Thursday, July 13, 2017

Where In The World Is Joanna?

Hello friends! I hope you are doing well today and staying encouraged in spite of any challenging circumstances.

I'm happy to report that I've had a wonderful summer of travels! I'm still amazed at how far God has brought me! Ten years ago I wouldn't have imagined I'd be able to do all the things I've been doing lately. Praise God!

My friends told me to take a lot of pictures this summer, so I did...I think I've taken over 2000 photos during the last five weeks. =) I thought I'd share some of them here. For me, these photos are a reminder that -
*God hears our prayers.
*We can hold on to hope even when we can't see. 
*God has good plans for us even through the pain.
*Our suffering isn't wasted. 
*God is able to do more than we can ask or imagine!

So here are a bunch of photos of me...I apologize if that's boring for you, haha. I have hundreds of pictures of beautiful scenery, but in this post I want to give God glory for what He's done for me and all the places He's taking me...places I didn't dream I'd be able to go. I hope this encourages you that God also has good plans for you, He does hear your prayers, and He will bring something good from your suffering.

God bless you!


The beach at St. Andrews is lovely! 
I enjoyed visiting the Edinburgh museum.

Enjoying the park with friends.
Yes, that's me on a slide! =) 

It was so cold in the Scottish Highlands! But worth it for the incredible view! 

We visited a wild animal park. The tigers were impressive!

I love this beautiful waterfall in the countryside!

Northern Ireland 
Visiting Glenariff, a breathtakingly beautiful place!

My friend and tour guide, Alan. =) 

Me riding on a train from Belfast! It was actually pretty fun. =)

Going on a hike, believe it or not. =) 

Visiting the village of Carnlough on the coast.

Getting ready to ride horses in County Down!!!
I tried to get my horse to stand still for the photo, but she loved to go! =) 

My new buddy, "Bud."

So enjoyed seeing the Mountains of Mourne and the beach at Newcastle again. 
(I was there in 2000 and loved it!)


Taking the ferry to the islands in the Oslo Fjord. Loved it!
Visited some ancient ruins from the 1100's, quite an experience. 
The view over Oslo and the fjord is amazing! 

Picnic at the harbor in Holmestrand.

So enjoyed the botanical gardens in Oslo. 

Stopping to smell the roses. =) 

View from the Opera House in downtown Oslo, with a glacier sculpture in the background.

We found a sweet little bridge up on a hillside. =)

Downtown Oslo, the city of the tiger.
I crossed this bridge several times while in Olso.
Practicing my ski jump position. =) 

Visited a friend's art and music store. Loved it! 

Still so much to see! 

And now I'm heading back to Florida today. It's hard to say goodbye to all these special places and the wonderful people I've been blessed to spend time with. I'm so thankful for God's many gifts! And I'm looking forward to what He has in store for me next. =)

Thursday, June 29, 2017

"Think And Eat Yourself Smart"

This is the title of Dr. Caroline Leaf's latest book. She is a brilliant neuroscientist whose books and videos have helped me learn so much about healthy living.

Here's a little video of her being interviewed about the content in this book, "Think And Eat Yourself Smart." I think it's very helpful and explains what's happening today.

Please take a few minutes to watch, and then leave me a comment with your thoughts. =)

Thursday, June 15, 2017

Frankincense Oil - A Powerful Tool For Healing

If you already use essential oils, then you probably know what a great tool frankincense oil is for healing.

If you haven't tried essential oils yet, then maybe you'll want to give frankincense oil a try.

I started using it over a year ago, and I'm so thankful for its many benefits!

Frankincense oil has helped my body in several ways - balancing hormones, fighting inflammation, boosting immune system, improving mood, etc.

I don't usually use it everyday because it is a fairly strong oil, and because it does cost more than other oils. So far I haven't ingested it, as some experts advise caution about ingesting essential oils. But using it topically, orally, and diffusing it are all very helpful uses of it. It's a very versatile and effective oil that I'm thankful I can benefit from.

