I am broken

Someone dear pointed out to me that my blog has recently been silent. My only response was that it was because my heart and my mind have been very loud. The truth is, I’ve had this blank post pulled up on my laptop for over a week now. Each moment I sat down to begin writing, my emotions took control. I want to be very real with my readers, because this isn’t just a blog to encourage you to chase your goals or to feel happy in life. My blog is a place that people can come to relate and know that they are not alone with whatever they are going through. But despite how real it would be to have my emotions speak, I knew it was not the right time to write this post.

Until now.

This past week proved to be one of the more difficult ones. Three important tests at school, on top of nursing my sick pup back to health started to get the best of me. I kept thinking that this wasn’t right. I shouldn’t have to be doing this by myself. I was a combination of exhaustion, hurt, and anger. I began feeling ashamed. Where did that girl go that used her experiences to encourage others? Why were there moments that is was easy to be the light, and other moments where it seemed the light was being dimmed? Why did everything seem to get much more difficult?

It’s easy to be happy when everything in your life seems to be going according to plan. It’s easy to forgive people who have wronged you when they are begging for your forgiveness. It’s easy to love your spouse when your marriage is great and their mistakes are few. It’s easy to trust God and praise Him when His blessings are very evident to you.

But what happens when it’s not easy anymore?

What happens when your life’s plan no longer exists? What happens when someone wrongs you and doesn’t care? What happens when you pour your heart out, just to have it broken? What happens when you no longer see His blessings, but only see burdens? What happens in your heart during these times?

I’m learning that it’s going to get more difficult, and that the most important thing that I can do in these moments is guard my heart. It’s when we’re the most vulnerable that the enemy tries to attack. He’ll tell us to blame our miserableness and our situation on other people. He’ll whisper to us that there is no hope and that we are all alone. He’ll try to convince us that we are unlovable and that the pain we feel proves God doesn’t care. In our brokenness and our hurt we must be on guard against these lies.

What flows from your heart when it is broken? You see, out of a bitter broken heart flows hatred and misery. Out of a self reliant broken heart flows disappointment and doubt. But out of a humbled broken heart flows redemption and hope. Whatever the cause of your brokenness, you can choose what’s going to flow from it. When things start to get more difficult, and your heart becomes more vulnerable, guard it.

Do not be ashamed of your brokenness. When you reach that point in your life where the walls seem to cave in and the pain feels unbearable, know that you are in the process of being broken. It’s going to hurt and no part of it is pleasant, but don’t forget that in order to be made new, we must first be broken. And don’t forget that through your brokenness, the state of your heart is going to show.

My heart is broken; I am broken. There are moments where I can see my heart react out of bitterness or self reliance. In those moments I’m listening to the lies. But by His grace I am humbled and reminded that I cannot do this on my own.

This is a part of my story. This is the process of me becoming broken, so that I may be made new.

When I come clean about my brokenness, others catch glimpses of how the real grace of God works in the messy life of a real person. And I don’t think that my blog could get any more real than that.

You know I love you all.



Without losing heart

Well, as I’ve said in my other blogs, life is a journey. And last weekend I decided to do something somewhat crazy, and drop everything for a few days to drive to Virginia. It was an experience I will not regret.

I know it has been a while since I’ve mentioned my marriage testimony in my blogs, and perhaps one day I will share our story, but for now I will say this: overcoming the distance between, and dropping everything to pursue my marriage for a weekend was one of the greatest decisions I have made yet. Sometimes, the right thing to do is the most difficult thing to do at that moment, and that’s why it may seem crazy.

While I’d love to go on and on about the good that arose from last weekend, I’m actually going to share the experience that followed— starting with the car ride back home…

Its no secret that I am an emotional human being. I wear my heart on my sleeve. And as I left Virginia and headed back home to South Carolina, my emotions got the better of me. The truth is, everything was just fine, and my emotions in that moment were unexplainable. I got home late that night and went straight to bed, hoping to wake up and be back to the positive and happy woman I had become these past few moths. But as I went about my day, the tears still came. At that point, I was beginning to worry. Being happy and passionate about life had become so normal for me— this feeling that I was encountering worried me because I didn’t understand why I was feeling so low. I went to sleep the next night, and the night after, hoping it wouldn’t return. But each day, without fail, it was still there and seemed to be getting worse.

Thursday rolled around, and I decided to take a day off to try and figure out what was going on. And I realized that after months of being strong and positive, it had all caught up to me. I was feeling defeat. I was feeling defeat because despite how positive I was being about my situation, it still was hard, and it still hurt. So I allowed myself to feel that defeat. I allowed myself to cry and to be emotional. But what I didn’t do, was allow myself to lose heart.

We’re going to have those days and those weeks. It doesn’t matter how strong you are, at some point in your life, you will feel defeat. Sometimes it will come when you least expect it— when it does, it slowly begins to drain you. You’ll be tempted to give up entirely… on your hope. On your job. On your marriage. On your family. Or even, on your life. Whatever your situation, you must not lose heart.

Its nothing to be ashamed of. Feeling defeat does not make you a weak person. It does not make you any less strong. In fact, the greatest test of our courage is to bear defeat without losing heart. Its being able to cry and feel the hurt, but not forgetting that there’s something far greater at work through your experience. You’re going to encounter many defeats in your life, but that does not mean you will be defeated.

When you find yourself in the midst of defeat, do what you need to do to recover. Take a nap, take a drive, cry, be angry, pray… do whatever it is that you need to do, without giving up and without losing heart.

As I push through my defeat of exhaustion and doubts, I believe that you too, can make it through. Hold onto that hope that things are going to get better, and accept that it’ll still be hard. And when you find yourself sinking into that temptation to give up, search your heart for every possible reason not to. Because I can promise you that no matter how dark it may seem right now, there will always be a reason not to give up.

And that reason, my dear friends, is why you can bear that defeat without losing heart.



This thing called life

This past week brought a new extreme of exhaustion that finally got the better of me. Thursday night, after pushing 5am to 11pm days all week, it all caught up to me in one moment. I was sitting there on the couch, reflecting on the past few weeks and how hard I’ve been trying to work to get to where I want to be in the future. As I thought about how far I’ve come, and how far I still have to go, the tears started rolling down my face.

