No More Limits

Why do we limit ourselves so much? I have done that so many times. I’m learning that I can do so much more than I ever thought possible. It’s all in our perspective.

I just told someone today that if you would have told me less than two years ago that I would be making my own laundry soap, face cream, deodorant, body soap, etc. I would have said, “No way, you’ve got the wrong person.” But guess what? I am making my own laundry soap, face cream, deodorant, body soap, etc. and I love it. I’ve found it to be very rewarding. It’s so awesome to know that I am making my own products and they aren’t full of chemicals that could possibly be harmful.

If you would have told me less than a year ago that I would become a blogger I would have had the same response as I did about making my own DIY products. I am so thankful for my precious friend at who encouraged me to blog. When she mentioned to me that I should start a blog my response was, “I am not a writer.” She told me I would be a great blogger and I should give it a try. Who would have thought that I would actually enjoy blogging.

There are many things that I’ve probably missed out on just because I thought I couldn’t do it or wouldn’t like it. I want to encourage you to stop thinking that you can’t or that you probably won’t like something. Don’t limit yourself. At least give new things a try. You won’t know unless you do.

It’s so true that we limit ourselves by the very thoughts we have. I’ve chosen to become an “I can” girl. My mom used to tell me, “Can’t never could, never did, never would.” Instead of thinking I can’t, be like the little engine that said, “I think I can, I think I can, I think I can.” You never know what might be around the corner that you will thoroughly enjoy.

One other thought … be that friend that encourages others to believe in themselves. I am so blessed to have this type of friend in my life. My goal is to be that kind of friend to others.

What have you done recently that you never thought you would do?

Struggling with Insecurity

Jan and Eb

We all deal with insecurity. Some people struggle with their outward appearance, others, their lack of book knowledge. Some struggle with feeling insignificant, others, feeling like they are never good enough. I could list several more types of insecurities that we as humans struggle with, but I think you get the point. Even the most “put together” person you know struggles with some type of insecurity.

Why do we struggle so? I think some of it has to do with how we grew up. Some of us were told we would never amount to anything or other ugly comments like this. I was blessed to have parents that believed in me. However, I had kids at school that made fun of my red hair and freckles. Their words hurt. Seriously, I thought I had been cursed by God with my looks. Why couldn’t I have beautiful blond hair? I was skinny as a rail and had no figure until I was probably 16 years old. My nickname was George.

I think another reason we as humans struggle so with insecurities is because we play the comparison game. That is a trap my friend. There will always be people that will appear to have it all together and seem like they live the perfect life. Truth is, everyone has their own set of struggles.

When we look to others to find our confidence and self worth we may be disappointed. If only we could see ourselves the way God sees us, beautiful in His sight. Made in His image for His glory.

I finally realized that my red hair is a blessing. My husband can find me in a crowd anywhere. I was just at a huge convention recently and several people saw me from afar and came and greeted me. They all said the same thing. I saw that red hair and knew it was you.

I want to challenge you today, instead of focusing on what isn’t right with you (lack of money, lack of education, don’t have the “perfect body”, etc.), begin to thank God for what you do have. Stop playing the comparison game. Be happy with who you are and what you have. Live your life to serve God and others. When we do that, we begin to really enjoy our lives. I know for me, when I take the focus off of me and put it on how I can bless others, I feel more loved, secure, and joyful. Do I still struggle with feeling insecure at times? Unfortunately yes, but not near as much as I used to. I’m learning to put into practice the things I’ve mentioned above.

You are not a mistake my friend. You matter to God. He has amazing plans for your life. Instead of feeling sorry for yourself, begin to pray and ask God to help you see yourself through His eyes of love. When you begin to love yourself, you will be able to love others. Begin to thank God that He made you the way you are. You are His masterpiece. You don’t have to walk in insecurity. You can put on confidence in Christ every day. It’s your choice my friend.

Psalm 139:14 “I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Your works are wonderful, I know that full well.”

Slammin’ Salmon Burgers

Ingredients for Salmon Burger

Salmon from can

Liquid Ingredients for Salmon Burger

Precooked salmon burgers

Salmon Burgers before they are cooked.

My cooked salmon burger

Pretty yummy if I say so myself.


