The Sisu Way to Success

Sisu is a Finnish way to success in life, in love, and in every other area of your life. Sisu is really a word that can’t be translated into English, but many people have tried to translate it and relate it to our lives. The Sisu way to success includes guts, perseverance, will power, determination, and courage.

When we break down this word, Sisu, it means inner or inside, which is probably where the relation of guts appears. The Finnish definition means inner strength. In her book, Sisu, The Finnish Art of Courage, Joanna Nylund explains that everyone has sisu. It’s deep within each of us just waiting to be reached.

Sisu The Finnish Art of Courage

Sisu characteristics

Have any of these?

  • Stoic determination
  • Hardiness
  • Courage
  • Bravery
  • Willpower
  • Tenacity
  • Resilience
  • Beyond Perseverance

These are action-oriented mindsets. Your example shows your Sisu.

Sisu is alive among the Finnish people but how do others cultivate this determination to gain a more health filled life and live the Sisu life? It takes patience and the small goals and steps to become an example of Sisu.

When you make the decision to cultivate these characteristics you’ll use Sisu as the basis of every part of your life and your life will change. You’ll be a participant in your health and your life.

Starting Questions

  • Are you leading an active, healthy life?
  • Are you communicating with others in your life?
  • Are you raising your kids to have these traits?

With Sisu, you can  use it’s leverage in the accomplishment of every goal you may have and inspire others to do the same. The Sisu way to success can very well be the end all for what ails us and helps us turn our wellness journey into a triumph.



Cleansing Choices

Sorry I’ve been absent for a while. I’m focusing on getting more clients before the end of the month. As some of you know my full-time job is coming to an end February 28th. So far I’ve gained 11 more clients I have 9 more spots open and would like to fill those before the end of the month.

This brings me to one of my topics for today. Spending time working in a field that is clearly bringing you more stress than it’s worth. Yes, I know we all need to pay bills and support our families but when our jobs are costing us our health and wellbeing and we’re not able to enjoy our families then we need to be searching for positions that bring us joy, fulfillment, and stimulate our minds.

My husband started a new job a couple of weeks ago and his words here “I no longer feel the need to munch all day because I’m not bored.” He figured out that when he’s bored he munches on unhealthy carb snacks. Now he only eats one meal a day without the need for snacking. His health is so much better and he’s able to spend more time with me instead of just sleeping. He’s also got more energy to work out.

Have you ever had that exhilarating feeling of being challenged by your job, loving every minute of it, and being so calmed by it as well? Those are facets of knowing that you were meant for this job or career. Think back to a time when you were in a job you clearly knew was not for you. Now think about your health and wellness during that time. Did you have the energy to workout, to play with your kids, to enjoy a weekend without dreading Monday? Probably not.

We spend over half our lives working and if we’re not working in an industry or at a job that is meaningful to us we’re wasting our lives on something that we have all the power to change. So where do we go from here?

I’ll use myself as an example.

I got my college degree late in life (49 years old). It was still one of the best things I did. I proved that I could succeed, and it opened my life up to endless possibilities of what I can accomplish. When I started college, I didn’t know that I wanted a double Bachelor of Science degree in Health & Wellness and Nutrition. My friends told me I was crazy for taking classes like Anatomy Physiology and Chemistry altogether. But I loved it. It’s motivating to hear your instructor tell you that only a handful of students ace his class. I was one of that handful. That moment alone changed my esteem, my confidence, and my outlook on life.

After college I became a certified holistic life coach and an alternative health therapy researcher, helping people through tough areas in their lives by looking at their whole life and decisions made along the way. I started a blog, writing about the challenges we all face in life: weight loss, wellness, health, mindfulness, and joy. I became a tutor for students with learning challenges. I loved being a tutor and still, love it today. But I wanted to contribute more to our family (my husband and I ), so I took a job as an inside sales rep for an educational technology organization. I saw it as a dream job because the pay was great, but I knew at the 4-month mark that the job wasn’t for me. I stuck it out and here I am four years later regretting that I did.


You see my whole goal in life has always been to stand in the gap. It’s something my father taught me as a young child. Standing in the gap means different things to different people. To me, it meant that I learned how to help people who not only asked for help but those people who society tosses aside as inconsequential to the whole makeup of society. My job has always been about making the yearly sales quota, but never about meeting people where they are and helping them grow beyond the benchmark had they set for themselves.


