My Daily Feel Good Goals Tracker with Printable

Has your habit tracking gone off track? Do your goals seem like obligations and things that make you groan? Has the fire you had when you first set up your goal tracking system become nothing more than embers and smoke? Well, do not despair! This happened to me earlier this year and by adding a little fun to my agenda, I was back on track, fires blazing! If you think a little fun and creativity is just what you need, keep reading to hear the details and to get a free printable to help you spice things up! 

My Daily Feel Good Goals Tracker - Authentic in My Skin -

I started this year with a very large list of goals. Half of these goals were just daily habits I wanted to implement, like recording my health status, writing morning pages, and drinking eight glasses of water each day. I combined goals and habits using Level 10 Life and my LifeScore assessment, created a basic habit tracker, and even a timeline to use in my planner.

My Daily Feel Good Goals Tracker with Printable - Overdoing it - Authentic in My Skin -

In spite of my health I have managed to do well, but before you think I'm Superwoman (or still on steroids), I did come to realize pretty early on that I had to scale it way down. I have such a hard time accepting my limitations (can I get an "Amen"). As I mentioned in a previous post, I've never been a good example for time management and now - energy management. A couple of months into the year, my mentor was once again telling me, "Two things."

"A day?"

"Yes, two things a day."

I went home wondering how in the world anyone can get anything accomplished on two things a day and I started revising all my goals and daily habits. Things that started the year as daily items changed to a couple times a week and things that were weekly changed into monthly. I don't know, but I think there might be something to that, you know? Two things just came to mind:

First Thing

Instead of giving up on your goals because you are "missing the mark," you should instead look at your goals and revise them to be more accurate for your present reality. 

I think there's a difference between being lazy and being unrealistic. Who doesn't start a fresh year or a new program with gusto and tons of hope and plans that look really good on paper? Goals that make us feel good! Goals that get us excited again for our routine lives because we can see the routine ending and new things on the horizon! We don't plan to do the same things; we plan to do more! I think in our motivation and gusto, we quite possibly, just might, totally could set some unrealistic goals (I have some experience in this...).

My motto all year has been: Even if I only spend 5 minutes a day working towards my goals, that's still further along than I was.

My Daily Feel Good Goals - 5 Minutes A Day - Authentic in My Skin -

Please feel free to adopt this motto and do what it says! It has kept me going despite this year's many setbacks.

If you set a goal to exercise more, but you struggle to find the time and energy, run up and down your stairs for five minutes. Stairs make for a serious workout. If you've set a goal to journal, but have been too busy to even think straight, write for five minutes. Or just make a bullet list of random thoughts (for five minutes, of course). And stop beating yourself up! Yes, you. Stop. You might need to add in five minutes of saying nice things about yourself ... without being sarcastic! 😀 And if you are sick, if you are tired, if you are so overwhelmed by responsibilities that you can't remember your name, work on YOU and YOUR DREAMS for 5 little minutes. It's further along than you were.

Second Thing

All work and no play makes everybody unhappy! For real.

I still don't put only two things a day in my planner. I have a master list with everything on it. I pull from that whatever needs accomplished and add them on my weekly page. From the weekly page, I pull tasks and fill up my daily pages. I do this even though I haven't had a single day yet that I got everything accomplished. I do this even though there have been quite a few days that I didn't put anything anywhere because I couldn't get out of bed and while it frustrates me, I don't take it out on myself with wicked name-calling and negative speak, capisce? The entire point is that I'm trying - to the best of my ability.

I gotta say, though, I wasn't having any fun. No feel good fuzzies and that felt wrong. So I created My Daily Goals Tracker with nothing but fun goals!

Daily Feel Good Goals Tracker with Printable - Authentic in My Skin -

I made three sections divided by color. The first section is for my Feel Good Goals. These are the goals that feed my soul (or are just necessary, like brushing my teeth). These are the daily habits that keep me going, keep me striving, keep me from giving up. 

My Feel Good Goals

  • Prayer - Of course prayer is listed and listed first. I can't survive without my Jesus. 💜
  • Scripture Writing or Study - On bad brain fog days, when my cognitive abilities are compromised, I'm not able to study the Word, but I feel like I'm still fighting the fight when I write Scripture out in the pretty journal my sis gave me. 
  • Brush Teeth - Okay, brushing my teeth doesn't really feed my soul, but it does make me feel good and sometimes, I just need to remind myself! 
  • 5 minutes - Exercise - Exercise is such a challenge for me. These five minutes may not seem like much, but for me, it is a great accomplishment. Walking up the hill to my neighbor's house or five minutes of some PT exercises usually lands me in bed. 
  • 10 Minutes - Read Books - I normally read about 45 books a year, but this year, I haven't even read ten. With everything I've had going on with health and life, this reminds me to sneak a few paragraphs in.
  • Daily Planning - With my addled brain, having a daily plan keeps me from looking at my desk with a blank stare (or keeps me from surfing the web when I shouldn't be) and it helps me to stay on track. I'm not perfect with daily planning and I'm inconsistent in that sometimes I plan my day in the morning, sometimes the night before, and sometimes not at all if fibro is wrecking havoc.

The next section is for Extra Goals. I have this filled with play therapy and organizational stuff I love to do. The extra goals are all about self-care and nurturing my creativity. And having fun, of course! If any of these get checked off, well, it's like a daily bonus!

