Rev up! and GLOW

2U1A5410Two nights ago, 24 young girls and 11 rockin’ volunteers filled up a gym as they shined in the glowing purple hues of black light. With faces literally glowing from the body paint, we all moved to the upbeat sounds of music that would make any grown woman want to dance. After the night ended, one girl said that she looked around the room and even though it was dark, she could tell everyone was smiling. The minimal lighting allowed her and the rest of the girls to feel comfortable enough to let loose and dance even if it meant moving offbeat and looking ridiculous.

After sweating ourselves silly, we all raided the Smoothie bar where we created delicious bowls, topped with yummy fruit, granola, and other healthy toppings! Some of us then played around at the photo booth taking pictures in costume. Others freshened up with a fragrant face mask. Then, there were others who ran around with 50 glow bracelets linked together, letting out their inner creative child! 2U1A5484

After a time of stretching, we practiced stillness. With a cool lavender towel on our foreheads, we inhaled a prayer of, “I love you” to God, and exhaled as we allowed ourselves to hear God say it back to us, “I love you”.

This transitioned into storytime, of sorts. Where I shared my first experience of looking at myself in a mirror and seeing how God saw me–instead of seeing myself through the filter of how I thought the world saw me. I had looked at myself, with a filter of several lies attached to it including I was ugly, I need make up, not good enough so I have to layer up with material things, and so on. I had been lied to in middle school, and high school and believed them for several years after. It made me slightly paranoid that I would never be pretty enough for people to like me.

After taking the girls through Genesis 3:1-13, it was their turn to look inward. The girls wrote a lie they’ve believed on a balloon. After asking them to pop it, they found a little note inside with a truth to displace that lie that had been exposed. At the end, the girls came up and wrote down their truth, what God sees when He looks at them, on a full-length mirror. This was a huge expression of their faith; calling out the lie for what it is, and stepping into the freedom of the truth of who God says they are. Only our maker can tell us who we are. Why, oh why, would we want other broken and hurt reflections to define who we are? If they didn’t make you, they cannot define you.

As they left that night with newfound energy, hope, and friends, they also each left with a letter written by women of faith in our community! All women who sat down, spared a few minutes out of their busy schedules to love on those girls with their words and their testimony.

If that was you, thank you. Thank you for being the hands and feet of Jesus. Thank you to all those who volunteered and led, and for doing it well. Thank you for being bold enough to talk to, to move with and engage those incredible young women who came out Saturday night.

 “I pray that you, being rooted and firmly established in love,  may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the length and width, height and depth of God’s love, and to know Christ’s love that surpasses knowledge, so that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.

Now to him who is able to do above and beyond all that we ask or think according to the power that works in us— to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen.”

Ephesians 3:18-21

Brianna Joy

Revelation Wellness Instructor at The Well

If you would like any info about The Well ministry events and classes, please contact me at: I host seasonal, faith and fitness classes: Rev Up! classes are cardio and strength-based and Flow classes involve light strength, stretching and meditative practice.


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No Roots

There are two things I would have rather been doing on a Sunday afternoon: Napping and watching Netflix. We had been invited out to a party by some new friends and everything in me clenched at the thought of the effort new relationships would take. We were just getting settled in a new home far from home and hardly knew anyone. The last thing I wanted to do was work on my skill at first impressions. That took too much work because there was too much thinking on my end about how we would come across to people, what they would think, or if we would be interesting enough to get an invite back.

Sounds depressing, I know. As much as I labeled fear as introvertedness, it never gave me the purpose and identity I truly was born to claim. Fear has looked a lot of ways for me: laziness, reservation, people-pleasing, and false humility to name a few. And although I’ve lived seemingly put together, the performing, striving and grasping for perfection has left me dry and lifeless! Drinking a glass of wine before social gatherings became my go-to for a while but I eventually realized that my dependency on that only blanketed my fear. I still felt like I was forced to leave the house, that I had to put on my fearless, yet fake face. Friends, I even used positive affirmations and bible verses to suppress fear but most of the time, they made me feel good for a day and rubbed off the next.

What was I doing to make fear and anxiety stick to me? Fear had become like another layer of skin that I wasn’t able to move past.

This is my story, my redemption story. Instead of fear holding me back, God has made the opposite happen: He is using my struggle to propel me out of that prison and into a life where I put fear to shame (Isaiah 61:7). Instead of me resorting to my hermit ways, He has drawn me out into His calling with great hope. Instead of closing my mouth when there’s something to be said, He has moved me to take steps forward into uncomfortable situations with exceptional peace. Instead of my reason for socializing being something I have to do, He has purposed me to love people like something I now get to do.

So, what was I doing to make fear and anxiety stick to me? I was doing nothing. I was expecting God to carry me through and do all the work while I sat back and took no steps outside my comfort. I wasn’t putting actions behind the bible verses and I wasn’t living as if I had God’s spirit residing in my heart.

You might want to change your weight, your attitude, your finances or perspective but nothing will have lasting change unless you look at the state of your heart first.

