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Self-love: Defined by Resilience

Sunday, September 30, 2018
self-love, self-care, personal-growth

There is nothing more heartbreaking than falling short of your dreams. Everything that you worked so hard for just gone before your eyes. I've been there. I understand the pain. I wince when I reflect back on a very tough lesson learned. Although they are part of life, it does not make them any easier.

A couple of years ago, I was let go of not one, but two temporary positions within a couple of months of each other. I was also in school full time and I had other responsibilities like wedding planning, college ministry, and a new position as president over a student organization that needed to be fully overhauled. I was in over my head and the last thing I needed was to be let go of. I confided in a few trusted friends but it seemed to make matters worse because I felt like no one understood.

I was surrounded by people and felt totally alone. I knew I needed to take a few irons out of the fire as one put it, but I certainly wouldn't have chosen for it to happen the way it did. I wanted to give it my all but I wasn't taking very good care of myself. I experienced anxiety frequently because I was worried everything was falling through the cracks. I finished out the semester. I got married in the summer. I secured a full time job with benefits shortly after but it still felt like hell.

In this ugly transition, I also stopped doing what I loved-dancing. I had been dancing since grade-school. I did everything from tap, ballet, hip-hop, and jazz. I danced at church. I danced at school. Drill-team. Studio. I made room for it where I could. Life did not seem as simple as it did before. I noticed a gap forming in my life and a ten month depression followed.

Once I stopped licking my wounds, I realized that I did not want to stay in a stagnant position. I had experience failure and I did not want to return. Fear is the driver behind the emotions that paralyze you. Fear makes you think that there is emptiness in your future and shame in your past.  I am here to tell you that it is far from true. Though our human nature is flawed, we are also very resilient.

Usually it is the journey that makes us feel like we have failed. It may just be the route we took, decisions we made, or who we entangled ourselves with along the way that make or break accomplishing the dream. That is why I call it a lesson-learned. It does not mean that we cannot explore and try things differently. I knew that if I continued to try the same things before, I would end up in a worse situation. I could not control the outcome of everything, but I could control me. I responded with change.

When difficult situations occurred, I found out what I was made of. There were some characteristics I was proud of and some not so much. I took that as an indicator of what I needed to work on. One of them was realizing that life is full of surprises and at some point I would have to accept that.  As an A-type personality that plans and plans for just about everything, it was hard to comprehend because there is always a plan B, or C…. right? I mean right?? 

Well anyone can plan and I am of course all for it but please know that the tighter you hold on to something, the more the burn will hurt when it is ripped away even for a moment. It took a while to get back on track. Thankfully, I am in a place in life where I am able to sort things out. I definitely prioritize my life better than I ever have.

From Me To You,
It is never too late to start over again. Do not allow fear and indecision to become a barrier in reaching your dream. If no one has ever said it, I will. I am sorry for all you have gone through. I know it hurts. You may feel all alone right now, but this too will pass. When you are ready, wipe your eyes and look up. Dust the dirt off and rise up beloved. A new journey awaits you if you will just try again.



October Challenge: Blogtober

blogtober, october, fall

So I was going through some blogger groups on social media reading about this awesome idea of Blogtober. The basic idea is to write once everyday for thirty-one days. Some people like to have series or themes. Some even go by keywords. There are no “official” rules. I have decided to participate in for several reasons. Not to mention that it is my birthday month! Whoo!!

Why Blogtober?
  • To become a better writer.
  • Increase organic traffic to my blog
  • Practice taking more pictures with my digital camera (...help it lols)
  • Try something new
  • Explore and expand my blog niches
  • Challenge myself as a blogger overall
I don’t have an exhaustive list of things I want to write about everyday per say. I have topics for each week in October. Things like Fall Favorites, Personal-Growth, Blogging, Wellness, Lifestyle etc. I am really excited about it! Fingers crossed I make it all the way through to day 31! Stay tuned!

Self-care: Finding Emotional Balance and De-stressing

Friday, September 28, 2018
emotional health, personal-growth, self-care
Okay, with the holidays around the corner, I am certain that my good mood pendelum is going to swing full force. The worst thing I can do for myself is to let it smack me in the face on the way. As much as I love the holidays, I don't like feeling overwhelmed with the many to do's that come along with it. This is why I feel like a self-care check up is necessary.

Thankfully we have not made it that far yet. My focus right now is connecting with my body to make sure my feelings aren't deceiving me. I think it is good for everyone to do this. It doesn't have to be when something bad happens. Part of living a positive lifestyle is to understand overall health mentally, physically, and spiritually.

