Catch the other Women Who Flourish spotlights.
Since it’s my birthday month, what a better way to celebrate than introduce you to the woman that brought me into the world, my mom—Kimberly!
My mom is truly a remarkable woman, and those of you who may know her personally know she is hands down one of the kindest people ever, she truly cares and has a big heart to serve!
I thought it would be fun to share her perspective on conscious living as she is much more seasoned and wise than me. She shares how she has gracefully faced criticism and also learned to forgive others. Her health story since college has greatly shaped mine during my darkest moments being diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes—I know if I hadn’t been for the changes she made years prior to my birth, my current health situation would be much different. I know now we have both learned to be thankful for the difficult moments and seeing how they are apart of the plan!
Please welcome my sweet mom to Flourish!
Women Who Flourish: Kimberly Cheatum
You made the decision in college to totally transform your diet and health and you were faced with some tough criticism (40 years ago, even in Southern California, healthy living wasn’t as trendy as it is now-a-days). Why and how did you make the decision to own your choice to live healthy?
K: After my freshman year of college my face, chest and back broke out with various skin eruptions. My health conscious mom suggested that I speak to the owner of the “health food” store in my neighborhood. She was smart and articulate. I came under her tutelage and she put me on an elimination diet—free from sugars, flours, citrus and dairy. She had me taking Evening Primrose Oil and eating lots of green vegetables. She also suggested I splashed my face with apple cider vinegar to balance the pH.
I knew this was going to be DIFFICULT as I ate all my meals in a college cafeteria. There was no salad bar at that time and this elimination diet was pretty restrictive!
On December 31, 1975 I prayed that God would help me to be faithful to the plan set before me. I knew it would be an enormous undertaking…and it was! After six to eight months my skin was totally clear, I felt great and even lost some weight. I thought, “Why would I go back to my old way of eating?”
This began a lifestyle that has changed a bit over time these past 30+ years, but the core idea remained the same. The wonderful life benefits that resulted was how I learned to be “trained by discipline.” Hebrews 12:11 became one of my life verses. “All discipline for the moment seems not to be joyful, but sorrowful: yet those who have been trained by it, afterwards it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness.”
Growing up, you always fed our family very healthy food—I was the one in kindergarten with tuna sandwiches and carob cookies—and the pediatrician didn’t even have me on record (haha). What kept you going even when you were “going against the norm?”
K: I knew God had called me to a “different” and healthy lifestyle! I believe God is very holistic! He is interested in our physical beings, mind, emotions and spiritual lives. All four need to be nurtured! I did not care what others thought. I was called to please God, not people.
I know many people have criticized you for the healthy way you choose to live your life. How have you ignored that criticism and continued forward? How has criticism made you stronger in your beliefs?
K: I saw that the way I was living allowed me to feel great, thriving and be very productive! I was rarely ill and for the most part had terrific energy. I knew in my heart of hearts I had to continue on with the discipline that had started in my college days! I desired to be faithful to God by living back to Him what He had generously lived into me. It was more important that I obey God and not please people, even though their comments were hurtful.
My heart goes out towards those who do not know about healthy eating and living—and honestly many people just do not know the amazing benefits of such a lifestyle. I do not want their ignorance or criticism to allow a split in our relationship. I purposely do not to bring up the “healthy food or healthy living” topic with others—I only discuss it when asked and at that time I happily and passionately share! We frequently entertain and have done so for years, so, whenever people come to our home we just feed them delicious and healthy food, and they always have enjoyed it! People’s plates are always empty around our house! Many times the meal served will start a conversation about this way of living and that is such a beautiful transition.
A few years ago, you went through a horrible health situation with your skin—you felt like your body was on fire all day and night long. What kept you hopeful in those moments? How can you look back on that situation now with a different perspective? What have you learned from it?
K: Our skin is the largest organ in our body. My skin has always been my weak point and during this season, my body and skin was screaming out for help! I kept on praying and thanking God for my situation. Thankfulness changes everything! I knew at some point relief would come…it was just going to take a long time. I had dear people in my life who prepared food and fresh juice for me when my hands were so broken out and inflamed that I could not prepare food myself.
I now know that I was under an enormous amount of stress, and much of that stress was a delayed response to earlier stressful events and seasons. Now I have learned I must be careful to only do what I know is most important. I am learning to say NO to what is not important, so that I can say YES to the best yes for my life.
You have had many people in your life, close people, really hurt and even abandon you. How have you chosen to forgive those people? How has forgiveness and emotional freedom from the past played a role in your healthy journey?
K: I forgave people before they ever asked me to forgive them. I knew from experience the tremendous freedom that comes when you forgive another person. Unforgiveness is like carrying a large backpack of bricks around with you. It is too heavy a burden to carry through life. It is too costly not to forgive. Also, whatever burden you are carrying affects the people who are closest to you. I did not want my dear husband and precious girls to be affected by my unforgiveness. When we are free emotionally, our physical bodies reap great benefits!
As a wiser woman, what would be your advice to a younger woman in her 20s or 30s?
K: Love God, meditate on His word, show kindness to others, eat the best and healthiest food possible, exercise and simplify your life!
Our relationship has certainly evolved—what is your encouragement to either moms or daughters who have a strain in their relationship?
K: Do not give up on the relationship! Pray daily! Be patient! Keep on giving yourself kindly to the other person. Think of ways you can spend time together. Find out what is important to them and become a student of that subject.
You truly have the most kind-hearted, servant heart. Where does this heart of service come from?
K: When I truly realized how much the God of the universe was a “servant” to me and loved me unconditionally, I then had a desire to give my life to others! Serving others does bring me great joy!
How would you define healthy living?
Healthy living involves the rhythm and process by which we discipline ourselves—our well being is positively nurtured physically, emotionally, intellectually and spiritually!
What are some practices or routines you do each day that you believe are directly tied to your success?
Early mornings quietness in Bible reading, study and prayer. After that I take a Pilates class, fast walk or use my trampoline as a rebounder. I then have a hearty breakfast with protein. I practice thankfulness, kindness, cheerfulness and forgiveness.
What does it mean to you to flourish?
To live contentedly and be the person that God has created me to be!
If you were a taco, which flavors and toppings would you be and why?
A fresh grilled fish taco with creamy avocado and crisp red leaf lettuce—so satisfying and fresh.
What is one quality you look for in a friend?
What is one thing you say no to and why?
Negative and destructive conversation. It does not benefit anyone.
Favorite time of the day
The sunrise and the quietness of the morning.
Your word for 2019?