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PACE: the speed at which someone or something moves; speed; tempo; rhythm

I recently joined a women’s workout group that was described as walking and jogging intervals and other interval training. I enjoy intervals so I knew I would enjoy this group. I was also excited to get to meet new friends and exercise a bit as well. The group was so popular that it was soon split in two groups, one group focused on walking and the other focused on running. I’m not a runner, but I knew walking would be an easy way out for me, so I stepped into the running group. As we were heading out, the leader said, “So I was thinking that we would start the Couch25k (C25K) app and complete a 5k at the end of the semester.” As I overheard her say these words, I began to argue with myself and excuses to leave the group ran rampant in my head. But despite my excuses, I stayed. The first couple of weeks of following the app weren’t as hard as I thought. I actually puffed up with a little confidence in my running ability. But then week 4 of the app came and I was dying. Now to be honest my longest run on this day was only five minutes. I know what you are thinking, “Jen, you couldn’t handle five minutes?” But I’ll just admit it…I couldn’t. I’ve never been a runner per se and I could feel my lungs caving in at 4 minutes and 30 seconds. I left that day feeling pretty defeated. I consider myself pretty healthy working out 3 times a week or more and eating healthy the majority of the time, but on this day I questioned it all. I walked away thinking I was completely out of shape and more excuses of why I should quit surfaced again.

I had to make a choice: quit or show up the next week. With some encouragement from my family and the other women in the group, I stayed. I started following the C25K app at home to train my body for the group running days. When I arrived at group the following week and we started our run, our leader said something to me that stuck with me and has not left. We had just begun an 8-minute run and she looked at me and said, “Her pace isn’t your pace. You have to find your pace.” She went on to tell me that my friend, whom I was running with, runs 8-minutes per mile. My friend also ran track in college and clearly has had way more training than I in the running department. My leader continued to encourage me to find my pace and that once I found my pace, completing my runs would become easier. And she was completely right; it was easier. That day I walked away completing the entire run.

HER PACE ISN’T YOUR PACE…I was trying to keep a pace that I was not physically able to keep. I was wearing my body out by striving to stay at a pace that was not mine. (Did you know that there are pace charts for running based on age, weight, height and distance?) Once I found my pace, I not only completed the runs, but there was so much peace in it. I actually enjoyed the run once I discovered my pace. As I thought about this more and more I realized that finding our pace isn’t just important when running, but also important in every day life. Her pace, whether that’s a friend, someone you work with, a family member, or a simple acquaintance, is not your pace. Sometimes I can find myself trying to keep the pace of others thinking if I can keep up with their pace, I am accomplishing more. Sometimes I find myself adding to my day to make my pace seem more attractable to others. But the reality is trying to run the pace or rhythm of someone else’s life leaves me feeling defeated and tired. When I’m upping my tempo to impress those I around me, I’m again left worn out. It is also very hard to finish the race, goal or path before us when we are not living in the correct pace. The desire to quit creeps in more and more when we set our lives in an unhealthy rhythm.

So how do you discover your pace? Here are a few questions that are leading me to discover my pace.

  1. First I must ask myself daily, “God, what is the pace you have called me to today and in this season of my life?”
  2. Do I have peace in my pace? When you discover your pace, I believe there is an unexplainable peace that is found.
  3. Are my days constantly leaving me rushed, tired and overwhelmed? This is usually a sign that I need to change my pace.
  4. What is currently on my plate? Sometimes I add so much responsibility to my plate that I can barely run the path of my days. Is their something on your plate that needs to be removed? There may even be something that needs to be added. It is possible that you finish your days speedily but not fulfilling. You don’t want to add the very thing God is asking of you out of fear that your pace will have to change. But know this…it is better to have a changed pace doing what God has called you to do than a fast pace unfulfilled.
  5. Do I simply enjoy my days? Does my pace let me enjoy my family, friends and things God has placed in my life?

Now I know the pace set now may not be the pace I have in a coming season. Pace can change as we face circumstances, transitions, valleys and mountains. Think about this in the natural…it is easier to run a faster pace on level ground than to run a fast pace up a mountain. This is also true in our lives. I believe we need to evaluate the pace of our days to discover if God desires us to slow it down or speed it up. As you approach news seasons and circumstances, refer back to the questions above to help you discern your pace. And in all seasons, circumstances, and days of life I hope you do not live in a pace that doesn’t belong to you. Discover your own pace and remind yourself that her pace is not your pace.

