I’m too busy working on my own grass to notice if yours is greener.

Life is a constant battle of trying to please everyone in our life. We try to please family, friends, employers and the list goes on. But why, why do we try to please everyone? Instead why don’t we try to make the people in our lives accept us for who we are?

We live in a world where everyone is continually trying to “Keep up with the Joneses.” Our neighbor has a new car so we should get one. So and so’s daughter is a model so we should push our daughter to be a model. We get so caught up in everyone else’s life and what they have that we forget to be thankful for what we have. I have fallen victim to this. I wanted so bad to be a successful model. I wanted to be well known, live in New York, and have everything that comes with that. But guess what… it didn’t happen. I didn’t become a model. I am not well known. I do not live in New York and I did not get all the perks of being a model. Instead I am a small town girl, who married the man of her dreams and lives life everyday more happy than I could have ever imagined.

So what if I would have become a model? Yea I would be well known, probably have loads of money and live in New York but, would I be happy? Would I have my husband? Would I be who I thought I would turn out to be?

That’s the problem. Society pushes us so hard to keep up with what their definition of “life” is. Fame, money, drama… all of which make most people more unhappy than happy. How many successful marriages do you read about? How many times do see someone dressing modestly and being praised for it?

Being content with what you have and where you are is a very hard thing to do. We lose sight so quickly of the things we have been blessed with and the things we have worked so hard to achieve. I moved 15 hours away from everything that I have ever known. I left my family, friends, house, job, and so much more but it was for a reason. That reason was for God to make me realize that I am content with who I am. It’s ok that I did not land a modeling career or an overpriced apartment in New York. It’s all ok because I have more now than I could have ever imagined. I have a husband who loves me, new friends that I adore, a beautiful home and a solid testimony that no one can change.

Forget what everyone expects you to be. Forget about being the richest person in town. Forget about all the designer clothes. But never forget who you are and where you came from. Be ok with what you have and where you are. It does not matter if you have the best of the best, it matters that what you have is yours and no one can change that. Be content with where you are in life. But most of all… be content with YOU!

Confidence isn’t walking into a room with your nose in the air, and thinking that you are better than everyone else, it’s walking into a room and not having to compare yourself to anyone else in the first place.- Unknown

Southern Compassion

Every person you meet is fighting a battle that you do not know about. We all carry around different burdens and hurt that we do not allow the world to see. How many times have you been sitting somewhere and see someone with a gloomy look on their face and you wonder what is going on? I at times stop and say a little prayer because we have no idea what they truly could be battling.

Being from the south we naturally are taught to have compassion. We love others when they cannot love themselves, we help others when they are helpless, we always have our lives completely put together on the outside but could be dying on the inside, and we always make sure we use our manners. However how many times have we caught ourselves being quick to judge situations we know nothing about? Unfortunately I am guilty of doing this. I have judged and jumped to conclusions in many situations I had no business even worrying about. The result I have learned is it hurts more than it helps.

Instead of putting others in their place, put yourself in their place. If we worry more about our self and where we stand, we would spend less time worrying about other people and their choices. Many times we catch our self so consumed in other people’s lives and choices. We should be more focused on bettering ourselves and the community rather than judging other’s and their decisions.

“My mission in life is not merely to survive, but to thrive; and to do so with some passion, some compassion, some humor, and some style.”- Maya Angelou

Perfect Imperfection

Everyone grows up looking for the perfect “fairy tale ending.” We all want the perfect wife, husband, children, job, family, and so much more. But how many of us have stopped and realized life is not always going to be perfect. There are going to be upsets and set backs but we have to look at our life as an overall picture. Life is precious and we must not spend it wasting our time on things that we can not change.

When I met Nick I thought he was perfect. Tall, dark, handsome, everything (most) women look for in a man. After we started dating and got engaged I realized the reason I fell in love with Nick was not because he was perfect but because he was imperfect. I have the perfect husband. He loves me, provides for me, takes care of my family and so much more but just like the rest of us he is not afraid to make mistakes.

