Don’t Give Up Hope

“What can feel like the ending could just be the beginning. Don’t give up hope.” -Third Day

-Third Day

StockSnap_OIA16DC2DP

Over the last 11 months since I moved out (I can’t believe it has been almost a year!) I’ve been learning a lot about being on my own and actually being independent out in the big wide world far from home. Throughout this last year, I’ve been greatly challenged in all areas of my life. Especially when it comes to my faith and boy, it has not been easy.

God has been teaching me so much over this last year and all I can really do is sit here and thank Him for not writing me off as a lost cause and forgetting about me cause I can be so stubborn it’s actually not even funny. (Like it’s really not)

But one thing God has really been pushing me with is my trust in Him. Trusting that he has got my life planned out and under control and believing that He created me to fulfill some awesome and amazing things that I can’t even begin to imagine and it’s been HARD. Even now I’m still working on it but as I’ve made moves to trust Him in His plans for my life I’m slowly starting to see what living like that is like. It’s not always a walk in the park and sometimes I doubt myself and doubt God about what He is doing and where He is leading me.

But as I sit here in my college dorm, having been here a whole week, I realize none of this could be anyone or thing aside from God. I still can’t believe that I made it here and even though I’m not certain about my degree I’m going for and if I’ll be at College for 2 or 4 years. I know that I need to not give up Hope when things get hard and be open to God and trust Him to show me what He wants me to do with my life and where He wants me.

No matter where you are and all seems hopeless and confusing or you just feel lost, don’t give up hope ❤

signature

Advertisements

How To Find Peace In Your Imperfections

Hello Loves!

This week has been super crazy with work and school and my boyfriend visiting and I forgot to post this guest post by the lovely Molly Shaffer. So I’ll step aside and let her take over the blog today.

nci5n8ul3z

For over three decades, I’ve struggled with self-hate. So much so that I couldn’t stand to see the woman staring back at me in the mirror. The world said I had to change in order to be beautiful. My face, without makeup, was not beautiful. The stretch marks that etched across my body were not beautiful. The cellulite, pimples, smile lines, and God knows how many other countless flaws, were not beautiful. In fact, there was nothing redeeming about me, and beautiful was a word meant for other people, not someone as broken as me. Lies!

This past year, the infamous 2016, was my year of self-growth. My New Year’s Resolution was different from my past ones, the ones where a number defined my life. In 2016, I made the resolution to become healthy: mind, body, and soul. Little did I know that uttering those words would send me on the most gut-wrenching journey of my life. A year of pain, growth, and ultimately, the beginnings of self-love…truly, honestly, lasting self-love.

How did I do it? How did I go from an inability to stare at my own reflection to becoming my own champion? Faith, quiet time, and most importantly, banishing the negative thoughts that were at war in my head. It took a lifetime to hate myself, and a year to come to peace, but it will take a daily commitment to choose love, in order to make lasting changes in my life. This is how you begin the process. This is where change resides. Not in a miracle pill or fad diet, but in rewiring your brain. Realizing that weight is truly just a number, but health runs much deeper than beauty ever will.

 

Step 1: Recognize the lies

One morning, I woke up ready to start a brand new day. I had a song in my head and a smile on my lips, but one step in front of the mirror, and my entire mood changed. Like a light switch turning off in my head, I felt the negativity creep in. My hair was in disarray, and my mascara smeared under my eyes, creating dark circles that would make a raccoon envious. I sat at my vanity, my head in my hands, and I cried. What happened to that strong woman from a second ago? Where did the warriorNowherewhere. She was inside me at that very moment. I had silenced her with a lie.

I picked up my head, and forced myself to look in the mirror. My eyes watered, but I refused to look away. I stared until my face blurred, and I ignored the menacing voice in my head…the liar. Slowly, ever so slowly, I began to make out an image. A cute button nose and full lips. Finally, a positive thought. I liked my nose and my lips. I ran with these thoughts, and as soon as the liar emerged once again, I had a weapon. Sure my eyebrows need to be shaped, but have you seen my nose. Damn, that’s a good nose. I took that first step, which lead to two more, and then, I was running.

