Hey Friends!

Many of you have heard that my mantra for this year is 20 in 20. This means I want to lose 20 pounds before the clock strikes midnight on December 31st!

If you are new to our show or this blog, this may be news to you, but for any of you who have listened for more than 5 minutes, you’ve heard me talk about my lifelong struggle with weight.

It’s true. I have always battled with the scale. Even as a middle schooler, I was the tallest and chunkiest. I’ve always been super self-conscious about my weight. ALWAYS. And then I had two babies. After the first, I just wanted to get back into my bathing suit. After the second, I just wanted to get back into my jeans. If I’d had a third, it would’ve been, “I just want to get back into my moo-moo!” I kid. I kid. Sorta! But here’s the thing, y’all… I have the muffin-top, the bra fat, the thighs that rub together. All that lovely stuff.

Now, I know many of you are screaming at me through this screen right now – I get it! BUT, before you {lovingly} send me notes that tell me God loves me just the way I am, and that body image positivity is healthier, etc etc…. please hear me say, “I know. I know!” I really do. I promise. And also hear me say that I have been in such a better place mentally since 2016. This was the year, I absolutely turned a corner, and no longer saw food as the enemy. This was the year that I accepted my body, and said, “I am more than this number on a scale.”

BUT, ALL THIS SAID. I still struggle, and I’m still not where I want to be. And I want 2020 to be my breakthrough year.

A little background. I have done pretty much every diet known to man. I’ll list a few.

1. Jenny Craig
2. Weight Watchers
3. Keto
4. Atkins
5. Grapefruit
6. Cabbage Soup
7. South Beach
8. HCG shots
9. Fen-phen. {This is the one I am least proud of, but will also note it’s the one I lost the most weight on after my 2nd baby}
10. Whole30 {though they will tell you this is not a diet}.

And a hundred others! ‘Member the “1/2 cup cottage cheese with pears” diet back in the 80’s? Yep, did that one too.

The point is I’ve done them all. And with each shiny new program came the excitement of “OK, this may really be the one that will work for me this time.” And the reality is, a few did. For a hot minute. But none have been life-long, lifestyle sustaining.

In 2016, I jumped on the Whole30 train. And I can honestly say it was doing a Whole60 {yes, I did 60 days} that started the change in my relationship towards food. Something in my brain shifted. I finally realized it wasn’t about “calories in/calories out” or about restricting calories, or eating like a bird. It was about whole food nutrition and eating to fuel my body and to FEEL good. I can honestly say I never felt better, slept better, or had more energy. And energy is a big thing for me because I’m severely anemic {as in have to get iron infusions every several years}.

In 2018, I was still eating semi-Whole30ish; I’ve never gone back to how I ate pre-Whole30, but the scale never budged. I had a listener send me a book about Intermittent Fasting, and I slowly started incorporating that into my eating style. Since Fall of 2018, I have eaten 80% whole food nutrition coupled with Intermittent Fasting. And while I have maintained like a rock star, I have not lost one single solitary pound.

At this point, many would say, “welp, Carmen, this must be your body’s preferred weight.” And this may be true, but I’m not ready to accept that just yet. I believe I am 20 pounds heavier than I need to be given my frame and height.

This is where Amanda Tress comes in. I was introduced to her program, FASTer Way to Fat Loss last July by my girlfriend Jodi in Nashville. Fast-forward to August, and I was sitting on the beach, frustrated with another year coming and going and I was still stuck at 168 pounds. OH GIRL YES, I JUST DID. I just told y’all how much I weigh! Yep, I’ve lost my ever-loving mind. But, I’m ready to cross the victory line once and for all, and this is something I’ve been thinking about doing and sharing for a while. So there it is. In hopes that it will hold me accountable. And one more note about the weight… it is true that women do come in all different shapes and sizes. And what one woman’s actual weight is, is the goal weight for another.  I get how this may hit some of my sisters too. We each have to decide the number that is right for us. After talking with my doctor, the 140’s is my ideal weight based on my frame.

