10 Tips For Joyfully Running a Small/Home Business with your Spouse

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Owen and I hosting our podcast together for Thriving, Sexy Marriage 

Well summer has come and is almost over, so my transition period after quitting my job to come home and help my husband run our small business is slowly turning into the daily grind. There was much trial and error the first 3 months, but I think we have finally hit a sweet spot. Praise the Lord. The first month was the hardest for sure. But I’m all about fine tuning my work so that it runs like a machine. And through the tearful trials and fist slamming errors, I have come up with 10 tips I think will really help any woman who decides to work with her husband in a small/home business. They have helped us tremendously and as I figure out more, I will happily share. I really think these tips would be helpful even for women who stay home and their husbands work from home, but perhaps the wife is not too involved in the business side of things. As a helpmate, there is still some crossover that happens. Like, share, and comment if you agree.

1.Get an effective morning and evening routine down.

If you need to create a checklist to start it, then do that until the routine is down pat. This will help you start the day and end the day feeling so much more un top of things and with a clear idea of what the heck you are doing. My work week routine looks like this: exercise, coffee and bible study, prayer with husband, get kids up and to school, back home to get ready myself and breakfast. That’s a lot to squeeze in the morning so I wake up at 5:45 to do it. Yes I could sleep in until 7 am when I wake up my kids. But I wouldn’t be ready to be present with them while they were up. And I would end up putting exercise and my relationship with God on the back burner to work and other obligations. This provides the balance I need in my life. That is my morning routine. What could yours look like? Night time is equally as important. Prepping lunches for the next day, making sure the dishwasher is running the day’s dishes, quality time with the honey and family, enjoying quality time togther…so many important things to do each night that can easily set up a routine for the work week.

2. Start and end each day together in prayer–and before every big “meeting.”

Owen and I have learned quickly that prayer is key to helping us work together well and to verbally remind ourselves and offer to God our faith that he be in control and guide us in our daily activities. It also helps us be more united as we can be vulnerable together in our thanksgiving and requests.

3. Enjoy the intimacy benefits of being together throughout the day.

Change up the daily routine sometimes and take an extra long lunch break or a surprise morning break. This is what makes owning your own business together so unifying and fun. There are not sexual harassment laws to watch for, and all work flirtation and dating is perfectly permissible.

4. Set boundaries between the husband/wife relationship and the business partner relationship.

Don’t let the work stress interfere with the husband/wife relationship or vise versa or else all will be chaos!! That means– if hubby thinks you need to revise the blah blah blah form that you spend all morning working on, you don’t get to ignore him at dinner time. If you got into an argument the night before, that doesn’t mean you don’t email that client he is trying to woo into a bigger contract or schedule that meeting with hubs over your new campaign.

5. Dress for the day and look nice!

This will improve the quality of your work because you feel ready but it also keeps the attraction strong in the marriage. It is so important to respect your spouse as you would traditional colleagues. Showing up to work in sweat pants, a stained pajama shirt, and your unbrushed hair would be offensive to everyone. If you show them you care by dressing for the job, do the same for your business partner and spouse.

6. Decide together on a time to close the business and return to 100 percent husband/wife and family time.

Hold each other accountable to that agreed upon time. Yes, there’s that  one final email or that transaction in Quickbooks, or another edit you could make to your project. But you can do them all tomorrow and chances are the world will still turn. Give into those urges all the time, and your spouse and kids will always have memories of mom not being really present and just wrapped up in her phone or the computer all the time. You don’t want to have those regrets and perhaps a lack in closeness in those relationships because of those decisions. If you need to get a box to put your phones in so they are out of sight, this is an amazing one.

7. Don’t forget to set goals and dream together about your future.

This is essential to staying motivated and excited about working together. What kind of house will you buy? What charities will you donate to? What trips will you take?

8. Set milestone rewards along the way that benefit the marriage and family.

Pipe dream goals only work to an extent. You’ve got to keep the energy up with some immediate rewards along the way. For example, meet goal #1 and go on a nice date night. Meet goal #2 and get away for the weekend. Reach goal #3 than celebrate with the whole family on a Disneyland Trip….the options are endless. But those will help you and your spouse continue pushing to reach those bigger goals and of course create more unity as a couple and family in helping each other reach those goals.

9. Set up a meeting at the beginning of every week to calendar the week together.

We like Sunday nights or Monday mornings. It gives us time to look at our individual schedules and the family calendar to figure out the week: when is soccer practice? Who invited us to dinner and what days are we available? Who is going to the parent/teacher conference? How am I going to do this and that the same night you are flying out-of-state? It really helps prevent schedule conflicts that don’t show up until the day or moment of and inevitably ends in at least a bickering match.

