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January 2018

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I am a proud network marketer

Weeks like this remind me of my overflow of blessings.

Two of my babies are sick. And because of my profession, I don’t have to worry about whether I get paid or not. That’s the gift of residual income.

Lately, there’s been an upswing of criticism leveled at network and multi-level marketing. You know, “schemes” and “shams” aimed at taking advantage of desperate people, especially moms who want to stay home.

I’ll be honest. I did not want to be a professional network marketer. Internally, I made disparaging remarks about the profession until I read about Dave Ramsey’s support of it as a viable and even desirable career.

So I want to air a few grievances I have if you are the kind of person who, rather than just keep your opinions to yourself, likes to air them in what is, let’s by honest, your attempt damage a respectable career and your friends who are pursuing it.

Why are you so offended when your friend asks you to consider buying something from the company they represent? I’m sorry if you don’t like their “tactics.” Often it’s less of a reflection of the industry and more that they are new, trying to figure out how to earn a living and haven’t been fully trained in their new profession. Most network marketing companies actually work hard to be anything but “high-pressure” or manipulative. Besides, doesn’t your attitude say more about you and your unwillingness to support a friend? How long did it take you to be proficient in your job? The fact that you extend so little grace is frightening and reflects poorly on you, just so you know.isagenix-june2011-16-728

Many of the network marketing companies I am familiar with make superior products with excellent customer service and quality control. Much like the fair trade industry (many companies of which utilize the network marketing model), buying from a friend in network marketing is a chance to support a company that does things right. Meanwhile, how much of the money you spend is on products made by child labor or unfair wages or with companies whose multi-million dollar advertising budgets help pay for big celebrity endorsements? That’s certainly more admirable, right?

I can speak only about my company, but the reason our product formulator came out of retirement to start this company was because a deadly spider bite caused him to create a no-compromise product to save his own life. After making thousands of products where companies dictated ingredients out of GREED, he found products that worked because they were made with genuine intent. And he partnered with a couple who had corporate AND network marketing experience. A couple who was retired and wealthy, who didn’t NEED to start the company. But they saw the industry as needing a makeover, so they wanted to right some of the problems by creating a compensation plan that’s truly awesome. One that other companies are now copying.isagenix-june2011-17-728

Sorry to gush, but I ADORE my company. Network marketing is an excellent career, but especially with these pillars: a great product that people want to buy again and again, a compensation plan that’s fair and generous (which looks nothing like the pyramid model that most non-network marketing companies have), a company that offers a duplicatable system of tools for associates to share, leaders with experience and at least five years under its belt.

One of the biggest misconceptions about network marketing is that it’s “easy money.” I’m sorry if someone gave you that impression. Yes, I am paid this week even though I’ll do very little “work.” In fact, due to life’s circumstances, I’ve done little with my business the last 18 months. And yet, I’m still compensated week after week and earn a decent annual income because I put in a lot of work at the beginning. I was on team calls daily. I went to events. I was coachable, which is the most important quality. I did what my leaders suggested and what they were doing. I didn’t have a ton of time in my day to work the business, so I took action when I could doing income-producing activities.

Unlike a lot of other “jobs,” network marketing income is a genuine reflection of earning a living based on the time, talent and training you invest in your work.

I’ve done a ton of entrepreneur and at-home work. Because I wanted to be able to prioritize my family first. This is my take.

54b21d46263c24c610450a981c9f3e3cAll kinds of mom-ing are hard. I have so much respect for full-time working mommas and stay-at-home mommas. All moms make sacrifices. We choose what path makes the most sense for us, and we take it. So why all the judgement on moms who are professional network marketers? It needs to stop. Honestly, it’s the oldest profession. Before companies had millions of dollars to create manipulative, slick advertising campaigns, people told each other about products they loved, that helped them. This industry reroutes those millions in air time and celebrity endorsements to ordinary people, including moms like me, to share with friends and family. Instead of hating me, maybe you could actually be happy for me.

Because here’s what you haven’t seen or cared to notice.

In my past at-home work, my sacrifice to help our family make ends meet so I could be present often meant:

  • Desperately taking any paying job, sometimes ones that paid less than minimum wage.
  • Working for tyrants and bullies.
  • Mindlessly pushing products that I didn’t actually know much about or believe in.

As a result:

  • I felt unworthy.
  • I was stressed and actually less present when I was with my family.
  • Always worried about and thinking about where the next dollar would come from.

