It Girl Health

Takin' it back old school….

Lesson #1

In all of this I’ve learned.

I’ve learned that I have a lot to learn.

Because of that, I’ve been texting my pastor the lessons, as I learn them.

The first one is this:

I need to be a more attentive and caring friend. 

Here are two examples:


I have a friend who has stuck with me, even when I haven’t stuck with her.

She will literally drop anything she is doing and come to my aid.

I have been a shitty friend to her- I have not come to her aid many times.

I recently was sitting in the parking lot of Lowes (it was early on in Mike’s diagnosis and I was still shell shocked), Colton needed to be fed and I needed to just sit.

She met me at Lowes to bring me something I needed that at the time seemed really important, but I can’t even remember now…

I had been feeling pretty convicted by the Holy Spirit to apologize to her for my unfriendly friend status, so I looked at her and said: you are my most loyal friend. I am so sorry for not being there for you. Thank you for ALWAYS being there for me.

You know what she said to me???

Jo- we all have shit we need to work on, don’t worry about it for a minute. I love you.

Her name is Mary Ellen Campbell Shah and I love her deeply. Like- Adriatic sea deep.


When we were told by the doctor that Mike had cancer and that we needed to go straight to Lexington Hospital- do not go home first go straight to the hospital- that is what we did.

You know what I didn’t have? Mascara.

You know what my one item I would take to a deserted island is? Mascara.

A friend of mine showed up the following morning with deodorant, face wash, flip flops and yep- mascara.

Kristie Guard saved me from feeling ugly- and that is a gift. Especially in a time when we had very little control over anything that was happening to us.

There are so many other examples:

Starbucks coffee every morning at the hospital brought to me by Holly Ailes.

Tara and Lee Butterfield literally giving us their condo to use in Charleston for as long as we need it while Mike is receiving treatment and have consistently stayed in touch with us while we are down here.

My dad materializing out of thin air literally 2.5 hours after I called him from the gastroenterologist’s office telling him that Mike had cancer and they were sending us to the hospital- and my step mom Christy whole-heartedly agreeing that my dad should come stay with us in Columbia and Charleston whenever I feel like I need him.

My sister bringing me Good Life Cafe food for lunch every day at the hospital.

Mike’s sister Shelby taking Mike’s CWP paperwork straight to SLED because that was very important to him to get done.

Kris Floyd and Scott Catoe- don’t even get me started about these two and their deep devotion to their friend Mike.

The Attaways from church who have literally supplied us with enough food to get through 2015.

Lori Mack and Melinda Ayer who text me and tell me to stop turtling and demand that I respond to their texts when they sense I am getting depressed.

Chelsea, Bryan Floyd and Linda Derrick who have every other weekend worked out a system to go get Cash from school in North Carolina so Mike can see his little boy.

Dick and Bethany Hiller who have without question taken Mary-Jordan, Eliza and West and cared for them full-time without complaint or hesitation.

Lindsey Maxwell who takes care of Colton

Cody Fulmer who loves us very much and takes care of our animals while we are in Charleston.

Shannon Hart who consistently and constantly encourages us.

Shane Miller who sends me workouts to do in Charleston.

All the people who have given to the Go Fund Me site my sister and Tara set up…. Praise God and wow.

Timmy and Monica French who have been our in the flesh, text and phone prayer warrior mega super star wonderkins.

The Arcands who have been extremely gracious and understanding as we build their house from Charleston.

There are so many other people who have done so much for us so please don’t get your feelers hurt if I didn’t mention you.

The point of this post is: relationships.

How are you doing with yours?

Without the people I mentioned above, and the people that I haven’t mentioned because the post would be 20 pages long, we would be LOST. Drifting in a sea of despair and desperation. That is not an exaggeration, and if you have ever been in a similar situation you know what I mean.

Here’s the moral of the story: if you ain’t right with the people who you love and love you- get right with them.

For all the selfish and unselfish reasons in the world, for the love of God and Jesus Christ, get right with them.


