I’M BACK!

Y’ALL.

My husband is a legitimate ROCK STAR. For those of you who don’t know, my website was shut down due to malware activity and for 5 months we have battled malware, hacking, deleted websites, poor customer service, re-hosting, countless phone calls and emails, and HOURS of frustration to get my website back up and running. And by WE, I mean 100% Matt. He has done ALL of the work to get all of my 5 years of files back up and running and I am SO SO SO grateful for his patience and servant heart because there’s a really good chance I would have given up long before he would have.

So all of that goes to say, I am BACK and going to be updating (semi) regularly again! I’ve done several photo shoots over the last few months that I haven’t been able to share that I’m going to start with, and I also have several coming up that should be available soon after they are edited.

Not that you’ve all been wringing your hands wondering if I would ever come back to the blogging world, but now you know why I’ve been absent and that I hope to come back full swing, ready to share my life with you and showcase awesome family’s photos and memories. Thanks for sticking with me all this time!

Now, look at my cute family 🙂 Photo credit: Kelsey Tice Photography.

View More: http://kelseytice.pass.us/therenneys

Finley – One Year!

My best friend Chelsea just had a daughter turn ONE whole year old. HOW is that even possible? When did we get old enough to have girls turning ONE?! We were just in high school shopping for prom dresses, weren’t we? Even though time seems to be flying by, we wouldn’t change it for the world. We’ve talked about how becoming moms is even better than we could have ever imagined and watching our little girls grow up together is so worth getting older 😉 Finley is a little firecracker, her daddy’s mini-me, and full of spunk and joy just like her mama. Love this little girl! 2015-08-08_0001 2015-08-08_0002 2015-08-08_0003 2015-08-08_0004 2015-08-08_0005 2015-08-08_0006

This is my favorite picture and I might spend the rest of my life trying to get one of me and Adalynn just like it.

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We love you Finley girl!

Everly | One Year

Even though I’m behind in posting, I didn’t want to neglect sharing this cute little girl with the world! Remember Everly from her newborn shoot? Well fast forward one year and we’ve come to know and love this beautiful, bouncy, full-of-personality little lady who smiles at everyone and couldn’t love life more. She celebrated her birthday at the end of April, so we decided to do a little photo documentation for the little tyke. We love her parents and I love that Adalynn gets to grow up with this girl. It is my prayer that they become fast friends and will have sleepovers and secrets and play dress-up for many years to come! 2015-04-21_0001 2015-04-21_0002 2015-04-21_0003 2015-04-21_0004 2015-04-21_0005 2015-04-21_0006 2015-04-21_0007 2015-04-21_0008 2015-04-21_0009 2015-04-21_0010 2015-04-21_0011 2015-04-21_0012 2015-04-21_0013 2015-04-21_0014 2015-04-21_0015 2015-04-21_0016 2015-04-21_0017 2015-04-21_0018 2015-04-21_0019 2015-04-21_0020 2015-04-21_0021 2015-04-21_0022 2015-04-21_0023 2015-04-21_0024 2015-04-21_0025

We love you Everly!

What is One Simple Change?

Recently I had the opportunity to share a little bit about my health journey at an event at our local specialty olive oil and vinegar shop, The Leaning Ladder. This event was sponsored by Juice Plus+, and was all about simple changes we can make in our health journey and how all of these little changes add up to make a big impact on our health. For those of you who weren’t able to attend, I wanted to share what I spoke about that night as well and to give you a little bit of a background of where I’ve come from and the hope I have for mine and my family’s health in the future!

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Just to give you a little bit of a background about myself: I grew up relatively healthy, with the exception of asthma, allergies, and in September of 2013, Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (which is a hormonal imbalance that causes irregular cycles and makes it very difficult for many women to conceive.) I had never given much of a second thought about what I ate or how I took care of my body.

