Leap of Faith

“Allow your passion to become your purpose, and it will one day become your profession.” – Anonymous

Here goes… Sometimes in life, you just have to go for it. Yes, I left the industry and I can’t thank everyone who has called to check on me enough. I will return every call as soon as I can. With my experience in education, curriculum development, sales, marketing, healthcare – you name it, I wanted to do something that I feel is truly making a difference. Please ask me about my wellness business. I’d love to grow alongside you. I believe we are all here to make it through this life together.

A lot of people know my story… if you want to talk about how food really is our medicine, then I’d love to share my story with you! Or if you’d just like to talk about spirituality, relationships, parenting or stress management – Call or visit my website and book now.

“Allow your passion to become your purpose, and it will one day become your profession.” – Anonymous

I don’t know about you, but I am one busy Mom! If you are a busy woman who is looking to connect with others just like you then visit Purpose + Passion’s site by clicking on the link below. Let’s all connect and share tips and advice on healthy living made easy.

You can also book a free introductory call with me to learn more about my four-week health and wellness program.

Girls Weekend

“A friend is someone who knows everything about your life and still loves you.” – Unknown

What a perfect weekend relaxing and exploring with my dear friend, Jamie. There was so much catching up to do! I can’t thank Jamie enough for always being there for me – always! Friday night I pulled up to the most adorable cottage on the side of the Blue Ridge Parkway. It looked just like the cottage out of the movie, The Holiday. It’s my absolute favorite holiday movie and the Blue Ridge is my favorite little getaway to de-stress. I can’t thank Jamie enough for setting it up. We spent the weekend laughing and crying and laughing some more. I have to share the places we explored while there.

The next day we ate breakfast and got coffee at Farmhaus Coffee Co in Waynesboro. Everything in the coffee shop was perfection, from the way the books were organized by color to my breakfast that tasted like dessert. I loved the pictures and Edison lights, the creaky wood stairs… all of it.

We then drove to Swannanoa Palace. What a romantic story! Come to find out James Dooley and Sally O. were her friend’s, Aunt & Uncle. I just love Virginia!

Of course, I had to stop to take a picture of the most beautiful church in the snow…

Then it was off to do a little beer and wine tasting. We checked out, and I highly recommend Silverback Distillery, Afton Mountain Winery, Blue Mountain and Brewing Tree.

Thank you, Jamie, again for planning a much-needed therapy weekend. There’s something about the mountains that reminds me of this song by Tracy Chapman.

Granny’s Letters

In honor of International Women’s Day, I have to write about my Grandmother. I mention her throughout my blog. She was a woman before her time, very independent. She had her own beauty salon, taught teenagers just like me and my sister, and traveled with me and my sister alone. I can’t put into words how much she means to me.  She also loved growing her own food, teaching us how to pickle, jam and make homemade ice cream. There were many hours spent on the front porch snapping beans and planting flowers too. Some of my fondest memories were of her just simply swinging with us and talking about life. ‘Courtney Lynn’… always my middle name, especially when I tested her.

Growing up, my sister and I would play school for hours upon hours using old desks from her school. We wanted to be teachers just like her when we grew up.  She was a very religious person. We didn’t always attend church, even though my Grandfather had been a Southern Baptist minister, but we always prayed before meals and before bedtime. She was beautiful, inside and out – her whole family is. We have a lot of ministers in our family.

If there was one person that I wish were here right now to talk to I would want it to be her. She always knew just what to say. Her peace lily that I’ve had for years finally bloomed over and over again last year just when I needed it to. It was a sign that she was there. My grandmother was always writing, anything from life advice to Bible verses, to simple thoughts. I had quite the scare a few years ago when my purse was stolen and I thought that I lost some of them, for I always carried a few of them on me. I had so many loving, supportive responses just to find out that I had placed them somewhere safe when I last cleaned out my purse. What a relief!

Well, I just cleaned out a drawer at home only to find her Bible and more letters that I thought I would share. She knew me so well and God knew just when I would need her. I love her and miss her every day, but now I know she really is always there.

