saw one Aspen with a few yellow leaves, the wind blowing them frantically to the ground. Ironically, a line of cars parked on the side of the road with some families taking pictures in front of this one tree. I could understand why they were so excited.

After about 20 minutes, we arrived at the base of the Snowbowl ski area and parked at Aspen Loop Trail (I think that’s what it’s called) and started on our hike. Only a few minutes later, a hiker passed us by and said something like “Don’t expect to see any fall leaves.” Derek and I did find a little tree with its yellow leaves all around on the ground, so we took a few pictures in front of it and decided to head back to our car.



About 10 minutes down Mt. Humphrey, we passed a trail we’d hiked before. There’s no real parking lot, but a space where about 10 cars can pull in and park. No one was there, but I felt like this was a good place to hike. It was dry and a bit dusty (that’s Arizona for you), but as we started I suddenly felt a love, a joy, an energy that was like the world was ours. Hand in hand with Derek, I recognized this as a love from God, that He is so mighty, so all-knowing, yet this intimate relationship each one of us has the privilege of experiencing, to know that He loves us unconditionally, it’s beyond any feeling I can describe. He knows our needs, our desires, our thoughts and He’s created this beautiful earth that wraps its arms around us and says, “Look at my beauty, feel my breath, inhale my smells, touch my landscape, I’m testifying that God lives.”

The mountain trail was smooth, when the direction turned to a sharp incline. We turned the corner, and BOOM – giant, swaying Aspen trees, dancing, showing off their rich, full, colorful fall leaves. 

The wind blew, leaves fell like raindrops and I just marveled at this display of nature’s beauty. 
Only ten minutes off the road, yet we couldn’t see this Aspen grove until we started on the journey. We stayed in that area for a while, meditated, I did some yoga, and we danced, prayed, laughed, talked about our future and talked about our past. I couldn’t believe the gift we’d been given.


As we drove down the mountain, I looked through the pictures we’d taken and that’s when it hit me. Yellow leaves, fall trees - God had provided this for me, for us. I looked at the picture from earlier of Devil's Bridge and I asked the question, “Did God turn those leaves and trees yellow?” The setting sun, the reflection coming from the red rock, the timing, the climb to be on top of the Sedona valley to see such colors, it was all so perfectly aligned, how could it not be a gift from God. I had the thought, “God delights in His gifts to us.” Was my Father in Heaven delighting in this gift, that instead of thinking this was a coincidence I noticed His mighty hand, His intention to share beauty, that He wanted me to know He knows my heart, my thoughts, my desires, not matter how small or insignificant?  I will never forget how God turned the leaves yellow so I could feel His love and know of His grandeur. Has God turned your leaves yellow? I know He has and He will continue to do so. Do you want to believe in a world where God can turn your leaves yellow? I do.

Thursday, January 2, 2020

She Tried, She Failed and She Tried Again


I’ve been very, very blessed this year. My focus has been on mothering my seven amazing children including a new daughter-in-law, keeping my house more organized, preparing nutritious meals and exercising every day. I recognize most people my age (I’m 47) have children who are older, in school and busy with activities, but I still have a one and four-year old at and homeschooled 4th grader at home. 

In a thrift store dress I paid $9.99, worth $180.

Ruby's dress was $2.99, worth $35.

I’m thankful to know this is my path, because when the days become long and the kids start to bicker, the dinner burns and the dishes are piled in the sink, I have a deep understanding that I am meant to be their mother. I have been given the gifts, love and purpose to raise them in love, intelligence, creativity, spirituality, confidence and health. How many times do I fail a day? Too many to count. Do I lose my temper? Yes. Do I eat cookies for dinner more often then I should? Yes. Do I forget one of my kid’s appointments or lose my car keys? Yes, but I’m good at getting back up.


Falling, failing and getting back up.
That was a big lesson for me this year.

This has been the year to embark on many different endeavors. I illustrated and published my second coloring book, The Girls Guide toFriendship.

 on Amazon Prime.

I listened to daily motivational podcasts from Abraham Hicks on the law of attraction and at times, literally felt like I was floating because of the things I was feeling and learning. I know these lessons have changed me in big, marvelous ways.



I'm blessed to be a sales rep for Monat Premium Hair and Pura Vida bracelets.



I’ve considered going back to school for a masters degree, but my love as an entrepreneur encouraged me to consider investing in a course on running my own business and marketing.

I made a big leap and invested in Alison Prince’s course BecauseI Can. I immediately started learning about everything from getting my wholesale license to running a website to marketing to influencers to purchasing inventory. It was a lot to take in and like most things I feel passionate about, I gave it my all.


I decided to call my business My 100 Daughters and donate a certain percentage of proceeds to help sponsor 100 girls from India through Rising Star Outreach.

What would I sell?

What would I market?

After many prayers and taking personally inventory of what I felt I should dive into, after looking at current trends, google searches and purchase/resell ratios, I decided to sell dresses and overalls. I absolutely love dresses and overalls and when I sold name-brand, used clothing on eBay, they were always my best sellers.

