To the Man in Blue

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When I saw the flashing lights in my rear view mirror, my heart sank as I’m sure everyone’s does when they’re getting pulled over. “Oh great. Just what I needed today” I thought. My emotions were on a roller coaster this week with the school year coming to an end. I didn’t think it would hit me this hard, but the thought of leaving my current preschool sunk in as I cleaned out my classroom earlier that day.

The officer came to my window and was very polite, but I couldn’t help but get upset. Partly because I knew I would be getting a ticket, but also because I’d hit a point of too many emotions at once. I don’t want to say goodbye to my friends, school, and most importantly, my students.

Officer Singleton asked me if I was okay, which made it worse. I wanted him to think I was okay, I just couldn’t do it convincingly. He took my license and registration and told me he’d be right back. A million thoughts raced through my mind during the few short minutes he was sitting in his patrol car, which felt like hours. When he returned, he told me I would be receiving a warning which led to me bursting into tears.

Why did he give me a warning? I didn’t deserve it anymore than the next person, but he gave me one anyways. He told me I shouldn’t be upset because after all, the Lord woke me up this morning. Wow! He was right. He added that tomorrow is either going to be better than today or worse, but I at least had a 50/50 shot.

He might have pulled me over to slow me down on the road, but God was telling me to slow down on life. I started out my week by worrying about my to do list. I was in such a rush that I was forgetting to slow down and enjoy my last week at the preschool.

Thank you, Officer Singleton. You didn’t have to say what you did or let me off with a warning, but you decided to make a positive difference in someone’s life. You may never know the impact you had on me, but you changed my perspective, allowing me to make the most of this week of goodbyes.

As an officer, I don’t think you get enough credit for all of the behind the scenes work you do. Not only do you wake up every day and put your life on the line to protect others, but you’re passionate about your job and the people you come in contact with. When you asked if I was okay, it was evident that you truly cared. I wont forget the kindness you showed and the wisdom you provided. To the Man in Blue, I thank you.

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This Isn’t Me

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After a phone call with my mom, I decided to share a struggle that many teens, as well as adults, face on a daily basis. When I was in high school, I never thought I was pretty, tall, skinny, or smart enough. I was never enough for anyone. My mom asked me today if I was eating enough because of a photo I posted. She said I looked too thin. At first, I was upset that she would even ask, but then I remembered who I used to be.

I believed all of my failed relationships were because of the way I looked. All of my friends were thin and gorgeous, and I felt like I could never compare. High school was a rough time for me, and in this time of figuring out who I was, I developed an eating disorder.

It started with my goal to lose weight. This quickly spiraled out of control. While I was losing weight, I was also losing who I was. I changed completely. I started to fish for the next complement, and after a while, losing a few pounds wasn’t enough. I began making a trip to the bathroom after every meal to purge the food I had eaten. Depriving my body of food gave me the sensation of control over my appearance.

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My sister quickly caught on and knew I wasn’t being myself. She tried talking to me about it, but I made excuses and wanted nothing to do with her advice. Then, our mother got involved. When a lady from Long Island tells you to do something, she means business. She provided me with a reality check that was long overdue.

She reminded me that God made me a beautiful, young woman and that searching for temporary praise from others wasn’t a fix for my underlying issues. She helped me address my past so that I could overcome my desire to become someone I wasn’t and accept who I already was. She reminded me that I was only 17 and had my whole life ahead of me.

In my attempts to lose weight, I was exercising too much and not eating nearly enough. I was constantly sick and at an all-time low. I can say without a doubt I will never go back to my old ways. It was never worth it, and it was only a temporary fix. After having Ella, the appearance of my stomach started to bother me. However, this time it was different. I wanted to make a change, but a positive one. I wanted to go about losing weight the right way, the healthy way.

I have since started a flex diet, and I have started working out again. I’ve lost inches in my waist and weight. (See results here.) I’ve honestly never felt this good, even when I was at my skinniest in high school. I have energy and have started to gain muscle.

