Monday Mantra

Monday Mantra: Open Doors

Happy Monday to you!

In the spirit of new beginnings (it is a Monday, after all), I want to encourage you to be bold today. I know, I know, easier said than done–hey, I’m a shy introvert, I get it! But God’s been opening my eyes here lately to what can happen when you don’t let fear stand in your way.

So here are five quick quotes I want you to come back to, today or any other day, when you’re starting to feel like you can’t achieve your dreams or that something is holding you back:

  1. 1 John 4:18 “But perfect love casts out fear.”
  2. “Be bold. Be brave. Be you.”
  3. “If your dreams don’t scare you, then they aren’t big enough.”
  4. “Life begins at the end of your comfort zone.”
  5. “No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.”

Learning to cook

On the subject of conquering fears, this may not be a big deal to you haha, but I’m finally getting past my fear of cooking! 🙂 If you’d like to know more about how God’s been conquering my overeating, let me know and I’ll do a post specifically for it!

You are beautiful and you are loved ❤︎

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College

Life Happens: College 101

Hey guys!

It feels like an eternity–and then some–since I got to truly sit down and bask in the feeling of blogging. Anyone else had those days (cough, weeks, cough), when you’ve been so busy and you finally get to come back to your blog?

Well, that’s definitely me right now. First off, I’d like to apologize to anyone who has commented and I’ve been–severely–overdue in responding. I know it’s no excuse, but that phrase in my header: “Life happens”? It’s been happenin’.

College students are probably familiar with the term “senioritis”, a passionate desire to get the heck out of dodge and leave all things high school behind.

Yeah… I never got that.

What I have now is some ironically twisted college-itis. I’m at a community college currently, and was accepted into the university where I’ll be transferring in the Fall this past October… so now I’m feeling a severe case of unmotivated lol. Don’t get me wrong, I’m still the overly-studious individual I’ve always been–I’m just so ready for this stage of the game to be over. (And who wants to go back after Spring Break and then consecutive snow days anyway, right??)

Rather than being the behind-the-scenes man we typically see Him as, God’s been peeking His head out from behind the curtain a whole lot for me lately: Career planning (I absolutely have not forgotten that post! I’m waiting for God’s leading on the timing, I thank you so so much for the patience!). Applying for housing. Surveying potential summer jobs. Preparing for my first trip to Radford (this Saturday, ahh!!!). Significant meal prep modifications (might be a post soon?). Juggling my schedule. Trying to truck through the final legs of this last semester.

It can seriously put your brain on autopilot.

If you’ve been through the “senioritis” phase (or are going through it right now), this may sound familiar. However, it’s pretty darn foreign to me and I’m not sure I like it haha. Half of my brain is going over all the reasons I need to stay focused and get back into the swing of things and the other half is somewhere in Guatemala, lounging in the sun (Maggie, this was for you xD).

So how do we get past this?

I’ll be honest, I’m not entirely sure–I obviously don’t have everything perfectly put together! I like being open with you guys though, and to me it makes a person far more real when they don’t just “grin and bear it”. So, while I offer up these tips, know that I’m in the exact same boat trying to follow these myself, friend:

  1. Take a break: Spring break coming up? Do not fill it up with extra homework you can get done–I know, this sounds like the opposite of helpful, but hear me out. Your poor brain can only handle so much late-night studying and caffeine comas before it melts. Productivity is good; overexertion is not. God instructs us in the Bible to care for ourselves–mind, body, and spirit. Caring for yourself may very well mean setting a curfew on homework, free time or no. And I’ve often found that I do even better after letting myself rest than if I’d tried white-knuckling it.
  2. Get organized: In a former post of mine, I talked about the benefits of using a planner or bullet journal or the like. When I’ve got three million things coming up, taking a few minutes to simply jot down what’s coming up when keeps me from getting overwhelmed. (Bonus: it helps prevent total brain shut-down because you’re not trying to remember Granny’s birthday cake recipe, if your brother’s soccer game hours conflict with you and your bff’s dinner plans, and who replaced Pierre-Charles L’enfant during the urbanization of America.)
  3. Me Time: While it sounds similar, I want to emphasize that this is not the same thing as taking a break. Whereas a break could be an allotted amount of time or a vacation or even just ten minutes between study sessions, “me time” is different. Think of it like a business meeting with yourself, if you will: you wouldn’t cancel on your boss, would you? This time has to have the same priority level–write it in bold in your planner if you need to. My typical “me time”, for example, can be my Bible and yoga time first thing in the morning or maybe working on my book manuscript (if writing stresses you out though, opt out on this one). Half hour, hour, or a whole day–whatever you need and whatever is rejuvenating to you. Oh, and no rushing it!

