Dear Camille… This Thanksgiving Will Be Different

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Dear Camille,

It’s been a very long time since I have written you and before I tell you why this will be a better Thanksgiving, I have to update you on all your milestones. I have been keeping myself busy so that you can have an even better Thanksgiving this year than you did last year. The last time I wrote you was just after your first Christmas and A LOT has changed since then. Sorry it has been so long. You’ve been RUNNING everywhere and have picked up a ton of words such as shoes (“ishes” as you like to call them), Jesus, Momma, Papa, Nana, bar, ball, bottle, cookie, cheese, chicken, brother (“bruba”), no, woof, puppy, and many more. You also know where your hair, eyes, nose, toes, ears, mouth, belly button, and hands are! You are so smart!!!

You’ve been climbing on EVERYTHING and love being around your brother. In fact, you can’t even walk by him without hugging him and kissing him on the head. It’s one of the sweetest things we’ve ever seen. He smiles more for you than he does for anyone and yesterday he just made his first real laugh. He’s super happy in general, but by far the happiest when he’s around you.

So let me tell you why this Thanksgiving will be different. A few years ago, before you were even born, I knew that I wanted to give your mom the opportunity to be home with you all the time. I knew that before I even knew your mom. So I removed all excuses and went to work so that when I met your mom she could have that opportunity. I was able to make that happen in a short amount of time and I thought that if I could accomplish that goal then all would be good; however, after you were born something changed. I still wanted your mom home with you, but that wasn’t going to be good enough for my little girl. You deserved much more than to just have your mom home with you.

Every day as I would leave to go to my job I would kiss you goodbye probably 50 times and you would smile. Then when you could stand up you would stand in the window of the door crying and screaming “Daddy!” every day as I left. It broke my heart to leave you every day. There were many mornings when I had to fight back tears backing out of the driveway and some mornings when I lost that fight. Then throughout the day I would watch you grow up through pictures or videos that your mom would send me while I was at work and it would tear me up even more. I would have the hour after I got home from work to spend with you and the majority of that was feeding you, bathing you, and then putting you to bed. It wasn’t enough for you and it wasn’t enough for me.

Then when your brother was born I took 12 weeks off of work and it hit me. Why not just always be home with your mom and the two of you? After talking it over with your mom we have decided that we would both be home to raise you and your brother and that is why this Thanksgiving will be better than the last. So instead of just enjoying the holiday weekend and then going back to a job on Monday only to see you cry in the doorway, I will wake up Monday to get you out of bed, hug you, kiss you, feed you breakfast, take you to the park or even chase you around the house because I can. I no longer have anyone telling me that I have to come into work from 8:00 to 5:00. I no longer have to ask off for vacation to take you to fun trips around the country. I have fired the boss and given up the 40 hour work week so that now we can always be on vacation my little love! We no longer live life on someone else’s terms. We live life on our own terms. Happy Thanksgiving Sweetheart!

I love you,

“Dada”

Snickerdoodle & Oreo Protein Cookies

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Last night I decided to make Snickerdoodle Protein Cookies with the brand new seasonal Snickerdoodle Meal Replacement Shakes using our friend Brandi’s AdvoOreo recipe! They are so quick and easy AND DELICIOUS!

First of all these are seasonal shakes as well as the Caramel Macchiato and Pumpkin Spice shakes. So if you want some of these you better get them while they last because once they are gone they are GONE!

What’s Needed:

  • 1 cup almond flour or 1 cup of raw almonds made into almond flour in a food processor
  • 2 Packets of Snickerdoodle Meal Replacement Shakes
  • 1/3 cup pure maple syrup (or raw honey)
  • 1/3 cup coconut oil
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • OPTIONAL: “Enjoy Life” Chocolate Morsels

Combine dry ingredients, then add wet ingredients; mix well. Dough will be sticky but drop by spoonfuls onto a cookie sheet, then form into what looks like a cookie. They will spread just a little tiny bit while baking, but they won’t rise, so don’t make them too thin or too thick.

Bake at 350 degrees for 10-15 mins (NOTE: Place oven racks closer to the upper middle of the oven).

If you would like to make the Snickerdoodle Oreo filling then while baking, prepare the filling in a separate bowl:

  • 1/4 cup coconut oil
  • 1 packet of Vanilla Meal Replacement Shake
  • 3 Tbsp pure maple syrup
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • OPTIONAL: “Enjoy Life” Chocolate Morsels

Combine ingredients in a small container, refrigerate until cookies are cooled. This will thicken while you wait.

Once the cookies have baked, spread the filling on one of them then top it off with another.

Great tasting hint: If you leave them in the fridge over night they taste even better!

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FOR MORE AWESOME RECIPES:

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Monday Motivational Shorts… “Make Time”

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When I share an incredible opportunity with people the most common objection I hear is, “I don’t have time.” I said the same thing when someone introduced the same opportunity to me 3 1/2 years ago. At that point in my life I was working 18 hours a day (4:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m.). I “didn’t have time” for anything else. The truth is, you’ll never “find” time to do anything, but you can always “make” time for things that matter. People make time to watch their favorite t.v. shows, they make time to go out with friends, they make time to go get a few drinks, they make time to fool around on social media for hours throughout the day, etc. There are 24 hours in the day. You’re sleeping only 6-8 of them. Make the time to do things that matter. If I didn’t make time to do things that mattered 3 1/2 years ago then our family would be burdened with daycare costs, hardly ever get to see our child, we would have an unreal amount of debt, and be living with financial stress month after month. I know that life sounds familiar to the majority of Americans and may even be considered “normal” by today’s standards. Instead, my wife has the opportunity to raise our child, we’ve eliminated over $170,000 of debt, and we don’t stress when the bills come around every month or when we have a “surprise cost” when something breaks. Our goal is to make the “normal” type of life a rarity or non-existent for as many people as possible. ‪#‎thankyouadvocare‬ ‪#‎whowantstobenormal‬ ‪#‎maketime‬

24 hours in a day make time

If Nothing Changes…

If nothing changes nothing changes

Have you ever noticed people (family, friends, co-workers) complain about their circumstances, but they keep living the same old routine day after day? They don’t change anything. They wake up, go to work, come home, eat, watch T.V., go to bed, etc. in hopes that someday and somehow their life will just get better. I have news for those people… it won’t. The hard truth is… if nothing changes then nothing changes.

Are you one of those people stuck in the hamster wheel of life? The never ending rut where you find yourself constantly saying “next month we’ll be doing better” and then something else comes up?

Ask yourself this question… are you okay if nothing changes?

Are you okay if nothing changes?

If you answered “yes” to that question then ask yourself the following…

If you lost your job, would you still be okay? If not, wouldn’t you think it would be wise to have a “Plan B” income even to give you peace of mind?

Is your marriage the best it can be? Are you the best spouse you can be? If not, why don’t you look into ways to improve your marriage? (Marriage conferences, read books on marriage – “The 5 Love Languages” would be a good start, or hang out with couples who’s marriage you would like to emulate)

Are you the best parent you can be for your children? Children spell “love” T-I-M-E. Do you give them enough of it or just what’s left over at the end of the day?

richard branson if someone offers you an amazing opportunityFor things to change, you must change. Nothing is going to change by you “going through the motions” day in and day out. I know because I lived that life. At 32 years of age I was working 18 hours a day trading hours for dollars because there was always too much month at the end of the money. My student loan payments were crippling. Instead of hoping that the government would come to my rescue and bail me out by forgiving my loans, I took personal responsibility for making the choice to borrow the money in the first place, which meant I had to work a second job. Then I lived that 18 hour a day life for years until my friend introduced me to AdvoCare. In the past 3 1/2 years, AdvoCare has helped us eliminate a personal loan, three student loans, and five nearly maxed out credit cards. It’s given us the option to allow my wife to stay home and raise our children. It allows us to have more money to give to causes dear to our heart. It gives us peace of mind that we never even dreamed of until we were surrounded by the culture and the people involved with AdvoCare.

If you don’t have a plan to give you more time with your family, eliminate your debt, or a Plan B income to take care of your family if you lose your job then it’s time to make some changes. If not AdvoCare then what’s your plan? If not AdvoCare then that’s okay… just do SOMETHING to better your situation.

 

 

Protein Pancakes With ONLY 3 Ingredients

AdvoCare meal replacement shake protein pancakesI’m not the cook in our family. My wife takes the cake on that one. See what I did there? 😉 I can; however, cook up a few healthy easy-to-make things in the kitchen. One in particular is protein pancakes that I’ve had multiple times in the past couple weeks. They’re simple, quick, and don’t leave much of a mess at all. Here’s the “whatcha need” and the “how to”:

INGREDIENTS:

  1. One AdvoCare Meal Replacement Shake (any flavor)
  2. An egg
  3. Two Tablespoons of Water

INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. In a small bowl, pour in your AdvoCare meal replacement shake, your egg, and your two tablespoons of water.
  2. Mix well.
  3. Pour into your cooking pan.
  4. Cook to desired golden or browness! 🙂

That’s it! Really… it’s that easy! Here’s a video of me making them this morning:

FOR MORE AWESOME RECIPES:

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The Truth About Jonah: He Died And Why That Matters

Jonah and the whale

Constantly learning about my faith is an absolute love of mine. While many Christians may start and stop at the New Testament, I like to go back and understand the history of our faith. In particular, I like to learn how the ancient Jews understood the Old Testament (or as they call it, the “Tanakh”) and I also love learning all the Old testament and New Testament connections. Understanding how the ancient Jews and the early 1st century Jews understood the Old Testament and knowing their oral and written traditions helps me to better understand my Catholic faith and could help all Christians to know the history of Christianity and why we believe what we believe.