Jesus talks about our hearts like they are soil. Some hearts have rich, toiled, soil that welcomes truth and lives from it. Then there are other hearts that are full of weeds (lies) that choke out the truth of God’s promises. Other hearts are hard and rocky (doubtful/fearful) that don’t allow the verses to take root and grow into something beautiful.

Do you feel that no matter how much you read the bible and pray, no change comes? Do your goals and dreams come and go, depending on your mood? Is living comfortably your main goal, but deep down you want more purpose?

If I were to look at the “soil” of my heart when fear directed my lifestyle, it was most likely full of weeds. I read, I studied and listened to teachings on God’s Word then, sure! But lies like, me having to perform my best in order to have value and be liked, choked out the truth of God’s promises. My grip on lies deflected the truth. During that time, I needed to allow His spirit to toil my heart soil; exposing and turning up the rocks of doubt and fear. Instead, most decisions I made were based out of a rocky and weed-infested heart! No fruit can come from a garden that hasn’t been kept…and a booming garden doesn’t come in a day!

How do we tend to our heart’s garden then? You might not like the answer, but if you care enough about implementing serious change, you’ll do it.

  1. See it for what it is. Our unkept hearts have been lied to, ignored, stomped on and forgotten. Our hearts are the epicenter of feelings. How we feel is a guide and our feelings are great servants pointing us to the root of our struggles and joys!
  2. Put someone new in charge. Whoever is King or Gardener of our heart determines our reasons and results of daily decisions. What we value most determines our heart’s master! If you value the opinions of others, that shapes your garden into only what others want to see and get out of you. When Jesus is King of our heart, he plants your identity as His son or daughter…what would happen if you allowed that seed of truth to be planted? That curiosity is what keeps me saying, “I’m all yours God…you do your thing!
  3. Hand over the tools. It’s going to get uncomfortable. First of all, anything that is rooted deep into the earth is a nightmare to pull up. Instead of us trying to resolve all our human issues with pretty hands and positive self-talk, we must give Jesus the garden hoe. It’s time that we get comfortable being uncomfortable. How else does a garden make room for blossoms of fruit and immaculate color? I look back to my journey with fear and the one thing that stands out are all the small, uncomfortable times I gave God my yes. Lots of little, baby decisions that turned into big-overcoming habits!
  4. Water the truth. Even when I suffered or hurt and life seemed out of control, I kept choosing to go back to the truth. I listed out God’s promises and repeated them in the face of opposition. This involved turning on some worship songs on YouTube and belting my heart out in song as my RESPONSE to worry and sadness. I put sticky notes on our bathroom mirror, phone background, car dashboard, or nightstand so that I always had truth to confront the lies with.

It took time for me to see past myself, and understand that my life wasn’t really all about me. That it had less to do with my perfect-performance and more to do with what God would do if He took the stage. I hope that you can find grace and patience with yourself and gain a bit of ambitious expectancy of what God is doing and will do. You are God’s delight and His desire is for you to see the abundance that comes with allowing Him to til the soil of your heart. Your heart space is the rooting ground for His kingdom goodness to grow; where your dreams and His desires become one.

 “I am a true sprouting vine, and the farmer who tends the vine is my Father. He cares for the branches connected to me by lifting and propping up the fruitless branches and pruning every fruitful branch to yield a greater harvest. The words I have spoken over you have already cleansed you. So you must remain in life-union with me, for I remain in life-union with you. For as a branch severed from the vine will not bear fruit, so your life will be fruitless unless you live your life intimately joined to mine.

 “I am the sprouting vine and you’re my branches. As you live in union with me as your source, fruitfulness will stream from within you—but when you live separated from me you are powerless. If a person is separated from me, he is discarded; such branches are gathered up and thrown into the fire to be burned. But if you live in life-union with me and if my words live powerfully within you—then you can ask whatever you desire and it will be done. When your lives bear abundant fruit, you demonstrate that you are my mature disciples who glorify my Father!

“I love each of you with the same love that the Father loves me. You must continually let my love nourish your hearts. If you keep my commands, you will live in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commands, for I continually live nourished and empowered by his love. My purpose for telling you these things is so that the joy that I experience will fill your hearts with overflowing gladness!”

John 15:1-11, The Passion Translation



Welcome to Freedom

I’m slightly claustrophobic. An easy way to make an enemy out of me would be to trap me under a blanket or hide me away in an elevator. It’s not a fun feeling; being stuck in a place where hope is a word that holds no meaning. A lot of things can get us there: people’s accusations, lies, and hurt. Or our own circumstance, opposition, emotions, doubts, and negative self-talk.

There is hope.

“Return to your fortress, you prisoners of hope; even now I announce that I will restore twice as much to you.” Zechariah 9:12

Some of us are in a place where we’ve been for so long, that we don’t even remember what it’s like to be free (or maybe we’ve never even known it). Where hoping is pointless because goodness seems impossible. A place where the only comfort we look to is in _______ (food, drink–you choose) and not The Comforter. Beautiful one, it’s time to start seeing your darkness, in the light.