My Extra Daily Feel Good Goals - Authentic in My Skin -

My Extra Goals

  • Prayer Writing - Similar to Scripture writing, I have a journal to write my favorite prayers in (have you noticed yet that I'm a little obsessed with journals?) and prayers I come across while reading that really move me.
  • Read Favorite Blogs - There are so many wonderful blogs that I wish I could read consistently, sigh. I'm convinced Heaven will be loaded with all the books and magazines and blogs that I didn't get the chance to read while here. Don't you agree? 😉
  • Zentangle - Oh, how I love this form of art therapy! Look, I can barely draw a stick figure, but you need no artistic ability because Zentangle is drawing patterns and shapes using lines, squares, dots... And the millions of patterns all come with step-by-step instruction boxes.
  • Art Journaling - Much like coloring, art journaling (aka visual journaling) relieves a lot of stress, physical and mental, but art journaling does more. Because it is a form of journaling, it helps you to process traumatic experiences and recover from them
  • Binders - I'm as bad with binders as I am with journals and I'm constantly updating and revising them. My big, big binder project right now is my prayer binder. I can't wait to finish it and blog about it. I have a binder for my house and finances, a binder for my blog, a binder for Zentangle patterns, and several more. I just really like being organized. 💜

The last section is a write-in section and I use it for client projects or anything urgent that might pop up throughout the day.

In all, I use My Daily Feel Good Goals Tracker in conjunction with my daily planning page. My daily planning page is where all those mundane and boring things (that ADD hates) are planned. You know, call the doctor, fill out the disability papers, balance your accounts. 😝

Of course, I always try to keep in mind Ecclesiastes 3:12-13:

I know that there is nothing better for them than to rejoice and to do good in one’s lifetime; moreover, that every man who eats and drinks sees good in all his labor—it is the gift of God.

Creating this tracking sheet has reminded me (and allowed me) to play just a bit and to tap into my creativity. God is the most creative Being there ever was and we are created in His image. I believe we meet our Maker in a new way when we schedule time in our chaotic lives to create and explore our artistic side.

As a side note: Being creative doesn't necessarily mean being artistic. Perhaps cooking for your family and friends is where your imagination takes off. Using God-given and colorful fruits and vegetables combined with just the right herbs and spices for the perfect flavor combination... I just made myself hungry! For another, keeping the home clean and organized may be creative. Creating new systems at home or at work, or writing, dancing, finding a new way to teach an "unteachable" child and seeing his/her eyes light up with understanding for the first time.

If you think you are not creative, I think you just need to pay closer attention to the things you do. You will find your creativity. The key, however, is to do. That's where the fun comes in!

Whether you know your creative or not, this daily goals tracker can help you have a little more fun. It's good for your health so just click the links below for your free printable(s)! I have three PDF options for you to download:

My Daily Feel Good Goals Tracker - with color and headings

My Daily Feel Good Goals Tracker - with color and no headings

My Daily Feel Good Goals Tracker - no color and no headings - you can use this for many things!

My Daily Feel Good Goals Tracker - Authentic in My Skin -

Do Not Be Afraid: FREE Printable Art

Did you know the command God gives us the most in the Bible is fear not? There are some that believe the Bible gives us 500+ versions of "do not be afraid," some that think it's exactly one for each day (365 versions), and others that believe it's a lot less, but everyone I've read says that it is indeed the command given us most.
Do Not Be Afraid Free Printable - Authentic in My Skin -

Two times yesterday, once in conversation with a friend and once while studying the Bible, God's command in Deuteronomy 31,"Do not be afraid," popped up. And not just "fear not," but the reminder that God is with me always: 

The LORD himself goes before you and will be with you; 
he will never leave you nor forsake you. 
Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged. 

Some might say, "Oh, that's just a coincidence," but because God knows He needs to be very clear when speaking to me (like, flashing neon signs and stuff), He told me again - just as clear - with a different verse when I read my daily devotion:

Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. 
Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, 
for the LORD your God is with you wherever you go.

One message, three delivery methods. I'm like, "Okay, God, I get it!" And He's like, "Okay, Kathy, third time's a charm!" 😀 I have a tendency to write these things off unless He whacks me in the head a few times.

Anyhoo... maybe you need this message, too. For all the worries of life, all the struggles and unseen roads, the Lord is with you. When you can't pay your bills, your friends aren't there for you and your family is far away, you are never alone, for the Lord will be with you always. This is His promise.

I wanted this promise printed in pretty and pinned to my wall where I can read it frequently so I made myself a lovely printable and why not share it? Besides, I did tell you in my last post that I had free printables coming. Granted, those are much more functional, but I'm still writing posts and taking pictures so this will have to do. You can do what I did and print it to hang as wall art (with or without a frame). Or you can put it on the fridge where you will see it daily to remind yourself not to be afraid because He is with you always. You can even put a copy inside of your prayer journal and pray it back to the Lord. Above all, store these words in your heart and let there be peace residing in you. 💜

To get your free printable, just click the graphic below.

Do Not Be Afraid Free Printable - Authentic in My Skin -

Signature - K.Rae - Authentic in MySkin -

Please comment if you have any problems with the download or just to tell me what you think of this freebie. I'd love to know your thoughts because it will help me determine if I should continue to create and share these types of printables.