What is emotional balance? It is the ability to experience an emotion without self-judgement. When I accept that I can feel a certain way and the emotion passes without me holding it captive, I have alowed myself to find emotional balance. Avoiding or stuffing down strong emotions can cause illness to the rest of our body over time.

I realize it is most helpful when what I feel is tangible. I need to name it. I need to understand the origin. I must choose to allow myself to process it in a healthy way. When I do allow my emotions to go unchecked, my body will let me know. This will usually manifest in a headache or stomachache. I am noticeably cranky too! Not all emotions are bad. This can still happen if I am overly excited about something.

We are meant for connectedeness. 

Sometimes I know exactly what I am feeling and other times I don't. Usually I will talk with a friend that I trust to help me figure these things out. One time I was overwhelmed with emotion because I felt pulled in several directions at once. I was happy for the opportunities but scared to death that something would fall through the cracks and not get done and people would be mad at me. All it took was for her to acknowledge how I felt. She basically just told me what she heard and asked me to confirm and it all clicked together.

When I am not able to talk things through, I usually have my journal or phone on hand where I can write out what I am feeling. That way I can go back to it later and reflect. I write about the circumstance that led up to me feeling a certain way. I write about whether or not my breathing changed. If anyone was involved, I write about our communication. Generally this will give me an idea of where I am.

emotional health, personal-growth, self-care

Here is a list of things I have done that help to de-stress:

1. Create a calming environment by turning the lights off. Light a nice smelling candle and meditate/pray.

2. Journal unapologetically. Seriously. Do not sensor anything. Worried it will be read? Find a hiding place and stash it.

3. Get some sleep!

4. Practice breathing. Youtube breathing techniques that have a guided voice to help you get used to breathing correctly.

5. Practice emotional distance. As soon as you feel yourself about to react to something, take a step back and allow the emotion to leave you.

6. Create a relaxing playlist. I usually go for jazz, instrumental, or classical.

7. Kick something off of your plate. Delegate a task. Go home 30 minutes early.

8. Exercise. Get some deep tissue action going and it will help ease the tension.

9. Laugh often. Humor is medicine to the soul.

10. Find a few minutes in your day to center your emotions.

emotional health, personal-growth, self-care

Faith Post - Making Sense of My Purpose

Thursday, September 27, 2018
faith, personal-growth, self-love

I cannot recall a season in my life where the weight of this world was not insistent on breaking my spirit. The many attempts have often felt personal and as a result my heart hardened over time. I picked apart my life little by little assuming there was some big aha! moment that I would discover and life would finally make sense. My best guess is that I believed having a solid answer would soothe the pain in my soul. I was wrong. All it led up to was me chipping away at my own authenticity. 

I felt like healing was far away. I believed lies like I wasn't the right fit for anything and being from a broken home meant I would always be broken. Lies like my past was who I was bombarded my thoughts. Some of these horrific lies came out of the mouths of others. Some of them from the enemy. Some of which I told myself when I felt like it was impossible to move forward. The idea of closing up shop and starting over was more appealing by the day. 

I used to think that putting the needs and desires of others before my own was more important and in some twisted way I would finally be loved for me. Later I would come to understand that the denying of self is deeply intertwined in a message of love from the Father; rather than the religious mindset I early in life.

Storms exposed the dwellings of my heart. When I chose to give my life to Christ, I knew that I would be made new but no one warned me that my soul work would be a process- and not an easy one.I knew for certain that I believed that Jesus Christ died on the Cross for me (1Peter 3:18). I knew I was certain that scripture clearly says that God is love and perfect love casts out all fear (1 John 4:18).

I laid down perfection. I knew that if I really wanted to experience the peace that surpasses my understanding, I would have to let go and trust His will for my life. As much time as I spend tracking goals and planning out my life, I know that at any moment, those things can change.

I learned to love myself despite what others think of me. Everyone will always have an opinion of what my life should look like, what I should look like, and even how I should pursue my relationship with Jesus. People can be fickle. What I think about myself will manifest in the natural. I am confident. I am worth all the love God has for me. I once had a very noble pastor say something so profound. I never forgot these words," If you live by their praise, you'll die by their criticism."

Not everyone will understand. Not everyone will care about the scars you bear from your past. I stopped singling myself out. God will intentionally put safe people in your life but it will take time to build relationship. Dr. Henry Cloud and John Townsend have a book called Safe People. It explores the ideal safe person's character. It also talks about how to become one. I read this book and it completely changed my perspective about people. I learned that it would take me some effort to open up and get to know others even if they don't believe or think like I do.

I gave myself permission to breathe and accept my perfect validation from Jesus Christ. He loves me and all of my scars. He loves my very form (Psalm 139:15-17). The greatest thing of all is that He will never run out of this perfect love. He can cause the storm to cease and give you peace within. Trust him.