It’s hard to explain how I felt in that moment. I wasn’t necessarily sad, but rather in awe of the fact that I had been focusing so hard on where I wanted to be, that I was missing the beauty of where I am now.

As an influencer and a life motivator, I was quick to jump on the bandwagon of encouraging people to chase their goals. And I do think that we all need to chase our goals, however big or difficult or far off they may be. But it’s also important to not let the success of those goals determine your happiness. I would catch myself saying, “I’ll be happy when…” Have you ever done that? Have you ever created a goal or a plan that is so big and exciting, that you begin to give up the joy of what’s happening now, to solely focus on what will happen then? I was doing that. And it wasn’t until that quiet moment on the couch that I realized what exactly I was doing.

You see, in-between each of your goals and your future plans, there’s this thing called “life”. And every moment of every day, you are living it with or without reaching those goals. You wouldn’t say, “I’ll begin living when…” So why wait to “be happy when…”. Life isn’t going to wait, it’s going to keep moving forward, and you can either put off truly living until you’ve reached your goals, or you can begin living right now.

That beauty that I mentioned earlier, comes from enjoying the journey as well as the destination. I’m still learning to enjoy my journey. Sure, I’m still working hard to get where I want to be in the future, but I’m also taking the time to enjoy right now. Those random weekend road trips with friends that I could be working, or those late night conversations with someone close when I could be sleeping. Even the occasional shopping sprees or spa days, because sometimes enjoying right now means spending a little of that hard earned cash every now and then.

All this to say, enjoy right now. Because you can’t get to where you’re going, without going through whatever it is that you’re currently going through. I promise you, that if you take that small moment to be still and reflect on your life, you’ll see the opportunities you’ve been given to enjoy where you’re at. After all, life is a road trip that is meant to be enjoyed. There will be stops you must take along the way, and obstacles you must find a way around, but if you keep only looking forward, you’ll miss the beautiful scenery surrounding you. So take those moments to pull over on the side of the road, and admire it all— how far you’ve come, where you’re going to go, and how amazing it is to be exactly where you are right now.

“life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans.”

—John Lennon—

You know I love you all!



Bring on 22

Well everyone, I got to celebrate yet another year of my life this past weekend. I am extremely grateful for the people that went out of their way to make my day special. Let it be known that I am a very difficult person to surprise because of my curiosity. Many people have tried, yet many have failed. However, one individual was able to uniquely pull off the most amazing surprise party for me, and I really did have no idea! Huge shoutout to one of my besties, Kaitlyn. To say my life has improved since she became a part of it would be an understatement. Having her in my life has been such a blessing for many reasons. But I think the greatest reason is simply because she makes me want to continue on this path of truly pursuing life and happiness, despite the hard things. And Kaitlyn is one of many. You, my lovely readers, are my motivation as well.

A lot has happened since I turned 21 last year, and as I look back and see how far I’ve come, I can’t help but smile. Sometimes it’s so easy, in the moment, to wish that the pain or the difficult things we go through in life wouldn’t happen, or would just go away. In the moment, I didn’t want to feel the pain of a broken marriage in need of mending that only God can provide. In the moment, I didn’t want to feel the exhaustion of finishing school and working full time to pay bills. In the moment, I didn’t want to feel alone and scared of what the future held. But I’m so glad that I had to and still have to go through some of those experiences. Every single thing that I went through as a 21 year old, has shaped me into the woman I’m going to be as a 22 year old. And I’d like to think that way for the rest of my life. I hope that each year I’m able to look back at all that has happened, good and bad, and smile knowing that I am the woman I am today because of it.

With that being said, I want to share with you, one of my greatest take aways from this past year.

Do you really want to know why it became easier to genuinely smile each day?… My life was no longer solely about me. Suddenly, other people and their lives were important to me. I went from trying to find the good in each day, to being the good in someone else’s day.

Why does it seem so difficult for us to be kind to one another? I’m not saying that I would consider myself mean or cruel before, even though that is the opposite of being kind. Not being mean does not automatically make you a kind person. Unfortunately, I think we’ve begun to settle with this idea that if we refrain from cruel words or deeds, then we can have a clear conscious and that's all that matters. But it’s so much more than just that!

Being kind means that instead of responding rudely or refraining from a response at all, you respond with grace and patience. A response that deep down means, “Hey, I know that you are a human too. Which means you’re not perfect, and you’ve probably got hard things going on in your life as well. So instead of acting selfishly, I’m going to make sure that I take this opportunity to better your day.”

Now that’s not always easy, especially when all you have been getting in return is cruelty. But I can promise you this: when you respond with grace and patience—when you choose to be kind, things begin to change inside of you. And when things change inside of you, things begin to change around you.

My life has changed. The purpose and happiness I feel in each day stems from the random opportunities that I am given to show someone kindness. I use to want to be remembered as the girl who had her life in order by the time she was 19; to be remembered by how great my life was. But now, I want to be remembered as the woman who saw the brokenness in her life, as a way to better someone else’s life.

How do you want to be remembered?….

It’s never too late to change your life. It’s never too late to be kind.