As a side note, I want to say that, though my schedule has been loaded and I am looking forward to the things to come, God has been beautifully reminding me to stop and smell the roses. These past two years, but these past two months especially, He has been cultivating my mindsets, my heart for Him, and my body in ways I’m only beginning to understand–and I couldn’t be more at peace. No, everything in my life’s not perfect. No, I don’t have it all together or know what’s ahead. But I know that, whatever tomorrow brings, God’s already there.

To all my brave college and school friends, I salute you! I know that you can make it through–even if it seems to take forever haha! I hope that these tips will help you, whether you’re in school or not, to approach the reality of life with the joy of a child and courage of a giant. God bless you, you are beautiful and you are loved ❤︎

Body Image · Monday Mantra

Monday Mantra: On a Mission

Oh, how I have missed this community!! As anybody who’s been in college or is currently in it, you know the kind of schedule it comes with–and sadly, blogging has been on the lower end of the scale lately (I’m sorry!). But, whether once a week or more often (when I’m not loaded down with pigs and homework lol), God has a beautiful way of using this blog as a ministry, whereas on my own, in person, I would not be able to reach half as many people.

Which leads me to an important point about missions:

The who of missions is you. The when of missions is now.

Until VERY recently, the whole missionary thing was just a foreign concept, for those “really brave” Christians. Thanks to two beautiful friendships (Dreaming of Guatemala and Through Ink & Image, please go check them out, I wouldn’t be where I am in my faith journey without them ❤︎ ), my horizons have been broadened.

My doors have been opened.

My heart has been changed.

You see, whenever I used to think of missions, I honestly got kind of jealous of the people who go on them–I mean, it takes guts to go all the way across the world to a place you’ve never been and to a language you probable can’t speak! Coming from a police officer family, I’ve had more than my share of “The world is an awful place and these are the million reasons why: ” spiel. While I can’t argue with most of it, that’s not the point. The point is that I’ve been letting fear keep me from considering grander plans than I’ve ever dreamed I’d pursue.

God’s bigger than all that though.

I’m not quite ready to get into the whole change God has put on my heart, because there is just so much I’m praying over and researching in these beginning stages, but I can say that missions are in my vocabulary now. More importantly, I’ve realized that “missions” aren’t just some global outreach program: you can be a mission servant of Christ in your very own home. The reason I think we don’t realize this is because going and serving in Africa or some far-off place sounds so grand, when staying at home is less than an adventure. I’ve had to come to terms with the fact that, if I can’t wholeheartedly serve God in the place he chose with the people he chose, what right do I have to go off to a foreign country and profess his love?

When you let go of fear, God can show you things you’ve never even believed possible. I know that’s a bit cliche and rather vague, but 1. it is so, so true and 2. I don’t know what you’re going through right now. I just don’t. I can’t tell you what fears to let go of or where you’re headed, because I don’t know what’s going on in your life.

But I do want to let you know that God is already there. Whatever tomorrow, today, the next hour brings, God’s there and He already knows.

“… and she laughs without fear of the future.” Proverbs 31:25

 

I hope this encourages you today. Not quite as short as my other Monday Mantra’s, but this has been on my heart a whole lot lately. It was a long process for me to give Him control of my fears, so I understand if it takes baby steps–I’m still taking mine. In my opinion, it’s better when that thing you’re battling takes time–it gives you time to adjust and to learn. Seek His wisdom and I promise you that He will freely give it. You are beautiful and you are loved ❤︎

P.s. If you are someone interested in mission work, have been on a missions trip before, or are simply curious, go check out Maggie’s Missions Monday post series! I cannot put into words how God has used her to embolden me on my journey for him, so I will simply say thank you so much Maggie ❤︎  She has a beautiful heart for Christ that illuminates absolutely every area of her life, and I pray to shine that same light every single day.

Monday Mantra

Monday Mantra: Unknown but Unforgotten

Good morning my dears!

This morning I want to share a quote I jotted down in my journal however-long ago. (Anyone else ever go fishing in their journals when post ideas are scarce?) Unfortunately, the author of this quote is a mystery–insomuch as my research has found. Regardless of its obscure origins, however, it made quite an impact on me and I am hoping it brings a similar effect to you:

“If you have the power to make someone happy, do it. The world needs more of that.”

Some of you have probably heard this referenced somewhere before. If so, while I apologize for the redundancy, I have to ask–

Did you take this to heart?

What are the things you could do today that could change someone’s life for the better?

Short and sweet, as I try to keep these Monday motivations ❤︎  In life, God calls us to show selfless love to those we know, those who dislike us, and those who are strangers–equally and without favoritism. I certainly don’t have this down yet, but the beautiful thing is that, the more we show love, the happier we feel, even if it’s not reciprocated. (At times, especially because it’s not reciprocated. There’s nothing like giving to someone you know can’t pay you back, all because you want to help.)

