That Time I Didn't Care What Others Thought

Wednesday, July 27, 2016 24 comments

If you follow me on Instagram, you probably know that I finally made it to the beach! Can I get a "woot woot!"?

This trip was so needed. I appreciated the time to unwind, but I mostly just wanted to see my friends and lay on that beautiful beach all day. I wanted the salt air and sea, and I wanted to smell tanning oil and sunscreen all day. Honestly, I was desperate for water, sunshine, and some of my favorite people. Praise the Lord I got all three of those for a glorious four days!

I Usually Care

As much as I'd like to be able to say otherwise, I am a very self-conscious person. I always have been. But since I'm extremely overweight now, I also worry about being your "typical fat girl". You know the ones: they are the girls that people cringe at when they see them in a bathing suit. They are the ones that even the most good-hearted people judge and criticize. I feel like that girl fairly often, but I feel it even more at the beach.

But something really awesome happened on this trip.

The first day I was there, I spent the first few hours of beach time by myself before my friend met up with me. There were fairly deep tidal pools right beside my beach chair, so I decided to get in the pools. I took selfies in the pools, floated in them, and straight-up laid down in those suckers. If I am being honest, I probably looked like a beached whale (seriously). But to my surprise, I didn't care! Sure, I was still self-conscious, and it gnawed at me a little, but not enough to make me stop.

I stayed in the tidal pools as long as I wanted and I did my own thing. I didn't care (very much) if people thought I looked silly, fat, or stupid. I was relaxing, having fun, and enjoying my vacation.


Friend, that day, I impressed myself a little. I had allowed myself not to care what others thought. Even though I was still worried and self-conscious, the fact that I pushed through and continued doing what I was doing was proof enough that I didn't really care what others thought. If I did, I would have stopped, cowered up to my chair, and tried to make myself small.

In that moment, I didn't do that.

And we really don't have to do that, you know. We don't have to try to hide in order to cover up our imperfections. We are beautiful regardless of what we look like. I hate my weight and am trying to lose it, but I am still beautiful right now.

And so are you!

It's Totally Ok

Whether you are over-weight, feel like a beanpole with no curves, hate your skin, or have a high, squeaky voice, you are beautiful. You don't have to care so much what others think.

It's ok to lay in a tidal pool even if you feel like a beached-whale.

It's ok to wear a dress that was made for curvy people. If you like it, wear it.

It's ok to go make-up free- even if you have bad acne.

It's ok to speak up, make conversation, and sing loud, even if your voice is higher (or lower) than most.

These things may be "imperfections", but you, wonderful lady, are beautiful. You don't have to hide away because someone might think negatively of you.

I could have missed out on a very fun piece of my beach trip. I could have decided to let what others might think affect the way I enjoyed my day. But I didn't. I had a wonderful time and I don't regret it.

And that was the time I didn't care what others thought.

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It's Ok To Disagree- Mug-spiration Monday

Monday, July 25, 2016 16 comments

Happy Monday, wonderfuls! I hope you've had a fantastic weekend and that you are coming back to the work week refreshed and rejuvenated. I just came off of a week-long vacation that was awesome and far too short. Thankfully though, I've got an adorable 1.5 year old to nanny, so going back to work is worth it!

Before I went on vacation though, I had a lot on my mind. I was worried about a few situations, I was super sleep-deprived, and I was just feeling run-down and draggy. Social media didn't help between all the Trump vs. Hilary, black vs. cop, and a few terrorist attacks. How in the world are we supposed to function well when everything around us shouts, "Run away! The world has turned to crap!"?

In all of this though, I am learning a valuable (and difficult) lesson: we don't have to agree to love each other.

Love em' right

I was talking to one of my very best friends recently and we realized that we disagree on a very big current issue. And really, we only disagree with one part of the issue- the rest we are still in agreement. But it still worried me. What if she decides she doesn't like my view and therefore doesn't like me? What if I say something that makes her mad? What if she says something that makes me mad?

Thankfully, this friend is not like that. We have an amazing relationship and she is one of the best friends I have ever had. Neither of us is going anywhere. We love each other even when we disagree. And it's because we know that life and friendship is about so much more than agreeing on every single issue.

We know the heart of the other person and we love each other deeply. We don't have to agree to unify in the bigger picture. And we don't have to worry about the other person leaving. This is love done right.

Why Should We and How Can We?