The truth about hope

Hello my lovely readers! I suggest you get comfortable as this blog post will be a little deeper than usual.
 We’re going on almost ten months now since I wrote my first blog post. For those of you who have supported me from day one, I greatly appreciate you! I have to say, I’m still shocked by the amount of individuals who have contacted me and said, “Hey, I read your blog…” I didn’t know how many people would actually take the time to read heartfelt posts written by a young woman who’s trying to spread some hope by sharing her life experiences. But the more I wrote, the more I realized how impactful human connections and life stories can be. 
When I first began blogging, I had this desire to reach many people and to keep them  coming back to my blog for more. More hope, or encouragement, or whatever form of comfort they found in my words. I thought that in order to reach a lot of different people I had to keep my views and beliefs modest, or else I might miss out on an opportunity to share hope with someone of different beliefs and views. And I hope that even if you do believe differently or disagree with something I write about, you can still find it in your heart to continue reading my blog.                                                                        So before I dive into a somewhat deeper subject, I want to say this: whatever you believe, whatever race you are, whatever gender you are or identify as, whatever form of income you make, whatever walk of life you are in, whatever you are going through, you are loved and there is hope. Each and every blog post that I write is for YOU. 
The truth is, the words I write and the encouragement I share are temporary. I’ve realized that if I were to remain modest with my beliefs, then I would not be impacting you, my readers, in the long run. I love each of my readers and I want to help you find joy and hope even in the midst of the heartache and pain, just as I have. However, true hope and true joy is only found in Someone much greater than I.  
I had a friend approach me last week. They said this, “I just don’t understand how you can be this happy and passionate about life given your current situation.” I looked them in the eyes and said, “It all stems from where my hope is placed.” 
You see, it doesn’t matter who you are. At the end of each day, we are all searching for something to put our hope in and to hope for. You might place your hope in things such as money, a job, or possessions. Or perhaps you place your hope in other people and relationships. At some point in your life, those things will fail you, and my question to you is this: when those things that you placed your hope in, fail you, what do you have left to hope for? You can lose that job or that relationship and pretend to move on, and eventually do so because that’s the strong thing to do. You can share the inspirational quotes on your social media and share with your friends how great you’re doing since your last hope failed you and the new things you’re placing your hope in. You can even get inspired by the self love message and begin placing your hope in yourself. But my dear friends, the hardest thing to realize is that you will fail yourself. Yes, self love is very important. And yes, you have so much value. But you are not perfect, and you will fail yourself and other people. In fact, recognizing that, puts a whole new meaning on love. Love, despite the failure and imperfection is a much more powerful love. But its also important to recognize that we can’t keep placing our hope in things that will fail.                                                                                                                  As a young woman, one of the things that I told myself as an influencer was that I needed to realize and help other women realize that we are enough. But the truth is, I am not enough for myself. None of us are truly enough. If we were enough, we could place our hope in ourselves.
So right about now, you may be thinking, well what now? You’ve shot down my spirits and basically told me that I’m a failure and not enough for anyone, let alone myself. 
Yes, your life is beautiful and you have value, but no, you yourself are not enough to place your hope in. With all modesty aside I say this: there is Someone who is enough. There is Someone who will not fail you. There is Someone whom you can place all hope in. Sometimes we have to come to the end of ourselves to realize how much we need Him. 
I am truly happy and full of passion simply because I have placed my hope in Jesus. I know that no matter how many times life knocks me down, He will be there. My hope is in Him alone.
I don’t know what you’re going through, and I don’t know what you believe, but I do know that deep down, you are searching for something to hope in. When you get to that point where it seems all hope is lost, remember this post.
Because you are loved, and there is hope, and each and every blog post that I write is for YOU. 



One piece of the puzzle

I’ve had a lot of people reach out to me after my last post. To those who are wondering, I am doing ok; still taking this day by day. Your constant prayers are greatly appreciated. Please continue to pray for my husband. I know God is working and He is fighting. All I need to do is be still. (Exodus 14:14)

I was blessed to have an old friend reach out to me earlier this week. I don’t think people realize the true value of human connections. Sometimes, when you feel like you’re not going to make it, all you need is to hear from a fellow being that you’re not alone. That they’ve walked that road, or that they are walking that road with you.

This friend of mine shared their struggles and their pain, and I listened and I shared mine. My heart ached for them because I felt their pain, but as the conversation came to an end, they said “I feel encouraged”, and a few happy tears fell down my face. I was reminded once again, how even in the midst of pain and hurt, life is a beautiful thing. There’s mistakes to be made and there’s lessons to be learned, but there’s also hope to be shared. And the hope that my friend needed was to know that they aren’t alone. And you aren’t alone. Whatever it is you are having to walk through in your life right now, whatever is causing your stress and anxiety to build up, whatever is causing you to go to sleep with anger or sadness in your heart… you are not alone. So be sad, but don’t stay sad. Life goes on, and there’s so much more to your life then what you see right now.

Sometimes we can get so caught up in the difficulties and the bad times, that we forget about the bigger picture. Think about it… right now you could be stuck on one piece of the puzzle; one piece representing this hard time in your life. But what you might not realize is there’s so much more to your life’s puzzle. There’s going to be more bad times, but there’s also going to be more good times. The beauty of it all is that it takes both the bad and the good pieces to complete the unique puzzle of your life. And yeah, it’s really hard right now. This one piece is really wearing you down, but don’t give up!

Something truly beautiful is going to unfold, and this pain you feel and the stress and the difficulties are going to be worth it.

Here’s my advice for puzzles: patience is a game changer.



Take the next step

Let me start this post out of complete honesty and boldness… Had this situation happened even just a year ago, I would not be handling it as well as I am right now. There really is a time for everything (Ecclesiastes 3:1).

I remember way back several months ago when I wrote my first blog post and began sharing my story and life experiences with y’all. I was, and still am convinced that the tough times we go through in life serve a far greater purpose; not just for ourselves, but for others too. I decided that instead of keeping to myself, I wanted to share my trials and how I am working through them, so that someone else might find hope knowing that they are not alone in their own trials. Doing this has shaped me into a far more understanding human. A more patient human. It has even encouraged me to see and recognize my own value and worth because I was tired of seeing others despise themselves and wish they were someone else. I wanted to become an example, and thus began my journey of loving others and myself fiercely. I say all this before I dive into this post, to give you a better understanding of what I meant when I said there is a timing for everything.

At the age of 17 I met a young man and I fell in love. And yes, if you ask me now, I will tell you the same thing. I do still love him. We got married and the years that followed held highs and lows as any relationship would. Every relationship has a story. And what I am about to share with you is part of our story.

“Something’s got to change.” I can still hear his words in my head. And I couldn’t say that I disagreed. It wasn’t a secret that the two of us loved each other differently. We both knew that something really did have to change, because the path we were walking down together grew wider and the two of us, farther apart. So change happened in ways out of my control and not of my choosing.

I do not know what the future holds. I know what I hope for, and I know that I will continue to fight for my marriage through this change. I know that I love my husband and that I have to be strong. But I also know this, I’m going to be okay. Maybe you need to tell yourself that right now. “I’m going to be okay.”