But my eyes began to be opened in the Fall of 2008, when I transferred to Liberty University from KSU and moved out on my own for the first time. Turns out that my faster metabolism didn’t follow with me to college, and I started to gain weight that I had never experienced before. Not an exorbitant amount, but it definitely shocked me when I started seeing the pounds pile on. —This is how clueless I was: My roommate and I were over at her boyfriends apartment hanging out with a large group of friends. On a routine trip to the restroom, I decided to weigh myself on the scale in the bathroom. It had been several months since I had stepped on a scale, because, like I said, I wasn’t concerned about what I ate or how much I exercised because it had never really affected me before. It said I weighed 20 POUNDS more than I remembered weighing 4 months prior to that. I quickly decided the scale was broken and decided it would be a good idea to announce to everyone at the apartment that his scale needed fixing because it was waaayyyy off from what I weighed. He sheepishly told me that it was definitely correct and the more I argued with him, the more embarrassed I got realizing I was probably wrong and all those chicken tenders and fries and pizza were probably finally catching up with me. Needless to say, I decided then and there to start paying attention to what I was eating and put an ounce of effort into some kind of regular physical activity. Never again did I want to be that oblivious to the state of my own health.

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The Delusion:

The rest of college I did alright, not over indulging (most of the time) and not being a health freak either. I did all the things I thought were the smart ideas…. I bought the low calorie, low-fat, fat-free, no sugar added, diet, etc. items at the grocery store and felt good about paying attention to labels and advertisements for the hottest trends of what was “healthy.” I was completely clueless about the fact that I was a victim of brilliant marketing and even though I might not have been gaining weight on the outside, my insides were not getting any healthier. I thought the less calories something had, the better it was for me…so I would have a bowl of oatmeal sweetened with Splenda almost every day and mixed in some artificially flavored strawberry yogurt, went on my merry way to the gym where I would get in a solid workout and give myself a pat on the back.

In the grand scheme of things, what I was doing was at least making an effort. I did care. I wanted to be healthy. I wanted to look good in my wedding dress and sport an awesome bikini on my honeymoon. All of these things I would say that I did accomplish. However, it wasn’t until after I got married that I started learning what healthy really meant.

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The Beginning of Change:

Becoming more educated about food in general was not an overnight epiphany. It was a long process that I’m still experiencing. I didn’t have a defining moment that is marked in history as the day the lightbulb went off, but as I look back of the last several years, I can see one simple change at a time that I started to make.

I nannied for a family that only bought fresh sliced deli meat, instead of the pre-packaged deli meat. It tasted better, so I decided we would start there—not buying pre-packaged deli meat anymore, but buying it as fresh as we could get it. I knew it was more expensive, but I decided we needed to start investing in healthier habits somewhere, and that’s the only place I could think of, so that’s what we did. One simple change.

Then I learned that Splenda and other zero calorie sweeteners were actually poison and I began to remove those from my diet. As soon as I did I noticed my head felt clearer. When I would go back and eat something with artificial sweetener in it again, it would give me headaches. So I decided to nix that from our kitchen as well. One more simple change.

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Reading Nutrition Labels:

Slowly but surely I began to learn how to read nutrition labels. I learned that the more ingredients were listed on something, the less healthy it was for my body. I read articles about ingredients that are banned in other countries but still allowed in America. I thought to myself, if Red #40 and Yellow #5 are banned in the entire European Union, why are they not banned here, and why am I voluntarily putting this in my body? And just like that, the amount of artificial coloring I consumed was dramatically decreased as much as was in my control.

Instead of looking at the nutrition label and only looking at the amount of calories, grams of fat, sugars, proteins, and carbs, I decided I would start looking at the ingredient list. Before I ever put a box or can of anything in my cart at the grocery store, it has become second nature to flip it around and check out the ingredients. Artificial flavors? Going back on the shelf. High fructose corn syrup? No thank you. Artificial colors? Definitely not. I began to realize that just because something is labeled as a diet food, doesn’t mean it is healthy. When you look at the amount spent on advertising these foods, you get an eery feeling that these companies might be more interested in profit than in the actual health of their consumers. Listen to these numbers:

In 2012, 4.6 BILLION dollars was spent on all fast food advertising. 

Companies spend $1.79 BILLION annually to market food to children with only $280 million for healthy foods.

Advertising and marketing always got me. I believed it. But then I started doing the research and learned that it doesn’t have to be complicated. Whole foods. Fruits, vegetables, berries, grains. The closer my food was to it’s natural state, the way God created it in nature, the better for me it was going to be. When I started thinking about it in that context, everything changed.