Now I am:

  • Confident in my career, despite some so-called friends being a-holes about it. (Side benefit: You get to see more of people’s true nature more quickly when you are a professional network marketer.)
  • Able to set my own hours and terms of work to truly put my family first.
  • Free to use my gifts to help others and help them with solutions that are so life-changing.

If this helped you understand professional network marketing or spoke to you in any way, I’d be honored if you would share and help others see the industry for what it truly is!

Body Image, Mirror Image

One great dress says a lot about my body image journey

There was a time in my life when I wouldn’t have taken a dress like this in the dressing room.

IMG_1920It was when I was at my “biggest.” It was when I loathed my body the most. And it was also when I had a massive 180-degree flip on body image for the first time in my life.

It was not quite five years ago. Yes, I was 39. Sad, I know. How I wish my “body image” was cured in my teens or twenties even.

A lot has changed since then. A LOT.

I learned to love myself at my biggest size — unconditionally. It was a gargantuan feat only possible with the Father’s love.

I then lost 25 pounds and got to the smallest size in my adult life. That happened right before I got pregnant on the eve of my 40th birthday. I had the best of my three pregnancies and dropped most of the baby weight rather quickly afterward.

Since then, I’ve continued the healthy lifestyle that helped me lost the 25 pounds. But I’m not back to that small size. Maybe I never will be. But I have taken all the lessons learned to in the last five years to create a lifestyle that is about health, not appearance.

  • I love how I look in this dress. Because I love myself — inside and out.
  • I had a moment where I wished my love handles were gone when I put it on. Mindfully noting this, I giggled. They help remind me of two things: 1. Looking at them in this moment won’t make them go away, so I have a choice. I can loathe them or love them. Loathing them takes far more energy and is so negative. I choose love. 2. I can use their existence to help me set a goal that’s focused on wellness, reminding me that I am still struggling with health issues that need my tools to address them. Tools that might also help the love handles melt away. But even if they don’t, the tools WILL help me feel better. And that’s what I really want.
  • I am proud of how far I’ve come. It’s easy to be focused on perfection and not progress. Could I look better in this dress? Well, of course. But that’s hardly the point. The people who love me don’t qualify their love in how I look in the dress. Neither should I. My time, energy and focus is better spent celebrating the changes I have made to improve my health. And I’ve made so many!
  • I have completely let go of the notion that my body image is tied to anyone except myself. Women can become so trapped in comparison — with media images, magazine models and even friends. I did a major sweep for traps like this in my life, and the result is a freedom like no other!

Body image shouldn’t be rooted in the number on a scale or whether we maintain weight loss or what we look like in a dress. It’s about feeling good about ourselves, a feeling that radiates from the inside out. My focus has often been how I FEEL about my physical appearance. But we are not the sum of our parts. To love my body is to love my soul. To see the value in myself as a whole person and to celebrate and be proud about how I look because of what’s inside. Because I am who I am, not because of how I look — no matter how great the dress is.

 

 

 

Yoga

Bridge strengthens deeper muscles

Before Holy Yoga, I did a yoga DVD program at home for five years. The instructor did bridge posture at the end of each session. But he only had us hold it for seconds, a half breath essentially.

When I began learning and teaching bridge, I realize it helps strengthen deeper glut muscles and the core when it’s held for several breaths. In fact, it should be held for 30-60 seconds and can be repeated during your practice.

Here’s how I coach a class through bridge with a step-by-step.

First, from a supine position the feet are hip distance apart (the bony hip) and close to the sitting bones. the fingers pointed toward the toes with the palms down. Prepare your body by lifting your torso and drawing your upper body weight onto the shoulder blades. Denney-15

When you are ready and on an inhale, lift the hips as you push against to soles of the feet and the palms of the hands. Once your hips are lifted as high as feels comfortable for you, release the glut muscles. This allows the smaller muscles of the gluts to do the work. Inwardly rotate your thighs. If you’d like, you can clasp the hands together beneath the tailbone and press the pinkie fingers into the mat. This helps keep the weight on the shoulder blades. Take several deep, long cleansing breaths here. If you have trouble keeping the pelvis up off the mat, you can use a block or bolster to assist in the posture.

Release the posture on an exhale, lowering slowly back to your mat. The easiest counter pose from this position is to draw the knees into the chest and very slowly rock back and forth on the low spine.