I also met an amazing young woman named Alicia who absolutely, positively felt like my business idea was brilliant, that surely through my sales we would help all these darling girls in India and change the world.  Alicia encouraged me like a loving sister, like a best friend, like a smart business savvy entrepreneur woman like she is. And we laughed a lot!!


Ruby  with Alicia's baby Hollyn.

So, I started.

You know what happens when you decided to sell dresses and overalls? You spend hours and days shopping/browsing wholesalers and purchase huge shipments of inventory. It starts coming to your home in big, heavy boxes and it piles up in your den and closet. You see the purchases on your credit card bill and think “You know, you better get this right. You’ve got a lot riding on this. You don’t want to let your family down.”

Derek’s cousin Joe, the computer genius that he is spent weeks helping me build my shopify account and away we went. Sales, sales, sales galore, right!!!
At least, that was what was supposed to happen.
But, it didn’t.

I only marketed my store twice on facebook, maybe once on instagram. I just didn’t feel passionate about it, no matter how hard I tried. I mean, there were the carefully selected inventory in my house. There was the beautiful website, accepting credit card. What happened? Why?
I’ve taken several months to think about what happened? Don’t I love dresses and overalls? Yes, absolutely. I sold used clothing on eBay for six years and loved it.
Click here to read one of my old post on eBay sales.

 I understand inventory, shipping, customer service, I mean, I was born for this!  But, I didn’t like it with new inventory. Isn’t that weird. I mean, who knew, right??? But at least for me, there was no creativity in it, at least not enough, and where was the adventure? Because of my love for thrifting, my concern for the environment, the working condition of people in third-world countries and here my shipments from China, the Philippines, -  with stuff that was great and all, but . . . I don’t even buy things like this for me. I just run out to the thrift store and find something fabulous second-hand, that thank heavens has not ended up in a landfill. I don’t know how else to explain it, but for a creative person who wants to CREATE, not just push product, I just wasn’t digging it. I know people do it and love it, and I'm not judging anyone here, this is just my own experience. 

Even thought it all sat there in huge boxes in my closet, I let it all go. I stopped listening to the course. I stopped listening to crazy youtube fast-talking entrepreneurs who record their videos on some remote tropical island over that super annoying uncopyrighted music playing in the background (you know who I’m talking about, right??)! It all stopped!

I just focused on my health, my kids, good food, a semi-clean house and it was still crazy land over here, but nothing I can’t handle. 


Christmas 2019

I didn’t carry any guilt or regret over paying off those credit card bills and eventually, I put the boxes of inventory high up on a shelf so I didn’t even see them anymore. I started gifting dresses and overalls for birthdays and bridal showers. I focused on gratitude, clarity, abundance, joy and listening to my own inner voice that knows I will follow my ideas, even if I fail because when I listen to Abraham Hicks or Rachel Hollis or Dean Graziosi, Tom Bilyeu, President Nelson, my own mother for heavens sake, my husband, my friend Amy or any Christian song in the entire world, they tell you “You are worthy. You were born for a purpose. Your dreams are worth it. You can do it. Work hard. Believe. Journal. Vision. Love,” and on and on and on. I really believe this stuff. 

I have faith. I understand ideas and momentum, clarity and gratitude, and I know failure is just a stepping stone moving me in the right direction. I know when I follow my impulses and trust in myself that mistakes show me I’m willing to take risks, that persistence is the key to success, that if I get up and try again, I’ll be better because I’ve learned, trusted and grown.


Chandler's 20th birthday

So there you have it, that’s how I failed this year and moved on instead of feeling sorry or beating myself up. I've had so many blessings, with Canyon doing so well and Chandler happy and married, Payson graduating in the spring 2020, Mayer excelling as an athlete, Derek's so blessed with work, Ruby is healthy and active, Eden is loving home school, Reef is on the honor roll and I'm running again. 



I don't have to look far to see and feel all my blessings. And, wouldn’t you know it, in September as I prepared for Ruby’s first birthday I had an idea, a dream, a vision (literally, it was amazing!!) and I wanted to give Ruby a homemade dream catcher. I shared this dream with my incredible darling friend Kristin who made Ruby the most beautiful dream catcher ever.

To read more about Kristen, her friendship and talent, click here

Ruby on Christmas Sunday

 I started making dream catchers on my own, I'm going to make 100 of them for each of my 100 daughters and now, very soon, I will launch my100daughters.com dream catchers and dream catcher kits because I’m not sure if there is any better feeling then making one of those beautiful, inspiring, magical dream catchers with bamboo hoops, cotton doilies and second-hand, vintage, upcycled fabrics that, thank heavens, have not ended up in a landfill!!!



It’s a niche (perfect!), I know it, but man, am I excited to talk about dreams, support dreams, put dreams into people’s homes, motivate, soften, encourage and just beautify the world in anyway I can. I'm most excited about the kits because there is such an amazing feeling to make one. Eden talks about how good it "feels" to make a dream catcher. Hopefully the website will launch by the end of January. I love Alison's course and have the knowledge I need to move forward. She has an amazing podcast called Because I Can. Give it a listen.

My dream is to sponsor 100 daughters of India. What’s yours!!!!