I was scared at first. I was scared of the next few months and the next year and what I was going to have to do differently. I was genuinely scared of what I needed to do next. But thankfully, there is a timing for everything. A year ago, I would have sat in gloom, but my inner influencer and encourager started to overtake my sorrows and self-pity and I began to see this tough time in new light. I knew my value and self-worth through it all, and I was patient with the situation. And because of this, I was able to comfort and be there for a dear sweet friend of mine who is going through a very similar situation. She’s going to be okay. She doesn’t need to know the future. She doesn’t need to know everything that comes next. Right now, more than anything, she just needs to take her next step.

Life is hard. We all know that. You can be the most positive person in the world, and you could be living a great life. But the pain and the sorrows will still come your way. The good news is, you’re not alone. And the pain and the hard things you’re going through are not in vain. There is a purpose and there is a reason. You might not see that purpose now. Right now you might feel like you’re looking into a vast darkness and cannot see the rest of the staircase. And maybe that scares you. My advice to you is this: keep putting one foot in front of the other. Take it day by day and step by step. Remember, you’re not alone. I too am walking this journey with you, as are several others. This is a process, and we have to take it one step at a time.

Whatever it is you are going through, you are going to be okay. All you need to do right now is take your next step.

“Sometimes the smallest step in the right direction ends up being the biggest step of your life. Tip toe if you must, but take the step.”



Captivated with purpose

Okay everyone, let's get real for a second. Ask yourself this question: What am I doing right now with my life, in my job, in my relationships, and for myself to move towards my goals?

Recently I hit a standstill where everything felt kind of bland in my life. Like the insipid taste of a cold cup of coffee that has been sitting for a while. I would go to work and perform my tasks like a robot and then I would come home to work on schoolwork, clean the house, make dinner, walk the dog, etc. And I wondered if anything I was doing was actually making a difference. Did anything I was doing matter? For several weeks in a row I replayed the same kind of day over and over and over. It became exhausting.

There are times in our lives that we have to take a small step back and remind ourselves of the goals we're chasing. I will say this, even as a blogger and an influencer, I still have to splash some cold water on my face every now and then, and wake myself up from the slumber of doubts.

So I took a small step back and asked that question. What am I doing right now that is helping me move towards my goals?

And that was when I realized that I was missing something extremely important from my everyday activities...


You see, activity without purpose drains your life. I had to wake up and see the purpose in everything I was doing. The purpose of my job. The purpose of pursuing my relationships. The purpose of school. Everything I was giving effort to in my life, had to have purpose. Without purpose, our lives become that insipid cup of cold coffee--bland and lacking flavor.

Maybe you feel that way now, or maybe you've felt that way before. You're going with the motions and not quite sure why you're doing everything that you're doing. You're wondering if it even matters.

Well my dear friend, know that you are not alone. And also know that your sweet escape from these doubts is to captivate your life with purpose. Even the smallest of things you do in each day, give them purpose. Clarify your purpose by knowing the 'why' behind everything you do. When you know your 'why', you become more empowered and motivated to reach your goals.

Whatever age you are, whatever walk of life you are in right now, whatever you are going through-- captivate yourself with purpose.

Remember this, your life already has a purpose. So surround everything you do with purpose as well.

You know I love you all!




The small things

I had to take a few steps back these past few weeks. Ever since I knew what I wanted to do with my life and started planning how I would do it, I feel as if I had been pressing down a little too hard on the gas peddle. Don't get me wrong, being excited for your future is a great feeling.

It's good to have a vision and goals for your future, but sometimes we can get so caught up in our plans for the future and the big things, that we forget that it's the small things that are really going to get us there.

Time is a precious thing that we often take for granted because we are constantly living for the next day, for the weekend, for the next year, etc. And maybe that's because we're wanting to fast-forward to the big things we have planned for our lives. But one thing I've found when it comes to fast-forwarding our life, is we tend to miss out on those small things.

It's the story line for a lot of different movies and songs: the dad that is too busy working to spend time playing ball with his son, and before he knows it his son is all grown up and time has run out. Now you might not exactly have this same situation, but think about it... What are some small things that you are putting off because you're too busy or you don't see the significance?

I still have goals for my future and a plan for getting there, but I'm realizing the importance of inserting those small everyday things in the process. Small things like setting aside time to take the dog for a walk, sitting out on the back porch and watching the sunset, or randomly leaving little notes for your spouse around the house. Simple things that at the moment might not seem that significant, but end up having a bigger impact than you know.

So I urge you to take the time to consider these two questions: What are some small things I can start doing for myself? And what are some small things that I can start doing for others?

Don't be part of the majority that is living for the next day. Live for each day including today. No one knows how much time they have in their life, so make each day count. If you're wanting to make a difference in your own life, in someone else's life, or in the world, then remember this. It's the small things, done often, that make the difference.

I kept this one short and sweet for y'all this time.

You know I love you all!



I'm an adult now

Well I've finally come to the end of another semester at college. Which, if everything goes as planned, means I will be getting ready to throw my cap in the air next year around this time. As I finished my last exam and walked out of class today, I began reminiscing the days back in middle and high school where finishing your last exam meant we all went into High School Musical mode and started singing "What time is it? Summer time! It's our vacation!" As I laughed to myself thinking about those times, part of me felt a deep desire to live in those moments again. But reality quickly grabbed hold of me and reminded me that I had to go get groceries, run by the bank to grab rent, get the oil changed in my car, and finish a work project all before tomorrow morning. So I jammed out to The Beach Boys in my car as I ran from errand to errand and ignored the strange looks I got from people beside me at a red light.

Gone are the times that Summer meant vacation and a break from busy life. For me, Summer now means less time at school but more time at work. Something just doesn't feel right about that. When did becoming an adult meant sacrificing those happy times? Why do we get sucked into the demand that we need to constantly work, work, and more work? Is it even possible to enjoy life as an adult?

The answer is "YES!" Yes, it is very important work to save money for your future and to pay your bills. But also yes, you can enjoy your life as an adult. Granted I am only 21 years old and I'm sitting here writing a blog post about being an adult, but the truth is I've been at this whole "adulting" thing for a few years now.

I got tired of feeling absolutely miserable from constantly working and having a goal for my future, but not really having a plan to reach it. So I did something about it.

