Tips for Beginning Intermittent Fasting

Intermittent Fasting (IF) is definitely a hot button topic. When I started paying attention to my blog analytics + the messages I have been receiving, I noticed 2 things: 1. People are curious 2. People are looking for answers.

Before I continue on with my tips on getting started with IF, take a few minutes to read through my "what happened with I stopped eating breakfast" post. It goes through the basics and benefits of IF in easy to understand terms. 

Once you've done that, let's dive in!

Here are my tips and suggestions for getting started with If:

Do your own research 

Every body is different. Everyone has their own issues. Just like I did my research in starting Keto, you've got to do the same thing here. Start with a Google Search, start listening to podcasts on Intermittent Fasting, and start soaking in advice from credible sources.

Immerse yourself in the knowledge and start doing the mental work to set yourself up for success. It was so much easier for me to make the switch mentally and physically when I had the science to back me up. I was able to push through cravings and hunger pangs in the beginning because I knew what I was working toward. 

If you like Podcasts, I recommend listening to all of the podcasts on Fasting Talk. It's extreme, yes, as they talk about not just Intermittent Fasting, but extended fasting. Like "let's fast for a week or two" fasting. I'm definitely not there, I'm focused more on IF, but it's FASCINATING. 

If you want to read or listen to a book, I recommend The Complete Guide to Fasting. Even though I haven't finished the book just yet, I've read enough to confidently recommend it. The same people who wrote this book facilitated the Fasting Talk podcast and the information is the same.

The next book I'm going to read is the Obesity Code by Dr. Jason Fung. I am really excited to dive into that! You can read it too and we can have a book club, cool?

If you are looking for voices to listen to - bloggers, article writers, social media accounts to follow - then I recommend Dr. Jason Fung, Megan Ramos, Jimmy Moore, LeAnn Vogel, and Jessica Tye.

Eliminate snacking

One of the best ways you can start IF is by being conscious of your snacking and working to eliminate it all together. Make the most out of your meal times by eating delicious and nutritionally dense food. If you feel the urge to snack out of habit or because you're "snack-y" (my word for when I want to eat because I'm bored or want to avoid something), distract yourself by drinking a glass of water or a La Croix, doing a beneficial chore like putting away laundry, or simply changing your scenery (leave the room). Doing a combination of these things helps to distract my mind from wanting to snack. 

This was particularly difficult after dinner. I was a major after dinner snacker and I still struggle with this from time to time! It's most helpful when I have an activity like crochet or I'm browsing things on Pinterest -- something to keep my hands busy. It's also mega helpful if I keep cravings or snack ideas to myself. As soon as I say them out loud, it's over. 

Understand the if Eating Windows

The typical eating windows for IF are: 


The first number is how many hours you go without eating (fasting). The second number is the accumulative hours where you can eat. Let's take 16:8 for example, if you FINISH eating dinner at 7:00 and don't have any after dinner snacks, then your fasting would last until 11:00am. That's 16 hours of IF. Then, you would have from 11:00 am - 7:00 pm to eat your 2 meals. 

Let's do the same thing for 18:6. If you finish dinner by 7:00pm, then you could have your first meal after 1:00pm and your 2nd meal would be finished by 7:00pm. 

And just for good measure let's see what 20:4 would look like. If you finish dinner by 7:00pm, then you would eat between 3:00-7:00pm. Easy enough, right? 

Set yourself up for Success

Keto and Intermittent Fasting work very well together. Because of the high fat content in the Keto Way of Eating, you stay fuller for longer periods of time. This enables you to go longer in between meals. When you're eating mostly carbohydrates, you do not stay full. I can attest to this from my own experience.

I share more details on that in this blog post. 

So, when you're ready to make your first attempt at IF, eat a good Keto meal the night before. Make sure that you eat enough. One of the worst things you can do for your body and your metabolism is eat a low calorie meal before you fast. 

You can totally do IF without doing Keto or another low carb eating style, it's just going to be difficult. Again, I can back that up from my own experience.  

See how long you can go before eating your first meal 

When you wake up in the morning, don't tell yourself that you can't eat. Don't obsess about it. For me, when I obsess about something I drive myself so crazy that I find myself doing exactly what I said I wouldn't do. Can anyone relate to that?

When you're just starting out, all you're doing is seeing how long you can go before you eat your first meal. Get out of bed, have a glass of water, **drink a cup of coffee and do all of your morning things (other than having a bowl of cereal, a couple of pieces of toast, and a glass of orange juice. Don't do that). 

When you are legitimately hungry (not when you're bored, eating because others are eating, or because it's "time" to eat), have your first meal. Pay attention to the time and see how long you went between the last thing you ate the night before and now (including sleeping time!). 


Those are my tips for getting started! If this is something that you're interested in or think would benefit you, you should give it a try! I know it might seem scary to think about going 16, 18, or 20 hours without having a snack or skipping a whole meal, but let me tell you that you are totally capable of doing it! If you can't make it a full 16 hours, be proud of yourself going 10 or 12! This is YOUR journey your progress is the only thing that matters.

I love this quote,

Don’t compare your beginning to someone else’s middle, or your middle to someone else’s end.
— Tim Hiller.

Thinking through that quote has helped me stay focused on what I am doing and not be envious of other people, but inspired by them. 

I am going to continue writing about IF and what I'm learning because there is so much more! Hopefully, through me sharing my experience, I can help you feel empowered to try something new and take a close look at your habits and internal health. I don't claim to have all the answers and I'm definitely not a medical professional, but I can share my story and hopefully encourage someone else. Let's get to it! - JJ

**A note about Coffee. You can have coffee during your fasting times. Black coffee is best. You can have a splash of cream (I use Heavy Whipping Cream) and it will not break your fast. A bulletproof coffee WILL break your fast, though. So just be mindful of what you put in your coffee and how much you're putting in your coffee.  

What Happened when I Stopped Eating Breakfast

Intermittent Fasting (IF) has become a big part of my life and one of the keys to my Keto success thus far. IF is periods of eating and not eating. It's an eating pattern, not an "eat this not that" type of deal and it's pretty popular in the health/wellness/weight loss space right now. 

Around this time last summer I started hearing about IF and I was NOT interested. Give up one of my meal times? No way. You see up until last fall, one week after my 29th birthday to be exact, food controlled my life. "What am I going to eat today?" "What do I have to snack on?" "What flavors sound good?" And other questions like that ruled my day. All I had ever known was that you eat 3 meals a day and breakfast is the most important one. It was counter-cultural to hear that you could only eat twice or dare I say it, once, a day. 

I didn't want to give up another time where I could eat because I was "supposed to." It wasn't that I was hungry when I woke up in the morning or when I got to work, it's that I could eat and no one would think anything of it because it was breakfast time. At that point in my life, I was more concerned with eating as much as I could instead of stopping to think, "am I actually hungry right now?"

Everything changed when I really dove into the science behind Keto. I read this book and for the first time, I felt like it was okay for me to skip breakfast. It was like I had permission to do something new that would help me long term. Looking back, it was one of my first major step towards intuitive eating and learning how to listen to my body. 

I see it as a way to let my digestive system take a break and slow down instead of it going at full speed during the hours I'm awake. The longer you fast, the more time your digestive system (mainly your liver and pancreas) have time to rest. Because no new food has been introduced, whenever the body says, "Hey, I need some energy!" It can pull energy from fat stores and burn fat instead of whatever snack was just consumed. 

As I've shared before in other blog posts, I am not a medical professional, just someone who decided to learn more and try things for myself! 

What are the benefits of IF?