We can still love others who disagree with us because we know that we are not perfect. We may disagree with a loved one, but two things are true: 1.) We could be wrong, 2.) even if we aren't wrong, we have been in the past and will be in the future.

If we get mad at everyone who disagrees with us, we are assuming both that we are perfect and that they are automatically wrong. Sometimes, we indisputably know that we are right. But many times, our opinions are dumb. Sometimes we have royally idiotic ideas about things. So why should we get angry when people disagree with us? If we are right, we should give grace to the one who is wrong, knowing that we've been there too. If we are wrong, we should be humble and move forward, knowing that everyone has been where we are at some point.

So if we disagree with someone, we need to stop fighting, storming off, or criticizing the one with whom we disagree. All that we need to do is state our case respectfully and un-apologetically, but also with humility and kindness. Then we can simply move on and love them fiercely.

Do you need to improve in this area? Have you found yourself at war instead of loving everyone regardless of who they are or what they think? Comment below.

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Picking the Perfect Gift for Your Loved Ones

Friday, July 22, 2016 6 comments
This post has been sponsored by Groupon Coupons. All opinions are my own.

I have always been a gift-girl. I feel loved when I receive thoughtful gifts from those I'm closest to, and I show my love to them by putting thought and effort into the gifts I give to them. Gifts have always been a part of my love language, and though I show my affection in all sorts of ways, I tend to revert back to gift-giving as my go-to way to show the wonderfuls in my life that they matter.

However, as much as I love giving gifts, sometimes it can be a challenge to find the perfect gift for the people we cherish most. But there's always something awesome we can find to give if we just know how and where to look.

3 Ideas for Picking the Perfect Gift

Make it Yourself

I know that some people don't feel "crafty", but friend, you can do it. If you would like to make your loved-one something special, but you've always been too scared to try, now's the time! There are all sorts of tutorial videos on Youtube, detailed projects on Pinterest, and supplies galore at places like Michael's, A.C. Moore, and Hobby Lobby!

Personally, since I make jewelry and candles, I love to give those things as gifts because I can use something I am good at to show love to friends and family.
But whether you are crafty or not, I hope that you'll give handmade gifts a try. There are very few people who just can't do it!

Give Time Instead of Stuff

When I was younger, I would give away my time by making "coupons" for "Mommy-Daughter date night", or "a day of shopping" with my best friend. These "coupons" could be cashed in at any time and were a fun gesture.

It may sound cheesy (ok, I know it sounds cheesy), but I still think these are a great idea- especially for those of us who have a shoe-string budget.

Think about it- how often do you get to see your dad? How often do you have lunch with your sister? Why not make them a "coupon" as a gift? Promise them lunch at any restaurant of their choosing (your treat), or a commitment to seeing the newest superhero movie with them (no matter how much you hate super-heroes).

Most recipients will appreciate the gesture and be very glad to have some extra time to spend with you!

Be Helpful

I think one of the best gifts in the world is one that has been thought out and is helpful to that specific individual. For example, right now I am reading Wild and Free and I am finding it incredibly helpful and encouraging. I'm only three chapters in, but I already have three different friends who I would love to give this book to. But alas! Unfortunately, paying full-price is a hard thing to manage at this point in life. Thankfully though, Groupon Coupons allow me to find awesome deals at places like Barnes and Noble, making it feasible for me to order these books for my wonderful friends!

It doesn't have to be books though. Groupon Coupons let you find deals at a variety of places like:


Foot Locker 

Bed, Bath & Beyond

And many more!

This way, if your bestie is almost out of her favorite makeup, you can search Groupons for Sephora and find discounts on what you already know she needs. If your mom's bedspread has bitten the dust, you can search to see if there are any bedding deals at Bed, Bath & Beyond. Now you can use your gift-giving talents to show love and be super helpful at the same time!

Are you a natural gift-giver, or do you struggle to find a present when birthdays and holidays roll around? Comment below.

Be All of You- Not Some Half-Rate Version of You (Mug-spiration Monday)

Monday, July 18, 2016 14 comments

Happy Monday! By the time you wonderful people are reading this, I will be at the beach. Hopefully by then I will be super tan (er... freckled) and have had plenty of Italian Ice from my favorite beach stop!

But enough about me! Do you have your coffee? If you are drinking something yummy along with me, I'd love to see. Use the hashtag "#mugmonday" on Twitter or Instagram to show off your Monday pick-me-up!