Love IS the Answer

Ellie and I have been creating something special, at least something special to us.  When I started this blog, Love IS the Answer, I wasn’t sure the direction it was going to take. At first, I used it as an outlet for healing. Life is tough and we all go through major life changes that take a toll on us mentally, physically and emotionally. These experiences really test our strength to the core. I must say that I am so proud of myself and of my daughter for getting to the place where we are today. My closest friends know what we’ve been through and to those people in my life – thank you! You are God’s gifts to us.

I had never blogged before so creating this site was a little challenging and I started it by creating expression boards, or folders, but I insisted on doing it on my own. These allowed me to truly ‘brainstorm’ and challenge myself to get where I am. Maybe I started it prematurely, but for those of you that have been following along on my journey – thank you! Creating something that is an expression of me has, even if it’s a little messy, been empowering. But aren’t we all a little messy, so maybe it’s a very ‘real’ representation.

I have always been passionate about different causes. I care about animals and the environment, education, and healthcare. I don’t eat meat (for various reasons: ethical, health & environmental).  Do I feel like a bad furbaby mom for leaving my Henry home alone while I work – yes! Do I eat fried food – yes! I try hard to live my values, but I am not perfect. Have I struggled with trying to be perfect in the past? Yes, and it will make you crazy. Have I lived my truth in the past? Sometimes. Life is a beautiful journey… one we don’t always understand or trust. That’s when I have to hand it over to God.

I have really enjoyed getting back to creating things recently. Growing up I would paint the woodwork my grandfather spent so many hours creating. He would sell his pieces in the Roanoke Art Show every June. (next story) Lately, many of my girlfriends have started businesses and this has inspired me to create one myself. I am excited to see where this may go.

There is a description below describing Love IS the Answer’s purpose bracelet. I am in the middle of creating more, to include other featured colors, to raise awareness of other illnesses like cancer.

Bracelet:

  • Earth beads – You have a purpose in this world. (semi-precious beads)
  • Messages: Be kind, be brave, be strong in the battles you fight
  • Heart – Made with love.
  • Smaller color beads – Awareness color (glass beads)

*featured: red for heart health

Hell at Hinnom Valley

Hell at Hinnom Valley  

I loved listening to my Dad talk about scripture growing up so I’d like to share a story that he shared with me. He’s always open for discussing anything biblical and people are just drawn to his passion. I’ve seen him get through some of the toughest of times. I can not explain how incredible it felt to have so much loving support from friends and family to help our family get through all of the hard times we’ve faced as a family… cancer treatments, stem cell transplant, anxiety, depression, medical bills, birth defects, premature babies, divorces, tough relationships, the list goes on, probably much like many others so I understand! I’d be remiss not to share this story, for this news has been weighing on my heart. I know it was my family’s faith in God, and our love for Him and one another,  that got us through the toughest of times. #inspire See God is Love in my blog.

excerpt from biblestudy.org:

“What exactly is the HELL referred to by Jesus during his Sermon on the Mount? How does his message relate to the Hinnom Valley, which is located just south of the city of Jerusalem? Jesus, in his message, warned “. . . whosoever shall say (to his brother), Thou fool, shall be in danger of hell fire” (Matthew 5:22, KJV). The HBFV Bible translates the last part of the verse as “the fire of Gehenna.”

The Greek word from which we get the (mistranslated) English word “hell” in the KJV version of Matthew 5:22 is Gehenna(Strong’s Concordance #G1067). This word means “valley of Hinnom” according to Strong’s and Thayer’s Greek Definitions. There are also other New Testament locations where the King James erroneously uses the word Hell instead of a direct reference to the valley (Matthew 5:29, 30, 10:28, 18:9, 23:15, 33, Mark 9:43, 45, 47, Luke 12:5).

The first two places where “hell” (the Hinnom Valley) occurs in Scripture are as the boundary between the land inherited by the tribes of Benjamin and Judah (Joshua 15:8, 18:16).