Disclaimer: The lovely flowers you see and the pink polka dot background are not my creations. They were sent to me free and I combined them for today's print. The flowers came from and the digital scrapbooking paper (the dot background) is from All About the House Printables. This pdf print is for personal use only. Please share the link to this page if you would like to share it with anyone.

5 Reasons Why I'm Not Blogging

free stock image from Haute Chocolate

I would like to believe that it hasn’t been two months since my last post, but alas, it has been. Is it just me or does time fly by much faster than it used to?  It’s Tuesday, I blink, and now it’s Monday of the following week.

I have not forgotten you, dear one. In fact, if you’ve been reading my blog for any length of time, you most likely notice that it looks different. And just to break it down, there’s a list of reasons why I haven’t blogged and I hope some of those reasons make you happy! They are as follows:

Reason Why I’m Not Blogging #1: My Health

One of the most maddening, frustrating, and downright disappointing realities of living with chronic illness is not being able to do all the things I want to do, or even half of them for that matter. I have been home-bound more this year than I have since I first went on medical leave (and many days I am bed-bound). I’ve had to monitor my spoons very carefully, but frankly, I suck at it. Truly. Time management was never one of my strengths and energy management is, apparently, not a strength of mine, either. 

Monitor My Spoons - Authentic in My Skin

I’ve also been dealing with some personal things, emotional things, and I'm a little overwhelmed. I’ve had a lot on my plate and there are many days I barely get through. Without the Lord and my faith… oh my! I could not get through without Him. He is faithful (even when I'm not!) and He is good to me. He helps me keep my head up when I'm tired of hurting and tired of being behind and when overwhelm threatens my sanity. He helps me stay focused on this blog, poor health and all, and for that I'm grateful.

Reason Why I’m Not Blogging #2: My Blog Design

I started this blog in 2011 as a hobby. I wanted fun and colors and pretty, which is fine, but I’ve not been connecting and relating to my blog at all. It hasn’t been something I’ve been excited to share with people. I haven’t felt that my blog represented me well or the content I wish to share. And I will admit to being a bit embarrassed by it. There, I said it! And while I have plans for a new website with fancy buttons and features, it’s currently not in my budget so I’m behind the scenes (still) learning how much I can do with what I got. The best part: You’ll be able to navigate through different pages to find the content that interests you!

And that takes me to the next reason I’m not blogging:

Reason Why I’m Not Blogging #3: My Blog Content

My last post on giving up soda received more than double the views than any of my previous posts in six years. The information was important to you. It had value and I don’t want to waste your time (or my own) blogging random blather. As I empower myself to live fully in spite of fibromyalgia, by learning about natural living and natural medicine, I want to share what I’m learning with you so that you can also be empowered to make your own decisions about your health and the health of your family.

If you’re going to spend your precious time reading the content on my blog then I want to give you something valuable and helpful in your life with that content. And I have lots of printables planned and can’t wait to give them to you, as well!

Reason I’m Not Blogging #4: My Faith & Being Authentic

I’ve been reading some wonderful blogs written by faithful women of God and I’m so grateful to have found them (thank you, Pinterest!). These women encourage me in my struggles and they inspire me in my walk with the Lord. They keep me in His Word and they help me put one foot in front of the other.

The Women Who Inspire Me - Authentic in My Skin
free stock image from Haute Chocolate

I was once asked by a professor who was supposed to be recruiting me for a Masters of Higher Education program if I had ever thought about seminary. He said that I had such a passion for the Word of God that I really should consider it. This professor who knew me for 15 minutes understood me and my faith better than people that have known me forever. I was authentic in my conversations with him and reading the blogs of these women, it has made me see that I have not been authentic when it comes to my faith. I have not been authentic in a lot of ways and I believe it’s because I have been caught between two worlds and I’m still trying to figure out who I am.

Prior to 2009, I was not a Christian. If I heard the name “Jesus” I would roll my eyes. I was filled with pain and sorrow for all the traumas in my life and I was so angry at God. I found a letter I began writing to Him back in the 90’s. It was tucked inside The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron. Writing a letter to God was one of the writing assignments she gives in the book. My letter began, “Dear God, I hate you so I must believe you exist.”

You can imagine that the life I lived then was very dark and quite the opposite of biblical standards… and then I became a Christian. Most of my family and closest friends do not share my beliefs and I often find myself reverting back to who I was before Christ when I am around them. Not intentionally, but out of habit.

For years I have been trying to figure out who I am, the pre-Christ-following Kathy or the Jesus-loving Kathy. The truth is, I’m both of them and I always will be, but I’m learning to live a life where the two mesh and I am real. I know living with a chronic health condition these last six years adds to my confusion, but I imagine when I get there, I’ll be much more confident than I am today for I will know without a doubt who God created me to be. Until that time, I’m learning to live authentically in my skin and these wonderful Christian bloggers - they are my teachers.

And the Last Reason I’m Not Blogging (#5): My Fried Brain

I was an honor student in college. I graduated with a 3.85 GPA because I turned two papers in late. The reason I turned them in late was because I had already started struggling with fibromyalgia only I didn’t know it because it took ten months to figure it out. Ten months of seeing every specialist on the planet, having every poke-me-prod-me tests that the insurance would actually cover, working a stressful full-time job, working a part-time job, volunteering with high-risk youth, and taking classes.