2  14.75 oz cans of premium wild Alaska pink salmon

3 eggs

3 cloves of garlic, minced

2.5 tablespoons of green onions, minced (or 1 medium yellow onion diced)

2 tablespoons of lime juice

1 tablespoon of yellow mustard

1 tablespoon of fresh cilantro, minced

A dash of black pepper

Smoked Applewood Seasoning to taste (I use Pampered Chef)

1/4 cup of Coconut Flour

Before putting the recipe together, rinse salmon and remove skin that is on it and go through it carefully to find small bones, etc.

  1.  In first bowl mix salmon, minced garlic, green onions, and cilantro
  2. In second bowl mix eggs, lime juice, mustard, pepper, and smoked applewood seasoning
  3. Combine both mixtures in the larger bowl and add coconut flour and thoroughly mix.
  4. Make up patties.
  5. Add a little oil to your frying pan (I use grapeseed oil) over medium high heat. Add burgers and cook 2 to 3 minutes per side. I enjoy my salmon burger on gluten free bread with mustard, lettuce, and a slice of onion.

The Original Artist

Down through the years many people have asked, “How can you know that God is real when you can’t see Him?” For me, I see evidence of God everywhere. From the clouds, to mountains, the ocean, the beautiful green grass or the desert rose. Not only do I see God in nature but I feel Him in my life. I can’t see the wind, but I can definitely feel the affects it has on me. Can I see God, not literally, but I can definitely feel His affects on my life.


The other night I stepped outside for a moment and looked up and saw this amazing work of art in the sky. This picture is untouched and right off of my phone. I thought it was so beautiful. I blew up on the picture to get a closer look at the face. I am awestruck at God’s handiwork. This looks like a lion to me. Makes me think of Aslan from the Chronicles of Narnia. God is so creative.

clouds mountains AZ

I took this picture last year in Arizona.


Sunset at Daytona Beach. If you look carefully in the clouds, it almost looks like running horses.

Psalm 8 says, “Lord, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth! You have set your glory in the heavens. 2  Through the praise of children and infants you have established a stronghold against your enemies, to silence the foe and the avenger. 3  When I consider your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars, which you have set in place, 4  what is mankind that you are mindful of them, human beings that you care for them?  5 You have made them a little lower than the angels and crowned them with glory and honor. 6 You made them rulers over the works of your hands; you put everything under their feet: 7 all flocks and herds,and the animals of the wild, 8 the birds in the sky, and the fish in the sea, all that swim the paths of the seas. 9 Lord, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth!

Fickle Feelings

jan in grass

I am so glad that I am not what my feelings tell me I am. Feelings are so fickle. Monday was one of those kind of days. If I would have given in to my feelings I probably would have thrown in the towel as a pastor, wife, friend, mother, and grandmother. I was feeling like a failure in pretty much every area of my life. Had some horrible thing happened to bring this on? Not really.

Why do we feel this way sometimes? I know for me, when I don’t have my quiet time with the Lord, it effects my entire day. I got up Monday morning and got busy doing stuff instead of taking time for God. As crazy as that may sound, it really does make a big difference in me. When I spend time with God, it helps me think more clearly and get the focus off of me. Believe me, I need help not thinking about me.

My desire is to please God with my life. In order to do that, I must spend time with Him on a regular basis. Not because it’s what good little Christians do, but because I need His presence in my life every day. We become like those we spend time with. The more time I spend getting to know God, the more I become like Him. I am so thankful for a personal relationship with God. He loves me and doesn’t kick me when I’m down. He’s that loving, gentle Father that says “Come on Baby Girl, we’ve got this. Get up and try again.”

I’m glad that I know what God’s word says about who I am. Will I still have days that I doubt or question who I am? Probably. But as I trust in God I know that He is leading me on the path of life that He has for me. I really can do whatever He calls me to do. He is my strength, therefore I choose to listen to His voice instead of my fickle feelings. So late Monday afternoon I decided to pick myself up by my bootstraps and got my focus off of me and back on God. What a difference it made for me. What helps you to stay focused?

Proverbs 3:5,6 says “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will direct your paths.”

Don’t Be a Prisoner to Food, Break Free!