My prayer is that you would take time in the next few days to evaluate your pace.

My prayer is that you no longer live in the stress of someone else’s pace.

My prayer is that you would discover a pace that brings peace and fulfillment. A pace that brings you freedom to fully live in the path set before you.


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All About Avocados

The green fruit…AVOCADOS. If you asked me a few months ago if I liked avocados I would have immediately told you that I hated them. I would most definitely have given you a yucky, disgusted face and explained that all they were to me was green mush. My friends loved them and were always telling me how healthy they were and so forth. But in my mind, avocados and I would never be friends. We were just not meant to be…at least that is what I had assumed.

See avocados and I had only a few encounters with its oh so famous dish, guacamole. I tried and tried to like this dip, but I could never find myself to like it. Then one day I was looking up a healthy frosting for some brownies and the one I found was made with avocados. I was thinking, “there is no way the green mush is going to make a good dessert,” but boy was I wrong. I whipped up this yummy chocolate frosting using avocados. Yes, I know; I cannot believe it either. This then lead me to wonder what other yummy things I had been missing because of my avocado ban.

What I discovered was that it wasn’t that I did not like avocados, but I had not liked them prepared the ways I traditionally had them before. Now avocados are something I look to use almost every week. I use them for breakfast, lunch, dinner and dessert. There are so many ways I have found to add them to recipes and I hope to expand your view on this wonderful green fruit. See some recipes I love below.

  • Avocado toast
    • There are a million different creations for this, but my favorite is simply mashed avocado on top of toasted bread with a poached egg on top. Check out this easy recipe at Pinch of Yum.
  • Scrambled eggs with avocados
    • Simply scramble your eggs and add chops or slivers of avocados to them. It creates a creamy texture and adds a few more healthy benefits to your morning.
  • Smoothies
    • When making your smoothie add a 1-2 slices of avocados. You will never even know they are in there. This is also an easy way for your kids to eat something healthy for breakfast. Note: Too much avocado will change the flavor and texture so I would encourage you, especially avocado beginners, to start with less.
  • Brownies
    • This week I made avocado brownies from The Healthy Maven. I really liked them as they weren’t too sweet and the texture was great. My kids, however, thought they needed to be sweeter of course. I am looking to try another recipe I discovered from Frugal Mom Eh to see if I can win them over and since she uses chocolate versus cocoa powder, I am thinking the sweet factor will be there. I’m pretty positive winning them over will not be too hard.
  • Chocolate Frosting
    • Have you ever read the ingredients on the package of the store bought frosting? I have and therefore decided to whip up my own, which is when I discovered an avocado frosting from Veggie Primer. Now I will admit this does not taste like a store bought frosting, but it is still delicious. It is silky and smooth. It passed the yummy test with my husband, kids, and friends.

What are some non-traditional ways you have found to incorporate avocados? If you don’t have any, I would love for you to try some of the recipes above or venture out with your next creation and add some avocados. What I have discovered is that there are endless ways to add them to dishes you already prepare. So I guess I should say that avocados and I have become friends and that the ban has been lifted.

Check out some of the health benefits of this green fruit at Authority Nutrition.





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This word “juicing” was not ever something I was interested in learning more about. I remember someone asking me once if I had ever “juiced” and my response was simple, “I would rather chew my food than drink it.” I have always been one that thought juicing was something that I would dislike as I love to eat food, taking in the flavors and spices. However, my “juicing” perspective changed when my husband began a 10 day juice fast last year and I decided I would make one for myself at breakfast. Well that did it. I immediately became a juice fan. The taste was bearable and after I finished drinking it, I was actually full. I had a quick lesson for myself, which I ironically teach my kids everyday… “You cannot say you don’t like something until you try it.”

Now that juicing was not such a “bad word” to me anymore, I began juicing during the week more and more. So with the new year starting, my husband and I began a juice fast. When we started the fast I didn’t know much about the pluses and negatives to juicing, but by day 5 of juicing breakfast, lunch and dinner, I could tell my body was needing something. At around 3 or 4 pm everyday, my body would be tired and I would just want to lay down the rest of the day. However with two boys, ages 2 1/2 and 5, laying down for the rest of the day was not an option. These feelings and other reasons led me to begin researching, which is what I want to share with you today. Now let me state this, I am no expert regarding juicing and your body. Therefore, I definitely encourage you to research for yourself and also keep in mind that everyone’s body and health is different.