The best thing in life is finding someone who knows all your flaws, mistakes, and weaknesses but still thinks you are completely amazing. Nick is the perfect example for this. I can be moody and hard to please but he never gives up on me or gets upset with me. When I am having a bad day he goes out of his way to try and show me how much he loves me. I am very thankful and fortunate to have someone as sweet as Nick to spend my life with. Every relationship is different. No two are the same, fight the same battles, experience the same trials but every relationship should be two people who love each other unconditionally and are willing to face anything together.

Being in a relationship is not about kissing, holding hands or the showing off. It is not a competition. It is about being with someone who makes you happy in a way that no one else can. It is also about being with that one person who accepts you the way you are and does not expect you to change.Life changes constantly but we all have to remember to stand firm for what we want and protect what we have. Never let anyone take that away from you.

Surrender to what is. Let go of what was. Have faith in what will be. – Sonia Ricotti

Happy Valentine’s  Day

Once you control your mind, you can control your body.

Cry as hard as you want. But make sure that when you stop crying, you never cry for the same reason again. Life can be so difficult, relationships can be challenging, jobs can bring us down, but why do we let it control who we are? Only we have the ability to control our minds and bodies. Through my reading this week I found some advice about people who are mentally strong.

They move on. People who move on do not waste time feeling sorry for themselves or trying to convince others to feel sorry for them.They stay happy. There is no time to complain or worry about situations that can’t be changed. They stay positive. People who have control of their mind and body continuously stay positive because there is not enough room in our lives to be negative and positive.

There are two things that prevent us from happiness and having control over our minds; living in the past and observing others. We have to train our brains and learn to be happy with who we are and what we have. The world was not meant for everyone to be exactly the same and have the exact same things. Besides, who wants to live in a world like that anyways?

Our choices in life should reflect our hopes and dreams not our fears. Sometimes we let the little people sitting on our shoulders control what we think. We have to learn to make firm decisions on our own and not let a little voice inside our head or someone else determine our destiny.

We have to constantly remind ourselves that we have control of our lives and destiny. The worst thing we can do is lose sight of who we are and what we deserve. Every choice we make in life becomes a chapter in our life book, we just have to make good choices and never re-read an old chapter. Start today and take control of your life and make sure you invest your time on bettering yourself and others around you. Every positive change in your life begins with a clear decision that you are going to either do something or stop doing something. The choice is yours.

When you go through deep waters. I will be with you. Isaiah 43:2

The Year Is Yours. What Will You Do With It?

Today I close the door to the past, open the door to the future, take a deep breath and step on through to start the next chapter in my life. My life has been so full of blessings this year. I met the man of my dreams a year ago, married him in June, graduated college with my second degree and today I am moving to Michigan.

Life is what we make it. You can either wake up every morning and be thankful you are alive or you can wake up every morning with a bad attitude. I always am grateful for the next day I am given. How many times do we take small things for granted such as waking up every morning? If we were thankful for the little things just as we are the big things we could all live a much happier life.

Over the past six months I have been sick. Well really sick. I didn’t understand why I was going through the pain and sickness I have had. I was worried because I have been to doctor after doctor with no results. But after six long months, this past week I was finally diagnosed with Lupus. Although I was heartbroken and upset about this diagnosis, I realize God put me in this situation to see my reaction and to make it apart of my story. Yes I could be upset and use this as an excuse to be bitter, but I choose to start treatment and medication and continue to live my life thankful.

Everyone faces trials and tribulations. But your reaction is what determines the outcome. Worrying won’t stop the bad stuff from happening it just stops you from enjoying the good. We are all going to have good days and bad, but look for the good in everyday more than the bad. I’ve learned more from pain than I could’ve ever learned from pleasure.

Tomorrow is the first blank page of a 365 page book. Write a good one. I hope each and everyone of you had a fantastic 2014. But I hope for a better 2015.

Happy New Year!

Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding. Proverbs 3:5

 

I’d rather be a Proverbs 31 Woman than a Victoria’s Secret Model.