“It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.” Galatians 5:1

It’s Holy week…the week that led to the great rescue Jesus Christ did to set us free. Free from the dark place we might be presently trapped in. His whole life on earth was all to make way for God’s grand, heroic plan. As he was nailed and breathed His last, the blood that ran out of him was a sign of OUR PAIN, SIN, STRUGGLE, DISEASE being taken from us. He died in YOUR place, because He delights in YOU. His love is greater than our present darkness because he didn’t stay dead. By His death and resurrection, He beat death and anything that connects to it: SHAME, HATRED, ABUSE, ANGER, DEPRESSION, WORRY, LIES, FEAR…you fill in the blank!

No really, fill in the blank, “…and do not let yourselves be burdened again by ________”.  (Galations 5:1)


Friend, if you’re holding onto any of the darkness, the time has never been better than now to give it back to JESUS. His whole living, was to die for you so that you don’t have to live in these dark places. So, what are we doing holding onto these things? They are going to come up throughout our life. Opposition is at every new turn, every attempt to move forward there is a reason to fear, lose hope and believe lies. The questions is: are you going to give into it by putting the darkness into a higher place than the hope of Christ (rescue, healing, freedom…to name a few)? OR are you going to face it and give it back to Jesus?!

What ever you filled in as being your darkness, well…it’s NOT yours. HOPE IS YOURS.  God wants you to give him back those burdens that He ALREADY took on for you.

If you want to live by HOPE instead of being stuck in whatever your darkness is, get ready to experience what FREEDOM feels like and the FULLNESS of JOY Jesus brings through that release.

If you have questions, need prayer or have anything you want to add to this, please email me. I’d love to be there for you, friend.

Be free! Bri Joy


This is me and my lovely, weird and adorable little family. 

Check out these dope lyrics, MORE THAN CONQUERORS, Rend Collective.

When my hope and strength is gone
You’re the one who calls me on
You are the life
You are the fight
That’s in my soul
Oh, Your resurrection power
Burns like fire in my heart
When waters rise
I lift my eyes
Up to Your throne
We are more than conquerors, through Christ
You have overcome this world, this life
We will not bow to sin or to shame
We are defiant in Your name
You are the fire that cannot be tamed
You are the power in our veins
Our Lord, our God, our Conqueror
I will sing into the night
Christ is risen and on high
Greater is He
Living in me
Than in the world
No surrender, no retreat
We are free and we’re redeemed
We will declare
Over despair
You are the hope
We are more than conquerors, through Christ
You have overcome this world, this life
We will


3 Heart-Shaping Mantra’s

The fight over our souls has already been won by Jesus many moons ago. He was victorious for us, and that victory is set in stone. But the battle over our spirits contending with His is a continual battle. One of the greatest enemies in this battle to connect with Him is busyness. Not so much the busyness of our bodies, but of our heart and mind.

“Above everything else guard your heart, because from it flow the springs of life.” Proverbs 4:23

      Division of the heart happens when the word of God is choked out by our cares. Imagine that our body is a greenhouse and our heart and mind complex is the soil in which things are planted. The connection we have with God happens when we read the Bible, which is the most powerful seed in the universe.

When we read the word of God, we’re planting a seed with much potential. But what happens if this seed of God is planted on a thorn bush? And how did those thorns get there in the first place?

“The seeds that fell among the thorns represent those who hear the message, but all too quickly the message is crowded out by the cares and riches and pleasures of this life. And so they never grow into maturity.” Luke 8:14

       The soil of our heart can become crowded by our thorny-cares. In greek, the definition of cares literally means a divided mind. Entertaining our cares, worries, riches, and pleasures all empower inferior seed to compete with the ETERNAL one. The fight for “sunshine” and life is very real between what we entertain and the power of the word of God living in us. Thing is, we can be super consistent with our Bible reading but if we go on about our day letting other “seed” choke out His, we produce fruit that can be catastrophic to His plan. If we bring our attention to the one voyage set before us, to love God, we will see the bountiful fruit in our life that God promises: his blessing and riches, ETERNAL pleasures, and of course the fruits of the spirit: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness and self-control.

My personal accomplishments can easily be my idol and create a DIVIDED heart within me. PRIDE follows performance based living. His blessing, reward and the fullness of God follows when I seek HIM with my WHOLE heart. When our ONE aim is to love God really well, our heart is WHOLE.

“You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.” Jeremiah 29:13

“And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.” Hebrews 11:6


Are you curious what it’s like to have a heart that is made whole by God? It’s not a magical switch that you turn on, it takes action because it truly is a daily battle. Let’s make room for the seed of the Word of God to flourish with THESE 3 HEART MANTRAS…

Here are 3 daily mantras to prevent a heart divided between our flesh and our spirit.   In doing so, I believe there is TRUE HEALING not only to our spirits, but to our physical bodies as well!

“Listen carefully to my words. Do not let them out of your sight, keep them within your heart; or they are life to those who find them and health to one’s whole body.” Proverbs 4:20-22


Pray: “Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me” Psalm 51:10

Recite: No matter how divided my heart was yesterday, God makes me new. As I seek Him, He makes my spirit strong and steady.