I started learning the balance between work and play. I set aside two envelopes for myself that I labeled "Good Times Only" and "Future Goals". And each paycheck, I set aside $100 in each envelope. When I feel the weight of work and life begin to pull me down, I pull out my "Good Times Only" envelope, request a few days off and spend some time enjoying my life as an adult. And for me, that could be anything from a trip to Carowinds, a trip to the beach, or a girls weekend right here at home.

Don't be miserable. Don't get sucked into thinking that you have to sacrifice those simple happy moments in life because you're an adult. But I won't lie, it's not easy. These moments aren't going to just automatically happen when the school bell rings for Summer. As an adult, you've got to make them happen. Believe me, I've been there and I know how down life can get when you're constantly thinking about the long work week, and the next, and the next. An easy fix to this is just reminding yourself that you have something bigger in store for your life. You not only have a goal, but you have a plan.

So here's how you're going to remind yourself that you can enjoy your life as an adult and work towards reaching your goals:

1. Set aside envelopes and start saving. After I started my two envelopes and showed Brad my technique, we decided to start doing this for more things. We now have "Groceries", "Vacation Fund", "Future Home", "Date Nights", etc. We've only been using this technique for a few months now, but the results are amazing! We feel much better knowing we have a specific amount of money waiting for us when we take our next vacation or go on our next date night.

2. The more the merrier! And the more fun! I've once again discovered the beauty of friendship. As a human, it's very important that you bond with other people and that you create new connections with new friends throughout the course of your life. But on top of all that, more friends means that as a group of young adults y'all can do things for a cheaper price. One thing we absolutely love to do, is plan a mini vacation with a group of our close friends and all split the cost of the rental. But even besides a vacation, having a game night with your friends can definitely remind you that you can still enjoy your life as an adult.

3. Don't constantly delay those plans of achieving your goals. Start now! Like right now as soon as you finish reading this post! Whatever it is that you want to do, pour your passion into it and focus. One day you're going to be looking back to when you were nervous about cutting back on some of your hours at work to pursue your future. You'll laugh as you remember the first time you looked through the lens of that camera and thought "there's no way I can actually make a steady income as a photographer". And you'll smile as you reminisce those moments of your adult life when you used to think that you'd never really enjoy it. But now, as you sit there in full confidence as the business woman or man, or musician, or doctor that you have become, you know how important it was to pursue your goals.

And as usual, I would like to end with a quote that I have added my own twist to...

"Do something today that your future self will thank you for. But don't forget to enjoy today."

You know I love you all!



Love them, don't fix them

This past weekend my parents came to visit and somewhere in the midst of our dinner conversation my mom said "Well that's our daughter for you... always trying to fix things." Although it was meant to be humorous, I actually thought about that remark all weekend and couldn't shake it's truthfulness from my mind. I began reverting back to all the times in the past that I had tried to fix things. You see, it had always been my natural response to try and control the situation as best I could the minute things started to go wrong. There are people that try to run from unpleasant situations and bad times, and then there are those of us who stare at those situations face to face and try to change them. Now don't confuse what I'm saying with optimism and having a positive outlook on life. There is a big difference between being positive despite the situation, and trying to change an unpleasant situation.

If something bad started to happen in my life, I would try to fix it and make it good. It became a habit; a bad habit that I would later learn can damage some of the most important things in life.

Have you ever tried to change someone? And by change I mean try and fix them as you see needed. Maybe you are in a relationship where you are trying to fix the other person. Maybe you’re a parent and you’re trying to fix your child who is different than their peers, or fix your teenager who is embracing different beliefs than you. Maybe you’re trying to fix your friend who has gone off the deep end. Maybe you’re trying to fix your husband who seems to no longer care about life.

What was the outcome? Did you succeed in fixing them? Did you succeed in changing them to fit your expectations? Or tell me, did you end up damaging your relationship even more by making them feel uncomfortable and alienated? Your motives and intentions might have been in the right place, but the sad truth is that rarely can you actually fix a person. More times then not, you will end up pushing them farther away.

So maybe that's you. Maybe you've pushed them away and you're scared there's no coming back from the damage that has been done. You love them and you only wanted to help, but in reality your help turned into you trying to change them. Your motive was love. There is nothing wrong with that, except for one small thing that makes a big difference... Unconditional love.

It took me coming to the realization that there was seriously nothing I could do to fix that person. There was nothing I could do to change them. And it was at that moment, that I realized that all their broken pieces before me did not need to be changed or even fixed. They needed to be loved. It was like the time I saw my own broken pieces before me, and instead of changing them... I began to love them as is.

Unconditional love says "I love you no matter what you do, who you are, or where you end up in life." I spent so much time wanting to change them, when the real change that needed to happen took place in me. I began to simply and unconditionally love that person for who they are. When you give up the responsibility of trying to fix someone, when you release your grip and just love them, you allow God to take hold of them. After all, any change that is going to happen in that person is going to come from Him.

There's a saying that goes "You can't help somebody that doesn't want to be helped." You also can't fix somebody that doesn't want to be fixed. But guess what, you can love somebody no matter what.

Do what you can. God will do what you can't.



