My sweet friend, Kimberly McLeod, asked me to be a guest writer on her blog.  I wanted to share it with you as well.  (You can also see it on her blog by clicking here).  She recently designed and produced an awesome journal called the Words Journal modeled after our mentor’s method to journaling.  The Lord has shown great favor upon this project and she is already in her second printing.  Keep reading for a link where you can see and purchase one for yourself.


Hey friends! I pray you have stepped into 2018 with some new, fresh words in your head and heart. Words that bless and heal. Have you considered picking a word for 2018? One to focus and reflect on? One that inspires and restores you? Consider this!

I am excited to share a fresh word from my dear friend, Ashley Jansen. She is a lover of words and her heart is to use God’s words to bless and heal others! I believe her words are the perfect challenge to us this month as we begin 2018!

“Do you ever wish you were blind?  I do.  I mean I am not trying to be insensitive and of course I don’t really desire not to see, but there are things I wish I was blind to.  I feel it would make the comparison trap not-so-trap-like.  I would stop striving for the next thing and just be content with the current thing.  I’d be OK with my current grade rather than desiring my neighbor’s upgrade.  I wouldn’t be able to see Jo-Jo’s latest beautiful project full of ship-lap or the latest magazine with the beautiful (unrealistic-touched-up) star on the cover.

It’s hard to put the blinders on, which is why I wish I was blind sometimes.  I think about the type of blinders you see on the horse of a horse-drawn carriage.  He can only see in front of him to stay his path.  Those are the type of blinders I wish someone could put on me.

My late mentor, Regina Williams, (who Kimberly modeled the Words Journal from) used to tell us all the time, “Bloom where you are planted”. IMG_4655 She would encourage us that God had planted us exactly where we are for a purpose and he desired us to thrive and bloom in that season.  My personal opinion is the more you look over at someone else’s garden where they are planted the less you bloom where you are planted. This keeps you from reaching the full potential God desires, thus you stay in that spot for longer (sometimes longer than he intended).

The comparison trap is hard.  Social media gives us our friend’s highlight real that doesn’t measure up to our normal, mundane day.  The neighbor got the new model of your dream car and now you are grumpy about your perfectly fine and working car.  Your sister is getting the new kitchen you have always wanted.  Or maybe it’s even more personal.  You got asked to be a bridesmaid again and you still have no ring of your own.  You received another baby shower invitation and you really thought the next baby celebrated would be yours.  Regina would say, “Bloom where you are planted.”  Saturate your life with His words so that your roots dig down so deep you wouldn’t want to be planted anywhere else.  His desires for you include a prosperous life full of blooms (Jeremiah 29:11).

I think this can also apply to situations you may not really want to bloom.  This was me 2 years ago when I was diagnosed with breast cancer.  I was in a struggle with my heavenly father.  I didn’t want to bloom here.  But the more I fought it the harder the season was.  When I accepted cancer and chose to dig my roots deep into the soil of my circumstance the bloom that came forth was hearty, beautiful, and oh so fragrant.  Have you ever been there?  Maybe it wasn’t cancer, but maybe it was some other sort of medical or physical ailment. Maybe it was a broken relationship or marriage.  Maybe it was a prodigal child.  Maybe it was job loss.  Maybe it was grief.  My sweet beautiful friend – dig your roots into that soil.  Your father wants to grow a beautiful bloom from you.

Is there something in your current circumstances that you are resisting?  Could it be God has you exactly where he wants you on purpose, for a purpose so that your roots can grow deep and he can produce blooms in your life?

Is there something in your life you have grown discontent over that the Lord is asking for you to remain where he has you, stop resisting, and just bloom where you are planted?

Grab your words journal ( and tease out those questions.  Be honest with your heavenly father, because he cares about you (Psalm 55:22; 1 Peter 5:7).  He wants to hear your heart!”

What a good word friends! Let’s all find our place to bloom in 2018!


Home and Resting

Thank y’all for all your prayers today. Everything went very well and he didn’t have to put drains in which is HUGE!! I got home around 2:00 this afternoon and have been resting. Pain meds are working nicely.

I do have one thing I could use some prayers. They have to put a tube down my throat during surgery and upon removal they scratched my throat way down at the base of my neck. It hurts to talk or eat. The only thing I’ve been able to get down is pudding and frozen yogurt (which are not Whole30 compliant and is a big bummer). Please pray this heals quickly so that I can start eating better foods soon.