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Reflecting on my past, I understand my mom’s concern because she was with me in my darkest days. While she knows I am not that same person, it’s her nature to worry about me. I can’t blame her. She was slowly watching me take my life until she put her foot down and wouldn’t allow it to progress any further. She saved me, and she doesn’t want to see me go down that road again.

Over the years, I’ve learned to love myself and the skin I’m in. I can have control over my appearance but in a positive way. My disorder was simply a cover for much deeper issues from my past. I was seeking help in all of the wrong ways. I have since dealt with those issues and its helped shape who I am today. I have confronted my past and allowed my future to be brighter than ever.

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In the United States alone, 20 million woman will develop an eating disorder at some point in their lives. If you or someone you know is struggling with an eating disorder, there is help. If talking isn’t working, get other loved ones involved. Talk to them about getting the help of a professional and encourage healthy alternative methods of weight loss. Most importantly, remind them that they are beautiful even when they can’t see it.

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What’s Your Golden Calf?

May we be consumed with the creator of all things

rather than with things created 

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While reading through Exodus, God began tugging on my heart. It was Exodus 32 to be exact. Here, we learn about the golden calf that the Israelites asked Aaron to build.

“When the people saw that Moses was so long in coming down from the mountain, they gathered around Aaron and said, ‘Come, make us gods who will go before us. As for this fellow Moses who brought us up out of Egypt, we don’t know what has happened to him.’” Exodus 32:1

God called Moses to climb the mountain to receive instructions for the way the Israelites were to live. God had already performed numerous miracles that helped lead the Israelites out of Egypt, but they became impatient. They quickly lost their faith in God and began to worship worldly idles, in the form of a golden calf.

It’s easy to read these words and wonder how they could defy God, even after everything he did for them. I would have never done that! But is that a fair statement? How often have I grown impatient with God’s plan? I have questioned him far too many times.

The Bible goes on to say that God was so enraged with the Israelites that he was ready to destroy them all, but Moses reminded God of the promises he made to their ancestors. However, the Israelites did not go unpunished. When we try to sculpt God’s plan for our lives instead of letting his plan be fulfilled, there is a price to pay; this often leads to a more difficult path than he anticipated. In fact, we prolong God’s original plan. We can avoid wasted time by keeping our focus on God and remembering he is in control. We tend to forget that everything is made perfect in God’s timing, not our own.

While waiting for God’s plan to unfold, I find myself looking to other things of this world. I try to fix my problems on my own instead of giving them to God. I intervene when all I need is to have faith in God’s word. Does that mean waiting years? Possibly! God doesn’t give us a time frame. He simply asks us to trust his word and know in our hearts that he is our savior.

It’s easy to become impatient, but we must not lose focus for God’s plan is greater than anything we could ever craft. When we see ourselves slipping away, we must pray that God draws us closer to him and allows us to be strong in the face of temptation. Waiting is one of the hardest things to do, and frankly, I am the worst at it. But the reward of God’s perfect plan is worth it. I have to constantly remind myself of this to keep my mind focused on God.

So, no. Maybe I haven’t built a golden calf, but I have let things of this world take my eyes off of God’s plan. What is the golden calf in your life? Will you continue to allow it in or will you stand against society and break down these false idols?

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Progress Report

In November, I began a pursuit of fitness, which was rather rocky at the beginning. I missed workouts and struggled with my diet. I wanted to give up, but my body begged for results. After getting the hang of counting macros and exercising, I began seeing results. Although, the results were difficult to see since I was examining my body in the mirror on a daily basis. But a side by side by side photo opened my eyes. My body was undergoing drastic changes, and I was super excited!

I am now coming to the end of the “lean” phase of my diet as I now have 13.7% body fat. Now for the scary part – reverse dieting. Ah, it just sounds like a bad idea! However, after several encouraging conversations with my personal trainer, I am ready for the next step in this process. The best part is, I get to enjoy more carbs!

