By: Sherree Thompson

I went to the grocery yesterday to grab a few to get us through the week. I had both kids in tow, so I knew I had to be quick. A meltdown was inevitable; we were in the grocery, after all. I scooted through the produce section and then made my way down to the meat department. I skimmed the prices, hmm’d and haa’d and bocked at the prices, and  then finally made a small selection. Whoohoo! We made it out with no major issues.

Later in the evening I mentioned the prices to my hubs in disbelief. I complained about the value – or lack of – compared to few years ago and simply just grumbled at the wgeneralcost of food. Shortly after that conversation I got the most paralyzing headache and had to go lay down. And that is where I stayed until early this morning.

I was recapping my evening, thinking about those prices, when I suddenly remembered my walk one morning. It was the first walk I’d taken around the neighborhood. Pushing the double jogging stroller, I had entered a street just two down from my own. What I saw made me feel a bit uncomfortable. Not because of ethnicity, age or even gender, but because it was all too familiar; it was poor. Real poor. Not the “I don’t want to pay $200 for an electric bill,” but the “I have to make this one meal become two” kind of poor. Now let me just say that I don’t know this family I’m writing about. I don’t know if they are having trouble putting food on the table or paying their electric bill. I am simply saying that seeing them made me recall situations from my own childhood and some of the struggles my mom had.

Grocery shoppingI stood there washing dishes thinking about this family and my grumbles about the cost of food. I was humbled and then grateful. I have said too many times lately “There’s just not enough,” “How are people making it?” and “What are we doing wrong?”  You see, there is enough. It’s all in the way I was looking at it. I was replacing needs for wants. What I “need” is to shut my trap and be very, very grateful for the blessings I’ve been given. So what that I can’t go buy or spend whatever I want? Neither can most of the world.

So I present this challenge: Buy an extra bag of groceries, drive down a road you wouldn’t normally and drop it at a house you think might need it. Being grateful for what you do have isn’t always easy in a world that is reminding you of what you don’t have.

Adding ‘Business Owner’ To My Resume

By: Sydney Yarbrough

I never thought at age 23 I would own my own business. However, at the beginning of this year, I found myself filing for a retail license, and soon after that, filling wholesale orders.

What started as a part-time crafting hobby was quickly growing into a larger-amount-of-time business, and I have loved every minute of it. I love the aspect of getting orders and forming relationships with my customers.

So what do I make? Jewelry. Well, mostly bracelets right now, but I have plans to grow the line into other types of jewelry in the coming months. Mostly I sell on Etsy. My jewelry is carried in a few boutiques, and I hope to expand into more!

Sydney Elle Designs

Custom orders are my favorite. I love designing for bridal showers, baby showers, or even individual customers who are going to events. I get a lot of requests from those who have troubles fitting standard bangles, some too small, others too big. I’m happy to do custom sizes!

Sydney Elle Designs

Everything is still in the beginning stages, but starting this business led to me figure out dreams that I never knew I had. The unknown is scary, sometimes, but also exhilarating. I get to meet new people and make beautiful things every day! What more could I ask for?

Sydney Elle Designs

You can find my jewelry on Etsy at

Sydney Elle Designs

I’m constantly adding new things! So make sure to follow my store. I’m also on Instagram @SydneyElleDesigns.


Sydney Elle Designs

Feel free to email me at SydneyElleDesigns@Gmail.Com with questions!

So Simple Yet So Super

By: Elizabeth Webber Akre

I like to think of myself as a pretty resourceful person. Especially in the kitchen. Tonight was one of those nights when I was hungry and I wanted something really robust but I didn’t want to spend all evening cooking. And, I’m in one of my clean out the refrigerator modes. So, I looked around tonight and came up with a winner: a quick, kick-something Chicken Tortilla Soup. If it weren’t for packing my daughter a lunch tomorrow, I’d have eaten the rest of it myself!

As I looked around, I found that I had a bag of cooked, shredded chicken breast. I had fresh corn, onion, corn tortillas in the fridge. That got the idea cooking. Since I’m a cookbook and recipe junkie, I constantly peruse different versions of dishes. Over time, I think an amalgam of information ends up brewing in my head. I tend to take sombrerothe parts of one that I like, combine it with an idea from another, add something in from that one. So after seeing chicken, corn and tortillas in the kitchen, I just got this craving for a Mexican themed soup.

Even though it was in the 90’s today, don’t let that deter you from soup. Soup is highly UNDER-rated. It’s one of the world’s most perfect foods, really. It can contain proteins, all kinds of veggies, pasta, rice, even fruit. And I think you’d be hard pressed to find someone who just finished a bowl of soup and wasn’t feeling all full, toasty and good on the inside. And there are the added benefits of freezing it for later, taking to a sick friend, using it in lunchbox thermoses and being able to have a giant crockpot of it waiting for you at the end of the day.

