health | overcoming my battle with food

Friday, December 12, 2014

I like brownies. 

Oh, and milkshakes

Wait..I can't forget frapps from Starbucks; gotta love those frapps from Starbucks. 

Sweetened versions of coffee that taste more like candy than coffee was ever meant to taste bring joy to my taste buds, sweetened and colorful cereals marketed to children catch my eye, and any way you can wrap bread in sugar makes my tummy dance a little jig. 

The problem is I'm quite positive these foods don't feel the same way about me. As a matter of fact, I'm almost convinced they have secret meeting discussing how they can sabotage my health on a weekly basis. 

They appear to be bigger fans of the gestational diabetes I struggled with while pregnant with my daughter, or the Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes that creates chaos throughout my maternal family, or the way eating certain foods weighs me down and makes me not want to exercise even though I actually love a good run or 40-minute yoga session. 

Food has not been my friend. 

My shopping cart at the grocery store used to look like a serious oxymoron (can you spot the problem in the pic above?). 

But I know it wasn't intended to be this way. 

I agree with the lovely Lysa TerKeurst when she wrote in her book Made to Crave that she believes God intended for us to enjoy food because He gave us taste buds. Right on, Lisa! He created all kinds of deliciousness for us to consume, but the plan was never to allow it to consume us. 

Throughout middle, high school and some of college I struggled with binge eating. I would never purge (even though the thought crossed my mind a time or two...just being honest), but I would eat healthy for weeks and then spend an entire day eating ridiculous amounts of any carb I could get my hands on. It wasn't because I thought I was overweight, or because I had body image issues. Not trying to sound conceited, but I always thought I was pretty cute. Maybe it's because my mom always told me I was, so I felt like a runway model even when I was rockin' yoga pants and a VS hoodie. 

Nevertheless, me and food have been in this constant tug-of-war for far too long. 

There have been days when I found myself in tears (literally) over giving in to cravings that I knew I shouldn't have. I've prayed while driving past my favorite bakery for the strength not to turn in. I have bought candy bars from the store, taken one bite and then thrown the rest away. I've hidden food wrappers and containers in my handbag before going into work so no one would see what I'd just eaten. As if they knew the struggle that was going on in my heart.

I'm tired of it. 

I'm done with it. 

And I'm determined to make a change.  

A change for my family, for my Father, for His kingdom, for this temple I am living in. 
|| cc: Young Living Essential Oils ||

So, some wonderful Young Living friends of mine who have also fallen in love with the health benefits of these products have decided to do a Ningxia Red Challenge at the beginning of the year. Each one of us is doing a little something different to with their individual teams, so I decided to share my team's challenge with all of my lovely blog readers!

As we let go of the old and make room for the Holy Spirit in the new year we are praying God will help us cleanse our hearts, minds and bodies.


 - Read one chapter of the Book of Proverbs a day
 - Walk at least 2,000 steps a day (just try!)
 - Drink 1 oz. of Ningxia Red a day
 - No fried foods or artificial sugars

**As part of my own personal challenge, I will also be taking Super C supplements and drinking our Balance Complete formula as well since I'm preggers and currently need a few more nutrients than you all might. 

That's it!

The Holy Spirit has given us all the ability to have self-control and we MUST submit ourselves to it.

"But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and SELF-CONTROL. There is no law against these things!" 
 || Gal. 5:22-23, NLT (emphasis mine)||

If you would like to join us, let me know. If you are already signed up as a wholesale member, you can order the Ningxia Red yourself using your 24% off discount! If you aren't (you should be, lol), I can place your order for you so you can use my discount (local participants only, please) and you can simply pick it up from me. If you're signed up as a Retail Customer, you can still order at retail price which is still worth starting the year off with a healthier you! One bottle of Ningxia Red will last you the entire month if you only drink an ounce a day, which is really all you need when starting off.

I personally recommend signing-up as a wholesale member and just getting the Ningxia Red Starter Kit. It includes 2 bottles of Ningxia Red (remember, each one can last a month!), 30 2 oz. travel packs, a box of Ningxia Nitro, and samples of five different essential oils. If you're only drinking an ounce a day, that's about a five month supply for about $75 less than if you'd bought it all separately! Plus, you'd then be able to just order any other products from yourself in the future and there is never an obligation to buy every month. Buy as little or as much as you would like throughout the year.