Pray: “Restore to me the joy of your salvation and grant me a willing spirit to sustain me.” Psalm 51:12

Recite: God desires joy for me. As I walk with love and obey Him, He sustains me.


Pray: “My sacrifice, O God, is a broken spirit, a broken and contrite heart you God will not despise.” Psalm 51:17

Recite: My spirit connected to God’s is a lifeline. I need Him to survive well, to love well and to live well. I am His.

“For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.” Hebrews 4:12

Peace and lots of love,

Bri Joy


Get to your Goals in 2018

Mood: Coffeehouse Blend Playlist, Apple Music.

Today marks the start of a New Year: 2018, BABY! For some of us, this comes as a sigh of relief, as we see this as a new beginning to something better.

One of the greatest lessons God taught me in 2017 was contentment. I’m not talking about your typical Sunday-School lesson either. The true understanding of contentment needed to come the way it did; through a series of events that left me emotionally and physically beaten. I was practically bed-ridden for two weeks in October– forced to process and do A LOT of self-examining and heart-checking. I didn’t even know that I had an issue with being ungrateful until this season in my life. I thought that problems had to be more obvious. Seeing our massive mounds of clean laundry, made me complain that I never have time to do it. Having to take out the recycles, had me complaining that I’d done this one-too many times this month. Not being able to eat all the foods I used to tolerate, had me complaining that it just wasn’t fair. It was also my impulsive shopping habits that concealed the ungratefulness of not having enough clothes in my closet. The heart change that I allowed God to do in me, was life changing. God has literally brought joy, understanding and patience into my life when I confront everyday things.

The start of a New Year is a great chance to start a new approach to how we do life. I have literally only kept one resolution in my whole life… that was the time that I promised myself I wouldn’t eat those massive-sized candy bars anymore (mini-sized bars were the ONLY exception, HA).


This is not your one and only chance to have a new start this year. No, it’s the start of a new year FULL of 365 NEW days that mark themselves as fresh beginnings and start-overs. Tapping into this year, I’m going to create goals that MAKE SENSE for MY life. Not for the life of someone else who I see, who seems to have their ducks all in a row. Not everyday will go according to my goals, but that doesn’t mean all hope is lost. I want to look ahead and expect to fail, to have shortcomings, temptations and trials. BUT WORD…

“But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.” 2 Corinthians 12:9-11

With that in mind, I also want to look ahead to new beginnings everyday, that allow the power of God to work through me and accomplish these goals.

Our approach to goals needs to come from a place of being GRATEFUL for what we have: which is TRUST in our God to lead us, sharpen us and hold us through it all. IMG_2245

2018 GOALS

Below you will see how I have split 5 main areas of my life that take my time and attention: Faith, Family, Business, Personal, and Social-life. Next, I listed multiple goals I have under each category, some in order of importance. Lastly, you’ll see a brief description of the action plan I have to go with it.

  1. Faith
    • Daily Bible reading and meditation
      • Set alarm clock for 5:30AM M-F and Sat/Sun plan for reading with Russ.
      • Pray more- Make a big jar with popsicle sticks and a marker. Every time there is a prayer request, write it down on a stick and place in jar. Place it out where I’ll see it everyday.
  2. Family
    • Engage more than maintain the kids
      • Uninterrupted play with them–set timer for at LEAST 15mins
      • Lead by example with health and fitness, faith and limited screen time.
      • Utilize Parent Cue
    • Grow in love with Russ
      • Monthly dates, weekly pow-wows, daily intentional sacrifices, go on two, 3-day excursions with Russ: Schedule these into Calendar!
    • Stay connected with Mom, Dad, Sister and Brother
      • Send letters, kids artwork and call at least 3x a week.
    • Go camping with the kids
      • Send invite to friends to join us 3 months out
    • Remodel parts of the house
      • Get graphing paper and draw up plan and dream of the end result.
  3. Personal
    • Stress less:
      • Rejoice more! (work on my ungratefulness) Philippians 4:4-9
      • Yoga weekly–breathe deeply!
      • Eat Carby-Paleo and start making fermented foods
      • Be more aware of God’s presence/Be real not perfect–sticky note reminders on mirrors!
      • Be active everyday–power lift the kids, Ninja warrior classes, running with friends, yoga, lift, HIIT, Bike, etc.
      • Less screen time- studies have shown that our breathing is shortened while we look at our phones and other devices!
  4. Business
    • Start personal training in-homes
      • make business cards and set hours
    • Start a VLOG
      • brainstorm and map out the design for studio in basement
      • Blog weekly and Insta post most days of the week
    • Become a independent consultant versus employee.
      • Schedule a meeting with bosses about logistics
      • Teach a young women’s JFIT class in the church gym, or school gyms.
      • Become a certified PPC (girls gone strong)
  5. Social-life Note: I don’t like to be super scheduled because everyone else has their own schedules that might not tie in with mine at the moment. My goal here is to be open and allow space for flexibility with people.
    • Be a mentor-friend to a certain middle school girl
      • monthly planned hangouts
    • Ladies night in/outs
    • Monthly dinners with a church family
    • Coffees dates
    • Plan a girls weekend away (wine tour, Quebec city, Boston, etc.)