I have not figured out all how it all works but I do know this: My purpose in life is to love wholeheartedly out of the abundance of the Father. As I draw from Him, all of the cracks and crevices of my broken places shine brightly because of His light within me. I am not my past. I am not a slave to people's opinions. I am not bound by low self-esteem. I am a confident daughter of Jesus Christ because greater is He within me than He who is in this world (1 John 4:4).

 I don't share these things to preach at you or to have a come to Jesus moment. I write them because feeling lost is a feeling I never want to experience again. I would never wish it on anybody. I want you to know that even if you don't believe like I do, you are not alone. Making sense of who you are and why you are on this Earth can be rough. As a believer, it is part of sanctification which is life-long. 



Self-Care Morning Prep for the Fall

Sunday, September 23, 2018
self-care; morning routine

Helloooo lovelies! I cannot say it enough. I absolutely love the Fall! I just have this warm cozy feeling in my chest when I wake up in the mornings followed by a wonderful cup of coffee. The other day I managed to wake up early enough to go to Starbucks for a tall Pumpkin Spice Latte, yum!!

Let's just say I have been experimenting with my morning routine because I work out in the mornings now and that requires me to be up earlier than usual. The earliest I've rolled this body out of bed is a whopping 5:37am. That may be nothing compared to some schedules but that is definitely a win for me. How I treat myself in the mornings really does give me a boost in energy for the day. Here are a few practical things that I do in the mornings:

Nourish Your Body


Eat Breakfast

Breakfast is my favorite meal of the day. I know if I eat well in the morning, my meals throughout the day are smaller because I am satisfied from the first meal. I like to eat apple cinnamon oatmeal with fruit. I usually eat about two cups. I don't count calories. Maintaining portions are more important to me. On the weekends, I like to be fancy and make pancakes, bacon, and oatmeal. I like eggs too sometimes, but not so much if I don't have salsa. Most of the time I forget to pick it up when I've gone to the store so I usually stick with oatmeal. I've not done this in a while but I used to buy bagels and toast them. Once they were nice and warm, I would add blueberry or regular cream cheese and it was oh so good. It is also quick and easy. It tastes just fine without toasting it too.

Your breakfast can be as simple or as fancy as you want it to be just as long as you have the time to prep it and enjoy it. Your body will thank you. Also, for those of you that do not like breakfast and pigs will fly before you eat that early in the day, detox water is a good alternate. A mixture of water, cucumber, and lemon is really refreshing. Top it off with mint and it is super yummy. It will wake you up! Need something hot? Green tea has natural caffeine and will get your metabolism going.

Ten Minute Stretch

Back in college I had a roommate that was a life guard at the university pool. She would wake up and stretch for ten minutes exactly. It helped her prepare for the day mentally and physically. By the time she walked out of the front door, she was ready to face the day without all of the grogginess. Let's just say our demeanors were noticeably different at 8 am! 😅  Now I find that on the days I don't burst out of the bed like a ray of sunshine, I stretch and it helps me to feel centered. After years of dancing, all of the tips and tricks I have under my belt do not stand a chance against this simple activity. All it requires is a few minutes of time and concentration. I usually have water nearby to replenish. Don't forget to hydrate!

Skin Care


Texas weather basically has a mind of its own. Since I live near the gulf, the humidity is terrible. I have combination skin so my skincare routine will change every so often. Currently I take a warm wash cloth and press it lightly on to my face. I then use my cleanser to get rid of excess oils. I rinse the cleanser off and use my exfoliator. I rinse the exfoliant off and then I use my toner. I let it seep in a few minutes and complete the routine with a moisturizer. Afterwards, my skin looks and feels super clean and smooth. I do have a black charcoal peel off mask that I use a couple of times a week as well.

Side note: I am debating on buying one of those hand-held skin exfoliators but I am terrified of it tearing my skin. If you use one and have had good results, please comment and let me know which one you use.

skin care; self-care

P.S. I love this stuff. Just add water and it turns into a nice foam. I usually purchase this scrub from Ulta. This is not a sponsored product. I have used it for over a year now. 

Refresh Your Mind


Finding ways to stay focused on a positive lifestyle can be done in several ways. When I incorporate an uplifting activity in my morning routine, I set myself on track to a successful cycle of thinking. Even if my morning has started off roughly, I can refer back to prayer, a book or podcast to push my way out of being stuck in a funk from a setback. 

