Wednesday, April 23, 2014

What We See MATTERS....

Shortly after Hosanna was born, I felt the Holy Spirit whisper that I was entering a "season of prayer". For many years after that I would spend time praying and listening to the Holy Spirit. Sometimes 2 - 4 hours a day.

I'd pour over Isaiah. At one point, this caught my eye...

"The Lord has made proclamation to the ends of the earth: 'Say to the Daughter of Zion, SEE, YOUR SAVIOR COMES! SEE, HIS REWARD IS WITH HIM, and his recompense accompanies Him." 62:11

I felt the Spirit was saying, "Shanna, tell me what do you see?" I began to talk to Him about what I saw, not with my eyes, but with my prophetic imagination. And then I sensed Him saying, "Pray in THAT direction. Step in THAT direction."

John 16:13

"But when He, the Spirit of truth, comes, He will guide you into all the truth; for He will not speak on His own initiative, but whatever He hears, He will speak; and He will disclose to you what is to come. "

All this time later, and I still sense God bringing me back to that question time and time again. Shanna, tell me, what do you see?

Other's saw two young parents with more kids than they could handle.

I saw missionaries, leaders, and world changers.

Other's see piano students, guitar students, and a bunch of little Kindermusik babies running around with scarves.

I see tomorrow's worship leaders.

Other's see diets, energy drinks, and protein bars.

I see discouraged people gaining hope, and momentum -- both with their health and their finances. I see mother's who have the energy to include time for themselves into their day and not neglect their own nourishment. Dad's having energy to play with their children and help in the home after an grueling 8 hour work day in a competitive environment. I see minds that are clear, sharp and able to make good decisions. I see people living free from the draw of sugar -- that was once so strong it literally made their feet stand up and walk to the pantry. I see people who have built their own businesses by genuinely serving one client at a time, and loving well.

Healing. I see healing.

I say what we SEE matters. God says what we SEE matters.

Now, what do you see?

Pray to that end. Step towards THAT. And, start right now why don't ya?


Monday, April 21, 2014

Creating the Space and Time YOU Need...

My last nutrition appointment before surgery went something like this...

Nutritionist takes an hour to recap EVERY.  SINGLE.  DETAIL.  OF.  DIETARY.  CHANGE.  THAT.  AWAITS.  ME.  FOR.  THE.  1,000TH.  TIME.

Then, she looks at me and says in a challenging voice, "So, tell me.  How you are going to make this happen with 5 children, a husband with a busy career and a business?"

I look her in the eyes and say tentatively, "Well, I guess that for the next couple of months I'm going to JUST WORRY ABOUT MYSELF and tell my family their own their own."

She looks at me very seriously, leans in and says distinctly, "That is EXACTLY what you're going to have to do."

Then, she looks at Billy.

"Do you understand this"?  She says to him.  "This TIME is life or death for her."

Life or death.

This gift of time given to myself by myself = the difference between life and death.

I've since considered this revelation a gift.  A precious, AMAZING, LIFE GIVING gift.

When you are young, you can do a lot of things to your own body and get away with it.  But eventually, youth alone no longer sustains you.  Our choices take their toll.  Our neglect of ourselves can take it's toll.

I often say to people the single greatest gift that surgery afforded me was TIME.  It forced me to take the time to focus on myself.  My needs.  My diet.  My workout routine.  My healing.  I focused on it even with 5 children, a business and a husband with a busy career.  I had been a constant caregiver for 18 years.  This gift of time = the difference between life and death for me.  I took that as a Word from Heaven for me.  And, eventually I was able to add my regular life back in around my healthier life style habits.

And, I say even now with tears -- I've never been so grateful.

On May 12th, we will be hosting a 24 Day Challenge with the health and wellness company, Advocare on facebook.  The challenge includes a consult with a nutritionist and personal trainer to discuss your goals (from extreme weight loss to muscle gain...from an increased energy level to stronger mental focus...).  You will hand pick a customized bundle of supplements to CLEANSE your body and MAXIMIZE it's God given potential to do everything it was originally created to do.

You will be encouraged to carve out 24 days in a row, where YOU mostly focus on YOU.  On listening to what YOUR body needs, what YOUR heart and YOUR emotions need.  I'll remind you not to feel guilty about it.  For this gift of time, might equal life or death for you.

When you sign up, you'll get meal plan lists, so that you can shop and prepare in advance. You'll get the daily schedule in enough time to allow you to set reminders on your phone.  And, when we start, you'll get an online community of real life people who are doing this along side of you.