After writing out those 5 main areas with their goal and action plan, we are going to break it down into our calendars. You can use a daily calendar or journal to stay organized and meet your goals.

A. Give each of the 5 main categories a color using highlighters or markers.

B. Take time to write out how much time each of those activities takes throughout your day or week.

C. On your calendar, write each activity in it’s own time slot and color code it. 

The goal of what Michelle Myers calls “Block Scheduling”, is to only do what is designated for the specific time slot. You only do work when it’s time for work, and family when its time for family. Eliminate all distractions that would keep you from those priorities–Facebook, Instagram, Netflix, texting, cleaning, cooking, fiddling etc.


  1. Grab a pen and journal (if you’re old school like me)
  2. Set your timer for 20 mins
  3. Split up 3-5 main areas of your life into their own brackets
  4. Write out at least one DOABLE goal for this year, under each category
  5. Under each goal, write out an action plan that will make this thing happen! (be as specific as possible)
  6. Next, fill up your calendar specifics with all the color-coded categories as stated above!

“And this is my prayer: that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight, so that you may be able to discern what is best and may be pure and blameless for the day of Christ, filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ—to the glory and praise of God.” Philippians 1:9-11


Cheers to a Happy New Year!

-Bri joyfully fit image




God Loves the Hell out of You

“Let the love of God, love the hell out of you.” Alisa Keeton, Revelation Wellness.IMG_2212

His love means freedom from the cares of what we think we should look like, think we should weigh, or what we think others think.

His love means that we have power by his GRACE to obey and to live confidently.

His love means anxiety doesn’t win, God’s love is now our master.

His love means that the weightiness of our hearts (as broken people hurt by other broken people), becomes His and we can now live lightly; resting secure as His beloved.

We have a choice to yield to this crazy, unconditional love or deny it’s existence (either by outrightly denying or living naive of its presence).

Confession is the acknowledgment of something that weighs us down (maybe it’s even physical weight that burdens you); weight of something that keeps us from yielding to His way. Confession is also agreeing with God that it does not belong and you’re better off without it.

Confession allows our hearts to become exposed to God. Not that He doesn’t already know what’s going on inside, because He very well does. Through confession we are making the choice to not remain ignorant of the “gunk” building around our hearts, which weighs us down.

When we confess to God that our hearts get easily gunked up with the cares of this world, it allows His love to permeate; doing a deep work in and through us.

His love uproots the gunk of our hearts and replaces it with life-changing, freedom.

 “…God’s kindness is intended to lead you to repentance” Romans 2:4

His kindness and love make it easy to lean into Him when it comes to our inner battles. No matter how immature or shameful we might think our battles are, God cares way too much to let you be ruled by them. It’s up to you whether or not something is done about it. Go on and live freely, my friends.

 “But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties.For when I am weak, then I am strong.” 2 Corinthians 12:9-10


Harvest Moon Soup

Want to reap the goodness of Autumn through Wintertime? This bowl of harvest will carry you through! It’s not every night I throw ingredients together and it magically comes out delicious. If you dig creamy soups, with a mild spice, try my Harvest Moon!

Harvest Moon Soup, by Bri.
Serves 6

3 lg. Carrots, chopped into 1/2 inch rounds
1 med/lg. sized Butternut squash, chopped into 1-1 1/2 inch chunks
1 sm. Onion, cut in half and sliced
1/2 cup Canned Coconut Milk
1 qt. Chicken broth (or Bone broth)
1 tsp Turmeric
2 tsp Paprika 
1 heaping tsp parsley 
Pinch or two of Cinnamon
1 heaping tsp of Black Pepper
1 tsp Salt 

1. Mix in all ingredients, except the coconut milk,into a large pot.
2. Bring to a simmer on Medium stovetop heat.
3. Give a good stir, and turn heat to low. Let sit for 2 hrs, this    draws out more flavor in the soup. 
4. Pour in 1/2 cup of coconut milk and blend with an immersion       blender right in the pot. (You may choose to blend in batches by     using a   blender too)
5. Serve with some crusty bread or Paleo rolls and you're set!


Exercises To Do and Avoid During and After Pregnancy

The hottest topic in the Prenatal/Postpartum world right now is Diastasis Recti. This is the separation of the middle of the abdominal wall of 2.7cm or greater thanks to the stretching of the Linea Alba (the connective tissue that holds it together like glue).

Owen being a supermodel and Eli still in hiding.

As you can imagine, our abdominal muscles, along with the connective tissue, experience great pressure as the belly expands and takes on unusual weight. It is extremely important that we take special care of our midsection, as to not further the separation which can so easily happen with our day-to-day activities. The simplest example being in maintaining neutral posture (the natural curvature of your spine and placement of head, ribs and pelvis).  The constant awareness of good posture increases abdominal muscular strength and endurance as well as reducing stress on joints and muscles. I’m not going to cover all the anatomical pieces of the core today, but it is important that we understand the do’s and don’ts in our efforts to gain back that core strength and stability.