I think that, now more than ever the younger generation needs good positive role models. My parents always said, “You are the books you read and the people you surround yourself with”. How true is this statement?

I have always had women in my life that I classify as my role models. But I never thought I would be considered a “role model” to someone else nor have someone younger that looks up to me for guidance. Over the past few years a new light has shined on my life and I have been shown that every move I make is being watched. I never realized how big of an impact one person can make on the people who are watching them.

Being involved in community service and pageants, I was taught to take leadership in everything I do. I have been told to be an effective leader, be a good example, and to be the person you want your children to look up to. Little did I know that one day I would have so many children and young women who would call me their own role model.

I have become a role model without even trying or auditioning for the part. I was placed as a role model without a choice. Although this role is a big one to fill, I have learned from every experience and road it has taken me down.  I would like to be called an inspiration to others not a role model. Because I make mistakes like everybody else.

There are so many people who I classify as role models for my life. When I stop and think what part they actually play in my life it comes down to: inspiration.

The best way for us as adults to be role models to the younger generation is to model the type of person we want them to be. You can’t make someone be who you want them to be, you can only teach them how to be the person you want them to be. The saying about role models goes a long with the saying “you can a take a cow to the pond, but you can’t make it drink the water.” Same thing with people, you can teach them how to be a better person but you can’t make them act better.

Every move you make, someone is watching. Make sure you are a shining light and an inspiration. You never know the impact you can make or are making on someone.

No leader became great because of power. They became great because of how much they empowered others. – Anonymous

 

Great Things Never Came From “Comfort Zones”.

Making a big life change is scary. But, know what’s even scarier? Regret. In 28 days I will move 14 hours away from everything I have ever known. I will leave behind my family, friends, co-workers, church family, and routines. I have a comfort zone in Valdosta that I am about to step outside of. I am moving where I know nothing. Michigan is a great state I have enjoyed my visits and soon I will call it home. I couldn’t tell you the next town over from where I will be living and I couldn’t even tell you the capital of Michigan. But why does that matter? I am taking a leap of faith to be with my husband.

Sometimes I sit and wonder what it will be like to start completely over. To have my own house, a new job, new friends, snow, and new routines. Sometimes I get teary eyed at the thought I will leave everything behind to start this new adventure. But then I quickly realize God already knows the path I am headed down. He knows what my life will be like in Michigan. Why do I second guess that at times?  “Comfort zone”. I have a comfort zone where I am at currently. I know my daily routines, gym workout, friends, family, and school. On December 31, 2014 I will make one of the biggest decisions in my life. I will pack 26 years worth of memories in my car and drive away in the direction of my new life.

A year ago Nick and I closed chapters in our lives of relationships that we have been in for quite some time. God placed Nick and I in each other’s paths for a reason. He wanted to show us what life was like to live outside of our “comfort zone”. To this day our relationship is far from a “comfort zone”. It is exciting, adventurous, and a constant thrill of love and laughter.

If we were meant to stay in one place, we’d have roots instead of feet. We have the option to not live in a comfort zone. But many of us get comfortable and are scared to take a leap of faith. You can’t start the next chapter in your life if your keep re-reading the last. The future is scary. But we can’t just run back to the past because it’s familiar or comfortable. We have to be willing to take risk, even if we fall.  If I told you ten years from now your life would be exactly the same, would you be happy? Would you still be afraid of change? Would you leave your comfort zone for a different path?

Once you have realized it’s time for a change all the negativity will flee. The uneasy feelings you have will go away. The anxiety will vanish. You know you have made the right decision when there is peace in your heart. I am so thankful I have peace about the path God has chosen for me. December 31, 2014…. I am ready for you.