Don't let setbacks define you

This past week I've been undergoing what most would consider a setback in my life; an obstacle in the road towards my goals. I guess I had been riding along the easy streets and enjoying the thrills of pursuing my goals for too long without any interruptions. It was time for a life lesson and a reminder that sometimes things are going to happen without warning. A reminder that we're humans and we make mistakes, and sometimes the people we thought were there for us are going to let us down and lose our trust. But more importantly, a reminder of the kind of woman I want to be. 
It all happened so quickly... One minute I'm figuring out how to finish strong-willed with school while working as needed and still finding time to blog. The next minute, people are making rash and unexplained decisions around me that cause me to have to make more sacrifices with my time. Suddenly, pursuing my goals begins to seem impossible for the time being. A setback entered into the picture, and my emotions began to take over. Those first few days after it happened, it was so easy to put the blame on someone else. It was almost easier to stay upset, than to keep moving forward and continue chasing my goals.
I drove home from work Friday night and sat in the car trying to figure everything out for a solid 45 minutes. My thoughts were scattered all throughout my mind and there was no escaping that unending migraine that was lurking in the back of my head. I wanted more than anything to just be mad. I wanted to believe I had every right to ignore and stay angry at those people that I felt had wronged me, and Brad. In my eyes, they broke my trust and disrespected me, and I wanted to sit in anger and complain about how they got in the way of my goals.
But the more I thought about it all, the more I realized that just as with most situations in life, I had a choice to make. I could either continue to complain and be upset by what had come my way, or I could make the sacrifices and push through to get back on the road towards my goals. 
You see, we always have two choices when obstacles come our way:
1.) We can let the obstacles succeed in stopping us from chasing our goals and getting to our  ideal destination. 
2.) We can find another way around the obstacles and continue on.
I could stay angry, and let this setback define who I am. But instead, this setback is not going to define me. I will be channeling that energy of anger into positive energy to continue on. I want to be the kind of woman who grows from these experiences. The kind of woman who shares her setbacks and how she overcame them, to encourage others also facing setbacks in life. 
I looked at myself in my rearview mirror that night and said this, "This setback isn't going to define you. What's going to define you and the kind of person you are is the response you give." So here is my response: To those people that broke my trust, I forgive you. I hold nothing against you, because you are not going to stop me from reaching my goals. The only person that can do that to me, is me.
For those of you who have encountered a setback or are currently experiencing one, I hope you can find the motivation and encouragement you need to overcome it. I hope by reading my post, you feel determined to not let that setback define you. 
Y'all know I'm a sucker for motivational quotes, so here's one to remember as you find another way around that obstacle in the road...
"Temporary setbacks are overshadowed by persistence." 
--- Quentin L. Cook ---



Moments worth recognizing

To be honest, this past month has been very difficult. I've been trying to gather all of my emotions and thoughts and turn them into an inspiring and empowering blog post. The reason y'all have not heard from me in a while is because I haven't been able to do that. I started to sink into this gloomy state where I didn't know how to connect with you, my lovely readers, when I was having a hard time connecting with myself and my situation.

Several of you reached out to me, and earnestly asked when I would be writing my next post. So in the midst of my gloom, your earnestness in waiting for my next post provided a still soft light. And this morning, in the middle of my accounting class, I brushed away a single tear and smiled to myself as I was reminded of why I even began this blog in the first place... To encourage and motivate others through the good and bad in life, by using the good and the bad in my life. Not just the good times, but the bad times as well. The times that are sometimes more difficult to share if you're trying to be a motivator because it's habit to want people to think that you're an expert and you've got it all together. But in reality, you don't.

So I'll start by humbly saying this: I do not have it all together. I let my emotions control me most of the time and I easily worry. Sometimes I let past regrets haunt me and fears of the future taunt me. I don't share my good and bad experiences after I have gone through them and gained a lot of wisdom through the years. I share them as I am going through them, and as I myself am still learning. I don't blog to tell you the "dos" and "do nots" of life. I blog to share my story and connect with my readers. With all that being said, as the pages of my story are continuously being filled with a certain situation, I have some things I feel the need to share with y'all.

This question has been on my mind for a while now: What now? I'm sure I'm not the only one who has asked this question. Maybe you've come to standstill or dead end with your job and you're asking yourself, "What now?" Maybe you're looking for a job and you feel you've exhausted all of your resources trying to find one, and asking "What now?" Maybe you're not sure about what you want to do and whether or not you should finish out your semester at college, so you say "What now?" Maybe you're trying to sell your house, but the offers just aren't being made, "What now?" Maybe you're tired of being let down and are losing hope that you'll ever find a mate, so again "What now?" Or maybe you're in a marriage with someone you have given so much to and they suddenly do not love you anymore...What now?

There have been several different times in my life that I've asked that question. It's so easy to ask it out of fear of what the future holds.

But if you live in fear of the future or in constant regret of the past, you will not truly live. If you dwell on the past or the future, you will miss the moment.

Take a second and think about that....

What is happening right now in your life that you might be missing out on because you're too busy thinking about what has happened or wondering what will happen?

There are going to be good times and there are going to be bad times. But through all times there are moments, and in those moments some of the most important pieces of our story are shaping who we are.

In these moments of my life right now, I am becoming a far more patient and understanding woman than I ever thought possible. I have so much love and support from my dearest friends. I'm connecting with other people who have gone through similar situations. And each of these moments that are happening are worth recognizing and finding peace through.

So maybe you're not sure what to do now. That's okay. You're going to be okay. There are choices you are going to have to make in a few minutes, tonight, tomorrow morning, and for the rest of your life. Just remember that in the midst of those choices, there are moments worth recognizing. You can remember what has happened in your life without meditating on the past. And you can move forward without fearing the future. But most importantly, do this without missing the moment.



How to love yourself

Let me start this post by saying, Ow! My legs hurt, my arms hurt, my back hurts, and believe it or not, that spot where my invisible pack of abs are hurts. I started school back this week which means I'm back to being a full time student, a full time employee, and of course-- a full time wife. When I'm not at school, I'm at work. And any free time early in the morning or late at night I spend with Brad at the gym. Needless to say, I've been busy.

With all that being said, grab you a cup of coffee, put on some fuzzy socks, and get comfy because this post is going to be a bit more lengthy as we dive into a touchy subject that's sometimes hard to discuss-- Low self esteem.

First, you're going to need to know some things about me...

Flashback several years ago to when I was in high school. Those were the years that I woke up two hours before we had to leave for school to get ready. I would watch makeup tutorials on youtube, and look at pictures of beautiful women with their hair styled perfectly to try and mimic their hairstyles. Without fail, no matter how hard I would try, I never looked like them. Eventually I would just give up because my two hours were running out, so I'd leave my hair wavy and frizzy and my makeup bland. I remember those mornings like they were yesterday. I'd look at myself in the mirror once more before leaving my room and feel disgusted. And as I put on that oversized hoodie to hide my body and left my room, I would wipe those few tears that had begun to form in my eyes.