10. Don’t forget why you decided to work together.

If you push those benefits and reasons off to the back burner, you lose them and working together may no longer be something you enjoy.

Bonus #1 Look into medical sharing co-ops as an alternative to expensive health insurance.

We are doing Christian Healthcare Ministries. Its costs $385 monthly donation for our whole family. Then if we need to go to the hospital or doctor’s office we pay the first $1000 per medical incident and then the co-op pays for the rest. We love it!! If you decide to join, let them know I referred you. I’ll get my next months monthly obligitory donation forgiven. 🙂

Bonus #2:If kids are at home while you are still working, take breaks to bond with them and plan activities to keep them busy during work sessions. 

It’s not always easy, but I like to do a 2 hr work session while my daughter does one predetermined activity. Then we take a break and run an errand, or read jump on the trampoline together, and have lunch. Then I do another shorter 1 hr session while she does another activity. Then its story and nap time for her for my 2nd hour work session before I’m off to pick up the brothers from school and do the whole after school routine with them, including karate or soccer practice, homework, and chores.

Hope you find these helpful! Like and share if enjoyed these tips and feel free to leave a comment sharing any tips of your own if you too work from home with your spouse.

 

 

 

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Perspective: My First Month as a Full-Time Entrepreneurial Wife and Mom

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Enjoying Social Media Expert Wife benefits at the Bahia Resort while hubby spoke for Social Media Day SD.

Well it has been one month since I’ve been home from my teaching job and boy has it been mostly…….very hard. Ugh. I said it. Doesn’t mean I regret it. I just need to get through the transition. Quitting a salaried full-time position to be a full-time entrepreneurial wife and mom is a difficult transition. It’s not the same as quitting a job to be a full-time mom and wife (which is already a challenge in itself) because now I still have to work while doing the rest all at the same time. And my job is completely different than teaching high school English. It’s a completely different beast.

One of the current struggles I’m having is learning to give up my summer. I’m 37 years old and I have ALWAYS had summers off. I had summers off in grade school, high school, college, and then I became a teacher and I continued to have summer’s off. But now this summer, I’m not on vacation. I work from home. Although, to help me put things in perspective, I did get to enjoy an awesome time at the Bahia Resort last weekend with my kiddos while Owen spoke there for Social Media Day.

IMG_3079But on a typical week, I’m helping Owen with his business doing the tedious side work he shouldn’t be doing but has not been able to find an employee or virtual assistant to do it well or for any decent length of time. No one cares for the business the way we care for the business. I’m the best person for the job. And then I’m also writing scripts and recording videos for our Thriving, Sexy Marriage ministry.

I was really overwhelmed by all I’m learning the first 2 weeks but it’s getting a little easier the last two weeks. It has been “all Greek to me.” Learning Quickbooks, learning how to create “marketing tunnels” and use “auto-responder emails”, and refurbishing video into blogs, writing scripts, making gif memes, and recording myself without using a teleprompter like I’m used to….it’s a lot.

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our first podcast for thrivingsexymarriage was a hit and so much fun!

I cried a lot the first two weeks. More tears the first weeks then I’ve cried in months. There are many reasons. Everything is new. I was messing up on things. Everything takes longer. AND I’m not used to having my husband as my boss. (Whoa–that is hard for a woman who pretty much closes the doors to her classroom and teaches as she pleases). Because of the preoccupation with all that, I haven’t been speaking Owen’s love language, and when that happens, it doesn’t energize him to speak mine, which then doesn’t energize me to speak his, and…… you get the picture. We are marriage coaches, we know what is going on when we are not doing what we are supposed to be doing. Sometimes not always in the moment, but when fed up with it, we can look at it and figure it out. Haha. So– we figured it out and we are back on track. This week we have been two little love birds—-on the same page, speaking each other’s love languages, and unified. Yay for victory #1!

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Jameson and Kanan rekindling their love for legos.

Still working on victory #2–mastering working and taking care of kids on summer break all a the same time. So how do I do all that? I don’t know. I’m still trying to figure it out. I have about 30 hours worth of work I need to do each week to get everything done and so I’m doing 2-hour shifts here, then breaking for lunch and taking the kids out for an errand, and then doing another 2-hour shift there and trying to complete the third 2-hour shift at night after they go to bed, but not every night.