 

Step 2: Find a Mantra

The negativity had defined me for far too long. The time had come to find my life quote…the one I could use to defeat the enemy…my war cry. I read through scripture until I came across the verse that spoke to my soul. Philippians 4:13: “I can do all things through Christ.” I had read this verse many times before, but for some reason it held a new meaning for me. I can do anything. Anything. Give up the bad habits. Strengthen my body and soul. Heck, I could even love myself. Why not? My life verse echoed…all things. The key word being all. I can do this. I will do this.

You may not be religious, and that is okay. Find your life verse. The verse that clings to you, or better yet, the verse you cling to. You’re going to need it, because the liar is strong in you. You’re going to need a mantra to defeat that cycle of abuse. Find your verse, memorize it, and repeat it until it sticks. Over and over again, like a song on repeat. You can do this.

 

Step 3: Phone a Friend

I have an accountability partner. Her name is Jessica, and she is my sister from a different mister. There are moments that I feel we are the same person in different bodies. Kindred souls thousands of miles apart. It’s kind of freaky how well we mesh. The best part, I can be real with this woman, and she doesn’t judge me. She pours truth into my life, refuses to sugar coat my failures, or accept my excuses. She isn’t harsh in her redirections. I don’t need a drill sergeant. I need a friend. Someone I can cry out to and laugh with. Jessica is that friend to me.

My journey will not work if I try it alone. I can talk myself into some stupid mistakes. “Go ahead, girl, you deserve a slice of that chocolate cake…no, you deserve the whole cake.” So, before I make a bad choice, I text Jessica. She either affirms my madness, or gently redirects me. Find your Jessica. She’s out there.

 

Step 4: Give Yourself Grace

You’re going to screw up. It’s inevitable. The best thing you can do when you muck everything up, is to realize you haven’t really mucked everything up. Stand up, dust off your bum, and get back on course. So you failed: who cares? That’s part of the process. Don’t slit your other three tires because you have a flat (I love that analogy). Give yourself the same grace you would give to your best friend, because after all, you need to begin seeing yourself as your best friend.

 

Step 5: Perfect isn’t Real

For most of my life, I sought perfection, until recently. I read this amazing book, Present Over Perfect, and I had an epiphany. Perfect is cold. Perfect is plastic. Perfect isn’t real. I want warm, comfortable, snuggly, and sometimes that comes with messy, flawed, and blemished…and that’s okay.

The price I paid for perfection is profuse. I spent countless hours inspecting my physique, holding myself to severe standards, and beating myself up when I didn’t reach the unattainable. Sound familiar? It’s the anthem of our world. Kill yourself so others will love you. Well, I say, love yourself and kill the negativity. Once you can see the lies you’ve believed about yourself are just that…lies…you can begin to speak truth into your soul. That’s where real transformation begins, and I’m here to tell you, life on the other side is great!

 
If you’d like to read more about my journey to self-love, visit my website: www.mollyshaffer.com. I’ll be the one with the love of words. The messy chick with a crooked grin. But guess what, I’ll be the one smiling!

Loving Who God Made You To Be

Hello there lovelies!

Today we have a guest post from my friend Cori. She was one of the first people to volunteer to write a blog post for this new blog post series I wanna do throughout the year and I LOVE what she has to say.

I hope you all receive some encouragement from this lovely gals words of wisdom.