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When I started this transformation, my goal was to have abs. I didn’t care how I got them, I just knew it was my goal. Fast forward several months – I now want more than just abs. I want to continue to stay healthy and feel good about myself. I’ve always worried about my arms getting too big. I have since moved past this fear, and I am beginning the process of muscle development.

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Enough of me talking about my progress. Here are my measurements from the day I started compared to now. Results speak for themselves, and all my of hard work is finally paying off!

Nov 10th

May 14th

Waist

28”

23.5”

Hips:

34”

33.5”

Arms:

9.5”

8 3/4”

Thigh:

17 3/4”

16”

Weight:

124 lbs

115 lbs

Body Fat:

20%

13.7%

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I’ve lost all of this weight and never set foot in a gym? That’s right! You don’t need a gym membership or fancy equipment at home to see great results. Read more about when the gym isn’t an option on a previous post. To me, this proves the saying “losing weight is 80% diet and 20% working out”. Anyone can workout. It takes real dedication to stick to a diet.

If you’re looking to start or have started a life style change, my advice is to document everything. Start from day one. On the days you lack motivation, you can take a look at your progress and keep moving forward. Not everyone is going to get the same results I have at the same pace. It may not happen as quickly as you want, but don’t give up! Keep fighting for those changes you want to see. Anyone can get on track to a happy, healthier lifestyle if you’re willing to put the time and effort into it. I hope you’ll continue to follow along as I dive in to this next stage.

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Healthy Creates Happy

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I’ve been slacking when it comes to my fitness blogging, but don’t worry, I have something up my sleeve for the future. I’ve been working hard and can’t wait to share my results with you guys. However, this isn’t that blog. Today, I want to share with you how becoming healthy has become my happy.

We all have a hobby we love. Over the years, mine has changed several times. I’ll usually start something and then drop it within a few weeks. With the demand of my jobs, it’s hard to set aside time for myself. Juggling every day life and then adding in extra activities starts to become a job in and of itself.

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I’m writing today to encourage you to not let go of the things you love. Make time. Otherwise, you’re going to find yourself becoming bitter. Life only gets busier, so don’t put off the hobbies and activities you enjoy. If it makes you happy, it’s worth finding the time in your schedule. Don’t feel guilty either. You’re allowed to do something for yourself.

For me, I have grown to love exercising and improving my health. It’s become my passion, and my body is thanking me constantly. The better I am with my workouts and diet, the more energy I have. Overall, I feel better; my body feels better. This fitness journey has rekindled my interest in running, a favorite pastime of mine. I am now challenging myself and constantly attempting to beat old records.

I look forward to my workouts. I usually wait until Ella goes to bed and Evan practices his golf swing in the garage. It’s just enough time for us to enjoy our hobbies while not taking away from family time. I don’t have to worry about people judging me. That’s the beauty of turning your bedroom into a gym. I get to enjoy peace and quiet and a great workout all at the same time. I also feel like I’ve accomplished something for the day, so there is no real loss here.

Now, I’m not saying everyone should enjoy exercising. Let’s face it – some people will never find happiness in bench presses and squats. My point is this: make time for yourself. Do the things you love. It doesn’t have to be everyday, but if you can squeeze in a few hours for hobbies each week, I can assure that you’ll be a happier person.

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What is your happy? If you don’t know, explore and see what sticks. Mine may be working out, but the possibilities are endless!

Happy National Women’s Health Week! I hope you’re working extra hard this week ladies!

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The Best Day

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The title to this post may be misleading; I am still hoping to go to Disney World one day, but until then, this has been one of the best days. Since I became a mother, I have worked every Mother’s Day. This time, I decided I was going to enjoy the day. I didn’t realize what I had been missing out on.

Today was better than my birthday, even better than opening presents on Christmas morning when I was 5 years old. Being a mom isn’t always an easy job. In fact, there are days I find it rather difficult. While I am learning how to parent, she’s learning new ways to drive me to gray hair. After all, she’s just like me: an opinionated, bossy, little ball of energy.