Be a Pilgrim Mama

Greetings baby mamas and soon-to-be baby mamas!

It suddenly dawned on me that Colton (who is almost 4 months old) might benefit from some rice cereal😉

I went to the grocery store and was not impressed by any of the offerings there.

I proceeded on to Earth Fare and still just didn’t see anything that I was excited about.

Soooooooo, on to Google to find a recipe for homemade baby rice cereal.

***Ok- I know I am sitting here in Charleston with not a whole lot to do and a lot of time on my hands, BUT: even if I were at home doing my usual thing, even if I had a full time job away from the home, even if I was still a single mom with a full time job-  I WOULD STILL HAVE TIME TO DO THIS, IT IS THAT SIMPLE!!!!

Here is the simple recipe and a few pictures of the process:


rice 2

This Is Us


Have you ever had one of those dreams where you’re careening down the road in a car and wrecking is eminent, but you can’t move your limbs fast enough to stop what is happening?

That’s what cancer is.

We sit in the real world: at a restaurant, in church, the pharmacy, wherever- and listen to people making plans for the day, summer vacation, etc.

Or they will even ask us what we are doing next week: are we coming home for the weekend, going to the kid’s soccer game… and we literally cannot answer the question.

Because who knows what the future holds.

Will he feel ok?

Will his white blood cell count be down so much that he can’t be in public around the general population?

Will he be perfectly fine?

Which begs an entirely different question: Is this even real- have they made a mistake and he IS actually perfectly fine?

Our eyes are bloodshot, we’re dehydrated, lacking sleep- kind of like being in Vegas for too long.

And honestly, everything seems kind of pointless. Exercising, taking the time to look good, wear cute clothes, plan for the future- I mean, in the moment it is kind of like- what’s the point?

But, God.

The Holy Spirit somehow, someway, supplies a little shot of hope and we’re able to put one foot in front of another and move forward, we wake up a little.

We are God’s people and we have been infused with the ultimate, unstoppable, tenacious and ferocious will to live. It’s crazy really- against all odds, against our own desire to give up…

We persevere. Thank God.


I’m going to start writing again.

And if I don’t in the next couple of days, please harass me and hold me accountable.

Prepare yourself with this one:

Organic Is Best (notwhatyouthinkjustkeepreading)


Many years ago I went through an extremely trying time in my life.

A time that made me want revenge, to manipulate and pretty much maim and destroy.

I decided it was time to go see a counselor😉

She kept telling me: Joanna, just let it all happen organically. Don’t force anything. Just let it all shake out the way it is going to.

I took all of this advice on a very superficial level, BUT I did let everything happen organically.

All turned out fine, I stayed out of jail and ultimately ended up in a better place.

What I just realized today though, is that she (a Christian) was telling me (an non-Christian) to trust God, get out of his way and stop trying to fix and control things the way I believed they needed fixing and controlling.

She just used the word “organically” instead of “Godly”.

And I just realized this today.

So, if you find yourself in one of the aforementioned situations, don’t do anything stupid.

Let things happen organically or Godly, whichever word makes you feel more comfortable.

Trust me on this.

And in the meantime, as you sit back patiently and let God work in your life, make this DELICIOUS Baked Potato Soup That’ll Make You Slap Yo Mama!  (especially good for cold nights)

Get Off That A$$, Hot Stuff!


The winter always makes me feel heavier, slower, bigger and just generally not attractive in my clothes.

There’s a reason this happens though and it can’t all be blamed on winter.

For some reason, I’m sure it’s a myriad of reasons, in the winter months I abandon many of the healthful behaviors I have during the warmer months.

There’s a way to combat this.


So I did. And you know what?

After just 1 day of weight training and 1 day of cardio, I already feel better about myself.

And that makes me want to keep doing what I’m doing, to make me feel this way. It also makes me want to feed myself in a healthful way.

And I don’t care what the damn scale says. In fact, I don’t own one, don’t plan on owning one, and won’t be seeking one out to weigh myself on. Because it doesn’t matter.