I plan to write more later about the CLEANSE phase specifically.  When my body detoxed, I was all of a sudden able to think clearly about my food choices.  No longer did carbs call my name so loudly that it forced my feet to walk into the kitchen to eat a pop tart.  Infact, today, IF I even had pop tarts in my house they would call my name so faintly I'd hardly know they are there.  Cleansing your body matters.

In the meantime, if you'd like to know more about the Challenge, please view this video.  And, if you are interested in joining me and Billy, please let me know.  We will be doing it right along side of you.

Here's too feeling good!  To having more energy than ever and being able to think clearly about your diet choices.

Many Blessings,

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Lest it all seem too perfect...

So, today was the day.

I couldn't manage a whole Wednesday off work, so I instead took both the morning AND the evening.

Which of course meant having a sick child who needed to be seen by the doctor first thing.

Finally done, around 11 am, I text B, "Going up in to the mountains.  For Solitude.  To pray.  Seek God.  Build an altar...plant a know...stuff like Abraham did."

He text back, "Yea, well don't get your arm stuck in a rock."  A reference to 127 hours where the hiker cuts his own arm off to save his life.

Fortunately, it was a GREAT morning.


As I came back down the pass to enjoy the rest of my time  -- the radiator hose blew.


B came to the rescue just as the heavy snow started. 

Snowflakes as big as my head. 

The car was so hot, we decided it would be best to abandon the rest of my plan, drop me at the school to teach a 1 hour class and come back for the car later.

It was around 6pm when we got back -- so dinner at the gas station it was.

For me, a small bag of cashews, and a decaf coffee.

For B,  Muscle Milk.

And...wait for it...for Eli...Air Heads and Sprite.

B looking into the car, "The problem is bigger than I thought.  I'm gonna drive it home."


I've learned that when it comes to car fixing, and when B gets into his "D" (Driver) mode -- it's best for our marriage to just go with his plan -- no matter how insane.

I mean, we could have called the tow truck driver.  After all, we haven't seen him since....


When the starter on B's car died.

Eye roll.

Fortunately, we made it home.

Forgive us if we are in bed asleep by 7.  After all, it is my day off.  :)


Thursday, April 10, 2014

Spring Play List

Back in January, when I started talking about GOAL SETTING and making NEW YEARS RESOLUTIONS...It seemed as if it made some people...nervous.

I got a lot of private messages from people I hadn't seen in years that went something like "How about this for a fitness goal, just be happy with yourself".  And, "It's ok to just enjoy what you've already accomplished." And, "Who needs the pressure?  Just resolve to make no resolutions."  (That last one does make me smile.)

This prompted me to ask B, "When did 'goal setting' start equating to not being happy with yourself?  When did New Year's Resolutions start making so many people nervous?"  

B shrugs, "Blog about it."

Okey Dokey then...

How about, I am happy.  Because happy is my habit.

How about, I do enjoy what I've already accomplished.  Because enjoying is my habit.

And, I agree.  No one needs the pressure of having to be or do more.


Now that we are all in agreement....

I set goals for 2014 in the 9 areas of life I think are MAJOR.  You may feel there are more I've yet to discover -- or you may feel I've lost my ever loving mind and gone goal setting crazy.'s my list...

Major Areas of Shanna's no particular order...

1.  Servant Leadership
2.  Education
3.  Spiritual
4.  Social
5.  Financial
6.  Quality of Life (Enjoyment)
7.  Financial
8.  Professional
9.  Marriage and Family

Some of these items I wrote down were true, measurable goals.  

"Put another $1,000 into Emergency Savings Account."  

"Attend a Conference this Year."  

"Read Books".  

Some, I know I'll hit.  

Others, let's just say, a little progress is better than no progress.  I happen to be o.k. with that.

Such as... 

"Practice your Piano 1 Hour a Week".  


"Write Daily in Thanksgiving Journal."

Some things I wrote down are not measurable goals per say.  They were things tumbling around in my heart and spirit that I wanted to express more throughout the year.  

"Pray for Kids in Foster Care".   

"Weigh less, trust your choices more."

But, truthfully, most of my list were simply things I wanted to do.  Things I really wanted to make time for in 2014.  Things I wanted on my calendar to look forward too.

Mix this with my ineptness to transition from one season to another, and well I went through some of my "New's Resolutions" to come up with my Spring Play List -- Things that boost my spirit to think about, plan and do.  

Spring isn't the best season in Colorado.  Actually, it's the only season Colorado doesn't do well.'s important to plan a little happy into it.

Spring Play List 2014

1.  Make progress on the remodel in the front bathroom.  Yes, I realize I've been saying this for over 1 year now.  365 plus days.  Shake it off!

