Moving Can Be Scary

6 states.

 
1330 miles.

 
12.5 hours driving one day. 8 hours driving the second.

 
Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Utah, Wyoming, and Colorado.

 

It was my first time driving that many miles on my own. Phil and I took both cars on this move across the country so we followed each other all the way from Seattle to the Denver area. I got to drive through 3 states that I had never seen before. They were all beautiful. We started driving before sunrise both mornings and it was breathtaking to watch the sunrise over the hills and mountains. Utah was way more scenic than I expected, and Wyoming was crazy windy. There were a few times I was sure the wind was going to sweep me right up! The drive was not horrible, the only down side was my feet swelling up from being pregnant.

 
The first day of driving was a long day. By the time we got to our hotel we were both wiped and after a quick dinner we slept like rocks. The second day of driving was full of anticipation to make it to our destination. The closer we got the more nervous, excited, and scared I became. We arrived at our new apartment on Thursday afternoon. After unloading our cars and going through our lease orientation we were finally able to sit down and relax. The next day was full of errands going to the grocery store, Target, Xfinity, and figuring out where things are in our new town. After all the excitement of the week our bodies needed some rest so our first Saturday was spent being lazy watching reruns of Lost.

 
Sunday was our first day at our new church. It was wonderful. The people are extremely friendly, and it felt natural and comfortable, like we were coming home to a family gathering. The senior pastor took us to lunch and later we got to catch up with Phil’s aunt and uncle for dinner.

 
Monday, we drove around and randomly decided where to turn. We did not have a destination in mind, we were just trying to get to know the area. The moving truck with our stuff was supposed to come on Monday, but we got a phone call Sunday saying that the truck had broken down and it would be later in the week, so Phil and I have been using camping chairs and an air mattress. It has actually been kind of fun! Feels like we are camping in an air-conditioned apartment.

 
Moving is always scary. It is full of the unknown. I remember being so nervous to move out to Seattle, but that ended up bringing some of the biggest blessings in my life. This time is a little less scary because I have my husband by my side, but the fear is still there. After Sunday afternoon most of those fears and nerves went away. We both feel at home here already and I can’t wait for our baby to experience growing up here. There are lots of families in our new church with little kids which makes us even more excited for our baby, as if that is even possible.

 
Speaking of baby, it has been a while since I have given an update on what is happening with the pregnancy. We are currently 20 weeks! Halfway there! We are so excited for our baby to arrive in November. We got our mid pregnancy ultrasound, and everything looks good. We also found out that we are having a baby girl! We went in fully prepared to find out we were having a boy because of the fact that since the beginning Phil and I have both felt we were having a girl, so naturally we figured we must be having a boy. However, our intuition was correct! We are overjoyed with the news that so far baby looks healthy and growing just as she should be.

 
A few weeks ago, we were on vacation with my parents, brother, sister-in-law, and niece in Florida and I felt baby girl kick me for the first time. It was the coolest feeling. I had felt little flutters here and there before and thought oh that must be baby, but this was a for sure kick. I have been feeling them more frequently the last few days. Maybe she is just trying to get used to the altitude like we are. When we went in for our ultrasound baby was just chillin on her tummy and kicking her legs. Then she’d flip over onto her back and move her arms. We got to hear the heartbeat again which still is the coolest sound. I am in awe that there is a tiny human being in my belly and that I could feel so much love for her already.

 
As far as symptoms go I feel great. No more nausea, praise God. Sleeping has become an interesting game of finding a comfortable position. Baby bump has made itself known to the world. I am a stomach sleeper so it has taken me a while to get used to having to sleep on my side. Laying on my back is super uncomfortable so I have been flip flopping sides throughout the night. The doctors say shortness of breath can become common now, however at this point I never know if it is pregnancy or just the altitude. Either way I have an excuse to say no I am not this out of shape, it is the baby and the air.
This is a crazy time for us. We prayed for opportunities and apparently God said, “Here you go!” Between moving across the country, preparing for baby to be here in a couple months, myself starting a new job, and Phillip job hunting this could not be a wilder time for us. I am so thankful to have my husband who has been nothing but supportive of this whole transition stage. I do not think I could do this without him. I am thankful to be in a place that already feels like home and to be honest I am thankful to be closer to my family, but sad that we are away from Phillip’s family. It is going to take some time to fully settle into this new life and we ask for you all to pray for us as we try and figure out a new routine for our family.

