Our Whole 30ish Experience

It all started with a bad idea, then Erica said she wanted to do it but not alone. I said “I’m in”, like a crazy person. The next thing you know, the Ortiz’s and the Vogt’s (Ray and Michael included) began the venture of clean eating, no grains, no dairy and no sugar for 30 days.

The best reaction was my co-worker who said she was going to journal her observations like I was some sort of animal being observed in it’s natural habitat. That’s basically the best idea anyone has ever had. I wish she had done it. 

No milk/creamer in my coffee? Not so bad. No bread? Could have been much worse. Sugar crashes? Non-existent. Afternoon need for caffeine? Gone. In between meal snacking? Practically none.

Now…this is an elimination diet for 30 days, getting rid of the junk and the cravings and seeing what else happens. The key word, “elimination”. In my expert opinion, do not tackled this alone or without some accountability. If not for the Vogt’s, I (we) would have made modifications by day 5 (cause day 5 actually had me in tears….turns out my swollen legs has zero to do with gluten/legumes/dairy/sugar and now we know). I may have secretly hoped since the beginning they would cave, then I could have followed their lead without the guilt. 

Another reason for the angst? Detailed planning. It’s summer and in the Ortiz home, that means there are nights we don’t stop for the day until the sun has given up.  I actually enjoy planning meals under most circumstances but this requires a lot of detail and planning. Lots of planning. The snacks that we could eat were limited so that wasn’t an issue. Reading labels isn’t a huge surprise and I have learned to love Trader Joe’s and Sprouts on a whole other level. But the planning…it does take time.

We are 22 days in and I figured I’d better post this before we totally fall off the wagon (Please note that I said “totally” fall off the wagon…we are not the poster family). Also, vacation is 9 days away and I am not about to risk digestive distress so re-introducing foods will happen a little sooner. 

The results cannot be argued. Way more energy, no crashing in the afternoons, rarely any need for between meal snacks (healthy fats make a huge difference), weight loss and loss of inches… All the things you are promised, delivered. Ray hasn’t had a hard time with his workouts. Basically, this is a strict paleo diet…the love of Crossfitters everywhere. I however, am a runner. This has made for some really sluggish morning runs and to run two days in a row felt like I was dragging my legs.

A couple of final thoughts:

  1. We will do shorter versions of this in the future. It’s a great healthy eating jump start.
  2. Riced cauliflower is not at all meant to mimic rice. Don’t even give me that crap.
  3. Sweet potatoes are not a replacement for everything.
  4. Strawberry lime vinaigrette, monkey salad and a list of other new meal ideas and additions are a total win. Zoodles are indeed delicious.
  5. While I am a believer, if anyone gives me a list as to why I don’t need gluten, I may fight you (keep your science to yourself and bring me the homemade pizza dough). I have no need to cut it out of my diet so while I have a list of new meal ideas and will certainly continue adding this many fruits and vegetables to our normal diet, I won’t be cutting out gluten.
  6. Last but not least – look at your calendar and know your schedule. What made this so hard was just plain summer.
  7. You can do it and I will not be judgmental if you say this is hard.
  8. Erica and Michael Vogt are stronger than I am. There. I said it. I have complained way more than they have.

Favorite Things Monday – Tuesday Edition (cause Monday needed a re-do)

Happy Monday one and all!

Monday’s require chutzpah.

All of it.

It’s actually Tuesday.

I started writing yesterday and found myself in a slight funk. By slight, I mean I was complaining about Monday (who totally deserved it, by the way). I was missing the point.

Sadly, I was missing the point while writing a post with a focus on gratitude.

We all need a re-do, a re-set, a fresh start even when it is doing the same thing on repeat. We all need grace.

The process of getting from where we are, to where we are going is…wait for it, a process. 2 Corinthians 3 talks about how we are being changed into the image of God, from glory to glory. We are forever a work in progress. Getting from where we are to where we are going is a process. In 1st Corinthians 13, it talks about seeming as in a mirror dimly, but then face to face.

We are a work in progress, loving people who are a work in progress. We learn the grace of God and His goodness in every single step.

So whether yesterday was a Monday full of the mundane or a day full of the brand new. Was it full of dreams come true or more blood, sweat and tears in the journey… His grace. It’s in all of it. I am learning one step at a time. Some days the steps are painful, some days they are frustrating, but they all matter…and I am not alone.

So to you my friend, in progress, running your race in your lane. Run strong! We are in this together. It is worth it.

So while it may be Tuesday, Monday wasn’t as bad as it seemed. I may have been tired but it was from a weekend at Schlitterbaun (no pictures…left the phone in the car. Ortiz family win!) with my family, and wrangling toddlers at church on Sunday but I was tired from good things. Summer is nearing the start of school and I am not at all ready for it. So for today, I will focus on today.