Otherwise all is going better than expected. I so appreciate my prayer warriors. Your support has been felt today!

Heading in…

Heading to the hospital. Reading over these verses continually this morning. Mark or Rachael will be updating the Facebook page. Thanks for the prayers.

“Casting the whole of your care [all your anxieties, all your worries, all your concerns, once and for all] on Him, for He cares for you affectionately and cares about you watchfully. [Ps. 55:22.]”

‭‭1 Peter‬ ‭5:7‬ ‭AMPC‬‬

“Cast your burden on the Lord [releasing the weight of it] and He will sustain you; He will never allow the [consistently] righteous to be moved (made to slip, fall, or fail). [I Pet. 5:7.]”

‭‭Psalm‬ ‭55:22‬ ‭AMPC‬‬

“Do not fret or have any anxiety about anything, but in every circumstance and in everything, by prayer and petition (definite requests), with thanksgiving, continue to make your wants known to God. And God’s peace [shall be yours, that tranquil state of a soul assured of its salvation through Christ, and so fearing nothing from God and being content with its earthly lot of whatever sort that is, that peace] which transcends all understanding shall garrison and mount guard over your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.”

‭‭Philippians‬ ‭4:6-7‬ ‭AMPC‬‬

“You go before me and follow me. You place your hand of blessing on my head.”

‭‭Psalms‬ ‭139:5‬ ‭NLT‬‬

Whole30 Update

So I have received a lot of questions as to why my doctor recommended me to do Whole30 so I thought I would answer that question here for all of you.  I am having surgery next Thursday.  I pray it is the last surgery on this cancer journey.  It is the last of my reconstruction.  Some of you may or may not know that my last surgery (October 2016) I had my ovaries and tubes out which caused me to be in menopause.  And let me just say that is the gift that keeps on giving.  Part of my struggle in menopause has been my metabolism (or lack there of).  I had put on some weight and my plastic surgeon suggested I try Whole30 to jump start my weight loss.  He wanted me to be back to as normal as possible for the work he is doing in surgery, but to also see what foods may be causing me the most issues.

The part of Whole30 people forget is it is not just about the 30 days you are limiting grains, dairy, & sugar.  It’s about the reintroduction of those things back into your diet the 10-15 days after that helps you make life-long changes that are best for you.  My doctor actually recommended that I do it for 60 days so that after my surgery I am feeding my body the best type of foods to help with recovery. As well as I will be on exercise restrictions for 3-4 weeks so I don’t want to reintroduce a lot of the foods (sugar, grains, and dairy) while I can’t work out.

We are 18 days in.  Just over half way done.  Mark has done excellent and hasn’t cheated at all.  I’ll be honest that I haven’t been as good.  I may or may not have had a piece of candy at the movie theater.  It does require a lot of cooking and I have never bought so much produce and meat in my life.  We have not eaten out as much, but that part of our budget got moved to groceries because it has been about 25% more than usual this month.  Mark and I are both feeling great and our clothes are fitting much nicer.  We are developing some healthy habits that I do think will be permanent changes in our life.  (The recipes are really good – almost all I will be adding to my normal rotation.  The boys have really enjoyed them too.  All I did was check out the Whole30 book & recipe book from the library.  (Click for their amazon links.))

I’ll update you again on our final progress and results.  We did take measurements and beginning weight etc.

To stay up-to-date with my surgery please follow my TeamAJ facebook page:

New Year

Here’s what I know:

  • It’s 2018 (What the what?!?!)
  • We started Whole30 today (it was doctor’s orders for me and my husband is oh so kind to join me – so just be aware dear loved ones – we are hungry and can’t have sugar)
  • I’m getting off social media again for sure until Easter, but maybe for longer.  These entries will still automatically post to Facebook and Instagram, but I won’t be posting outside of that.
  • My word for 2018 is: ABIDE.  More on that and my 2018 goals later.

So – I’ll keep you updated on my current self-imposed torture otherwise called Whole30 and you’ll be hearing from me as things are laid on my heart to share.

My hope is 2018 will be the year you can look back on as one of impact, growth, and revelation!