God created food for us to enjoy and to sustain us and give us life, but if we are not careful, what we are consuming is not the food He created…it is a manufactured, chemically altered, lab-concocted product being masked as an easy fix. I just decided that I wanted to make that simple change of REALLY paying attention to what I put in this body God has given me. By doing that one thing, of taking a few extra seconds to look at ingredient lists, I’m proactively making the decision to say no to the things that are going to hinder my health journey, and yes to the food that is going to fuel my body and give it the nutrition it needs to do what it is supposed to do.

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Juice Plus+: 

And that’s where Juice Plus has helped me tremendously over the last several months to help bridge that gap of the whole foods in the fruits, veggies, and berries, that I just couldn’t consume enough on an every day basis. I had heard of Juice Plus several years ago and loved the idea of it, but never looked close enough at the clinical research to make the decision to try it. But when Katie told me that it really is just whole fruits, vegetables, and berries in capsule form, and that she wouldn’t put it in her body if it wasn’t legit, then I decided to go for it. Juice Plus just made sense to me. I felt like it was impossible to eat as much of the whole foods as I needed to be at my healthiest. And with having a super picky eater for a husband, we knew we needed to add this in our every day routines.

Now I know that every single day my body is being flooded with the nutrients that it needs to function and thrive how it should. I’ve noticed a significant increase in energy, stronger nails, clearer skin, clearer thinking, practically zero allergies, and even my exercise induced asthma is significantly decreasing. My husband, whose sinuses were so bad that he had to have sinus surgery when he was 9 years old, have dramatically improved and he no longer snores at night and he hasn’t gotten a sinus infection since we started Juice Plus. My 6 month old daughter has eczema, and just through what she is getting from the breastmilk, it is clearing up and less and less inflamed. There is a reason the clinical research backs up what I’m experiencing: because JP actually is what it claims to be.

I first started in the business to cover the cost of our product, but now after falling in love with the product, I can’t help but share it. When you love something and believe in something, you share it with the ones you care about. I can’t say enough about the peace of mind I have from doing these tiny simple changes that I know are adding up. I know that these simple changes matter and will continue to have positive effects on my health and the health of my family for years to come.

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{Katie, Me, Amy Leigh, and Jill}

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{Dana, Amanda, Katie, Me, Valerie, Amy Leigh, Jill}

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 Tower Garden, able to grow over 20 different fruits, vegetables, lettuces, herbs, and flowers. SO COOL.

One & Two Month(s) Old | Adalynn Grace

Permanently behind. That’s me. That’s okay.

12 days old

When Adalynn was born she weighed 7 lbs 9 oz. and was 20 in. long.

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One month old

9 lbs. and 22.25 inches

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Two months old

10 lbs 5 oz. and 23.25 inches

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We love this little girl!

Fall Must-Haves

It’s getting to be that time of year…that beautiful, blissfull, favorite time of year…

… FALL!

 

The cooler weather, the crisp leaves, the breathtaking colors. They all take hold of my heart and keep it captivated as I’m reminded of God’s creativity in the changing of the seasons. I’m fully convinced that He made Fall especially perfect to remind of us His beauty. There are so many fun activities, so many memories that go along with this season. Fall festivals, pumpkin patches, state fairs, apple picking, jumping in leaf piles and riding with the windows down… don’t even get me started on the smells. Cinnamon, pumpkin, nutmeg spice, it’s my favorite season! (There’s also that beautiful thing called Alabama Crimson Tide football, Roll Tide!)

 

I’m becoming a list person. I like to make to-do lists. Some are in order to keep my life from being crazy chaos, but other lists are for fun, to ensure that I don’t let myself get too overwhelmingly busy and actually slow down to enjoy the season. Thus, the reason for this post: my electronic Fall to-do list.

 

Must-Haves/Do’s for Fall 2010:

  • Alabama football with my family every Saturday
  • Matt’s 23rd Birthday
  • Cagle’s Dairy Farm for the North Georgia Corn Maze
  • Pumpkin Carving with my Fiance
  • Apple Picking in the North Georgia Mountains
  • A ride through the country side with the windows down
  • Boots shopping
  • Scarf wearing
  • Camping Trip with my friends

There’s so much to look forward to! I don’t want to miss a bit of it. Way too often, I’m always looking forward to the next big thing. But I’m beginning to learn that the Lord has intended for me to not just count down, but to live every day with the intent of glorifying Him through being fully aware and alive in the midst of never-ending change. That’s it. That’s my thoughts today. So go out there and enjoy Fall everyone! It will be over before we know it.