Think of it as a win-win: when you make someone happy, you feel happier. Try it out. Remember that you are beautiful and you are loved ❤︎

Battling Depression · Body Image

You Go, Girl!

Good evening my readers 🙂

Now, as most of us know today is International Women’s Day, which means most all of my men followers probably are sick of reading such related posts and will be ignoring this one–understandably so lol.

But you wanna know something?

I’m sick of them too.

Not your regular feminist attitude, is it? While I have nothing against women’s rights (obviously, I rather enjoy my life as a young American woman), I have never considered myself to be a feminist. Thus, the endless articles and posts about women’s strength were honestly a little tiresome and overdone to me. (No offense to any of my beloved followers who posted on the subject!)

The theme behind modern strength is that women are their own superheroes and don’t need anyone else.

I get the idea, the sense of empowerment that comes from embracing womanhood. No, we as women do not any man to complete us.

That’s because we need the man.

Sure, we don’t have to swoon for every Prince Charming. But we also don’t need to slay our own dragons, we don’t need to do it all on our own, and we don’t need to shoot down every many in sight while we’re at it.

Yes, we as women are strong–only when our strength comes from the Lord. I recently came across five steps for being a woman of God, and I want to share them with you tonight, as steps for gaining biblical strength–an unfamiliar or even uncomfortable concept in our era.

The strongest woman you’ve ever met still has a breaking point. The God backing her up doesn’t.

A lot of our definitions of strength stem from outward appearance or climbing the ladder. Strength of faith and quiet self-confidence is far overlooked:

  1. Seek God first: Before the car, house, job, career, money, friends, family, or husband
  2. Speak faithfully: Let nothing pass between your lips that does not bring you or others closer to God
  3. Show true beauty: Any pop star can get on a stage in today’s hottest fashion; it’s the real woman that has none of that, but can still shine, that exemplifies beauty
  4. Stay humble: In a world that goes on and on about you, it takes real strength to step out of the spotlight and serve others
  5. Serve the Lord: When we aim to please God, things like being selfless towards our family or lending a hand to a stranger start to bubble out from us unconsciously

In case you’d like to check out the website where I found these 5 tips, here’s the link.

I by no means have these to the -t, or am anywhere close. But, if you put in the effort and prayer every day, you’ll see–like I have been–that each day brings you more wisdom and value to life than you could have possibly imagined.

So, the strength I’m talking about gaining with these five steps isn’t exactly what the majority of the world is thinking of today, I know.

I’d like to think that strength of character is of more value than any feministic strength our culture roots for anyway.

I hope you enjoyed my outlook on this subject dreamers! And I pray that these steps bring you closer to God, because there is no strength like knowing who’s there for you at your weakest. You are beautiful and you are loved ❤︎

Monday Mantra

Monday Mantra: All About You

Good Monday morning to you all! I hope, with a little extra coffee and maybe a snooze button or two… or ten (I get it, no judgement here lol), I can brighten the start of your week 🙂

Here are some words, just small sentences, that I thought of as I contemplated the lessons I’ve learned recently. More importantly, I began thinking of the future I’m cultivating through my every action today. I’m hoping these bring you some of my wisdom, meager though it may be, that you might soon learn the beauty of being you ❤︎

Embrace who you are meant to be.

Embrace who you are right now.

Embrace that thought that runs through your head, because you never know when that thought comes from a hidden dream.

Embrace your actions. Take responsibility, move forward, and keep believing.

Embrace one day at a time, even when one day feels like a lifetime.

Embrace your dysfunction. Nobody’s perfect, why do you expect you to be?

Embrace your family, flaws and all.

Embrace your friends–the few who stay are the few who will always remain.

Embrace love. Self-love. Playful love. Intimate love. Holy love. Then, give all the love back, twofold.

Embrace your doubts. Hold them, acknowledge them, reason with them, and then leave them at the next bus stop on your way to Courage.

Embrace life–the good, the bad, the ugly. Life will not be better with the next car, house, significant other, cigarette, bottle, or store discount.

You have to love the life you live before you can live the life you love.

Embrace God. He’s not going anywhere.

Embrace the freedom in forgiveness: forgiveness from God, forgiveness of self, and forgiveness of others.

Today, embrace you.

 

You are beautiful and you are loved ❤︎

Battling Depression

Voices in My Head: Buyer’s Remorse

Like my mom, you may have a shopping addiction. You may be past it or barreling through it. Or maybe you’re reveling in it with blissful ignorance until the final “What have I done?” hits you like a very real freight train.

You may have a shopping addiction. But we’re not here to talk about you.

We’re here to talk about who you hurt.