Whew! How did I ever do all that? I’m exhausted just typing it! “There but for the grace of God go I…”

I have an IQ in the 130’s (have? had… before fibro?). I don’t say that to brag, but to point out that college was easy for me. I love school. I love learning. I love planting my nose in a book and seeing the world. I love the exactitude of math and the words of … well, everything and every subject. I’m as bad in an office supply store as I am in a bookstore. Yes, I am a geek, but I’m a happy geek!

Hashtag HappyGeek - Reasons Not Blogging - Authentic in My Skin

The only time school was hard for me was when I was procrastinating, but high IQ or not, throw fibromyalgia into the mix and I’m a drunk six-year old. It’s called “fibro-fog.”

Fibro-fog has ruined my life more than the pain ever could. People don’t understand this. I have been asked if I was drunk when I was totally sober. Really. People who meet me for the first time during a fog think I’m an idiot (it does wonders for my dating life). When the fibro-fog rolls in, nothing gets done. I’m distracted, forgetful, and seriously cognitively challenged. When fibro-fog rolls in, I can become disoriented and confused. I have forgotten how to use my microwave in a fog, the microwave I’ve had for ten years. When fibro-fog rolls in, I can’t carry on a conversation. This I wish people would get instead of getting upset at me because I’m hard to get on the phone or I take so long to call them back. Speaking takes at least two spoons, sometimes more. I mix people up, forget friends’ names, forget what that thing in front of me is called (it was a garbage can).

Fibro Fog - Reasons Not Blogging - Authentic in My Skin

I’ll get off my soap box now. There’s a great article on The Mighty where fibromyalgia sufferers explain what fibro-fog feels like. I highly recommend it if you would like to understand this better.

So all this being said, in between bouts of weakness, pain, fatigue, and cognitive shut-downs, I’m trying to research technical things. Technical things.

Side note: I repel technology. Every gadget I’ve ever owned malfunctions. Laptops, cell phones, tablets… If you don’t believe me, you can ask my friend Deb. I was at her house last week and we were going to watch a movie. Now this girl’s got ALL the gadgets. Her TV is the size of my car and she’s got some fancy Amazon contraption that allows her to watch movies that are currently playing in the theaters from the comfort of her couch.

I’m telling you, that fancy thing wouldn’t work with me in the house. It froze up. The little thinking circle just kept spinning and spinning. She tried rebooting it. Still didn’t work. She said it’s never done that before, she’s never seen it do that and I might need to go home so she can watch a movie. (Ah, she was teasing!) I was happy I finally had confirmation of what I’ve already been suspicioned of (yes, I made that word up). I repel technology and technology doesn’t like me.

I repel technology and all these gadgets and gizmos are like little aliens invading my planet. I still have cassette tapes and a stereo to play them in. I still have VHS tapes and a player for them, as well. I miss my flip-top phone and as for blogging – Ha! It is taking me some time to learn this stuff. Fibro-fog, technology repellanter (another made up word – fogs rollin’ in), these make for some mentally strenuous days (aka: using a lot of spoons).

I hope some of these reasons why I haven't been blogging make you excited by what's to come! As I work behind the scenes to create a blog that helps us both live healthier and more authentic lives, please be patient with me and know I’m thinking about you and praying you are well.

K.Rae - Authentic in My Skin

Why I Gave Up Soda

Why I Gave Up Soda was originally written for my church in May of 2012, but I needed to update it a little and repost it after watching That Sugar Film yesterday. I learned that the Coca-Cola Company funded research on fructose-containing sugar that, would you believe, showed no correlation between sugar and obesity, diabetes, heart disease...! The scientist who was interviewed in the film, John L Sievenpiper MD, states in the film that sugar isn't bad for us and in the same interview said that yes, COCA-COLA IS FUNDING THE RESEARCH, but that doesn't sway the results or findings. Yeah, okay.

In this interview, Sievenpiper says, "Let's say we took away added sugar. Well then, what're people gunna do, uh, to get that same feeling in their life that sugar gave them in terms of their values and preferences?" This makes me go, "hmmmm..." because research (not paid for by sugar-pushing companies who care nothing for the people buying their products) shows sugar is more addictive than cocaine. Here's what I heard come out of Sievenpiper's mouth:

Let's say we took away cocaine. Well then, what're the addicts gunna do, uh, to get that same feeling that cocaine gave them? 

Anyway, I get a little fired up because one of my values is justice and because of that value, I can never believe in scientific outcomes that are paid for by the big, corporate makers of poisonous drinks marketed to children and everyone else in the world. Yes, poisonous drinks (keep reading).

Why I Gave Up Soda - Authentic in My Skin

I drink soda. Okay, I should say that I drank soda until I began researching it for this article and I chose to research soda after hearing yet another person say to me, “I’ve lost such and such pounds from eating better and exercising and if drinking diet soda is my only vice, I’m okay with that.” Although I have fallen off the soda wagon (many times), it really bothers me to hear my fellow brothers and sisters work so hard to get healthy, but then keep drinking soda and think it’s okay. Dear One, let me explain that soda, diet or not, is absolutely horrendous for our bodies and we should not be okay with it being a regular part of our diets. I couldn’t say that before because I was drinking soda, too, and did not want to give it up. So I gave myself until graduation – get through finals and then quit! And to help me along, I began my soda research. Let me share with you what I’ve learned:

What's in Soda and Why?