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Benny is so loving to his sister

The struggle is finding activities that keep the kids occupied for the 2-hour-shifts. The videos have taken the longest amount of time because I’m still learning how to set up the set and test equipment, then there’s practicing lines, and then recording. We’ve had two or three recording days where we worked for 3 hours straight and the kids just had to watch like two movies back to back. I felt terrible. So I really want to tighten that time and I know I can in time as this type of work becomes more second nature to me. I did enroll them in three different VBS’s in North County. So that will give me some time between 9-12 to work with fewer distractions and give them an opportunity to learn and have fun. We go to Utah for 10 days as well and then its just a week or two after before school starts. So the VBS programs will definitely help.

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me and my friend Carmen–yay for birthdays!

Still, I’m finding that my belief that I’d have time to visit my friends or have playdates or take 2 hour breaks for day trips with my kids is just not happening. Especially when we have scheduled karate and soccer practices taking up late afternoon time after I finish the work for the day. Oh and not more house keeper so I need to do that. With 4 kids home, the house gets messy fast, and every task for the business also takes longer due to distractions– someone is hungry for snacks, someone hit someone, someone is not wearing underpants (yes I have 1 free spirit–guess who?), someone fell and needs a bandaid…you know the drill.

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a third of my bunco group! Yay for friends and chocolate!

Still, weekends and some evenings I have had some great moments. We had a birthday party for Jameson a couple of weeks ago and I got to see friends and family then and also had some friends over for the 4th of July and had a great time. I also continue my monthly Bunco group on the last Sunday of the month. While my weekly bible study group is on summer vacation, I have started going to a bimonthly art group at my church that meets in the evenings…so again, it’s all about perspective. It’s not how I envisioned it, but I’m still getting some friend/adult time in other ways.

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Scotty and I in the cabanas at the resort for Social Media Day

This is why I keep reminding myself it’s about perspective…not like I expected but still good– So while I feel like I’m not getting the amount of time in with my kids that I had envisioned and even wondered if I actually got more time with them when I was a teacher, I did the calculations. Yes, I actually sat down with a calculator and figured out that as a stay-at home-working mom with the schedule I currently have, even while working through summer, I will still have 480 hours a year more time with my kids then if I worked away from home as a teacher. That is twenty, full 24-hour-days more or forty actual-day-time days more each year. So that is awesome and helps put things in perspective.

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Babysitting my nephews a few weeks ago was a blast . This is little Caleb with my daughter, Scotland and I

Owen also gave me some pointers (He’s good at that) ….to start looking at the tasky activities with the kids as those moments to create connections with them and connect. Driving the kids on an errand can be memorable. Breakfast and lunch can be memorable if I’m using it to teach one of them how to cook something, for example. Even washing dishes after dinner with the kids can be an opportunity for fun or laughter. So I just need to be present in those moments and not see them as just tasks.  So that helps me feel better. As I start moving through my duties more efficiently, it will naturally start creating more open spaces for activities with my kids mid-day. I’m going to try to take them on a trip to the library this Friday. We shall see. 🙂

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Scotty loves snails

So if you have any tips, working from home moms, I’d appreciate it. Would love encouragement, reality checks, you name it. I need it. I have felt pretty pouty and selfish the last couple of weeks but am getting better, knowing this is the right choice.

I just need to get my groove so that it flows. I need to get more organized and consistent. And I need to choose joy even in times of difficult transition.

I started thinking the last couple of days after I realized I was doing what my dad called “stinkin’ thinkin’ and I thought– everyone has something to complain about. Yes, I have lots to complain about over the last couple of weeks. Am I some sad victim that has it so much worse than everyone else? Sure there are women out there who don’t have to work and can enjoy playdates and coffee chats with friends and take their kids to Lego land once a week. But they also may have a husband who drinks too much or is into pornography, a mother they don’t talk to anymore, or they struggle with health problems…. there is ALWAYS something someone can complain about. So do I just sit in this negativity only seeing what I didn’t expect and how hard it is and develop a grumpy, woe-is-me spirit about me? Or do I choose joy? Do I choose to see the blessings even if it is not all I expected? Even if I didn’t get all that I had envisioned initially? We ALL have something to complain about. I don’t want to be that person. So I know its silly because I’m writing this blog, complaining, right? Yes…this is my revised version of a huge vent I initially wrote 2 weeks ago….but I’m hoping that in this revised state you see my recognition for the need of proper perspective.

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Playing “Maricela” at my friend, Laurel’s LulaRoe booth at the fair. 

As I was looking through my photos to post in this blog I was reminded of many happy moments during this difficult transition. Small moments playing with my kids, our hotel stay at the Bahia this last Thursday and Friday, an opportunity for me to help serve my friend Laurel at her booth at the fair, some Bunco fun with friends, Jameson’s birthday where I got to spend time with friends and family, and yesterday we had friends over for the 4th of July.  So I decided to add these photos throughout so you can see that despite my emotional struggles through this transition, I’m just a big whiny baby and am blessed beyond measure 🙂

It’s all about perspective. I never thought it would be easy. I didn’t think it would be this hard. But that is okay. There are many blessings and I will improve my groove and gain so much more. And everything will get easier. So there is my unpoetical, cadenceless conclusion. But its the plain truth.