Repeat as many times as you like. You can further work your core by lifting alternate legs straight up. You can also shift your weight into the balls of the feet, lifting the heels.

I like to encourage my classes to also tuck their chin, if their neck will permit it, and watch their breath rise and fall in their chest and/or belly. It’s very calming and grounding to follow the rhythm of the breath in a posture that keeps your mind active as you work to turn on some muscles while turning “off” others.

According to Yoga Journal, a few benefits of bridge posture are:

  • Stretches the chest, neck, and spine
  • Calms the brain and helps alleviate stress and mild depression
  • Stimulates abdominal organs, lungs, and thyroid
  • Rejuvenates tired legs
  • Improves digestion
  • Helps relieve the symptoms of menopause
  • Relieves menstrual discomfort when done supported
  • Reduces anxiety, fatigue, backache, headache, and insomnia
  • Therapeutic for asthma, high blood pressure, osteoporosis, and sinusitis
Faith, Wellness

Visions are life-giving

romans12-2We began meditating on this scripture last week in regular Holy Yoga classes, and we are sitting on it this week and next week, too. It’s my favorite scripture and a great one to enter into with God in the new year.

It will also be the verse for the vision board workshop I’m holding at 7 p.m. on Sunday, Jan. 14 at Peace Lutheran Church, 2800 W. Jefferson St. in Springfield. The cost is just $10 to cover materials. Click here to register. Or, bring a friend for $15 total by clicking here.

There will be a brief activity to guide you in creating a wonderful board that will inspire you in your dreams throughout 2018. If you’ve never done a vision board, I cannot recommend this enough. It’s incredibly powerful to have a visual reminder of the goals and dreams God has placed in your heart as you reach for them. When you do a vision board and especially when you post it in a visible location, you cannot help but reach your goals! I cannot wait to show you mine from 2017, pray with you and make a new board as we visit, laugh and enjoy each other’s company!

Proverbs 29:18 says, “Where there is no prophetic vision the people are discouraged…”

When is the last time you slowed down enough to ask God about His vision for your life? Let’s all stop for just a moment and pray together as we create something to remind us of the dreams He’s blessed us with! It will be a lovely experience.

There will also be Holy Yoga offered from 6-7 p.m. before the workshop. I encourage you to come and worship God through movement and breathing. If you have never tried Holy Yoga, this class is free for you! If you are a student currently, it’s a suggested $5 donation that you can pay on Jan. 14. If you’d rather skip the Paypal link to pay, just text me an RSVP to 217-801-7464. 

Outline for the class:

  1. Meditate first on Ephesians 2:10. Consider also reading the day one devotional of Andy Stanley’s 7-day Visioneering on the You Version Bible app.
  2. Pray. Find a quiet place and a few moments to simply ask for God to reveal to you His vision for your life, for your year.
  3. Complete the workshop below.
  4. VisionBoardExercise
  5. Begin to clip out images that particularly match the bold sections on the handout for your vision board. If you can’t find images in magazines, search online and print them out.
  6. Arrange them on your vision board. Embellish with quotes, written words, stickers or artwork.
  7. Most importantly, keep you vision board in a place where you will see it every day. Continue to pray over it!
Wellness

Endometriosis solutions that worked for me…

This is part two of a post that started with my endometriosis story…you can read that post here

The body is both mysterious and easy to understand. It is both weak and powerful.

I’ve fought with mine so much over the years, and we aren’t done yet! For a long time, I lived a miserable existence with chronic endometriosis pain, not to mention migraine pain, fibromyalgia and digestive discomfort/imbalance. After trying many traditional medicinal and unconventional treatments, I had nearly resolved to accept a life a pain.

Until I came unglued at the idea of needless surgeries and hormonal treatments. I just couldn’t do it. So I took the following measures and with each one, I’ve experienced a noticeable degree of relief.

All of what I write about is based on the premise that no matter the cause of endometriosis, it’s estrogen that feeds it. Without estrogen, the clumps of cells will wither away unfed. Some solutions are also based on alleviating pain and stress.

 

Realizing that every body is unique, it’s obvious that there isn’t a blanket cure. Bummer! But I learned various tools and tricks from friends and others I trusted. Because they were brave enough to be authentic and share with me what was working for them. It’s my turn to pay it forward. Maybe something on this list of solutions will give you beautiful healing and hope.

