How Can You Love What's Been Lost?

I’m at a loss. I really am. When I sat down to write this, I didn’t think there would be an issue. Self-love? That’s simple. There are hundreds of step-by-step articles on how to love the person you are. But, the more I think about it, the more I realize I don’t love me at all. This is my fourth attempt at writing something, and it’s a struggle. Respect, admiration even, is felt, but I do not love the woman I see in the mirror. Everything about me has changed since becoming a wife and mother, and I’m not sure who I am. I’m not sure what I look like without my husband and son. I feel as lost as I did the first time I went blonde in middle school. My hair was mustard, and I was blindly searching for identity. I have wandered so deep into my roles at home I’m almost certain I’ve given myself away.

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The Great Pursuit

In the last few years, there has been a spiritual war on peace within my household. My husband and I both struggle with finding peace and contentment in the midst of his work and raising a child that needs a little more care than the average kiddo. The days have been full of triumphs, but we are constantly fighting the spirits of fear, frustration, and even FOMO. That's what the kids call the “fear of missing out.” Our life is much more restricted than the lives of our friends, and it's hard to ignore the isolation. Since this struggle with peace has gone on so long, it has begun to feel hopeless. I start to think if it hasn't changed by now, we will always live in this chaotic bubble of loneliness and frustration. It was not until the last couple of weeks that I've been focusing my prayers on what I can do.

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Series Introduction: Peace

Experiencing solitude among nature, or creating a space for personal relaxation are my go-to solutions for feeling at rest. In a world where anxiety and immediacy rule, it’s often difficult to find true, long-lasting, genuine peace. Thankfully, I don’t tend to carry much worry or anxiety with me. But, in high-stress situations, I usually let peace fall to the wayside. Here, my circumstances steal my composure and I’m led by an anxious space of my soul known for not seeing things clearly. Stress clouds our judgment and hinders our ability to see a situation for what it truly is. Often times, we dig ourselves into a worry pit that was never initially there. Yet, we continue to grab the shovel and allow the littlest of things to take us deeper into the dirt. 

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To the Girl Who Can't Love Herself... [An Audio Letter]

At what point in your life did you first feel uncomfortable in your own body? Do you remember the very first moment you were embarrassed with yourself? Or, when did you first feel the pressure to look and be like everyone else? How about that first moment you looked into the mirror, like you’d always done before, but instantly everything changed? When you entered this world, you felt no shame, no fear, and there was certainly no judgment. Your itty-bitty frame, delicate and soft, was absolute perfection. The way you arrived into existence was a bonafide miracle, and that’s damn right beautiful. So, what happened to her?

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Anchored in Love: My Healing Journey

Then, years later, the crash came. I’d managed for so long, but in the fall of 2016, my weary body started firing symptoms like sirens. I reluctantly put myself back into the hands of a doctor, and after running another panel of tests, she found the mysterious bacteria that had been oppressing my body for almost a decade. We were shocked and relieved, and I immediately entered into the necessary but brutal treatment. Love carried me through those months. The love of my husband who wrapped me in blankets every day just to get me into fresh air. The love of my friends who met me where I was at — in my bed. The love of my family who helped care for me. And mostly, the love of my Creator, who planted a peace in my heart not even the tears could wash away.

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Love Yourself First: How to be Your Own Biggest Supporter

February is all about love. It's the month of course when we celebrate Valentine's Day and can be a very special time for couples, but you might be dreading it just a bit if you're single. Or perhaps you're in a relationship but never understood why you had to rush out and buy all the bouquets of flowers, chocolate candies and giant teddy bears you can find (not to mention the fact that many Valentine's Day displays seem to go up in stores right after Christmas)! If you're not so into the holiday or even if you are, maybe it's just a good time to shower yourself with some love and TLC — a reminder to take time for yourself. In that case, here's some tips from me to you. Self love for me is two parts — actually loving and appreciating yourself internally and secondly, the outward actions you do to keep yourself happy, healthy and full of love.  

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Why Applause Doesn’t Make You Somebody

In a recent episode of America’s Got Talent, Paul Potts, the first winner of Britain’s Got Talent, talked about the impact winning had on his life. He said, “I walked onto that stage a nobody and left it as somebody.”  The crowd erupted in applause, and the judges nodded in agreement — but my heart broke. I wanted to reach through the screen and tell Mr. Potts he was a somebody long before he walked on the stage of Britain’s Got Talent. Perhaps, he was not well known. Maybe he wasn’t asked to sing for the queen or to perform all over the world. Likely, only a handful of people knew he could sing and appreciated the gift he had been given. But, he was not a nobody.

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Learn to Say ‘No’ and Put Yourself First

This year, I have made one resolution: put myself first more often. Sometimes self-love is easier said than done. I would love to get a biweekly mani/pedi or read more books but finding the time to do these things can be hard when you have commitments to your loved ones and your job. This last year, I found myself more stressed than I had ever been before due to the fact that I wasn’t taking enough time to decompress and enjoy my time off. We’re almost a month into the new year and although it’s been difficult to change my ways, I’m learning to take more time to gather my thoughts and do the things I love.

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I Am All He Says I Am

If I were to treat others the way I treat myself, I wouldn’t be the nicest person. I am so hard on myself as I am sure most people can relate to. I don’t take compliments from others well and I am even more so challenged in the area of complimenting myself. It is so much harder for me to look inward than it is for me to look into the hearts of others. I love telling people how wonderfully made they are. I’d even say I have more recently developed a sixth sense of seeing people through God’s eyes. To look at people and ask God to show me who they are growing into is one of my favorite pastimes.