Thanks for reading. 🙂 Here are some books I want to read to help me get better at this. Have you ready any of them?

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The bay at the Bahia Resort looks small on camera under the panoramic lens but is so much bigger in person! You can’t see all the little shells in the sand from your perspective, but little Benny was mesmerized by all the sea shells in the sand that he could see from his. See…perspective!

Responsibilities Charts for My Kids (And Free Printables!)

responsibility chart for a preschooler with pictures.

Here is a preview of part of the chart I made for my preschoolers. There is a morning responsibility section and an evening.

Today marks my first day back to work after summer break and the first day of Owen’s 3rd round of chemotherapy. I’m praying it will not be as stressful of a week as I imagine it will be. One thing Owen and I had been trying to do this weekend was getting prepared. That means stocking the fridge full of foods Owen can stomach and can make on his own without me there. It means getting the house clean so we don’t have to be cleaning during the week too much other than picking up after ourselves. It means getting a meal calendar out for anyone who wants to help bring us a meal and prepare some meals and snacks for me to eat as well. The less I’m making food, the more I can help Owen and spend time with the kids after work.

What I’m most excited about is that we FINALLY got some responsibility charts up in our hallway for our kids. Part of the stress during the work week is that we are not consistent with making sure the kids clean up after themselves or do what they need to do without us having to remember it for them.

I made one for my 8-year-old son, which includes routine tasks, and also a daily chore, and that sort of thing. My preschooler boys have a slightly different one–it includes pictures because they can’t read yet. James can read some words like cat and dog, etc…but not “put dirty clothes in the hamper.” Next to the picture though, I do write the direction as well. Yesterday we had a practice day and James thrived off of it. I loved it because I didn’t have to tell him what to do. He just looked at his chart and followed the order. Next thing I knew it was 20 minutes till we had to leave and he had already gotten dressed, put his jammies away, brushed his teeth and his hair, put on his shoes and socks, and was now able to eat his breakfast. Last night we went through the evening duties with him. They are a bit more than just routine as they include cleaning up their room and any toys left in the living room. But he just loved it.

Benny still had to be told what to do next as he wasn’t eager to go up to the chart and read what’s next himself. He’s a bit more of a free spirit and definitely the baby of the boys. But at least I had James helping out and the chart there to keep me consistent too. For example– when I get home, I’m thinking about all the things I need to get done. I am not thinking about making sure the boys take off their shoes and put them in the shoe bucket. So the next day when James can’t find his shoes, I am very stressed out. We find them in all sorts of places because he just takes them off when ever he has the desire and leaves them at that location. One shoe will be under the bed and the other sometimes outside. Its ridiculous. And annoying. Even infuriating at times. But today when I went to the chart, I asked if he put his shoes in the shoe bucket, and sure enough, he had because he followed his chart.

So this chart is going to really help me relax a bit more and yell a lot less. Yay for all of us. 🙂

If you’d like a free printable copy of the chart I made for my 8-year-old, it is available HERE. The Preschooler version with pictures is available HERE. You will need to edit it of course with your own children’s names and perhaps revise the responsibilities to fit your family best. But it is a great foundation. I had mine printed and laminated. Then the kids use a wet erase marker to check off the duties they completed. I add a sticker on for each full day completed on the preschooler’s chart. At the end of the week, I plan to scrape off the stickers and start again. 🙂

My Wrinkles in Time

What can I do about my tired looking skin? wrinkles and acne are no fun.

This is me today. I look tired. I look angry. But I’m not!

More confession time–I hate my skin right now, especially my wrinkles.  Which is odd because I do not hate other people’s wrinkles. As a 35-year-old female, I have many friends from as young as 20 up to 60 and I think they are all beautiful in their own way, wrinkles or lack thereof.

But I hate mine.

I think it is because my skin changed too quickly. I once had beautiful, wrinkle-free/acne-free flawless skin until I had my first child at 27. Having my first child aged me immediately by like 5 years. Then add a break up, a dramatic dating life, a new job search, a marriage, three more children, a home purchase, a husband battling with cancer, and my own aging body–distracted from taking care of my self, one day I looked in the mirror and took a step back. My skin just looks tired.  But I’m not.