 
Until next time

 
Peace and Love

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Walk in True Confidence

Growing up I would say I was not always the most confident person. I could fake it sure, but at the end of the day I would be dissecting every little thing and be full of self doubts. Recently, this has changed. I am probably more confident now than I ever have been. I think this comes from growing up and gaining life experience, but also I am intentionally focusing on who God says I am and not who the world says I am. I am not talking about being confident in how I look, we all have good days and bad days with that kind of confidence. What I am talking about is the confidence of who I am as a child of God and as a human being in the world.

 

That’s what I want to talk about today. The difference between who the world says we can be and who God says we are. Big differences friends…big differences.

 

The world says we can attain perfection if we only try hard enough. We can have the perfect body if we try hard enough. We can have happiness with wealth and health, we just have to work hard enough. we can be beautiful if… we will be successful when… blah blah blah

 

You know what the world is really telling you under all these messages? It is saying that you are not enough and you never will be enough. The world tells you what you are not. You are not beautiful because you do not have perfect skin or the perfect body. You are not happy because you do not have enough money. You are lonely because you are not worth having friends. You are not successful because you do not work hard enough. Then suddenly the world whispers that you can be all these things and achieve perfection if only you follow what it wants you to do, but you know what? People never achieve it because it is a LIE. We can never quite reach that standard that the world says we can attain, and then what happens? We lose all confidence in ourselves because we think we just are not trying hard enough. We get down on ourselves because we have bought into the lie that we can have this perfect life if only we work harder.

It is quite infuriating when you really think about it.

 

I kind of picture it like being on a stair master machine at the gym. The stairs never end, you just keep climbing with nowhere to go. The world dangles this carrot of perfection in front of your face and says follow my lead and I will get you to the perfect life, but really you are stuck running on treadmill going nowhere.

 

Our culture is obsessed with celebrity. Youth nowadays are trying to get insta famous or become a youtube star. If you do not know what insta famous means it is achieving a certain amount of followers on instagram and then getting paid to keep up your account. We are obsessed with social media. We put all the highlights of our lives out for everyone to see because we want validation that we are doing life right. We are obsessed with wanting to feel important and feel like our life matters.

 

Your life does matter.

 

It matters to the literal creator of the universe.

HELLO! I will repeat that for you.

 

Your life matters to the LITERAL. CREATOR. OF. THE. UNIVERSE.

 

I do not know about you, but when I really think about that statement it really blows my mind.

 

Now I want to dive into who God says we are in Christ Jesus. God says we are his children. God says we are loved and known by him. God says we are redeemed and forgiven. God says we are chosen. God says we are a new creation in Christ.

 

Every single person that I know could use this reminder from time to time. So I want you to grab your Bible if you have one and get a highlighter. We are going to look at where God says these things in the Bible.

 

YOU are a child of God! In 1 John chapter 3 verse 1 it says, “How great is the love the Father has lavished on us that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are!” The last statement, that is what we are. Period. No questions. That is who you are first and foremost.

 

YOU are loved and known by God! Psalm 139 is my favorite Psalm. The whole thing shows us how deeply we are known by God. I am going to pull out a few different verses from this Psalm. Verses 1-4 state, “O Lord, you have searched me and you know me. You know when I sit and when I rise; you perceive my thoughts from afar. You discern my going out and my lying down; you are familiar with all my ways. Before a word is on my tongue you know it completely, O Lord.” and then jumping over to verses 13 and 14 where it is written, “For you created my inmost being, you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.” God literally takes the time to create each of us. Since being pregnant I have thought about this many times. The intricacies of baby development are amazing. God is literally making this tiny person for Phillip and I to take care of inside my womb. How cool is that? Again in the gospel of Matthew Jesus is talking to the 12 disciples and in chapter 10 verse 30 he says, “Even the very hairs on your head are all numbered.” God literally knows the smallest detail about you. He loves you fully.

 

YOU are redeemed and forgiven! Ephesians chapter 1 verse 7-8 states, “In him (Christ) we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace that he lavished on us with all wisdom and understanding.” We did nothing for Christ to give us this forgiveness and yet by his grace and love he gave it to us anyway.

 

YOU are chosen! Ephesians is full of encouragement and truth bombs. Still in chapter 1 just a few verses before what was stated above in verse 4 we see that God chose us. “For he chose us in Him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in His sight.”

 

Lastly YOU are a new creation in Christ. In the second letter Paul the apostle wrote to the Corinthians he states in chapter 5 verses 16-17, “So from now on we regard no one from a worldly point of view. Though we once regarded Christ in this way, we do so no longer. Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone and the new has come!” Because of what Christ has done for us we are a new being in Him.