Here are a few things I discovered personally and through research:

  • Juicing is a great way to give your body lots of nutrients, vitamins, and minerals, especially if you do not eat the amount of veggies and fruits you need each day.
  • When you juice, it should be mostly veggies; about 75% veggies and 25% fruit. This helps to reduce the amount of your sugar intake. Juicing only fruits actually contains more sugar than eating the fruit itself.
  • A juice fast was the first time I saw my husband stay healthy. Fasts he has completed in the past always ended in sickness. But both juice fast he has completed gave him energy and kept him healthy.
  • Juicing is a great way to give your digestive system a break as it does not have to breakdown food. However, juicing over an extended time can cause your metabolism to slow down.
  • Majority of the calories in juicing come from carbs, including high amounts of natural sugar from fruits and some vegetables.
  • Most experts say only juicing is not good for your body and suggests to simply incorporate healthy eating into your everyday.
  • Completing a one to three day juicing plan is something, in my opinion, would be your best option.
  • If you are having a juice, remember the juice is your meal.

Here are some articles I would suggest reading as well:




To sum it up, I recommend juicing, but would not recommend juicing for a long period of time. Your body needs real food. If you are looking to lose weight, I would encourage you to try a juice for a meal, but do not depend on a juice for health. Health comes from eating real foods and living an active life whether it is exercising, sports, running around the yard with your kids, etc.  Again, I would encourage you to do some research on your own and if you do try a juice fast, listen to your body. During my fast, my body was telling me it needed more. So on day 7, I began incorporating vegetarian meals in my diet to begin jumpstarting my metabolism. My husband on the other hand, completed 14 days before he knew his body was in need of more. (Note: This was a beginning of year fast for us and the length of this fast is not something we will do all the time.)

What is your experience with juicing? How did your body react? I would love to hear how juicing has affected you.

P.S. – Stay tuned for some of our families favorite juice recipes.



What’s at the Laird’s table?

Several readers have asked me to post about “How the Laird’s eat”. I receive many questions like: What the heck is Paleo? What are some good recipes? Do your children eat paleo? Well to start off, here is a quick glimpse into our paleo life.

What is Paleo? It is known as the diet of pre-agricultural hunter-gatherers, aka the Caveman’s Diet.
Simple Guidelines: (see http://www.multiplydelicious.com)

  • No processed foods
  • No refined, artificial & added sugars
  • No grains
  • No legumes – including peanuts & anything soy
  • No white potatoes – they spike your insulin, but sweet potatoes are okay.
  • Try to avoid dairy – use fermented or raw grass-fed dairy if needed
  • No alcohol – although if you absolutely have to there are some “better” ones to consume
  • No vegetable oils (that includes canola, peanut, soybean, corn, etc…)
  • Yes to healthy fats – animal fat, coconut oil, olive oil, avocado oil, tallow, nut oils, etc.
  • Yes to grass fed meats, pastured free-range chicken/eggs, wild fish and fresh organic produce

Why Paleo? One of the main reasons people move to the paleo lifestyle is it eliminates all processed foods and helps with digestion. Many people believe that foods have changed over the generations, but our bodies have not adapted. Therefore, we need to return to how we ate in the beginnings for our bodies to respond correctly. For Jason and I, we ate a diet of low carbs, lots of fruits and veggies and protein before “paleo” was a term for us. Then we discovered paleo, began reading about it, and realized with a few modifications, we would be eating paleo. We enjoy how we feel after eating this way; maintain healthy weights, consistent energy and healthy digestive systems.

Lets Eat

Are  the Laird’s die-hard paleo? I would say we are about 90% paleo, especially after completing a 21-day sugar detox at the beginning of the year (more about that on a another post). We believe in having a healthy family and part of that includes unprocessed foods, foods our bodies can naturally digest, lots of fruits and vegetables, and proteins. Do we ever add cheese? Yes. Who can live without cheese all their life? LOL. Do we have sweets every now and then? Yes. We know moderation is key. We are not legalistic. However, we truly enjoy eating this way and do not feel constrained by it. If anything, it has really inspired our creativity on our adventure as foodies. Eating this way is not a diet for us, but a way of life. We are food lovers and for us, this way of eating works.

For more about the paleo lifestyle, visit some of my favorite bloggers: