Leap Day

We laid Kenny’s body to rest on Leap Day, 2016. Which means tomorrow is the first time I’ll face the date again. February 29th. The most unique day on the calendar. I keep thinking there is something totally Kenny about that.


I had just started making motivational post-its for myself with an inspirational message under each date. Enlivened & excited to feel healthier in my body &  mind. Pumped for each day to arrive.



It was an ignorant bliss I will never again feel, no matter how much I heal. Assuming I had control over my life & this month would end as happily as it started.

For the 29th, I wrote a super cheesy message:

It’s an extra day! Leap for joy!

Instead, I wept in agony. On Leap Day & every day that followed that year.

I left those notes on our bathroom mirror & our February calendar on the wall for many months. I couldn’t bare to face time moving forward without him here. My life stopped, my sense of time shattered along with every other aspect of my life. It felt unreal that time was unaffected & I refused to participate in it continuing. Time was a torturous struggle through every second of pummeling pain & shock.

Four years later, I can tell you that time has lessened my agony. And that it doesn’t just take time. It has taken surrender & faith in God, countless hours of brutal work, the support of loving people & taking gentle care of myself. I still love Kenny & miss him every day.

Last Sunday, my pastor spoke about time & death. A timely message for me, as it so often is at my church. (If you want to hear it, you can listen here).


I’d had similar conversations with Kenny about God & time. How God’s sense of time differs from ours. How our existence on earth is really the blink of an eye. Recalling this, I felt a familiar pang of grief. Another reminder of how much I miss my talks with Kenny & hearing his unique understanding & perspective on life.

And simultaneously, I found comfort in being reminded that our time here is brief compared to eternity. That the time will come when we get to be together again. And we’ll all get so much more time together in our eternal home than we will on earth.

This is what I always hope people take away when I share my story:

Our entire lives can change in two seconds. Appreciate every day you get to wake up to be with the people you love. Cherish it in the moment as often as you can. The ones left behind always wish we would’ve had more time.

My Whole30 Story: Part 2

My first Whole30 experience in 2015 led to profound changes in my health & a whole new lifestyle. I was living the healthier life I created. I thought my remarkable Whole30 story ended there with . . . she changed her relationship with food & lived happily ever after.

I was so naïve & so wrong.

I began to plan my second round of Whole30 for January, 2016. I was pumped. I had learned so much since my first round & it felt great going into another round with knowledge and experience. It felt so very different than my first round!

On a whim, I decided to share about it on my Facebook page. Maaaaybe I could get one or two people to do a round with me & support them along the way. I doubted it. I mean, really, how likely is it that a Facebook post could convince a random friend to give up ‘all the things’ for a month? Not very. Still, I put it out there.


Much to my surprise, several friends were instantly interested. So I started a Facebook group, & over 30 people joined.  A variety of family & friends were in. And so began my chance to share Whole30. Just like that.

Then my family committed to do it, too! My husband, my twenty-year-old son & my three-year-old, by default. I was overjoyed to share this experience with them & support them, feed them & witness their results.


The experience was incredible all around. For me as an individual, for each of us, for us as a couple, for us as a family, for us as a group. We bonded & achieved all kinds of amazing non-scale victories.

My husband glowed. He never felt better. He started to sound like me, singing the praises of Whole30 to everyone he encountered. He encouraged them to call me to talk about the program.

This time was filled with such uplifting energy & excitement.  It reached all aspects of our lives. We enjoyed our time together with more presence and awareness. We decided to become more active at church. We worked on our new business idea. I did more yoga. I researched habits. We prioritized meals together & had a blast cooking in the kitchen. It felt like a beautiful new beginning.

My husband died in an accident three weeks later.

Since I had decided to extend my January round to 60 days, I was still doing my Whole30. The group I had just coached, my family & friends all showed up for us. They started a meal calendar & dropped off compliant meals at our house. Their love & support kept my Whole30 going. I kept eating. It kept me from drinking alcohol to numb out. I’m positive this saved me.

I had learned how food affected me during the previous year, and I knew continuing to eat well was now more crucial than ever. Day by day, I kept going. My days were still dark & overwhelming & horrific & brutal, but my new lifestyle made an incredible difference in my grieving process. Food was something I could control in a life I no longer recognized or wanted. It was a choice I still had. I could eat to feel better or make things worse. It was a way for me to show myself love & compassion.

It has been three years since Kenny’s sudden death & I have completed a total of nine Whole30s. I continue to do rounds for many reasons, most of them are emotional. When another difficult date looms, like the date of my husband’s death, I know a Whole30 will help me face the day. My head is clearer and my emotions are easier to face when I am on a round. I have more energy & focus. I sleep a little better. I remember to eat breakfast. I move more.

I thought my initial Whole30 was remarkable, & it definitely was. But I never imagined the countless ways Whole30 would help me in the years to come as I suffered with trauma & grief.

This is why I became a Certified Whole30 Coach. If I can support you, I hope you’ll reach out.

Our last family photo taken at our January 2016 Whole30 potluck celebration.


Grief Meditation



I picture my grief as waves.

In the early stages of grief, the waves pummeled me in rapid succession. One forceful blow after another. The crushing waves drug me under & stole my breath. I bawled & wailed. There was little to no reprieve. Everything was a trigger. I thought I wouldn’t survive these breakdowns.

I had to learn to expect and accept the waves. Expect their return, because they are surely coming again. Accept their timing, because it is not under my control.