Anciently, the Hinnom valley was one of the places where the idolatrous Israelites worshipped the pagan gods Moloch (Molech) and Baal using, among other things, fire (the fire of “hell” or gehenna). Many of the kings of Judah and Israel personally endorsed such worship. In fact, Judah’s King Ahaz (whose rule began in 735 B.C.) not only made idols, he sacrificed his own sons in the valley by having them BURNED and offered as a pagan burnt offering (2Chronicles 28:1 – 3)!

One of the national reforms of King Josiah was to destroy all the places used to worship false gods. He stopped this practice near Jerusalem, when he “defiled Topheth, in the valley of the children of Hinnom, so that no man might make his son or his daughter to pass through the fire to Molech” (2Kings 23:10, HBFV).

According to Adam Clarke’s Commentary, the word “Topheth” means “drum.” It is a reference to the drums used to drown out the screams of children as they were placed, alive, on red-hot arms as a pagan sacrifice!

Although pagan sacrifices were not being made at Hinnom during the time of Jesus, many fires still burned in the valley. According to Albert Barnes’ Notes, the location was commonly used as a city dump, a place where the trash of the city and dead carcasses were thrown, and where even public executions took place. Fires were constantly burning in the area (Gehenna or “hell” fire) in order to consume the continuous stream of garbage and other unwanted materials thrown into it.

Jesus used the continually burning fires of Himmon (and not the flames of an imaginary place of torment, like hell, accessible only in the afterlife) as an analogy of the eternal punishment (not punishing) of those who refuse to repent of hatred and anger toward others.”

Thank you:

  • God
  • Medicine
  • Science & Technology
  • Medical staff
  • Doctors & Nurses
  • Research & Development
  • Friends and Family

I pray for our leaders of this great country to not allow history to repeat itself. #neveragain 

And now these three remain faith, hope, and love. But the greatest of these is love. 1 Cor 13:13
“Life is so sweet.” – Dad

Photo Credits: Kristan Stowe

 

Celebrate Life this week

My family celebrated life twice this week, my nephew’s 3rd birthday and the Anniversary of my Dad’s release from Duke Medical Center. Happy Birthday sweet Ryland! He’s so very special to my family – I love being an aunt. Clifton Ryland was named after my Dad so he holds a special place in the family, not to mention, he’s the only other male aside from my Dad and brother. There are a lot of women in this family.

Grateful for Science and Technology:

Ryland was born with a bicuspid aortic valve, but my brother and sister-in-law wouldn’t have known if he wasn’t born prematurely. He was experiencing complications and had to undergo medical screenings. My niece was also born premature – my sister-in-law is amazing! I can’t imagine the stress she was under as a mother. They were both so tiny and absolutely precious. I have been intrigued with heart health because of this, and the fact that my grandfather passed away from an aortic aneurysm. It makes me wonder if my daughter should get screened since she’s so active. I must say that I was very impressed with the advances in cardiology that were presented at the heart health talk I attended this past week. The cardiologists said that early detection and prevention are key. The smaller fires are easier to put out.

Faith | Hope | Love

Cousins

“Life is so sweet” – Dad

Health|Nutrition|Fitness

After posting my last post on Facebook I received numerous messages asking me about my fitness routine. I even had some ask about my skincare routine so I thought I would include all of the information here. First of all, my skin is not perfect and it definitely has it’s challenges. I do love skincare products but tend to be brand loyal so I stick with my Clinique and Neutrogena since I’ve worked for both companies. My Grandmother aged so gracefully and used Clinique her whole life. I love that the line was designed by dermatologists! I just received my first microdermabrasion treatment and boy, did I not know what I was missing out on. I have used the Rodan and Fields micro treatment and loved it. My first professional micro treatment was AMAZING and such a nice treat!

As far as health and fitness are concerned, I have always valued and honored health and fitness, but just wasn’t great about staying consistent in recent years. I gave up meat, other than seafood, a few years ago after getting inspired by some of the cardiologists that I used to call on who did it to inspire their patients. Mimi Kirk is someone I follow on social media. She is an organic, vegan food enthusiast and the author of “Live Raw”. She’s very inspirational to follow. Giving up meat was a personal choice for me mainly because I was watching my Dad go through a stem cell transplant due to cancer second time around. ‘Everything in moderation’, right? Except for brownies – I love them! I made them for my daughter when she got sick last week and ate several. Chocolate is my weakness! We all have one – I hope.