  • Decreases insulin resistance over time -- I talk more about insulin resistance in this post.
  • Anti-aging -- "When you fast, it gives your cells the ability to detox and recycle, so your body can slow down aging and even prevent age-related diseases." Read more here and  here.
  • Weight loss -- it's real fat loss not lean tissue/muscle loss. It's the kind of weight you want to lose.
  • Stimulates brain -- Check this out. Side note: I'm starting to understand now why Fasting is spiritual. Posts on that coming in the future. 
  • Reduces inflammation -- EVERYONE can benefit from reduced inflammation in the body read more
  • And there's more, but that's a lot of info to comb through, so I'm going to stop here. 

You can read more articles about the benefits of IF here, here, and here

How did you actually start doing IF?

I started skipping breakfast.

It was actually pretty easy for me to get started. When I woke up I would have my coffee (coffee with a splash of cream doesn't break your fast, a bulletproof coffee will tho) and then plan to eat lunch around 11:00. Meal prepping definitely helped me get into the rhythm because I knew that I didn't have to worry about what I would eat, it was already there ready for me.

Over time I backed my lunch up in 30 minute increments. Now, I can wait until 1:00 or 1:30 before I'm thinking about lunch. 

How do Keto and IF work together?

Since IF is all about when you eat, you need to make the most out of your meal times eating nutritionally dense (i.e. foods that are full of the good nutrients, I didn't know what that meant for a long time LOL) filling foods that keep you full for long periods of time. That's where Keto really shines! Because Keto is a high fat low carbohydrate way of eating, you stay fuller longer; therefore, you can go long periods of time without reaching for a snack or packing in 3 meals a day. 

The Standard American Diet is high carbohydrate and low fat meaning that your body burns glucose (SUGAR) instead of it's preferred energy source ketones (FAT). That's why you hear "sugar-burner" or "fat-burner."

It's the fat you eat that keeps you satisfied (or satiated). I wouldn't have believed it if I hadn't experienced it for myself. Whenever I do consume carbs, it never fails the next day my stomach is growling and grumbling wanting MORE carbs. Whenever I'm killing it on Keto, no growling stomach, no hunger pangs, and no digestive issues. That's real life talk! 

So, to answer the question, "what happened when I stopped eating breakfast" the answer is simple. This is the first time in my life that I've been able to maintain a weight loss. I've been able to maintain my weight loss and progress even when I go off the rails and eat all the carbs. Not to say that IF is a license to eat whatever you want (because you definitely pay for it!), but it's something that I can do to keep me on track and feeling my best. 

Honestly, it's something I never thought I could do. I never thought I would be one of those people who chooses not to eat when others are eating. It's shown me that I can exercise self control and that I can listen to my body. To me, that's more important than physical results. 

I will be writing a follow up post with my tips on how to get started if this is something that you want to incorporate into your daily life. I highly encourage you to do your own research and to not be afraid of trying something different. If you have any questions or want to know more, let me know! I'm happy to dialogue with you about IF or anything else really. This girl loves to talk!

Be on the lookout for my follow up post in the next few weeks. Have a beautiful day! - JJ  

2 New Places to Check Out on an Alabama Beach Trip

If you are planning to squeeze in one last beach trip before school starts or the summer is over, I've got 2 new places that you MUST try! 

A couple of weeks ago we went on our annual Family Vacation to Orange Beach, AL. We've traveled to Orange Beach every summer for the past 5 or so years and have a list of our favorite restaurants. We heard of a new restaurant called Playa and found out it had been opened up by the people who own our top favorite restaurant, Fishers, so we knew we had to try it. I'm so glad we did! 


The atmosphere and interiors are PERFECT. It's got a modern, light, and colorful vibe with colors focusing on pinks, greens, whites, and light wood tones. I flipped out when I walked in. I think I said at one point, "If I had a beach house, I'd want it to look like this." 

The cuisine is slightly upscale Mexican. My table ordered Fish and Shrimp Tacos, Mexican street corn, chips and queso, and a pulled chicken plate. Everything was delicious, super flavorful, and colorful! We definitely had not had any food like this at the beach. 


We loved it and we can't wait to go back! Plus, they have a great outdoor dining set up that overlooks a marina. Boats and Tacos? Yes please. 

Switching gears to coffee. If you know Luke and me, you know that coffee isn't just a drink. It's a whole experience. One day soon I'll share Luke's coffee set up in our home. He's a live-in barista and I'm not mad about it. Currently, he's experimenting with homemade syrups... it's awesome. 

Anyways, a couple of years ago our friends Christian and Courtney Hilley opened up a coffee shop in Mobile, AL. Since then, Luke and I always make it a priority to stop at their shop on our way in and out of our beach travels since we travel straight through Mobile. Their shop, Chaleur Coffee, has been awesome from day one, but they just moved to a brand new location! 


Their new shop has such a great vibe, yummy treats, delicious coffee, and friendly baristas behind the bar. They've just started roasting their own coffee and making their own chocolate. You heard me. They have a chocolatier! I sampled the Pistachio Chocolate and it is heavenly! They make their own coffee syrups and bake their own treats! It's seriously mega impressive. 


We're so proud of these guys! They're killing it in Mobile and who knows what they are going to do next?! The next time you're in Mobile, or close to Mobile, go check out their new shop and tell them that you're our friends! 

30 by 30
Photo by Marina Lima on Unsplash

This is a big year for me. I'm turning 30 in a couple of months! I'm not going to lie, I'm having a little trouble grasping the fact that I'm not going to be in my 20s anymore... BUT I genuinely am excited for the next season of my life. 

In the last few months I've been coaching myself through some "if you want different, you have to do different" (my personal mantra) strategies. One of those "different" things I want is to finally commit to a complete lifestyle change where I lose the weight, keep it off, and continue implementing real life healthy habits. 

This past Spring I set the goal of losing 30 pounds by my 30th birthday. A little backstory about me, I'm not a goal oriented person. For some people they can set a goal and they HAVE to complete it. I'm not wired that way. In fact, I'm a little jealous of those people. I've never really been able to lock in and stay focused on goals for long periods of time and actually complete the goal. 

I've tried all the goal setting and completing strategies and nothing has worked for me until now. When it comes to following through on your goals, do you know what I believe is the difference maker? A combination of maturity and personal growth. It wasn't because of a magic goal accomplishing formula. It wasn't because I took an online class on how to reach your goals (I do love online classes, tho). It was because I knew that it was time to grow up and I was ready to grow up. I wanted big changes. I wanted a new normal. I was finally ready to start working toward being the person I really wanted to be. 

Even something as silly as "30 by 30" has really helped me stick to my new way of eating. I'm not 100% perfect all of the time, but I am good 85% of the time. That's a win for me! Usually, I lose interest/focus within 2 weeks and I'm back to my old ways. This time has been different! 

I started my 30 by 30 back in May. So far, I've lost almost 20 pounds! I've got 2 more months to lose the final 10. Between Keto, Jesus, and my Essential Oils, I KNOW that I can do it! I KNOW that I will be able to reach the goal in the timeframe that I want. 

October 1st (my birthday), I'm coming for you! I started an IG specifically for my Keto journey called @CampbellHouseKeto. Check it out and keep up with me!

Feeling Empowered
Photo by Natalie Collins on Unsplash

I've been gravitating toward the word "Empower" lately. I think it's a great word! 

Empower means, "give [someone] the authority or power to do something" and "make [someone] stronger and more confident, especially in controlling their life and claiming their rights".

I love that definition and I want to experience that feeling of empowerment in my everyday life. I want to feel like I'm an invested decision maker in what happens, not just someone who is along for the ride. I want to show up in my own life! 