But back to Amanda. I’ve been following her since late last Summer. I signed up for an “August round” and learned the building blocks of what she has created. I talked about what I was doing on the air, and it turns out she was a listener!! We ended up meeting in December, and after meeting her,  I 1000% believe she has the key to unlocking all my failed attempts. I believe she can coach me to the BREAKTHROUGH that I’ve desperately wanted my whole life! She’ll do this by combining lots of what I’ve learned over the last 4 years, coupled with her strategies of whole food nutrition, carb cycling, proper exercise, and many, many other things. She has created a program focusing on holistic health but personalized to each person. For the first time in a long, long time, Amanda has made me believe I can really do this. So, I am 100% committing to the FASTer Way for 2020. I’m all in.

And one last thing, if any of what I have said resonates with you, maybe this could be your answer too! If so, go take a look at the “JOY FM” 6-week round that we’re beginning on Monday, February 10th. We’ll be doing this with our JOY family! We’ll have a private FB group where we can encourage each other, ask questions, and be personally coached by Amanda’s team at FASTer Way. All the info is right here!

And here’s even better news: Amanda has given us a special promo code!! You’ll get $50 off when you use the promo code: JOYFM.

Amanda was my guest on my OFF-AIR podcast last week. Find 30 minutes, and listen when you can!

To listen, click on one of the icons below, Apple, Google Play, Spotify or Stitcher, or listen online at thejoyfm.com



Hey, this is Haley! My mom and I were talking about thee season of life I’m in right now and she asked me if I would put my thoughts into a blog.

I’m not usually one to pick a word for the year.(I did for 2020 though, and that will be a post of its own!). The last few years, I’ve sensed themes as the year unfolds and have leaned into what God’s doing around that theme in my life. For 2017, the theme was “faithful.” For 2018 and 2019, it was was “harvest.” 

As I look back on the last decade, I can easily split my 20s into three distinct eras. For me, 20-23 were the college years. They were the years of learning who I was as a person outside of my parents’ home. They were SO fun!

Era Two was the wandering years, from about 24-26 for me. They were the hard years of the transition from college kid to adulthood. They were for discovering what it means to be a believer in Jesus on my own. They were for finding my career as well as finding my voice. They were for growing, and the growing pains were very real.

But Era Three. Wow! In a society and culture where we value youth, I never would have guessed Era Three (27-29) would be my favorite. I mean these are the years where you are *basically* 30, or at least that’s how I’ve thought of them in my head the last few years. But for me, Era Three has been the Harvest Season.

Let me back up. In 2016, I really started sensing God pressing me to join a church. I had been floating around between a few, but with no roots planted anywhere. I could tell that it was time to find a church home to call my own and to start investing my time in one place. A friend invited me to her church the first Sunday of 2017, and the second I walked in, I knew I was home. Fast forward a year. I’d been attending regularly, moved my tithe, did the classes to become a member all the church stuff. I knew it was time for more. So I joined a small group and started making friends. 

All of the sudden I found myself on a spiritual high that has continued into a season of growth. We had a guest speaker come to our Wednesday service this past week and she talked about a season called “kairos” which is the Greek word for God’s time. It’s a season of fruit and of harvest, when things God has set in motion come to fruition. 

At the beginning of 2019, I really started experiencing what the fullness and richness of life in Jesus looked like on a daily basis. It was almost like I was walking on a cloud. I started thinking about how this happened and I could pinpoint it exactly. I was in community with women in my same season of life. I was diving deeper into the Word. I was reaping the harvest of everything I had planted the whole second half of the year before. This was where the seeds were planted. This took effort, patience and time. 

