An Open Dialogue on the First 100 Days

Faith, Politics, POTUS, Trump

Donald Trump

Okay so if you follow my blog (you’re so great if you do) you might have read A Christian’s Response to the Election. Donald Trump being elected president back in November was a HUGE challenge for me. However, I was given an awesome way to respond as a Christian.

Fast forward, we are now in President Trump’s first 100 days in office. Well, the first week to simplify it even more. I thought the election results were a challenge… This is nothing compared to that. I see all these executive orders being thrown down and it is leaving me feeling hopeless, crushed and sad.

I do want to take a moment here to mention the multiple protests happening in the country (peaceful or not). These do give me hope. I am reminded this is a time for people to speak and not stand by in silence. I have heard stories of countless people coming together in unison for what is right. And that does warm my heart.

Anyway, back to the challenges. I don’t want to take a full blog post to mention my own opinions on all of the issues. I just want to create a discussion right here in these comments (or my Facebook post comments).

I would love to see how other people, Christian or not, are responding to these actions by Trump. I want this to be a forum where there is no judgment, where there are no political agendas or criticisms. I just want to see how people feel and their next steps forward.

Thanks in advance for being nice and decent toward others!

Living Loved

Body Image, Faith, Increase, Positivity

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Just a reminder that YOU ARE LOVED! I’ve written this on my mirror to remind me every single day.

One of my Christmas gifts was Uninvited, a book by Lysa TerKeurst. The subtitle is “Living Loved When You Fell Less Than, Left Out, and Lonely” which pretty much describes me on my low days and a big chunk of this season that I feel like I am finally coming out of. However, there is a ton of nuggets in the book that have already hit home with me (I am only on page 63). I wanted to write a post because I know more than one person I know has felt, is feeling, or will feel those same negative feelings.

As a young woman, a new wife, a young professional, someone who is away from her family etc., I tend to be really hard on myself. Usually, when something bad happens or I wake up feeling off, there is just no reversing the day. Then I talk down to myself and I not only doubt in God’s plan for me, but I doubt if God actually loves me. When I can’t feel God’s love for me, it’s hard to feel anyone’s love for me.

I think I said something misleading, “When I can’t feel God’s love for me”. The thing is, that is on me! There’s never a moment when we are not loved by our creator. God never stops pursuing us, yet this world has taught us that rejection and fear are all that we should know– it is so hard to fathom a perfect love. So capturing this love and living it out can be hard!

That’s what this book has been about so far, figuring out how to lived loved by our creator. Something I have learned that I need to do is simply slow down so I can accept and receive God’s love. That means making time for an intentional relationship with God, so when things don’t go my way or I feel hurt, I instantly run into his open and abiding grace, love and peace. Also, (super important) we should not put 100% stake in anyone else’s love for us, because there will be a time where it WILL fail us! Wow.

Once we grasp that, I think we will see amazing changes in our life. Living loved means living with a fullness that is kind of undeniable. When we know how much we are loved, it’s hard not to spread that. We know that no matter how anyone treats us, we are still loved.

I think I need to do a better job of not only letting God love me, but loving others! I was listening to K LOVE the other day. The segment was about treating each other with grace and love at all times. We never know when Christ could return, so wouldn’t it just be best to treat others in a way we wouldn’t be ashamed of if we were “caught” by Jesus? Imagine loving others the way Christ loves you, that can create such a ripple effect.. a little bit of good in a word that can be so harsh.

Is this making sense? Are you living loved?

Thanks for reading!

PS: I got offered a job! Having faith always always pays off. Thanks to everyone who has constantly been praying for me and loving me!

Dreamcasting

Body Image, doTERRA, Faith, Positivity, Travel

What I’m diffusing: Passion Inspiring Blend

What I’m cooking: Chicken cheddar, rice and broccoli bake


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Vision Board, Work in Progress

Lately I have seen a lot of talk about vision boards and the importance of visualization. Laying out what you want to happen this coming year on a board with images that reflect your goals helps to visualize them, this imprints them on your mind so that it literally becomes harder to stop thinking about them. It is like creating your own sense of accountability. So, my husband and I gave these a shot! I still want to add a little bit more flourish to mine but I’ll explain what I have:

Blue: My fitness goals. This year I want to focus more on nutrition via the Whole30, while still remembering to keep it fun. I’ll have a post on the the Whole30 soon, I’d love to get your input if you’ve tried it before I start my official 30 days.