I believe that God is the ultimate decision maker and controller of all things; but that doesn't mean that I sit around and do nothing.  

For the longest time, I didn't take myself or much of anything seriously. I didn't think that I really mattered in the grand scheme of things. I just thought I was a silly girl who's sole purpose was to lighten the mood with a joke. I'm thankful that I've grown out of that thinking. 

Thankfully, alongside God working in my life and showing me things, I've had people come alongside me, believe in me, and help me realize that I have deeper purpose and potential. These people helped me feel empowered. And now, I want to do the same for you! 

You are CAPABLE of making smart decisions. 

You are ABLE to be passionate and make a difference. 

You are QUALIFIED to be a deep thinker and learn things for yourself.

You just have to be WILLING to believe that you can be different. Do not stunt your own growth by relying on someone else to do the work for you. Between you and God, anything is POSSIBLE.

There might be a brand new dream and future waiting for you. What are you going to do about it? 

I would love to hear stories about how you were empowered by someone in your life. You can share those stories in the comments or share them with the person/people who have empowered you. I also want to challenge you to reach out your hand and empower someone this week. Encourage them by telling them about the potential you see in them. Let's spread a little kindness this week. 

And now we Wait

We are due for an Adoption update here on Campbell House. Now that we are in the waiting period, there honestly isn't much going on with our Adoption, just some behind the scenes stuff.  

It's kind of weird. Some days, I think about what our baby might look like or what it will be like when the baby is in our care. Other days I don't think about it at all. I think that's the way it's supposed to be right now.

The whole Adoption process is like the ocean. Some days the waves are high and constant, meaning there's always something to do and you have to get it done at that very moment and you feel like you're downing a little bit. Other times the waters are totally still and you look to your partner and say, "is there something we're supposed to be doing because I feel oddly calm about this?" 

Right now, we are in one of those calm times. We are waiting for the phone to ring. We're waiting for a message from our Adoption Worker. I'm not going to lie, I've been tempted to call Kristen more than once asking if there was any news or if there was something we could be doing to make our profile better. Thankfully, I've resisted that temptation. 

But as for how we are doing with the waiting, I"m happy to report that we're doing really well!

Occasionally, sad thoughts and feeling come over though. When I dip into the negativity of waiting, it brings out hurtful questions, "Is something wrong with us? Why isn't anyone selecting us? I guess we're not fit to be parents. We're never going to get a baby." Yeah, it escalates quickly! Fear and uncertainty in the middle of waiting goes from 0 to a 60 in an instant. 

BUT, those thoughts don't last long because I've been claiming and hanging onto this verse for the past few months, 

Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again; Rejoice! Let your graciousness be known to everyone. The Lord is near. Don’t worry about anything, but in everything, through prayer and petition with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.
— Philippians 4:4-7

That's been a favorite passage of scripture for a long time, but it means so much more to me in this season. I am petitioning God daily to bring us our baby at the right time and I trust that it's going to happen. That deep trust and faith helps me NOT dwell on the waiting.

My mind swirls with excitement as I think about what it will be like to be a mother. Until then, I can be confident that God is working behind the scenes, preparing us, preparing the birth mother, and working everything out for the right time. There's no need for me to dip into those negative waters.

If you're wondering how you can help, you can pray. Pray for us in the waiting and and pray for our baby that he/she is safe (or will be safe) and developing (or will develop) properly.

You can also help us continue fundraising. We are so blessed by how people have shown up and given to our adoption fund. Definitely blows my mind and I cry when I think about it. We have a little ways to go and every little bit helps!


We will be doing another t-shirt fundraiser closer to the fall (sweatshirts, hoodies, long sleeve t-shirts!). I've joined up with Young Living as a distributor as a side hustle to support this and future adoptions (YEP!). I'm sure that we'll have other fundraising opportunities pop up randomly as well. We love our community and love that everyone is supporting us!!

Here's to waiting! Every day brings us closer to our baby. 

So what is PCOS?

One of the things I've mentioned a few times here on the blog and on Instagram posts is that I have PCOS. I want to share some details with about PCOS, what it is, how it effects women, and how I'm working to reverse it. 

Remember, I am not a professional in the medical field, just a woman who feels empowered enough to figure things out. 

PCOS is an acronym for Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome. The name makes it sound like it's an issue with cysts on your ovaries, but the name is just a scratch on the surface to the real issues going on inside. Some women do develop cysts on their ovaries, some (like me) do not. The real issue at play is hormones. PCOS is a hormone disorder. 

When your hormones are disrupted and not functioning properly, everything is thrown off. With PCOS your cycles are extremely irregular, you have difficulty losing weight and it's incredibly easy to gain weight. Other symptoms are partial or total infertility, fatigue, acne, excess production of testosterone, male pattern baldness, facial and abdomen hair, and mood changes. Yeah, there are some real great symptoms there. 

When did you realize that you had it?

When I was in college, my cycle wasn't really a cycle. It was nonexistent. So like any mature college student would do, I called my mom. She encouraged me to find a gynecologist in my area and make an appointment, you know like real adults. 

After that visit to the doctor, I was put on birth control to regulate my cycle. They threw out the term, PCOS, but didn't really explain it to me. It was one of those situations where the doctor said, "You more than likely have PCOS. Take birth control." So that's what I did. I didn't do any research about PCOS or how birth control effects you. It didn't even cross my mind that I could be doing something about this diagnosis without medication.

I had heard that being on birth control helped some girls lose weight, so I was excited to have that prescription. I was thinking that being on birth control would help me lose weight without me changing any of my habits. Yeah, college JJ wasn't all that smart. 

Being on birth control made me feel crazy so after 6 months I quit taking it. Also, it still never crossed my mind that PCOS was a real life condition and that I needed to do something about it. That drive and desire wouldn't come until years later after I got married and wanted to get pregnant. 

Why is it a big deal?

PCOS is a big deal because your hormones are a big deal! PCOS is the leading cause of infertility. A LOT of women have it, they just might not realize that they do. Not everyone shows all the symptoms and that's why it's so tricky.

PCOS causes infertility or makes it extremely difficult to get pregnant. If you do get pregnant, it's a high risk pregnancy.

Along with fertility issues, the other main symptom that I am focusing on correcting is insulin resistance. Insulin resistance is a dangerous road that leads to Type 2 Diabetes and Metabolic Syndrome. Those are 2 internal issues that I do NOT want to have. 

Finally, the 3rd reason why PCOS is a big deal is because it's linked to higher risks of cancer. 

What are you doing about it?

For a long time I avoided the diagnoses. I just continued on my merry way slamming cheeseburgers, pizza, ice cream, and fries, but in the back of my mind I knew that things had to change. It wasn't until a couple of years ago that I actually felt empowered enough to take my life into my own hands and start making changes from the inside out. 

I knew that I didn't want to be on medication. I KNEW that I could work on my issues in a natural way. I knew that just taking synthetic medication wasn't going to solve my problem, but contribute to more. That was a turning point. 

The timeline coincides with our adoption timeline. After trying to get pregnant for a year and a half, I knew what it was. My body wasn't healthy enough to get pregnant. The systems weren't working. That was another major turning point. 

I started devouring all of the information I could get my hands on. I read story after story of people who reversed PCOS and went on to lead healthy lives. All of my research led to a 2 pronged approach to healing my hormone issue: diet/lifestyle changes and reducing exposure to endocrine disruptors.

I've already shared making the switch to Keto in another blog post. You can read more details about that here. 

What are endocrine disruptors?