The following “do” exercises are deemed generally safe for pregnant and postpartum women, as long as you are cleared for exercise and don’t have any contraindications. The “don’t” exercises below, generally carry a high “risk to reward” ratio. They should be avoided during certain phases of pregnancy and immediately postpartum.


During Pregnancy Do’s

  • Squat: Bodyweight, Dumbbell, Goblet
  • Glute Bridge: Regular, Single-Leg, Band-Resisted, Feet-Elevated, Back-elevated/Hip Thrust
  • Row Variations: One-Arm DB Row, Seated Cable Row, Standing Band Row, Single-Arm Band Row

During Pregnancy Don’ts

  • Front Planks or any exercise where the belly is “hanging” down or feels unsupported (this recommendation often applies after 20-24 weeks). This includes, but is not limited to: Push-ups, Mountain Climbers, and Shoulder Taps.
  • Plyometric/High Impact Exercises or any exercises where you feel increased downward pressure on your pelvic floor and/or experiences any lower back or pelvic pain, or leaking of urine (this is often after 20-24 weeks). This may not apply to advanced/high level athletes. Consult with your pelvic health physio for specific recommendations.

Post Pregnancy Do’s

(6-12 weeks, prior to 6 weeks consult with your primary medical practitioner and/or pelvic health physio)

  • Glute Bridge: Regular, Single-Leg, Band-Resisted, Feet-Elevated, Hip Thrust
  • Clamshell: Regular, Band-Resisted
  • Half Kneeling Hip Flexor Stretch (with optional reach)
  • Squat: Bodyweight

Post Pregnancy Don’ts

  • Traditional/Advanced Abdominal Exercises:  Examples being Traditional sit-up, GHR sit-up, and Jackknife/V-up.
  • Plyometric/High Impact Exercises or any exercises where she feels increased downward pressure on her pelvic oor and/or she experiences any lower back or pelvic pain, or leaking of urine. Avoid exercises that cause pain or anything that doesn’t “feel right” to the core or pelvic floor.

Always be sure to ask yourself, “How does this exercise make me feel?” or “Do I feel strong, supported, and stable during this exercise?”. Keep in mind that some exercises might also feel good, but might not be appropriate for you yet. For some basic level abdominal exercise ideas, follow along with me on “Level Zero Abs”, The HIIT Hustle.


Exercises Your Clients Should Do and Avoid During & After Pregnancy“, Girls Gone Strong, LLC. 2017,

Hi! I’m Brianna Joy. I blog over at and am a Strength and Conditioning Coach at Fit2Excel, Essex, VT. I’m an imperfect person doing my best to be a Mommy, Wife and Fitness teacher!

Joy! For crying out loud…

You’re no stronger than your joy.


September seems to be our busiest time of the year. Besides it being our Anniversary and my Birthday month, it’s when Owen starts school, Russ has a few major church events, and I’m coaching soccer. Throw in one of my best friend’s getting married this month and you have a full schedule! I’m sure you can relate. Even though there is a plethora of good things, there is a whole lot of planning, babysitting, money spending and driving behind it all.  

I’ve been at this place before; overwhelmed with the thought of all that’s ahead. But I’ve never been so adamant about quiet time with the Lord because now I understand how much I need it. Like exercise builds physical strength and endurance, quiet time with God trains our trust muscles, builds perseverance, and creates an emotional resilience in our soul. Another great result of meditation with God is that it yields to the fullness of Joy.

“Our connection to the spirit of God is our access point to the full expression of what joy looks like.” -Bill Johnson

“…in your presence there is fullness of joy.” Psalm 16:11

Joy is being in a state of gladness and celebration without caving to circumstance and doubt. I think it’s no coincidence that God had me marry into the Joy family, what a name to marry into! Most of my life I was never a morning person, until I was forced into being an early-bird in becoming a Mom. My sister will be the first to tell you that I wasn’t always a joy to be around. She would often get growled at and things thrown at her if she was being too loud and happy in the morning. Maybe it’s just me, but have you ever found yourself irritated by someone that is seemingly happy and overjoyed when you are not in that same place? Happiness is a natural emotion that comes with satisfaction and pleasure. Joy on the other hand, is not natural. It’s not easily obtained until you begin to understand the reason for it. The discipline of Joy is a practice, it’s a mark on the calendar, and its a daily choice.

Joy that seems impossible, is joy that will yield strength.