Here's my newest inspiration...

2.  Take the family to see a movie around Easter Time.  This has NOTHING to do with Jesus.  It's Thorn season.  We're busy kicking butt in life this time of year.  It's just a splurge.  About $100+ for a family of 7 to go to the movies and get a few snacks.  Currently, I cherish the times we all have together -- as it is rare.  So....the choices are....

3.  B and I are beginning to plan a 4 day get away for our 20th Anniversary this summer.'s a big deal.  We'd love to go see Washington D.C. and touring it on bikes would be a dream come true for me.

Ok, not that...

Anyone have any suggestions on where to stay?  How's about that white house in the back ground?  :)

4.  Paint the downstairs book cases.  Billy will probably have a heart attack when I break out this project.  Pretty sure I'm gonna do it anyways.

5.  Hike the Manitou Incline.  And invite others to do it with me.  2,000 steps to the top.  Yea, gonna be a beast.

By then, it's gonna be SUMMER which is my favorite.  :)

Don't you wish your New Year's Resolutions were as fun as mine?  Hahahaha


To hear how you build a little "happy" into your life!

"So I commend the enjoyment of life, because there is nothing better for a person 
under the sun than to eat and drink and be glad. Then joy will accompany them in their toil 
all the days of the life God has given them under the sun."  Ecclesiastes 8:15


Monday, April 7, 2014

The Pros and Cons that Accompany a Bad Day...or whatever....

Today was a horrible day.  It was actually a fine day, with one horrible moment.

But honestly sometimes, it's hard to separate the two.

Lest you think it all too perfect...

A man in our community called my motives into question.  Threatened my livelihood.

Those who know me best, cringe.

Yea, it didn't fair well for him.

This gentleman has a reputation for being condescending with women. And yet...

He emailed my husband "off line" for help dealing with me.  (Yup, that ACTUALLY happened)...

And, yet...


After I executed an IMMEDIATE, perfect fit...full of sarcasm and well timed eye rolls...

After I let him know EXACTLY what I thought about him and his 1980's jeans....

After I made it clear that he was a BULLY and I wouldn't tolerate that...infact I could BULLY right back...

After I informed him emailing my husband offline for help "dealing with me" was stupid.  After all, I am (commence shouting) A PROFESSIONAL BUSINESS WOMAN FOR GOD'S SAKE!

After I had totally thrown out all maturity, common sense, level headedness and logic...

Once I had thoroughly lost my mother wit, and sweet reason....and even taken my annoyance with "this man" out on a friend....(people hoping to be my friend, beware...)

And in general become the version of myself I like the LEAST...

Well, after all that, I tried to say the RIGHT things...

"No Shanna, you don't get to eat a cupcake.  It's just anger.  It's just anger."

And this evening, after expending all that emotion...I'm left with the bottom line.

Bottom line is this, some people are just going to be difficult.  Some people are going to be bad listeners, poor communicators.  Some people will miss read your motives.  Be mean even.  Bone headedness exists.
Understanding this is important.  And this truth, doesn't have to ruin my day.

You and I can't spend precious hours dwelling on our critics.  What we do, what we are for, what we are called to do -- is too important.

If our shoulders are to get stronger -- able to carry more weight of glory -- the weight of larger businesses, growing families, and being a part of God's Kingdom even, we need to stay focused.  

The habit of ignoring a critic would appear to be paramount.

Ignoring a critic however, is different than receiving constructive criticism.

There was no truth in what this man was insinuating.  When my husband however quietly said, "You knew you wouldn't change his mind.  You know you'll never receive an apology.  You didn't have to respond immediately though.  It only made you feel worse.  You could have waited until you were less emotional."

Well, that was truth.  My response made this man's bad behavior look positively marvelous.  That's so precious.  And, unfortunate.

Lesson received.  Again.

So, at the sake of quoting song lyrics, I'm going to Let It Go.


I started by apologizing to the friend who had to get the ear full about it.  She was as innocent as I was.  Then, I said out loud, "I choose to forgive this man."  I don't intend to do business with him.  He isn't a person I respect.  He isn't, however, the world's worst human being.  So, I extend grace.  Because I need grace.  In this situation -- I need grace.  In life, in every single day real life, I need grace.  That's a fact Jack.

I thank my husband for being the kind of man who sees women as real people -- with brains.  And I smile at the thought of him giving out my phone number today, letting the other gentlemen know he was free to call me directly.  B's no dummy.

I forgive myself.  I've given myself good reason to remember why I need a Savior.  And that's ok.  Because I really, really do need a savior.

And, tomorrow is a new day.