It's all about us making a commitment to do whatever we can to clean out this holy temples we live in and keep them clean.

Not a diet.

Not a fad.

A commitment to be set a part in spirit and in health.

If you have any questions about the health benefits of Ningxia Red, feel free to ask me and you can even find some great videos on YouTube!

If you want to make sure you are stocked a ready to start some new health goals come January 1st, order soon so your order won't get lost in the shuffle of Christmas packages that FedEx will also be delivering across the country. Mine usually takes a week to get here from ship date, so I am placing my order on the 19th.

As always, if you have any questions about a product feel free to send me an E-mail and I will be glad to help you!

Ashley Danielle

review: lavender essential oil

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

If you frequent this blog, then you already know I have an almost one-year-old little mini-human who has taken my heart by storm. Felicity Grace has been such a blessing to my life, my marriage and my family and I thank God for her every day.

And as much as her energy and joy bring a smile to my face, sometimes I wish she had a knob where I could adjust her level of "super-hypeness" (yep, made that up all by myself). After working eight-hour days, then coming home to only immediately begin preparing our family for the next day, I am extremely tired. My husband is still in school and needs to focus on studying for most of the evening, so there's only so much adorableness he can indulge in as well before he needs some peace and quiet. 

Enter: Young Living's Lavender Essential Oil.

Shortly after I was introduced to essential oils by a close friend, her daughter babysat the princess for me while my husband and I did a few home repairs. When I picked her up, they told me how my friend had swiped a little lavender oil on the bottoms of Felicity's feet and she was sound asleep within five minutes! 

Say whaaaaaaat?!?!

I have rubbed her feet and chest with lavender oil (diluted with pure, sweet almond oil) almost every night since, and once we got our diffuser I started switching between that and Young Living's Peace & Calming essential oil. They both smell lovely, and I have noticed she does not wake up during the middle of the night unless she's sick. I usually start it while bathing her or giving her a final bottle before bed. That way, the room is already filled with the scent before we go in and then it's lights out! I also rub some on my hands and then over her sheets every now and then, and it's so cute how she'll look at her sheets and start rubbing them really fast like she's helping me spread it around, ha!

Last weekend, I left my entire pouch of my favorite oils (that I usually keep in my handbag) in my desk at work. Needless to say, putting the princess to sleep was a waaaaaay more of a task than it had been the past month while using Lavender on a regular basis.

I also learned soon after receiving my starter kit that Lavender essential oil is sometimes referred to as the "Swiss Army Knife" of oils because it has so many uses. No wonder it's one of the top selling oils out everything Young Living offers. So, when I managed to nick my finger while opening a jug of water (who does that?), I rubbed a little Lavender oil diluted with sweet almond oil on it to act as somewhat of a "natural Neosporen". It already looked much better by the next day and now I can't even tell which finger had the cut on it.

I also like to just roll it on my wrists while I'm at work every now and then.

It has a very mild scent so, I use about 6 drops when I'm diffusing it as opposed to the 3 drops I use of other soothing oils and blends like Peace & Calming or Stress Away.

A few other uses I've researched and found for Lavender essential oil include:

  • Diaper rash
  • Insect bite relief
  • Soothes minor burns
    • (I had The Mr. put some on his hand a few weeks ago after grabbing a hot pan of fries from the oven)
  • Moisturizing dry lips (dilute with a carrier oil for easier application)
  • Create a bath soak using Epsom salt
  • Put on cotton balls and place in closets and drawers for a cleans and calming aroma

So, who already uses lavender essential oil? What's your favorite way to use it? I'd love for you to share in the comments below!

For more details about the opportunities 
I have been introduced to as a Young Living 
user, click here

Ashley Danielle

*** Any suggestions made on this blog are extremely specific to Young Living Essential Oils only and should not be used with oils from another source. Statements made on this website about Young Living Essential Oils have not been evaluated by the FDA. These products and information are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. Anyone suffering from disease or injury should consult with a physician. I do not claim to be an essential oils expert or any form of healthcare provider. I am simply a woman/wife/mama sharing our family's journey to a healthier lifestyle. If you are currently on medication, please DO NOT STOP without consulting your physician first.

spending intimate time with God daily | part five: fight

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

A few weeks back, a friend of mine was kind enough to let me and a few other moms into her mom as she hosted a live broadcast of the Thrive Moms Retreat. 

