The Love Language of Giving

The Love Language of Giving

I want to drag Christmas morning out for as long as possible. My sister, especially would get frustrated with me as I’d carefully unwrap each piece of tape and then each layer of wrapping paper all to relish in the anticipation. Then I’d want everyone to open their gifts the same way, but my sister tore into hers as if they would melt before she could finish. I’d ask my parents if we could each open a gift one at a time, because as much as I do enjoy receiving gifts, I love even more watching others open theirs.

I’m known to my family as the “gift-giver”. For the simple reason that I love giving people presents, and watching the smile come over their face as they open it. I rarely ask what someone wants, because I usually get them something they didn’t know they wanted. I like gifts with meaning. Most people would think that means I also love getting gifts. Which I do, but it’s a much deeper connection than what it seems on the surface.

There’s a saying “It’s not the gift, but the thought that counts,” which I find they are mutually exclusive. Gift giving is about intention, about feelings, and sharing with a person you care about just how much you love them.

It is not the gift, but the thought that counts.
It is not the gift, but the thought that counts.

The Love Language of Giving

But Christmas isn’t all about gifts right? It’s about sharing joy, and love and happiness. I think our gifts should encompass them.

The Love Language of GivingGiving gifts is about affection. Whether you are making something or purchasing, taking the time to create or think of another, that’s why gifts are so special. You can put intention behind your gifts simply by what you’re giving. This year, I have so much love and joy to share.

The Love Language of GivingNot that I haven’t had this same feeling in past years, but it’s different for me now. I live far from all of my friends, and continuing on my journey after having them in my daily life for so long has not been the easiest.

I am finding life moving quicker as the years pass and all I want to do is grab on the edge, dig my nails into the ground and hope to gain strength from a gradual climb. But I want to slow down, pause in the moments where I find happiness, and when I have it embrace that warm glowing feeling that generates deep in my belly.

The Love Language of Giving Last Christmas was difficult for me. I enjoyed the day with family but the winter months seemed drearier than they ever had before, as if the days never fully came for me and I spent most of the time in the dark. I was in a job I hated. I felt utterly unaccomplished and lacked motivation to make a change. A flare of my arthritis set in about this time, and so with it depression. I could not channel hope and instead felt purely lost.

The Love Language of GivingBut this year, is different for me. I have transformed so many things in my life over the course of a few months and I feel the momentum underneath me pushing me to conquer my dreams.  I have so much to share. I want to seek joy through every avenue possible. I realized my passions are worth delving into deeply so that I can give more of myself to others.

There has been some reservation on my part, about sharing fully what I am doing and where I want to take my future. I think mostly because I wasn’t even fully confident in it myself yet. There was hesitation in whether my healing lifestyle would “work”. I had doubts, “what if I don’t see the results?” And now, it’s what I want to share with everyone.

It’s something that has taken a while for me to come to, and largely a part of my healing process. But my best gift has been time, to learn more about myself. And in turn, my ability to share with others has increased tenfold. Because even as difficult as some of it has been, my continual metamorphosis has allowed me to appreciate my true self, and see all the gifts I  have to offer.

The Love Language of Giving

So I spent an afternoon drawing, creating, cutting and writing. I slowed down, appreciated all my friends and the incredible work they are doing in their lives. I am so grateful to have each of them. I want to share with them just how delicious and accessible healthy meals are. Hopefully encouraging them through my experience to go after what they really want by using their natural gifts.

I gave them a spice or herb that in one way or another reminded me of them. One of my friends is the most warm and giving individual I know, if she could she would donate a limb to stranger if they needed it. She got cinnamon because it’s warmth radiates in food. Another girlfriend got ginger as she has an aura about her that’s calming and her strength is insurmountable. Cardamom, one of my favorite spices,  has a smell entirely unique just like a friend of mine who has been irreplaceable in my life. Another friend and I lived in Italy together, and during that time we shared so many memories and happiness. I gave her oregano to remember each of the special memories we have.

The Love Language of GivingSage is one of those herbs that to me is nearly intoxicating. It’s smell is earthy and I usually want to use it on just about everything. My one friend, is like this, you generally just want to be around her and her fun witty way is something that I adore. In my opinion, thyme is the herb that stands the test of time (pun intended). This girl has influenced me more than she may know and her passion for helping exudes her. Being the foundation of her reputation this makes her one of the most kind people I know.

I love Christmas, for so many reasons, love, family, traditions, presents, food! Many of which I am sure you can relate to. Reflecting on last Christmas, and the year in between has had me already thinking and planning for New Years. If like me, you are all about making New Year’s resolutions, leading your life through what you desire, or know someone who fit’s that description, check out my ideas for planning below.