If you’ve been around for awhile, you’ll realize that shopping hasn’t really come up on my blog, unlike a lot of young women bloggers. Makeup, shoes, clothes, books, the whole shabang. That’s no coincidence.

Because what I haven’t told you guys is that my mom has put us 50 grand into credit card debt with her shopping addiction.

$50,000.

And counting.

I cannot tell you, have you fully comprehend, the severe damage this has wrought on our lives unless you’re living it too. Everything is broken: my parents’ unloving marriage, my mom’s depression, my education and tuition, my brother’s prospects of college, and my mental stability trying to keep it all together by my frail human hands. Now that I’ve opened this door, I may do a post about the negative impact parental money disputes have on kids. This is a tough subject for me though, I won’t lie.

Not 15 minutes ago, I was in my car (parked) crying because of it. You see, her shopping addiction doesn’t just spiral her further down a depressed road–because she can’t see what she’s doing, I’m trying to pick up all the loose corners and it’s tearing me apart.

book open

I honestly didn’t realize how scarred I was by this, not in the world of shopping at least.

This afternoon, after an English test (that’s two major assignments down for the week, I’ve got one paper left before Spring Break!) I decided to hit up Barnes and Noble. My EDU professor kindly brainstormed with me on how to tweak our lesson planning so that I could try a counseling lesson plan instead of teaching. (I know I know I know! I owe you guys a post, but I write–er, type–based on what God has put most pressing on my heart, so it’s coming–eventually haha!) Which meant I got to peruse B&N for some little kids mindfulness books 🙂

My first lesson plan is a Wreck-It-Ralph self-esteem lesson, and I was ridiculously excited planning it!! I won’t get to carry it out lol, but as a memento, I wanted to buy the Little Golden Book version of the movie! They didn’t have it… bummer. (If you know where I can find one, lemme know please!)

It was rainy and overcast today, you know, one of those perfect cuddle-with-a-good-book days, so of course I stayed in B&N a little longer than planned. (I’d rather spend hours in a book store than shopping for clothes, anyone else?) I meandered and wandered, until I came up with three books: a photography book for my brother, which I plan to give him for his birthday (he’s a butt, but I love him); a daily mindfulness book; and a “Let God fight your battles” Christian lifestyle book for me. They were all in the clearance bin, so they were $2, $7, and $5 respectively.

I wasn’t even out of the door before the voices hit.

“You don’t really need them.”

“$14.50? How can you spend that knowing you can barely afford gas as it is?”

“You’re not going to be working with little kids, why would you even buy that?”

I don’t get buyer’s remorse over important things, like tuition or vehicles or houses. I get buyer’s remorse over every single little thing.

That $50,000 my mom dug a hole with? All of it, every penny, was on useless trinkets that 90% of have been chucked already. I recently discussed her wastefulness with my dearest friend Maggie, and how it twists my insides every time. But I’m the child. I was raised with very strict parentage where you say “Yes ma’m. No ma’m.” and never dare to voice your thoughts. (Just for the record, I totally agree with instilling respectfulness in your children! But in my household, my brother and I cannot respectfully share our ideas–on anything, for fear of my father’s temper or my mother’s defensiveness.) So she continues to shop, and I continue to pick up the pieces.

Shopping addiction breeds buyer’s remorse. Just not where you’d think.

I didn’t make it outside before those voices picked back up again, and I barely made it home before the tears started pouring. When I’m shopping, I’m constantly in a mental haggle–like something out of a movie (picture a stereotypical accent, of course). Half of my brain is justifying the purchase and the other half is my shopping-accuser. I can’t tell whose voice is mine, my mother’s, my father’s, or even God’s.

And it scares me.

I’m so desparate not to be like my mom that I’ve begun fearing purchases, and I didn’t fully realize it until after buying those books. There was absolutely nothing wrong with getting those books, no selfish intent or obsessive motive, and yet I’ve been contemplating returning them since I got in line to purchase them. That’s not healthy. And I’m honestly not sure how to go about fixing this obviously, very broken part of me.

“But perfect love casts out fear.” 1 John 4:18

I’ve got a very big God who knows much, much better than I how to go about fixing all the broken parts of my life. I know that, and yet I still try bandaging it all up by myself. Sometimes it takes the things you can’t bandage to remind you that He’s been patching you up all along. I took a pretty big hit today to be reminded of that. I know I’ll need that reminder again and again.

But He’s okay with that. People like to think God is going to smite us for asking questions and making mistakes; on the contrary, I like to think He smiles when we ask Him, because if we didn’t ask we couldn’t grow.

If you do suffer from shopping addiction, I sincerely ask that you take the time today to evaluate what areas of your life are hurting because of the addiction. It is every bit as real and harmful as any other addiction and needs to be addressed, please. Thank you very much for reading, I know this one was kind of heavy today. You are beautiful and you are loved ❤︎