When it comes to working out – consistency was definitely key for me, but everyone is different. I’ve always loved yoga and long walks to help de-stress. I LOVE being outside and have come to accept that I just have to switch it up. I would go through my different phases. Pilates reformer classes at Pilates Fitness Club, http://www.vbpilates.com is my favorite right now! It’s one of the most challenging fitness activities I have done. It definitely kicks my butt. Soreness is my new norm

So basically, I mix up my 4-5 days/week of routines between Pilates reformer classes, Bodyflow, Spin and Zone 4 at Onelife Fitness. I have to switch it up or I get bored. Then there’s Henry, my sweet pup. My all-time favorite activity is taking him on long walks outside during warmer weather. Nothing beats the great outdoors! Walks are soothing for my mind. I am flattered by people asking, but It’s important to do what works best for you! We are all in different life phases. Honor where you are and ‘do you’.

Time-out:

I am also trying to take more time for myself these days, I work full-time so on busy days I really need to get better at taking a ‘time-out’, even if for only 5-10 minutes to focus on breathing or to listen to a meditation piece. #goals #thestruggleisreal

Heart Health

” Keep your heart with all vigilance, for from it flow the springs of life.” Pro 4:23

It’s heart health month and I attended a talk on the advances in cardiology today on my day off. My grandfather died from an aortic aneurysm and I used to call on cardiologists so I’ve been a little more cautious about heart disease and have taken precautions to help prevent it myself. I cut out meat a few years ago because some of my cardiologists were doing it for their patients, and my father had been through a stem cell transplant. Thank God for medicine and technology.

Who better to hear heart health facts from than Dr. Deepak Talreja and his father, Dr. Roshan Talreja.

There are certainly some interesting facts I learned today about heart disease and cardiovascualr events I’d like to share. Did you know that 1 out of 3 females, and 1 out of 2 males, will die from a cardiovascular event in their lifetime? Here are some other interesting facts:

  • Cardiomyocytes make up the heart.
  • 100,000 neurons (thinking cells) in one heart.
  • The heart beats about 70x/min
  • Every 33 seconds someone experiences a heart attack.
  • 77 million people have high blood pressure.
  • The heart is a brain – it feels.
  • The heart is the center of existence.
  • The heart cells start beating around day 25 during development.

Did you know that two people can be holding hands and taking two different tests, and EEG (brain waves) and the EKG (heart waves) and the heart waves will show up on the EEG test, but not the opposite.

The heart talks to the brain with every heartbeat.

God is love

” Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love. God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in him.”
(1 John 4:8 and 4:16b)

The power of God’s love amazes me. Daily, I witness sick patients in the waiting rooms, some fighting for their lives. I interact with medical staff that cares for them – thank you for what you do! I experience this incredible journey called Motherhood. Right now I am raising a teenager and boy does she get frustrated with me. It would definitely be easy to get frustrated back and sometimes I do, but I also choose to understand why she does it. It’s because she understands my unconditional love for her. She recognizes that discipline is love. She is God’s greatest gift and I can’t believe that God loaned her to me to raise. I believe our children grow up to be our greatest contributions to society. I will never forget those eyes staring into mine the day she was born. The miracle of life amazes me. These two both amaze me.

Strong young women

How do I know God is real?

As I continuously reflect on my life, I think about when he has revealed himself to me. It is either through others, nature or through my daughter when I feel his presence the greatest.

There is nothing like a Mother’s love! I am definitely not perfect and not a perfect mother, or sister, or daughter, or friend. I actually feel like an awful friend to so many lately. Please be kind to one another because we really don’t know what others are going through. I am extremely grateful to so many people who have helped me through difficult times, especially last year. I have been growing so much lately, especially in my relationship with God. It is He who gives me strength. I am truly blessed!

There are defining moments in our lives that change us and force us to grow and it is during that time that we make the choice to not give up and continue moving forward with strength. We don’t all have to agree in order to love and respect each other. I saw a community come together stronger than ever recently due to a tragedy. It was beautiful the way they chose to stand united and love – just love – each other and the family.