What matters is how I FEEL!

My perception is my reality.

And so is yours.

I’ve Been Slack, But I’m Back ;)

This describes me to a T! How about you?


And you know what? I think it’s ok, if it does.

I’ve learned that it’s ok to ebb and flow, to stray from the norm, to ditch things that you couldn’t live without 6 months ago (except God, your husband, wife or kids… you shouldn’t ditch them).So long as you don’t stray so far that you are compromising your health, your morals or your life…

And so, I find myself back in need-for-routine mode. So that’s what I’m going to do. I’m going to do routine. Until I don’t want to do routine anymore.

Then I’ll shake things up again🙂

But for now- minor earthquakes will suffice.

Welcome 2014- I’ve Been Expecting You…


It’s a NEW year! A BLANK slate! Have you decided that you need to “eat better and exercise more” in 2014? That’s fantastic! Or maybe you don’t really WANT to do either of those things but your pants feel REALLY tight and you have been feeling sluggish and yucky? We feel ya. But HOW do you “eat better and exercise more”? How do you make this the year that you develop healthy habits that will actually STICK?

We can help! Joanna Lewis Derrick with It Girl Health and Kara Heizer Madsen with Sōzō Fitness want to help you get healthy habits started and ingrained in your daily life with this specially priced health coaching/personal training package:

2 private health coaching sessions with Joanna: to get you familiar with what healthy whole foods look like, and provide you with a plan to start eating them. Smoothie Making 101 and a grocery store tour are also options! Food tasting and preparation are also included.

5 personal training sessions with Kara: to get you moving, introduce you (or reintroduce you) to strength training at YOUR level, and help you develop habits and a plan that you can carry out for the rest of the year.

All sessions are 45 minutes long.

PRICE: $275

FINE PRINT: New clients only, all sessions will take place at our studio at 6365 St. Andrews Road Columbia, all sessions will be paid for and SCHEDULED in advance. Appointments are only available during the hours of 8am- 4pm and there are only a FEW spots available.

Package sessions must begin within two weeks of purchase and expire 30 days after the first session. If this is confusing, just ask us to explain 

Is this right for you? Are you willing to adjust your schedule, make some serious changes and be maybe just a little uncomfortable to end this program feeling better, stronger and more in control of your health in 2014? If so, give us a call, text, or message, we’d love to chat. Joanna (803) 200-3847, Kara (803) 924-5245.

It’s Halloween night, and YOU are the parent.


Halloween night, parent self-deception and outright lie:

It’s Halloween! All this candy is fine- it’s only Halloween once a year! They should be able to eat candy one night out of the year!

If your kid is anything like my kids, Halloween is every week.

No matter how hard you try to control it.

They go to school, other peoples houses, etc- they are unbelievably resourceful when it comes to the procurement of candy…
Am I saying you shouldn’t let them go trick-or-treating? Heck no.

What I’m suggesting is that you not ALLOW the free for all to occur once you get back to the house.

Flex your parenting muscles and let them select a couple pieces (knowing they’ve already housed a solid 20 pieces of candy while trick-or-treating) to eat that night and then PUT THE CRAP UP.

Or better yet- throw the crap away😉 I mean really, does anyone benefit from having 10 lbs of candy around?

If you answered yes to that question, you may want to give me a call.

I Have An Announcement To Make!!!! Cooking Class in November!!!!


Tilted Turkey Day Cooking Class!
Come learn new and HEALTHY ways to make this Thanksgiving a little bit different!
Unique spins on traditional fare like Stuffing Stuffed Turkey Meatballs, Deconstructed Ambrosia Salad, Biscuits (Yes- learn how to make biscuits with 4 ingredients that will stun your family), and much more!
As always, the wine will flow and the fellowshipping and learning will leave you ready to tackle Thanksgiving
Here are the details:

701 Whaley
Tuesday, November 19th
$25 per person- seating is limited
Email: or call: 803.200.3847 for more information
Please reserve your spot now by clicking below:

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