"No man could ever want me," I would say in my head. "Not unless I change my body and I look beautiful." "Because it's a lie to say that there's men out there who are looking for a woman only beautiful on the inside." And sadly, those thoughts fueled my motivation to try and be that hot model of a girl guys were looking for. But it never worked. The more "pretty" I tried to make myself on the outside, the more torn apart and "ugly" I became on the inside. Fast forward to my junior year of high school. I was beginning to see that the face, and the body, and every part of the girl I saw in the mirror was as good as it was going to get. I rose my white flag, and I surrendered. "Maybe someday someone will look at me and say 'she's beautiful'." And maybe someday, I might actually agree with them.

And then that summer, I met Brad. I can still remember the shock I felt when this very handsome man began talking to me as if he were interested in me. I thought he was joking when he whispered, "I like you AG." But no matter how many times he saw me without makeup and no matter how many times I gave him plenty of reasons to leave, he decided to stick around. And that meant something to me. "Surely if a guy as good looking as he is choosing to stay with me, I must be attractive in some way to him, right?" I still did not know my value because I was still so surprised that he saw value in me.

I was 19 years old and still embarrassed by my curves and baby face, and on top of that--married to Mr. broad shoulders and busting biceps. Anytime we'd go out I'd assume everyone that looked our way was saying something like, "She doesn't deserve him." It even got to the point where I started to believe those made up words in my head. My lack of self worth was like a virus that started from within and was slowly starting to take over all of me. I was ashamed of myself, and I forced myself to believe that Brad was ashamed of me too (which was in no way true). My emotions were hurting from my self esteem issues, as was our marriage. You see it was frustrating to Brad that no matter how many times he called me beautiful, I refused to believe it. And I was frustrated that I couldn't see the value in myself that he claimed to see. Some people might think that it's easier to wake up with high self esteem if you're married and you've already found your significant other. To those of you who still struggle after marriage, it's OK. I have been there. The truth is you cannot go into marriage or any relationship expecting your partner to supply your self value and love. Maybe some of you are realizing what I realized-- if you can't even love yourself, how can you love your partner? I almost lost everything because I didn't think I was worth anything...

I like to think that the moment I realized my self worth was the moment I truly started to live a fulfilling life.

The day that I faced myself, flaws and all in the mirror and said these three words: You. Are. Enough. Everything about you is enough. There is nothing more-- looks, personality, or character that you could ever be that would make you enough for yourself or your husband. Because you are already enough.

It's not an easy process. Self love doesn't just come with a snap of your fingers. It's a commitment to yourself, and for me-- also to my God. And so my dear friends, that is where your first step to loving yourself begins:

1.) Make a commitment to yourself. A commitment where every morning you choose to look at yourself and love what you see. Maybe you see smudged makeup from the day before. Maybe you see wrinkles. Maybe you see big thighs or too many curves. Or maybe you have a hard time seeing because your messy, knotty hair is all in your face. Whatever you see, choose to love it all!

2.) If there's something you'd like to change, change it. If you really don't appreciate those curves, there's things you can do to make you appreciate them. I can testify to this: working out helps. There are specific workouts for your body type. But sometimes it's as simple as adding fruits and vegetables to your plate. There are people out there who have a passion for helping others improve their health, figure, and nutritional value. Reach out to someone for guidance. You don't have to do it alone!

3.) Set boundaries for yourself. There have to be lines that you draw for yourself that you refuse to cross. I refuse to spend time looking at beautiful women I see in magazines, on the internet, and the ones I walk by in the grocery store and wishing I looked like them. I refuse to make myself believe that I am undeserving of a good looking man. You know what your lines are and you know exactly when to draw them. So start doing it!

4.) It's OK to enhance your already naturally beautiful self. Makeup can easily be something we try to hide behind, but it can also be something we use to enhance our best qualities. First and simple rule to wearing makeup-- know that you don't actually need it. You are already beautiful. But girl if you've been blessed with an amazing pair of eyes, go ahead and give them some attention. If you try on a dress at Ross and you know it looks good on you and you feel good in it, go ahead and get it. And you wear that dress with pride and dignity!

5.) Smile and laugh a whole lot more. It's a proven fact that the most attractive people out there are the ones that smile. I know this girl who has the most contagious laugh. I find her self confidence infatuating simply by the amount of times she's smiling and laughing. She's someone you want to be around---you desire to hang out with because you know she's going to make you smile and feel better about yourself. She's one of the most beautiful people I know, and it has nothing to do with her looks.

The past five months I have felt more myself and more passionate about life. I am continuing to overcome my lack of self love and as I walk this journey I encourage my readers to connect. Connect with me, connect with others. Know that you are not alone and take my five simple steps to begin your own journey.

In the words of Rudy Francisco...

"Perhaps we should love ourselves so fiercely, that when others see us they know exactly how it should be done."

You know I love you all!




More than mere resolutions

Well my friends, we've made it through another year. I don't know about y'all, but 2018 was a mix of happiness, sadness, chaos, big decisions, and saying goodbye to old friendships and hello to the new ones for me.

Finding time to create another post has been difficult due to the frustrating obstacles thrown our way these past few weeks-- that involve me getting a bad sinus infection, and our truck breaking down. Side story on that real quick: we were on our way home from Charleston on Christmas Eve, and the truck decided to break down at an intersection only 10 minutes out from home. Brad immediately called 911 informing them of our somewhat dangerous situation. We sat at the intersection for roughly 45 minutes, and the police never showed so I found myself directing traffic around us. Some people can be so rude and impatient. Anyways, we made it back home at exactly 11:45pm on Christmas Eve, and I was extremely grateful that we actually woke up on Christmas morning in our home instead of the truck.

With all the traveling Brad, SnowBelle, and I were doing over the Holidays, I was frantically trying to find time before New Year's Eve to list out my resolutions for 2019. And then I got to thinking, why is it every year I create a list of things I want to work on for the next year, and I never really follow through? What even is the point of resolutions? Seriously though, ask yourself that same question. Why do you create resolutions for yourself? Here is my answer, and maybe you will agree with me and take what I have to say into this New Year with you as more than just mere resolutions to yourself.