"Endocrine disruptors are chemicals that interfere with the production, release, transport, metabolism or elimination of the body’s natural hormones." (Dr. Axe)

So toxins, unnatural products, chemicals, all the bad and scary stuff that's in processed food, cleaning products, beauty products, and pretty much everything else we come in contact with in our everyday lives. Yeah, that's kind of a bummer because toxins are everywhere, BUT, there are things we can do!

We can make the switch to using the right kind of products in our homes and eating as natural as possible. That's one of the biggest reasons why I've joined  up with Young Living, first as a customer and now as a distributor. Read more about that here and here. 

The first thing I did to start limiting endocrine disruptors was not order a starter kit of oils (that came a little while later!).  I took a look at all the products that I came in contact with in the kitchen and those in my beauty products. 

Instead of storing my food in plastic containers, I started using glass containers. 

I stopped drinking out of plastic water bottles (that includes convenient water bottles like Dasani) and started drinking out of my stainless steel cup. I'm not perfect with it. I have the occasional bottle of water, but 95% of the time I'm drinking my own water out of a stainless steel cup. I bring my water with me everywhere I go. Glass bottles are also A-okay! I just prefer stainless steel. Too scared I'm going to break the glass.. LOL. I also got a stainless steel travel cup for my coffee.

The next thing I did was evaluate my beauty products and did research on what to buy once I ran out -- soap, body wash, lotion, face wash, moisturizer, makeup remover wipes, and makeup. If it was going on my body, I wanted it to not be filled with chemicals. That also includes laundry detergent. It's been a slow change on that front, but I'm LOVING trying new products. 


I hope that gives you a clearer picture of what PCOS is and why it's a big deal. Even more so, I hope that you feel EMPOWERED to start taking health things seriously. You CAN make changes. You CAN do research for yourself and learn what's effecting you internally and externally. I would love to help you do that. I'm figuring out this stuff for myself and I would love to share what I'm learning with you along the way. We're a team! We have to help each other! 

If you have any questions about PCOS, tell me in the comments because I've probably had or currently have the same questions! I also recommend making the switch to non-toxic living if you don't have a condition like PCOS. You don't want endocrine disruptors effecting you at all! 

I'm a Little Interested in Oils! What do I do now?

Using Essential Oils is more than just breathing in the good smells. While that's a benefit for sure, it's really about taking a stand for your family and for yourself. It's you, feeling empowered enough to make necessary changes that benefit longterm. It's you standing up against harmful products and chemicals in our everyday products that are not just damaging our environment, but our bodies. It's you recognizing that you CAN do things differently and that you're not alone in wanting what's best for you and your people. 

If you are ready to take your next step into healthier living, take control of what comes into your home, and be a part of a community of like-minded people, then I am committed to walk alongside you. Not just me, but a joint effort between me and my friends at Young Living!

So what do we do now? What's next?

You need some oils and a diffuser and I can hook you up!

Because there are so many oils and products from Young Living, they've made it super easy to get started. I recommend purchasing a Premium Starter Kit. It's the best deal you can get and gives you the most versatile oils. Personally, I'm using these oils every day or every week. The Starter Kit is a huge $$$ saver. It's $160 for over $300 in YL products. 


What comes in the Premium Starter Kit?


    Here are the oils that come wit the Premium Starter Kit listed out and basic ways to use them. (The easiest way, in my opinion, to use the oils is to diffuse them and breathe them in):

    • Frankincense for skin
    • Lavender for sleep
    • Panaway for muscle tension
    • Digize for indigestion
    • Raven for allergies
    • Citrus Fresh for diffusing
    • Lemon in water daily
    • Peppermint for head tension relief + fresh breath
    • Thieves for seasonal illness
    • Copaiba & Stress Away for emotional support

    Plus, you get two samples of the Ningxia Red antioxidant drink! This yummy drink is made up of wolfberry, plum, aronia, cherry, blueberry, and pomegranate juices, vanilla extract plus lemon, orange, yuzu & tangerine essential oils. Ningxia helps support for energy levels, normal cellular function, and whole body and normal eye health. You also get a diffuser of your choice, a Young Living membership that gets your 24% off all products, samples to share with your friends & a Thieves house cleaner sample!

    Bonus: when you become a wholesale member, you are added to my team! This does not mean you are selling anything, it just means me & my team will be here to help offer support along the way! You will also get added to our Facebook group for additional help in your oily journey. Whoop whoop! I loved being a part of the Group. It was and still is so helpful  when it comes to learning all the ways to use my oils!


    So, are you ready to do this? Are you ready to join me on the oils train?

     Let's get started! To purchase your kit, follow these steps:


    Make sure that the MEMBER option is selected & that both the ENROLLER & SPONSOR sections include my member number 13173886. (You can choose to be a retail customer but you will not receive the 24% discount, freebies, reduced shipping or promos.) Next, hit continue. A popup will show up, hit continue again.

    STEP 1 : select the Premium Start Kit of your preference. You will also see there is a Thieves Home Kit, Savvy Minerals makeup kits or the Basic Membership Kit.  The items included in each kit are as listed. Each kit gives you membership benefits!

    STEP 2: This is where you will want to place an Essential Rewards order if you'd like to sign up for auto-ship, reduced shipping costs, points back on purchases & occasional freebies! This is the best route in my opinion. Where else can you get up to 25% back on each purchase?! Can't beat that! You'll simply place a minimum order of $50 a month to be on Essential Rewards ($100 minimum if you want to join the biz).

    Everything I use in my daily routine - my vitamins, oils, skincare, makeup -  show up at my door monthly. The best part is, my monthly routine qualifies me for everything Young Living has to offer. It's awesome & I use my points on fun purchases like Ningxia! If you do not want to sign up for ER yet, simply skip this step.

    Step 3: If there are any other Young Living products you are interested in purchasing outside the kit, you can add them to your order here. Otherwise, click Continue & then Continue Enrollment when the popup comes on the screen.

    On the following screen, you will type in your personal information + create your Young Living account. Under Commission Processing Info, select INDIVIDUAL without social security. If you are wanting to join me as a Distributor & get your oils FOR FREE, then you will select Individual with social security so you can get paid! From there you will fill out billing & shipping.

    Once you're done you are officially "one of those oil people" and it's the BEST. 

    If you have any questions about what it looks like to use oils, why it's worth it, or have any questions about particular oils, let me know! If I don't know the answer, I will happily figure it out.

    My main goal in this business is to help myself, I'm not going to lie about that. I want to be healthier, but my other main goal is to share what I'm learning with others and help YOU become the healthiest version of yourself. 

    Now, the ball is in your court! Let's Go! 

    Something New -- Going to Camp!
    Photo by Raphaël Biscaldi on Unsplash

    I love trying new things. It's part of my DNA as an ENFP (Myers-Briggs) and a number 7 on the Enneagram to crave variety. Nothing gets my blood pumping more than planning for and anticipating something NEW. It doesn't matter what it is, as long as it's something I've never done before. I love new stuff so much, that I decided to make it a regular feature here in the Campbell House Diary.

    Right now what I am looking forward to is SUMMER CAMP! My job is now family ministry focused so that means that I get to go to camp.... TWICE! I'll be going with our teenagers to BigStuf Camp in Panama City and I'm going to Lake Forest Ranch in Macon, MS with our elementary students. We head out to BigStuf tomorrow morning!!

    I LOVED going on summer trips with my youth group as a teenager. Some of my BEST memories are hours long bus rides and doing off the wall stuff with my buddies. I did everything from summer camps to mission trips growing up. I think that every kid and teenager should have the opportunity to go, too!

    Now, I get the opportunity to go experience camp in a brand new way -- as an adult leader. 