My morning could be going great and I spill coffee on my clothes as soon as I drive into the parking lot (which has happened more than I would like). Words slip out before I have a chance to take in what happened. What then? Sometimes things arise that we have zero control over. How we react will make the difference. We aren't asked to be perfect. The emotions will pass. Sometimes it isn't the event that took place, it is the lingering emotions from my reactions to them that make or break my day. As imperfect as I am, I still like having the freedom to choose how my day is going to go. Don't you?

Engage 


This may sound silly, but one of my favorite things to do is smell flowers. Not only are flowers beautiful but the fragrance of a rose or bluebonnet can take my mind off of stress. I don't know why or how but they do. In my previous post, I have a pin with a quote refering to autumn leaves and fall breeze. I love to walk around and listen to the rustle of leaves. The hum and rush of the wind can stir them up causing this beautiful nature song to occur. Its magical to me. Taking notice of the beauty happening around me just puts me in a good mood. I tend to slow down and really engage.

Speaking of good mood. I have to remind myself to smile. Sometimes I am not aware of the faces I make in public. It isn't because I am trying to prove anything. Some of the time I am deep in thought. Other times I am thinking about my next meal. You can really change the atmosphere by smiling. Sometimes, that is all anyone needs is to see a smile. Let's make this Fall count!



For the Love of Fall!

Monday, September 3, 2018
...and then there were 4 months left in 2018! Fall is my favorite time of the year. I may be a bit partial because my birthday is in October and because Pumpkin Spice Lattes are back at Starbucks AND the chill in the air is here to stay for a little while meaning I get to wear all my cute fall/winter clothes. I also like Fall because I get to cozy up and finally finish a few books, binge watch Gilmore Girls and Doctor Who. 

I love the sound of the wind whirling through the trees. I  love that we have multiple holidays like Halloween, Thanksgiving, Black Friday, and Christmas! Y'all just wait for December. Y'all will really and truly find out how much I love gingerbread. Officially our Fall begins on September 22nd but I guess it doesn't hurt to start early! 

Fam Life
When I wasn't planning, I spent time with family and friends. I cherish the time I spend with them because we are always all over the place at any given time due to work, travel, and mismatched schedules in general. This year is THE year of transition for myself and many people in my life. 

Thankfully, everyone seems to be in a good place. It is hard because I got so used to seeing familiar faces. So when I spend time with them, my full attention is devoted to checking in and actively listening so I won't miss out on all that is going on. It feels good to connect with people you love.

Working Out
Besides that, I have taken up working out at the gym. I did this for a few reasons. One of the niches to my blog is self-care. I needed to incorporate a physical deep-tissue action that helped me feel good about myself. Back in the day, I loved outdoor sports. I was also into Pilates, Yoga, and running. On top of a busy schedule, there was no shortage occupying my body with necessary exercise on any given day. 

For a couple of years, I stopped for various reasons including depression and simply just not making the time to do it. Now I am back at it and I LOVE how I feel after a really great work out. Mental clarity is another reason I go. I desperately needed something to get me going in the mornings. When I do not sleep well, it takes all of my energy to be productive and stay afloat the rest of the day. For the last few weeks, I have not struggled with fogginess which is a major blessing! For once in my life working out isn't just about weight loss, it is about being healthy. Period. Talk about a mind shift!

#Shelftember
Let's talk Shelftember! I first heard this term from Jordan Page aka Mama J at Fun Cheap or Free on Youtube (she also has a website here). She is a knowledgable and fun frugal mama who shares practical ways to living in finances, scheduling, cooking, and so much more! Shelftember is about cooking nutritional meals from the items already on hand and adding fresh items like produce as needed from the groceery store.

 If you already do this, comment below and tell us how long and what you have gained from participating in Shelftember. We are only a couple of days in but I have implemented this method for three meals meals so far! I plan to do this for the rest of September. Not only do we want to save money but we like to travel. It would be great to put back money we did not just blow on fast food and just eat well at home. Shelftember is a win-win! 

Blog Life
Last month I was definitely missing out on blogging because my schedule got pretty packed. I knew it was going to happen so I spent most of my time jotting ideas, planning outlines for posts, compiling images, and really thinking about my blogging goals. I want to write about what I love. I find it way too easy to get caught up in the logisitics of things. Let's be honest. The earlier you educate yourself on how to run a blog, the easier it will be. 

So I am not bashing the dedication and hard work it takes to run a blog, but I am saying this: If I do not love what I write, I will not expect you to love it either. So I will be updating my blog as I research and learn the ins and outs. One of the things I have enjoyed about blogging is getting to know other bloggers through Bloglovin', Facebook groups, local bloggers and more. These individuals become supportive friends. It is so worth it!


I am so excited about this season! I feel like I am off to a great start. What do you love about the Fall? Comment below and let me know! Happy Fall!! 🍁🍂🍁🍂🍃