Our tortilla soup tonight was, in a word, FANDANGOTASTIC. I combined 2 cups of the shredded chicken with:

  • 32 oz chicken broth (one of the big rectangular cartons)
  • 1 cup of fresh corn kernels
  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • 1 clove minced fresh garlic
  • ½ tsp cumin
  • ½ tsp chili powder
  • 1 Tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 cup chunky salsa (I used Herdez)

I brought all of this to a boil, then turned it down and simmered, covered for about 30 minutes. Remember that my chicken was already cooked when I started this. If you have raw chicken, cook it before adding to the other ingredients. At dinner, I offered crispy corn tortilla strips, sour cream, cheddar and sliced green onions to garnish. Some avocado would have been choice, if only I’d had one on hand!

All three of us devoured our soup and managed to save just enough for my daughter to take to day camp tomorrow for lunch. As an added bonus, our house smells divine! I keep walking out onto the patio just so I can come back in and smell my house! And, all of this, start to finish (with some chopping) took 40 minutes. Perfect for a weeknight dinner.

Elizabeth writes Gastronomy (by a Wanna-be Chef). Please read, follow and comment. You can also find her culinary musings on Facebook and occasionally on Twitter.

Renewing You: With Food

By: Lydia Scott

Eat healthy

I remember being on diets as a kid, and my dinners would consist of things like baked fish with lemon, steamed plain broccoli and a scoop of plain brown rice. Lunches would usually consist of iceberg salad with some canned tuna and a drizzle of vinegar. Breakfasts revolved around a boiled egg and a slice of wheat toast.

That was the normal diet fare. And in some places, those are luxurious meals. Most of those places don’t have a population that struggles with being overweight. In this part of this country though, we are fortunate enough surrounded by a huge array of rich foods. They come at us from every angle…a variety of interesting, aromatic, flavorful foods. So, trying to force ourselves to stick to bland and boring cookie cutter “diet” foods “just until we get healthy” probably won’t last long. So don’t start what isn’t going to work.

Healthy Eating Should Not Be a Punishment

Think about it, how do you feel about foods we think of as healthy? Not all, but I’ll bet many of think less-than-happy thoughts when someone mentions good-for-you foods. And that is a big part of what contributes to so many of our unhealthy behaviors. If you struggle with that, why not start to change your relationship with good-for-you foods?

How do you know how to choose foods that will do your body, mind AND soul good? I mean, there’s about fifty kajillion different healthy eating plans out there: clean eating, low carb, low fat, primal, paleo, vegetarian, low sugar, fruitarian, vegan, ketogenic, and many more! So what do you do? Which style should you strive for? Should you even have an eating style?

Well, if you’re totally healthy and you have a healthy view of food, it seems reasonable to say that whatever you’re doing is working, so don’t change it! But if you’re not healthy and/or your view of food is causing you issues, it might be a good time to try something different, right?

Always consult with your doctor before changing anything, of course. Other than that, coming from someone who has tried what feels like every eating style out there, try this: Choose a way of eating that you think you could stick with for the rest of your life, AND FEEL GOOD DOING IT. That means you may want to try out a few Eating healthydifferent regimens for a month or three (if your doctor okays it) and gauge how you feel on them. Food should make your body and mind work better, not worse, once your body adjusts to the change.

For instance, if you just adore being able to munch on an endless supply of fruits and veggies and couldn’t care less about meats and other protein sources, then low-carb might not make you happy. Or, if you live and breathe by pre-packaged foods and totally love them, then Paleo, Primal, or clean eating probably would frustrate the daylights out of you. Basically, look at your lifestyle and look at what you really want to do, and try out plans that work in line with that. Work WITH your body, rather than against it.

My Favorites

If you are like I was, and need to make a healthy change, you may not know where to start. Iput together a short list of some of my favorite websites and a few of my favorite recipes that got me through different stages of renewing my relationship with food. Most of what I eat tends to not be heavily processed. I wouldn’t go so far as to say I officially eat clean, but I eat mostly clean, haha! Mainly because it just tastes better and makes me feel more energetic. Feel free to chime in with some of your favorites, too!

Low Fat and Clean:

Skinny Ms.:

I love this site! It’s full of a little bit of everything for beginners like me, and it’s all easy to find, with lots of instructional videos, too. I am currently doing the *exercise only* portion of the 6 Week Emergency Makeover, which you can purchase from the site for not much money. I love the workouts that Skinny Ms talks about because they are short, varied, have instructional videos, and I can change up the routine if there’s something I can’t do. I did try the diet plan on the Emergency Makeover, but found the higher carb, lower fat, lower protein content of it left me feeling empty and with a lot of cravings. However, one of my favorite snacks from this site was the Peanut Butter and Yogurt Dip. It was surprisingly delicious and filling!

Cooking Light:

Chock full of recipes that aren’t too difficult, but also tend a little more towards the gourmet side, Cooking Light was a haven for my low fat days. And if you like recipes with flair, try one of our favorites, the Thai Chicken Saute’. We loved it with Udon noodles instead of rice!

Courtesy of:

Low Carb and Clean:

I’mperfect Life:

If you haven’t read about the wonderful woman who runs this site, you should! She is such an inspiration! I go here regularly when I need motivation, plus her recipes are yummy! She’s great about having a viewpoint of all things in moderation, rather than being a food-dictator. I like that.