tvz2cyhkjb

Well, it’s a new year again and our social media is filled with “New year new me” posts and new years resolutions that will last a couple of weeks.  Now don’t get me wrong, I don’t see anything wrong with trying to better yourself, but when its all about me, me, me I think we might just be missing the point. My resolution is to grow closer to Christ and to love who He made me.
        The world tells us that it is all about you. You do you. You only live once. I agree to make the most of your life but when your life revolves around you and you only that isn’t exactly what God has planned. God tells us to live humbly and to always put your neighbor before yourself. He tells us to give a homeless man the clothes off our backs if he doesn’t have any. He tells us to pray for our enemies and love them no matter the harm they’ve caused you.  That may not be very easy, but that is what we are called to. There is a difference between loving who God made you and being a self centered jerk
        Now my life hasn’t been that easy. I was sexually abused, I’ve harmed myself and did for many years, and I even attempted suicide. Growing up I’ve had major self esteem problems.  I would look at myself in the mirror and hate everything about my reflection. I would cry at night because I wasn’t good enough for society or even myself. It wasn’t until recently, actually, that I realized  I wasn’t living how God had planned. It took a mental hospital being waved over my head for me to finally get my act together.  My point is this: God made you who you are for a reason and you are perfectly and wonderfully made. He planned out every inch of you, beautifully, inside of your mother and God, the God of the universe, does not make mistakes. (Psalms 139:13-18)
        Now I pray that in this new year you learn to love yourself for who God made you. Not for what the world wants you to be. Serve your Lord with all your heart soul and mind and love every bit of yourself because the creator of everything there ever was and is to come made you and that is pretty amazing if you think about it.
    Now I still deal with all of these things today. I am not saying that life is gonna be a bundle of joy on a sunny day. Life sucks, there’s no other way to put it, but it is so much easier to have hope and to love who God made you to be then to dwell on things and to try to be this perfect person society makes the standard out to be. You will never be perfect. You will never be “Good enough” , but you know what? That’s why Christ died for us. So that in Him we are good enough and always will be. God doesn’t look at us for all the bad things we have done.  He looks at us as perfect, just as He made us perfectly.

“Lord help me to love who You made me to be. Help me serve you in any way that i can in this new year. I pray that in the new year i grow spiritually and grow to love others more than myself, thank you for all these blessings, i pray that my self esteem will be high this year. In your name I pray , Amen.”

Yours Truly,
Cori Heck

Dancing Through The Pain

Now you might think the title is metaphorical but no. I mean literally…but also get ready for some real stuff and life lessons! Wooh!

 

12524156_633337886819352_5832314195581002657_n

le me Swing Dancing 🙂 ( photo cred: Swing Bridge Dance Club )

 

Something you all know about me at this point: I’m a huge lover of Swing Dance.  (Being deprived of it since I’ve moved is so hard)

BUT

Something you may or may not know about me is this: I have chronic pain in my legs (due to uneven arches in my feet.) This chronic pain affects me daily. Some days are worse than others but usually after a full day of running around doing errands and working I am out for the count and it hurts to walk or move.

 

 

Put chronic pain and Swing together and you get an interesting way of making said chronic pain worse. Yet I do it and keep doing it anyways.

 

Why?

 

Because I love it too much to stop. Now that might sound like a silly excuse but its the truth.

 

Why Swing Dance?

Swing Dance is something I did weekly before moving (I still dance around my apartment lots too. Not the same but hey I’m still groovin’ )  Not only was it fun but it really improved my mood but, for the first time in a long time, I REALLY looked forward to a new week ahead of me cause I always kicked off the week with dance.

Fun fact: Dance or Movement Therapy has been used for many centuries to improve the mental and physical well- being of a person. Since dancing is an art, it increases self-expression and helps people connect with themselves and others. Dancing is a form of art that offers a way to explore psychological roots to overcome certain illnesses such as depression. Research have shown that dancing provide benefits that can help minimize depression’s effects.

As well as it being fun there are actually a lot of health benefits of it. Swing Dancing is a fun way to work out without it really feeling like a workout in the moment. Dancing also makes you happier. Not just in the moment but also in the long run.

I’ve taken many kinds of dance over the last 4-5 years and it really does make you happier! and if I’m having a bad day I put on one of my favorite songs at top volume and just sing and dance away like no one is watching. (usually no one is haha)

Something else that Swing Dance has done for me personally is make me a little more social and confident. – I’m an introverted little human who much prefers sitting in a corner and waiting till someone approaches me and starts talking to me as opposed to my approaching them… but doing Swing Dance totally turned that around for me?

How?

Simple- Swing Dance is a very fun, outgoing, and social type of dance where, whether you are a lead or a follow, guy or girl, if you wanna dance you get your butt off that chair and go up to someone and ask them to dance.

