What if One Smile Could Change the World?

Life is hard. We are all fighting some kind of battle. A hard battle. It is easy to feel overwhelmed with the weight of responsibilities and expectations. We have families to care for, bills to pay, and deadlines to meet. We walk around with broken relationships and broken hearts. We experience loss, rejection, disappointment, and abandonment. We have been victimized and offended. We feel alone and forgotten. We can feel like we are drowning in the worries and cares of this world. But there is hope! Jesus came to rescue us from the weight of this world. He wants to carry our burdens for us. He wants to give us the courage to keep pressing on. 

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Series Introduction: Courage

I was roofied in college. By a complete stranger. In an incredibly dark bar in downtown Flagstaff. Typically, I’m never this blunt in writing about my traumatic experiences. But, most of you already read the entire blog I wrote about this experience back in September of last year. Retracing that night on paper was not easy—it was agonizing. The memory of it all, or what I can remember of it anyway, is enough to make me shiver. Since sharing that scary time of my life with you, I’ve felt the power it once held over me diminish. Yes, being that stranger’s victim scarred me, changed me and hurt me… but, what he did no longer has any power over my life.

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Balancing a Tightrope to Forgiveness

In July of 2014, my mom packed up her things into one backpack and instructed my sisters and youngest brother to do the same. We left on a Sunday afternoon and ran for our lives. We found ourselves in a homeless shelter for women who were victims of domestic violence. We stayed there for six months, until we got a small apartment in the west valley. Once we were on our own two feet, it became apparent my older sister and I would be responsible for the majority of the bills. We started finding money however we could.

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Four Steps to Living a Carefree Life

For me, stillness means sitting at the water’s edge or beneath a patio watching the rain pitter-patter through aromatic pine needles. That’s where I truly feel at peace, where not one thought clouds my ability to breathe in the fresh air and live in the moment. The neat thing about stillness is everyone approaches it differently. What might bring me peace, may not do a single thing for you. Your idea of relaxation could be the complete opposite of how I rejuvenate and reset. This is why I don’t want to push my idea of stillness on you. Instead, I’ll tell you of all the ways I practice stillness in my life and what’s worked for me.

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The Necessity of Being Still

At the beginning of the year, God whispered two words to my heart, “Be still.” I didn’t really know how He wanted me to apply those words to my life in this season, but I wanted to take Him seriously. So, I did all the things I knew to do. I prayed God would teach me to “be still.” I thought about those words and how they might apply to my life. I bought the “Be Still” artwork from the local Christian bookstore to hang above my desk so I would be reminded of God’s words. And then, I continued living my life as is. I have had seasons in my life when God has been silent. The beginning of this year was one of those seasons.

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Even at Rest, You are Still YOU

Day after day of chaos has me pleading for quiet moments. All I want is to stop for a minute or two and do nothing. I dream of having the sleep and lack of responsibility I had as a child. Taking naps and staying still, I hope, are the rewards of the constant moving and striving. But the moment I stop in one place, the fear creeps in. What will I miss? What opportunity will pass me by while I rest? What if I never move again? What I longed for becomes more scary than the taxing and brutal reality of always working to achieve. I can't let go because I might fade away. People might forget my name, my actions. It is a nearly paralyzing thought.

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Pushing Against the Tide of Doing Too Much

If you’re a busy girl, you know that giving yourself pause to slow down and do nothing for a while can be… difficult. But when you’re running your butt off all day and all week, you have to give yourself the opportunity to breathe and let go. I’m no stranger to this game and oftentimes feel like I need to be doing something worth putting on Instagram stories every day. But you don’t have to. While there’s a part of me that’s always go go go, there’s another part that needs to take one day every weekend to do absolutely nothing in order to rebound for the next week. Rest and time off are essential to anyone trying to conquer the world. 

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Finding a Rhythm 

Stillness, by nature, is not my cup of tea. I am an extravert. A “go-getter.” An adventurer. Sitting still or taking the time to process my thoughts sounds terrible to me. Let me put this into perspective for those of you who are more inclined to rest, to take things easy, and process things more regularly. My alarm goes off at 4:30 most mornings for me to get ready for a 5 o’clock shift at work. I will work for six to eight hours before coming home to deep clean the house while FaceTiming my best friend, prepping dinner and drawing up the floor plan for my dream home all at the same time. I know this might sound like an exaggeration but trust me. It’s not.

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Prayers to Pray When You Need Stillness

Being still is very important. Taking a step back to realize what’s going on can truly make a difference. It’s so important to take a day of the week to have as your rest day, just like God did. Six days of work and the seventh use as a rest to day to cleanse your spirit and focus that day on God—a day to be still in the moment. It’s OK to slow down sometimes, to take a step back and be still for a minute so you can assess what’s going on. You can gain so much wisdom from taking a moment to be still with God and focus in on Him. It’s so important to stay aware of what’s going on so you can always have a clear understanding of things. Take your time to relax and be still!

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Series Introduction: Stillness

Life. Will. Not. Slow. Down. Ever since before the start of summer, it feels like I’ve been a passenger on the NYC subway. Quickly getting on, only to hop off even faster so I don’t miss the next train. And, holy moly is this exhausting! I am truly wiped out. Between extended vacations to far away states, weekend trips up north, and bachelorette parties, I find myself craving a Sunday at home doing absolutely nothing in my pajamas—longing for stillness. As I sit down to write this, during one of the busiest work weeks I’ve experienced since first starting my job last fall, stillness is most definitely on mind. Yes, I love the hustle. I appreciate the busy seasons, but it’s beginning to feel like I’ve forgotten the value of being still, finding peace. 