“Weeping may stay for the night, but rejoicing comes in the morning.” Psalm 30:5

When the Israelites had finally started to settle in Jerusalem after being held captive by the King of Babylon, their leaders Nehemiah and Ezra gathered them all and spoke out the law of Moses. Having never heard the laws before, the Israelites began to weep. As the words were spoken to them they grieved because they knew that keeping the law would be impossible. Can you imagine tens, of thousands of people weeping?? What the didn’t understand was that “with God all things are possible”. Nehemiah looked around and said to them all,

“This is day is holy to the Lord, do not mourn or weep. Go and enjoy choice food and sweet drinks, and send some to those who have nothing prepared. This day is holy to our Lord. Do not grieve,for the joy of the Lord is your strength.” Nehemiah 8:9-11

Joy comes when we see impossibility or when we are faced with discouragement but then understand the faithfulness of the Lord. Joy comes when we understand that even though the struggle may be clear as day, God is with us and has already gone before us through those trials. Joy is knowing that God takes the ugly and turns it into something beautiful and valuable. Some of us have been shaped to believe that we are worthless, we’ve been lied to, or maybe we’ve been hurt. Some of us inflict those things on ourselves. Joy comes when we take our eyes off ourselves and our shortcomings, and focus our gaze on what great work God has done, is doing and will do in us.

Joy is a discipline that is nudged by understanding.

 “The point at which you celebrate is the point at which you understand.” -Bill Johnson, on the Discipline of Joy.

“Then the people went away to eat and drink, to send portions of food and to celebrate with great joy, because they now understood the words that had been made know to them.” Nehemiah 8: 12

The Israelites had no connection of joy and the law before they understood that God’s grace would enable them to live holy lives. God’s grace enables us to be joyful in impossible situations. Joy is possible in our pain. It is possible to trade sorrow for laughter, because with God all things are possible.

“A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones.” Proverbs 17:22

Joy is one of the keys God has handed us to the treasure box of strength, health, fullness, and freedom. Imagine the agony that came as Jesus prepared for torture, as the Romans  and his own people, set out to crucify Him. Looking at scriptures, Jesus was in such turmoil that he sweat drops of blood. What was it that held his focus so that he persevered through it all? It was the joy that came in knowing that his actions would provide freedom for us. That’s how deep his love for us went, he didn’t just muscle through sacrifice. He endured by the joy set before him. He intentionally put himself in the path of death in order to for his joy (us) to receive eternal life. Like Jesus’ eyes were fixed on us through his trial, let’s fix our eyes on the redemption and fullness found in him.

“Fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the JOY set before him he endured the cross.” Hebrews 12:2

This understanding of joy in the impossible, changes everything. Goodness, I know for some of us simply cutting out sugar or losing excess weight seems impossible. Maybe it’s a relationship that has two opposing views on faith. Or maybe it’s a loss of identity and purpose. Maybe our eyes are so fixed on our trial that it leads us into deep, dark, depression that seems impossible to come out of. Let me tell you friends, this is not the end. It’s time to stop waking up to another day of just getting by. Jesus has made a way for us to come out of this not only just getting by, but with GREAT JOY. Joy is possible in EVERYTHING you do.  Schedule joy into your day, plan to celebrate what God has done, is doing and will do through you. There is great reason for joy if you begin to understand the reason. The discipline is yours to take on, will you choose joy today?


Keep moving forward »»


Note: It’s amazing how God strings together themes that eventually are so difficult to ignore that I end up writing about them here. Through sermons, podcasts, friends, prayer and song, God uses any and every source to speak to my heart! Now I don’t share everything that he shows me but what I do share, I hope that it reaches out to you in a way that is life changing, joy producing and inspires you to understand who you are by knowing whose you are. The fullness that comes with knowing who God says we are changes the way we see not only ourselves, but the world around us. Turn this into a conversation by liking, commenting and sharing on our Facebook page: The Joyfully Fit Tribe.


joyfully fit image

You Need a Vacation

It had been nearly 5 years since we had been able to do this. For once, I was not pregnant or breastfeeding and could fly away from my little ducklings for a few days with my husband.

Every time I was stressed out, burned out, and overly exhausted I would say, I can’t wait to be on vacation. The idea of rest motivated me through all the delightful happenings of pregnancy and post-baby.

IMG_8782What I didn’t like, was my husbands response to my yearnings: Vacation will not fix your problems. …I thought for sure it would. I kicked every inkling of knowing he was right straight out the back door of my mind.

“I’m done”, is typically a statement that is followed by: “I need to get out!” I am going to share what God has done in my heart since that vacation; When I get to the point where I feel like there is a circus of wild monkeys in my brain and I need to get out…I actually need to get in.

Some of us work until we are completely stressed out of our minds. To the point where stress is a normal part of our life and we don’t know how we’d operate without it. A constant high of cortisol (stress-hormone) for an extended period of time, can actually result in a constant level of it and medication might be deemed necessary.

I had in my mind, that 3 days and 3 nights spent kid-free, at a small beach town in Rhode Island, was going to be my cure. Cure of all the pain and stress from raising little ones and working outside the home. It was indeed relaxing, peaceful, and added some salve to our relationship, I kept asking myself, how can I feel like I’m on vacation when I’m back to reality? 

The reason why we all love vacation is because there is little to no stress. We come down from our busy lives and remember to play, be flexible and read a book that is not for the sake of learning or downloading more information to our overloaded minds.