I create resolutions simply because I want myself and my life to become better than the previous year. In the past it has always been very difficult for me to follow through with my resolutions, and I would blame it on the fact that I just may be too lazy of a person for commitment to myself in those ways. But I've realized I'm missing something entirely-- A vision. A vision of where I see myself at the end of 2019. Where I see myself financially, in my marriage, in my career, in my personal health and physical state, in my spiritual walk... and the list goes on. The resolutions I have made to myself this year are created with the purpose of obtaining my vision. Am I going to mess up my resolutions every now and then? Of course! My vision is not to become a perfect person and maintain perfectly accomplished resolutions, but to accept who I am and to love who I am, faults and all. And then to take that love and recognition of self, and become better. Better for myself, my husband, my family, my coworkers, and my God.

I hope those of you who enjoy my posts will walk with me in my own journey of becoming better than the person I was last year, and create your own vision and share your own experiences so that I may walk with you. Like I said, it won't be easy, but sometimes just knowing that someone else is pushing through it as well is the kind of motivation you need.

As I end this post and force myself off of my comfortable couch and head towards the gym tonight, I will say this--

The first simple rule in life:

If you don't go after what you want,

You'll never have it.



The importance of family

Where to even begin... I feel very ashamed to admit it's been over a week since my last blog post. I wanted to thank whoever sent the anonymous text I got yesterday evening asking when I will be writing my next post. When I began my blog, I had hopes that I would be able to write things to keep my readers coming back, but I never would've guessed that just after two posts, I'd develop loyal enough readers to hold me accountable to my posting. The past two weeks I have finished my first semester back at school, worked extra hours to prepare for our time off with family, and yes--successfully finished Christmas shopping.

This weekend, Brad and I are visiting my family, as we do almost every Holiday. For those of you who do not know our story, part of it includes the sad realization that his family does not want us to be a part of that family. I refrain going into details, as that is not my spot to explain, but knowing that we only get to visit my family relates to my post this evening.

Let me start by saying this, I am very blessed to have the family I have. For as long as I can remember, my family has always stressed the importance of being a family. I knew from the time I was born that there was no escaping my parent's love. And growing up, I looked forward to me and the future husband visiting both sides of the family during the Holidays.

I never expected that I wouldn't even get to meet my in-laws. It was hard realizing that it quite possibly was always going to be this way. And it's still hard. I have my moments where I get depressed thinking about our future children asking why they only get to visit one set of grandparents. But even after being turned away several times, I've found it right in my heart to not give up hope on all of us becoming united. I will continue to do as I've been doing, and send that Christmas card to the same address, not even knowing if they've moved or are receiving them. Some call me crazy, and tell me to take a hint. But giving up on the idea of reuniting a broken family is what's crazy to me.

I share all this to remind y'all that I am continually seeking a relationship with my in-laws, while it's so easy for most of us to want to avoid that this time of year. The annoyances, and frustration can easily blind us from that gift we take for granted most of the time...The gift of family. So whether you're currently in the midst of a disagreement with a loved one, or sitting at game night wishing you were sitting in the peace and quiet of your own home, alone-- remember that those people are your family. Your family that is there under the same roof as you. And despite all the negatives going through your mind, you can find joy knowing there is unity and love. We treasure the time we get with my family.



Need a day off from my day off

At the start of each week I desperately look forward to my day off. It's that one day out of the craziness of life where I can take a moment (or in this case, 12 hours) to breathe. It's the day that I get to relax and focus on what I need to do... doesn't that just sound magical? This isn't actually the reality of my days off. In fact, it's more so just my version of a perfected day off. Here's what starts to happen: I look forward to my day off. I begin creating a list of things that I need to get done during that day off. And yes, a nap is always included in that list. Being the kind of person that doesn't have that great of boundaries, I'm constantly saying yes to people that need my help with something. So eventually, my list is as tall as me and what is suppose to be a day of de-stressing turns into a day of extra-stressing. I don't know about you, but sometimes I feel like I need a day off from my day off...

But you know what I've realized: I do this to myself. I look at that pile of clothes needing to be folded and say "I'll do it on my day off". And then there I am, trying to find time to fold the clothes and accepting the fact that the nap isn't going to happen. I had gotten to the point where I was more exhausted then refreshed at the end of my day off. Something just didn't seem right about that. I knew that I needed to make a change.

I must say that the most beneficial thing I have done to make that change is creating a balance between what I need to do, and what my mind, body, and soul needs me to do. I began adding more things to my list like "take a bubble bath", or "read a book", or "go for a walk". Today I finished the laundry and the rest of the housework, but I also went and treated myself to a manicure. Now here I am at the end of my day off, enjoying the glow of our Christmas tree, and feeling much more rejuvenated and content with what I've accomplished.

I'll end with this, enjoy your day off. Make time to gather yourself, reflect on the rest of your week, and physically and emotionally prepare. I'm sure you'll find that you're a much more pleasant person to be around, and will get much more accomplished in your life simply by enjoying your days off.



In the midst of it all

Well I finally made it through my first semester back at school. And now I'm sitting here, sipping some hot chocolate, wearing a mud facial, constantly checking Brad's temperature, and reflecting on this past week.

If you would have asked me at the start of the week my plans for the remainder of the week, I most likely would have said something along the lines of: take my finals every morning, then go to work, come home, bake some Christmas cookies, and order Christmas gifts. Those plans seem to have only been a dream.

Two added trips to the doctor and a very sick husband kept me on my toes. I've actually been wanting to make my first post earlier this week, but just couldn't find the time. So here we are, 10 o'clock Friday night, and I found a small window in my week to try and share some sort of hope, even during times like this. First let me start by saying that I have been battling abdominal pain this week and we aren't quite sure what Brad has. This has been the first time in our relationship where we have both been ill at the same time. It hasn't been fun, I won't try to sugar coat it in any way, but the effort we both gave in taking care of each other was unlike any normal day. A true, selfless act of unconditional love. And might I just add how easy it is to fall in love with your spouse all over again. Especially when you feel cared for and loved.

This goes for any relationship. I'll be the first to admit that I should say "I care about you" or "I love you" more to my family, friends, and loved ones. But it's more than just words, it's actions too. I find myself asking these questions and maybe we should all ask ourselves these questions...Do my parents know how much I appreciate them? Do my friends know how much I care for them? Does my spouse know how much I love them? No matter how busy we find ourselves, it's always worth it to show those loved ones that in the midst of it all, we're still thinking about them.