Brominated vegetable oil (BVO) – this chemical, first patented as a flame retardant, is now used in soft drinks to prevent the soda flavoring from separating and floating. BVO is linked to the following symptoms: memory loss, nerve disorders, behavioral problems, infertility, and lesions on heart muscles over time. In addition, several neurological, psychiatric, gastrointestinal, and dermatological symptoms have been linked to BVO consumption. Although it has been known to have a variety of negative health effects, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has permitted a limited amount of this chemical to be used in soft drinks while additional studies are done.*

Phosphoric Acid – a key ingredient in soda, phosphoric acid is used in soda as a preservative, anti-fungal, and anti-bacterial, slowing the growth of mold and bacteria that can develop. A flavor-enhancer, phosphoric acid also gives soda that nice acidic texture. However, PA is used to remove rust from metal and has been linked to lower bone mineral density, kidney problems, and accelerated aging (AJCN). Phosphoric acid also assists in removing enamel from your teeth.

According to a study published in the International Journal of Clinical Practice (IJCP), excess soda appears to cause blood potassium levels to fall to dangerously low levels. “Several lines of evidence suggest that the chronic consumption of large amounts of cola soft drinks may adversely affect potassium homeostasis and result in potentially severe conditions such as hypokalaemic myopathy.” This is a condition involving muscle weakness, cramps, palpitations, and vomiting that is caused by a potassium deficiency. For more adverse side effects, click the IJCP link above.

Bisphenol A (BPA) – in soda, BPA is used as a liner inside of the cans to keep the acids from reacting with the metal of the can. According to Breast Cancer Prevention Partners (formerly Breast Cancer Fund) and the International Journal of Andrology, BPA has been associated with increased risk for cardiovascular disease, miscarriages, breast and prostate cancer, reproductive dysfunction, metabolic dysfunction and diabetes, and neurological and behavioral disorders. Considered an endocrine disruptor (it messes with your hormones, best I can explain), Canada has banned BPA in certain food products, declaring it toxic to infants and children. And while the FDA has no plans at this time to follow suit, Campbell’s Soup is phasing BPA out of it’s products.**

4-Methylimidazole (4-MEI) – 4-what? Unpronounceable to regular people (like myself), this ingredient is the caramel coloring that makes soda brown. This ingredient contains carcinogens (which means “cancer-causing” in regular people terms) and has been added to a list of chemicals known to the State of California to cause cancer or reproductive toxicity.

I'm not a doctor, chemist, or any sort of scientist, so I included links above for you to do your own research. However, you may not be in to that sort of thing so here are just a few more studies/details for you:

The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition (AJCN) – There are many articles on the AJCN website pertaining to studies on the effects of soda on the body. Some results conclude that the consumption of added sugars (caloric sweeteners) to beverages, particularly carbonated soft drinks, has been linked to obesity, diabetes, and heart disease.

American Stroke Association – Preliminary studies presented at the International Stroke Conference show that the greater the intake of sugar-sweetened and low-calorie sodas, the significantly higher risk of stroke.

National Center for Biotechnology Information – Daily intake of sugary soft drinks lead to and increases fat storage in the liver and in muscle tissues. This daily intake is likely to enhance the risk of cardiovascular and metabolic diseases, as well as determining the level of insulin resistance, possibly predisposing a person to type 2 diabetes.

Harvard School of Public Health (HSPH) – sweet-tasting soft drinks—regardless of whether they are sweetened with sugar or a calorie-free sugar substitute—might stimulate the appetite for other sweet, high-carbohydrate foods. Studies show an increase in risk of diabetes with increasing soft drink and fruit drink consumption.  For those of you trying to lose weight on artifical sweeteners, HSPH states: "One worry about artificial sweeteners is that they uncouple sweetness and energy. Until recently, sweet taste meant sugar, and thus energy. The human brain responds to sweetness with signals to, at first, eat more and then with signals to slow down and stop eating. By providing a sweet taste without any calories, artificial sweeteners could confuse these intricate feedback loops that involve the brain, stomach, nerves, and hormones. If this happens, it could throw off the body's ability to accurately gauge how many calories are being taken in." Your body also craves what you put in it. Stop drinking sweet sodas and you'll stop craving sweets.

Well, I hope you are now seriously considering giving up soda... FOR YOUR HEALTH!!  I am four days soda free.***  Let me know if you're joining me on this soda-free lifestyle and we'll celebrate together!!


Coca-Cola and PepsiCo Agree to Remove Flame Retardant Chemical from Their Products.
** Since the first post, research has come out that BPA-free may be just as horrible for us.
*** Make that 5 years soda free! Although I did cheat in 2015 by going on a Monster Java binge. Though it is not soda, it is in a can and probably just as toxic as soda, if not more. In my defense (ahem), the fibro-fatigue was killing me and I was desperate. 😉

To this updated post, I wanted to leave you with a fun video!

Free Online Health Summits: Empowering You to Take Control of Your Health

This post will continue to be updated as new summits are available so bookmark this page so you can stay informed! Last update: August 21, 2017

I have been learning so much about healing ourselves with food and herbs and the natural things of this earth. I can't get enough of the free online health summits that are going on every week. I feel hopeful that I don't have to be sick and hurting for the rest of my life. I feel empowered to say, "Enough is enough!" And I feel grateful for the hundreds of people behind these health summits and I hope by sharing them, you'll feel hopeful and empowered, too.