Here are some of my favorite gifts to help get a head start on an AMAZING New  Year!

For Starting A New Year

Desire Map Day Planner

Desire Map Book

Desire Map Journal

#Truthbomb Card Deck


I am filled up this year, and feel extremely fortunate to share that with my friends, and with you. Thank you!



Immune Boosting Turmeric Tea

Immune Boosting Turmeric Tea

These past two weeks have been chaotic, to say the least. And even that would probably be an understatement. Between traveling, preparing for the holidays, working on new projects, figuring out plans for the new year – it’s been pretty hectic. Oh and then yesterday, I decided it would be a great idea to de-clutter and purge.

So here I am trying to detox a few of the materialistic things, while managing the outlining stress of all the other factors I have going on in my life. I know the last thing my body needs is an extra increase in sugar intake, and my adrenals especially do not need to be slammed by caffeine.

So yesterday I decided to give my body some self-love. Along with trying to live a bit more minimally, I want to make sure my body is healthy going into this crazy holiday season. Which also happens is the season for sickness, too. Yesterday, after many hours of purging I went to a nearly two-hour detox yoga class. It was SO amazing. Everything I needed in a class and truthfully, leading up to it, I thought “I don’t really need to detox from anything, I’m doing pretty good.” WRONG!

Immune Boosting Turmeric Tea

I  was completely wrong about what my body needed. In fact, I needed the emotional release of pushing my body through movements, to sweat, to deeply stretch in order to help set me back to a  state of balance and clarity.

So today, along with work I am taking it easy on myself. Being gentle with my body and recognizing that I just did a lot of HARD work. Between physical movement and emotional fatigue, I need to give my immune system some support as it deals with all the baggage I am throwing at it. Oh, and the change in season.

As I type, I am sitting and sipping on this turmeric tea.

Ginger happens to be one of my favorite spices to cook with. It adds such complexity of flavor and spice to different meals by adding only a tiny bit of it. A little really goes a long way in the case of ginger although I prefer to use A LOT just because I love it. I am glad too, that I enjoy it so much because the immune boosting power of ginger is one of the greatest. It not only helps to balance out the immune system functions but works as an anti-inflammatory to help calm down the systemic inflammation response in the body, for people like me, whose immune systems think it’s a great idea to attack itself!

Being a part of the ginger family, turmeric is a well-known superfood that has antioxidant properties that help to boost the immune system to support your body and keep your antibodies healthy. Turmeric has been used in Chinese and Indian medicine for generations to help bodily ailments like arthritis, irritable bowl syndrome, and as a powerful anti-inflammatory it helps to reduce overall inflammation in the body. Along with these benefits you can see here an in-depth nutritional profile of turmeric that indicates high levels of magnesium and potassium.

The gentle spice from the ginger rejuvenates and awakens the body while the green tea and turmeric warm you up, making this drink super cozy. Your body will thank you!



Immune Boosting Turmeric Tea


1 cup hot water and one green tea bag (let steep for 2-3 minutes)

1 tablespoon coconut oil

1 tablespoon coconut milk (make sure it’s free of additives)

½ teaspoon ground turmeric

½  teaspoon fresh grated ginger

¼ teaspoon cinnamon

Sprinkling of  ground clove



1. Stir together coconut oil and turmeric until it creates a paste.

2. Pour hot green tea into a blender, add half of turmeric paste along with cinnamon, fresh ginger, clove and coconut milk.  Blend on high until mixture becomes frothy.

3.Pour in serving cup sprinkle more cinnamon//clove//ginger or favorite spices, relax and enjoy.


Tip: Save the other half of your turmeric paste for another morning and you’re already one step ahead. You can easily make a large batch of the paste as well.




Winter Warming Lamb Stew

Winter Warming Lamb Stew

Stews are one of those meals that make you feel downright cozy. In the winter especially, holding a warm bowl full of nutritious broth and hearty vegetables is the meal-ticket to laying under a blanket and snuggling on a couch. After I eat a bowl of stew that’s pretty much what I want to do.


Winter Warming Lamb Stew

I live in the Southeast where the weather can still be fairly warm in the winter time, but having grown up living in Belgium and later in Virginia, I know what damp and bitter cold feels like. Some days here, the weather is crisp in the mornings and later evening but generally we don’t see significant temperature drops until January. Last week, this was not the case.

It got so cold here that I broke out my winter coat and my fuzzy slippers. There’s nothing I hate more than cold feet!! But I’ll let you know something else, I secretly LOVED it!! Yes, I miss the cold (GASP). I know, I know and then I decided I had to make this lamb stew. And while I don’t thing lamb stew is strictly reserved for the colder months at all, I wanted something that had warming spices, healing broth and wouldn’t take much effort.