Now, who is ready for a little Mug-spiration Monday!

Do you ever have times when you are "kind-of" yourself? I mean, you don't hide who you are entirely, but you don't let the "real you" fully show either? I do that for sure.

-I get embarrassed about my sense of humor and don't joke as much if people don't "get me".

-I scale back my bubbly, outgoing side if I feel like people don't like me.

-I tell half-truths about what I like and dislike when it's obvious my real interests will be scoffed at.

Anybody guilty right along with me?

The thing is, wonderfuls, you all have something beautiful about you. You aren't perfect, but you still have qualities that deserve to shine.

Don't Let Your Flaws Dictate Your Life

You may have some trouble with arrogance sometimes, but that doesn't mean you should hide your gifts that you are proud of. Your flaws don't negate your talents. You are simply human and have some things to work on.

Just because you sometimes struggle with anger and a combative personality doesn't mean you should never express your opinions. It only means you need to learn to control your anger. Don't hide your opinions because you might get mad. Instead, share your opinions and work on doing so kindly and with understanding towards others.

Just because you like to listen to Polka music while you paint your nails doesn't mean there is something wrong with you. Just because I LOVE the Jonas Brothers doesn't mean I am weird. There are plenty of reasons to call me weird, but that isn't one of them ;)

Don't Hide Your Shine

When we hide who we are- quirks and all- the world is missing something vital. They are missing our shine.

From the littlest of things like your polka music, to the big things like your talents that you are hiding away, it doesn't do the world any good when we are only half-us.

We shine bright when we stop worrying about what others think and start really being ourselves. When we let our loud laughs, our goofy smiles, and our strange-but-funny habits come into light, we make the world a little bit better place.

-Don't hide your smile because you don't like your teeth- people need smiles more than they need gorgeous teeth.

-Don't stop making people laugh just because some people don't understand your jokes.

-Don't allow trials or people's opinions to keep you from pursuing your dreams. A bumpy road usually shouldn't be enough to hinder your ambitions.

-Don't change your passions because someone you love criticizes them.

-Don't be afraid to talk about tough concepts and ideas. Your opinion matters.

All of You

Being yourself- being all of you- can be tough when you let others dictate how you feel about yourself. But when you love yourself enough to see yourself through God's eyes, and decide to be the person you are capable of being, great things happen.

Don't be a half-rate version of yourself. Be all of you!

Have an awesome Monday, wonderfuls!

4 Ways a Lack of Organization Can Hinder Our Lives

Friday, July 15, 2016 7 comments

I can't seem to help it no matter how hard I try. I am not an organized person. I buy a planner every year, with full intention of using it well. I write down a budget that I want to follow, and I even write down my plans for losing weight.

I start out pretty organized, but something always happens. Somehow, my good intentions of staying organized turn into disarray and disorganization.

Disorganization, in my experience, comes down to a lack of discipline. Not only does it take discipline to complete the tasks set before us, but it also takes discipline to be organized enough to know which tasks you even need to accomplish for the day.

When we are undisciplined, we usually lack organization. And when we lack organization, we often find ourselves failing at things we desperately want to succeed at.

Makes Us Forgetful

Being disorganized usually causes us to be forgetful, since we have not taken the time to map out all that we need to do. Unfortunately, I am already pretty forgetful, so being disorganized completely does me in. If I have 6 things to do in a day and I don't write those things down, chances are I will only remember to to 2 of those tasks.

I know other people are forgetful too. We live in a world that stays so busy that it's not surprising that we can't keep up with it all. But organization can help us immensely. Disorganization is bound to continue the pattern of forgetfulness.

Keeps Us From Getting As Much Done

Even if there are times when we aren't forgetful about things, a lack of organization still makes our process much slower. If we are organized and know where everything we need is located, our tasks are going to move along much more quickly than they would if we couldn't find anything. Having to take time out of an already busy day to search for things we need is miserable and counter-productive.

Makes Us Stressed

When we can't remember all we have to do, or we cannot find what we need, we will inevitably become stressed out- there's just no way around it!
There are times that I have everything written down in my planner, my lunch is packed for the next day, and my clothes are laid out and ready for the coming morning. These days almost always start smoothly and there is little stress involved. Why? Because I was organized. Instead of waiting until the last minute to do everything, I got my act together and prepared for what was in my near-future.