The purpose of the treat was to give moms a chance to bond with one another, without the kiddos, while being uplifted uplifted by some amazing guest speakers. The event itself was so wonderfully put together, the women who spoke encouraged us in God's truth, and the worship session during the intermission could've easily left anyone of laid out on the floor in reverence and gratitude for the Father. Unfortunately, I did not realize most of the aspects of the retreat until about two days later when I watched the playback at work. 


Because only one mom could actually find a sitter that day. 

Our "retreat" quickly became a play-date for our littles. And even though we are grateful for the pint-sized humans God allowed us to feed and change and chase and stop from pushing over surround-sound speakers and teach how to share a bowl of pears, I became very aware of a truth that wasn't mentioned during the retreat: my time with God is my responsibility first. 

I must fight for it. 

Yes, those of us who are married need to have an understanding that we are under the headship of our husbands, and as the priests of our home they are to be heavily invested in guiding us in our walk with Christ. However, the passion to be fed by my Father must burn brighter in me than anyone else.

I must fight for it.

Whether you have children or not, there is probably something in your life that keeps you busy that you can't just brush off. You can't reschedule what time your child will wake up like you can a lunch date so you can have a little meditation time. Your professor may not be very understanding if you say you failed an exam earlier this week because you wanted to watch Women of the Bible on Sunday so you didn't study. The chances of a husband saying he'll watch the kids on a Saturday morning (even though he may really want to) so you can get lost in that Beth Moore book you downloaded last Spring are kind of slim. Not because he doesn't care, but because he probably worked a full day on Friday just like you and is also craving more time with Mr. Sandman. I don't know any supervisors, not even ones in full-time ministry vocations (and there may be some), that will say, "You know what? I'll get someone else to teach Children's Church for a couple of weeks. You spend some time in evening finally finishing that Abide study you started over 6 months ago". 

These are people who probably care about our spiritual well-being (yes, maybe even the professor; they might actually be a kind-hearted Christian who prays for their students each night so don't assume they aren't). But they have responsibilities just like you do. 

We have to fight for those moments. 

Sometimes, the way I came across having some amazingly intimate times with God are completely unplanned. I was simply folding laundry and realized my daughter was asleep, husband was studying and there was a Bible on our filing cabinet calling my heart to get lost in it. Other times, I have had to fight for those moments. 

I have had to do whatever I possibly can to make sure I get some alone time with the Trinity. 

My sisters, my brothers, it's worth the fight. 

He is worth the fight. 

One of my favorite songs right now is A Little Longer by Jenn Johnson of Bethel. Each time I hear her belt out the lyrics, "Stay. You don't have yo do a thing. Just let those things go; they can wait another minute."

That truth is so difficult for me to grasp sometimes.

My husband said it best about a week ago when I asked him was he about to start studying for one of his classes or read his Bible. He casually, yet confidently, responded: "Bible before work". 

Bible before work. 

Yes, Lord!

You before work. 

Being with Him shouldn't be work. It shouldn't feel like a chore. It should be something we crave. The laundry, the dishes, the text message, the E-mail, the phone can wait another minute while we rest at His feet.

Even if it's just for a few minutes. 

So, how are you fighting for time with God? If you haven't been zealous in fighting for time with Him, in what ways do you think you could start? I'd love to chat with you about it. 

...and feel free to bask in the beauty of this song with me. *hugs and love*

Ashley Danielle

//sponsored by //

spending intimate time with God daily | part four: stillness

Monday, December 8, 2014

It's so hard for me to sit still and be quiet. 

Our society is so busy and noisy that I know I'm not the only in this constant struggle of wanting to hear God's voice, but feeling undeniably uneasy when I'm in an almost completely quiet room. No, removing ourselves from noise is not a requirement to be intimate with God, but Scripture gives us several examples of people who removed themselves from the crowd to dig a littler deeper into our Father's heart for us. 

