We don’t need to rush.

We were all once little tots who could not wait to grow up. We wanted to be just like our parents, wanted no rules, to be able to own our own house, have children of our own, and the list goes on. Why are we always trying to rush thru life? There is only one life we are granted to live yet we rush thru it. I know personally my life is chaotic. I am always rushing here or there, trying to meet deadlines ,  my entire life is planned but I quickly forget how important it is to slow down and be thankful for the moment.

When I was in high school I could not wait to go to college, have my own house, get married, have children, become a successful woman and so I planned my entire path when I was eighteen. I had deadlines and goals set for my life. I wanted to be graduated at 22, married by 23, and children by 25. I was in a serious relationship when I had everything mapped out and just knew what my future had in store.

…. But… God had different plans for my life.

I was rushing thru the best years of my life only to find out God smiles when we have everything planned and forget to ask His will for our lives. After learning the hard way, I earned two college degrees and was in school until I was 25, ended a six-year relationship at 25 and started everything over. Not what I had planned.

As I look back over the last few years I realize I did not stop long enough to be thankful for the moments and memories. I did not take them for granted but I truly did not soak in the moments given. I was so worried about meeting a deadline that in reality society has set.

Today I can honestly say I am so thankful the plan I had did not work out. If it would have I would not have the amazing man I get to call my husband, my beautiful home, all the wonder opportunities I have had over the past two years, but most of all I would have never found who I truly am to realize how thankful I am for my life and the need to cherish these moments.

People have asked me for years “Aren’t you married yet?” or “When are you going to have children?” however most do not know the circumstances that may have kept me from these two cases. They were trying to rush my life to meet the standard of society. I will be forever grateful for getting married at 26. My life view is completely different now as opposed 24. I was grateful for my life then, but I am extremely blessed to have the life I live now.

Over the last 6 months Nick and I have battled infertility. Going thru this process everything is rushed. Hurry and have surgery, hurry to get on fertility meds, hurry to have IVF, hurry to have a baby within a year, hurry to lose the baby weight. It is so overwhelming because we are almost forced to not stop and be thankful for our life regardless of the situation at hand. Despite the situation we are going thru, we have tried to stop and understand why God has lead us down this path. No matter the outcome we do not want to hurry into a decision due to pressure.

No matter the circumstance in your life, take a moment to slow down and cherish the moment. Once the moment is gone you cannot get it back, once someone passes away they are gone, once you plan your entire life you lose sight of the blessings that could be in front of you. Life is such a precious blessing , do not take it for granted.

“There is no need to rush. What’s meant for you always arrives right on time.”- Unknown

Every End Has A New Beginning…

As 2015 comes to an end, I can’t help but reminisce on the wonderful blessings God has given me. One year ago today I packed my entire life into a U-Haul trailer and headed north. I was clueless to the journey I was about to embark upon, but I knew this was God’s plan for my life. I was blessed with a new house, amazing husband, and had the support the best family a girl could ask for. I drove 15 hours away from everything I had ever known. I had no friends, no job, and no idea anything other than I would finally be with my sweet husband.

Over the year I learned more about myself than I could put into words. I learned how to depend on the things I was taught growing up, learned to never forget the note in my husband’s lunch (or I would get asked if I still love himJ), and new journeys are a blessing from God. Sometimes God takes us out of our comfort zone to show us that we need to depend on Him for answers and guidance.

Michigan has been a fun ride. Before my move I had never been ice skating (on a frozen lake), built a snowman, or driven in snow. Even though I am not an expert at snow driving, at least I will now drive over 25 mph. on the interstate… Oops. I can honestly say moving to Michigan has been one of the best decisions in my life. It has taught me to trust in myself, depend on my husband, and that comfort zones should be banned. Everyone should be pushed out of his or her comfort zone at least once in his or her life.

2015 had many changes for me. Other than uprooting, I was diagnosed with Lupus for the second time, embarked on the infertility journey, helped my husband open his own business, had a parent completely walk out of my life, found my dream job, and become closer to God than I could have ever imagined. Even though many negative things happened, I can’t help but be thankful for all the positive things God has given me. I have too much to be proud of than to let the negatives determine my happiness.

Many people in my life forget how many blessings they have. We are all quick to dwell on the negative instead of remembering what we have. I often stop people in their tracks when they are being negative to remind them of things they can be grateful for. Having that outlook on life has helped me become a much better person.

Every end has a new beginning. We may not want to let go of the past or a memory, but often times we forget God could have something better waiting for us just on the other side of that doubt or fear. The past is the past for a reason. It is there to teach us a lesson; not determine who we are or how happy we are.

I am part of an infertility group and we all remind each other everyday how blessed we are and just because we are having these problems doesn’t mean it determines our destiny. There is a reason for everything and I truly believe infertility is a lesson for my life from God. I am not sure what His plans are for my life, but I truly trust He will lead me in the right direction.

As 2015 comes to and end, I challenge you to start fresh in 2016. Let go of the past… you can’t change it. Be grateful for the things you have and the people you have in your life.

Happy New Year!

“As the year comes to an end, don’t look back on yesterday’s disappointments. Look ahead to God’s promises yet to unfold.” – Buky Ojeabi

It’s not what’s under the tree that matters.

Christmas is such a special time of year; the lights, presents, giving, family time, and most of all the Birth of Christ. We gather with our families and friends to reminisce and celebrate this amazing time of year. However, we forget there are so many grieving or alone. Christmas time is usually a time of joy, love, and laughter but that thrill for some is taken away due to death, illnesses, or other obstacles life throws their way. I have experienced firsthand holiday grief.

Growing up, Christmas was such a special time to my family. My grandma Elaine loved nothing more than for all of her children and grandchildren to be under the same roof with the roar of laughter, the smell of her Christmas dinner, and the blessings God had given us throughout the year. We always read the Christmas story and prayed to God with thankful hearts for the mercy and love He had given our family. Never in a million years did I ever think or realize all of the bliss could one day change. One day there would no longer be Christmas family dinner at Grandma’s, laughter, reading of the Christmas story, or simply the hugs she would embrace us all in upon arrival at her door.

Life is so precious and short. One day everything is flowing on track and the next it is in complete shambles. We have to remember to never take one second for granted because we are not guaranteed the next. My Grandma lived for the moment. She taught me to live with a giving and grateful heart. I have lived my life (to the best of my ability) with a caring heart, always give with no expectation of something in return, and love with everything in me.

Christmas for me is a time to be thankful for the birth of Christ, family, and the ability to give to families in need. Many children wake up Christmas morning with no gifts from Santa, no parents, and for some… no meal. Over the last few years Nick and I have adopted families in need instead of giving gifts to each other. There is no better feeling than knowing a child somewhere, who originally wouldn’t have Christmas, will be able to open gifts and experience the joy and thrill of what’s inside.

Many of us quickly forget how blessed we are. We have a roof over our head, food on the table, presents under the tree, cars to drive, children to love, and the list goes on. However, we are also quick to forget that many are grieving the loss of a love one, not able to provide for a family, or wondering where the next meal will come from. This Christmas I hope more of us remember to cherish the moments we are given no matter what the circumstance. Our life compared to so many are better than most of us deserve.

THE WORD gave life to everything that was created, & HIS LIFE brought light TO EVERYONE.  

JOHN 1:4

Living this life

Life is a constant battle of ups and downs. You never know what the next day or week will hold. I have always been an optimistic person. I always try to find the good in every situation, give people more chances than they deserve, and see a person for who they really are. Over the last year I have been battling health issues that I never thought I would have to deal with. I have always been healthy, physically fit, and for the most part ate healthy.

Last year I experienced a significant gain in weight for the first time in my life. I gained 40 unexplained pounds but no matter how hard I worked out or how healthy I ate, the pounds kept coming. Once I finally broke down and went to the doctor all of my questions suddenly had answers. After 9 long months of testing and multiple diet and lifestyle changes, I was finally diagnosed with Lupus. Even though the news was bit of a shock, having   an answer was such a relief.  During the time of testing and being emotionally exhausted, I was also planning a wedding. Lupus is a chronic, autoimmune disease that attacks certain parts of the body. In my case Lupus decided to attack my muscle, joints, and nerves.

Daily it is a constant battle to overcome the side effects. There are days I want to stay in bed or that I physically cannot lift the laundry hamper and I become frustrated. But then I remind myself that Lupus compared to so many other sicknesses is a small battle that I can and will overcome. Many people like to use a sickness to their advantage, I like to use mine as a constant reminder of how strong I am.

In February 2015 I was the heaviest I have ever been. I would look at myself in the mirror and become discouraged at what I saw. This very same month I decided to join a work out team at my local gym. One of the best decisions I have ever made in my life. Not only did I lose 20 pounds (the healthy way), I gained my confidence and have built strength back that I thought I would never have. Having an auto immune disease is a very confusing battle that people who do not have one have trouble understanding. Thankfully after extensive research and lifestyle changes Lupus is not taking over my life. I control my Lupus.

Fast forward to August 2015 I am all of a sudden hit with another health challenge. Infertility. We all have this timeline for our life. We have to be married by a certain age, have children at a certain age, build a house, and the list goes on, but quickly lose track of our self and well –being. Infertility, just like Lupus, is an emotional roller-coaster. Testing, doctor appointments, blood work, and hours of driving to specialty clinics… it’s exhausting. How many of us think we will have trouble having children? It is frustrating. I have days that I am more emotional than others. People tell me all the time “just relax, it will happen.”But they do not understand the process and treatment you have to undergo. It’s not just a “relax, it will happen” situation. I often question why God is making me go thru this. But I quickly am reminded it is all a part of his Devine plan.

The moral to it all is over the last year God has shown me there is a plan He has in store for everyone’s life. Thru infertility, moving to Michigan and Lupus God constantly reminds me of how much He loves me and that I will overcome these battles. I have a support group of women that are going thru the same thing. Some have been battling infertility for one year and some ten years, but one thing (other than infertility) that we all have in common is our Faith. We may have days where we are emotional or struggling to overcome the heartache, but will all know we will be blessed in this storm.

No matter what you or anyone you know is going thru, remember to keep your head held high and never lose your Faith.

“Faith is all about believing. You don’t know how it will happen, but you know it will”.-Unknown

Miss Congeniality sound be voted on after the competition

The competition is over. You didn’t win. What now? Many of us have competed in some sort of contest at some point in our life. The truth about competing is there can only be one winner. We cannot all win the title we are fighting for. I have competed in many different things throughout my life…some I have won…some I have lost. The main point in competing for something is to always be better than the person you were the last time.

I have lost on numerous occasions. Some I have not even placed. However, I always try my best to stay true to who I am. Losing shows so much more about a person’s character than winning. Anyone can win and be graceful but it takes a strong person to lose gracefully. Over the last few years I competed competitively in pageants. During my years in pageants I met a number of people and learned a lot about the way people act once the pageant is over. The day of the competition emotions are high, everyone is scoping out the contestants, and we are trying to make sure you have the best wardrobe all while keeping our composure.

A few months back I decided to compete in a fitness competition. Over the course of four months I had calories cut, lifted lots of weights, and practiced countless hours to make sure I was 100% prepared to take the trophy. During my preparations I kept reminding myself this is a hobby and win or lose I would still be the same person, but I will have a lot more muscles. So the competition came and passed and guess what…. I didn’t even place. Nothing. I left with nothing. But I was told I had one of the best attitudes even after losing. I congratulated all the winners and made many new lifelong friends.

That’s the thing about competing. All of the contestants are vying for the same thing. We all want to win. We have all prepped and prayed. But there can only be one winner. It’s ok to lose. It doesn’t make you a bad person or say you aren’t good enough, it simply means it wasn’t your time to win. But what most of us quickly forget is; the judges are watching until the very last person leaves and you never know what competition they could be judging next. By standers are also watching your actions and if you leave with a bad attitude you are proving to everyone why you didn’t win. Poor attitudes result in poor outcomes. You cannot walk around with a bad attitude after losing and expect sympathy.

Losing does not make anyone a worse person or say you are not good enough. It simply means that particular completion was not your time to win. God always has a reason for things that happen in our life. Whether it is the outcome we want or not, there is always a reason. We have to thank God for the opportunity win or lose. I have always reminded myself when I lose that the other person must have needed the win more than. After ever lose I have always had something positive come from it. Never beat yourself up to the point you lose your composure. After losing we must simply regroup and start chasing our dream again. Never give up on something you want even if you lose.

Being a competitor in anything we have to train our self to have poise and grace regardless of the outcome. Every single person on that stage deserves to win. We may not always agree with the judges but every person deserves to win due to the mere face they have trained and prepared just as hard as we have.

Miss Congeniality never wins due to the lack of respect or being conceided. Miss congeniality is won based on the fact they realize the hard work that everyone has put into the competiton yet still remains humble and kind. I never vote for Miss Congeniality until I have seen every person interact with every contestant. Actions always speak louder than words. Miss Congeniality should be voted on after the competition so true colors are revealed and the right person is selected.

Win or lose we are all winners. We should place our self in the position to keep trying harder and never lose sight of the goals and dreams we have set for our self. If we all were to give up we would never have anything worth fighting for.

“I get it now; I didn’t get it then. That life is about losing and doing it as gracefully as possible… and is enjoying everything in between.” – Mia Farrow

What Might Have Been

What is the definition of a father? Is it love? Support? Sacrifice? According to Webster a father (noun): a man has begotten a child. What does this mean? Many people this day in time grow up without a mom or a dad. Many children have step parents that step in and fill the void of a parent that has left. Some have family members that step in to fill the spot of a parent. A few days ago this particular letter was sent to me ( http://theodysseyonline.com/nku/letter-to-you-dad/127984). After posting it on Facebook I had multiple people ask why. Many people do not know my story because for one I do not like to talk about it and two I like my personal life to be extremely private. However, after talking to a few people they said I should write about my experience and share my story because it may help others in my same situation. Before I start I want to say this is my personal story. This is something that has affected my life for twenty-six years. This is who I am. Not sugar coated. Hopefully my story will help someone dealing with the same situation and help understand it is something you can overcome.

When I was a few weeks old my dad decided to leave my mom. They were young, married, had a baby, and were (I am sure) completely stressed out. There are multiple details that were involved with the decision of him to leave. However, those are details that should not be shared on the internet. During this time I was an infant, my mom was a young single mother, and my grandparents had to step in to fill the void. The first few years of my life my granddaddy stood in as my dad. He would take me to dance, pick me up from school, play baseball with me, and do all of the “stuff” fathers are supposed to do. Through this I also gained an exceptional relationship with my Uncle who became more like a brother (even to this day). I never had the reality hit me until I was much older what it actually felt like to have your own father not love or want you. My granddaddy made sure I was loved and never once doubt that people cared for me. I am so thankful to have my grandparents who were so loving and caring to take us in and raise me in a Godly home.

When I was three my mom met my step dad, who soon became my Daddy. I never knew the impact one man could have on someone’s life.  But having someone love and care about you after being betrayed is a whole string of emotions I cannot even put into words. Growing up I would constantly battle the “what ifs”. What if he would have stayed? What if he would have loved me? What if he would have been in my life? But as I grew older, I realized you cannot live in the life of “what ifs”. You will worry yourself to death and cause more emotional strain than you can handle. At the age of twelve I wanted to meet my biological father. I wanted to know why I had brown eyes. Why I was tall and skinny?  Why he left? Why was I not good enough to love? But most of all I wanted to know what he was like. After meeting him, I realized why God choose my path to turn out the way it did. I had always questioned God as to why he did not love me, but once I met him I understood why. God had bigger and better plans for my life. Thankfully for almost twenty years I had a stepdad who was my dad. He filled the void. Although things never turn out the way we want, for 20 years I had someone who showed me they cared and were always there for me.

My biological father is not a bad person. He is a person of bad decisions. Maybe he truly never loved me. Maybe he did not want to ever have anything to do with me. But maybe he did. Maybe he does think about me when he is driving or wishes he could go back and change it all. Maybe he lives a life of regret. Maybe he is too ashamed to admit he was wrong. But I know that I have forgiven him. I am a strong woman who has overcome the life of a parent walking out of their life. My heart breaks for him because he has missed out on so many incredible things in my life. He also denies his other daughters the chance to have a big sister. He has missed so many memories, milestones, breakups, new relationships… everything. There is a whole family that I have missed out on for twenty six years. I know nothing about them. I can barely pick them out in a crowd. But what none of them know is the hurt I have gone through and the wish to be a part of their family. But… I simply can’t.

Shortly after my sixteenth birthday my grandmother passed away. I realized that day you cannot take relationships for granted. From that day forward I tried to give my all in every relationship I had in my life. Life is so short and it is too precious to waste one minute not letting people know how much you love and care about them. My mom is my rock. She has been there through thick and thin. We have had our ups and downs but she is 100% my best friend. Mom is always there no matter what. Even 15 hours away my mom drops everything if I need her. She has been my number one fan since day one and has never left my side. I would not be able to make it through all the situations thrown at me without her support.

My faith in God has a major impact on the reason I’ve become the woman I am today.  Instead of becoming the victim, I decided to use my situation as a teaching and learning experience. You can live your life in the dumps. When something bad happens in our life we automatically want to become a victim. I could easily use this to my advantage. But there is no point. It does not help the situation or make it any better. If anything it would make it worse. I chose to overcome it. Yes I probably could have done more to make it work, but I believe everything happens for a reason and I would not be where I am today if one thing would have been different. Walking out of your child’s life is probably one of the worst things you can do. You have no idea the impact it makes on them. It emotionally, mentally, and physically changes them forever. I have always had trust issues with men because of my situation. I have tried to overcome it, but the impact that made on my life caused such an emotional toil that it is hard to let down my walls. Meeting Nick was God’s way of showing me it was time to let my walls down and showed that all men are not the same.

To all of the people who have been in my situation or have children in my situation…. It never gets easier. You eventually cope with the pain, you grow from the situation, but most of all you learn how strong of a person you can be. Never let your situation make you become a victim. Use it to help someone else. Use it to love your kids more than your parent loved you. But most of all use it to help you become a better and more loving person.

“Sure I think about you now and then
But it’s been a long, long time
Well I’ve got a good life now, I moved on
So when you cross my mind
I try not to think about what might have been
Cause that was then and
We have taken different roads
We can’t go back again
There’s no use giving in
And there’s no way to know
What might have been”
-Little Texas

 

My Path To A Healthier Life

Many have asked and have been following my journey as I compete in my first bikini competition. First off let me say, I am not a personal trainer nor am I an expert at health and fitness. However, this is my journey and how I have achieved my goals. Your goals will vary based on the results you want. I had to learn the hard way, what I eat in private shows in public. The statement “as long as you work out, you can eat whatever you want.” Is 100% false. Diet is 70% and work out is 30%. Trust me. It has been tried and proven.  I am not going to lie there are some days I wake up and could eat the entire kitchen, but I have to remind myself that is it very important to eat healthy calories. Recently I was cut to 850 calories {I know many of you are cringing at this statement}, but I still get to eat.   You are what you eat; so don’t be fast, cheap, easy, or fake!

I started my journey March of 2015. I weighed 135, had no abs, and could barely run a half mile. When I started all I wanted to do was lose weight. I wanted to weigh 110 but did not care about any of the other stuff. Two weeks in Big Mike {my trainer} told me I should compete. I told him he had lost his mind, there was no way I could compete. Much less be ready by July 18. Today {less than 3 weeks out} I look back and am so grateful I joined his team and decided to compete. I have gained so much strength, muscle, beat personal goals {450 lbs. leg…. Until I beat that tomorrowJ}, lost weight, and learned how to eat healthy calories. I am overall a much happier and healthier person. I have never felt more comfortable in my skin and do not take offense to people who say “you are crazy for working out so much.”

I would like to say that I would not be where I am today without the love and support of so many people. To my amazing trainer Mike Schumate {Big Mike’s Extreme Team}. He has believed in me since day one and has helped me achieve so many personal goals as well as surpass them.  Steve, my nutritionist, for following every body change and pound. Steve has helped me lose weight the healthy way (even if he cut me to 850 calories this week).My sweet husband. He has put up with the constant battles that I have faced throughout my journey to compete. Even when I am in a bad mood and starving, Nick reminds me why I started. Kelli, my two-a-days partner, makes me laugh when I want to cry and reminds me who I am. But most of all, won’t let me do cardio alone. Last but definitely not least, my family and friends, thank you for the endless encouragement. I would not be able to do it without your prayers and kind words.

Before I give an example of my 1200 calorie diet, I want to make sure everyone reading this realizes I am competing. This diet is written specifically for me and my journey. It may work for others but you have to listen to your body and make sure you are being smart and healthy about it. I do not want people to jump in to quick so I will not share my 850 calorie diet. You have to train and be prepared before you are physically and mentally prepared to only have 850 calories.  I will also share a week’s worth of workouts. Keep in mind I have been training since March. The reps and weight I currently lift will probably not be what you can do. That is ok. It takes time and patience to gain muscle and build strength. Your body is capable of anything. It is our minds we have to convince.

Trust me… Once you see results, it becomes an addiction.

Monday {PULL DAY & Hamstrings}

Pull-Ups {wide grip} – 10 reps X 3

Bent over rows- 25 reps {each arm} x 3; 30 lbs. dumbbell

Pop squats- 30 reps x 3; holding a 10 lbs. ball

Barbell curls- 25 reps x 3; 30 lbs. barbell

Cable row- 20 reps x 3; 30 lbs., 40 lbs., 50 lbs.

Lat pull-downs- 20 reps x 3; 30 lbs., 40 lbs., 50 lbs.

Dead lifts {smith machine) – 20 reps X 3; 90-150 lbs.

Lunges- across the parking lot 6 times {there and back = 1}; 30 lbs. barbell on shoulders

Tuesday {Sweating Stadiums}

High- Knee Jumps- 75 meters X 6; walk back to the starting line

Sprints- 75 meters x 6 {as fast as you can}; side squat in-between back to the start line

High- Knee Jumps- 75 meters X 6; walk back to the starting line

Run- 1 mile

Stadiums- the entire length of the stadium 5 x; walk back to the start in- between

Wednesday {PUSH DAY}

Bench press- 20 reps X 3; 30 lbs. dumbbells

Tricep Dips- 20 reps X 3; body weight

Pushups {not girlJ} – 20 reps X 3

Standing Cable Crossovers- 20 reps X 3: find the best weight for you. Mine varies depending on the day

Tricep Extensions- 25 reps X 3; 20 lbs., 25, lbs., 30 lbs.

Standing Lat Raises- 25, 20, 15 reps X 3; 10 lbs., 15lbs., 20 lbs.

Standing Overhead Press- 20 reps X 3; 30 lbs. bar

Mountain Climbers- 100 X 3

Thursday {THREADING THURSDAY}

Cardio- 30 minutes

                Run- 30 minutes; speed 6; at least 2.5 miles

                Walk- 30 minutes; speed 3.5; incline 15

Abs- 1000 reps; whatever machine or activity you want to do. I usual do a circuit of 250 reps X 4

Friday {LEG DAY; which is my favorite}

Elliptical- 2-5 minutes; incline at the highest

Squats {Smith Machine} – 10 reps x 20; up and down the river with weights. I start with a 10lb weight on each side and go until I have 8 10 lbs. weights on each side.

Lunges- 50 reps X 3; body weight

Seated Leg Extensions- 50 reps X 3; 50 lbs.

Pop Squats- 40 reps X 3; body weight

Leg Press- 10 reps X 10; up and down the river with weights. I start with 45 lbs. weight on each side and go until I have 5 45 lbs. on each side.

Side Squats- length of the gym X 10; body weight

Calf Raises- 100 X 2; 80 lbs.

Jump Squats- 25 X3; 10 lbs. dumbbells

{Workout written by: Big Mike}

1254 Calorie Diet Example

96 oz. water per day

Meal 1: 6:30 am                                Cal          P             C             F

                4 egg whites                      64           16           0              0

                1 whole egg                       69           6              0              5

                ¼ cup oatmeal                   70           2.5          13           1

Meal 2: 9:30 am

                1 scoop protein powder     127         20           4              3.5

                12 almonds                        87           3              3              7

Meal 3: 12:00 pm

                4 oz. chicken tenderloins   109         25           0              1

                ¼ cup brown rice                80           2              18           0

                1 cup broccoli                      36           3              6              0

Meal 4: 3:00 pm

                1 scoop protein powder       127         20           4              3.5        

                 12 almonds                          87           3              3              7

Meal 5: 5:30pm

                4 oz. extra lean ground

                                  sirloin                  150         24           0              6

                4 oz. sweet potato                 104         2              24           0

Meal 6: 8 pm

                ¾ cup Greek yogurt               144         15           21           0

Totals:                                                   1,254     141.5     96           34

                                                                            45%        31%        24%

{Diet written by: Steve}

“Suck it up now and you won’t have to suck it in later.”- Unknown

Don’t Let Labels Define You

Life is a constant battle of “Who we are” and “Who we want to be.” Do you ever get caught up dreaming about a life that you want? Do you ever pray to be something other than what you are? Many of us have been in this same situation. We think “if I could just have more money” or “if I could just have what {insert name} has” I would be much better off. We are given our lives because God chose us to live it. He looked at us and determined how we would turn out.  Yes I know some people are better off than we are and some may have better paths, but this is your life that YOU were given, do not take that for granted.

 Many times we are thrown curve balls in life. Divorce happens, we lose our jobs, friendships fail and the list goes on. But why do we always try to portray a different life than what we actually have? This day in time we are forced to meet the standards of society. What if we stood up to society and decided we would live the life we want instead of what {they} want? Better yet who is {they}? We are constantly trying to please others or meet the standards that are set by someone we do not even know. In doing this we miss out on so much trying to live out some other life that is not our own.

I have made many decisions in my life that have molded me into the woman I am today. I have tried things and been in certain situations that made me appear to be someone I was not. But every time I was quickly reminded who I was and where I was from. Some of us have the ability to realize our true identity. Some of us may still be searching. I know I will never be a rocket scientist and I (unfortunately) will never be a well-known model, but the best part about all this is… I am okay with that. I am content living in Michigan, a stay at home wife and being married to my best friend because at the end of the day this is who I truly am. I am not trying to be better than someone else or see how many likes I can get on Facebook or how many people I can convince to believe I am truly happy.  Being truly happy and comfortable in your skin allows you not to care what other people think or continually search for approval.

The older I get the more I understand how important it is to stay true to who you are. Facebook, Instagram, twitter and the list goes on are all ways we strive to keep up with society. The amount of comments or likes we get will never change who we truly are. Do not get so caught up in society that you lose who you are. It is ok to make mistakes. Life allows you to make mistakes… that is how you learn. We must not let others decide who we are. No one lives your life. No one understands your battle, so do not let them determine who you are or how you handle the situation.

Running from our mistakes and who we are will only result in more hurt and pain. Instead just own up to them and accept that sometimes we make mistakes. We will never be able to influence someone by trying to be something we are not. We lose so many people by trying to live a false life.

“The greatest prison people live in, is the fear of what of other people think.”            – Unknown

Not Always Eye To Eye.. But Always Heart To Heart

Why do mothers only get one day out of the year to be praised and recognized? A mother’s work never end. They are there for us our whole lives. They cook, clean, give us endless support, unconditional love and the list goes on.

I thankfully have a mom who not only is my mom but also my best friend. She has been there for me no matter what my entire life. She never once turned her back on me or left me for any reason.  I have no idea where I would be without my mom. If I can be half the woman she is, I will forever be grateful.

A mother is a person who loves unconditionally, helps build character, heart healer, but most of all a person who is loved and greatly admired. It takes a very special person to be a mother. Being completely devoted to another soul and completely selfless shows a lot about a mother. Most mothers wouldn’t trade anything in the world for their children. But sadly… some would.

My grandmother always set the bar really high for the women in our family. She always taught us to put our faith first, family second and ourselves third. My entire life I have tried to live this way but I also realize that it is extremely hard to put yourself last.  Putting yourself last makes you not a top priority but more towards the bottom. Who in the world would want to do that? But as I grew older I realized she taught this to get us prepared to be wonderful mothers. My grandmother had two daughters of her own and in my opinion they are two of the best mothers in the world.

Being a woman we naturally have a more loving and forgiving soul. But after all isn’t that how we are supposed to be? My mom always tried her hardest to instill the best possible morals in me, teach me to be a hard worker, but most of all chase after my dreams. Mom never told me not to do something I wanted to do (even if she knew it was a bad idea).

Many people take their mothers for granted. Many people treat their mothers with no respect. Many people make no time for their mothers. You only get one mother. No one can ever replace your mother. I am guilty of not being the best daughter. I have made multiple mistakes and hurt my mom over the years. However, every day I makes sure she knows I love her and that I am grateful for her. After getting married I had the gift of my husband’s mother who quickly became a huge part of my life. She is an incredible mother and grandmother. She always puts everyone else before herself and does it with a pure heart.

When is the last time you picked up the phone and called your mom? When is the last time you dropped by for a visit? Has it been weeks, months, or years? Don’t make the mistake that many make and wait until it is too late to let your mom know she loved and appreciated.

To all the mothers who read this. What you do as a mother does not go unnoticed. You are strong, beautiful and greatly loved. I hope each and every one of you have the best Mother’s Day.

A Mother is she who can take the place of all others but whose place no one else can take. – Unknown

The Courage To Let Go

If you allow people to make more withdrawals than deposits in your life, you will be out of balance and in the negative. Know when to close the account. – Christine Williams

 Life is all about the “KNOW”. We all want to know everything about everything. However, knowing when to let go is a subject many of us know nothing about or we know about and ignore it. 

Have you ever had a hang nail? For some reason it would not let go. It caused pain and caused you to not be able to perform to your best ability, but the second you got rid of it there was instant relief. Life can be the same way. Many times we allow situations or people hang on in our life longer than we should.  It is ok to have a time limit for the presence of some people in your life.

So many times we get caught up in the thought that letting go means we are simply giving up. This is definitely not the case. It simply means you have finally accepted that some things just are not meant to be, some people no longer belong in your life and some situations are better when you remove yourself.

We all pray for God to show us what path we need to take or what decisions we need to make. More often than not we choose to ignore God when He says walk away or close a particular chapter in our book. Why? Why do we not listen to God? Why do we ignore what He says? We are simply scared to let go of the comfort zone we live in and scared of letting go of the things we know. The saying goes “opportunity is right on the other side of fear”. Sometimes we have to let go of what we are used to and take the chance on the opportunity that lies ahead. The funny thing about life is 95% of our problems come from situations we can do NOTHING about. After all that… we still hang on to things we simply cannot change.

If your husband or wife hurts you or leaves you. You cannot change the situation or them. If your children completely rebel against everything you have taught them. You cannot stop them. If your family completely falls apart. You cannot change it. All you can do is pray and listen to what God wants you to do with each particular situation. Sometimes trying to fix it on your own can make it worse.

Your spouse. The day you said “I Do”, you knew what type of person they were. You cannot change a person. People do not change, they alter. The may seem like they have changed but true character always comes out at one point or another.  

Your children. Children are a blessing from the Lord. No matter what happens they will always be your children.  I do not have children, but one day I hope to.  I can only pray that my children turn out to be the best they can be. There is only so much a parent can do. Instill the beliefs and morals of your family, but never forget you cannot live their lives for them. Pray daily that they remember what you taught them and leave the rest to God.

Your family. We cannot pick them. So people say unfortunately, but I say thank goodness. Because even if we could pick our family there would still be problems that would arise. The decisions that family members make are a direct reflection of them not you. We must do our part and pray that what we do is enough. Pray daily that bad situations will be resolved or that you have a chance to come a peace with what cannot be changed.

If a thought, situation or person is bringing you more misery or hurt than peace, let it or them go. How can you possibly be the best you are meant to be if you lack joy and peace? The main thing about having control of your life is finding who you are. Once you find yourself you will quickly realize how many people you will lose. We may lose people in our life because they no longer fit in our lives… and that is ok. Every experience, lesson and journey is all a part of God’s divine plan. Let go and let God.

 

Charm is deceptive and beauty does not last; but a woman who fears the Lord will be greatly praise. –Proverbs 31:30