I look in the mirror and do not recognize the woman in my reflection. It’s funny. You’d think I’d get used to my reflection. But every time I look in the mirror, I’m disappointed. As if somehow I was expecting to see that 25-year-old porcelain skinned young woman I once was. I suppose it’s because in many ways I still feel like her.

I used to have friends take pictures and then ask us girls to look at the photo and approve. I don’t even bother anymore. I know I won’t like the way I look. Not anymore. Gone are the days when I would look at myself in the mirror and say, “Oh yeah. Thank you Jesus.”

Nope.

I’ve always had somewhat of the joked about “Resting B!#$% Face” that formed a mild line between my brows after a long day in the sun. But now its two permanent lines that only disappear in the wee hours of the morning after I first wake up or after a long hot shower–rest and moisture are so good for the skin. Maybe I can just sleep in a mist bath the rest of my life? Sleeping beauty. A beautiful woman with no life.

I notice that when I wear bangs long enough to cover up the lines, people smile at me more. I think it’s because I look nicer. Those lines make me look mad. People ask–“are you ok?” all the time. I’m not mad. This is just my face.

Maybe it’s because I’m a thinker.

Maybe I just have over active brow muscles.

I was a shy and serious child

I was a shy and serious child

I know even as a child, I must have because I have a distinct memory of my grandmother Barbara in her thick Colombian accent press two fingers between my brows and tell me, “you are too young to be so serious my darling.”

I wish I were less serious.

To complicate the matter, somehow over the years, my face has become less and less symmetrical. Now, my right side of my face curves down from my eyebrows down to the corners of my mouth–all on my right side. I’m sure it comes down to not seeing my chiropractor as often as I should have all those years.

And then recently–I’ve started breaking out in acne. I’m 35 years old and breaking out. I actually found a pimple in my wrinkle next to my mouth yesterday.

So what do I do?

I drink lots of water and eat relatively well–so that is not really in need of improvement. But since summer has started, I’ve upped my coffee consumption which I am certain does not help. 

I was talking to someone about this a while back and she told me she went through the same thing once and then one day took a bottle of wine into the bathroom and told herself she would not come out until she accepted the way she looked. My first thought when she told me this was–don’t you know too much wine will make you look even older? 

So I’m not going to the that. I’m going to fight. I’m going to try to pull a superman and reverse time or at least slow it down and hopefully a long the way  come to a point of acceptance. I know, there is no logic in that, but that is where I’m at. I’m buying things I’ve never bought before and thinking about procedures I would have judged before.

I’ve spread raw apple cider vinegar on my face before I go to bed for the acne and I’ve actually seen some of the pimples dry up yesterday morning and literally fall of my face with the touch of a finger nail–so that’s good.

I’ve purchased and begun using oil-based cleansers, night cream, day cream for a year now.

Recently added a wrinkle-filling primer and anti-wrinkle foundation to my morning ritual. So far, don’t really see much of a difference. Maybe when its freshly on. But by the end of the day–it’s the same ol’ tired looking me begrudgingly greeting me in the bathroom mirror–“Oh, its you,” she says.

I’m now exploring the possibilities of supplements that counter-act aging skin, chemical peels, facial scrubs and masks, retin-A creams, and yes–even botoxing the bold 11 embroidered between my brows. All are on the table right now.

Of course these all cost money. So trying to plan out how much I can devote from my budget on my vanity is important. I investigated the supplements a couple of days ago, and found a supplement that seemed promising, backed by a lot research on the herbs and amino acids inside. It cost me about 40 bucks for a one month supply. I told my husband if he wanted a pretty wife, he would let me try it. He quickly agreed. Once I get it in the mail, I’ll take some before and after pics to see if its worth buying more or advocating. So stay tuned.

I’m conflicted though. There’s a part of me that is upset with myself because I feel like I need to be accepting my wrinkles and age and not allow myself to be brainwashed to believe that only young skin is beautiful. And I suppose there is a part of myself that believes that but it can’t be very strong because I see many of my seasoned female friends as beautiful.

I want my 35 year old skin to look like my skin when I was 30.

This was me in 2009 with my hubby right a couple of weeks before we were married. I was almost 30 years old here.

I just want to take care of my skin. I haven’t and I’m seeing the consequences, and I don’t like them and just trying to remedy the problem. I’m a warrior, remember? There’s nothing wrong with wanting to take care of my skin, right? It’s not like I’m lying on the floor crying or not going out and meeting people because my “woe is me” skin. If anything, I am more conscious to smile at people now. 

I think the biggest struggle is that I want my outside to reflect my inside. It used to. I used to look how I felt. I don’t anymore. My body is growing old while my spirit is still young. Wiser in many ways, knowing when to talk and when to shut up and listen. But I don’t feel old or tired and so I don’t want to look old or tired. 