Coming back home from our sweet time away, I pulled for those vacation-vibes to stretch into our life back home. I was holding onto with all the strength I could, and then God showed me over the span of a couple months that that was exactly my problem. I was trying to use my own strength and will power to earn and to live in rest.

For years I thought that I needed a vacation. The thought that “getting out” could resolve my uncontrollable situation at home blinded me from what I really needed. My heart was being clouded out by stress. It was being pulled by a desire to be free, which I thought looked like vacation. When, what I really needed for that freedom, was Jesus.

How can I feel like I’m on vacation when I’m back to reality? 

Why do I want to be on vacation all the time? It’s because I don’t want to feel stress. The feeling of needing to “get out”, runs us into a wall that we end up coming back and running into again. When we feel like we need to get out, we need to use that as a reminder to “get in”. Get into the heart of the matter, get into the conflict of our soul with the redeemer of our soul.

“And they remembered that God was their rock, And the Most High God their Redeemer.” Psalm 78:35

It wasn’t easy, beginning the practice of stillness. But, if you pull anything away from this blog, I hope that it is to learn to be still. That is where true strength and resilience to emotional-stress is found. Finding resolve, losing weight, eating clean, restoring relationships, finding joy and peace…doesn’t start after vacation. It begins by a renewing of our mind, remembering God’s promises, release of control, and a faithful leap of trust in God.

“Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.” Romans 12:2

Our minds mold to what ever patterns we feed them. If the pattern is business and constantly going, or doing things, our minds will hold to that pattern and it will take serious discipline to find strength, joy and peace. Just like I strived for a vacation, so to fix my wounds and make me happier, I now strive for stillness every single day. This is a testimony of freedom, peace, joy and strength. I once was lost in the chaos of business. Now I’m completely found in my daily meeting with Jesus. The verse below is the key that God gives us to unlocking peace and strength to muster every day,

“In repentance and rest is your salvation, in quietness and trust is your strength…” Isaiah 40:29-31

What keeps me going is a daily vacation with the Lord y’all. It looks like finding time in your day to sit, think about what you are thinking about and invite Him in to be with you and your thoughts.

The rest of that verse above is powerful and hits me like a rock,

“…but you would have none of it.”

Say we have our minds set on having quiet time. The next thing you know, we are cleaning the kitchen, driving around doing errands, and catching up with old friends over Snap Chat. I am totally guilty of being a fiddler. It’s like my mind decides that there are more important things to take care of first. Our minds are renewed when stillness becomes a priority. 

In the middle of the months God was teaching me to prioritize stillness, my friend lovingly dropped a blessing-bomb. She told me that while she was refurbishing some old porch furniture, God spoke to her heart ever-so-clearly saying, Give these to Bri. Create a space for her to call sacred. Create a space for her to sit with me. My dear friend told me this and in days to follow, she brushed our old porch with a coat of fresh paint. She set-up two cushioned-chairs and planted blooming flowers all around. She pulled up weeds in-between the cracks of brick leading up to our porch. And with my eyes, clear-as-day I saw God confirming that daily stillness is an essential piece to living a fruitful, resilient, and stress-free life.

Friends, this is how I know God is doing a deep work not only in me, but in you too. God moved my dear friend to create a sacred space, in the middle of this pursuit of stillness. I can confidently share with you that you have a choice just like I did. You can work all your busy days to rest, or you can work out of that rest. The fruit comes when we prioritize stillness and mediating with God. From that obedience, we produce love, joy, patience, peace, self-control, kindness, goodness and gentleness.

Practice stillness

Stillness is hard, it’s uncomfortable and can be uneasy, especially when it comes to letting thoughts settle in that you’d rather much ignore. IMG_0817

Stillness is important because it’s when our trust muscles get the pump they need to beat out worry, shame, guilt, stress, fear, depression and all of the things that are a result of weak trust muscles.

While you sit, you’ll be tempted to busy your hands, to read scripture, to hold onto thoughts that crowd your mind. Acknowledge thoughts that come in your mind, but then also acknowledge that God is seeing those thoughts and is with you as you let them float by. I encourage you to sit still even when you feel like you’ve been sitting long enough and you have to get chores done, sit there 5 minutes longer and focus on being with God right there and then. Breathe in, God here I am, Breathe out, to be with you. Breathe in, God here I am, Breathe out, to start anew.

God is doing a great work. I know He’s moving me and you to do something deeper with ourselves. To go beyond ourselves and find strength in our chaotic, stressful, and mind-cluttered days. God’s deep work is manifested through us when our hearts have learned to simply be unswervingly with him in the practice of daily stillness. In our meditations with the Lord we become wonder-women; able to tackle whatever is in our day because we know the He has gone before us and is with us.

“You have searched me, Lord,
    and you know me.
 You know when I sit and when I rise;
    you perceive my thoughts from afar.
 You discern my going out and my lying down;
    you are familiar with all my ways.
Before a word is on my tongue
    you, Lord, know it completely.
 You hem me in behind and before,
    and you lay your hand upon me.” Psalm 139:1-5