Hinders Our Dreams

Lastly, and maybe most importantly, a lack of organization hinders our biggest dreams and goals. I know this to be true for my blog, as well as other areas of my life. When I am scrambling around, trying to remember what I need to do today, or who I was planning on emailing, or which post I am going to write next, I absolutely fail. I get behind, my stats go down, my confidence goes down, and I find myself playing catch-up when I could have been ahead.

Regardless of what your dreams are, disorganization will do the same to you. It will hinder you, discourage you, and keep you five steps behind where you had hoped to be.

So what do you say we try to correct these bad habits? Why not decide to reject disorganization so it can no longer hinder us?
I am committing to writing in my planner this month and actually checking off tasks. I am also committing to laying out my clothes and packing my lunch the night before I work to reduce stress. They say it takes 30 days to make something a habit, so lets take the next 30 days to form some good ones!

Interested in more posts about organization and making life more manageable? Check out these posts!

5 Ways to Organize your Way to a Better Day by Little Sprouts Learning

Organize Your Way to Less Food Waste by Ever Change Productions

Does Originality Still Exist?

Wednesday, July 13, 2016 23 comments
*Originally published January 2016* 

When I went to college in the Fall of 2009, my creative writing professor quickly introduced me to Anne Lamott. This quirky, fiery author speaks boldly about her faith, being a single mom, and some other tough issues, but she also talks about finding our voice through writing. Anne Lamott first made me realize that everyone out there has something to say, whether they know how to say it or not. She also showed me that every writer has originality, because we all have our own writing voice.
“If something inside of you is real, we will probably find it interesting, and it will probably be universal. So you must risk placing real emotion at the center of your work. Write straight into the emotional center of things. Write toward vulnerability..."
-Anne Lamott, Bird by Bird
This truth has stuck with me as a blogger. When I have a post idea that I'd like to write about, but then I see that someone has already written on the subject and done a very good job, my natural reaction is to shrink back and decide that I could not write it as well as the other person did. I also tend to feel that if I write the "same" post as someone else, then I am not being original. But I could never write the same post as someone else. This is because no one can write something the same way that I do. I am not the same as another blogger, which is precisely why I have something to offer.

It's easy to feel like we can't measure up, but we can. There is always a risk when we put ourselves out there- allowing the whole world to peer into our souls through our written words. But when we realize that our words are powerful, and that we have the ability to make a real difference, then it is much easier to keep on typing. We can't (and shouldn't) write a post in the same way someone else did, but what we can do is write a post with honesty-with love- and we can share it in hopes of reaching someone who needed to read what we wrote, in the way that we wrote it.

Different people connect with and understand different styles of writing. My husband can read something and report to me that it was excellent. However, I may read the same thing and get absolutely nothing out of it.

Why is this?

It's because every author writes in their own voice. This means that every single writer out there has originality, because no one else can write exactly the way they do. And in the same way, each reader is going to connect with the text in a different way. What speaks to me will mean nothing to another. What helps someone else may not help me at all. And that's ok.

The fact of the matter is, originality does still exist. We may write about the same topics, but we will never bring it to life in the same way. There are some people that my writing will never help, but there are other people who need my writing. They will be helped by me (really by God) in a way that no one else has helped them.

So next time you are tempted to put down your pen or close your laptop because you feel like you have nothing left to say, remember that you do have originality, and you absolutely have something important to say. Harness it, write it, and share it.

Do you believe you have something important to say? Why or why not?

The Problem is Not Black and White

Monday, July 11, 2016 21 comments

By the time this post goes live, I'll probably be one of 20 zillion bloggers who have chimed in about all that has been going on with police brutality and all that has followed. As bloggers, we sit behind our computer screens and write about things that we only see at surface level. Most of us are not experts, and can only see what the media lets us see. So before I dive into this topic, I'd like to say that I am only human. I have ideas, standards, and beliefs. I wouldn't believe what I believe if I didn't think it was true. But just because I type up some words about a very difficult subject, doesn't mean I have it all figured out.
I simply want to offer some food for thought.

Police Brutality and #Blacklivesmatter

I am so sorry to all the families who have lost someone dear because of police brutality. I wish I could tell you that everything will be ok- but your worlds are turned upside-down forever. I know that.

I'd like to say that you absolutely do matter. Black lives do matter. And yes, all lives matter. Those are both very true statements, and I believe them both with all my heart.