I couldn’t imagine being my 85-year-old Grandma who told me she feels 40. Trapped in shell that doesn’t feel like home.

Until then– In addition to my “fluffing and buffing” as my dad used to call it, I’m washing myself in the Proverbs this summer, reminding myself that taking care of my skin is not bad, but to not forget to take care of my spirit too–which will live forever–while this shell is just temporary. So I know the steps I take now will not last forever and be okay with that.

Proverbs 31:30–Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the LORD is to be praised.

Morning Shake for the Busy or Working Parent

super greens, flax, and chia are great additions to a morning shake

super greens, flax, and chia are great additions to a morning shake.

A lot of people ask me how I can maintain a figure while being so busy. Between working a full-time job, running 2-4 writing jobs on the side, raising 4 kids, and being a wife– one can wonder how I’m able to still eat healthy. We all know how much easier it is to run by a fast-food restaurant or to microwave a Cup o’ Noodles when we have only so much time for ourselves. And I know plenty of busy parents who just don’t eat breakfast– a hot cup of coffee is all they want or have time for.

I myself have been there. Coffee for breakfast. Cup O’ Noodles for lunch. Yep.

But it’s not healthy. We all know it. But how do we add more minutes to our day? I certainly don’t have time to sit down for a morning bowl of oatmeal, let alone an omelette.

And then I decided to try the morning shake. Now this works! The issue has been finding the right type of food to put in my shake so that I get the nutrition I need and remain full enough to only need a snack around 10 until my lunch at noon. But also is simple enough so that I don’t spend longer than a couple of minutes to make it before I run out the door and drink it on my way to work.

Some mom’s I have talked to just put fruit and veggies in their morning shake. I cannot do that I don’t recommend it for most people. That will just shoot up your glucose levels and send them crashing down within 2 hours. You will feel weak, disoriented, and tired.

You need protein. And believe it or not, you need fat for satiety and energy. Do not skip these in your morning shake.

Here some staple ingredients I put in my morning shakes: 

2-3 Handfuls of Super Greens (kale, spinach, chard)

Don’t worry, you won’t even taste these in your morning shake if you add the protein powder or meal replacement later. I get mine from Costco because it’s a huge bag and is triple washed. To make sure it lasts through the couple of weeks it takes me to go through it, I stick it right in the freezer. Then I grab the bag in the morning and pull out 2-3 handfuls of the frozen leaves and throw it in my blender. Added bonus– less ice needed, if any. 🙂 If you choose not to use protein powder or meal replacement, I recommend adding Stevia, Monk Fruit, or Agave to sweeten the shake up a bit and cover the earthy flavor this will provide if your palate does not care for green beverages.

A Half a Cup of Fruit

My favorites include frozen blueberries or strawberries or banana. I also really like butternut squash! (Add some cinnamon!) While fruit certainly adds vitamins and other nutrition to the shake, my big reason for adding it is for the flavor variety it offers. Try not to put too much in though, because fruit does have a lot fructose in it (Blueberries and butternut squash offer the least); however, if you do not use protein powder or meal replacement (which usually is sweetened) then add more fruit to balance the green superfood and make it more palatable.  Whatever the fruit option is for the week or two that I have it, I make sure that it is in a bag, frozen in the freezer. I buy the berries already frozen from Costco. Bananas take just a few minutes to peel and chop on a Sunday afternoon. Then I throw them all in a freezer bag and I’m set up for the week.

A Tablespoon of Chia Seeds

Again, I buy a big bag of it at Costco and I store it in my fridge to make sure it lasts. One bag lasts me a couple of months. Chia seeds are packed with protein and omega 3’s to punch up the healthy benefits of my morning shake. Note– don’t let your shake sit for too long.Drink it down because Chia gels after a while and will turn your shake into pudding (which is not bad if you want a healthy pudding option!) but not so easy to drink if that was your original intention. 🙂

A Tablespoon of Flax Seeds

I put mine in whole, but I have a Vitamix blender which can blend it. If you don’t, I recommend buying them already ground. I buy mine at my local natural foods store from the dry bins. Its cheaper that way and fresh. 🙂 These are packed with protein, more omega 3 fatty acids, and add added fiber to your diet. This is great for cleansing and detoxing!