There are so many people that are prisoners to food. I was one of them. I thought I was just fine eating the way I did and in fact, I didn’t want to change. You can be thin and still not be healthy. After an annual check up a few years back I had a wake up call. I had a choice to make. Either change my lifestyle of eating or have to start taking medication. You see, heart disease runs rampant in my family. Thank goodness for a good friend who encouraged me to change my way of eating.

Can we eat whatever we want and be healthy? If that means living off of soda, cheesy fries, and hamburgers, probably not. When I was young I really didn’t have an understanding of what eating healthy looked like. My dad used to say, “If it tastes good, it’s probably not good for you and if it tastes bad then you probably should eat it”. I certainly understand his way of thinking, but thank goodness I’ve found that doesn’t have to be the case.

Choosing to eat healthier started by determining to do it. I had to come to a place where I was willing to give up some of my favorite things like Dr. Pepper, creamer for my coffee, ice cream, and a few other things. It was really hard at first. I didn’t want to give up my favorite “pick me up” snacks. But when I made the decision to do it, I realized I could. After a while I started to feel better and I didn’t crave those things any more. Now I enjoy my coffee black. My taste buds have changed. I crave icy cold water with freshly squeezed lemon now instead of Dr. Pepper. Confession: I used to not like to drink water at all.

There are great alternatives to snack on if you are willing to make them. I make my own ice cream (from frozen fruit) and chocolate shakes, and they taste amazing and are a much healthier choice. Check out my YouTube channel, The Ginger Optimist, for my easy-to-make ice cream and other recipes.

Do I always eat completely healthy? I wish I could say yes, but I don’t. However, I am doing so much better than I was a few years ago. I do allow a cheat day every now and then. Before starting to eat healthier my triglycerides were 198 and now they are 130. That’s a huge win for me.

I’m always looking out for healthy recipes to try at home. One of my favorite meals is salmon, roasted red cabbage, and spaghetti squash. You can go to TheGingerOptimist on Pinterest and find some of my favorite recipes. I will be adding more in the future.

We are what we eat. If you want to feel better, look better, and have more energy, you need to choose wisely what you eat. Many people have expressed to me that they can’t change. My thoughts are, “You can do whatever you set your mind to.” God gave us the ability to choose and that even means what we eat. Tired of being sick and tired? Start fueling your body with healthy smoothies, fresh salads with Olive oil and Balsamic Vinaigrette drizzled on top instead of a creamy ranch or blue cheese type of dressing. Want a yummy hamburger? Why not order it without the bun? You don’t have to change everything at once. Choose a couple of items to begin with and go from there. Do this for your health. Do this for your family. Do this for you. You are so worth it!

I recommend you find a like-minded community through Facebook or somewhere that you can be encouraged. Also, there a ton of great recipes on Pinterest.

One last note: Guard your thoughts. If you say you can’t stop drinking soda, you are setting yourself up for failure. Don’t say things like “I can’t lose weight” or “It’s to hard.” You just might be surprised what you can do when you set your mind to it. I believe in you! Let’s take this health journey together.


One of my favorite salads with organic spring mix, avocado, tomatoes, grilled chicken, mandarin oranges with Toasted Walnut Oil and Balsamic Vinegar as the dressing.

What are some of your favorite healthy recipes?

The Grass is Always Greener

Green Grass

As humans we love to compare ourselves with others. We compare our homes, our cars, our clothes, our hair, our marriage, our kids, our jobs, just about everything we own and are, with others. So often we feel like things are always better for those we compare ourselves to. We get that “The Grass is Always Greener” complex”. I heard someone say, “If your neighbor’s grass is greener, then maybe it’s time to start watering your own.”

If we could learn to stop comparing ourselves and make the most out of what we have, I think we would have a lot more joy. Often times we think someone else has it so much better than we do and if the truth be known, they might be looking at us thinking the same thing.

Life is hard. No matter who you are, you will face pain and difficult circumstances. But if you are a Christian, you have the hope that Jesus gave when He said, “I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33 New Living Translation) I am so thankful that I can depend on Jesus to be my source of strength even in the most difficult of times.

If you find you are starting to feel sorry for yourself because someone else’s grass is greener than yours, water your lawn. It will start looking green before you know it! Refuse to compare yourself and your things to others. Be grateful. Develop an attitude of gratitude. Instead of comparing and complaining, start thanking God for what you have. We can always find something to be grateful for. What are you thankful for today?