Then Jesus went with his disciples to a place called Gethsemane, and he said to them,“Sit here while I go over there and pray.” 
|| Matthew 26:36, NIV ||

When the people saw the thunder and lightning and heard the trumpet and saw the mountain in smoke, they trembled with fear. They stayed at a distance and said to Moses, “Speak to us yourself and we will listen. But do not have God speak to us or we will die.” Moses said to the people, “Do not be afraid. God has come to test you, so that the fear of God will be with you to keep you from sinning.” The people remained at a distance, while Moses approached the thick darkness where God was. 
|| Exodus 20:18:21, NIV ||

No, I do not believe God is hindered by the chaos we create with our to-do lists, and goals and obligations and...blah blah blah. And not all of those things are bad. I think He wants us to be organized and methodical when it comes to carrying out the tasks and gifts He's blessed us with. However, we should never allow the internal noise of our schedules to overcast the eternal thunder of His presence. There is something so intimate, so beautiful, so self-sacrificing in one of the smallest but yet meaningful ways when we give our time to Him. 

Today, I challenge you.

Take five minutes. 

Yes, five whole minutes. 

And be still.

Put your phone on silent, go in your closet or bathroom or bedroom or wherever, close the door, set a timer and just be still. Close your Bible, put away your journal and put down your pen. Tell God you are here to hear Him and to just rest at His feet. If your heart feels there is something you need to say, just go ahead and say it to Him. But try not to ask for anything. Just praise Him. 

Thank Him for your life. 

Thank Him for your pain. 

Remind yourself of your unworthiness and His sacrifice for you. 

Just be still. 

It is my prayer that we all fight for time with Him. 

Ashley Danielle

//sponsored by //

review: peppermint essential oil

Thursday, December 4, 2014

First, let me apologize for publishing this by accident this morning before it was bad, lol. 

Carrying on...


Peppermint oil is the first essential oil I ever tried.

During the first trimester of my second pregnancy, I was very nauseous. I was also extremely tired from running behind a newborn seven-month-old ball of energy and working crazy hours at work. I'd been seeing a few posts about essentials oils on several social media outlets; more importantly, a close friend of mine had been sharing her journey with them.

I finally posted on social media one day asking if anyone knew of something I could use to help me out and a good friend of mine suggested I try peppermint oil.

I tried it.

It worked!

And I've been a faithful fan of it ever since.

I think what blew my mind even more was watching the responses of two people I love dearly once they used it.

My husband suffers from a slight post-nasal drip and it causes him great discomfort from time to time. I put one drop in his hand one weekend, told him to rub them together, cup his nose and mouth and then inhale deeply. I thought he would do it once and then stop, but he kept inhaling and I could see the relief even before he said with so much sincerity, "I can breathe again". I can't even describe how happy I was to know he was getting some relief! I'm not sure whether it was my constant desire to impress him, my curiosity on whether or not it would actually work, or a mixture of the two. But I gave him a roll-on of it diluted with pure, sweet almond oil and he keeps it with him at his desk. However, I'm slowly seeing that he prefers the undiluted oil so I may give him a bottle of that as well. 

Before purchasing my starter kit from Young Living, I researched a lot of other uses for peppermint essential oil and was amazed! Some of them include:
  • Headache relief
  • Indigestion
  • Breath freshener
  • Congestion
  • Muscle pain relief
  • Cold sores
  • Energy boost
So, have you tried peppermint essential oil? What do you use it for? Leave it in the comments section below so we can give each other some great ideas!

For more details about the opportunities 
I have been introduced to as a Young Living 
user, click here

Ashley Danielle

*** Any suggestions made on this blog are extremely specific to Young Living Essential Oils only and should not be used with oils from another source. Statements made on this website about Young Living Essential Oils have not been evaluated by the FDA. These products and information are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. Anyone suffering from disease or injury should consult with a physician. I do not claim to be an essential oils expert or any form of healthcare provider. I am simply a woman/wife/mama sharing our families journey to a healthier lifestyle. If you are currently on medication, please DO NOT STOP without consulting your physician first.

//sponsored by //