Green: My dōTERRA goals. I want to continue to cultivate my passion for dōTERRA and remain positive throughout my journey. A huge goal of mine is to come as close as I can to ranking to gold. This means that I will have to put in A TON of work, but I’ll pretty much be doubling my income, and be able to do dōTERRA full time.

Yellow: My travel goals. A big passion that Duane and I share is traveling. We decided when we got married that we never wanted to sacrifice these dreams. We just want to go. Plans or no plans, it’s important to get away and de-stress.

Orange: My God goals. This one should be the biggest, but there is not many popular magazines that advertise religion or a relationship with God (or I just picked up the wrong magazines). I talked more about my year with God here.

Red: My financial goals. This year I want to let go of my financial worries and start to really save more so I can become debt free. I have awesome resources for this, it’s just all about making the decision to start.

The rest of the words and phrases are just things that I want to be my mantra, things that remind me of my self worth and the confidence that I should have.

What dreams are you all casting for 2017?

Naming My Year

Body Positviity, Faith, Increase, Marriage, Positivity

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Of course I have to make a New Years post, not because it is simply the New Year but because I truly believe God has a lot in store for me in 2017. My church, LifeStone church in the South Side of Pittsburgh, does a special New Years Eve service. The service is called the “Name Your Year” service. This was the first one I got to attend because in the past I was always on Christmas break. Needless to say, it was inspiring.

In order to help us name our year my pastor asked us to answer four questions:

  1. What are you believing God for in 2017?
  2. What biblical promises are you standing on in 2017?
  3. What personal changes are you asking God to help you make this coming year?
  4. What word or phrase describes God’s work for you in 2017?

I want to lay out my answers. Mostly because it is a good way for me to visualize things, and because with someone else reading this I am being held accountable.

  • I am believing in God for a couple things in 2017:
    • An increase in finances, letting go of worry.
    • A successful relocation somewhere that is closer to family.
    • An increase of my sense of self-worth and/or self-esteem.
    • An increase of God within my marriage.
  • As for the biblical promises, I have already been circling a few verses that connect to this. But I think it’s important to highlight them again.
    • Finances: “God will generously provide all you need. Then you will always have everything you need and plenty left over to share with others.” 2 Corinthians 9:8
    • Relocation: There are multiple stories of relocation in the Bible. So I’m going to find one that I can really connect with and go from there. Possibly starting with the story of Jacob to Egypt, then reading up further on Moses.
    • Self-worth: “I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.” Psalm 139:14
    • Marriage: God has such a special design and purpose for marriage (read Genesis 2), so that seems like a good starting place. This is a topic that takes two, so it’s hard for me to state scripture, or what I will and won’t do because my husband plays a big role in this part as well.
  • Personally, I want to be more disciplined in my time with God, my time in the gym and my diet. I will most definitely need the Lord’s help for this. I want to live a truly God first life. I believe that and discipline are very interconnected.
  • At first I thought my phrase for 2017 would be “God first”, however after praying about it, I felt as if the Holy Spirit was putting the word “Increase” on my heart. So there you have it!

Here is to letting go and letting God. It’s cheesy, but it’s true. I don’t have the energy or time anymore to always be in control. But I know that as soon as I let go, God is going to start the changes– I need this.

Lastly, as an effort to focus more on my relationship with God and myself, I am taking a step away from social. I’ve deleted Snapchat and deactivated my Facebook. I don’t know what this means for my doTERRA business plan, but God will help me figure it out. I want to begin to be more introspective, so focusing on my blog more will do that.

What are you changing this year? I’d love to know!

 

You vs. You

Body Image, Body Positviity, Faith

What I’m Diffusing: 3 drops Motivate, 2 drops Wild Orange

What I’m Eating: Frosted Flakes, because I’m making today great!!


So I think I talk a lot about what the world expects of us career wise, and life in general. But today I want to talk about what society expects of our bodies. Yes, this is a body positivity post, or at least a post that talks about trying to achieve that.

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My happy place! (The gym, not the gym bathroom.)