Despite the hard days, I am grateful that God chose me to be her mother. Out of all of my jobs, being her mother is my favorite and the most rewarding. It’s my calling, and I can’t remember life without her. She gives me a reason to wake up and the inspiration to chase my dreams.

Women don’t become moms to have a day of celebration; we become moms to leave behind a legacy: our children. I want to wish every mom out there the best Mother’s Day, but don’t get wrapped up in a single day. Know that you are special everyday and mean the world to your babies, both young and old. You are appreciated more than you know.

Now, more about my day. It started with breakfast in bed. Well, food was brought to me in bed. Since syrup was involved, we decided it was best to utilize our kitchen table. If you know me then you know syrup is my kryptonite. Evan captured this beautiful moment before heading downstairs.

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We then rushed off to church which was followed by a lunch date. Then came a shopping trip. I only made it to one store, but that was plenty. Evan was such a good sport that I even let him go to the golf store.

After coming back to the house to let Ella nap, we had a mini photo shoot in the front yard where we snagged these beauties. Ella is in love with the camera and even tells me how to pose.

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Evan prepared us a beautiful meal. Dessert wasn’t even necessary, and I promise it tasted as good as it looked.

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Today was long, eventful, and simply the best. I enjoyed every second of being pampered. The best part about my Mother’s Day was when Ella told Evan, “Today isn’t about you, Daddy. It’s mommy’s day and Ella’s day!”.

What was your favorite part about Mother’s Day? Did you get the perfect gift? Did something funny happen? Share in the comments; I’d love to hear what made your Mother’s Day special!

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The Role You Didn’t Have to Play

With Mother’s Day right around the corner, I wanted to take a minute to share with my readers a little bit about my own mother.

I could write a novel about how amazing my mom is. I could share with you all of the love she shows her family and how involved she stays in our lives. I could share with you how she’s always been a shoulder to cry on and knows exactly what to say and when to say it. I could list for days all of the ways she has impacted my life, but I’d like to share just one thing: my mom wasn’t always “my mom”.

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Holly entered my life when I was in the third grade, and never in a million years could my imagination have predicted the relationship we have today. To give you a little background information, Kylee, her daughter, and I were both new to the elementary school. While Kylee was shy, I was the complete opposite. Holly would go on class field trips, and I would cling to her. She was always kind and didn’t seem to mind me too much.

As the years went on, Kylee became my best friend, so her mom saw a lot of me. I was always at her house and fell in love with her family. Little did I know in just a few short years, that family would become my very own. It’s funny how God places the right people in your life at the right time. In 2005, my life changed dramatically. I was removed from my then family and placed into a group home.

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I hit rock bottom. I felt every emotion under the sun and struggled to understand why these things were happening. Holly didn’t waste a minute to start fighting for me. She went above and beyond, and because of her efforts, I was released into her custody a few months later. Holly and her husband, Bill, did everything required by the courts to get me out of child protective services. Holly wrote me letters while I was there that brought hope back into my life. These letters provided me with encouragement and strength that enabled me to fight through this dark time in my life.

I lived with my adopted family throughout high school. My new family, a family that owed me nothing yet gave me everything, provided me with shelter, food, and most importantly, love. Love that I had so desperately needed. Holly was, and still is, the greatest role model I could have asked for. To this day, she treats me no different than her other two children. She expects more of me than I usually do myself.

From high school athletics to makeup for prom, she was always there. She never let me go without and still to this day won’t. She gave me a childhood when I was ready to throw mine away. She allowed me to find myself even if that meant making mistakes along the way.

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I could never thank this women enough for teaching me how to love and be loved. Because of her continuous efforts, she has helped shape the woman I am today. If I am at least half the mom she didn’t have to be, Ella will have the best life possible. She, without a doubt, is the best mom around.

Love you!

xoxoxo

“Many women do noble things, but you surpass them all.” Proverbs 31:29

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