You do not deserve to be treated poorly because of the color of your skin. And when this happens, it disgusts me. I am so sorry!

But I do think that #blacklivesmatter is actually doing you injustice. When someone says "Black lives matter", it places you in a separate category, which only serves to re-segregate you. Equality comes when we don't see color. It comes when we stop putting ourselves in separate categories. You have fought for so long not to be segregated, but now a simple phrase is actually serving to re-segregate you in a sense.

The travesties going on right now are very much racial. And that is a terrible, disgusting thing. But I am not convinced that doing more talks about "those blacks" or "those whites" is doing anyone any good. Should we acknowledge racism? Absolutely. But some people are way past acknowledging it- they are cultivating a war of the races.

There are thousands of people- black and white alike- that are on your side when it comes to police brutality. We want to support you and help you.


The fact of the matter is, evil people are going to do evil things. Prejudice is evil. The shooting of men who don't deserve it is evil. It's evil whether it was done by a white cop, a black cop, a terrorist, etc. Just like the shooting in Orlando was evil. And equally evil was the attack of cops- especially since they had nothing to do with the other incidents.

Assuming all white cops are corrupt is just as evil as assuming all black people are criminals capable of violence.

But honestly, we can expect evil from a world filled with sadness, despair, and anger. We cannot change what other people do. We cannot protest the evil out of the world. We cannot shoot evil out of the world. We can't even get rid of evil through acts of kindness.

The Answer

I bet you weren't expecting that last one. Chances are, you might even be a little bit mad that I said that. But it's true.

No matter how many "good deeds" or "kind acts" you perform, you aren't going to change the world. Sure, you're doing more good than harm, but you still can't fix it.

The problem is not (and never will be) corrupt cops or violent "blacks". The problem is not racist whites OR racist blacks. The problem is not gay or straight, transgender bathrooms or "bigoted Christians". The problem is not Hilary Clinton or Donald Trump. The problem isn't an issue or cause. The problem is a lack of Jesus.

Jesus is always the answer, but most people never get that. Even people who claim to be Christians have no idea what that means. And I'm not just talking about the "flaming liberals" who want more gun control. I'm also not just talking about the "conservative bigots" who want the freedom to refuse a wedding cake to a homosexual couple.

I'm talking about about the little old lady who's been in church her whole life, but has no concept of her own sin. I'm talking about the 30-year-old man who donates his time to all the good causes and social justice organizations he can find, yet has no interest in what God's word says about his own life. If we are not for God- truly, deeply for Him- then we are against Him (Matthew 12:30).

Jesus is the only way for our salvation. And that is the crux of the whole thing. But Jesus is more than just our "ticket" to Heaven. He also instructs us on how to handle evil and injustice in the world:

"Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse them. Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep. Live in harmony with one another. Do not be haughty, but associate with the lowly. Never be wise in your own sight. Repay no one evil for evil, but give thought to do what is honorable in the sight of all. If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all. Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.”
(Romans 12:14-19)

Make the Choice

Again, you cannot control what someone else does. And even your feeble acts of kindness cannot change the world. But- and that's a big but- with God, you can make a world of difference.

You see, kindness done for the sake of kindness is futile. But kindness and love shown for the sake of Christ, and out of our gratitude to Christ is everything.
The world needs to see us bringing forth love. The world needs to see us loving black people, loving cops, loving homosexuals, loving drug-addicts, prostitutes, and yes, even Hilary, Bernie, Trump, and Obama. They need to see kindness towards everyone, a lack of hateful speech, and a consistency in the way we live our lives.

They need to see followers of Christ who don't take sides, but show love to all. They also need to see followers of Christ who know how to stand firm on God's word without acting like idiots towards those who oppose them.

If we commit to living like this, many of us will find ourselves ostracized, even by fellow Christians. There are plenty of Christians who think it's their job to change the world through their "loud" Facebook posts. Others who think it's their job to rid the world of "closed-minded", conservative Christians who "take the Bible too literally". And others will take it upon themselves to bible thump "the gay" out of the homosexuals they know. Those sound like great ministry tools, huh? *insert slow eye-roll*

You can be as loud as you want, as articulate as you want, and as rude as you want, but that isn't going to change the world. What will change the world is Jesus. What will change the world is people seeing love shown by the followers of Jesus.

So we can either keep failing with our methods for "bring peace", or we can do it God's way. Take your pick.

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