Free Online Health Summits - Empowering You to Take Control of Your Health - Authentic in My Skin -

So what are these health summits, you ask? They are interviews with experts in the field of functional medicine and nutrition, people who want to share their knowledge, what they have learned through not only their degrees and academics and patients, but what they learned in their own health journeys. Dr. Mark Hyman, for instance, was a practicing medical doctor when he became so sick with chronic pain, fatigue, digestive problems, and other ailments and his peers could not help him. He was diagnosed with fibromyalgia and the like and took his health in his own hands to heal himself. What he learned about the healing power of foods has made him one of the most sought after functional medicine doctors in the world. The Cleveland Clinic hired him to run their new Center for Functional Medicine, "the first academic medical center in the United States to embrace functional medicine."

Here are a list of the summits I've watched (click the titles or images for further information):

The Thyroid Secret

The Thyroid Secret - Authentic in My Skin -

Have you struggled with your health and the doctor's can't figure out what's wrong? You might have a thyroid autoimmune disease. Read my quick review of The Thyroid Secret here.

The Sweet Freedom Summit

Sweet Freedom Summit - Break Sugar Addiction - Authentic in My Skin -

Sugar is more addicting than cocaine and may be the reason you are overweight, fatigued, depressed, and just plain sick. And sugar is in everything - even foods marketed as healthy. Learn the strategy to end your sugar addiction for good! Interviews conducted by the beautiful Sherry Strong, Return to Food CEO and Founder. PS. This summit was amazing! It is tied with The Food Revolution (read further for that info) for first place on my list of best summits. 

The Global Stress Summit 

We're all overwhelmed and burned out, but did you know stress can be healthy for you? This summit gives you the knowledge and resources to adapt to challenges in an effective way. Interviews conducted by the very talented Dr. Heidi Hanna, Executive Director of the American Institute of Stress

The Food Revolution 

The Food Revolution - Authentic in My Skin -

"Millions of people are sick or dying from diseases that we know how to prevent and that are caused by crappy food — while a few unscrupulous food companies are making billions of dollars marketing the worst foods to children." 

Interviews conducted by John Robbins, the only son of the founder of the Baskin-Robbins ice-cream empire - he chose to walk away from it and pursue a healthy society. His son, Ocean, is his business partner. As I stated above, this is tied with The Sweet Freedom Summit for first place on my list of favorite summits because it was just phenomenal!

Microbiome Medicine 2 Summit 

 Microbiome Medicine Summit 2 - Authentic in My Skin -
"Microbiome" is the new word in health. So what is microbiome? Your greatest ally. The control center of your health. Or better yet, click here. To be honest, I'm looking forward to learning more about it so won't you join me? Interviews to be conducted by Dr. Raphael Kellman, author of The Microbiome Diet

Update: Originally written before the summit began, I later found this summit to be way over my head with scientific medical speak. I think my eyes (and brain) glazed over a lot while trying to learn from the experts, which means I didn't learn as much as I have with other summits. As I am a not a medical doctor or expert (as stated in my disclaimer) it was tough to swallow and very dry. Science geeks and medical people, however, would probably enjoy this. 

That Vitamin Summit 2!!! 

That Vitamin Summit 2 - Authentic in My Skin -

Yes, I'm super excited about this summit that starts on May 18, 2017! Everything you've ever wanted to know (and need to know) about vitamins and supplements. Even as a Certified Nutrition Specialist, I struggled with these so I'll be waiting... Interviews conducted by Andrew Saul whose website is "the largest, non-commercial, natural health resource on the internet."

Chronic Lyme Disease Summit 2

Chronic Lyme Disease Summit 2 - Authentic in My Skin -

Did you know, over 150 symptoms could point to Lyme disease and 300,000+ people per year contract Lyme. It’s a present-day epidemic that’s terribly difficult to diagnose, but this summit has many interviews covering expert protocols that could radically improve the life of someone with Lyme. Hosted by Dr. Jay Davidson.

Chronic Headache and Migraine Summit

Chronic Headache Migraine Summit, Authentic in My Skin -
Headache solutions often only address the symptoms, not the cause. This summit gathers world-renowned clinicians and researchers to help you look more deeply at the root causes of your headache (and migraine) pain. Hosted by Marta Taylor, Erin Knight, and Dr. Corey Schuler.

Immune Defense Summit

Immune Defense Summit - Authentic in My Skin -

Learn about the best protocols to prevent illness and defeat diseases like autoimmune disorders, cancer, heart disease and the looming threat of "superbugs," which are on pace to be MORE deadly than any other health condition. It’s time to give your immune system what it needs to protect your health and these experts can help you. Hosted by Jonathan Landsman, host also of Natural Health 365.