2 Corinthians 4:17,

Sunday, April 6, 2014

My Take on Protein Powder - Weight Loss, Muscle Gain

A few months ago, my children and I joined with a local ministry to pack meals for over seas orphans.  We were all assigned stations.  Eli's station?  WHEY PROTEIN.  One giant scoop per bag.

Upon hearing of his duties, my youngest responded excitedly, "Protein!  Oh wow!  My mom LOVES protein!"

Well, ok, I guess I have talked about protein a lot during the last year.

A lot.

Fair enough.

The focus of my diet is pretty simple.

60 grams of protein a day in 5 meals, and at least 60 oz of fluids.

Next, add in healthy fats, veggies, and carbs -- in that order -- and there ya go.

I have found a daily protein shake is INVALUABLE at helping me accomplish BOTH of these goals. ESPECIALLY on days where I'm busy at work, times I may get running behind with 5 kids, when I need something quick and on the go, or if I'm just to tired from said busy work day to cook dinner.  Oh wait, that's EVERY DAY.  So, I just know that about myself.  I plan for it.  A protein shake.  At least once a day, every day.


8 oz. Almond milk 

1 serving Vanilla Muscle Gain Protein Powder

1 cup frozen dark unsweetened cherries 

2 oz. fat-free cream cheese 

2 dashes ground cinnamon 

Optional ice cubes


When it comes to selecting a protein powder, there can be many things to consider, but there are 2 BASIC differences.  There are STRICT protein powders, and there are those which include fat and carbohydrates usually labeled MEAL REPLACEMENTS.

A strict protein powder will contain 20-25 grams of protein per serving.  It will be very low in fat, carbohydrates and sugar.  It will be lower in calories than MEAL REPLACEMENTS as well.  Whereas it MAY contain some added vitamins and minerals, the assumption here, is that you will getting the bulk of those things from the VARIETY found in your regular diet.

MEAL REPLACEMENTS are just that.  Intended to replace a meal.  They should be high in protein and will have more calories, fat and carbs.  Most will have a healthy dose of vitamins and minerals.  They will also mix up thicker than plain protein.


8oz of Almond or Dairy Milk
1 frozen Banana
1 serving Chocolate Muscle Gain Protein Powder
1 Tbs PB2 Powder
Top with crushed Nuts, optional

CURRENTLY, I personally prefer a strict protein powder.  I like that it mixes up thinner than meal replacements and that it's SOOOOOO versatile.  It forces me to think about VARIETY in my diet and allows me to be creative!

Over the past year, I've tried MANY brands of both MEAL REPLACEMENTS and PROTEIN POWDERS.  I've bought products from Sam's, G.N.C., Whole Foods, Vitamin Cottage, and some specifically made for bariatric patients.  My current favorite, for lots of reasons, is this...

Besides the fact that the packaging makes me feel like an Olympic athlete, I like it mostly for...


I can mix it up THIN in my morning coffee.  In fact, this is my current favorite way to use it...


8oz strong coffee
1 scoop Vanilla or Chocolate Muscle Gain Protein Powder
2 TBS Coffee Creamer of Choice
Whipped Cream, Optional


My daughter and I also enjoy starting our day this way as well...


1 1/2 cups frozen fruit
1 scoop Vanilla Muscle Gain Protein Powder
Enough liquid (milk, water, juice) to blend

So.  Good.

As I've been working with my mentor, Holly, on my own health, nutrition and exercise regimen -- I've come to deeply believe in the concept of putting QUALITY things into my body.  CHOOSING HIGH QUALITY NUTRITION  like MUSCLE GAIN, is the basis for everything my body does.  HIGH QUALITY PROTEIN gives me an easy, simple way to fuel my body -- and certainly helps my body as well as my mind function just the way God intended them too -- to think clearly, to be alert, to burn calories, increase in strength, and to maintain a healthy weight.

Working for AdvoCare, a health and wellness, weight management, vibrant energy and sports performance company is a dream come true for me.  Getting my certifications in personal training and nutrition -- are the icing on the cake.  I have imagined for a long time, that I would be that sitting down with others who are just as distraught and beaten down as I was 100 pounds ago -- helping them take their next step, and then the next, and then the NEXT in their own wellness journey, as unique as it may be.

If you are interested in purchasing some MUSCLE GAIN, or hearing about the other supplements, energy drinks, etc my family uses, this is my official, personal invitation for you to call or email us.  Billy is a long time athlete, basketball coach and sport performance person.  Either of us would love to share with you all the information we've gathered as well as the products and strategies our real family is using in the context of our real life to sleep better, be stronger, thinner, and all around healthier.

