How do you view the woman in the mirror?

Readers, I am so thrilled to be adding some contributors to AMH. Meet my dear friend Jennifer Hanley:

How do you view

“If God be for us, who can be against us?”

Romans 8:31b


Such comforting words for the Christian.  And yet how often do us, Mamas, lack their comfort?  I know it is true of me at times.

There is one person that often stands against us, judges us unfairly, and causes us to stumble.  Do you know who this person is?  Look in the mirror.  Who do you see?  Do you see a harsh taskmaster with endless to-do lists?  Do you see a tired, worn out soul? Do you see someone in a stained sweat shirt and sweat pants with her hair in a ponytail because she hasn’t washed it all week?  Do see someone who is always feeling badly because it just seems she is never enough?  Do you see someone who is overweight, overwrought, overworked and overwhelmed?  Do you see someone who is just plain tired? 

Now just pretend for a moment that this person in the mirror is a good friend.  What would you tell her?  How would you treat her?  Would you tell her the same thing and treat her the same way that you do to that poor woman in the mirror? 

Being a wife and a mother is such a position of privilege and blessing.  And we believe that and we want to honor this God given calling with all that we are.  We want to do this right.  We want to bring comfort, nurture and take care of our families. This is a big way we serve and bring glory to our Lord.  

But often in our busy lives of giving and doing we lose sight of an important question.  Who is taking care of us? Is it a sin to sometimes put ourselves first?   To take care of ourselves? To spend time, energy, and maybe money on ourselves? To take some time to rest? 

“If Momma ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy.” We all smile when we hear or read this saying.  Why?  Because we all know to some degree it’s true. 

We, mommas are the tone setters for our families and our homes.  If we are constantly feeling stressed, stretched, and/or sad, and/or tired it’s going to affect our entire household. We will be doing the opposite of our mission. 

I understand that it is hard and even goes against the grain of our thinking. It seems wrong and yes, even sinful to make taking care of ourselves a priority.  But you can’t get water from a dry well. We all need to find the time in our busy lives to renew and replenish.  We need time to pray, read our Bibles, rest, exercise, eat well (not just the leftovers from the kid’s plates), and develop our talents.  We need to do these things so we can be the women that God created us to be.    So we can fulfill our calling.   

How do we do this?  Well, we need to ask for help when we need it.  We need to learn to say “no” when we are stressed and overextended.   We need to, at times, substitute doing a good thing (serving others) with doing a more needful thing (taking care of us) and therefore a better thing.  We need to focus on ways to make us less stressed and happier.  We need to be a good friend to the woman in the mirror.  We need to be for her not against her.

hanleyphotoJennifer Hanley is a Christian stay at home wife to Brian and a mom.  She has 3 daughters ages, 15, 20, and 25. She lives in NJ and currently has started a blog of her own  at

How I lost 50 pounds without exercising Pt. 2


How I lost

If you have not read part one you can do so HERE.

Last time I shared how many different eating plans and programs over the years.  And you know what?  People do lose weight with all those programs.  All those eating plans can do wonderful things for your health. I would lose a bit but my problem was for my particular personality and needs, either I wasn’t losing like I had hoped or if I was they weren’t sustainable.  I am a huge proponent of eating whole foods and healthy living.  But, here were my particular obstacles…

*As a mama of 8, with a home business and very busy days I needed to not have to think about what I was going to eat next. I would have all these grand plans of how I was going eat healthy but get busy during the day. Then my blood sugar would drop, I would get all shaky and there was no way I was going to carrots sticks or celery.  To the chips I would go!

*I needed freedom from constantly stressing about what healthy food to eat next.

*I needed simple, simple, simple for this particular time in my life.

*I needed to stay balanced with my blood sugar and to keep my body fueled with what it needed so that I could not have cravings. With a large family at many different stages of life it was not feasible for me to clean out the junk food from our cupboards and I found my will power being less and less.

*I needed accountability.

So in summary, I needed an eating plan that was super simple, that I wouldn’t have to even think about what I was going to eat next. I needed a plan that would make it so I didn’t have cravings throughout the day and I needed accountability. FOR ME this is what would make a weight loss plan sustainable.

I had a friend who I had much in common with that had lost a lot of weight over the years.  I had watched her but really did not feel that what she was doing was for me.  A couple of times I would look into the program but then dismiss it.  My friend was super patient with me as I would ask her questions and then go silent for months about it, trying other things.  But, I became desperate.

I did not want to be THAT person that was fat.  But, here I was. And now I had nearly 80 or 90 pounds to lose! So I desperately called my friend again.