A Tablespoon of Coconut Oil

Coconut oil is a medium-chain saturated fat. Don’t get scared about the saturated fat part. If it is medium-chained, it goes straight to the liver for instant energy–and is not stored in your body. It will help you stay full longer, give you added energy, and as a great bonus– coconut oil is a natural anti-viral, so it will help keep your immune system strong. The coconut flavor is a nice addition to the morning shake as well. 🙂 Don’t forget– fat is essential for hormone balance, ladies! And it takes fat like this to burn fat. Don’t skip on the fat! You need it! 30% of your daily calories should actually be from healthy fats. Now it doesn’t take much of it to make up 30% of your calories so don’t go overboard. But don’t buy into the lie that you need to go fat free to get slim. It just ain’t true. 🙂 Costco (Do you see a pattern here? ) sells a great quality Coconut oil that is organic, virgin, unrefined, and cold-pressed– all important for the health benefits of coconut oil.

15-30 Grams of a Protein 

I get this from a variety of options: Whey powder, Greek-Yogurt, Peanut Butter, and/or Raw Egg.

Whey Powder–This is my favorite. You can get a whopping 25-30 grams of protein which is ideal for your breakfast launch into the day. They come in great flavors like chocolate, vanilla, or strawberry. I prefer vanilla because its more versatile. And its the quickest way to get the protein in your shake and you out the door. But if you don’t like that option–there are some whole food options I also enjoy–they just add a few more time. I’m not advocating any particular brand. There are many good ones out there. And you don’t need whey if you don’t like. There is pea powder, soy powder, creatine…so much variety out there. I prefer whey because it is affordable, tasty, and doesn’t hurt my belly like casein, and doesn’t add estrogen like soy will.

Greek Yogurt is also a great option. In one cup of Greek yogurt, there is 20 grams of protein. Most come non-fat, but you can find some with low-fat or full fat. If you get the full fat or low-fat, you may not need the coconut oil (although it won’t hurt).  I usually find this much yogurt too much for my shakes, so I usually cut it to half a cup and then add peanut butter to cover the flavor a bit.

Peanut Butter--There is 4 grams of protein in every tablespoon of peanut butter. So supplementing the yogurt with 2-3 tablespoons of peanut butter work too. This takes more time than the whey powder, which in one scoop is done– no tablespoons or measuring cups needed.

Raw Egg is another great option. Don’t be afraid of all those “raw eggs are bad for you” crap. Did you know that you don’t even need to refrigerate raw eggs when in the shell? Yes–we are still listening to wives tales. Do the research. Or trust me– raw eggs in your shake are just fine. Just drink it in a timely fashion. Don’t let it sit all morning and then drink it. There are 6 grams of protein in a large egg. So again–this works as a great supplement to the yogurt or peanut butter.

A Good Meal Replacement Powder (Optional if you do all of the above) 

While the above is certainly enough for a good morning shake, my husband finds that by adding the meal replacement powder, it gives him added satiety and more nutrition from the additions it brings in. There are a lot of good brands out there that work– Shakeology is the most expensive, but whole-food based and very delicious. Juice Plus is also non-GMO, whole-food based, and delicious. Herbal Life I finds keeps me fullest the longest and has a lot of really delicious flavors–although it is not whole-food based so you will get synthetic vitamins added in and GMO based nutrition.

All in all– it takes me about 3-4 minutes to make my shake, so I’m out the door real quick. If you can’t take the 3-4 minutes then wake up 3-4 minutes early. It is worth your health!! No excuses. ) 

  1. I grab the bag of frozen super greens, throw in 2-3 handfuls.
  2. Then I grab the bag of frozen fruit and grab a handful of that.
  3. Next I grab the two bags of seeds out of the refrigerator and open the bags and grab about a tablespoon out of each using my fingers as a scooper.
  4. Next I grab my protein powder and scoop out a serving using the scoop the brand provides and do the same for the meal replacement.
  5. I finally add some non-fat, sugar-free rice milk or almond milk (1-1.5 cups if I’m making it just for myself, and 2.5-3 cups if I’m making it for my hubby too). I blend on high until it’s all blended and the seeds disappear. I quickly poor it into a 16-20 oz cup, rinse out the blender real quick in the faucet and then head out the door. I drink on my way to work.

What are some of your favorite quick morning shakes for breakfast? Check out these great morning smoothie recipe books for other options!

Perspective on my Purpose

The big theme of my life is to give more and stop being "too busy." Love is not selfish. If I want to reflect God more in my life, I need to give more.

The big theme of my life is to give more and stop being “too busy.” Love is not selfish. If I want to reflect God more in my life, I need to give more.

My pastor of my church has been taking us through an in depth study of Solomon’s Ecclesiastes. The deeper we go, the more we can see that Solomon saw the purposelessness of life without God and then how much God takes that and gives us purpose and meaning in all that we do when we center it on him.

It got me thinking.

Does every aspect of my life seek to glorify God?