If you are extremely sensitive to any smell at all, then frankincense oil may have too strong of a fragrance for you (event though it's natural). When I had extreme smell sensitivity, I wasn't able to use it. However, now I really enjoy its fragrance.

I encourage you to read this detailed article on the many benefits and uses of frankincense oil, (it also includes recipes for using it in home and skin care products).

Thursday, June 1, 2017

Goodbye Fabric Softener

I've posted about fabric softener before, but I felt compelled to revisit it again this week. In the last few months I've traveled a lot and stayed in various homes and hotels. I've found that even worse than pesticide or perfume exposure, what bothers me even more is toxic fabric softener. This product contains so many harmful chemicals, including known carcinogens (cancer-causing agents). It is mind-boggling to me that anyone still uses this product. But I realize that many people simply don't know what's in it and how dangerous it is. 

If there was ONE change I could convince people to make for their health, it would be - say goodbye to fabric softener (or switch to a natural alternative...see the article below). 

For those of you who understand this issue, please continue to share the facts with others as you have opportunity. And if you've never heard about this, please consider the following information and make an informed decision for your own health and family.

Dangers of Fabric Softener

The facts on fabric softeners are undeniable, yet millions of people still use this dangerous product. 
Some people simply have no idea about the harmful chemicals they're exposing themselves to. Other people ignore the dangers, saying, "I want my clothes to be soft." 
It grieves me to think that anyone would chose "soft" clothes over protecting their families' health from carcinogens, respiratory irritants, chemicals and toxins.
Unfortunately, the people who use fabric softener aren't the only ones who suffer from this unhealthy choice. 
- For years I felt the harmful effects of my neighbor's fabric softener almost daily as it came from her dryer vent through our front and back yards. 
- Many children, who have no idea of the dangers, are wearing toxic clothes laundered with fabric softener. 
- People who work in hospitality industries are exposed to these toxic products daily. 
So if fabric softener is so dangerous, why is it still sold everywhere? Where is regulation, you ask? I can't answer why so many toxic products are still approved for sale, but I can assure you that the research has been done and the facts are clear. 
Fabric softener contains known carcinogens (cancer-causing agents), respiratory irritants, toxins that cause nervous system disorders, as well as substances that are listed on the EPA's Hazardous Waste list. 
Fabric softener is a toxic cocktail that becomes even more dangerous when heated, and which is made to last a VERY long time. It absorbs into the skin (through clothes and bedding) and wreaks all kinds of havoc in the body. 
If you know someone with asthma, this is the first change I recommend for them to make. One of my friends said that after quitting using fabric softener, her asthma improved dramatically! Another friend had chronic hives for months, which completely cleared up once he stopped using fabric softener. The list of possible problems from using fabric softener goes on and on, not to mention the long-term effects it has on people.
I hope by now I've either convinced you to avoid this harmful product, or inspired you to share the facts with others you know who still use fabric softener.
For more information on this topic, here's a helpful article by Dr. Mercola that shares some of the dangers of fabric softener and also lists easy and inexpensive natural alternatives. 
There are a lot of unavoidable toxins in our environment. Let's not add anything unnecessarily to that load. Let's keep spreading the word so that more people can make healthy choices and live well.

Thursday, May 18, 2017

The Low-Fat Myth

You've probably noticed that many foods in the grocery store now seem to have a "low-fat" option. Supposedly, less fat is healthier.

This emphasis on "low-fat" everything is actually a myth. In fact, "fat" is a healthy thing, when we understand it properly.

If we look at it logically, foods like dairy products, meat, etc. are naturally full of fat. But today, people take those foods and artificially extract most of the fat from it. Then they call it "healthier" than the original state of the food. Does that sound logical?

For thousands of years people ate food in its naturally occurring form, and they didn't have the strange health conditions that are common today.