Last week my wife and I were listening to the “The Jennifer Fulwiller Show” podcast and she had Dr. Brant Pitre as a guest speaker. If you haven’t heard of him, look him up today. He blows my mind with the biblical knowledge he has. While on the show he revealed some amazing information that Mariah, Jennifer Fulwiller, and I never knew about Jesus and Jonah. The one about Jonah left us in shock and I immediately began researching what he stated and came to find out that he is correct.

When it comes to the story of Jonah, I have found that Christians either 1. believe that Jonah lived in the whale for three days and three nights or 2. that the story is made up as some sort of long parable (this is what I have found most Christians believe). I have not met any Christians, including myself, that thought Jonah died in the whale… until now. Before you go frantically looking in your Bible, hold on just a second. I will include the applicable verses for you in their original Hebrew text and the English text within this post. 😉Jonah and the whale

Knowing that Jonah died helps you to fully understand Jesus’ own prophecy about his death and resurrection in Matthew 12:40-41, which reads as follows (unless stated otherwise, all references to Scripture are the NABRE translation):

40 Just as Jonah was in the belly of the whale three days and three nights, so will the Son of Man be in the heart of the earth three days and three nights. 41 At the judgment, the men of Nineveh will arise with this generation and condemn it, because they repented at the preaching of Jonah; and there is something greater than Jonah here.

Whenever I read Matthew 12:40 I only gathered that Jesus was prophesying that he would be gone for three days and three nights and then he would be back, BUT that’s not what happened as we all know. Jesus DIED and was gone for three days and three nights and was RESURRECTED. Think about this… Why would Jesus revert back to the story of Jonah to prophesy about his own death and resurrection if Jonah didn’t die and wasn’t resurrected? That wouldn’t make much sense in the full context of those two verses.

Dr. Brant Pitre went on to explain how Jonah did not live in the whale, but DIED and God resurrected him to convert all of Nineveh much like Jesus’ death and resurrection converted so many to Christianity. So what did I do next? Probably what you are doing right now; open up my Bible and check the story of Jonah out again. When I read it myself it amazed me.

I’ll do you a favor so you don’t have to go look it up and read the entire book of Jonah.  Here is the applicable section (Jonah 2:1-4 NABRE):

1 But the LORD sent a great fish to swallow Jonah, and he remained in the belly of the fish three days and three nights. 2 Jonah prayed to the LORD, his God, from the belly of the fish: 3 Out of my distress I called to the LORD, and he answered me; From the womb of Sheol I cried for help, and you heard my voice. 4 You cast me into the deep, into the heart of the sea, and the flood enveloped me; All your breakers and your billows passed over me. (emphasis added)

HERE IS A SIDE NOTE: I asked a question on Facebook last week which translation of the Bible my friends use. The overwhelming most popular one was the NIV, followed by KJ, ESV, MSG, NLT, and a few more. When I looked at each individual version listed in the comments of my post, I noticed that only two of the versions beside the one I use (NABRE – Catholic Bible) actually use the word “Sheol,” that being the ESV and the NKJV; however, there are more translations out there that use it. I think it’s important that “Sheol” be used as it is the ORIGINAL word used in the ancient Hebrew text.

Jonah and the whale

What is Sheol anyway? Well, it’s “a place of darkness to which all the DEAD go, both the righteous and the unrighteous, regardless of the moral choices made in life, a place of stillness and darkness cut off from life and from the Hebrew God.” It is a separate place in Hell also called the “Bosom of Abraham.”

Here is a list of just some versions that use the word “Sheol” and a list of the ones that use something else in its place:

  • “Sheol” = ESV, NKJV, NASB, NABRE, NRSVCE, RSVCE, HCSB, NJB, RSV
  • “belly of hell” = KJ, 1899 Douay-Rheims American Edition, 1752 Douay-Rheims Bible
  • “realm of the dead” = NIV
  • “the place of the dead” = NLV
  • “land of the dead” = NLT
  • “watery grave” = MSG

***Now that you can see what the different translations use, you can tell that the MSG is the weakest translation of this passage, which is another reason why I encourage my Protestant friends to please discontinue using that version. There are many weak translations within the MSG that could lead to someone completely missing something or lead to a completely different interpretation of Scripture.