Favorite Things Monday

It is really hard to know where to begin.

Last week was full. The news was too much. The images heartbreaking, sickening and flat our horrifying and it was everywhere. It left us as a nation feeling raw.

I do not have answers, but we have hope. Together. I can’t help but go back to the only thing I know. Jesus. Our hope and our faithful and good HOPE that calls us to each other. EACH OTHER. We will fight for each other, not with each other. We will cover, love and seek unity. Together.

I started a new book. One that has been on my Kindle for far too long. God has a thing about timing. I have been saying for months that I needed brainless fiction. I have yet to pick up such a book. This time I started ‘Every Bitter Thing is Sweet’ by Sara Hagerty. I LOVE this book. I can’t seem to put it down. So beautifully written and what a story. My story is not her story but because of her honesty, you can’t help but see yourself in it’s pages. Maybe that’s just me but there are moments that have caught me off guard in good and challenging ways in the last few days. I highly recommend.

We had some pretty simple moments this week. My son tends to declare “the best day ever” over the seemingly simple things.

Here is one prime example: swimming when the pool lights come on.

We would all be a little better if we took that cue from him.


Also, swimming with goggles immediately takes you back to being 10yrs old and your kids will think it is the greatest thing in the world.


Seemingly normal? Best day ever.

Friday was an emotional day across the board. I knew this race was coming and I knew I would have to run it. A 5k, in my neighborhood sounds like a good idea…until it’s in July. Add the name Caleb to the race and you can try and stop me. Even though it was in July. God bless the Koke Family and the Shoreline Church family for putting purpose to their pain. They lost their Caleb going on 7 years ago. I can’t imagine marking a day to celebrate your child’s life that isn’t their birthday…and this family knows.

My family is fighting to put purpose to their pain. This race allowed me the chance to celebrate life even when it feels wrong to be celebrating in this way. Even attempting to write about it breaks my heart and I wonder if I’m making sense through the emotional cloud that set in as soon as I started writing. There is something so wrong about it. The run was a fight. Life is worth celebrating even when it takes the fight for joy.


Sometimes, the “favorite thing” in a week is the thing you have to fight the hardest for. Maybe it’s a new thing. Maybe it’s walking through a hard thing. Maybe it’s the simple thing on repeat. All I know, is that God is in the things… all of them. Through this weeks simple and heartbreaking, the challenging and the ordinary, I want my heart and my mind to be in a place of expectation, knowing that God is with me, goes before me and meets me in each step along the way.

Favorite Things – Holiday Weekend Edition

Hello Friends!

Who doesn’t love a long weekend?! I appreciate a busy Saturday just a little more when the following Monday is a freebie. We ate pizza on South Congress late on Sunday night, just because we could. The kids were patient with a long wait, the pizza was perfect and the people watching was fantastic. There were so many moments over the past week that were awesome reminders of how God shows off in the details.

July 4th was fantastic. Family, friends, food, fireworks, lots of laughs and thanks to games, some of us may need counseling… My husband and kids smelled like gun powder from fireworks and we ended the day grateful, and flat out exhausted. Not a second of this glorious long weekend was wasted.




This is my spot. My chair, a few of my books and my bible. My spot was missing something. Then it showed up at my front door via Amazon and a sweet friend. They are as much the reminder today as they were when I was growing up and my Mom was playing this old hymn (the Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir version to be exact) over and over. Driving cars that we prayed to church on Sunday mornings and when life just didn’t make sense…her prayer, her conviction and come hell or high water (or flooding basements)…her song. It is one of my favorites. I needed those words in my spot. When the dreams in my heart overwhelm, when life just doesn’t make sense…and when life seems to have a moment where everything falls into place. There has never been a season in my life where these words have failed me. Great is His Faithfulness.

Today, we celebrate this guy. Life is nothing short of crazy and there is no one I would rather do this crazy life with.




I have a beautiful little niece. A few days ago, my sister sent me this. Ellie is kind of awesome with her expressions. I have pictures where it is as if she is saying she is concerned, happy, worried… you get the idea. Basically, this…



Then Heather sent me this… I call “Ellie is not happy with her life choices”. It’s what happens when a baby doesn’t nap, then sleeps and wakes up like this. It’s greatness. It could and probably should be a meme.



Being far away from family is never easy. Pictures, social media and all the other joys of modern technology make us feel a little more connected. It is not the same as hugs, Ellie/Wyatt/Owen snuggles and conversations around a kitchen table, but it is better than snail mail and long distance phone calls. Today, Ellie was the silly expression on a post-holiday Tuesday.


I hope your weekend was long, full of family, friends who are family and all the legal explosives (fireworks…nothing but fireworks). The reminders, the hope, the moments. They are everywhere.