Because I stayed in a job that was clearly not for me, the stress of it all gave me a serious autoimmune disease. I gained 50 pounds because I was stress eating and depressed all the time. I used to think how much happier I was when I worked for myself even though I wasn’t making as much money. I couldn’t sleep, I had no time to do the things I always loved. But hey, I was making money. I was stressed and sick. I dreaded all five days of the week I had to work. But my weekends were spent being sick. Yes, I had the capability of working from home. That was a perk. But you know what? If sales aren’t your thing, then don’t do it. I set myself up for failure because I saw $$$ instead of working from my whole life goals.

New Growth

How does this translate to you and your life? Are you in a position that is clearly not for you? Do you see no way out? These are questions only you can answer.

The first place you should take a look at in changing your life is to find out what your whole life goal is and work off that. If helping people is something that moves you, try volunteering at hospitals, schools, food banks, or in your place of worship. (My love of tutoring came from when I volunteered at my sons’ school almost 23 years ago.)

If helping animals brings you joy, volunteer at a pet shelter or start a dog walking business.

Start out small. I started my tutoring business while I was in college, I worked and continue to work with one of the many tutoring platforms online. I started with one student, now I have 9 students on a regular basis and even during the summer months because I offer enrichment classes (art, math, cooking, reading/writing) that school districts don’t have the money to offer anymore.

Let’s bring this all together. What does all this have to do with the 50 Day Cleanse and Glimpses of My Life?

Here’s the second topic for today. A 50 day cleanse can’t change the amount of stress we deal with but it can help you in dealing with that stress. And sometimes this cleanse will add some stress to your life. Especially if you’re making two different menus, one for you and one for your family. Which is why I am changing several points about this cleanse even the name to help fit our busy lives and make it easier to follow through with. (I must confess, I got to the 21-day mark and I just could not take it anymore, it’s too restrictive for my lifestyle.)

This new and improved cleanse has nothing to do with a certain number of days. It’s about having choices. We see these cleanses and challenges with a number in them as “I only have to make it X amount of days then I can go back to how I was before.” Cleansing Choices, on the other hand, gives you the opportunity to set your own number of days, make the choices you want to add to your lifestyle and puts the power to change your life back in your hands. If you don’t want to be vegan, you don’t have to. If you’d rather not be raw, you can skip it. If you only want to water fast for one to three days, that’s fine. There are no set guidelines for Cleansing Choices. I’ve made the plan easier to follow by giving you cleansing options. Because life is all about the choices we make not about following someone else’s choices. You’ll have the opportunity to pick from a list of cleansing options that fit your lifestyle. Whether you want to pick one or multiple, it’s your choice because it’s your life and you know what you can handle.

Let’s turn the page and make Cleansing Choices that resonate with each and every one of us.

It’s our choices…that show what we truly are, far more than our abilities.

~J.K. Rowling



Spicy Sweet Potato Chicken Stirfry

If you’ve followed my blog for any length of time, you know I love fusing two different cuisines. Almost any meal can turn into a healthy stirfry. I make an Italian Stirfry that’s so good it’s become a monthly favorite here.

Today’s meal came to me when I was looking in my pantry and noticed I had a sweet potato…I couldn’t figure out when I bought it. I thought I better use it before I have to throw it out. My husband hates when I throw out produce because I hadn’t gotten around to making the recipe I had in mind when I purchased it. I’m sure I’m not alone in this conundrum. It goes in the same basket as losing socks in the dryer and that’s a whole other story I’m not touching.

Sliced ingredients

Spicy Sweet Potato Chicken Stirfry

  • 2 T + more olive oil divided
  • 1 Red Pepper, thinly sliced
  • 1/4 large sweet onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 sweet potato, thinly sliced into 1/4 half moons
  • 2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • 4 cooked frozen skinless chicken tenders, cooked and sliced
  • 1 can black olives, drained and sliced
  • 1 can garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 T oregano
  • 1/2 t Himalayan Salt
  • 1/8 t ground Habanero pepper
  • 1 t ground coriander
  • 2 t ground cumin
  • 1/2 cup water
  1. Heat saute pan, add 1 T olive oil.
  2. Add peppers and onions. Saute about 3 minutes.
  3. Add sweet potatoes, chicken, garbanzo beans, and olives.
  4. Add seasonings and water. Cover and saute until potatoes are fork tender. About 5 minutes.
  5. Turn off the burner and add sliced garlic and 1 more Tablespoon olive oil.
  6. Enjoy

Serves 4

Spicy Chicken

Nutritional Info

  • Calories: 303
  • Fat: 15 grams
  • Carbs: 16.3 grams
  • Fiber: 2.8 grams
  • Protein: 26.7 grams




Ever have that moment when you are getting ready to go out that you just don’t like anything of what you’re wearing, and you feel this overwhelming desire to change not just your clothes but everything about yourself? I had this feeling over the weekend. I got dressed for church on Saturday and just didn’t like how I looked, so I changed my clothes, fixed my hair a different way and then started fresh with my makeup.