I Breathe…I’m Hungry:

This site was a goldmine for me! Ohhhh, the low-carb, clean and gluten-free recipes are right up my alley, because they aren’t boring! And the owner of the blog is SO nice because she gives you detailed menu plans for getting started on the low-carb, gluten-free way for FREE! One of my favorite recipes of hers is the Mozzarella Stuffed Turkey Pesto Meatballs. And they weren’t hard to make either! So good! See? You want one now, right? Oh wait…maybe that’s me, haha!

Low Carb-ing Among Friends:

This is a Facebook page based on the book, Low Carb-ing Among Friends. It’s actually a GREAT page, with no “try this miracle cure!” spam, a supportive group of folks that run it, and a ton of fantastic recipes and ideas. Love, love, love! So far, my favorite recipe that I’ve found from this page is the Two Minute Microwave Coffee Cake. It is so darned yummy and easy! I will admit, I don’t put the Cinnamon topping on it. Instead, I spread one tablespoon of natural peanut butter and a drizzle of sugar-free maple syrup over it. Oh yeah…really filling and no sugary funky feeling afterward!

I admit, I often have a hard time NOT lightening up the calorie-heavy meals you can find in the low-carb world. For instance, we had Pork in Flameado Queso Sauce this weekend, and I couldn’t bring myself to make it as written (with just under 600 calories per serving). I know, I know…low carb is not really one you’re supposed to count calories in. But I do anyway! So, I cut half the heavy cream with plain, unsweetened almond milk, reduced the cheese and Chorizo by half, used extra lean pork tenderloin and doubled the amount, and added more peppers (not enough to increase the carbs substantially, though). It was extremely tasty, and the calories came out to under 400 with plenty of fat and protein and very few carbs.

All of this stuff is just based on my experience. I’ll bet y’all have all kinds of cool suggestions to add for folks who were in my shoes a while back and are new to trying to take care of themselves. What things, websites, books, and tips have helped you?

Mommy Must-Have: Girls’ Night

By: Leah Prescott


I am so grateful that through my life I have had so many wonderful girlfriends. Now that I am a Mom, I cannot imagine facing this monumental task without the support and advice of other women who have gone before, or who are currently “in the trenches” with me. Since I’m staying home with the kids, I feel sort of like these other Moms are my co-workers. We face the same challenges, we share strategies, and we commiserate with one another.

The “workplace” would be a lonely place without this fellowship! So through the last several years we have made it a priority not just to have playdates and parties as families, but to have girls’ nights, which we anticipate and savor. They are a life-saver! We share laughter, fears, and problem-solve together. How can I make potty training easier? How to approach modesty with our daughters? What can I do to cut down on whining between siblings? And, always; has anyone figured out a way to keep the house clean with all these little people running around? (The answer, for the record is, no.)

This week, we stepped outside the norm and went to the movie theater. I confess I have almost stopped going to the theater. I guess I am getting old, but I just don’t typically enjoy paying through the nose to watch 20 minutes of previews in a room of questionable cleanliness with tons of strangers who may or may not be respectful of other viewers. I don’t mean to sound like a prude, but why do they make movies these days so VIOLENT? Not to mention, my bathroom is not close at hand. Anyway, you get the drift.

I recently made an exception to the rule and gladly forked over my $9.50 to see “Mom’s Night Out” with some of my fellow moms. I wasn’t sure what we were about to see but I was pleasantly surprised. Hilarious, heartwarming, and poignant, this wasn’t a Christian movie, but a movie made by a Christian. Rather than awkwardly building a film around the message, this movie had a strong cast, fantastic writing, and smooth direction.  The uplifting theme was smoothly delivered without sacrificing entertainment value and I felt as if I had been personally thanked by the director at the end of the film for my service as a mom. I was smiling about this movie all week and there are a couple lines that may just become catch phrases among my crew. “Stress paralyzed” is definitely a thing.

I encourage you to make time to have girls’ night with your friends this week. Start a book club, craft night, margarita Monday, or just invite your neighbor over to share a cup of coffee. We all need the camaraderie and support. And if you have a chance to see “Mom’s Night Out,” let me know what you think!

Sneak It In and Tone It Up

By: Mary Pat Baldauf

Stuck Behind Your Desk

In a perfect world, we’d all schedule daily fitness activities, and we’d never miss a workout. But this isn’t the perfect world, and there are days that you just can’t make it to the gym or out for that evening walk.

For days like that, here are three great links:

  1. 12 Hip-Opening Yoga Poses (especially good if you spend most of the day behind a desk)
  2. Deskercise! 33 Smart Ways to Exercise
  3. 100 Tips and Tricks to Sneak in a Work Out at Work

For those days that you just can’t get out of the office, how do YOU add activity to your day?

LMC Nurse Notes

LMC is hiring nurses with at least one year of experience in Med/Surg, Critical Care and Labor & Delivery to work night shifts with a $2,500 signing bonus. Learn more:

 Leigh Warf, RN, MN, CWOCN, is a wound care specialist at LMC. We asked her, “What do you like about working as a nurse at LMC?” Her answer is below:
Leigh Warf