I have been blessed, there was never really a point where I despised my body but on the same hand there was never a point where I really stopped trying to better my body. For my 16th birthday I didn’t ask for a car or whatever 16 year old girls usually ask for, I asked for a membership to our local YMCA. At that point in my life I had quit all of the sports that I had played because I lost my passion. I no longer wanted to play sports because they just weren’t fun anymore, but that’s a whole different post. So, I became really inactive for the first time in my life, hence the desire for the gym membership.

My body began to change a lot. During my freshman and sophomore year I had a lot of muscle growth because of conditioning for volleyball, I grew so fast that I developed a lot of stretch marks. This became my number one insecurity. Then I also began to compare my body to almost everyone around me.

In college I got really into lifting. I tried a ton of different workout plan and completely drowned my Instagram feed with bikini and physique competitors, workout mavens, and downright beautiful women. This is who I wanted to be like, and I told myself constantly seeing these “goals” would help me reach my ideal body faster.

This was so stupid.

Literally, this made no sense. FYI to any girl reading this who sees these females on Instagram with amazing bodies, odds are staying in shape and going to the gym is what this woman does as her full time job– monetizing her workout and meal plans. It took me a long time to realize that the women I were idolizing weren’t balancing an 18 credit course load, working part time, living on their own, being a state away from everyone they loved most, etc. Not only do these women have time to go to the gym, they probably also had the money and resources to eat healthy and buy all of the correct supplements. This just wasn’t me, it’s not me, it will never be me.

I am okay with that.

I am made in God’s image, and that is beautiful. That simple sentence, that’s what changed a lot for me. Also the fact that my husband won’t let me be down on myself. Do not get me wrong, I still fully believe taking care of my body because it is my temple. But, I don’t hate myself after I eat pizza or if I feel too tired to work out I won’t. Or, I will wear shorts that don’t hide my stretch marks. For the first time in a long time I am okay with what I look like. That’s why I had cereal this morning, with cows milk (because Frosted Flakes don’t taste the same with almond milk). What I am trying to say is, love yourself the way God loves you!

My favorite verses on body image:

I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well. — Psalm 139:14

For while bodily training is of some value, godliness is of value in every way, as it holds promise for the present life and also for the life to come.– 1 Timothy 4:8

Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body. — 1 Corinthians 6:19-20

Thanks for reading!

 

A Christian’s Response to the Election

Faith, Politics
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Self explanatory, me cheesing after I cast my vote!

Full disclaimer to this post: I am in no way well versed in politics. I pay attention usually only to the issues and people that matter to me as a woman, someone with college debt, someone who loves the environment, etc. I am not claiming to know a little about a lot.

So I have been putting off talking about this because I wanted to get my own feelings straight first. If you are friends with me on Facebook you probably know at least two things about me I am a liberal and I am a Christian. This election has challenged the relationship of those two things.

First of all, I honestly did not believe that Donald Trump would win the presidential race. I don’t think that makes me naive either. I believe a lot of people thought this same thing. Like there was no way, ever that someone like Donald Trump (a bigot, a sexist, a racist, a homophobe, etc.) would be elected to the highest office in the country.

Rewind for a minute– I also have to be honest and say at first I had a really hard time accepting Hillary Clinton as the Democratic party’s candidate, as my candidate. I wasn’t sure where she stood or if she really had my best interests in mind. And I can’t call out Trump on all of his “misgivings” if I don’t also air out my initial thoughts on Hillary. I was just unsure; what is Benghazi? What is wrong with a private email server? Did Hillary change her stances? I had to do my research, so I did!

I know a few women who have been with Hillary for very long time. One of these women, Gabby Richards, changed the way I looked at Mrs. Clinton. Gabby fought hard for Hillary, for her issues, and for her chance to be President of the United States. She separated truth from lies and constantly took on anti-Hillary trolls head on (even if that meant 50+ comment threads on Facebook). I learned so much about not only what Hillary stood for (me and the things I care about), but what it means to fight for someone (or something) that you believe in. Gabby taught me to literally speak out. Sometimes this sucked, I had to speak out at work, I had to speak out against my family members… sometimes it made my heart hurt.

But, I was (am) with her.