The truth is that our bodies need fat. They just need healthy, naturally occurring fats. They don't need man-made fats, such as margarine, hydrogenated oils, etc.

If God created something for us to eat, I think He knew how it was supposed to be in order to be healthy for our bodies.

Healthy fats, such as grass-fed butter, coconut oil, grass-fed beef, etc. are foods that people have consumed for generations. And they have many health benefits.

Basically, when deciding what is a healthy fat or non-healthy fat, we can stick with what God has created, versus what man has manufactured somehow.

The body needs healthy fat for many functions, including the ability to repair itself as well as maintaining a healthy weight.

In my case, after years of health problems my herbalogist actually told me to eat a spoonful of natural ice cream every day. At that point my body had difficulty consuming fat, even though I needed it desperately. So I started with that one spoonful of ice cream, and gradually I was able to start consuming coconut oil, butter, etc. Even now, some days I can feel that I haven't been getting enough healthy fat. Then I'll eat some organic greek yogurt or even a spoonful of coconut oil to get some quick healthy fat. It's amazing how much better I feel when I'm consuming adequate amounts of healthy fat.

If you'd like to read more about this topic, here's an article by Dr. Mercola about healthy fats.

If you have questions, please leave a comment for me. I hope you'll look into this and discover what a great tool healthy fats can be for your health and wellness!

Thursday, May 4, 2017

Healing Truth

Today wanted to repost something that I hope will encourage you!

Wisdom and Health

I've been reading through the book of Proverbs again. There's so much wisdom in these ancient sayings. I wanted to share some of them with you today. 

I know some people read a chapter of Proverbs every day, but I've found that to be too much for me to think about at one time. I like to read just one proverb (or a few verses) at a time and then think about it all day long. I encourage you to do that with the following proverbs. Over the next week, choose one to contemplate each day, and let its wisdom plant deep in your soul. 


1) My son, pay attention to what I say; listen closely to my words. Do not let them out of your sight, keep them within your heart; for they are life to those who find them and health to a man's whole body. Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life. -Prov. 4:20-23

2) Do not be wise in your own eyes; fear the LORD and shun evil. This will bring health to your body and nourishment to your bones. -Prov. 3:7-8

3) Reckless words piece like a sword, but the tongue of the wise brings healing. -Prov. 12:18

4) A heart at peace gives life to the body, but envy rots the bones. -Prov. 14:30

5) The tongue that brings healing is a tree of life, but a deceitful tongue crushes the spirit. -Prov. 15:4

6) A cheerful look brings joy to the heart, and good news gives health to the bones. -Prov. 15:30

7) Gracious words are a honeycomb, sweet to the soul and healing to the bones. -Prob. 16:24

And here's a bonus one:

He who gets wisdom loves his own soul; he who cherishes understanding prospers. -Prov. 19:8

Friday, April 21, 2017

God's Glory In The Storm

Hello! I'm sorry I'm a day late with this post. It's been a crazy week with challenges, attacks from the enemy, and God's faithfulness carrying me one moment at a time. I praise God that this week I received my professional coaching certification (for life and health coaching)! I've been working for this for over a year, so it's a huge answer to prayer to have it completed! What an encouragement to see God answer all those months of prayer, while I'm in the midst of other difficult circumstances.

Then today I reread this chapter from my book, "Seeing God Through The Storm," and God reminded me that our storms are not about Satan's attacks against us. Our storms are about God displaying His glory in and through our lives. I know many of you are still going through difficult storms. I hope the following thoughts encourage you and give you courage to keep trusting God day by day. I know He will be glorified in your life. 



Here we are at the end of the book of Job. Have you found comfort and encouragement from Job’s story? I have. I’d never wish such intense suffering on anyone, but I’m grateful God gave us this record of Job’s experience. Because of what he went through, we’ve learned many precious truths about how to see God in our storms.