I always say that busy moms will do just about anything to avoid illness. Sometimes we get stuck in it, and like a hamster on a wheel, we just keep running, never slowing down enough to realize that doesn’t need to be our stories.

Mine was rewritten beginning in 2015. Maybe it’s time you got a new testimony, too.

I’m sharing my solutions in the order I used them with some kind of scientific backing as to why it works for endometriosis (hormonal struggles). Sadly, women’s health issues are not studied near enough. Some of these are up-and-coming solutions that I hope and pray will be more thoroughly studied and written about for the benefit of women everywhere.

  1. GETTING RID OF GLUTEN
    This one is super powerful all on its own! My friend had some hormonal type issues and recognized gluten was a culprit. She took it out of her diet and had wonderful results. She shared her testimony with me for a couple of years. I simply did not want to change. I couldn’t imagine a life without gluten. I finally caved when my health was not improving. After six weeks, I didn’t recognize much of a change and ate gluten again. I had severe heartburn and digestive issues that had sent me to the ER numerous times over the years. I also suspected my stomach issues and endometriosis were tied together. This did not get rid of my endo pain at all, but it cured many of my digestive issues. However, check out the results of this study, where 75 percent of women reported statistically significant change in pain at 12 months and none reported worsening of symptoms. It is absolutely a great tool for women suffering from endometriosis. And the truth is, I was only exploring gluten-free on its own for a couple of months before I was on to the next tool.
  2. ELIMINATE COFFEE/CAFFEINE
    First off, coffee is especially dangerous because it’s filled with pesticides, mycotoxins and is acidic. These facts are well-documented all over the internet. My husband discovered this, and brought it to my attention. It took me several months before I was willing to give up my beloved relationship with coffee. Pesticides are an endocrine disrupter, so anyone with a hormonal disfunction will be especially sensitive to them. They will act as estrogen in the body and create all kinds of imbalance. This causes more pain or more days of a woman’s cycle in those with endometriosis. Here’s one study about the interruption in a woman’s system that can be caused by pesticide exposure: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1524969/. By the way, pesticides show up in all kinds of other foods, but coffee tops a lot of lists and my frequent consumption of it made it the most obvious thing for me to address first. Later, I began to cut meat and dairy from my diet. Here is a great blog post about the worst foods for pesticides. Coffee cup with burlap sack of roasted beans
    More recently, I’m learning that BOTH pesticides AND caffeine are problematic for endometriosis. I ended up drinking coffee again after the birth of my baby because I found a great organic, low-acid coffee (by Isagenix) that is screened for toxins. However, research indicates caffeine is problematic at least when it gets to two or more cups a day, so my next goal in 2018 is to reduce and eliminate coffee altogether to see if I feel better. My quest to healing is never-ending!  According to researchers at the Harvard School of Public Health, women who have two or more cups of caffeinated coffee (or four cans of cola) per day were found to be twice as likely to develop endometriosis as other women. The reason why caffeine has this effect is unknown.
  3. PRACTICE INTERMITTENT FASTING/KETOSIS
    Sadly, there just isn’t a lot of evidence out here for this one. That’s unfortunate because it’s where I experienced the biggest leap in terms of easing pain/symptoms of endometriosis. I used a nutrition system that is specifically designed for fat loss in desperation to avoid the laparoscopic scraping surgery. The premise behind intermittent fasting is for the body to burn fat for fuel rather than carbs, during which ketones are released putting the body in a state of ketosis. Ketosis is quite the buzz word, and it has many, many benefits. It’s a great lifestyle for many people. But it also has some real dangers. I would not recommend long-term ketosis without discussing it with your doctor. You probably ought to discuss IF with your doctor, too, but it’s not the kind of lifestyle that will harm you unless you are type 1 diabetic. I don’t know exactly HOW IF helped my endometriosis. Only that it gave my cells — all of them — a break. There are some neat videos of the cells before and after IF that show how it affects them. It’s a process of renewal and vitality. And yes, the body can detox itself no doubt. But IF assists it in doing this miraculous function. Personally I cannot imagine practicing IF without the tools that I used and share with others (namely Isagenix), but there are many people who use no tools or other tools. However you want to try it, please be open to it. This can have a huge impact on your overall health and especially with regard to pain! I’m happy to set you up with a 30-day complete system and coach you in your first IF experience. I live for this! Here is a full list of the benefits of IF, and here is a study regarding a different type of pain relief.
  4. MANAGE YOUR STRESS
    It’s a scientific fact that stress exacerbates endometriosis and vice versa. In fact, it may be a chicken and egg debate. If you don’t or aren’t managing your stress (emotional or physical), then you are on a hamster wheel. My stress was drastically improved on Isagenix namely because of adaptogens. These natural botanicals are uniquely able to help your body combat stress, focus your mind, and elevate your daily performance. There are many sources of adaptogens, but Ionix Supreme is my favorite. You can read about it here.
  5. PRACTICE YOGA
    Yoga has been huge for teaching me three things:

    1. Breathing: The gift of ratio, belly, Ujjayi (victorious) breath and mindful breathing has helped me to bring stress under control. But it has also helped alleviate pain and panic — when I had the flu, anxiety over one of my kids 23380083_10154831426201035_1211404866907118819_nand shoulder pain. Breathing is a gift; learning how to manipulate it for healing is like the bow on top!
      2. Stress: The practice of yoga has helped alleviate and manage stress. It reminds me to slow down and take care of myself. Don’t take my word for it. Yoga Clicks has hundreds of stories on the many physical and emotional benefit of yoga. Here are a few on anxiety.
      3. Postures: There are actual poses you can use to alleviate pain, in addition to breathing. This website is a great resource for yoga and hormone issues.
  6. TRY KRATOM FOR PAIN
    Not long ago, in the process of healing from the emotional trauma my physical pain had caused in my marriage, I had a setback. A painful period. Painful intercourse. I couldn’t believe it. I had been using all of these beautiful, wonderful tools. Don’t get me wrong, it was nowhere as severe as it could have been. But still. Grrrr. Then my friend Carolyn, who introduced me to Isagenix, posted that she’d been trying kratom successfully. I had never heard of it, but I trusted her. I did some digging and talking. And then I decided to give it a try. Holy moly, it’s simply amazing for pain. Anytime I’ve experienced any pain and taken it, even if my pain isn’t minimized (which is rare), it relaxes me to the point that I’m at least not lashing out in my pain at the people I love. That’s huge, y’all! kratomNo more mean momma PMS’ing. This is my new friend’s website. Again, I trust her and the woman who recommended me. Don’t google “cheap kratom.” Please. For the love. Don’t cheap out or cut corners on your health. Just don’t. If kratom both intrigues and concerns you, that’s good!. I get it! I hesitated on Isagenix for nine months while I got sicker because I googled it and saw a few negative testimonies. There are always some horror stories you can stumble on out there. Like anything else. And doctors are prescribing opioids for endo pain. So consider the alternative. I hated a life of prescriptions. I hated trading symptoms for side effects. This is a gentle, natural solution. Again, it might be great for you. But it might not. We are all different. And that’s OK! Here’s a fascinating story CNN did on the subject. I would love to see kratom get more mainstream attention. It is restoring relationships and bringing life and hope back to people!
  7. JESUS
    Truth be told, I tried Jesus before I even did a single thing on this list. I prayed and I prayed and I prayed that He would move the “mountain” that was my pain and misery. Frankly, I was a little pissed that He wasn’t doing anything to heal me or even acknowledge my prayers. Especially when I’d witnessed Him do it time and again with my husband and friends. Why them and not me? I had faith. I KNEW He could. I believed. Friends, I really, really believed. And then these things happened. He brought Isagenix into my life. And then when I surrendered, He introduced me to Holy Yoga. And when I had setbacks and my pain returned again (in a much smaller dose), He connected me with a lovely Christian lady who sells safe, organic kratom. Could He have healed me with just one word, one touch, in one breath? Of course He could have. As I was reflecting on why He didn’t one day, I drove my a rural church with a marquee that said, “I can move mountains, but sometimes it’s by handing you a shovel. — God.” Ah! I started to put the pieces together. My journey, as painful as it’s sometimes been, has allowed me to be more open, to share, to reach more and to help others move their mountains. He didn’t have to invite me to be part of His plans for healing, and yet He did. Jesus didn’t want to just give me a shovel for moving my mountain, He gave me shovels so I could be blessed to help others move their mountains, too. How awesome is that?

If anything in this blog blessed you or you think it might bless others, please share! I’d love nothing more than to reach and help multitudes of women suffering from endometriosis and related hormonal struggles.