    When I was a teenager I always loved spending time with the adults who were crazy enough to go on our trips. Looking back, those people made big impacts in my life and I am excited to be able to (hopefully) do the same thing for the teenagers in our church. I am eager to form new friendships with the kids and teenagers in our church. I am praying for LIFE CHANGE! I'm praying that they will see God in a new way and start their own relationships with Christ. I'm praying that they experience God in a way that lights them up for the Kingdom. I believe that God can work in young lives. I am pumped to go and am committed to doing whatever it takes to help these students know the way, the truth, and the life. Even if that means staying up way too late. We all know the best life talks happen after midnight!

    You can pray with me as we prep for both camps. I know it's going to be wonderful! Do you serve in your church's kids and/or student ministry? Are you crazy enough to go on the trips?? If you are, let me know! Let's swap stories!

    Kindness is an Attitude

    A few weeks ago I posted this picture on my instagram account. This is the most "liked" picture I've ever had. Like, a hundreds more likes than I usually get. I normally post a photo and come back and check in on Insta later in the day. I had to do a double take on the like count. 

    I started thinking, "what did I do right?" on that picture. It wasn't my cleverest (real word?) caption. It wasn't the best photo of me. Why were all these people liking this photo?

    After thinking on it for a while, I realized what it was. Why was this photo striking a chord with my friends and strangers? One word -- Kindness.

    Simple right? Be nice to people. Easy enough. Boom. Done. Kindness just happens. 

    Unfortunately, that's not the case. Kindness is one of the attributes of Jesus. It's just one of the Godly characteristics given to us when we accept Jesus's gift of salvation. That tells me that it's hard to be kind in the truest sense of the word without Jesus' help. 

    What does it mean to be kind? What does it mean to react and respond in a kind way? I've thought through some ideas of what it means to be kind based on personal interactions and what we know about Jesus' character from the Bible. 

    Kindness means: 

    • serving others first and putting yourself last
    • genuinely celebrating good news with other people instead of feeling jealous
    • responding to stressful situations with a level head
    • acting for the greater good instead of personal gain
    • respecting other people's time and offering to help even when your responsibilities are complete
    • noticing and responding to people instead of only focusing on yourself
    • listening without interrupting or giving your two cents (unless your opinion is asked, of course) 
    • giving good advice and sharing what you've learned with others
    • saying thank you, genuinely apologizing when there are misunderstandings, and owning up to your mistakes
    • doing something for someone just because

    Kindness is an attitude. We can choose to respond to life's daily curveballs with the attitude of Kindness. Our world sees enough hate. Be the person who is willing to be kind no matter what.

    I'd love to hear some stories about how someone's kindness impacted you. Let's all share!  - JJ 

    Tips for Starting Keto
    Photo by Katie Smith on Unsplash

    A few weeks I ago, I shared a post about how I got started on Keto. I went into the backstory of the why behind why I wanted to do Keto and today, I'm sharing my tips on how you can get started. Since publishing that blog post, I've received messages from friends and acquaintances with questions about Keto and how to know if you're ready to start. I've compiled my best tips and suggestions to share. Enjoy!

    1. do your Science-y research. 

    Understand what Keto is and why you want to do it (or any lifestyle change). 

    When you're doing your research, you're going to see over and over that Keto is short for Ketogenic. Ketogenic is the state in which your body produces Ketones to be used as energy.  Your body can either run on glucose (sugar) or ketones (fat). You can either be a sugar burner or a fat burner. When you eat the Standard American Diet that's high carbohydrate and low fat, you're a sugar burner. When you eat Keto that's high in fat and low in carbohydrates, you're a fat burner.

    I am not a scientist or a nutritionist, but I am a believer. You can read more on the basics of Keto and the science-y stuff here, here, and here. I also read this book and it was incredibly helpful for me. 

    2. Do your Personal Research

    If you are just looking to lose and gain the same 20 pounds over and over again, you can skip this step. 

    If you're like me and want a lifelong solution to being healthy on the inside and reversing conditions like PCOS and prevent type 2 diabetes, then you MUST be willing to dig deep on a personal level to uncover your "whys."

    What's motivating you? What's driving you toward change? Are you living up to your potential (wrote some thoughts about that here)? Are you being the person you truly want to be?

    You have to be willing to answer those questions on a heart level, not a surface level. Once you do, you know what you're looking for. Even if you aren't a goal oriented person you can do this because there is a difference between quality of life and goals. I'm not very goal oriented, by the way. 

    If I've learned one thing over the years it's that you cannot force someone or yourself into a lifestyle change. It's a personal choice. YOU have to be willing to recognize what you want and realize that you have to do act and think differently in order for things to change. If you want different, you have to do different. That's been my personal mantra for the better part of 2018. You can adopt it, too. I'll share!

    Doing your personal research helps you act and think differently so you can get the different results. 

    3. Forget all the rules about "eating healthy"

    To buy into the whole Ketogenic lifestyle, you need to be a little bit of a conspiracy theorist. It's funny because it's true! Like I mentioned above, I am not a doctor, nutritionist, or a scientist, but you don't have to have a medical degree to know that processed food is terrible for you and environmental toxins are wreaking havoc on our bodies. You do not have to be a scientist to know that feeding animals chemically altered food effects the meat products, which in turn effects the consumer. You do not have to be a nutritionist to know that eating chemically processed food is not the way our bodies were designed. 

    Keto is basically the food pyramid turned upside down. Keto is a high-fat, low carbohydrate way of eating (WOE). You're looking for healthy fats (butter, coconut oil, nuts, full-fat/good quality dairy), a moderate amount of quality protein (grass fed beef, non-vegetarian fed chicken, salmon, etc), and limited carbohydrates (leafy greens, vegetables, not starchy vegetables like potatoes, sweet potatoes, and corn). When you're eating a combinations of these foods they are the most delicious, flavorful, and satisfying foods! 

    It doesn't take long to get over "food guilt" once you realize just how good real butter is and what it can do for ANYTHING. It's just a little difficult to change your muscle memory. All of the sudden mayo is encouraged and bacon is welcomed. It takes a hot minute to get adjusted to.  

    What I am not interested in is a debate about this way of eating vs. that way of eating. Every way of eating (WOE) has pros and cons. Every WOE has scientific studies backing them up (the real question here is are those studies credible, but I digress). If you aren't on the Keto train, that's cool. However, I've done my research and I know that Keto is the right WOE for me. 

    4. Don't tell anybody what you're doing

    This is the perfect follow up to forgetting all the old rules about "healthy eating." Unless people have done the research and have seen for themselves the benefits of eating Keto, they aren't really going to understand. They might try to debate with you on why multi-grain wheat bread is good for you or give you weird looks when you say you skip breakfast everyday. You can have those conversations when the time is right. For me, I needed to sit a while with Keto and continue doing the "science-y" research, so I could confidently know what I was talking about and know whether or not it was working for me. 

    Luke and I didn't tell anyone that we were doing Keto for months and I'm glad we kept our mouths shut. You see, now we have the results to back up what we say. People have seen us stick to Keto and fully enjoy ourselves. Also, the methodology is second nature to us now, so we can casually talk about it without feeling like we have no idea what we're actually saying! 

    The final tip is to just start

    You can start a new WOE on a Tuesday. It doesn't have to be the first day of the next month. It can be any old day. I think that you'll just know when it's the right time for you to start. Also, you don't have to make a complete 180 and start strict Keto at the beginning. You can take your time and warm up to it. Like I said in my first post about why I started Keto, I started really slow. I started leaving the starchy carbs off my plate during the week while I was continuing to learn the ins and outs about Keto. You can do the same! Whatever you're starting looks like, just go ahead and do it! Don't wait for a magical time because there will never be the perfect time.