And if not, how can I change my perspective on that aspect and create a deeper Christ-centered consciousness in that area.

So this is just a brain storm but I’m thinking about every big area/role of my life.

  1. Wife– How can I reflect God more in my role as a wife? I think I want to seek to understand my husband more, and to make sure especially during the next few months to attain to his sexual and emotional needs even when I am tired, dripping with breast milk, and over all not feeling sexy or loving and probably struggling with wavering post partum emotions (I hope not, but I’ve had postpartum anxiety with all three of my previous babies). But God wants us to be self-sacrificing and especially with our spouses, seeking to meet their needs above our own.
  2. Mother– I want to continue praying with my children each day but also reflecting God more by showing more patience and being less quick to yelling. I yell when they don’t listen. I know I can do better at this by being more consistent with training them to obey the first time, so that I’m not lead to frustration which prompts me to yell. I also want to make sure that my three boys feel loved even when they have to share attention with the new baby. I’d also like to get back into memorizing bible verses with the boys–something Owen got us started on last year, but since we moved we started slacking on.
  3. Homemaker– on top of working full time, and wanting to spend quality time with the kids in the few hours I have left with them at the end of the day and on the weekends, I just hate cleaning. Owen is very busy as well with his business. So cleaning gets put on the back-burner. I mean I clean every day. But it pretty much stays with the dishes and then a quick clutter check. By Sunday I can get around to doing a couple of loads of laundry, a sweep and a mop, a vacuum, and if I’m really good–a bathroom scrub down. This is stressful. I get grumpy. Especially if I feel like I’m the only one doing it. The kids help, but they are so young, its not a significant help. I want to have more of a heart of service. A heart of finding joy in serving my family by providing a clean home for them. But I also don’t want to be a Martha (see the book of John). I want to be wise when its time to put the scrub brush away and spend time with my kids. I don’t want them to remember their childhood as a time when Mom just cleaned and they played alone.
  4. Teacher-– I work in a public school. I wish I could just evangelize the entire time to this lost generation. I make sure though to give a different perspective and worldview on things when the topics arise. There is this christian group that shows up on Thursdays at lunch that feeds free pizza to kids who come and then gives them a gospel message. Tons of kids go. And they aren’t christian. I talked with the person who runs it and asked her if she’d be willing to have  a day where Christian teachers could give a quick 2 minute testimony to the kids. So the kids know that intelligent people can believe in Jesus. She loved the idea. When I come back from maternity I’ll pursue that a bit more. I also need to check with my teacher’s union to find out if I would be supported should I get any attacks from other teachers, students, parents, or administrators for making a stand during this meeting.
  5. Friend– I don’t spend time with my friends very often. And lately it seems like I’ve been more on the receiving end of blessings than I have been on the giving end. I want to check in with friends more. Find out how they are doing more. And if I can’t see them, to at least encourage them more via text or a phone call.
  6. Sister– same thing. Send out more encouraging texts. Make more attempts to get together. And be an example with the way I live my life.
  7. Daughter-– I don’t see my mom enough. I don’t call her enough. For the most part, I feel like I’m a pretty lame daughter. She lives in Newport Beach in a one room condo, so coming up with my big family seems often like an impossible feat. But I want to call her more at least. I’d like to talk at least once a week. Some of my friends talk with their mom’s every day. I would love to have that with my mom. But I can’t live my life wanting something but never making the effort to do that. I want her to know that even though we don’t see each other often, that I love her.
  8. Granddaughter--I want to finish my Grandmother Lois’s memoirs. I’m going to start in a couple of weeks. We are going to set up Monday calls. She tell me her life. I’ll record it. Then I’ll transcribe the recording by typing it out. She can’t write anymore, she is getting so tired. And she’s on an oxygen tank now. I want her to have her book before she goes. As for my other grandma, I want to call her more. My grandfather died a few months back and I know she stays busy, but I don’t want her to feel forgotten in that old folks home way up in L.A.
  9. Entrepreneur/Writer-– reflect God in all that I do by being encouraging and patient with my old memoir clients. To do a great job with every resume so that when my resume clients see that bible verse under my name in my email signature, they can say that the Christian resume writer had integrity and worked hard. We don’t need any more negative stereotypes about Christians. Finally, to get those Children’s books done. They are all Christ-centered. I just need people to read them!

I think the big theme here is for me to give more and stop using busy as my excuse. I get so busy, I tend to make busy our excuse for not loving people enough. For not being that light in their lives. It takes self-sacrifice. I struggle with the desire to blame. But Christ never did this. For me, my big issue is being too busy to reflect God. What is yours? What can you change in your life to show to reflect God more?