Remember how far you have come, not just how far you have to go. You are not where you want to be, but neither are you where you used to be. –Rick Warren

Battles of Negativity

We all get caught up in the cloud of life. Everyone goes through obstacles and experience unfortunate situations. But have you ever experienced that one person who is negative all the time? I like to call them “fun suckers”. Nothing is ever good enough, fun enough, or big enough for them. No matter how good life is or that everything is going their way, they are negative. Facing things in life is God’s way of testing your reaction. I have always said God gives His biggest battles to His toughest angels.”

When Nick and I got engaged we decided December 13, 2014 would be our wedding date. I was ecstatic to start planning and have a “winter wonderland” wedding. I was going to have the wedding of my dreams, the guest list was well over 400 people, I had the perfect man, and everything was going my way. In February the distance from Nick really started to get to me. I was planning a wedding, working, and going to school thirteen and half hours away from Nick. The stress really started to weigh on me and I became very negative. I couldn’t find the right dress. I didn’t like my hair. I didn’t like any cakes that went with my theme. Nothing, I didn’t like anything. That’s when Nick decided we should consider moving the wedding up. After extensive discussion we decided to move it to June 28, 2014. I was in a panic. How in the world would I plan the dream wedding I wanted in four months? In my mind it was impossible.

One day I was in conversation with a lady (I won’t mention her name) and was discussing my stress and telling her there was no way I could do it. I would have to settle for less than what I wanted on my wedding day. She turned to me and said “Lacie, a wedding is not about the show. It’s not about the guest list. It’s not about how much money you spend. It is about realizing at the end of the day you will be Nick’s wife.” Wow those words hit me like a ton of bricks. How could I be so negative about something God had blessed me with? God put Nick in my life for a reason. God knew our wedding would be in June and it would turn out better than I ever dreamed or prayed for.

Being negative can consume you. It can turn you into someone you never thought you would be. After realizing how negative I was being, I really stopped and evaluated everything in my life that I was thankful for and blessed to have. Nothing in life is ever worth being negative over.

Does your behavior and attitude reflect Christ? Being negative is not a direct reflection of Christ and the way He wants us to walk and live. Negativity chains us down and we have to learn to break free. To be thankful for all God has done for us and remember it is just a battle and God is our protector.

The Beauty Queen and The Abuser

Women who compete in pageants are often times held to different standards. By this I mean most are considered role models. The way they dress, fix their hair, speak, and relationships. I am a huge advocate for abuse in relationships. No woman or man should have to be put through any kind of abuse; emotional or physical. Throughout my pageant career I have had the opportunity to meet several new friends. Many I will keep for a life time. Recently I had a very close friend of mine come to me and ask if I would share her story. I had no idea what this beautiful woman was going through. On the outside (to me at least) she was headstrong, carried herself well and gorgeous. But little did I know the emotions she was carrying around on the inside. When I met her at Miss Georgia USA, I would have never in million years thought she would be in an abusive relationship. What man would want to abuse someone that precious?

For her privacy I will use different names to tell her story. She asked me to share it to help other women know you can get out and signs to look for.

About a year ago Annie met Jake. To her knowledge, based on friends and people who knew him, Jake was a great guy. At the time they met Annie was in a relationship but about six months later her and Jake reconnected, moved in together and starting dating without realizing it.

One night, after they started dating, Jake wanted to surprise Annie by taking her to one of her favorite places in town. After their surprise date Annie wanted to meet up with some friends who were in town, and being like any girl, gave Jake her wallet, cell phone, and credit card, to keep from having to carry a purse. After all they would be there together and leave together. After searching for him in 3 places, she comes to realize he had left her, later claiming she was “flirting with other men.” Thankfully she had friends there or she would have been stranded.

After an argument and Jake promising he wouldn’t do it again, Annie forgave him and rocked on for another three weeks. But just like most abusive relationships they had another explosion. Only this time Jake called Annie names that are very degrading to a woman. Once again she gathers her things to leave only to be persuaded back in with an “I’m Sorry.”

Strike three happens at a beach wedding for one of Annie’s friends. Where Jake gets extremely intoxicated and again verbally abuses Annie and gets in her face to the point the groom has to pull him away from her.