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Living Loved, A Mindset

A woman can read a love letter from her husband or listen to her mom rave about how proud she is of her daughter for coming so far, for achieving so much. However, it’s up to us, as that woman on the other end of the affection, what we do with this love being laid out before us. If I think I am undeserving of the affections of others, I won’t let the positive words of those who care for me shape who I am. It’s these words I don’t let reach the depths of my heart that won’t be able to project me forward into who I want to become.

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Confidence-Inspiring Affirmations Every Woman Needs

Do you know that feeling when it seems as if the world could care less about you? Yeah, I’ve been there recently—it’s not easy. It can feel like you’re unimportant or a nuisance. That describes my recent life experiences to a T. Despite that, I know there are truths I’ve been ignoring—I’ve let the shortcomings of others define my worth. This is not how we are called to live, girlfriend. We are made for more—more than the labels and lies this world forces upon us. Frankly, we are called to live loved. 

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Her Powerful Will to Live, From Diagnosis to Recovery

There is something powerful that exists within us. It goes much deeper than faith and far greater than hope. It’s an indescribable strength with the authority to claim our attention and influence our every action. The moment our life is in jeopardy, our will to survive becomes the driving force—carrying us to safety, to healing, to the light at the end of the tunnel. Survival is an instinct we cannot ignore, and if we believe in its power, it can truly work on our behalf. It was the survivor within Jen Rozenbaum that found victory in her fight with breast cancer two years ago.

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Love is a Choice

Love. We all want to feel loved. We want that feeling of joy and acceptance when someone else chooses us and wants to spend time with us. We want the tingles and the goosebumps of new love. We want the steadiness and the consistency of old love. We want love to be easy. We want to wake up in the morning and FEEL loved. It is one thing to FEEL loved, but it is another thing to KNOW you are loved. I KNOW, in my head, God loves me. I have been told it over and over and over since the day I was born. But, sometimes, I don’t FEEL loved. Things happen in life that cause me to FEEL unloved and forgotten.

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The Process of Living Loved

Normally, I approach these topics by revealing how I have overcome something that once hindered me. I am transparent, but only in showing where I have come from, more so than, where I am at currently. But, when I finally got myself to sit down and think on what it means to “live loved” I was stumped. I tried to think of an instance where I fully stepped into who I am, believing in God’s will for my life and who HE has called me to be. The issue is I am bad at receiving. When it comes to being drenched in the love of Christ, I am like the driest desert you can think of amidst the first rainfall it’s ever experienced.

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It’s Time to Truly Love Yourself

Feeling loved is one of life’s greatest accomplishments. Whether it’s from a family member, friend or a significant other, love is the one thing that keeps the world spinning. Finding the strength within your heart to give your love to others can oftentimes be too easy, but we do it because it’s what feels right and makes us feel whole. But, what about loving yourself and being able to confidently walk in the direction of your dreams because you are confident in who you are, and you love yourself whole-heartedly? That’s an entirely different story. Everyone has been there.

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Remembering to Live Loved

It’s so important to live loved and to realize you are not comparable to anyone else. No one will ever compare to you. In fact, from birth to death, your entire life, there is nobody in this world who could ever compare to you. You are so unique and loved. Don’t put yourself through the hardship of comparison. God loves every one of us the exact same. I don’t want anyone to experience the pain of feeling like they’re not good enough and loved less than others. Because it’s not true! God loves you so much. There is no one He loves more than you! 

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Pursuing Honest Reflections of Love

Someday, you have to stop caring. You have to give up, and you have to move on. You have to stop looking to others to see your reflection. Someday, you have to stop looking at all the ways in which you need to be fixed and start to love exactly who you are. It’s not easy not to care. People are quick to provide their input and judgements, and you’ll never run out of critiques if you go looking for them. In the most formative times of life, you can forget who you are and spend your time obsessing over who everyone thinks you are. It’s a run of faceless days ruled by the labels given to you. 

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Series Introduction: Live Loved

It’s nice to be loved, wouldn’t you agree? There is comfort and belonging found in the company of someone who truly loves you. When surrounded by people who deeply care for you, facing the world feels easier because you’re supported. But, with love, hurt almost always steals the goodness and joy that exists because of love. You see, no matter how deep another’s love burns for you, shortcomings and imperfections of our humanity will always hinder our perception of unconditional, real and pure love. That’s the beauty in knowing this truth—before you could earn love, it was already very much yours. You’ve been tirelessly working to grasp a hold of something that’s been in your possession for your entire life.

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The Secret to True Connection

I was once friends with a girl who kept her life very private. I never really knew when she was struggling or how her life was at home. She’d tell me about her latest boy crush and their brief, flirty text messages—but nothing more. We’d call ourselves “best friends” but I didn’t have a clue about her past. I couldn’t tell you what made her, well, her. Being the person I was, she knew a little bit more about me—but when it came to the skeletons in my closet, I only gave her a peek. I never felt safe to open myself up.

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