19/ 03/ 19
One thing I’ve realized in the past year of my life is that there are always three parts to every new season. The first part is the preparation for what is to come, the second part is the transitory period, and the third part is the harvesting season in which we witness the results of what we have sown in the first two stages of the season– whether that be good or bad. Each of these three parts hold much value, it is up to us to make the most of every life experience that we encounter.
Earlier on a beautiful spring Sunday, I went skydiving with my dad, a slightly delayed eighteenth birthday gift. We walked into the hangar eager to experience a thrill of a lifetime. To our right were several seasoned skydivers preparing their gear. They were making sure every part of the parachute was perfectly packed and ready to be used safely for their next jump. We walked into the registration room and signed our lives away (dramatic, I know), watched a brief safety video, and then met our instructors, mine was a funny guy named Miki. We put on jumpers, that smelled like at least 50 other sweaty men had worn might I add, and got into our harnesses. Our instructors explained to us everything that would take place from the moment they were done adjusting our get ups, to the ride up 14,000 feet high, to the plunge. The anticipation was high.
I can honestly say I wasn’t scared during the flight up, even though I was sitting directly next to the hatch that was left open the entire way up to our maximum height of 14,000 feet. I was on cloud nine, pun intended, looking over at all of the cane fields and orange trees, the brisk air hitting my face. After about fifteen minutes into our flight, Miki told me it was about time to take the leap. He made sure my hair was tied back and that I was securely fastened to him and to the parachute. He told me to scoot to the edge and squat by the exit. As I was standing at the edge, I looked down and it all hit me. I was about to free fall from 14,000 feet in the air with some guy who I have known for no longer than ten minutes. I had to entrust my entire life to him. He was giving me more instructions but at this point I was hearing nothing besides my own daunting thoughts. “What if he forgot to connect me to him?” and “What if he packed the parachute wrong and it malfunctions? I began to doubt my trust in the instructor, and even more so, my own capability to remember everything he had told me.
However, before I knew it, Miki was rocking us back and forth, three times to be exact. He rocked us forward once, “Ready?” and then backwards, “Set?” and then forwards again, “Lets goooo!” and then we were plummeting at 120 miles per hour towards the ground! Let me tell you when I say that it was the most exhilarating experience of my life, it was! There was just something about being up in the sky, literally in the clouds that made me feel like I had escaped earth and all my problems and responsibilities. The last thing I was thinking about was my safety and whether or not I would survive or not. I didn’t really care. I was overtaken with the beauty and the life that surrounded me. When Miki pulled the cord to release the chute, I was kind of sad. If it was up to me I would have stayed up in the air all day long. Yet, a few minutes later I was back on the ground wearing a smile that I couldn’t wipe off for the life of me.
You see, society has made it seem like we are not successful people until we have abundant finances, with a solid job and a perfect family. Another belief is we are not whole until stability has been achieved and we have measured up against world’s standards. When we have finally jumped out of the plane, our parachute is open and we are smooth flying. But, I think God finds more value in developing our character in the first two stages of every new season that I mentioned earlier, the preparation and the awkward in-between.
When I was witnessing all of the instructors packing their chutes back into their backpacks, I told my dad, “Man, you really have to trust that these guys know what they are doing.” Because I wanted to make my dream of skydiving come to fruition, I had to have faith that my instructor was going to carefully and knowledgeably make sure every cord was untangled and wrapped correctly and that he would make sure the parachute was folded perfectly so that it would correctly deploy and get us safely back on the ground.
When we were standing at the edge of the hatch seconds from jumping, I had to have auspicious confidence that Miki had properly attached me to his harness and I would be safe in his care on the way down. Because Miki had precisely prepared the chute and my harness correctly and because I trusted him in the face of uncertainty, standing at the edge of that plane, I was able to reap the rewards, a breathtaking and exhilarating experience.
When it comes to the risks we are given the opportunity to take in life, we often fail at getting through those first two stages, preparation and trust. because of self-doubt, insecurity, and complacency. We don’t prepare ourselves for success because we don’t have enough faith that success on a larger scale could ever happen for us. That kind of success only happens for the people we see on Instagram and on T.V. However, God has huge plans for each of our lives that is ours for the taking, all we have to do is delight ourselves in Him and He will give us the desires of our heart. However, we must prepare for what we pray for. We must change our stance from out of comfort to one of conviction. When we come to Jesus with our expectations our faith has to be in the fact that He will not only meet them but exceed them. 2 Corinthians 9:8 says, “And God is able to bless you abundantly, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work.”
Once we learn to prepare for what we pray for, we must make sure our hearts are rooted in truth and in faith. God wants to give us the desires of our heart but as many of us know, He does not give them to us overnight. The day we plant the seed, is not the day that is blooms. God has work to do in our hearts. He has invisible battles to win, that we may not even be aware that we are apart of. This is what I call the in-between, the waiting period. As Christians it can be hard to wait on God. Especially when it seems as though the world is against us even when we give it all the love, authenticity, and compassion as we possibly can. But I promise you, it is here where God works in us the most. It is here where the greatest and most worthwhile building of our faith and righteousness takes place. God shows this to us in Exodus 6:6-9.
“Therefore, say to the Israelites: “I am the Lord, and I will bring you out from under the yoke of the Egyptians. I will free you from being slaves to them, and I will redeem you with an outstretched arm and with mighty acts of judgement. I will take you as my own people, and I will be your God. Then you will know that I am the Lord your God, who brought you out from under the yoke of the Egyptians. And I will bring you to the land I swore with uplifted hand to give to Abraham, to Isaac and to Jacob. I will give it to you as a possession. I am the Lord. Moses reported this to the Israelites, but they did not listen to him because of their discouragement and harsh labor.”
God wanted to save the Israelite slaves from their suffering. He wanted to take them from a place of oppression to a place of triumph yet they were so worn down by the discouragement that had been planted in their hearts that they refused to accept God’s blessings. They were tired of where they were yet they did not prepare themselves well enough to receive freedom and joy. They depended on their own strength and not that of Christ’s during this transitory period and as a result, even when God set them free from their struggle and persecution they could not take those steps forward into the life of abundance that God had laid right before them.
It is so important, my friend, that when we are in this period, at the very edge of the plane, struggling to understand if the risk is worth it that we trust and wait. When we have trouble trusting God in situations we want control over, we are reminded that control over the unknown is not ours to have. We must place our doubts, worries, and insecurities into the hands of God, so that we with open arms, can receive all the blessings God wants to pour over us. Brace yourselves, people. God is about to show you things and take you places you never dreamed possible. Give Him your heart, give Him your trust, and He will give you everything you could ever need to achieve your greatest dreams.
12/ 01/ 19
Most days the thought of how I used to look makes me cringe. I like to block the “fat Abbey” stage of my life out completely. I get embarrassed of her. I think “how could you have ever let yourself get to that point?” I look back and see an out of control, emotionally unstable, and all around useless person. I see a girl who couldn’t go shopping without sobbing in the fitting room, who made an enemy out of every mirror because of its reflection when she walked by, who completely emotionally isolated herself from every single person who loved her in her life because she thought they would judge her solely on her looks. Because she was fat she didn’t deserve an opinion, or to be treated with respect, or to be loved.
But God. But God came to me the night of Christmas Eve 2016 when I was looking at a picture I had taken earlier that night with my friends at the Christmas Eve service. I looked at this picture loathing myself, hating how I was always the biggest one in all of my friend groups, hating my very existence. But God wrapped me tight in His grace and whispered in my ear, “I see your desire to change, and I will be with you every step of the way.” By the time I was 14 I had tried every single diet under the sun. I would lose 5 pounds only to gain back 10. I was leaning on my own understanding and not on that of God. That same night, I surrendered. I knew from experience that what I was doing was no longer going to cut it. Not until that point was any real change ever made. I had to change the perspective of my heart and mind before I would ever see any physical change. I had to stop hating myself and see me through God’s eyes. I had to stop thinking healthy food was the creation of Satan himself and see it as nutritious fuel that would only benefit me. I had to stop letting the thought that other people would surely judge me in the gym, thinking to themselves that this girl has no place here.
The thing that I believe most people get wrong about physical transformations whether that be losing weight and leaning out or gaining weight and bulking up is that the confidence will come throughout the journey. Later on, when you start to see progress. But it’s actually the exact opposite. Until you learn to love your body for what it is at exactly this moment you will always deal with insecurity and fear of judgement and rejection. God made you to his good and perfect standards and so what, you may have lacked in maintaining yourself to the best of your ability but that’s where His grace takes over. He sees that you’ve strayed, and He still loves you. Your purpose and worth do not change because you’ve gained weight. So knowing that, walk with the confidence of Christ within you into that gym right up next to the skinny girl on the elliptical and know that you, through and through, are just as beautiful and just as loved by our creator, as she is. Give it your all, and I promise promise promise that God will honor your hard work.
Then there are nights like tonight where I think back on the struggles I went through. The loneliness, the depression, the rock bottom self-esteem. No confidence whatsoever. And I am so proud of myself. I am proud of the countless hours spent at the gym I am proud that I tried and failed countless eating plans until I found the one that works for me. I’m able to look back at the girl I once and be so proud that I never gave up on her, that after deciding that some major changes needed to me made, I loved her for who she was in exactly that moment. That the confidence that I prayed for and received got me through the hard stages that most never get through. I am proud that through it all I persevered. I did it to prove to myself that I would not end up as another obesity statistic.
I’ve come a verrrryyy long way, and I’m almost to my goal but not quite there yet. I would love to claim that I have sky high confidence 24/7 and that I’m completely comfortable in my own skin but I’m not. There are moments where I scroll though Instagram and compare myself to another girl and wonder how it is humanly possible to be that pretty. At the end of the day it is more a journey of the heart than a journey of appearance. I think that my most favorite part about my journey in particular is that I learned to see myself through Jesus’ eyes. And because I learned to do that I can also see others through Jesus’ eyes. Whenever I go to the gym and see a girl fresh on her fitness journey I am able to look at her the way Jesus once looked at me, with love in my eyes and a prayer in my heart that she will know how truly beautiful, valuable and loved that she is because it’s the truth and I am praying the same prayer over anyone who is reading this and wanting to embark on a fitness journey of your own. Know that God loves you and that I love you. You are beautiful and worth more than rubies. God knitted you together in your mother’s womb to be born with a purpose far greater than you can even imagine. You are fearfully and wonderfully made. You were made for such a time as this.
03/ 01/ 19
Before you read this post, do me a favor and listen to Defender by Rita Springer.
Because it’s the new year, everyone is coming up with their resolutions. We use the new year as the starting point of envisioned growth. Figuring out ways in which we can improve ourselves whether that be financially, physically, spiritually etc. We start off with good intentions and high motivation but most often what people lack when it comes to achieving their goals is discipline. Hebrews 12 perfectly outlines discipline and how it should shape our lives. Often when we think of discipline we think of it as punishment or a negative consequence but with God it’s the exact opposite. Through holy discipline, God reveals His overwhelming love for us. We can make a resolution to be healthier but in two weeks our motivation is going to dwindle and our will-power tested. We can strive to spend more time in God’s word but morning will come and the temptation to ignore your alarm and go back to sleep will sneak in. Only through holy discipline will we ever accomplish anything worth accomplishing.
Another thing that makes it easy for us to fall short of reaching our aspirations is a lack of trust in Jesus and confidence in what he is capable of. Understanding that in some situations the simple fact of the matter is that we can’t and will never be able to but that Christ can and not only can He but WILL He; and He will do whatever that we want far greater than we could have ever dreamed. 1 Samuel 17 tells the story of David and Goliath. God placed in David’s heart a mission that would save His people. A mission that was seemingly impossible to the human eye. Yet David had faith that He would conquer this Giant through Christ who strengthened him. He gave God everything that he had, three stones and a sling, and trusted that God would come in His good and perfect timing to fill in the blanks and do the rest. I challenge you when making your new year’s resolutions to dream big. Greater than you ever thought possible of yourself and let God fill in the blanks and do the rest.
I discovered this song this year and it has absolutely wrecked my life. At first it was just another song in my worship playlist until one day I truly heard the words.
Hallelujah you have saved me
So much better your way
Hallelujah, great Defender
So much better Your way.”
As humans we have this tendency to make plans and not want to stray away from them. If I learned anything this past year, it is that every single plan I make without the surrender of them to God, will surely fail. Every plan I did make that has been placed into His hands may have been tweaked, altered or radically flipped but they lead me to a place far better than I could have imagined. This song reminds me that once we let known all of our desires to God all we have to do is praise. All we have to do is worship. All we have to do is bow down. All we have to do is stay still. God will go before us and fight our every battle. He come back with the head of our enemy. The victory is ours when we learn to fully surrender.
I am praying over 2019 for all of you. That it is a year of success, opportunities, and that we all grow closer to God. I pray that we find the courage we need to expand the kingdom. I pray that we stay diligently disciplined, trustworthy, and that we pursue Him with reckless abandon. Once we do these things, everything else will fall into place. Just remember that He is never early and He is never late. Only ever on time. The best is yet to come.
14/ 07/ 18
As Christians we all go through dry seasons with God. I don’t believe that we should view these seasons as weird or abnormal, or as though we are an inferior Christian.
There are times where I am so on fire for God. I wake up every morning, blast Elevation worship and am super pumped to read my Bible. Quite honestly, there are also times where the thought of sitting at the kitchen table for an hour exhausts me and I roll over and go back to sleep. God doesn’t love me any less. He promises that he will pursue me wherever I am.
A quote on another blog post that really stuck to me is this, “One of the wonders of God’s love for us is that it survives our spiritual dry times.” God is an all-in kinda guy. He won’t treasure us more just because we read or Bible that day, and He won’t treasure us less when we don’t.
However, when we go through these periods, we shouldn’t use them as an excuse to become complacent or to lessen our desire for God. When David was isolated in the wilderness of Judah, he cried out to God, “O God, you are my God; earnestly I seek you; my soul thirsts for you; my flesh faints for you, as in a dry and weary land where there is no water.” If we have no desire for God, we have no hope that God will alter our situation. In dry seasons, call out to God. He hears you, and he surely sees you. He won’t allow you to stay stuck. As much as we desire to be close to Him again, He wants to see us flourish in Him more.
1 Thessalonians:16-18 “Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances.”
God will ALWAYS find a path we can take to get back to His goodness. Jeremiah 29:13 states, “You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart.” Zachariah 1:3 says, “Therefore say to them, Thus declares the Lord of hosts: Return to me, says the Lord of hosts, and I will return to you, says the Lord of Hosts.” When we are in the midst of a dry season we have to ask God to re-light a fire inside of our hearts. Then, it is our responsibility to pursue Him by reading our Bibles, worshipping Him, and meditating on His goodness.
Matthew 5:6 “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.”
Psalms 1:1-2 says, “Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the wicked, nor stands in the way of sinners, nor sits in the seat of scoffers; but his delight is the in the law of the Lord, and on his law he meditates day and night.” Everyone goes through dry seasons in their walk with Christ. We just can not allow these seasons to make us dull. When we become dull we become less durable to the ways of the world and a wedge between us and heaven is formed.
Please remember that even the most holy of people face times in their life where they are unmotivated and fail to feel God’s presence. That doesn’t mean that He is not still there, guiding your each and every step. God may be testing your dependence on Him, and I know you will not let him down. Just continue to pursue Him, to adore Him, and to trust Him.
Isaiah 40:31 “But they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint.”
11/ 03/ 18
If you know me at all, you may know that I am a clean freak. My friends and family might say that I am a 70 year old trapped in a 17 year old body. I am a person who is very visually stimulated so when my environment is a mess I get pretty frustrated. In order to be able to focus on my homework at night I have to deep clean my work area first in order to be able to focus at all. If I don’t feel like tidying up I have to either go to my grandma’s house or a coffee shop so that I can be productive and think clearly.
That being said, this morning I woke up and walked into the kitchen and for some VERY weird reason I felt joy and gratitude when I saw the mess that was in front of me. On our island my sewing machine, tons of fabric, cutting pads, rulers, scissors, and pins were splayed everywhere. The table was covered in patterns and half finished quilts. In the living room there was also material laid out in an intricate order because is was about to be sewn into a beautiful blanket.
I was so full of joy because the previous night was a night full of laughter, frustration, and deep talks while my mom, aunt, and grandma were all trying to figure out what project they were going to make next. I felt so blessed and grateful that I have such strong-willed, funny, creative, encouraging, and down to earth women in my life– the list could go on and on.
I think that Jesus sent me this reminder today to help me realize that every once in a while a mess is okay. You just have to find the beauty in it and remember that soon enough it will get cleaned up. If we’re always to consumed in trying to figure out when we can get the mess clean and gone, we won’t be able to enjoy where we are and who we are surrounded with right in this moment.
Every once in while we should even get REALLY crazy and contribute to the mess. We shouldn’t be afraid to make crazy recipes, attempt a DIY project (key word: attempt), or be dabilitated with laughter when it gets so late that you get delirious. Good family and friends are one of God’s biggest blessing to us.
Sometimes the mess and life can be overwhelming. But like that quilt on my living room floor, God has intricately laid out the most amazing people, opportunities, and blessings that he is going to sew up into an exquisite masterpiece that is His plan for your life.
There is always tomorrow. Tomorrow you can clean it up. But for now get messy.
13/ 01/ 18
Omg omg omg I’ve been wanting to do this post for FOREVER. Seriously. Ever since I came across this brand on Jen Atkin’s snap story I’ve been super interested in the entire company. I was originally planning to do a review the week I got it but since I have super sensitive skin that is literally like planning the lotto to find good products for, I decided I should try it out for a good amount of time so I could do a legitimate review… I’ve been using these products for a little over a month now so I’ll give a short description of what each product is and my genuine thoughts on it. Before I get into the actual post though I have to tell you guys, for the quality of each product, this stuff is SUPER affordable. I got the Phase I set and then a lip gloss and I already want to get the Phase II set which is Glossier’s “essential” make up set. Some of their products such as the Super Serums are kind of pricey but I totally want to try them eventually.
Milky Jelly Cleanser:
Let me tell you, this stuff is HEAVENLY. For so so so long I used coconut oil to take off my makeup and for the first step of my double cleanse and I swore I would never ever change that step in my routine because it just really worked for me. But I literally use coconut oil for EVERYTHING. From moisturizing my body to hair masks to cooking, coconut oil never gets a break from me. I especially loved it for my face because it melted my eye makeup off so easily. However, it was a pain to rinse it all off, it took like 2 minutes of straight rinsing to get every last bit off. With the Milky Jelly Cleanser, I think I finally found a solid replacement. It takes off all of my makeup so quickly and easily and it smells so good. Plus I feel like I’m getting a little bit deeper of a cleanse. It is extremely gentle so if you have sensitive skin like I do this is perfect. Although sometimes at night I do feel like I need something stronger for my acne so I use the Milky Jelly most often in the morning or after a workout.
I have super dry skin plus acne problems so I’ve always struggled to find a moisturizer that would help both of these problems. My dermatologist always prescribed moisturizers that claimed to be super hydrating but were also lightweight and wouldn’t aggravate my skin but no matter how many layers of it I applied my skin always felt super tight. This moisturizer is perfect because it’s buildable. So at night, I like to put a little more than usual under my Clinique Moisture Surge for a sort of DIY overnight mask. In the morning I put just one layer on and my skin feels just right. Not too greasy but not tight either. Also, since it is a priming moisturizer it eliminates the need for a separate primer when putting on your makeup. 😉
Balm Dot Com:
Balm Dot Com is a universal skin salve that claims it can hydrate the driest skin. Let me tell you, they’re not lying. Glossier really knows what they’re doing when it comes to scent and moisturization. I’ve been using Rosebud Salve practically since I left the womb so while I think I’ll have to stay loyal to the balm that the women in my family have been using for generations, I will definitely keep Balm Dot Com on hand at ALL times.
This lipgloss is so simple and plain yet can change any look so easily. If you just want to enhance your natural features you can just put it on your lips directly but it is also so good for making a matte color glossy. I also heard that you can use it for a glossy lid look but I am so not brave enough to try that. I’m no beauty guru so I’ll just insert a selfie so you can see what it looks like on. When I edited it on VSCO (no shame) some of the gloss went away but trust me when I say that no other lip gloss can compare to the shine that this one has.
If you made it through this entire post I just want to say thank you so so so much for reading it! I love doing posts like this and want to do more! If you want to try out Glossier you can use this link to get 10% off of your first purchase 😊
As always, stay Fit Fab and Faithful,
01/ 01/ 18
2017 was a year full of ups and downs, none of which I would trade for anything. I’ve reached many goals that I set going into 2017 but also failed to reach some goals I set. It was a year full of waiting to discover some of the plans God had for my life but I never really came to any realizations. However, I am so thankful for the hope and peace that comes with trusting that Jesus knows what he’s doing even when I don’t have the slightest clue of what’s ahead. All in all 2017 was a year of blessings, health, family, and growing in my relationship with God and I am so grateful for all of these things.
I’ve never really been a New Years Resolution type of person but this year just feels different. I feel changes coming on stronger than ever and I am so flipping excited to see what’s in store for my life and to discover my purpose. I’ve decided to share with you some of my resolutions so that I can A) have them written down so I can come back to this post to remind myself of what my goals are for this year and so B) I can be held somewhat accountable. You guys may also get some ideas if you can’t think of any New Years Resolutions for yourself!
Hit Fitness Goals
As many of you know in March of this year I finally hit a big weight loss milestone by losing fifty pounds. While this may seem like a huge number to some people it wasn’t that incredibly difficult for me because when you’re at a point where you have quite a bit of weight to lose it sheds off pretty quickly. However, once your body has dropped so many pounds it can plateau which is what happened to me. I let it get the best of me and got discouraged and while I didn’t completely blow it I just wasn’t as motivated as I previously was and let myself eat more “bad” foods. I kept working out religiously (I love working out so much it’s the best therapy!!) and I’ve stayed the same weight for this entire year and I’m bey0nd ready to start taking my fitness seriously again. This time around though I don’t want to get caught up in the number that shows on the scale. I definitely think being aware of my weight is important so I’m going to try to weigh only once a month and see where it gets me!
Put Myself Out There More
This one is kind of deep and personal but I thought I’d share it anyway. As a kid I always was so aware of what people thought of me and was so self-conscience. I would tell myself that I could never talk to or fit in with certain groups of people because they would think I was too weird or too ugly. As I’ve grown up I’ve gained more and more confidence but at times I still find myself psyching myself out when people ask me to go to lunch or shopping, etc. and I’ll end up coming up with any excuse to stay home. This year though I really want to work on just being more confident and realizing that literally NO ONE CARES about what I look like or what I’m doing and just go branch out and make new friends.
Get Consistent with Blogging and Social Media
One of my life goals is to eventually be able to create a business out of my blog and social media accounts. However, considering the amount I’ve been posting on them, it’s not going to happen anytime soon if I don’t step my game up. I love blogging but starting college classes last semester seriously weighed me down and I had no time at all for anything. This semester, however, I took one less class and one online class plus I only have to go to school Monday-Thursday so I have much more time for posting more frequently. So if you guys have any ideas at all of what you would want to see devo/lifestyle/fashion/beauty/fitness wise, let me know by either commenting on this blog post or DM’ing me on Twitter or Instagram!
Start a Youtube Channel… Maybe 😬
Okay now, this is a far stretch for what I’m even remotely comfortable with but I feel like if I really can get consistent with blogging that this is something I would definitely consider doing. I think it would be cool to do vlog style videos so that I could kind of talk to you guys “face to face” instead of you just reading written posts all the time. What do you think?
This is also a difficult one. I’ve really wanted to do this for a long time for multiple reasons such as: to get healthier (clear my skin/weightloss), to help put an end to animal cruelty, and to reduce my footprint by ceasing to consume food products that aren’t ecologically sustainable. I’ve attempted to switch to a vegan diet multiple times but is just so hard. On a vegan diet it’s important to consume a hefty amount of beans, legumes, quinoa, etc. to maintain healthy protein levels but along with these foods come carbs. And while they are healthy carbs, overeating these foods can slow down weight loss which is what happened to me. I really just need to do my research and find balance because I’ve seen many people lose weight by going vegan.
Grow in my relationship with God and be more genuine.
This is something that I should want at any point in any year but the new year is always such a great reminder of what’s really important. The only way I will ever fulfill any of these resolutions is if I know who’s in control of them and if I’m true to myself with what I’m posting. It’s SO HARD to not get caught up in the world of FaceTune, and trust me at one point I definitely was, but it’s so important that I don’t alter myself in hopes of altering peoples’ view of who I am because they definitely wouldn’t be getting a true depiction.
Thank you so much for reading through this entire post. I definitely encourage you to make your own New Years resolutions and to get motivated to make 2018 the best year of your life! It’s truly up to you if you want to remain comfortable or if you want to push yourself out of your comfort zone and grow in any aspect of your life.
Stay Fit, Fab, and Faithful!
19/ 10/ 17
Loving deeply comes with heartbreak more painful than what the next person will ever experience. It comes with disappointment that feels like the hardest slap in the face. It comes with tears that never end when the person that you love so unconditionally hurts you. It comes with vulnerability and people judging you for being too sensitive. It comes with your heartbreaking from the most minuscule acts against you that normal eyes wouldn’t see an issue with. It gets to a point where you may begin to think that the problem lies within you, and maybe if you loved a little less, you wouldn’t get hurt.
Well, let me tell you, my friend, loving unconditionally is one of the greatest gifts you could ever receive. Being able to feel so much love that your heart explodes with joy is the most wonderful blessing in the world. In today’s world, people seem to lack love at all. God gave you this gift to make up for the love that is lost in the hearts filled with evil. You reflect the exact essence of what Christ’s heart truly is when you love without expectation. That should be a great honor in itself. But listen to me. Loving hard and holy does not mean in any way shape or form that you are weak. Never let anyone take advantage of your heart; sometimes this means loving, and praying for someone from a distance, and that’s okay. Sometimes people need a more potent and heavenly love and not an earthly love. The holy kind of love is what truly changes the hearts of the mislead and hate-filled people.
We can, however, be the tip of the iceberg that is Jesus’ true love. He is in covenant with us when He says that He is the only person that will never ever ever leave us nor forsake us. Always remember, Love conquers all. Genuine love is a God-given gift that few have received. Love can change the world. Keep lovin’ on others with no expectation because that is exactly what Jesus would do.
Stay fit, fab, and faithful!
25/ 09/ 17
Precious daughter of the King,
Did you know Someone wrote a book about us? An entire book detailing our story? Pretty amazing, right? I see you on the pages. I know you don’t feel like your part of the story is very significant. You don’t think it matters. But can I tell you something? Your part of the story is beautiful.
You’re learning a lot about who you are. I see you striving for their approval, thinking that if you could just have what she has, be as beautiful as that girl, or get his attention, you’ll reach the top. You feel like you’re never enough. The truth is, in Jesus you have all you need. In His eyes, you are beautiful. And you have His full attention every moment of every day. He’s chasing after your heart. And in Him, you are enough. That’s what I’ve learned as I’ve turned the pages of our story.
I know, I know. The heartbreak. It’s real. And it’s so, so hard. To be honest, 10 years later and sometimes it still creeps up on our pages. But between your part and my part of the story, we’ve been healed and made whole. And even though, right now, it seems like the end, like nothing else matters, like you’ll never move past it…you will. This is only one small snapshot of the big picture.
I’m a few chapters ahead of you now, and I can tell you that in between you and me, there are a lot of twists and turns. There’s ups and downs and upside downs. There’s more heartache, more unknown, more hurt, more disappointment. But the best part? (Don’t worry, I won’t give you any spoilers. You have to wait and see for yourself.) There’s more joy, more hope, more surprises, more answered prayers, more of God’s faithfulness on display.
If only I could get you to understand that as the pages turn and the story moves on, none of this silly stuff will matter. Not even that expensive phone that you have to have or the fact that your parents grounded you for a week—none of it. (P.S. They love you. I promise.) I wish I could convince you to take all that energy and effort you’ve spent searching for approval and invest it in your relationship with Jesus. That is what matters all the way to the end. It’s the thread that ties this whole book together. In every chapter, and on every page, He is there.
Sometimes He’s center stage—the main character—and sometimes we accidentally take over and leave Him out of the story. But he never leaves. He’s always there waiting for us to invite Him back to play the lead role again. Want to know a secret? The story is always best when He’s in the lead.
I don’t know how this story ends—here on Earth, at least—but I do know I’m thankful for our story. It’s a beautiful story of us learning to trust fully, to love selflessly, to live humbly, to lean on Jesus, to be willing to obey His call on our life. I haven’t figured it all out, but I’m learning that our progress is so much more important than perfection.
Know this: You are valued. You are treasured. You are cherished. You are loved. And even though everything seems to change as the pages turn and one chapter fades into the start of a new chapter, those truths never change.
20/ 09/ 17
Proverbs 17:17 (NIV) says, “A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for a time of adversity.”
Before I talk about this verse, I highly suggest that you read 1 Corinthians 13:4-8 to read the Bible’s definition of love. Even if you’ve read it a hundred times before, read it again. Let those words soak into your mind before continuing reading here.
“A friend loves at ALL times…” That sounds hard now, doesn’t it? Love is…. Always patient? Always kind? Never envious? I’m sure you and I both could count off the top of our head at least five times we’ve been envious of a friend in the past few weeks. I can guarantee that you and I have been short tempered or unkind to a friend in the past week. I won’t even mention how well we’ve managed to be patient with them either.
Now I’m going to be vulnerable here, I have said things— and even done things—to my friends that I highly regret. In those moments when I thought nothing of their feelings, I was quick to speak instead of quick to listen. The struggle between head and heart is something to deal with even in friendships; because your mind knows what the right thing to say or do is, but your heart may be clouded with pain and decide to do the opposite.
I went through about a year where my best friend and I were struggling in our relationship. Words were said behind backs and closed doors that should never been said or even felt. Words were spoken that were untrue and hurtful. We fought and we argued and we hurt. But, after months of trial and error, we healed. We’re stronger than we’ve ever been. However, that didn’t come easily. It wasn’t by the snap of our fingers that we were magically best friends again. We had to learn to trust each other again. We had to learn to depend on each other again. Now because of what we went through, I believe it made us stronger and we have a healthier friendship because of it. We learnt things about each other and about life that some may learn the easy way, but we experienced it the hard way.
Let me tell you one thing that could have very easily helped us avoid everything we went through: communication. If we had communicated with each other, talked about how we felt during certain conversations or situations, I strongly believe that we could have avoided many hurtful words. But in order to have good communication skills with somebody, you’d have to think of not only yourself but them as well. You have to be considerate and kind—oh sounds familiar doesn’t it? If you become envious of your friend, you have to talk it out instead of harboring those feelings. Instead of growing irritated with how your friend is acting, you have to be patient and communicate what’s wrong. Love is…. Keep filling in that blank.
“…and a brother is born for a time of adversity.” Brother, or sister, friend, neighbor: You insert the word that fits for your circumstance. A friend will stand by you in times of trouble, happiness, or sorrow. If you are a friend to someone, you won’t duck and cover at the first signs of cloudy weather. As Christians who have accepted Jesus and His love into our hearts, we are born for a time of adversity. Relationships don’t grow just with sunshine. Rain will come, storms will come, but will you stand firm beside each other? If my best friend and I didn’t stand firm in wanting to work our issues out, we wouldn’t be together today. We faced adversity and we came out on top because we trusted each other and leaned on God.
I’ve been alive long enough to know true, spiritual friends don’t come around very often. God places certain people in your life to challenge you, comfort you, cry with you, champion for you, and counsel you. Satan will place certain dangers in your life to do those very same things yet in a very harmful way. He will place tricksters in your life who show those same actions, but they will not stay when trials come. They will pretend to be your friend, yet they will abandon you when it benefits them. The facades they wear look an awful lot like sunshine and flowers, but those flowers will wither and the sun will fade to reveal pain and lies.
As Proverbs 16:28 says, “A dishonest man spreads strife, and a whisperer separates close friends.” Yes, you will make friends in life who lie to you, hurt you, betray you, and replace you. Even after reading this, knowing what to look for in a healthy friendship, you will still find these false friends in life. Before entering into a friendship with my current best friend, I was fooled time and time again by a so-called friend. Life may have been easier without this friend in my life, but I believe every person placed in my path is either a blessing or a lesson, sometimes even both. This friend unknowingly bettered me into a stronger person for my future friendships. I learned what not to do, what to do, and how to do it. Sadly, I still made some of the same mistakes and hurtful actions to my best friend that this friend had done to me; however, after personal and spiritual growth, I learned how to be a better friend. I noticed what I valued in a friend and I aimed to become that as well. I didn’t have to get over what my friend did to me, because I had to go through it instead.
Long story short, your spiritual, God-given friends in life won’t give up on you, so you must not give up on them either. Adversity shows the truth in your relationships and facades reveal lies in your friendships.
I pray that none of you have to deal with the external, internal, and spiritual struggle of losing a best friend, but if you do I urge you to turn to God. If I immediately turned to His word and read what He had for me, I would’ve been motivated far sooner to close the wounds and apologize to my best friend. A spiritual friendship is worth far more than your pride.
03/ 09/ 17
Praise Jesus that I get to sleep in now that I take college classes! 😍 Now instead of rushing out of the house by 6:30am I get to sleep in until 9am! I am so grateful for all eight hours of sleep I now get instead of the two that I got when I was going to high school!
I’ve always been a big believer in morning and night time routines in order to start and end my day off in a good mood. There just something about putting your makeup on a clean face in the morning that is so therapeutic! Below is my morning routine for days when classes start at 11am:
9:15am: Wake Up!
I believe that the most important thing you can take do in the morning to ensure a good day is to start it with Jesus. Most of the studies I do are from She Reads Truth. These are a little more in depth and take a while to do so in the morning, I stick with the plans from the YouVersion bible app. They’re short, sweet, and to the point. It really helps me to keep Jesus at the center of my focus for the day. And although I’d like to say I’m not addicted to social media, I totally am so that’s what I scroll through right after 😜
9:30am: The Usual
This is when I drag myself our of my warm, cozy bed. I brush my teeth, wash my face, etc..I won’t go into detail on this part of my morning because (hopefully) everyone includes these things in their morning routine. However, I will share with you the face wash that I use because it’s what has been really working for me lately. It’s the CeraVe foaming cleanser. I have super sensitive skin so I can’t use anything harsh. I was using Cetaphil for the longest time but recently it just wasn’t cutting it. I totally would recommend it!
9:35: Lazy Girl Makeup
Considering I have sensitive skin, I don’t wear a lot of makeup in the first place, but even if I didn’t have sensitive skin I probably still wouldn’t do makeup because I’m so bad at it and because it takes so much time! This is pretty much all I do: First I use CeraVe Facial Moisturizing lotion to moisturize, while that sinks in, I do my eyebrows using L’Oreal Brow Stylist Definer pencil. I used to be a huge believer in only high-end makeup because I though that anything else would break me out. However, I have slowly been weaning onto drugstore makeup and so far so good! Next I use The Benefit Matte Rescue primer all over my face. This is where it gets really lazy…😬 I then use the Maybelline Instant Age Rewind dark circle concealer ALL OVER my face. Yes, I just said that. I mainly cover any blemishes, put it around my nose, and under my eyes and then blend it with a beauty blender. I swirl on a bit of bronzer and blush, swipe on mascara and then I’m done! It only takes about 10-15 minutes total.
My hair routine is really simple as well. I separate my hair into two sections. I add some movement by curling 2″ chunks of hair with a 1″ curling wand and then brushing the curls out with my fingers. Then, I straighten the ends with a flat iron. I do that to the next section and then smooth any flyaways with a toothbrush and hairspray. Super easy!
10:00am: Get dressed
If I could give anyone my two biggest tips to getting out the door quickly they would be: 1. Lay out your outfit the night before, that way you’re not rushing to figure something out in the morning and 2. Wear lots of dresses if your dress code allows it. You’ll look like you’ll have your life together without having to put pants on 😍 lol! A quote that has always been stuck in the back of my brain whenever I get ready in the morning is, “Don’t dress for where you’re at in life, dress for where you want to be.” I don’t know who said it and I don’t know if those were the exact words but it makes so much sense! I always tend to be way more productive when I’m wearing something nice and my hair is brushed than when I’m in leggings and an oversized tee with my hair up in a pony… just saying! But at they end of the day, you do you girl! (I’m not saying I never wear leggings and t-shirts to school, I just try to stay away from it.)
10:05: The most important meal of the day… or is it?
Most days I eat a breakfast that consists of a water bottle (you should drink 1-2 per meal!) and either egg whites and turkey sausage or whole eggs with a slice of avocado. However, on some days the very thought of eating something in the morning makes me queasy so I’ll do intermittent fasting, which is when I don’t eat breakfast until 12pm and I stop eating at 7-8pm (intermittent fasting lowers the amount of insulin in your blood which kickstarts fat burning).
10:15: Hit the road!
AKA get my butt in my car and on the road so I won’t be late and so the professor won’t put a 50% in the grade book for attendance that day. Yes, that happened to me on my second day of comp. No I was not happy in the least about that, but I guess you gotta learn from your mistakes. 😅
I hope you guys liked this post! Writing it was a lot of fun! Praying for an amazing school year for everybody whether you’re in middle school, high school, or college! Regardless of all the cosmetic preparation, prepare your hearts and minds by praying for a good attitude and strong motivation and God will guide you through each and everyday!
Stay Fit, Fab, and Faithful!
22/ 05/ 17
Bible journaling is an amazing way to creatively express what you learn while reading your Bible. It is SO addicting! It is a fun supplement to add to any study, a great stress reliever, and you do not have to be an outrageously skilled artist to do it! Below I will show you some of my favorite materials, accessories, bibles, bible studies, and some examples of pages that I’ve created in hopes of inspiring you guys to spark your creative side and create a journaling Bible of your own!
First of all, I recommend getting a box, bag, basket, etc. to keep all of your materials in. I got this adorable box from Michael’s (as you’ll come to learn throughout this post, Michaels has an amazing variety of materials specifically for bible journaling).
Next, you’ll need a journaling Bible! While they aren’t exactly cheap, it will definitely be an investment worth making! Mine is from Christ Centered Book Store and is call the “ESV Bible, The Single Column Journaling Bible.” Recently, Nicole Bukle owner of @mamabooclay on Instagram, sent me this absolutely gorgeous bible cover. While this isn’t a complete necessity when it comes to journaling, personally, it makes it so exciting to open my Bible everyday. Opening this package when it came totally made my entire weekend! Every part of it was personalized from the tissue paper, to the beautifully written card. She even threw in adorable paperclip page markers and tabs! My whole experience with Nicole was extremely pleasant, from the time I discovered her Instagram account to wrapping the beautiful cover around my Bible. I will insert a picture of her business card if you guys are interested in getting your own lovely custom cover!
Of course, you’ll need coloring supplies! You can use any type of medium that best suits your style and abilities. My favorite is watercolor. However, I use all sorts of different materials such as colored pencils, crayons, markers, highlighters, and even washi tape… SO much washi tape!
(Brands from left to right: Staedtler 185 C24JB colored pencils, Crayola crayons, and Stampin’ Up watercolor pencils)
(Dollar Store neon gel pens, Papermate Ink Joy bible study no bleed underline 6 pen set, Papermate Profile retractable ballpoint pens, and the top pen is a Gelly Roll metallic gel ink pen)
(Artist’s Loft Fundamentals watercolor pan set)
(Heidi Swapp washi tape pack, Gold and Planner washi tape box by Recollections)
(Sharpie highlighters, chisel tip, Dollar Store thin markers, Decocolor chisel point pen, white, and Artminds Dual Tip permanent markers)
(Crayola Twistables colored pencils)
(Dollar Store paper clips, great for making your own page markers)
(American Crafts bible journaling rub-on sheets, both the Rejoice and Believe sets)
One of the key parts of Bible journaling is making sure to really take the time to listen to what God is speaking to you through the study that you are committed to and to display that in whatever way you feel relevant. My favorite study so far has been the Psalms of Ascent plan by SheReadsTruth. It has really challenged me to mature in my relationship with Christ and to have a deeper understanding of God’s word. Before I journal, I read the day’s scripture in my Fire Bible. I love doing this because at the bottom of each page is has a translation of what each verse is saying and usually a real world example to connect it to; this helps me to understand some of the more difficult chapters. Next, I always complete the questions for whatever day of the study I’m on and then from there I choose a phrase or quote that really stuck out to me and that’s what I journal.
(FireBible: NIV, Student Edition, and the SheReadsTruth app, Psalms of Ascent plan)
So, as you can tell, I am by no means a professional “Bible journaler” but I hope that this post has given you some inspiration and provided you with information about the tools you will need to create a Bible journal of your own! Below, I will post a couple of the pages that I have journaled so far. (I’m a beginner, so don’t judge!!) Most of my inspiration comes from a Bible journaling book that I received as a gift and also from Instagram accounts such as @shannanoel, @illustratedfaith, and @mpjournalingibible.
(Complete Guide to Bible Journaling: Creative Techniques to Express Your Faith by: Joanne Fink and Regina Yoder)
I pray that if you take up Bible journaling, it will allow you to relax and just spend sweet, sweet time in Jesus’ presence!
Stay Fit, Fab, and Faithful!
18/ 05/ 17
Recently, I have been going through a rough patch both mentally and emotionally. Getting through these last couple of weeks at school has been completely draining. And it hasn’t even been because of finals or exams! More from the lack thereof. And In the last month, both my laptop AND phone decided to just stop working. You’re probably thinking, “Really Abbey, you’re stressed about NOT having finals and that you can’t check Instagram?!?! Things could be SO much worse!” And yes, they could be. However, as a teenager in 2017 I completely rely on these two chunks of metal to do pretty much everything from checking my emails, doing my schoolwork, and staying on track with my bible study. Also, I’ve been praying for God to use me to start some kind of organization locally so that I can help others and to share His love, but without my trusty Macbook or iPhone there is no way for me to research the need in my community or to get in contact with the people that I need to get into contact with that could help me! When I am doing nothing, I feel like I am not pursuing my purpose. I start to fear complacency. I let it linger in my mind and the longer this fear builds up in my mind, the more irritable and impatient I become towards others and towards myself. So on my way home from dinner, out of complete frustration I just began to pray. And what I love most about having this blog is that whenever I cry out to God in times of anguish, I feel Him telling me to write a post about what I am going through so that it might help someone else who is feeling the same things as I am. So if you are feeling underwhelmed and at the cost of such, completely overwhelmed, this post is for you!!
Whenever we are going through times when we feel unproductive, we have to be patient. As Christians, the hardest seasons that we will ever go through are seasons of waiting. Nobody, likes to wait. (Let’s be real for a second: has anybody ever been completely in a state of joy and patience waiting for their random Amazon find or huge Forever21 haul, to come in the mail… NO!!!) But by waiting, we are forced to completely rely on God, and by doing so, our sense of both trust and faith in Him will be made stronger. Proverbs 3:5-6 states that we should not lean on our own understanding but we should rely on Him and our paths will become straight. There is nothing in this world that we can get done effectively without the help of God. So we might as well, sit back and get comfortable while we wait for Jesus to help us along in this journey called life.
We also have to be persistent in our vacant time. Just because we feel like God isn’t using us in the moment doesn’t mean that we stop reading our Bible, worshipping, and praying. I shouldn’t be one to talk, I haven’t been to church on a Wednesday night for the past three weeks! I’ve been too caught up in feeling sorry for myself that I’ve refused to build up the energy to go. When in reality, that is where I should’ve been in order to seek the help and productivity I desired in growing closer to the Lord, instead of in my bed watching Keeping Up with the Kardashians (even if it was part two of the Costa Rica vacation episode). Pull out your Bible or Bible app and read Psalm 120:1-7. In this scripture, David writes about an Israelite who is completely miserable with where he’s at in life. He’s surrounded by evil people. However, he has his mind set on getting to Jerusalem, the Holy land, in hopes of living a life in which his relationship with Christ can flourish. We too must be like this Israelite. In that we must refuse to conform to the negative world around us and have the motivation to relentlessly pursue a relationship with God. We can not give up!. We must persevere.
Lastly, when we feel completely useless in where we’re at in life, we must allow ourselves to be blanketed in God’s never ending grace. Besides love, grace is my second favorite term that is used and displayed in the Bible. Just thinking about the Lord’s crazy admiration for each and every one of us never fails to put a smile on my face. Corinthians 12:9 says, “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.” Did you get that? His power is made PERFECT in our weakness! When we are sitting around feeling absolutely worthless, God is sitting in heaven making the next season of our lives worthwhile! The dictionary definition of ‘grace’ in Christian belief is, ‘The free and unmerited favor of God, as manifested in the salvation of sinners and the bestowal of blessing’. God favors us and is not going to let us live a life without purpose. By going through this period of “boredom” He is bestowing upon us rest for the endeavors that are coming ahead. He is showering us with unconditional grace, we need only to receive it!
I want whoever is reading this to know that I am praying for you. I am praying for a radical transformation in your situation and that you have the motivation and perseverance to get through this season.
Romans 12:12 “Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.”
Stay Fit, Fab and Faithful!
20/ 04/ 17
This post is dedicated to Jaya Rucker. Last Thursday, April 13th, 2017, she and her loving boyfriend Marvin passed away in a tragic car accident. Her sister Analijah is a good friend of mine. This afternoon I attended her celebration of life and her story left a great impact on my heart. The three major things that I walked out of the service with were to always forgive, to love unconditionally, and to live fearlessly. Tonight I felt God speaking into my heart that I needed to speak on both His and Jaya’s behalf. To speak of the importance of these traits and how it is essential to obtain them in order to be able to live life to the fullest.
Colossians 3:13 “Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.”
As a human, forgiveness is one of life’s greatest obstacles. Why on Earth should we let the people who speak harsh words to us, lie to us, and manipulate us off the hook? The answer to this complex question is ambiguous and hard to grasp onto. They don’t deserve forgiveness. Truthfully, no one deserves forgiveness, but as Christians it is our duty to show other Christ’s love. Because Jesus adored us so much, he made the choice to die on the cross in order to cleanse us of the sins that we all have done. We must also reflect his unconditional love to others by forgiving them without judgement; apology or no apology. Often times it is those who wrong us that are desperate for the most compassion. Not until we learn to forgive others will we be able to live life to the fullest.
We crave love and attention. In fact, it is necessary for people to survive here on Earth. However, as humans, we are also stupid. We do things we don’t intend to do, say things that we don’t mean, and think horrible thoughts. We are imperfect beings. That being said, God is so passionate about us. There is nothing on this Earth that we could do to stop His extraordinary infatuation with us. He hold us to absolutely no standards.
Psalm 86:15 “But you, Lord, are a compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness.”
This is also how we should treat our neighbor. Unconditionally and with no judgement at all. Our lives would be absolutely miserable if we just stopped fighting for someone because of a silly mistake. In order to fully embrace life, we have to embrace others. Flaws and all. Love others like God loves us.
John 13:34-35 “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”
We are all scared of something. Whether it is a fear of speaking in front of crowds, having a conversation over the phone, or genuinely expressing ourselves, there is at least one thing that it holding us back from reaching our fullest potential. Why? Why do we refuse to fulfill our purpose, because of lies that come straight from the devil? The same God that created the stars, moon, sun, mountains, and oceans, that turned water into wine and multiplied five loaves of bread and a pair of fish so much so that from the small portion, thousands of hungry people were fed lives inside of each and every one of us! If that doesn’t motivate you to unapologetically be the best you can be, I don’t know what will. We will NOT fail, for HE is within us!!!
Psalm 23:4 “Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.”
Psalm 27:1 “The Lord is the light and my salvation– whom shall I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my life– of whom shall I be afraid?”
I hope that through this post, you have been encouraged to live life to the fullest, it is so so so short.
Jaya, thank you for displaying these characteristics so fiercely. You are so loved and will never be forgotten. This is your legacy.
Stay fit, fab, and faithful!
20/ 03/ 17
Pumpkin pasta is by far one of my favorite recipes! It fulfills pasta cravings without overwhelming my diet with carbs. It took me a couple of tries to finally get it right, but with a little tweaking of multiple recipes that I’ve read online, I think I got it down pat!
Ingredients: (for about 3 servings)
This recipe is so so so yummy and perfect for a healthy, low-carb dinner! I hope that you guys try this recipe and fall as in love with it as I am!
Stay fit, fab, and faithful!
19/ 03/ 17
As an active participant in all things pop-culture, being grateful for the things that I have can really be a struggle for me. Especially when it comes to comparing myself to other people. A lot of times I find myself having to step back and realized just how blessed I really am and that I can’t bring even the most prized of my materialistic possessions with me to Heaven when my time here on Earth runs out, whether that be tomorrow or eighty years from now. Thank God (No pun intended 😉 ) that I have a relationship with Christ that allows me to gain a genuine perspective on my life and the things in it.
“For am I now seeking the approval of man, or of God? Or am I trying to please man? If I were still trying to please man, I would not be a servant of Christ.” Galations 1:10
One way in which Satan constantly tries to attack me is by tempting me to compare myself to other people. Whether it’s because they have a newer car than me, a better body than me, a bigger home than me, or a better sense of fashion than me; I fall for this allurement all the time! It’s so hard in a society that is ruled by social media to not fall into this evil trap. It can warp our minds to make us believe that we are less than what platforms such as Instagram, Twitter, and Snapchat tells us we must be. We need to be sure of our worth in the things that we are lucky enough to have. As Reinhold Niebuhr’s famous line goes, “God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.” There are many aspects of our lives that we simply cannot alter; things such as our family situation, the house that we reside in, or certain health situations. We need to be able to accept these things. Only then will we be able to move past them and recognize the most beautiful blessings in which God has put in our lives. However, this idea of constant contrast is a two-way street. When we see someone walking to school while we are comfortably in our car, our egos mustn’t grow because we assume that we are richer than them. When we see a woman with scraggly hair at the grocery store twenty minutes after we just left a high-end salon, we mustn’t believe that we are more beautiful than them, and when we pass rundown trailer parks on our way to our large abodes, we mustn’t believe that we are more polished than the people that live in them. Looking down on others can be just as detrimental to us as looking down on ourselves. Comparison makes a gap in our relationship with God that is just wide enough for the devil to creep into and make himself comfortable. It tarnishes any amount of self-assurance that is in us and makes us feel less than enough to pursue God’s plan for our lives.
“Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for by this some have entertained angels without knowing it.” Hebrews 13:2
“Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” Matthew 6:19-21
God has our a plan for our lives that is so great! We can only begin to pursue this plan when we realize that we are utterly and completely BLESSED. Jesus has already placed in our lives, exactly the things that he wants in it. What he has given us, he uses to prepare us for the next season of our lives. Whether these possessions teach us how to be grateful in a bad situation, or teach us to be humble in an extravagant situation, every single thing in our lives serves a purpose. Christ has us exactly where he wants us. He is aware of our dreams and desires and plans on enabling them to thrive! That being said, we must always step back, take a deep breath, and remind ourselves that we are worthy. We are able. We are more than enough. Our situations and our belongings do not define us. What defines us is our contribution to expanding the kingdom of God.
“The LORD will fulfill his purpose for me; your steadfast love, O LORD, endures forever. Do not forsake the work of your hands.” Psalm 138:8
Remember that in whatever circumstance you may be in, you are always #blessed.
Stay fit, fab, and faithful!
09/ 03/ 17
Lately many people have been asking what I normally eat in a day in order to lose weight. The weight loss diet plan that I’ve been following is Weight Watchers. It is both the easiest and healthiest way to lose weight, like ever!! You get to eat whatever you want, just in way smaller portions than you would be used to. (DISCLAIMER: you do NOT have to be on this diet plan in order get some ideas from my list of meal ideas!) However, before I get into what I eat on this plan, I HAVE to tell you about the key to weight loss and health in general…. WATER. I know you’ve heard it a million times but it is so important that you drink half of your body weight in ounces every single day! (For example, if you weigh 150lbs, you should be drinking at least 75oz in water daily) Failure to do this will dramatically slow down, if not, halt weight loss. According to WomensHealthMag.com, plentiful consumption of H2O fuels your workouts, increases your metabolism, holds off hunger kicks (aka delays any hangriness, LOL), boosts energy levels, and keeps us from drinking ‘poisonous’ drinks such as sodas, and sugary coffees.
Now, onto the good stuff! What I eat in a day!!
When it comes to breakfast, I prepare it the night before and make sure that it is something quick and convenient for a busy morning. The three things that I normally rotate for breakfast are as follows:
For lunch I again, try to make it as simple, yet filling, as possible. This is what an average lunch in a day in my life looks like:
Dinner is when I try to eat my serving of carbs for the day. I make sure to keep a balance of protein, vegetables and healthy carbs. My normal dinner looks often looks like this:
Oh my goodness am I a snacker! I will be the first to admit that I eat sometimes just because I’m bored! This is okay as long as you snack on the right things…. No candy or chips!! Things I often grab when I get the munchies are:
I hope this post gave you guys some ideas for breakfasts, lunches, and dinners! I know the variety isn’t huge but I’m probably the most boring eater of all time, hahaha! Thank you so much for reading, until the next post!
Stay Fit, Fab, and Faithful!
27/ 02/ 17
This is my current favorite ab workout! It’s simple, to the point, and great for beginners. I start and end all of my workouts with cardio to increase weightloss, so for that purpose I’ll include the cardio exercises that I’d do on a normal ab day:
Pre-cardio: 15 minutes on the elliptical machine (2min. 30sec. on level 1; 2min. 30sec. on level 3; 2min. 30sec. on level 5; 2min. 30sec. on level 7; 2min. 30sec. on level 10; and 2min. 30sec. on level 12 )
Abs: (repeat 3 times)
Post-cardio: 15 minutes on the stair climber (5min. on level 5; 5min. on level 6; 5min. on level 7)
18/ 02/ 17
I have found a new obsession! SUCCULENTS. They are so incredibly simplistic, convenient and eye-catching. Yesterday I explored many plant nurseries in Miami, Florida and Oh. My. Goodness. the possibilities were endless, and so cheap! I literally spent more money on the pots than the plants themselves. The prices of the succulents ranged from $1.99 to $5. The bigger pot was $15 and the smaller one was $6. I definitely recommend purchasing any kind of plants from a nursery rather than a home improvement store, they cost a lot less, and in my opinion, are more healthy and sturdy.
Thing you’ll need to start your own little succulent garden:
Initially, line the bottom of your pot with a layer of stones in order for your succulent to be able to drain easily, as the roots do not do well if they are sitting in a pool of water.
Next, add the cactus soil into your pot very loosely. This soil allows for drainage, while succulents are water storing plants, they do require a fair share of air circulation as well.
Now for the fun part!! Make holes that go almost as deep as the layer of stones. Loosen the roots of the succulent and place it in the indent. Add another thin layer of soil to make sure the plant is secure.
Finally, if you please, you can place stones around the plants to add to the appearance of your garden.
I’m absolutely in love with the way this turned out, I hope this DIY inspires and assists in all of your succulent garden endeavors!
14/ 02/ 17
Jesus has an incredibly unique and well thought out blueprint for each and every one of our lives. In 1 Corinthians 2:9 it is written that, “‘What no eye has seen, what no ear has heard, and what no human mind has conceived’– the things God has prepared for those who love him.” Isn’t crazy that our future that Christ has planned for us is so extraordinary, no human has the ability to fathom it? The problem is, us stubborn girls (JK!), have a tendency to want to do things our own way. In our head we dream, fantasize, and imagine the way we believe our lives are supposed to be laid out. We want to be rich, have a cute husband, and a million little babies, all without having to lift a finger. But when we begin to start devising our future without God in sight, things start to go downhill. We’re ceasing to pursue His intention for our lives, which is 100% guaranteed, better than any plan we could dream up. Our greatest potential can not be reached without the help of God.
In order to achieve all that God has in store for us, we must be genuinely and unapologetically ourselves. In a world of Gigis, Bellas, Kendalls, and Kylies, it is so essential that we stay true to ourselves! Our society can do without one more wannabe. What we urgently long for are women who aren’t afraid to step outside of the status quo in order to stand up for what they believe in. Romans 12:2 encourages us, “Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is- his good, pleasing and perfect will.” What the Lord is trying to express to us is to not just ‘fit in’. We should be motivated by the amazing things he has in store for our lives and not get caught up in what everybody else, celebrity or not, is doing, especially if those actions are not pleasing to God. (Don’t get me wrong, I struggle the most out of everyone I know with comparing myself to other girls. I want God to speak through me, even if it means writing about whatever trial I’m currently facing, as hard as it is to confess to you guys!)
At times it can be so difficult to grasp on to the idea that God has a bigger plan for us than we could ever imagine. It can be even harder to have the faith that God will follow through in his promises that he has given us. But at the end of the day, his intent for our life is SO much more greater than ours. I know this statement is repetitive throughout this blog post but I can’t stress it enough. Many times we think to ourselves, “How in the world can His plan be better than mine? I have my whole life planned out for myself. I am set up for success!” This may be true, but you wouldn’t succeed to the level that God sees fit. Psalms 147:5 says, “Great is our Lord, and abundant in power; his understanding is beyond measure.” It may be hard for us to understand, but he has the master plan for our entire lives sprawled out in front of him. He sees the end result. We don’t. Why wouldn’t we trust the God who created the heaven and the Earth and everything in it? We’d be silly not to! All in all, we need to let go, and let God.
10/ 02/ 17
Courageous, vivid, remarkable. All words that chronicle this fresh-faced model. An exemplar of finding strength to reaching one’s dreams. Recently shot for the cover of LOVE Magazine, Mia Autumn Grace is taking the fashion world by storm.
One year ago, Mia struggled with inconceivable anxiety. She surmised that her life had little meaning or purpose, all because of this demon that raided her life. Mia had a severe phobia of partaking in activities that most of us take for granted; going to the grocery store, answering the phone, and attending parties and concerts. This malady even stopped her from wearing braids in public, or going to see a movie. Mia refused to allow her situation to halt her pursuit towards a career in modeling; a dream. She coerced herself to go on runs outside, go to the gym, and take the bus or train. The very next thing you know she is being characterized as outgoing, bold, and upbeat by one of the most influential supermodels in the world.
Model, Kendall Jenner expressed that, “I was very, very impressed with Mia. She’d never been shot before by anyone but her big sister back home in Arizona and she is a total natural… She’s got a lot of confidence and what’s so super-cute about her is that she doesn’t even know she has that confidence yet.”
Mia is a born artist. She loves to draw and doodle. She loves to be silly and make jokes. She is the definition of genuine beauty. She refused to let her anxiety take hold of her ambitions. Mia fought for her aspirations and now shoots for haute couture brands such as Burberry and Miu Miu. Her testament proves that no matter what tribulations a person is facing, there is always hope, so long as perseverance and endurance are displayed.
06/ 02/ 17
These quotes spark motivation in me like no other! Sometimes we just need that extra reminder to push through even when we feel like giving up. Currently I am at a 4 week weightloss plateau, 5 pounds short of hitting minus 50 pounds. Yeah, I can use all of the extra motivation that I can get! Hopefully these keep you guys as inspired as they do me.
You are what you eat… So don’t be fast, cheap, easy, or fake!
I will beat her. I will train harder, I will eat cleaner. I know her weaknesses. I know her strengths. I’ve lost to her before, but not this time. She is going down. I have the advantage, because I know her well. She is the old me.
Losing weight is hard. Being overweight is hard. Choose your hard.
Remember how: Your clothes don’t fit, your body feels sluggish, your skin doesn’t glow, you don’t have energy, you want to feel beautiful, you’re regretting what you ate, you’re wishing you worked out, you wanted to change… before making another unhealthy choice.
God created it. Jesus died for it. The Spirit lives in it. I’d better take care of it.
06/ 02/ 17
Here are verses that I love and that are extremely relevant in my life. Many of these help me get through the day and give me hope that there can be joy and peace in the midst of my trials as long as I keep Jesus at the center of my focus!
(I will update this post regularly)
1 Corinthians 13:4-7 “Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5 It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7 It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.”
This verse is so pertinent to our society today on so many levels, can I get an Amen?!
Romans 8:18-19 “ I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us. 19 For the creation waits in eager expectation for the children of God to be revealed.”
The pain that you’ve been feeling, can’t compare to the joy that’s coming! Stay strong and hopeful. Keep your trust rooted in the One who can move mountains with a single breath!
06/ 02/ 17
One of my favorite hobbies is studying haute couture and the art behind all of the clothing. However, I am so not experienced in the fashion realm when it comes to styling myself. While I enjoy putting together, and accessorizing outfits, I am no Miranda Priestly.
Here are a couple of ensembles I put together that encompass my all-over-the-place style which combines girly and edgy influences.
Outfit #1: Velvet, fray, and studs.
Velvet off-the-shoulder top: Target, Jeans: American Eagle (I frayed the seams myself), Long choker: Forever 21, Tied choker: I made it myself from the scraps from fraying my jeans, LOL, and Studded sandals: Target.
These sandals are so old and beat-up at the toes but I seriously can’t get enough of them.
Outfit #2: Floral chic.
Floral top: American Eagle, Jeans: American Eagle, Burnt orange suede booties: Payless, Necklace: this was a gift so I have no idea!
These shoes are not as long as they look in this photo!!
Outfit #3: Silky, Suede business casual.
Suede blouse: JCPenny, Silk cutoff trousers: Ann Taylor, Tie up sandals: TJ Maxx, Chokers: Forever 21.
Outfit #4: Not-too-formal, boho-esque, girly.
Dress: Francesca’s, Chokers: Forever 21, Shoes: I stepped in mud .3 seconds before shooting this so as you can see I’m not wearing any! (That’s the redneck in me for ya’, hahaha) However, I would pair this with a nude, brown, or black strappy sandal.
Outfit #5: White, lacy, classic.
Top: Francesca’s, Jeans: American Eagle, Shoes: TJ Maxx, Choker: Forever 21.
(Sorry about my bra peeping through, LOL)
I know this may not be much but I hope you guys enjoyed this post and found some style inspiration from it!
06/ 02/ 17
I hold NYC so close to my heart. It is every thing I aspire my life to be: classy, diverse, modern, welcoming, extravagant, and unique. The bright lights, meticulous architecture and bustling streets captivated me immediately. It’s like a whole new world compared to my little town in Florida. New York has inspired me to work hard and go after my dreams because who knows, they might just lead me to the city that never sleeps.
The first time I visited NYC was last year with my mom, aunt, and cousin for my birthday. I spent the majority of my time last year convincing my mom to take me again, and it worked haha!! This year, I went for Christmas with my mom, uncle and sister, and the feelings of adrenaline and excitement that sparked in my heart last February were just as present this year.
Last year we made sure to visit all of the touristy attractions to experience all of the things that an NYC first-timer should. We stopped at the Statue of Liberty, St. Patricks Cathedral, Rockefeller center, Central park, etc. This year we took our time and just appreciated winter in the city.
We did a LOT of shopping, eating, and wandering. My mom and I have made it our tradition that every time we go to New York we get a piece of Jewelry from Tiffany’s. On 5th avenue, I am literally in my dream world. I pretty much have to spend an entire day going through Chanel, Fendi, Valentino, Prada, Dolce & Gabbana ( my mom’s new fav!) and so so so many more!!
(I didn’t take too many pictures; I just wanted to enjoy the moment in my favorite place in the world.)
The Tiffany bracelet I got this time. Super simple and elegant.
Makeup shopping at Chanel. The lady who was helping was SO nice. After I finished shopping she took the time to put together goodie bags for my mom, sister, and uncle!
Loving the marble exterior of Saint Laurent!!
Of course, for more affordable, reasonable shopping there’s SoHo. This area has all of the mainstreams stores that you would normally shop at in your local mall but totally NYC style (multiple stories, loud music, and good all-around shopping ambiance). My favorites are Free People, Brandy Melville, H&M, Dash, American Eagle, Sephora, and Forever 21. So basic, I know.
As a Florida girl, I jump on any opportunity to spend my day in the cold. One of my favorite places to watch it snow in the city is Central Park. I’m not exaggerating when I tell you that it is probably one of the most beautiful things I’ve ever experienced; it looked like it came straight out of a painting!!!
Takin’ a stroll.
Central park with the Plaza in the background.
Me and my beautiful momma!
This time around, we decided to see a show! Last time we knew we wouldn’t really have any time to see a Broadway show so when we came this year we knew we had to go. We ended up seeing Wicked and it was an amazing experience, I would 10/10 recommend it to a friend in a heartbeat! P.s.- you will LOVE the Wicked Witch of the West after seeing this production, there is a HUGE plot twist 😉
Can we take a moment to appreciate this set?1
My mom, uncle, sister, and I.
Look who we ran into! Bachelorette Kaitlyn Bristowe and Fiancee Shawn Booth. Can you say #Fangirling???
Finally, here are some miscellaneous pictures from our NYC 2017 trip:
Pro Tip: DO NOT try to make any sort of fashion statement such as a sheer shirt in 20 degree weather, you WILL regret it, no matter how cute you may think it is.
I LOVE this quote. It is so New York. This book was in one of my favorite tiny stores, Papyrus.
Pizza parlor selfie. This was one of the less glamorous bathroom we experienced while in the city, LOL.
Famous Waldorf Astoria staircase that leads to the lobby.
Frozen Hot Chocolate from Serendipity III (Serendipity is a must see movie before coming, you will feel ALL the feels!)
Saint Patrick’s cathedral while it was snowing. Breathtaking.
Magnolia Bakery has the BEST freaking banana pudding you will ever have in your life.
Protect yo’ heart. (Greenwich Village)
Of course you’ve got to sneak a picture at Prada!
Floor mural at the Waldorf, stunning!
Our view of Park Ave. from our hotel. Loving the dirty windows, Waldorf Astoria!! (Just kidding, but seriously! LOL)
I hope everyone in the world gets to experience the magic of NYC at least once in their life! There’s nothing else like it.
02/ 02/ 17
When I go to the gym, I spend the majority of my time doing high energy, fast paced cardio. The ONLY way that I get through these workouts is with my music…. I swear, there’s just something about hearing the machines grinding that makes exercising a bajillion times harder! I’m surprised that I’m not deaf because of the volume level of my music; I seriously blast it like there’s no tomorrow. I believe that a bomb playlist is key to a successful sweat sesh. Good music definitely helps to get those endorphins flowing! Below is my current favorite playlist for the gym:
01/ 02/ 17
This 3-ingredient banana icecream is incredibly easy to make. All you need is a blender, some bananas, almond milk, and Splenda brown sugar!
Not only is it super effortless to whip up, it is so yummy!
Blend frozen bananas, almond milk, and brown sugar blend together on high for 30-45 seconds….. and you’re all done. Yep, it’s that easy! (Note: You might want to freeze the icecream overnight to let it harden, but it’s super yummy right out of the blender as more of a soft serve as well) However, what’s icecream without toppings? My favorite toppings are almond butter and honey but you can literally top it with whatever you please.
This painless dessert is so healthy, yet kicks my sweets craving to the dust! Try at your own discretion: It is SUPER addicting!
31/ 01/ 17
The feeling of being overlooked and under-appreciated stinks. You’re looking at someone who has experienced these emotions first-hand on many occasions! I know that I would stop whatever I was doing to rush to my friend’s side at the drop of a hat whenever they tell me that need my help with something or that they are feeling a bit under the weather and would enjoy my company…. However, when I need them it always seems as if they have better, more exciting things to do.
With a majority of my friends it always feels like I’m the first to have to text them if I want to do something fun with them. Whether it’s going to the beach, getting dinner, or just coming over for a bonfire and s’mores. It constantly seems as though I am the only one putting effort into getting together with my friends; it would be really nice if someone would ask me to hangout for once! Or when they do ask, it’s often times last minute and implies that they couldn’t get any of their “more popular” or “more interesting” friends to hangout, so they resorted to me.
I know that these matters may sound as if I’m overthinking them, but in the moment they can really sting. Especially to a teen-aged girl who is trying to filter out all of the superficial, self-adoring, and Christ ignoring people to try to find a solid, reliable, lifelong group of friends!
(Now that we have all of the self-pity “personal connection” jibber jabber out of the way I can finally share the part of this devo that I REALLY wanted to share, LOL!)
No matter how distant your friends may seem at the time, Jesus never leaves our side! In times like this it super important to get God’s outlook through prayer… We need to ask ourselves if it could be something we’re doing wrong that is driving our friends away. Are you being too shy, too snobby, talking too much while failing to listen to what others have to say? If so this might be a reason that your friends are disconnecting from you.
It is also important to understand that if you really don’t think that it is your doing, God may be putting you through this time of isolation for a reason. Maybe he wants us to reflect on ourselves and on our relationship with him. I always find this to be true when I’m feeling lonely and unloved. I can feel him nudging at my heart to indulge myself in His Word, and as soon as I read the first sentence of whatever bible plan I’ve been doing it always happens to be about how we are never really alone when we have Him in our lives! A couple of my favorite verses that imply this are:
Isaiah 41:10 “So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold my righteous right hand.
1 Peter 5:7 “Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.”
Lysa TerKeurst, a writer for Proverbs31.org, wrote that, “You aren’t set aside, you are set apart.” We must be so confident in ourselves and in our relationship with God that these times of seclusion no longer feel crappy but make us feel strong and empowered. Just as it is said in Psalm 139:14, we must give thanks to the Lord because we have been so amazingly and miraculously made! God speaks to us in our times of loneliness and low self-esteem to show us how to continue to be a friend even when our own friends don’t reciprocate it. Proverbs 18:24 says that “A man who has friends must himself be friendly.” So in order to maintain a social life full of positive people we must persevere in showing love to others no matter the way in which they make us feel.