Getting Ready

In the process of getting ready I realized some profound things about myself that I thought maybe others also think about. One of those questions I had for myself was, “Do I look at the outward appearance of myself and of others too closely, instead of looking at people’s hearts and my own heart”? While I should take an interest in my own appearance; making sure that I am healthy, clean, and look appropriate; I shouldn’t be so consumed in my appearance that I draw attention to myself. It’s my heart that people see when they look at me. If my heart is in the right place then people will see that on my face and my appearance.

The other half of that question, “Do I look at the appearance of others too closely instead of their hearts?” It’s all about judging each other. Do we ever make the comment “Don’t those people look in the mirror?” or “Does she not know what she looks like?” or “If I was I her I wouldn’t be seen dead in that outfit!” These are judgments about what a person looks like. It’s what is in our hearts that matters most. People have mirrors and many only look at themselves from the neck up. I sometimes do because I don’t like what I see from the neck down, and many people don’t either.

Another thing I’ve learned about getting ready is that I spend too much time trying to be perfect in my own reflection of the mirror instead of the mirror of the Bible and God. How many times do we look in the mirror and see our own reflection on a daily basis? Then how many times do we search God’s word and see His reflection through us? To see His reflection through us we need to be filling our minds with His Word,  repenting, and turning from the evils of this world.

I also learned that I will spend hours getting ready, just to get a compliment from my husband. But he thinks and tells me that I’m pretty even on my worst sweats-wearing days. Maybe I should spend more time getting ready for the ultimate reward “Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful over a few things; I will make you a ruler over many things. Enter into the joy of your lord.” (Matthew 25:21).

Each of life’s seasons teaches us many lessons and when applied to our lives, those lessons are the stepping stones to something magnificent that’s waiting for us.



Monday marked my 50th birthday. It came and went without a thought…yeah right! When does a milestone birthday go by without a thought? NEVER! Yes, I’m 50 and counting! I celebrated this day with my husband and a few close friends. Got many phone calls from my family and Facebook birthday wishes. Then yesterday it finally hit me.

Where did the time go? It seems I went to sleep at the ripe old age of 21 and woke up at 50. Time is so fleeting, yet it’s the thing we waste the most. In my 50 years of life, I’ve accomplished many things. I married my high school sweetheart. I raised four wonderful sons. I graduated from college. I helped many people along the way. But never in my wildest dreams did I ever think I would wake up one day and be 50.

When I was a kid, I thought 50 was old. I thought my parents were ancient when they were 50. After all my mom was 50 when I was only 14. Then yesterday a good friend of mine, who’s a bit older than me, asked me how I felt now that I’m 50. I feel no different than when I was 49. What’s really interesting is that I feel no different than when I was 29. In my head I still see myself as that naive young woman of 21 who had her whole future ahead of her.

I still have my future ahead of me, we all do. There is no magic age when a person is old. It’s all how you feel. I feel young. I’m healthy. I’m not on any prescriptions. Not one joint is creaking in my body. I’m more energetic now than I was when I was in my 20’s.

Young at Heart

It’s just like the old Jimmy Durante song (If You’re) Young at Heart. My fairy tales can still come true, because I’m young at heart. I can still laugh when my dreams fall apart at their seams, because I know that there’s excitement in each new day. Yes I still have dreams and I still have goals, some are the same I’ve had for years, but I know in my heart I can accomplish them.

Be young at heart and you’ll never grow old!



Our children asked us many timesWHY?”  “Why is the sky blue?”  “Why do I have to clean my room?” “Why do I have to take a nap?” “Why do I have to pick up my toys?”

It’s time for each of us to ask ourselves these basic questions to dig deeper into why this year is going to be different than all the other years behind us.