Now for the harder part.

This might be where I lose some people. And that’s okay! After Trump was elected it was like the world stopped for a second and all hell broke loose. Like I swear I could see in my head, all the bad things already happening in the world, in our country, being multiplied because we elected a leader who fed into that rhetoric. We elected a leader who let the bad, scary stuff (for lack of better words) help him win.

What did this mean for my future child (who will obviously be black)? What did this mean for me as a woman? And less selfishly, what did this mean for the thousands of people who no longer had a voice, who couldn’t protect themselves? I was scared.

So, two Sundays after November 9th I am at church and the title for the service is A Christian’s Response to the Election. I thought okay here we go. Just a side note: I do not attend a church that pushes any political party or candidate. I knew one of two things was about to happen: I would either feel justified or convicted.

Conviction it was.

Here’s my outline of the message, or you can watch it here.

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Did you read that last part? Pray for our President. Then pray for our President-elect Donald Trump. So I said sure, “Dear God, please let Trump get impeached.” Then my pastor said, you can’t pray for impeachment. FINE, GOD!

I was mad, I was mad at God and at myself. Like I literally had just been checked by God. If you’re reading this far you probably know what that feels like.

But then I really thought about it. I can change my actions, change my words. That doesn’t mean I’m giving up on the idea of a better situation for our country or I’m giving up on Hillary Clinton, it just means I’m making my first label a Christian. Then I can be a bleeding heart liberal.

I can’t deny that God has a plan and that it is my duty to pray into that plan. Right now Donald Trump is going to be POTUS. I can’t think of anything more powerful or heart-changing than prayer. When I say heart changing I mean my heart and Trump’s heart (as well as his cabinet).

Also, Romans 13:1-2 is very important —  Every person must obey the leaders of the land. There is no power given but from God, and all leaders are allowed by God. The person who does not obey the leaders of the land is working against what God has done.”

So if you are for Hillary, but you are a Christian, please ask yourself these crucial questions:

  1. What is your first/filter label? Is it Christian? Is it your party affiliation?
  2. Are you living with a God first attitude?
  3. Is your heart ready to pray for Donald Trump? Is your heart able to change?

Okay, whew. That was a lot. If this article offended anyone in anyway, please do not take offense. This was me checking myself and my heart. It was hard for me, but when things are hard that’s when things are about to change.

I’d love to talk more on this with anyone! Leave a comment below or reach out.

Lastly, thanks for reading!

PS: This article can apply to Trump supporters to 😉

 

Staying Grounded

doTERRA, Faith

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Roller ball of the Moment: Holiday Blend, Clary Sage, Lavender, Bergamont

Cooking: The pizza I just ordered from Papa John’s 😉


As you know, if you have been reading my previous blogs, I have been struggling through a whirlwind of emotions and just different life changes. A big goal of mine of all of 2016 it seems like was to become more rooted in the Word. So I thought I would share a couple of verses that have become my mantra for a few of the specific things that I struggle with or need affirmation for. I hope they help you as they have helped me!

Job Related:

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding, in all your ways acknowledge Him and He will make your paths straight.” — Proverbs 3:5-6

“Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.” — Romans 12:12

“Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that He may lift you up in due time. Cast all your anxiety on Him because He cares for you.” — 1 Peter 5:6-7

Financial:

“God will generously provide all you need. Then you will always have everything you need and plenty left over to share with others.” — 2 Corinthians 9:8

“And my God will supply every need of yours according to His riches in glory in Jesus Christ.” — Philippians 4:19

Pray through Deuteronomy 28:1-14, inserting your name or “me” instead of “you”.

doTERRA Dreams (or your own daydream):

Delight yourself in the Lord; and He will give you the desires of your heart.” — Psalm 37:4

“For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for calamity to give you a future and a hope.” — Jeremiah 29:11.

“Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in it’s various forms.” — 1 Peter 4:10

“I will go before you and will level the mountains, I will break down gates of bronze and cut through bars of iron.” — Isaiah 45:2

Thanks for reading!

Limited Resources

doTERRA, Faith, Marriage
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Me on the streets of Old San Juan during our honeymoon!

What I’m Diffusing: 3 drops Holiday Joy, 1 drop Peace.