The following summits are playing soon so make sure you register:

Interpreting Your Genetics

These experts teach you best practices for using genetic/genomic information to alter your lifestyle, guide treatment and create better health! Learn about your predisposition for diseases and how to minimize manifestation, genetic health traits your children are likely to inherit, whether your medications and supplements are right for you, how to unlock previously unsolved health challenges and more. Hosted by James Maskell of Evolution of Medicine.
August 21, 2017 — August 28, 2017

GMOs Revealed

GMOs Revealed - Authentic in My Skin -
What are we not being told? GMOs ARE POISON. People and animals that eat genetically modified food crops are consuming high levels of toxic glyphosate herbicide. There is an unholy marriage of toxic glyphosate herbicide and foods genetically engineered to tolerate large doses of it. It’s silently poisoning our land, food, and us!
August 22, 2017 - August 31, 2017

Mental Wellness Summit 2

Mental Wellness Summit 2 - Authentic in My Skin -
It's time we talk about mental health and luckily, it's becoming more and more a necessary conversation instead of the "hush, hush" stigma of days long gone. In this summit, you'll learn effective forms of integrative, holistic care that tap into the natural beauty and strength of your mind, body and spirit. Hosted by Dr. John DempsterRoss McKenzie, and Jonas Koffler.
September 25, 2017 — October 2, 2017

Arthritis Summit

Arthritis Summit - Authentic in My Skin -

Information Coming Soon - Summit Dates: October 9, 2017 — October 16, 2017

The Truth About Cancer
The Truth About Cancer - Authentic in My Skin -
You’ll discover the most effective ways to prevent and beat cancer — from 131 of the world’s top experts — that you won’t hear about elsewhere. While this summit already aired earlier this year, there will be a special three day live event airing in October so stay tuned!

Even though some of these summits have already aired, you can still register for them (to watch a couple of the expert interviews) and can also purchase them with all interviews, transcripts, and a plethora of bonus gifts from the experts (such as ebooks, health courses, mp3s). 

Empower yourself to take back control of your body and your life!
K.Rae - Authentic in My Skin -

It's A Nice Idea

I saw an advertisement today for a fibromyalgia and chronic pain support group. The joke between me and my fellow spoonies is that it's a nice idea, but who has the energy to go? I couldn't help myself and created a picture for my Chronic Humor board:

Chronic Humor: It's A Nice Idea - A support group for fibromyalgia - Authentic in My Skin

Have a blessed day!

The Thyroid Secret

The Thyroid Secret: A Review - Authentic in My Skin -

I watched a documentary called The Thyroid Secret and was blown away! Not only was I blown away, but I feel hopeful again. My fellow spoonies and I get our hopes up with every new doctor, with every new prescription or supplement, with anything new we try because it might relieve some of our suffering, but this documentary has confirmed what I've always known going back to my days as a Certified Nutritionist: what the earth produces heals us. When I began to follow Jesus, I was even more convinced that He created every good thing we need to live and thrive and to be healthy.

He created every good thing we need to live and thrive and to be healthy.

I was blogging for my church under the heading Healthy for Christ. I had a great passion to help others live healthier lives and would even do nutrition counseling with people as I did when I was a Certified Nutritionist (only I didn't charge, of course!). My work became so stressful, however, that I didn't have as much time to blog anymore. Then I injured my back and all my health troubles started and I was too bitter and exhausted to blog. The irony of blogging about being healthy when my health was declining, I found it hard to do. 

But God. That is a saying of mine you'll get familiar with if you continue following my posts. It generally means I made some plans for my life, but God had other plans. I fought for a really long time with this one. A really long time. I was resentful, bitter, and completely enmeshed in my disability. I have tried so many things: food elimination, supplements, physical therapy... Nothing works to relieve the pain except massage therapy, which isn't covered by insurance, and steroids, which are just bad, bad, bad for you. What I hate more than the pain is the constant brain fog and fatigue. Some of my favorite pins on my Fibromyalgia Awareness board are:
  • "Unless you have to rest after you take a shower, you have no idea what fatigue is." 
  • "Living with Fibromyalgia is like looking both ways crossing a road then getting hit by an airplane."
And from my Chronic Humor board:
  • "Don't worry about walking a mile in my shoes, just try a day thinking in my head."
  • "I was trying to get out of bed, but I got tired."
  • "I'm going to use what little energy I have left today to breathe, and maybe blink. That's about it."

Getting back to The Thyroid Secret, it is nine episodes hosted by Dr. Izabella Wentz. It is her story and the research she did to heal herself from Hashimoto's Thyroiditis. She interviewed a hundred different experts (doctors and naturopaths) in her quest to gather information and spread awareness about thyroid disease. Did you know that 95% of people diagnosed as hypothyroid may actually have Hashimoto's? 

Did you know that 95% of people diagnosed as hypothyroid may actually have Hashimoto's? 

The Thyroid Secret is so packed full of information and I'll just give a quick list:
  • Why conventional medicine misses the mark
  • Healing your gut
  • Your adrenals
  • Stress
  • Toxins
  • Healing Foods (like bone broth!)
  • Weight struggles
  • Brain fog
  • Debilitating fatigue
  • 67 patient success stories

Loaded with tools, tips and techniques from the experts to get rid of brain fog, fatigue, weight struggles and the hundreds of thyroid symptoms that often go undiagnosed. I think anyone suffering from thyroid disease, FM, CFS, EB, Lyme's, or any autoimmune disease should consider purchasing either The Thyroid Secret or one of Dr. Wentz's books.

Though I've seen many physicians, I am not a one and I have no connection with Dr. Wentz or The Thyroid Secret. I'm just a consumer who really believes what I learned watching all 9 episodes of this documentary. I purchased the silver package at a discount for watching the free airing of each episode. I don't get paid in any way for sharing this information. I don't get free products (though I wish I did!) for blogging about this. I am, of course, an Amazon affiliate as disclosed on my blog so if you purchase her books through my link, I think I'd get a couple pennies or something. I've never actually received a cent from Amazon to date so I still don't know how that works!  🙂

Now I'm off to go read either her book, Root Cause, or Dr. David Brady's book, The Fibro Fix

Have a blessed day!