And so, 6 months ago I began a journey that changed my life. The first couple of weeks were a big adjustment, but then after that it has been a piece of cake (excuse the pun!)  So simple, wonderful accountability and I don’t have to wonder what I am going to eat next!  I can watch my husband eat a big bowl of ice-cream next to me and not feel tempted. To date, I have lost 50   pounds, have gone from a size 24 or larger to a size 16, and I feel FABULOUS! I am so thrilled and am not stopping!  NEVER have I had such success and I am so thankful to the Lord. When I look at myself in the mirror I am not embarrassed anymore!

I would love to share more with you about what I am doing.  If you are where I was and feel like you have tried everything don’t despair!  I am excited to break it down for you in simple steps too!  Let’s do this together!  Email me at and let’s mastermind a plan that works for you!


How I was able to lose 50 pounds with NO exercise Pt. 1

How I lost

As a young woman I could eat whatever I wanted, whenever I wanted and yet always seemed to stay underweight.  I was literally a string bean at 5ft 8inches when I courted and married my husband.  So when I got pregnant and had my first born and retained 15lbs or so I wasn’t worried.  I had always been so thin, a little meat on my bones was actually welcome.  But baby number two, three and then four with the same story of keep an extra 10 lbs or so started to get my attention.  Throw in there adrenal fatigue, cortisol levels being messed up and questionable thyroid and the chub continued.

In my thirties when a routine exam showed some liver enzyme elevation, the nurse suggested if I lost a few pounds that would bring things right back to where it should be.  So began the beginning of trying several things to lose weight.  With exercise and dedication I did shave off 20lbs and was very happy. But, then with additional pregnancies the weight would creep back up. I would try this program, eating plan or exercise.  Using weight watchers I lost another 20lbs but got complacent when I hit the high end of the healthy weight goal for my height.

As I hit my 40th birthday I had my worst health crisis ever with adrenal fatigue (you can read more about that HERE).  My focus could not be on losing weight, but on getting healthy.  It was all I could do just to survive. The Lord used some AMAZING supplements to restore my health, and I was over the moon blessed. But, while these same products helped many people also lose weight on them, I did not lose but even gained a bit.  But, I was healthy again and that was blessing enough.

Eventually, When the weight kept creeping up even though I wasn’t having babies anymore I knew I had to get serious about addressing where I was at on the scale.  The problem was that I had tried so many things.  I had joined Curves, done pilates, walking, and had many plans for how I was going to exercise and they never stuck.  Over the years I had done the Specific Carbohydrate Diet (similar to paleo), Rubin Jordans eating program, Trim Healthy Mama, Calorie counting, Weight Watchers.  My bookshelves are full of books like The Flat Belly Diet and  I even looked into the Curves eating plan and the Zone diet.  Food combining plans, Eating whole foods, no sugar–you name it. And many things would be effective for a short time, help me lose a few pounds but they weren’t sustainable so I would lose some weight but yo-yo back.

Part Two coming Monday!

A Mother’s Heritage Birthing Support

A Mother's

Ever since I can remember I have wanted to be a midwife.  As a teenager all I could think of was babies, births and all things related to that.  In fact, since I was taught at home I had the ability to tailer my high school to this passion.  So, I enrolled in an intense midwife home study course.   I had friends who were supportive of my desire and allowed me to follow their pregnancies, attend their prenatals and be a part of their births.  I also enjoyed staying as a mother’s helper afterwards helping with the running of the home. My favorite part of course, was helping care for the new baby. 😀 For my graduation from high school I asked for a fetoscope, a baby stethoscope, a blood pressure cuff, and things to help me begin my midwifery goals.  I even had an examination table to set up my home office.

But, the Lord’s timing was not my timing and every time I would be ready to jump into things, providentially I was hindered.  Time after time there were obstacles. THEN, the most wonderful thing happened.  As my husband likes to put it, “Instead of being a midwife I became a full wife.” 😀 I courted and married my dear husband and had children of my own. My experience with birthing and babies became one that went beyond learning from textbooks and helping others and became my own experience.  The Lord blessed us with eight children and my hands and heart were full!

My first two children were born naturally at birth centers.  My next five were at home.  Of those five home-births, three were water births. (LOVED being in the water!).  My last baby was born in the hospital with an epidural.

One of my water births many years ago ❤️

One of my water births many years ago ❤️

Throughout the years I have enjoyed every opportunity to assist and help my friends and family with their pregnancies, births, breastfeeding and newborn care. My passion still is to support women through this amazing time in their lives and I relished those opportunities when the Lord put them in my path.

Now that my oldest is 20 and my youngest will soon be 5 the Lord seems to be opening the doors for me to again pursue my passion and I am so thrilled to begin work as a Doula!  Now that I am entering the “older woman” category, have many life experiences along with the passion I had as a youth I am thrilled to be helping those in this beautiful season of their life again.

If you have any need for Doula services and are in the NC/SC area please contact me and I would be happy to meet with you for a free consultation.

For Christ’s crown and glory I am thrilled to announce.

A Mother’s Heritage Birthing Support

Head over and learn why a Doula is so important!