“Why do I want to become healthy?”  “Why does my health mean so much to me?”  “Why do I want to make more money?” “Why am I stepping out of the boat?

Do you know your whys? 

Our whys motivate us to keep going. I know this is only the second page of the 365 page book, but if we don’t have our whys done we will close the book before it ever gets interesting.

What are your whys?

Explore them in detail, write scenarios about them. Pin them to your walls, your mirrors, your refrigerator doors, your front doors, your steering wheels, your computer monitors.

Keep your whys close to your mind and you will finish your book with great success.



Losing weight and maintaining good health is sometimes a balance beam walk through our senses. We all have different taste sensations that can throw us off the beam and onto the mats. Whether those sensations are sweet, creamy, crunchy, sour, and, yes, chocolaty; we need to satisfy all of them while still ensuring the best quality and the best substitute that won’t sabotage our efforts.

Satisfying the crunchy sensation, in my house, is part of my daily routine. My husband is the KING of the munchers. He loves corn chips, taco chips, and sweet potato chips, luckily he is allergic to potatoes so those are off limits. As part of a healthy eating plan he is allowed to eat his chips once a week, but for me I really have issues with anything that is fried or made of corn.

My choices for healthy crunchies and munchies.

Just rinse & munch!

Slice & Crunch!

No oil required!

Dipped in Cashew Ranch Dressing, YUM!

Satisfy your Crunch!

Experiment to find your favorite non-traditional satisfying munchies, that help you stay healthy!





Pennies for Polenta

Polenta Primavera

Growing up I  remember my father not liking only certain meal my mom would make. That one  meals was polenta with spaghetti sauce. It wasn’t that my mom was a bad cook; on the contrary, she was a phenomenal cook. Whatever she tried always came out like it was supposed to. But no matter how she made polenta, my father refused to eat it. It wasn’t until after later in life when my cousin invited us all over for dinner where we learned the real reason why my father never liked polenta. Polenta was and still is a cheap meal to make, and people who went through Great Depression, like my father did, ate this cheap filler meal quite often. So when we all sat down at the table in my cousin’s house he was startled when he was served such a cheap meal, which he did his best not to eat.

Corn meal

Fast forward almost thirty years and now Polenta is considered a great mainstay at the dinner table. If you buy it prepackaged, it comes in different flavors like basil and sun dried tomato. I still have trouble understanding why people would pay anywhere from $1.99 to $3 for a prepackaged tube of polenta when it costs pennies to make.  The same amount can be made with a cup of corn meal, water, salt and some cheap seasonings. I also think it is interesting how something that was a cheap filler meal has become a menu item in restaurants. From Great Depression staple to $10 price tag in a restaurant or pennies in my own kitchen. I opt for pennies in my kitchen. You will too after you taste the subtle flavors of spring vegetables and herbs on top.

Corn mixed with water and salt cooking on stove

Polenta poured into oiled casserole dish

Primavera Polenta

Serves 4

  • 1 cup polenta cornmeal
  • 4 cups water
  • ½ teaspoon salt

Bring the water to a boil, while stirring with wire whisk add polenta. Turn down heat, continue stirring, and simmer till desired thickened consistency. I like it thick so I cook it between 20 and 30 minutes. *This step can be eliminated if using already cooked polenta.*

Pour polenta into a sprayed glass baking dish. Allow to cool.

Primavera Topping

  •  1 Tablespoon Coconut or Olive oil
  • 1 zucchini, sliced in half lengthwise and thinly sliced
  • 1 red pepper, small diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, shredded
  • 2 carrots, peeled and shredded
  • 1 onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 12-ounce package frozen peas
  • 1 teaspoon tarragon
  • 1 teaspoon basil
  • 2 T balsamic vinegar
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • Pepper to taste
  • Nutritional yeast to taste or Daiya Mozzarella Style Shreds
  1. Heat coconut oil in large skillet. Add onion, carrots, garlic, red pepper, zucchini, and sauté for 5 minutes until onion is translucent and veggies are heated. Add tarragon, basil, salt, and pepper, and vinegar.
  2. When cooled to room temp, spoon polenta into serving bowls.Top with a couple of spoonfuls of veggie mixture.
  3. Sprinkle top with vegan mozzarella shreds, nutritional yeast or a combination.
  4. This recipe is so versatile. If peas aren’t your thing add some asparagus, or throw in some green beans and spinach. Add whatever spring vegetable that tantalizes your taste buds.