We are an impatient culture. We are a society of hurry. We get frustrated when Instagram takes more than a second to load. We plant things in faith and then wake up the next morning to run outside and check on our “farm.” We get frustrated because there are no crops. I’ll be the first to admit that I don’t know anything about farming, gardening, soil, plants, crops or anything related. I grew up in the suburbs with a Publix one mile from my house. But I know enough to know that you can’t plant seeds one day and expect an apple the next. We also can’t plant seeds, leave them there and hope to see a tree in six months. I don’t know all the steps between planting seeds and picking apples off a tree, but I know there are steps (watering maybe?) in between. I look at my season of going deeper in my faith — going to small group even when I was tired, reading the chapter of the book we were discussing when I wanted to be watching Netflix, opening my Bible when I just wanted to listen to the next episode of my current podcast obsession, spending time in relationship with girls much younger than myself — all these things as spiritual disciplines. Each as a standalone event can be viewed as relatively insignificant but when strung together across one whole season, they produced a bountiful harvest in my life. I felt more peace. I was more patient. My empathy and compassion levels were at an all-time high. I was overflowing with joy that only comes from Jesus. I truly felt like my heart could not contain all the joy for life that I felt. And the more I experienced Harvest, the more I wanted it. 

I think when we experience Harvest and mountaintop seasons, we are super quick to take our foot off the gas and just coast without even realizing we’re doing that. We live in the wonder of God and enjoy him for who He is and what he’s doing. All of that is great. Our job is to give God glory for all that He has done and praise Him for his goodness and kindness.

But we can’t take our foot off the gas. What happens when you enjoy the fruit of a harvest but don’t plant any new seeds? A famine. If we want fruit in the next season, we have to do the work now. Just because the breakthrough happens doesn’t mean the work stops. I’m not advocating for an unsustainable grind that leaves us all worn out and weary. I’m talking daily and weekly disciplines that over time become who we are, a rhythm and flow of life with Jesus. Moments with God every single day. Reading scripture like it’s our job. Living in community with people of strong faith. Serving. Actively being like Jesus.

I’m not suggesting that preparing this way will mean that bad seasons will never happen again. Hurricanes will come through life and destroy everything. We can’t know when those will hit. But I do know that our preparation will still produce fruit, even in hard seasons. He might be harder to see, but God will still be there. He has never changed. He promises us that.

Can I challenge you today in the same way I’ve challenged myself this whole last year?

If you aren’t in a Harvest season yet, what steps can you take to get there? 

If you are in one, what are you doing to prepare for the next season? Eventually this season will end. What seeds are you planting to prevent the famine that could follow?

Psalm 65:11

You crown the year with a bountiful harvest; even the hard pathways overflow with abundance.

Psalm 107:37-38

They sow fields and plant vineyards that yield a fruitful harvest.

He blesses them, and they multiply greatly; he does not let their livestock decrease.

Galatians 6:9 

Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up

Hebrews 12:11

No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.

Welcome to my 2nd episode of OFF-AIR with Carmen.  This week’s guest is Brooke Ligertwood of Hillsong Worship. You’ve heard her sing songs like What A Beautiful Name, Who You Say I Am, and a whole catalogue of others!  As a matter of fact, the music bed you’ll hear in the beginning is “King of Kings,” from Hillsong’s current album, Awake. It’s also my current favorite!

Pulling back the curtain just a bit, I was super nervous about recording this podcast. I’d never met Brooke before the day we recorded it. She’d been on our morning show earlier that day, and then we came into my office. We’d talked all through Hillsong’s music, so I wanted to start with a personal story and something we’d not yet talked about.  One tip for the future I now know is not to do a morning show with a guest and then have them on my podcast. It’s hard for me to have the same conversation twice. And I feel like they’re thinking, “wait, you just asked me that 10 minutes ago!”

But like I say…that’s pretty much how I do life. I jump in, and then figure it out as I go.

Still, you’re going to hear another side to Brooke. Towards the end she talks about one of her favorite books. It’s “Anonymous: Jesus’ hidden years… and yours” by Alicia Britt Chole. Of course I ordered it, and Brooke is right, it really is a must read for everyone.  I love the premise that our unseen years does not equal unimportant years.

This is one of my favorite parts of my conversation with Brooke.

To hear the whole thing, click on one of the icons below, Apple, Google Play, Spotify or Stitcher, or listen online at thejoyfm.com