Defining Moments:

My Father, my rock. He fought cancer twice and even endured a stem cell transplant from Duke Medical Center. I witnessed him in his ‘place’. It wasn’t until much later that he could talk about this place. All I remember is his strength and I knew I had to let him be. It was in that place that he was with God. It’s important to have our place, our quiet moments to connect with Him. I believe all things are possible when we turn to Him. Cancer sucks! Our family, just like many others, lived that. We watched my Dad fight for his life through chemo treatments that made him feel like his body was on fire, made him blow up like the marshmallow man and make him so delirious he didn’t know where he was. I remember vividly watching him beg the nurse to find a vein and ‘make it work’ when the chemo burned his arm so badly that he couldn’t receive treatment in that location any longer. He was begging to live. Thank God for medicine and technology. If the monoclonal antibody he received didn’t come out two years prior, he probably wouldn’t be here. The same class of drugs I represent. Thank you, Dad, for fighting and for always keeping us close to God. I love listening to him preach the word.

“With men this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.” Matthew 19:26

My Dad receiving his ‘new life’ at Duke.

My Grandmother, oh how I loved her. She was so sad after losing my Grandfather. They had been married for over fifty years. She was never sick and never admitted to a hospital until after she was diagnosed with cancer three years after losing Papa. I argued with her over receiving chemo because we had just been through it with Dad. The cancer had already spread to her lungs and hospice had been called in. She just wanted to be with Papa. She was the strongest woman I knew, and fiercely independent. She owned her own salon and taught at VOTEC in Roanoke. She traveled with me alone all the time. I respect that since it wasn’t the norm for the times.

Hawaii for the Pro Bowl, 1997

I couldn’t watch her suffer, she had taken a turn for the worse while I checked in at the hotel and took Ellie for a swim. We had spent hours at the hospital before then. My sister called me back to the hospital and Granny was having trouble breathing. The minister was on his way. I was panicked and determined that she would not suffer so I went to the chapel and kneeled on the Bible. That’s all I could do and I remember having a serious heart to heart with God. I begged him to take her quickly. I returned to her room and within the next hour my sister and I were kissing her on her face and fighting over who her favorite grandchild was, giggling, and then we heard her take her last breath. I mean, to have your grandchildren fighting over you that way, just adoring you – what better way? I was rejoicing that she was with Papa. She was so beautiful. Of course, we were all upset, but there was this incredible peace that came over me and our family.

It was this past year that her peace lily started blooming again. It had only bloomed maybe once or twice since her funeral. I have kept this plant alive ever since. That lily gave me multiple blooms while I was struggling and at one of the lowest points of my life. That was her. That was God. She is with me every day!

We all have our stories and I love hearing others’ stories. It is when we open ourselves up to one another that we can truly start to appreciate God’s true power by the way he presents himself in our journey. Embrace the journey because we all have something to share with one another. God is so good!

I love you, Mom!

Forgiveness

Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.” Luke 23:34

Life is a beautiful journey and some chapters keep you in tears. We all wake up daily knowing we will have to make decisions throughout our day that will affect our lives and the lives of those we come in contact with forever. Sometimes we look back and realize we didn’t always make the best choices. We have to let it go. Forgiveness is one of the hardest life lessons I have had to learn, but the most freeing.

“Everyone you meet is fighting a battle you know nothing about” – Anonymous

We need to ask ourselves, “What do I want in life”? Do I want to live a life of imprisonment or do I want to embrace the future and move forward wholeheartedly? This does not mean people can’t be held accountable for their actions. What it means is that the forgiving heart can heal. It can be whole and open to love again. When bitterness and hatred reside then there isn’t space for love, acceptance. and happiness.

Nobody is perfect and I know I’m not. I also know that there is only one that has the power to judge and that’s God.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/graphics/2018/national/what-unites-us/?noredirect=on&utm_term=.a3b8bd121673


Forgiveness is the only path to real freedom.

And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love. 1 Cor 13:13