For the first while when I first started Swing Dancing I was like ‘nuh- uh no way. Nope. I’m gonna sit here and wait for someone to ask me to dance.‘ but eventually I started going up to people and asking them to dance!

Now this might sound like a funny thing to discuss but here is the thing. If you are a introverted little human (as mentioned before) you would know that this is a scary thing! But in terms of Swing Dancing I now have NO problem (or almost no problem) walking up to someone and asking them to dance.

Where did the chronic pain come from? What can you do to relieve your pain?

As I stated above, my chronic pain affects my every day life as it is a reoccurring pain in my legs. It caused by uneven arches in my feet and when I went to go get it figured out I found out my one leg is carrying about 70% (cant remember exactly) of my body weight when I stand as opposed to having it distributed evenly. (So you can see there the pain comes from)

Essentially my pain relief comes with doing some stretches for my legs and feet as well as just not walking around and putting my feet up when I can. Other than that there isn’t much to be done.

Why do you dance if it hurts?

I keep doing dance because its honestly something I love and am passionate about. Swing Dance has helped me become more confident in myself and has also made me happier – as well as that I’ve gotten to know some amazing people who I now can call my friends.

 “Whats your point in telling me this, Adriana?” – well. Let me tie this all together here.

Basically my point is no matter what, do what you want to do or have dreamed of doing.

Don’t let anything hold you back whether it be mental or physical.

If there is something you truly love and are passionate about you will find a way to do it. For me that love and passion is swing dance.

For you it might be dance as well.

Or music.

Or painting.

No matter what it is, you can do it. If you just have faith in yourself and find the determination to reach for your dreams.

Achieve your goals.

If you set your mind to it you can do anything no matter what ‘limitations’ people tell you you have.

What Jessica Jones Can Teach Us About Abusive Relationships

Abusive relationships are a very real and very horrible problem in our society….Here is what Marvel’s Jessica Jones does to shine a light on this fact.

 

jessica_jones_ritter

 

So I’ve recently watched the TV show Jessica Jones and as I made my way through the show, I started to notice something about the antagonist of the show (played by actor David Tennant) I’ve seen signs on how the antagonist of the show, Kilgrave, though he has super powers, is actually an abuser.

 

Here is what I’ve noticed: In terms of abuse it seems her abusers approach was that of emotional abuse.

What is emotional abuse? It involves a regular pattern of verbal offense, threatening, bullying, and constant criticism, as well as more subtle tactics like intimidation, shaming and manipulation. Emotional abuse is used to control and subjugate the other person, and quite often it occurs because the abuser has childhood wounds and insecurities they haven’t dealt with — perhaps as a result of being abused themselves.

Yes, he has mind controlling powers but the way we have seen them being used, especially on this one character (and the side effects it all had on Jessica Jones) we have seen how he uses it to abuse and control people.

 

  • He is controlling in the sense of always needing to know where she is going, what she is going to be doing, taking her phone and making sure (by making threats he goes through with) she is back within certain time frames.

 

  • Her abuser also plays the victim. (common trait in most abusers) That the actual victim of the abuser is making them do things or something else made them do it. Like things are his victims fault. an example was a conversation in Episode 7 that Jones has with her abuser. (its a little later in the post) There was a time where he would make Jessica Jones hurt herself then make himself save her, pretending to protect her and be the hero or he would make statements such as: “You never appreciate anything I do for you.” making himself the victim and turning it around on Jones herself. Making her think he wasn’t doing anything wrong.

 

  • After her leaving him and getting out of his control, Kilgrave is dead set on finding her and has developed stalker like behaviors (which he probably had before to some extent). Taking photos of her, having others take photos of her and follow her (etc.) Which leads into my last point. Abusers isolate the victim of the abuse. In the scene I’m gonna share in a moment you see this play out in terms of the fact that her abuser is trying to isolate her from everyone she knows. (In this case, killing people close to her doesn’t stop this guy but this is a TV show and a super villain we are talking about in this sense.) In return he is telling her things, professing feelings for her and in result trying to make sure she is isolated and only hearing his words and his opinions.