What is in the Crock Pot: Apple Crisp, recipe here.


I have and most likely always will be a planner. I plan out my meals, my workouts, my day to day, etc.

So, of course I have always had this pretty detailed life plan. Here it was: graduate high school, then go to college, then get a job in my field and get married. I guess no one really told me that’s what I had to do, but no one told me that it wasn’t either. I don’t regret my decision to go to college and all that, it made me who I am today. However, no one really warns you of the after.

When I graduated from Duquesne I was sure that I did not want to work a 9-5. I was about to get married and was honestly terrified of the mundane-ness of it all. I felt as if I would be tied down. Also, the job hunt wasn’t proving successful at all which was not good considering I had a wedding, honeymoon, an apartment, and utilities to pay for. For the first time ever I didn’t have a step by step plan. I took what jobs I could find, 2 part time marketing jobs. Marketing, not public relations for those of you reading who may not know– there is a difference. I told myself it was only temporary, until after the wedding.

So, for the summer I tackled my jobs the best I could. But I was stressed, I was tired, and I felt so worn down. Then the weekend of my wedding and my honeymoon came, the end was here! When we returned from our honeymoon I was too afraid to quit my jobs, I couldn’t take that leap. For those couple of months after I became so unhappy but I didn’t even realize it– my patient, loving and caring husband did. It was supposed to be the happiest time of our lives, but I was no longer the woman he had just married. It was scary.

So I quit.

I quit.

I quit.

Omg, did I really quit?

I decided to change my whole situation. I took a part time job at Chelsea Collective, a local women’s apparel store. I’m working a part time retail position. That wasn’t in my life plan. But you know what? I’m happier. I’m working on my plan, which brings me to my next point of limited resources.

There is so much I want to do, so much that my husband and I want to do. However, right now it feels like we have limited resources. My husband has taught me to dream big, pray bigger and to never lose your passions. I want to travel, I want to help people, I want to grow my dōTERRA business, I want to do something with health and fitness. All this with a million little things in between.

A lot of this I cannot do right now because I have limited resources. To be honest, there are days when I feel stuck or like I’m doing this all wrong. But I’m not, I know I’m not. How?  Because I am happy, I have God, I have the man I love by my side and I have the support from the people I need it from.

So, all I am trying to say is this– it’s okay to not plan, it’s okay to not to what is expected of you. I think I actually encourage this. You may not feel as stable as you always thought, but you will feel like yourself. You will feel like you are doing what matters most.

Thanks for reading and happy holidays!

It Is Written

Faith

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I love being challenged by things in the Word or other perspectives that may be different than mine. Last night a friend sent me a quote that stated, “‘God is in control’ is too often a Christian euphemism for ‘accept your oppression.'”

Interesting. This challenged me, not because I believe it but because I didn’t know how to state why I didn’t believe it.

I have a great group of sisters in God who I know I can always take my questions to. So that’s exactly what I did. (Here I think it is also important to state that my friend who posed the original question is also a Christian.) One friend stated that yes it is terrible what many people, God’s children, on this earth go through but at the end of the day it is written. I have definitely said that so many times–it is written, but I don’t know if I really understood it. Is it a cop out? Do we really have no control over our own lives?

Cue me bringing in my other sister. This woman has been like a mentor to me since I kind of began my faith journey all over again, so I knew she’d have some wisdom to drop. I simply wanted to know the significance of it is written and if that means at the end of the day we can’t stop our suffering. So let me put this into words that hopefully will help anyone reading this to understand like it helped me to understand.

There is no denying that we as humans go through terrible things, but this hurts and troubles God. Because of this, it is never written that we will suffer. However, there was a fall and because of that this world is broken, so when there is suffering that is a result of the fall. We are not inherently good, so when the consequences of our bad actions happen we try to blame this on God.

Bad things are not God’s fault because God is perfect. We don’t understand this because perfection does not exist in another human being on this earth.

So, one thing that I took away from this conversation as well is this: The Bible is true even if my feelings do not align yet. So we must commit to praying and reading into God’s heart on these confusing issues. I believe this is when we will grow, this is when we will see breakthroughs in our walk of faith.

Thanks for reading and thank you to my sisters in Christ for constant fellowship and positive discussion!