Fall In Love With You

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In 2009, Jonny Diaz released his song, “More Beautiful You”. From my first time hearing it to this very day, it touches my heart. It says what I’ve needed to hear more often than I’d like to admit. It reminds me that society tells me I need to look a certain way to fit in, but God says otherwise.

I’ve always been seen as a person full of confidence, but when I was growing up, it was all a show. Behind closed doors, I would look at myself in the mirror and wish I could be someone else. I never thought I was pretty enough when I compared myself to other girls. As hard as I would try, I couldn’t measure up, at least in my own eyes.

Fast forward 10 years, I am in love with the way I look more than ever, even with my flaws. Not because I think I look like a super model, but because I’ve accepted myself for who I am and the way God made me. My makeup skills are still limited to eyeliner and mascara. I’m typically in workout clothes, and I don’t care if my hair is in a bun. I am proud of who I am, and even on my worst days, I can find beauty inside myself.

I used to value my self-worth according to what others thought about me until I truly gave my life to Christ. He showed me that the only opinion that matters is his, and as long as I’m living for him, the opinions of others have faded in my mind. The artificial confidence I used to carry has become a reality.

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As women of Christ, we have to stop judging others and start lifting each other up. Remember: God created us in his image, and he makes no mistakes. He loves us for who we are, imperfections included. I’m not saying we should throw our makeup away and start wearing rags; I believe we need to take a step back and remember our worth. It’s not found in others; it’s found in our Heavenly Father. It’s time to fall in love with ourselves and lift others up to do the same. At the end of the day, there can never be a more beautiful you.

“I will praise thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made: marvelous are thy works; and that my soul knoweth right well.” Psalm 139:14

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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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The Importance Of Dating My Husband

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This past weekend, I had the opportunity to join my husband in the windy city of Chicago. This was my second time making the trip, and just like before, I had an amazing time. Being young parents, we don’t always get quality time to ourselves. Vacation is usually a full family trip, which we enjoy, but I think it’s important to take time for ourselves. Not only one weekend out of the year, but on a regular basis. Just because you’re married doesn’t mean you should stop dating your husband. Remember why you fell in love in the first place and continue to grow on that. There is no reason to stop falling deeper in love.

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Change date night up! It can be as simple as a new restaurant or even go the extra mile and plan a fun weekend getaway. I believe this is a  key component to a happy marriage. Be willing to step outside of the box and get creative.

Surprise dates are the best. Those least expected tend to mean more. It shows you put time into planning something without needing a reminder. Ladies, this applies to you as well; don’t wait for your husband to make the plans!

It’s easy to get caught up in everyday life and fall into a routine. Don’t be that couple. Continue to learn about your spouse and things they enjoy. Stay in constant communication and be willing to go on an adventure together, often.

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  1. If you know me, you know going to a trampoline park is my favorite Friday night activity. It’s silly and makes me feel like a kid again. Evan enjoys it just as much as I do!
  2. Evan’s favorite would be bowling. From time to time, I let him have his way. I am probably the worst bowler alive, so it’s nice when I beat him every now and then.
  3. A picnic in the park is always a win. Scooping up your spouse for a surprise lunch date is a sure way to win some points.
  4. Game night. Wait till the little ones have gone to bed and pull out those old board games. You can even use their games. I promise you’ll never be too old.
  5. Workout at the house together. My husband and I did the insanity intro video together once. We laughed so hard we cried. We didn’t accomplish a workout, but had a great time together.
  6. Go a little old school and head to the drive-in movie theater. We don’t have one close by, so the drive gives us time to catch up on the week and enjoy each others’ company.
  7. Go to a Paint and Pour. Another date that is sure to bring laughs, unless you’re married to Picasso.
  8. Take a cooking class. You could also do a dancing class, but my husband is beyond the point of helping.
  9. Go camping in your backyard. It takes the pressure out of actually planning a camping trip and still lets you enjoy the night sky with an actual bathroom close by.
  10. Take a trip to go apple picking. This gets you away from the busyness of life and lets you enjoy the fresh air with a yummy snack.
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*Can’t decide on just one? Grab a jar and write down the dates you want to go on and take turns picking one each date night. Now get to dating!

Always come back to the things you used to do when you first fell in love. If it was bike riding, then dust those off. If it was fancy dinner dates, than dress up and head out. Don’t be afraid to act like a kid and get messy. Enjoy each other every second of the day because life is too short to do anything less.

 

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