    Those are my tips for getting started with Keto! I hope that you find it helpful and are encouraged to make a lifestyle change. Don't forget to follow my Keto instagram account @campbellhouseketo ! I post food pics and updates. It's been a really fun and helpful project for me! - JJ

    Happy 4th of July!
    Photo by Aaron Burson on Unsplash

    Happy Independence Day friends! 

    4th of July is one of my favorite days! This is the day where we specifically celebrate freedom. Even though it's a national holiday and not a faith based holiday like Christmas or Easter, it always reminds me of our great hope in Jesus. 

    As Christians, we know that true freedom is the redemption from a life of sin. We know that true freedom is Christ extending his love to us and offering us grace when we never deserve it. I am forever thankful for God and his never ending love. I just wanted to share that with you! 


    Today, you won't find me on social media. I am going to be with my family celebrating our freedom together. We celebrate our freedom by grilling out! Also, I hope I see some fireworks tonight. I need to make that happen...

    Hope everyone has a special day! 

    My Intro to Essential Oils

    Guys, I've been keeping a secret. I'm oily. LOL.

    I've been using Essential Oils almost daily for the past few months. They've become such a normal thing that I forget that oils are still kind of a mystery to a lot of people. 

    I took the same approach as I did with starting Keto in that I took my time and got comfortable with my starter kit before really talking about Essential Oils, how much I love them, and how valuable they are to my everyday routines.

    These oils are just as big a part of my journey into healing my body from the inside out as subscribing to the Keto Lifestyle. Oils and Keto work together! 

    Around this time last year, I started doing researching natural approaches to healing PCOS and hormones. Essential Oils and Keto popped up in almost every blog post that I read, but I wasn't ready to fully get into oils.

    You know what made me dive head first into Essential Oils?

    Learning about the link between cancer and environmental toxins. Learning about how the everyday toxins we consume, breathe, and absorb into our skin disrupt our hormones. 

    My jaw hit the floor when I learned that the percentages of people getting cancer from environmental toxins was significantly higher than people getting cancer because of genetics. When I learned that the toxicity from E V E R Y T H I N G in our environment, from our food to our washing machine detergent, is disrupting our hormones, I knew that this was a major cause to my PCOS and my hormone issues. I knew that it was time to clean it up when it came to what I ate, the household cleaners, and beauty products I used. 

    I'll be totally honest: I don't know everything about PCOS and essential oils. I'm committed, though, to learning and testing things out. I wholeheartedly believe that my internal healing will happen with a lot of prayer, my oils, and Keto. 

    That's how I got into oils! Realizing that I was the only thing in my way from being the person I wanted to be and having the life I want to have empowered me to dig in, learn new things, and try something different. Over the days ahead, I am going to continue sharing what I learn and what works for me and my hope is that this will encourage you to find what works for you, too. If you have any questions about oils, let me know! I love figuring this stuff out and I'm always looking for more oil pals! Happy diffusing - JJ 

    Happy Birthday, Luke!

    Today is Luke's Birthday! 

    Luke, I love celebrating you! Your care for me and others runs so deep. Your passion for Christ and the local church runs even deeper. You show me every day how to work hard and play hard! There is no other person on this earth who I want to do life with more than you. You're my person. You're my encourager. You keep me grounded, but at the same time, your belief in me lets me know that I could do anything. You're such a gift! I am so proud of you and I'm so proud to be your wife. 

    Happy Birthday, dear. I hope it's the best one ever. Buddy and I love you so much!

    Kiddo Room Inspiration

    Now that we are in the "waiting for the phone to ring" period of our Adoption, I can finally start working on the nursery. It's different for every person going through the adoption process. Some can't bear to walk past an empty nursery every day, while others gleefully pass by because of what the nursery represents. 

    I believe I do, and will as time goes on, fall into that latter category. 

    There is NOTHING wrong with waiting to put your kiddo room together until after your baby is in your care. It really does differ from person to person. For someone like me, it's an energizing activity and fun to focus on! Initially, I was planning on acquiring only the absolute necessary basics and waiting to put together the nursery after the baby is in our care. 

    But I made the turn on that as soon as our Home Study process was complete. I WANT to put it together. I WANT to be prompted to prayer when I walk past the room. I WANT to walk in there and imagine what it will be like when the little guy or gal is here, a part of our family. 

    So, I'm slowly working on it! Luke and I been gathering inspiration for a while and I'm ready to share that with you! 

    We are going gender neutral with our color palette because we won't know if it's a girl or a boy. So instead of pinks or blues, we're going with GREENS and light wood tones.

    Here are some inspiration pictures for items I want in the nursery, with the links to where I found them: 

    Changing Table/Dresser

     Room Tour Here

    Room Tour Here

    I love the idea of using a dresser with a changing pad secured on top. We are taking an old dresser from Luke's grandmother's house and will paint it this color. I'm not sure if we'll do the gold drawer pulls though. 

    The piece we are getting is super special. My MIL told me that Luke's grandfather had the piece made for Luke's grandmother. It's really special! I'm glad it's getting to stay in the family. Yes, I have her permission to paint it. I'd leave it the way it is, but it's too dark for the aesthetic we're going for. 


    I love how the simple, light wood crib works with the bold dresser. It makes me giddy just thinking about it. 

    Book Ledges

    Who cares if book ledges are overdone? They are so cute and seem to be so practical. Until Pinterest shows me something cuter than a book ledge and chair combo, I'm 100% having something like this in my nursery. I like the white and I like wood tone. Who knows which way we'll pick?

    Llama & Wicker Accents

    I have been on the Llama train for a couple of years now. I am LOVING the trend. Everything has great color and texture and I'm excited to incorporate llama accents into my kiddo room. I already have the Llama head from Target. I can't wait to hang it up!

    I'm also planning to incorporate wicker baskets for storage and other accent pieces.

    A Good Rug

    A room is not complete without a good rug. I'm keeping my eye out for a rug that won't just work in the nursery, but in my whole house. I like to switch things up and move things around! So I'm looking for something with color and a nice pattern OR something neutral that I could put in any room. 

    A Really Good Chair

    We are going to keep everything else in the nursery as affordable as possible, but we are planning to splurge a little on the chair. From everything I've read and people I've talked to, they all say don't skimp on the chair because you're going to spend a lot of time in it. So, I'm looking for super comfy and something that will work with the overall design aesthetic of my home. I'm planning to keep it forever. 

    Those are some of the bigger things that I'm looking for! Of course, little details will come over time. Currently, we've painted the walls white. That's it! I'm excited to start working on it. Mamas, you can let me know what nursery items are necessary. First timer over here! All I know is what colors I like.... LOL. All help appreciated. 



    A Morning in the Blueberry Bushes

    I am thankful that I get to go and pick blueberries every summer. My freezer gets restocked on blueberries and I use them throughout the year for baking or making smoothies. 

    My favorite part isn't having the blueberries in my freezer, it's the tradition of going and picking! Every summer growing up, we'd go pick blueberries at my Mimi's house. It's a step out of the everyday routine and it just feels good! It feels good to be doing the epitome of eating local -- picking your own berries. 

    This Saturday morning was unseasonably cooler than typical MS mornings. It had just rained so the bushes and blueberries were wet. Our arms were immediately soaked due to reaching in and picking the plumpest berries. The Blueberry Crew which is Luke, Becca, Ms Barb (Luke's mom), and me, spent about an hour picking and talking. It was just perfect. 

    Luke and I walked out with a good haul. I measured them on my food scale when I got home and it was over 4 pounds of Blueberries! 