*spoilers following as I am going to discuss the conversation in this specific scene*

Kilgrave: “I will admit to keeping eyes on you. Spies are easy to come by for me.”

Jones: “Do whatever you are going to do to me, but let them go.” (There is a hostage scene taking place here as Kilgrave is using his powers to hold a whole room of people hostage)

Kilgrave: “Well I have to protect myself so…”

Jones: “Then control me, not them.”

Kilgrave: “I have absolutely no intention of controlling you. I want you to act on your own accord.”

She (Jones) asks: “Act how? Suicide? Is that why you’ve been torturing me?”

Kilgrave, her abuser, then states: “*chuckles* Oh my God, Jessica, I knew you were insecure. That’s just sad. I’m not torturing you. Why would I? I love you.

 

The scene continues and Jones calls her abuser out on his actions calling them a ‘demented declaration of love.’ and how he ruined her life in this act. She couldn’t be any closer to the truth.

Her abuser then says he was trying to make her see “That I’m the only one who matches you… Who challenges you… Who’ll do anything for you.” – In any other case this might almost sound romantic because who doesn’t want to be with someone who will do anything for you or challenges you for the better? But as you can see its not romantic. Not in this sense. Not when he is stalking her, killing her friends and family (he killed a young man who claimed to love Jessica), and becoming obsessive….Trying to get her back.

He then becomes angry (he’s very short fused.) when someones cell phone rings and it interrupts his professing ‘eternal love’

 

 

 

Now sure, no one has superpowers either so this whole abusive situation might be over-dramatized for the show but I feel Marvel was clever in this sense. They took a mind controlling super villain and used him and his abilities to shine a light on abuse. What that looks like and how it might appear to the victim as well. You don’t have to have powers to control or harm someone. If you did this wouldn’t be a real problem, would it? But despite the fact that this character has powers it doesn’t change the fact that he is an abuser and I think Marvel did a really good job in conveying that and not portraying an antagonists actions as okay or somewhat acceptable as most media might convey things.

 

Thus Begins A New Chapter

As one chapter comes to an end, another begins.

write

I feel like this last week has been me adulting like crazy.

I’ve been meeting with some of my best friends.

I’ve been setting up power and internet stuff.

I’ve been buying furniture and dishes.

I’ve been trying to change my cell phone plan to better fit this next step in life and SO much more.

 

Why?

 

Because I’m moving.

Away from home.

To a new job.

With a new apartment.

 

I will still be around and blogging so don’t worry about that 😉 but yeah. I’m moving. I’ve been living with my giant lovable family for 19 years so this is a weird experience for me as I’m also moving 6 hours away from my family. I’m gonna miss them like crazy but I’m thankful for technology so we can talk frequently and stay connected but I’m also so excited.

I’ll  be moving in with me bookworm, writer and nerdy fangirl bestie so that will make the transition a little easier so thats exciting. (Our tea and book collection combined will be envied by all for sure.) I’ll be moving to a new town and away from the nosy people I’ve had major run ins in town this summer. (#villagelife)

But by moving to a new town it means I’ll (once again saying it) be far from my really good friends, my family, and my church family. I know I will meet new people but I know that even when I do, they won’t ever replace the people I have met here.

The people who have impacted and changed my life.

It’s kinda what I’ve been dwelling on but I know that I’m not leaving forever and so my family and my friends who have become my family will see me again. With that I just want to say this:

No matter where you go, your family and friends will still be with you. Their love goes with you wherever you go. SO if you are called to go across the world then go. Or if you are called to move across town then go. If you are called to another town, city, or village, then GO.

Just do it.

Go.

Have fun. Enjoy life and know that as this new chapter in your life begins that the people you know and love go with you in your heart.

Why I’m Ashamed to go to Victoria’s Secret

Trust me, I couldn’t care less what Victoria’s ‘secret’ is and despite that store carrying necessities a woman kinda sorta needs, I still feel ashamed stepping foot into the store (or La Senza too but you get my point) Why? … Continue reading