The Legacy of Praying Mothers

Mom McIntyre, Mom Leverett, and Me
Mom McIntyre, Mom Leverett, and Me

I am so very blessed to have the legacy of praying mothers. Not only is my mother a great woman of prayer, but my mother-in-law is too. There is something so powerful about a praying mom.

As a teenager I remember waking up many times early in the morning to the sound of my mom praying for me, my family, and a host of others. She was the one people would call when they needed prayer. I wonder how many times she may have stood outside my bedroom door praying over me. I am ever so grateful for a praying mom. I learned the importance of prayer, not by what mom said, but what she did. I saw her praying most every day of my growing up years. My mom has stacks and stacks of prayer journals. She told me she wants me to have them when she dies. These are the journals she wrote prayer requests in and answers to prayer. What a legacy. Some women will inherit expensive jewels when their mothers pass away. My mom doesn’t have a lot of earthly valuables, but she taught me the value of prayer. In light of eternity, this is more valuable than any jewels, houses, or land.

If you would have told me even ten years ago that I would be an intercessory prayer warrior, I would have told you, “No, that’s not my calling”. In the last few year years I’ve realized it is one of my main purposes on earth. To pray for and with people and believe God to hear and answer prayer. And He does just that. He always answers prayer. Sometimes He answers “Yes,” sometimes “No,” and sometimes “Not now.” I can trust that He always will answer what is absolutely best for the circumstances at hand.

Prayer is such a powerful thing. It’s not magic. You can’t manipulate God with prayer. But you can stir His heart with prayer. I’ve been amazed over the years with the many things God has done as a result of prayer. Do I understand exactly how prayer works? No, but I know it does. I don’t really understand how an airplane that weighs thousands of pounds can lift off the ground and fly across the world, but I know it does. I love that prayer is simply communicating with God. God is my precious heavenly Father who loves me even though He knows my weaknesses. He always has a listening ear ready to hear when I call upon Him.

One of my life verses is Jeremiah 29:11 “For I know the plans I have for you declares the Lord. Plans to prosper you, not to harm you. Plans to give you hope and a future.” It also goes on to say in the next couple of verses that if we will seek God with all of our hearts He will be found by us. My desire to is to seek God with all of my heart. I want to know Him and make Him known.

My mother has powerfully impacted my life through prayer. I believe I am who I am today partly due to her prayers. What legacy are you leaving for your children?


Then and Now, Keys to a Lasting Marriage

Tim wedding ringwatermarkJan Wedding ringwatermark

May 17, 1981 was one of the happiest days of my life. I married my best friend for better or for worse. Our wedding was simple, yet beautiful. I wore my mother’s wedding dress and my father performed our ceremony after giving me away.

Can I honestly say our marriage has been perfect? No, but I can tell you it has been pretty amazing. We have definitely had our moments of frustration with each other but rarely did we allow the sun to go down while we were still angry. It only took a few times of going to bed angry to realize that you don’t get much sleep when you do.

So what are some keys to our lasting relationship?

First and foremost, I must say we both have chosen to make Jesus Christ the center of our marriage. He comes first.

Second, we put each other before anyone else, including our children. We both strive to treat each other with love and respect at all times. That means we don’t talk bad about our spouse to others. We build each other up and not tear each other down with our words and actions. We try to do what is best for our spouse. If one of us is better at this than the other I would have to admit, Tim is the best. He is one of the most selfless and humble men I know. He is always trying to think of ways to make me happy. Does that mean he isn’t the head of our home? Nope, he has no problem in being the leader of our home. But it’s pretty easy to submit to a man that is willing to lay down his life for me.

The third key is we make communication a top priority. We spend time talking about issues, work, finances, fun, sex, our family, and whatever comes up. We have spent quite a bit of time helping other couples with their marriage and or couples that are preparing for marriage. It amazes me how many couples struggle because they really don’t know how to lovingly communicate with each other. Through the years we have helped each other understand how to better communicate about different subjects. I will never forget when we had been married approximately seven years, sitting on a couch and telling Tim how it hurts me when he doesn’t open up and tell me what he’s really thinking. Then he told me he was afraid of hurting me if he really opened up. I was able to help Tim understand I would rather him lovingly tell me his true feelings than not communicate with me. After that, he began to slowly but surely open up. Was it hard for him at first? Yes, and even now he doesn’t want to hurt my feelings, but he understands the importance of lovingly telling me the truth. We need to make sure our spouse feels safe sharing their feelings, not afraid of being rejected or attacked.