    Whenever I bring fresh blueberries home, I like to immediately wash them, so I don't have to worry about washing them after they are frozen. I can immediately incorporate them into whatever I'm making. I empty my bucket into colanders. Give them a good rinse, and then lay them on an old (and clean!) towel on my counter so the berries can dry. Pro Tip -- use a blue or darker colored old towel because blueberries will stain. 

    Once the berries are dry, I pack them into gallon size freezer bags, lay them flat in my freezer and stack the bags on top of each other. I don't freeze them all immediately though. I usually leave about 3 cups in my fridge so I can use them right away. 

    In the past we've made blueberry muffins, blueberry lemonade, and blueberry bread. This year is different because we are following Keto. Instead of the sugary treats, I made a Gluten Free and Sugar-Free Blueberry Cheese Danish Coffee Cake using this recipe. 

    I never know how my Keto baking will turn out, but this was YUMMY! It wasn't too sweet, sometimes sugar replacements are just too sweet (Swerve is my favorite) and it didn't taste too almond-y. If you've tried Gluten Free baking, you know what I mean.

    I was very pleased with how this came out! Plus, baking in a cast iron skillet makes me feel like a pioneer and I like that - LOL.

    One of my dreams one day is to live on a piece of land that's big enough to have a lot of blueberry bushes where my friends and family can come pick and stock their own freezers. Until then, you'll just have to settle for some of my blueberry treats. - JJ  

    How I Started Keto

    Maybe you've heard of Keto, maybe you haven't. Maybe you've heard a co-worker mention the word Ketogenic, Keto, or Ketosis, but you aren't really sure what it is. 

    I'd love to give you some insight onto the things I've learned over the past year. You see, before Keto, I had an idea of what I wanted my everyday life to be like, but didn't know how to get there. I had a vision of how I wanted to be, but had no idea what to do. Then, I found Keto. 

    Now, I had heard of it before, but never really dug into it. I didn't think I could live without bread and pasta. Turns out I can. 

    My Keto story starts back in 2017. I was working with my OBGYN, taking hormone medication, and trying to get pregnant. It wasn't working. The hormone medication was actually making me gain weight and I felt like my efforts were canceling each other out. Gaining weight on top of excess weight surely wasn't helping me get pregnant. 

    My journey, I'm sure started like many others, GOOGLE. I started searching things like, "What to eat to get pregnant" and "Pregnancy Diet." A few rabbit trails later I found articles sharing how eating Keto was good for people who have PCOS. 

    This was the first time that I ever felt empowered enough to try to heal my body from the inside out, not just rely on medicine. I wanted to take an active role in healing my body, not just wait for it to magically happen. So I started researching and soaking up everything I could about reversing or healing PCOS. The majority of credible resources that I found pointed to Keto and Essential Oils. 

    I started listening to podcasts and reading through Keto basics each night after dinner. I knew that this was what I needed to do. I needed to ditch all processed food, grains, sugar, and household toxins to get what I wanted. 

    This meant more than wanting to lose x amount of pounds. It was deeper. I wanted to start Keto because I wanted to heal my body naturally. I want to heal my hormones and take back my fertility. 

    Also, I was eager to try Keto because I loved all the foods on the approved foods list. Cheese? OH YEAH. Ranch Dressing? OHHH YEAH. Bacon?? Are you kidding me?? Cream in my coffee?? What is this gift?!!  I was particularly excited about the Ranch Dressing because even though I like salad, I don't love "healthy" salad dressings like vinaigrettes. Never have. I like the creamy and rich stuff. 

    So you jumped in right away, right?? 

    No, I didn't. I'm kind of a slow processor when it comes to making big changes. I needed to immerse myself in the knowledge and change the way I thought about food.  I knew from my previous diet experiences that to be in this for the long haul, to really see the long term results that I wanted, that this wouldn't be a quick fix, 20 day diet. This would be a complete OVERHAUL entailing physical and (most importantly) mental work. 

    So I started making changes upstairs before I making major changes in the kitchen. I took a slow, boring approach. For example, I started leaving out the starchy carb sides (rice, pasta, bread) when I would cook during the weekdays. Then, we slowly stopped having dessert every night. 

    As I was learning about Intermittent Fasting, we started skipping breakfast. We weren't breakfast eaters anyway, so that was easy. 

    I am confident that these slow changes are what set me up for Keto success. 

    So thats how I got started! I am working on a separate blog post with suggestions on how anyone can start shifting their life towards Keto. If you have any specific questions, please let me know so I can include them in my post. I'll also include references for the resources that were super helpful to me then and helpful to me now! 

    Also, as a teaser, over the past year of doing halfway Keto (2017) and full out Keto (May 2018 and onward) I've lost about 30 pounds total! And you know what the best part is.... I've kept it OFF. 


    Okay, okay, I'll go ahead and give you one of my tips for starting Keto.

    Start doing your research. Maybe you don't have any glaring in the face health issues like me, but maybe you want to clean up your lifestyle, quit the processed stuff, have more energy, ditch the toxins, etc. Start reading things for yourself. And of course, be on the lookout for my follow up post, Tips for Starting Keto.

    Oh and one more thing!

    I've started a separate IG account thats strictly about my Keto Journey. You can follow here -- @Campbellhouseketo

    Let's Go! - JJ 


    Are you a Dreamer?
    Photo by Carlos Domínguez on Unsplash

    Would you characterize yourself as a dreamer?

    To me, a dreamer is someone who cannot shake the idea that things could be different. That you could be, do, and/or experience different things. Different isn't bad, it's just different

    Next question. Do you allow yourself to dream?

    I know it's easy for some people, myself included, to keep dreams locked away in your mind because they seem out of reach or that too much would have to change for those dreams to become a reality. 

    I believe that whatever the dream is, it's there for a reason. Now, you just have to determine whether it's something you're willing to go for or not. 

    Today, I'm not sharing a 3 step plan to help you reach your dreams. In fact, I'm still figuring out my own dreams and how they can turn into reality. I guess, I just want to know that I'm not alone. That I'm not the only one out there with a God-sized dream that's been safely tucked away in the corners of my mind for years waiting for me to reach in and do something. 

    Does that sound like you?

    I recently heard this question by this guy, "What would your life be like if you made use of all the potential you were offered?"

    That got my wheels turning! What if we used this potential sitting inside of us? What if we stepped out and did something different? What if we allowed ourselves to dream?

    I think, that if we bind together, believe in each other's potential, and get honest about what we want in life, then we can start doing things differently.

    And that's what I'm going to do. I just want to know if I'm the only one or not. So today, I want to encourage you to take a few minutes, or longer if you have it, and let your mind wander back to your dreams. Do you believe that those dreams are there for a reason? I do! Second step of encouragement -- allow yourself to dream. Dream about the life you want to have and what you want to do. 

    Yeah, this is really broad and kind of generic, but who cares?! Give yourself the space to re-discover your God-given potential. Only then, can you take steps to making changes and become the person you really want to be. 

    Truths you can Always hang Onto
    Photo by Mia Baker on Unsplash

    I've just started reading the book of Ephesians and I wanted to share with you some major truths from chapter 1. 

    The whole first chapter looks like a rainbow in my Bible (I use a highlighting method) and that means that things are clicking and deep heart connections are being made. As a Believer it's important to have constants or "always-es," as I like to call them, in your life. Yeah, I made that word up, but you get what I mean, right? Below are some truths that we can ALWAYS trust, no matter what. 

    Truth #1

    Always remember that you are chosen to do God's work. It was His plan all along that you would belong to Him, adopted as one of his own. 