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I Love Myself, That's What Matters

Self-love is something I've struggled with. I struggle with comparison. I'm always comparing myself to others. I think that's brought me down a lot of times, and it's made me feel insecure. Another big thing for me is feeling judged — it's never fun to feel like you're constantly being judged by others. In these situations, it has really helped me to remember God loves me.

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Series Introduction: Self-Love

When I look back at the girl I was in high school — no let’s be real, sixth grade — my heart breaks for her. She had absolutely no love for herself. Eventually, I grew up and found room in my heart for the woman God created in me. Now that I’ve gotten to know her, I’m never letting her go. I admit, I still find imperfections in menial things, but nevertheless, my cup overflows with self-love.  As we step into February, a month dedicated to overly romantic acts of love, I feel it’s important to remember to shower ourselves with affirmations — and, while we’re at it, chocolates and flowers too.

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4 Success Tips for Dream Chasing

I would say I have always been a highly determined gal — except for those lost teen years where all I cared about were boys and how my hair looked. Sure, motivation could very well be an innate trait the good Lord blessed me with, but as far as ambition is concerned, I developed that. After a rough breakup at the beginning of my sophomore year of college, I slowly began the search for myself and my identity — as I had lost it all in him and the joke that was our relationship. It felt as if a forgotten switch was finally turned on, never to be turned off again — not for anyone or anything. Let me tell you, girl... I never felt more alive or more me than the moment I realized I was better on my own. 

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Why Ambition is Stealing My Joy

It felt as if all of my ambition fell down the stairs with me that night, never to walk again. Well, nothing’s broken… so, I’ll walk again but you know what I mean. The much longed for solitude in which I create the best was destroyed in the careless slip of a step. Since falling almost two weeks ago, I’ve had to rely on my incredible loved ones and support system. Gosh, am I a lucky girl to have them. But, oh my goodness do I miss being me. I miss my get-up-and-go-ambition. I miss the strength of a well-abled body. Despite the breakdowns and moments of weakness, I’ve had the feeling the Lord is using this injury to teach me something.

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Messy Bun Ambition

We live in a sweatpants and messy bun generation, and I don’t exactly dislike it. We search for comfort and the cozy feeling of the hygge lifestyle. I’ve been known to brag about how many sherpa-lined socks and cute animal pajama pants I have. These days, embracing and striving for comfort is just as much a sign of a successful life as getting the dream job. It seems if you can afford the luxury of doing absolutely nothing, you’ve made it somehow. My super soft, sloth PJ pants are a prized possession, but I’ve seen the dark side of comfort. The desire to spend a few hours doing nothing is a powerful one, and that desire will always win unless you fight it.

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You Need More Than Just Ambition

When I was 9-years-old, I wrote a book. It took a lot of ambition to write this book! I always wanted to write a book at a young age because I wanted to show you can do amazing things when you’re young! I knew when it was time to write it, God would say, "Go." On April 10, 2018, I heard God say "Go.” I went downstairs and went to my mom's room. I told her, "I'm going to write a book!” I took the computer, went outside with my Bible, notebook and pens, and sat there. I was just so ambitious and ready for this moment I kind of forgot I actually had to write a book!

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The Fine Line Between Ambition and Obsession

Ambition is a word that has been tripping me up quite a bit lately. Standing at a complicated crossroads of sorts, I have had a lot of time to think about my own ambitions, the things that are important to me and the kind of woman I am still striving to become. Caught between others’ expectations of me, pressures from my job, and the need to finally strike out on my own, these thoughts have found a home in my brain over the past year. How does ambition shape our lives and how do differing interests and motivations affect the way we go after our dreams?

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Does Ambition Lead to Success?

I grew up believing ambition led to success. In school, if I studied and did the work, I would get an A. In sports, if I practiced hard, I was rewarded with more playing time. When I worked my first job, hard work equaled higher pay, more hours, and the admiration of my boss and coworkers. My achiever personality thrives in that environment! I can finish a project in record speed. When I set a goal, I don’t stop until that goal is completed. I love making lists and checking things off. (I’m one of those crazy people who writes something I just did on the list, just so I can cross it off…don’t laugh, I’m know I’m not the only one!)

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Passionately Ambitious With No Regrets

After a variety of internships at a magazine, two television shows, a radio show and a stint at the university TV station, I  was ready to back up my journalism work experience academically with a master's degree.  What followed was an accelerated year and a half strenuous program that allowed me a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to report at the London Olympic Games, and I've never looked back on my career choice since. That doesn't mean there weren't stumbles along the way. A year after graduate school, my radio news job wasn't able to offer me more than a part-time schedule and I simply needed to be able to pay my bills, so I made the difficult decision to leave and accept a full-time position with a marketing start-up.

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Driven by Heavenly Thinking

I used to buy into my own lies that if I wanted a particular path in life too much, I would become too focused on myself and my desires to be a participant in the highs and lows of the lives of the people I cared about. I told myself in order to pursue my dreams of being a fashion designer in the buzzing hub of New York City, I would certainly have to give up friendships and family ties and my fantasy of being a mother to babies with chub rolls galore. I thought, in order to make it big, I had no choice but to toss out every other element that fueled the joy in my life in order to collect enough stored up energy to put nothing short of 100% of me into my life’s work.

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Series Introduction: Ambition

We are only a few days into this new year and I don’t know about yours, but my social media feed is consumed by cliché resolutions and novel-length reflections of the year gone. Sure, I’ll appreciate the idea of a fresh start as much as the next girl — but so what? Setting goals to better yourself and pursue your passion is great, but at the end of the day it’s not enough. The bottom line is: you cannot have ambition without action. Period. End of story.  So, if you’ve set a resolution for yourself in the new year, then you’ve got ambition, girl! That’s the first step.

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