The fourth key is having fun together. We’ve never stopped dating. We don’t date as much as we’d like, but we definitely do a lot of fun things together. Sometimes it’s going to see a movie or going on a bike ride. Other times it may be playing a card game together or sitting on the couch side by side each reading a book.

Just a few more thoughts…we also work together to keep a tidy home. We enjoy cooking together in the kitchen when time permits. We try to help the other one out when one of us has a crazier schedule.

Basically, what it all comes down to is choosing to love each other at all times and giving up the right to always be right. If both spouses would choose daily to live for the other (a “you scratch my back, I’ll scratch your back” mentality), I think there would be a lot more lasting marriages in the world today.

Remember, love is not a feeling, it’s a choice. Here’s what I know, when you and your spouse walk in obedience to God’s Word, you will have a lasting relationship. God’s Word teaches us how to have a great marriage, how to handle our finances, and how to enjoy sex. It also teaches good communication skills. It’s all in the Bible.

One more thought…we continue to grow in our relationship through reading marriage help books. Recently we both read and discussed the book “Sheet Music” by Dr. Kevin Lehman. Talk about a “pick me up” for your sex life, this book is great for that.

There’s probably a plethora of other things I could share but these are a few key ingredients to our lasting marriage. I don’t claim to be a marriage counselor or expert, but hopefully what I’ve shared will encourage someone. What are your thoughts on lasting relationships?


Our Wedding and now collagewatermark

Then and Now…Thirty Four Years and Counting

Getting Older

jan on bike age 8 Jan on Bike Vacation

Getting older is very interesting. It happens so much quicker than you can even imagine. I know it has for me. It seems like the years are going by faster and faster. We celebrate Christmas and it feels like six months later we celebrate it again.

Getting older means God has granted me a longer life on this earth. For that, I am grateful. Getting older also means my body is changing and I find myself dealing with a lot more pain. Not only more pain, but less memory. Could it be that I am actually at that “going through the change” stage of my life? I think I am. I’m struggling with keeping my focus. That’s not fun. My sweetheart will be talking to me and the next thing I know he’s saying, “Baby, I was talking to you.” I will have walked off or started talking to someone else. I spoke with him about this the other night as we were enjoying sitting together on our lanai. I wanted him to know that I’m not doing this on purpose. He said he’s been noticing I’m not only doing this to him but to others. Wow, I don’t like this part of getting older. But the good news is, this too shall pass. (At least I sure hope so.)

Getting older has definite frustrations, but it has its perks too. Like with age comes more wisdom. I pray often for God to grant me more wisdom. I have many people that ask me for advice. I want to give them godly wisdom and council. Of course the older I get, the more I realize most people will figure out what they need to know if I will just listen.

 One of my favorite things to do is pre-marital counseling. My husband and I do this as a team. It’s so much fun being able to speak into young lives that are approaching marriage. Of course they see us as ancient because we’ve been married for 34 years. However, I believe they see how happily married we are and want to know our secrets. I will share some of those secrets in a future blog.

With age comes more work on keeping my hair it’s “natural” bright red. It takes a lot more work these days to look presentable. But with the help of henna and make up, I do alright.

With age also comes more discounts. I’m all about saving money so this will definitely be a plus.

With age comes a little more freedom. No kids at home means I can travel whenever I choose too. I love missions trips and God seems to be opening more opportunities for these in my near future.

With age comes more times of saying goodbye to loved ones. The good news is, many of them I will see again. I look forward to going to Heaven. It will be here sooner than I can imagine. Life is short. Take time to smell the roses. Take time to enjoy your family. Take time to grow in your relationship with Jesus. I promise you it will be worth it. Eternity will last forever and ever and it’s a land where we will never grow old. There will be no more pain, no more sorrow, and no more worries about calories. It will be an amazing life ever after!

John 10:10 says, “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.” This means Jesus came so that through Him we can have an abundantly blessed life. Not a perfect life, but a blessed life. I am so thankful for my relationship with Jesus. I am living a blessed life. Are you?

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