Here is the original Hebrew text. The word Sheol is שְׁאוֹל in Greek. Please take note of the popup from the highlighted word below. It’s from the popular BibleHub.com site.

Jonah Sheol

I also included the Sheol search page from BibleHub.com as well:

bh

Clearly you do not go to Sheol UNLESS you are DEAD and that’s exactly where Jonah went as you can see from the Bible’s original Hebrew text. I find it fascinating because at a young age I remember seeing cartoon pictures of Jonah hanging out inside of the whale ALIVE. So as I grew older I never put much deep thought into the aforementioned verses even when I read Matthew 12:40-41. Now Matthew makes much more sense knowing that Jonah died. It explains what Jesus meant when He said that his sign would be like that of Jonah’s where He would be dead for three days and three nights and not just in some other place. Knowing this also helped clear up my questions about the almost 2,000 year old belief that Jesus went to Hell (CCC 633), but that’s a discussion for another day. ;)Jes

 

WARNING… Graphic Post, But A MUST Read For The Betterment of Our Nation

Precious Feet Pro lifeWARNING… graphic post and an explanation of this picture:

This past weekend my wife and I prayed outside of the abortion clinic in our city for the conversion of the hearts of all of the clinic workers, abortionists, and those that seek to end the lives of their children. Many people don’t even realize that we have an abortion clinic right here in our city. You wouldn’t realize it is an abortion clinic because it doesn’t broadcast itself as one. Instead, it goes by the name of “Reproductive Health Services” and it is located literally next door to a YMCA. If you were to walk out of the doors of the YMCA and kept walking for 30 yards, you’d run right into it since it’s directly next door. The people that know about it don’t wish to speak of it because Americans tend to like their abortions hidden and sanitary. They know it goes on and the majority disagree with it, but they don’t want to talk about it because it makes them uncomfortable. It’s very similar to how the Nazi regime was able to take over. People knew that they were killing Jews and no one spoke out because they were afraid or it was uncomfortable or both.

One thing I do to speak out is to wear these feet that I’m wearing in the picture. They are called “Precious Feet.” They are the EXACT size and shape of a 10-week unborn baby’s feet (the same size feet that can and are ripped off of a baby’s legs during an abortion). What’s terrifying is that our state’s law allows for women to kill their babies by ripping their body parts off piece by piece up to twice the age (20-weeks) and well more than twice the size of these precious feet. Get this though, if the father did something to intentionally cause that baby’s death, instead of the mom having her baby ripped to shreds, he would be charged with Capital Murder and be eligible for the death penalty. Which means that the baby is a “person” if the father kills the baby, but not a person if the mother does. There’s no explanation for that other than extreme hypocrisy.

We legalized murder in this country many decades ago and by doing so legalized infant genocide; however, we don’t have to allow it to go on any longer. Over the last couple weeks I have had conversations with many Christians (many being of my own faith, Catholic) and I’ve heard them say, “Roe v. Wade will never be overturned” so they move on to focus on other important issues.

So many people have given up, but don’t realize that the US Supreme Court has overruled itself, just up til 2001, 220 times! There have been SEVERAL 5-4 decisions going the wrong way with this current supreme court. That’s ONE person on the court making a drastic difference in the outcome of cases and guess what… the next president will likely be replacing 3 to 4 of the current justices. So it’s more likely now than ever that Roe will be overturned and the worst time not to speak out about this issue. We have so much more technology now than we did when Roe was decided and with a conservative president we could be closer than ever to overturning one of the most horrifying rulings in American history.

So this is not the time to be quiet and just “hope” that everything turns out okay. It’s the time to be a voice for life. The GOOD NEWS is… Millennials are now leaning to the “right” on abortion and are increasingly becoming more and more pro-life. smile emoticon

If you’re not comfortable being a voice for unborn children, please pray for them. They need your prayers and so do the people that participate in the act of taking a child’s life. Love them, pray for them, and comfort them when they see what they’ve done.

“The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.” – Edmund Burke

If you want to see what speaking out on this issue of abortion did for a self-proclaimed super feminist, progressive liberal, pro-abortion woman’s viewpoint, I encourage you to read the article below:

http://www.nationalreview.com/article/430152/abortion-roe-v-wade-unborn-children-women-feminism-march-life