A few more explosions happen and Jake finally throws at Annie that “God was telling him to drink and verbally abuse her.” Annie and Jakes religious views were out of line with one another.

Annie like so many women faces abuse every day. But where do we draw the line? When do we decide we deserve better? Are we scared to leave? Do we think this is the norm? Women deserve so much more respect than abuse from a significant other. Never think that what you have to offer is insignificant. There will always be someone out there that needs what you have to give. Men who abuse women do not deserve to be called men.

Remember just because someone is pretty, successful, sweet, smart, or funny doesn’t mean they aren’t fighting a battle on the inside no one knows about. Be strong in who you are and don’t accept abuse. Everyone deserves to be respected not abused.

Here are signs of a potentially abusive personality:
• Lose their temper quickly?
• Blame others for their problems?
• Get angry if you don’t take their advice?
• Get jealous and suspicious of your friends?
• Accuse you of lying about where you are or what you are doing?
• Want them with you all the time?
• Always know where you are and who you are with?

 

One friend can change your whole life

Recently I came across this quote “Everybody isn’t your friend. Just because they hang around you and laugh with you doesn’t mean they’re for you. Just because they say they have your back, doesn’t mean they won’t stab you in it. People pretend well. Jealously sometimes doesn’t live far. So know your circle. At the end of the day, real situations expose fake people, so pay attention.”(Anonymous)  As I sat there, reading this quote, over and over it reminded me so much of certain situations I have personally lived through in my life.

Women are very jealous of each other. We envy each other so bad and unfortunately all of us are guilty. We hang out with a certain circle because we want a certain status, dress a certain way to gain a certain reputation, or simply buy things we cannot afford to keep up with our “friends”. Why do we do this? The answer; everybody isn’t your friend. True friends don’t care about your status, reputation, or clothes.

There are three types of friends: the old friend, the older friend, and the secondhand friend.  I am lucky to have all three. True friendships are few and far between. When you find a true friend everything clicks. You get each other and your circle becomes true. I am very blessed to not only be able to say I have all three types of friends but we all are best friends.

Meg is my old friend. No matter where life takes us we will always have a special bond. She is the little sister I never had. We can sit hours upon hours and solve the world’s problems or we can go two weeks without seeing each other and pick up right where we left off. She always looks to me for advice and I love being her crying shoulder.

Brooke is my older friend. There are no words good enough to describe our friendship. From the moment we made eye contact in microbiology, we knew we would be best friends forever. There has never been a day or a time that I have needed Brooke that she hasn’t been there. No matter what she always picks me up when I am down and has helped me through countless experience. We will be the 90 year old women still laughing until we cry in our wheelchairs in the nursing home.

Kelli is my secondhand friend. I am so thankful to have met her through Brooke. She makes me want to be a better woman. She is always there to tell me I am ok and help figure life out. She helps me understand what true friendships are about. Through bad breakups, crying spells, growing in faith, or just needing someone to talk to she has always been there.

These three women are the epitome of best friends. Our circle is complete and we are content. We call it our circle because it is round and has no end. We never try to compete with each other. We always have each other’s back. But most of all we are there for each other. Through running mascara, bad hair days, heels breaking, breakups, confusing boys, lousy jobs, new careers, new marriages, new relationships, road-trips, love sprinkles, eating too many calories, laughing until we cry, and wasted money we are truly best friends and I wouldn’t change it for the world.

Friends come and go but best friends are there for a life time. This is so true especially when it come to hard times. Hard times will always reveal true friends. Meg, Brooke Kelli, and I have all been through a lot together. They have helped me live life and understand the meaning of friendships that can’t be broken. I have lost friends but life is too short to spend it with people who try to bring you down or compete with you. When a true friendship is real, it is effortless. With that said I have learned that sometimes you have to let people go. Some people will be in your life forever… and some won’t.

So here’s to the crap we talk, the guys we stalk, the way we shop, laughs we can’t stop, the gossip we spill, the looks that could kill. We’ll stay together. Because we are best friends forever.