I knew I couldn’t escape the pain. There was no healthy way to outrun it, numb it or avoid it. I had to be present for it. I slowly began healing by feeling my feelings.

It’s been three years since my husband died. It feels like yesterday and a lifetime ago. Grief no longer demands all of my attention. The waves still come, but the space between the waves has lengthened. The intensity of the waves has diminished. The water has calmed. Enduring the waves has made me stronger. I now know I can and will survive them. I began to rebuild and live my life between the waves.

If you think you aren’t strong enough to bear the weight of your loss, I hope this encourages you to take another deep breath, one at a time, and keep going. If you feel compelled, please reach out to me.

Below is a meditation visual I use to face my feelings and breathe my way through them:






My Happiness Project Story

It has become my year to meet my favorite authors! Last night, I had the honor of adding Gretchen Rubin to my list. She had a profound impact on my life & it was pure joy to hear her speak & express my gratitude to her.

In 2015, I heard Gretchen interviewed on a podcast. (I wish I could remember which one). She discussed her book, The Happiness Project, and explained she never wanted to look back on her life and think, that was the happiest time of my life and I didn’t even realize it then. This one sentence changed my life.

Her words resonated in a powerful way I did not understand, but I kept hearing them in my head. She opened my eyes to all of the blessings in my life. I thought, I AM going to look back on this time as the happiest of my life. The days when our family of four still shared a home, before our oldest moves out on his own. I’ll never get to live this time again with all of us home together, I realized. Because of this, I soaked it all in & found the most beautiful appreciation for our family, our health, our home, our lives & our love. I had everything I ever wanted & because of Gretchen, I stepped back and felt immense gratitude while I was living it. This shift in perspective truly increased my happiness.

I started to read The Happiness Project with my friend. It was shortly after I read It Starts With Food and completed my first Whole30. These two books were the perfect complement to each other. I started my own happiness project in early 2016, combining gratitude, faith, church, yoga & Whole30 to create new habits.

On February 17, 2016, Gretchen & Elizabeth interviewed Melissa Hartwig on their podcast, Happier. Their conversation made everything click. I was lit up with excitement about my habits, my life & my future. It felt like a fresh beginning, like I finally figured out the ways to live my healthiest, happiest life.

Kenny died one week later.

The life I loved ended in an instant. I was convinced I would never feel happiness again.

Because I had already learned these lessons, in time, I was compelled to return to my habits to rebuild my life. I have found my happiness again. It doesn’t erase my sorrow, but exists with it. I have an appreciation for my life that I believe only loss & faith could have taught me. I live in awe over the beauty & love that surrounds me. I am creating happy memories full of laughter & love & feel gratitude as I am living them.

I lived my final months with Kenny focused on all of our blessings instead of stressing about all of the stuff that does not matter. I was meant to hear Gretchen speak those words & I’m eternally grateful that I did.

This is why I open up & share. We can inspire each other with just a few words. If any of this resonates with you, I hope you’ll look her up & start your own happiness project.


Starting a New Life

I can imagine if you didn’t know me before I found Whole30, then you might assume some things about me. Especially scrolling through my Instagram feed. Like:

  • I’ve always been a yogi & mindful eater & meditator
  • I never drank alcohol
  • I always ate meat & drank brone broth
  • Cooking real food has always been my passion
  • I was never a Pepsi addict
  • I am just someone who has always had willpower & healthy habits

Nope & nope & nope. Nope. Nope & nope. Nope. Nope. Nope & nope.

Yesterday I reflected back on my first Whole30 to remember all the feelings I felt when I started. I recalled posting to my friends on day 1, so I searched & found it.


I wrote the above post & comments four years ago in a private group to six of my closest friends. Back then, we were doing yoga at each other’s houses once a week, but I really showed up for the girls’ night & the drinks & food after the yoga. Other than my fam, I only told my yoga girls at first because I was pretty sure I’d never make it 30 days. Like truly felt it was 99% impossible to even think I could. I was an ill, beer-drinking, bread-loving, cheese-adoring, sugar-addicted, tofu-eating pescetarian. I hadn’t eaten meat in over 20 years. I really thought I was not the “kind of person” who could complete such a difficult challenge. But I was so desperate for relief, I committed to give it my best possible try & take it day by day.

Looking back now, I did change in many ways. I became someone focused on living well. I learned how to be kinder & more loving to myself. I developed some sweet kitchen skills & a passion for real food. I had energy like I’d never felt before. I prioritized my well-being & made choices from this new place of empowerment & understanding.

It’s also reassuring to be reminded that I am still the same person. I didn’t have to become a different person to create a new lifestyle & habits. When I sent this yesterday to my friend from the group, she replied, “And somehow you managed to stay your awesome self!” I could do it all along, I just had to believe in myself enough to take the first step & the support of my awesome friends really helped.

If you would’ve told me 4 years ago that I’d now be a Certified Whole30 Coach & yoga teacher, I would’ve found the idea 100% impossible to imagine. Whole30 & yoga have become a lifestyle for me, so sometimes I forget how far I had to come, how much work I had to do, to change my life.

This old post was a great reminder for me, so I wanted to share it in case it helps you. If there’s a change you want to make in your life, then commit to go for it. Declare it to your closest support system & ask them to be there for you (maybe with cleaner words than I did hahaha) & take the first step towards your goal. If you fall, be kind to yourself, focus on the lessons you can learn, and get back up to keep going. For real, if I can change my life, so can you.

I love sharing music so here’s a song to inspire you along the way: Van Morrison – Starting a New Life