    Blessed is the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavens in Christ. 4 For he chose us in him, before the foundation of the world, to be holy and blameless in love before him. 5 He predestined us to be adopted as sons through Jesus Christ for himself, according to the good pleasure of his will, 6 to the praise of his glorious grace that he lavished on us in the Beloved One.
    — Eph 1:3-6

    This truth is extra special to me right now because "Chosen" is our adoption theme. You can read more about that here. 

    Truth #2

    Always remember that God operates on THE TIMELINE. He's always on time because His timing is perfect. 

    7 In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace 8 that he richly poured out on us with all wisdom and understanding. 9 He made known to us the mystery of his will, according to his good pleasure that he purposed in Christ 10 as a plan for the right time—to bring everything together in Christ, both things in heaven and things on earth in him.
    — Eph 1:7-10

    Truth #3

    Always remember that you can trust God's plan. He's got a great plan and an inheritance of his children. 

    11 In him we have also received an inheritance, because we were predestined according to the plan of the one who works out everything in agreement with the purpose of his will, 12 so that we who had already put our hope in Christ might bring praise to his glory.
    — Eph 1:11-12

    Truth #4

    Always remember that once you accept the gift of salvation, you are sealed in Him, in His family. Nothing you can do, think, say, or feel can separate you from God. I used to struggle with doubt, big time. Thankfully, I don't struggle with that doubt anymore. I can confidently know that my salvation is sealed. It's done. 

    13 In him you also were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and when you believed. 14 The Holy Spirit is the down payment of our inheritance, until the redemption of the possession, to the praise of his glory.
    — Eph 1:13-14

    Truth #5

    Always remember that you can ask God for things. You can ask for things like wisdom, revelation of knowledge, an enlightened heart to know his immeasurable greatness. He's an open handed God and wants to bless His children. 

    17 I pray that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, would give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of him. 18 I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened so that you may know what is the hope of his calling, what is the wealth of his glorious inheritance in the saints, 19 and what is the immeasurable greatness of his power toward us who believe, according to the mighty working of his strength.
    — Eph 1:17-19

    Truth #6

    Always remember that Jesus rules over everything. It's His position. It's His place. Nothing is above Him. When things are going sideways, you can always trust that God is seated above everything. Everything is under His feet. 

    20 He exercised this power in Christ by raising him from the dead and seating him at his right hand in the heavens— 21 far above every ruler and authority, power and dominion, and every title given, not only in this age but also in the one to come. 22 And he subjected everything under his feet and appointed him as head over everything for the church, 23 which is his body, the fullness of the one who fills all things in every way.
    — Eph 1:2-23

    I've been thinking about these "Always-es" for the past couple of days. I like knowing where I can look to when I need to be encouraged. Even though these truths are there, sometimes they are hard to remember. It's easier to give over into fear and doubt or question God about why ______ happens or happened.

    Our faith can run deeper than that. We can choose to trust God no matter what! If you are a Jesus follower, I want to encourage you to think about these truths along with me. I'm sure you could write them out more elegantly than I did. Make some "always-es" for yourself in your own words. Tailor them to your life and circumstances. 

    If you aren't a Jesus follower and don't really know what I'm talking about, that's okay. I hope that you're encouraged by the Hope that Jesus gives. 

    - JJ

    Unlocking the Secrets of Meal Planning

    Meal Planning was always somewhat of a mystery to me. I couldn't figure out the right way to plan what I wanted to eat. I mean, how could I know what I would want to be eating by next Tuesday!? In my mind, the people who could Meal Plan were on another level of discipline and planning. I never thought I could pull it together and be organized enough to fit some type of meal planning into my life. And then it dawned on me...

    I don't have to eat what's planned for that particular day. Meaning, I could swap meals I had planned and prepared throughout the week based on how I was feeling at each particular meal. For example, if lunchtime hit and I really wanted what I prepared to eat for dinner at lunchtime, I had the freedom to move things around and make that happen.

    I know, I know. Major "duh" moment, but it was kind of revolutionary for me as it unlocked a system that allowed me to be planned and organized for the most part, but not give up on my spontaneous nature either.

    By the way, when I say Meal Planning I'm talking about planning out the food you're going to eat in a week's time (or however long you go in between grocery store runs). 

    Also, I thought Meal Planning was only for moms with like 4 kids. That's totally not true! Another "duh, JJ!" moment for sure. 

    My weekly rhythms were definitely lacking organization. I knew that if I thought through recipes I want to eat + what our week looks like event wise, then I could bring a sense of calm and less "frazzled-ness" to our house. Once I committed to Meal Planning and figured out some tips and tricks, the mystery of meal planning (and meal prepping!) was FINALLY unlocked. I'm going to share the secrets with you!

    Secret #1 Figure out your objectives

    I didn't want to Meal Plan just to Meal Plan. I wanted to be more in control of the food we ate, maximize our quality time together, and be wise with how we spent our money. Because I wasn't organized in my shopping lists, we'd constantly be running back to the grocery store multiple times a week -- that costs time and money. So my objectives were to: 

    • Shop smarter by using coupons and taking advantage of weekly deals, etc. 
    • Eat out less / Eat healthier
    • Feel more in control of food

    Knowing why I wanted to start meal planning in the first place helped me stick with it when I would have rather done other things. I don't do things just to do them. If I am going to add something to my routine, it better be worth it. Head ups... it's worth it! 

    Secret #2 Find the right time and day to make your Meal Plan, grocery shop, and meal prep

    Take a general look at your week and see where you've got natural, somewhat consistent time gaps. This allows you to fit Meal Planning and prep into your already established weekly rhythm. After a few weeks of trial and error, I found that our best time to go to the grocery store and meal prep was Sunday afternoon/evenings. It sets us up for a great week!

    Secret #3 Treat lunches like normal meals

    Another revolutionary thing for me was creating a system where lunches weren't dependant on leftovers. Why had I not thought of this? No idea, but I thought it was brilliant! For so long I considered lunches to be just salads, sandwiches, and leftovers. Not their own meals prep! I'm sure you realized this a long time ago, but it's a more recent thing for this gal and I'm telling you: it's my best Meal Planning secret on this list. 

    What I do is plan 2 lunch meals. I alternate them every other day. Yes, there are 4 days in a work week, but it works well for us because we usually eat out for lunch once a week. Either with our whole staff or one-on-one lunches with people in our church. 

    Secret #4 Determine when you want to cook and when you don't want to cook

    I love cooking. I really do. That doesn't mean that I want to cook every night, though. The way my meal planning works out is that I cook maybe 4 times a week in total. During the week is when I try new recipes and get really creative. On the weekends, I like to chill out so I always have something quick and easy on hand (for us, that's bacon and eggs!).

    Secret #5 Determine if you are digital or analog 

    If you prefer writing things down via pen on paper, great! Do that! If you can't keep up with the paper that you wrote your recipe list down on, and you lost the pen too, then stick to digital. I'm digital, baby! I have a Spreadsheet in my Google Drive where I plug in recipes I want to make for the upcoming week. I've found that doing this helps me in the future because as I continue to build my Meal Plans out, the previous meals in the spreadsheet serve as inspiration when I'm not feeling anything new. Plus, when you're short on time you can copy and paste an old Meal Plan that you liked from weeks ago. That in itself has been a lifesaver for me! 

    Whether you're digital or analog, keep up with the meal plans you make in a notebook or your Google Drive. They'll help you in the weeks where you're stumped or short on time. 

    Those are my secrets! You can plug them into your life whether you eat Keto like me or the Standard American Diet. These secrets work for everyone, especially if you're not the most organized person -- like me!