Winter Warming Lamb StewWinter Warming Lamb StewThe unique flavor of the this stew comes from the cut of meat I use, lamb neck. It is such an awesome part of lamb to use in stews because it breaks down to this delicate texture that melts in your mouth as you eat it. Combine it with herbs like bay leaf, rosemary, sage and cinnamon…

Your whole house will smell as if you’ve you’d been baking all day. And you very well could have with all that extra time not having to worry about what to have for dinner. Cha ching! And all you did was stick a few things in a Crockpot. Might as well call you the next Julia Child.

But really, slow cooking meals are the best because they are low energy. I mean YOUR energy, not the electric bill. When I don’t feel like being in the kitchen a lot, slow cooking is my solution.

Winter Warming Lamb StewThe finishing touches though, are what make this stew special. In the last few minutes of the cooking process you add the cranberries. The tang in every bite compliments the fatty (good fat!) parts of the lamb and the denser vegetables of the carrots.

Whenever I make this I have a huge batch of leftovers and then am always sad when I get down to my last serving. Thank goodness it’s a cinch to make!



Winter Warming Lamb Stew


2.5 lbs lamb neck (this should include the bones)

4 medium turnip roots

5 medium-sized carrots

1 onion

1 bay leaf

2 full sprigs fresh rosemary chopped

5 sprigs fresh thyme

1 ½ cups chicken or beef broth

1 ½ cups water (can use more broth instead of water, but the bones from the lamb will create much of their own broth with this water)

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 teaspoon salt

1 ½ teaspoons cinnamon

½ cup fresh cranberries



1. Put olive oil, lamb necks, onion and salt into the slow cooker and turn on high for an hour.

2. After an hour turn to low, add the broth, water and bay leaf. Then add vegetables and all spices and let cook for 8-10 hours, the meat will fall off the bones.

3. Cut cranberries in half and store them in the fridge until the last hour of cooking.

4. After the final hour, turn off the heat, add the cranberries to the pot and cover for another half our.

5. Skim off any undesired fat from the broth. Serve!





Diagnosis Is Not Always “The Answer”

I am staring at a blank screen thinking about all the things I want to say – how can I tell the story of my disease in a way that you can understand? It’s an ongoing theme in my life, and for many I believe, to seek understanding. But the reality (at least my reality) has been that most people don’t understand. So writing about my journey so that you might  know how my autoimmune disease affects me is difficult, but I’m not going to shy away from that.

I was 15, a young naive freshman in high school who actively played sports and enjoyed being around a multitude of friends. At the start of the new year I began having sharp pain in my hands. I would try to straighten my hair or hold a pencil and I couldn’t. My fingers were swollen up like sausages and the pain resonated deep into my bones. At first, my Mom thought it was just from my period — but after a week she knew that was wrong. And thus began the agonizing journey to find a diagnosis, a label to answer the nagging question I repeated over and over in my mind.

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Roasted Vegetable Salad with Pomegranate

I seriously love my Instagram family – that’s what they are really, super supportive, kind, thoughtful, encouraging! What’s not to love? I asked today if it would be helpful for me to post the recipes I shared while guest posting for Whole30’s Instagram account. And I got a definitive answer of – YES PLEASE!! So here is the beginning of a series of those recipe posts, this one is an easy favorite!

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For The Love Of Food

Food serves a purpose. Multiple purposes in fact. To fill the body with nutrients so it can burn calories to use for energy, but it also serves to nourish us. I mean truly satisfy the inner parts of us all that find joy from sitting around a table giving each other the ultimate gift which grounds us to the Earth.  By creating flavorful dishes but more so by sharing with the intention offering food as love, we nourish one another.

I’ve watched my grandmother tirelessly bake a twelve-layer lemon cake year after year just as my great-grandmother did in the years past. It’s not because she loves spending hours baking the layers, cooking the lemon curd or finally icing each layer and carefully placing one on top of the other. It’s the joy she see’s on my grandpa’s face when he takes a bite. It’s the slightly higher pitched crack in her grandson’s voice when he asks if she had the time to make it this year. These are the feelings that make our souls full.

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Skillet Collards & Vermont Apples

I crawled out of the bed one morning and headed up the stairs from the basement into the kitchen where cinnamon overloaded the air. It smelled so strong as if someone had lit cinnamon sticks on fire mistaking them for incense.

I had been at my retreat in Vermont for two nights and had been missing a bit of my normal eating routine. And there, on the bar was one of the most beautiful sights.

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