We’ve discovered that the LORD is in control, He is good, and He has a purpose for us. We’ve found that we don’t have to be afraid, that God’s love surrounds us, and that His wisdom is perfect. We’ve come to know God as the Healer of our hearts, the Repairer of our broken pieces, and the Restorer of our souls. Above all, we’ve begun to understand that our holy God is gracious beyond measure.

In His grace, God didn’t just restore Job. God also gave Job a valuable legacy from his suffering. Not only was Job’s life changed, but his friends’ lives were changed. All who knew Job were surely impacted as well.  

After this, Job lived a hundred and forty years; he saw his children and their children to the fourth generation. And so he died, old and full of years. -Job 42:16-17

I imagine that Job never stopped telling his grandchildren and great-grandchildren the story of his encounter with God and how it radically altered his life. Now you and I have been affected by his story, too. Undoubtedly Job had no idea of the far-reaching impact his trial would have. But God knew. The Lord allowed Job’s storm both to transform Job’s life and to bless others.

It’s significant that nowhere in the final chapter of Job is Satan mentioned. Isn’t he the one who started all the trouble? Yet at the end of the story, he’s conspicuously absent. I believe that’s because this story is not about Satan at all. It’s about GOD. It’s about what God wanted to do in Job’s life. It’s about the millions of people God wanted to touch through Job’s suffering.

Yes, Satan is real, and he’s always trying to destroy God’s people. At times we may feel overwhelmed by his attacks, but we can have confidence that our trials are not really about Satan’s activity. Our storms are about what God wants to accomplish in us and through us for His glory.

What a beautiful gift it is to know that God has a legacy planned for our trials! A legacy is something that endures, something meaningful that is passed along to others, something precious that remains after the storm and even after we are gone. Can you imagine that God wants to use your suffering to bless other people?

Many times we may feel like we have nothing we can give, nothing we can use to bless others. But we always have grace. After Job’s encounter with God, he was a changed man—on the inside. Externally though, his hands were empty. When God told Job to pray for his friends, He didn’t ask Job to provide the animals for the sacrifices. Job didn’t have any. Job had only one thing to give, the most precious thing God had given him—grace.

Just as God continually floods us with His abundant grace, He will also empower us to give grace away to others.

And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work. -2 Corinthians 9:8

Storms may take our resources, our health, even our relationships, but they cannot take from us the super-abundant grace of God! In light of eternity, the best gift we can give anyone is the gift of grace. We can give grace through forgiveness, prayer, encouraging words, acts of kindness, even a smile. When we extend grace to others, though it seems small, it will eventually have an impact far beyond what we can see now.

I could write a long list of the ways God has used my health trial for His glory. Through my storm, God has encouraged many of my friends. He has blessed people I’ve never met and led at least one person to saving faith in Jesus. Also, if I hadn’t experienced the suffering of the last eight and a half years, I never would have written this book.

God has used my storm not only to heal, transform, and restore me, but also to impact many other lives. And my trial isn’t over! I can’t wait to see what other wonderful blessings God will bring from it.

The legacy God wants to give you from your storm may not be at all what you expect. It may be huge, beyond anything you could imagine (Eph. 3:20). Or it may seem so small that you don’t immediately recognize it. In His perfect way and time, the LORD will reveal His legacy for you.

Job’s marathon trial was finally over. He had experienced horrible suffering, but in the end he saw God in his storm. And his story continues to bless people thousands of years later. Though our trials may not seem as huge or as significant as Job’s, we know God has a purpose for every storm we go through, large or small.

Like Job, we too can leave a legacy for others. Each storm is an opportunity for us to get to know God better—to “see” Him instead of only “hearing” of Him. As our understanding of God’s character and grace expands, our intimacy with Him will deepen. And He will work through us to share His truth and show His grace to others.

As we continue on life’s journey, I pray we’ll learn to see our gracious God in each storm and trust Him to bring about the beautiful legacy He has planned for us.

…No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love Him— -1 Corinthians 2:9