The Wild Side of Jesus

Untamed: How the Wild Side of Jesus Frees Us to Live and Love with Abandon by Lisa Harper

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Through reading the book Untamed, I have become a fan of the author, Lisa Harper. Her humor is very refreshing and makes such an enjoyable read! I found myself relating to her in so many ways as I see parallels to my relationship with Jesus as it has grown stronger and continues to do so.

In the first two pages of the book, Harper writes, "Choosing the safe but boring path is an apt metaphor for the years I spent rather numbly and halfheartedly pursuing God." I've definitely been there over the years, trying to avoid pain and chaos. And then I got fibromyalgia, haha! Seriously, though, if chronic illness has turned your relationship with Jesus into lukewarm bath water, Harper invites you to "reawaken the sense of adventure God hard-wired into your soul." You see, if you are reading this post then you still have breath and that means God is not done with you yet!

Now, Harper has a very sharp sense of humor that some might find offensive or sacrilegious. She talks about paralytics who turn cartwheels, how Tamar's first husband and Onan were stinkers so God killed them, and she calls John the Baptist "Johnny B." I had reached a point that I thought, okay, this might be too much, but then changed my mind when two pages later I was laughing out loud at the vision of John the Baptist "with locust legs stuck between his teeth." I know it's been said before, but it the first time I actually pictured it! Harper was talking about the type of people Jesus hung out with, and right after the locust legs comment, she writes a profound piece that makes your heart swell over the Jesus who loves us:

"But Jesus is the friend who lovingly sticks by every repentant sinner's side through thick and thin. Even when we blow it or get distracted by other interests, He doesn't stop loving us. In fact, Jesus' unwavering commitment to us is what ultimately compelled Him to lay down His life in exchange for ours. His devotion to broken people like us is remarkable."

It reminds me of Isaiah 61:
"The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me,
    because the Lord has anointed me
to bring good news to the poor;
    he has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted,
to proclaim liberty to the captives,
    and the opening of the prison to those who are bound;
to proclaim the year of the Lord's favor,
    and the day of vengeance of our God;
    to comfort all who mourn;
to grant to those who mourn in Zion—
    to give them a beautiful headdress instead of ashes,
the oil of gladness instead of mourning,
    the garment of praise instead of a faint spirit;"

Throughout the book, Harper shares her personal experiences (that I'm sure many can relate to) and connects them to biblical stories, illuminating the true Jesus that loves and accepts us all. The end of each chapter also has questions to help the reader dig deeper, not just within themselves but through God's Word.

It's funny, sensitive, and I highly recommend Untamed.

My Rough Morning = A Free Printable for You!

Dear Readers, I have had a rough start today, one that led to an absolute yelling/screaming/crying break down. I know you've been there. It's that one little trigger and suddenly all the strength and resolve you've managed to possess for weeks or months comes crumbling down.

That was my morning. I have been stressed out and sad for months now regarding my financial circumstances, but I've kept clinging to the Lord. Like the bleeding woman, I reached out because I knew if I could just touch His garment, all would be well. I reached out, grabbed hold of one of the tassels of his robes and I haven't let go. On some of the worst pain days and frustrating fatigue days, I let Him know, "I'm still holding on." But today was a culmination of all these things (not enough sleep included) and I. broke. down.

In a nutshell:

  • The neighbor's massive Great Dane barked me awake somewhere between 3 and 3:30 a.m. and I couldn't fall back asleep. I was so tired, but you know how it is when you are so very tired, but w i i i i d e awake. 
  • I discovered why the dog was barking at 3 a.m. when the sun started rising and I noticed something in my backyard and went to investigate. Leftover bunny. 😦 
  • No milk for African tea (my morning addiction) because I ran out yesterday and didn't have the energy to run to the store.
  • My heater is suddenly not working and baby, it's cold inside!
  • Money I was supposed to have a week ago did not come and when I called to find out what was going on, I was told I had to wait at least three more business days.
  • The money that did come in today's mail (also late) was less than half what it was supposed to be. 
And that was it. I was done. I was done and I was yelling, like, "I'm done with this job! I'm done with these people! I'll go sell my plasma, God, or you better figure this out because I'm DONE!" 

Aren't you glad He can take it? 

I mean, hey, He already knows what's in our hearts and our minds so why not just let it out? I actually got that out of a grief book I perused at a book store before I even knew Jesus. And oh, I was grieving, because of course, "the plasma people probably wouldn't even take my blood because it's diseased, and oh, that's right, it isn't a disease...!" You get the drill, and I was crying by this time because I can't support myself. I can't work and when I do, I can't get paid like a normal person without expending more of my precious little energy tracking it down. And this whole time, between the yelling and the crying, I'm trying to read through my furnace manual. Cuz that's gunna happen! 

I knew I needed a break and to calm down so I sat at my desk and made a Scripture printable. This verse helps me hold on to Jesus' tassel and I've been meaning to make it into a printable for a couple weeks now. I couldn't figure out how to make it downloadable since this is officially my first attempt at sharing a printable (and I don't think free blogger is set up to do that) so I ended up making it into a JPEG. I hope you can download it - or at least print it!