Coming soon...Website, 24 Day Challenge Group (where you can join us in a cleanse that will jump start your weight loss), a FIRST TIMERS GROUP for hiking the MANITOU INCLINE, HIKING A 14'er, RUNNING A 5K, and DOING A MUD RUN (join me on MY FIRST -- and don't make me do it alone), and a tutorial on overall body composition (yes, at this point in my own journey I'm going to take my body fat vs muscle measurements -- and make a push to increase one and decrease the other.  Can you guess?  Haha)

We hope you'll join us.  We really do.  Life should be more about what you CAN do -- not so much about what you CAN'T DO.

Many blessings,


Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Gastric Bypass Surgerversary - Year 1

Not too long ago, a friend asked in regards to my weight loss, "What.  Are.  You.  Doing?"

Me, "I TOLD you.  I had weight loss surgery."

Friend, "Ok, but that doesn't make you put healthy food in your mouth or drag your butt to the gym every day.  SO.  WHAT.  ARE.  YOU.  DOING?"

I can't really describe it.

But, it was an empowering moment for me for sure.

I am doing something good for my health.

I am capable of doing something good for my health.

And, on my 1 year surgerversary, I am holding steady at the goal weight set for me by my surgeon.

This I have come to know, a lifestyle change is a MIND change.  I needed all kinds of help changing my mind -- and a year later I STILL need all kinds of help.  Proof that one doesn't heal from addiction or obesity quickly.

Here are some reflections from the past year:

It's more about what I put in my body -- than what I keep out.

I feel amazing most days.  My energy level is high, I sleep better.  My best defense against eating things I should not eat -- is to actually eat the things I should.  Putting healthy, whole foods into my body matters.

It requires a lot of planning, and prepping.

I attempt to eat 5 meals a day.  Every 3 hours.  My calories MOSTLY come from healthy fats, protein and vegetables.  But, I also eat some carbohydrates and fruit.  And coffee.  Don't forget coffee.

It's mostly about what I can do -- not about what I can't have.

I enjoy (you read that right, enjoy) at least 1,000 minutes of exercise a month.  I don't have the time for it.  I make the time for it.

I've climbed to the top of Pulpit Rock.  I've skied Monarch.  I've walked in to new classes at the Y, with the "fit" people and held my own.  I've ran a 5k and PR'd my best time ever.

I love aerobics, and Pilates, and being on the treadmill.  I enjoy hiking and walks with Billy.  I love swimming and planking and wall sits.  Most recently, I've started doing an At-Home-Cross Fit routine. I look forward to trying a class this summer!

LISTS of new things I want to try and measurable goals are important to me.  I put things on my calendar -- for the shear pleasure of looking forward to them.

It's not all or nothing -- in life, or in weight loss.

Life doesn't go in a straight line.  I use to feel bad about that.  Like there was something wrong with me.

Now, I just know, no one's life goes in a straight line.

And, neither does weight loss.  I've had weeks where I've lost nothing, and weeks where I've gained.

The scale isn't ALWAYS an accurate reflection of my hard work.  The theory of calories in less energy expended = weight loss isn't always apparent.  However, if I'd given up...if I'd started eating junk or quit working out -- where would I be?

And, that attitude, friends, is far more difficult to maintain than it is to type.

I expect to say it to myself a lot in year 2.

Stay the course Shanna.  Stay.  The.  Course.

So, what's in store for year 2?

There are stages and ups and downs associated with weight loss surgery.  I expect year 2 to be more challenging.  Because my surgeon has told me it's going to be.

It's about growth -- not just loss.

So for year 2....

I have registered with the National Council of Certified Personal Trainers and am currently working on becoming certified.

Did I just say that?

The course work is ENORMOUS.  SO.  MUCH.  TO.  LEARN.

But I imagine working with the morbidly obese to be meaningful, healing work for me in the future.  People are capable of so much more than they believe.

I can't lay it all out here, but I plan to join up with a friend and do some work with a company that promotes health, wellness and weight loss.

I can't believe I said that either, but I know I believe in this.  I believe that calories from good nutrition matters versus just getting  or even counting calories.  And, I am looking forward to telling you all about what I'm learning.

In year two, I'm going to run a Mud Run, Hike the Incline and Climb a 14'er.  I'm gonna to weigh less, and try (try) to trust my choices more.

I've going to reach out and love more people.  Take a few more risks.  And continue finding healthy options to feed my well as my spirit and mind.

Before, 267 lbs


Down 96.5 lbs

Pulpit Rock

"Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a longing fulfilled is a tree of life."  Proverbs 13:12

Greater things are yet to come.