 

I could go on and on with a million examples of these, but I think you understand my point. Write these down and keep them somewhere you can see them daily. Do not get bogged down by the world’s standards. You are who God says you are. You are loved, known, forgiven, chosen, and a new creation. Walk in the confidence God wants his children to have. We know who we are. Do not let the lies of the world creep into your heart, but shout over those lies the truth of who you are.

 

Until next time.

 

Peace and Love.

Journey to Motherhood

I have been sitting on a secret for 13 weeks now.

 

It is time to let the cat out of the bag.

 

Ready?

 

3

 

2

 

1

 

 

We are expecting our first BABY! Yes… Phil and I are pregnant and are finally past the 1st trimester! We are now shouting it from the rooftops!

 

I really cannot explain how hard it was to keep this news a secret. I wanted to tell everyone as soon as we found out, but we settled for telling our families and waited to tell others until later. St. Patrick’s day morning I had been patient enough and took a pregnancy test. Phil and I had a good feeling that I was indeed pregnant, but we needed the test to make sure. Three minutes is an eternity to wait to check those darn tests.

 

Walking up the counter I could already see that the test had two pink lines on it and I started to cry immediately as I called Phil into the bathroom to see. This could not be true, could it? Are we really pregnant? So of course I had to do another test, this time a digital. Anybody else feel like it was not real until you got the digital confirmation? No? Just me… alright. When the digital came up as positive we were full of joy. We had been praying for this baby for months and here was the confirmation that we were indeed going to be parents.

 

It is scary and exciting and overwhelming all at the same time. You go from trying and hoping for a baby to being parents for real in a matter of 9 months. I have dreamt of being a mother my whole life and now that dream has become a reality.

 

Time has been moving fast and slow. On the one hand I cannot believe we are already finished with the first trimester and on the other hand I just want to be able to hold our little baby in my arms already! However, I know that pregnancy is a very unique time and I am enjoying every second of it so far.

 

As of this point the only real symptoms I have had are nausea, tiredness, and a few weird cravings. The tiredness is the main reason I have slacked on my blog and goals for the year. My goal of 400 miles of swimming has taken a backseat to napping and eating when something sounds good. I am hoping second trimester has more energy in store for me so I can get back into my swimming routine. Especially since swimming is said to be one of the best exercises for pregnancy.

 

The one thing that has been a goal of mine that pregnancy has helped tremendously with is not obsessing over my body. It has helped me truly appreciate everything the human body can do. My body has changed a lot already, and it will continue to change as baby gets bigger, but I really have not thought about my size or weight since becoming pregnant when those used to be daily thoughts. When they weigh me at the doctor I get on the scale backwards because I do not want to know or care to know for that matter how much I weigh. I am in a place where all I care about is that I am doing everything I can to make sure this baby is healthy. This is something I hope will continue to be true even after baby is born. Something I really hope to teach our baby no matter if it is a girl or a boy is to have an intuitive healthy relationship with food and their body.

 

While I have been slacking on writing for the last couple weeks I am planning on getting back into the swing of things now that our big news is out!

 

I am excited to write about the journey of being a mother and the many new memories we are going to form as a new family of three. I hope you will enjoy reading the journey as well.

 

Until next time,

 

Peace and love.

How Many Questions Do You Have?

We are smack dab in the middle of Lent. Lent is the season in the church year before Easter where we reflect on the work Christ has done for us on the cross, remember our baptism, and reflect on what Christ’s love means for us as His child.

This Lent I am reading through the book of Exodus. It is one of my favorites. One of the things that sticks out to me is Moses and his encounter with God at the burning bush. (Exodus 3:1 – 4:17) I find Moses extremely relatable because if you read through the story Moses has just about every question or excuse for God not to use him to help lead the Israelites out of Egypt. Lets walk through the story together.

First, God tells Moses that He sees the misery of His people and is going to rescue them from the Egyptians. God says he is going to lead them into a good and spacious land. God then tells Moses, “I am sending you to Pharaoh to bring my people the Israelites out of Egypt.” (Ex 3:10)

Moses is a bit reluctant. “Who am I that I should go to Pharaoh and bring the Israelites out of Egypt?” (3:11)

God’s answer is simple. “I will be with you.”

Here is where the questions and excuses really start. I picture Moses to be pacing with one hand on his hip and one hand on his chin because at this point he is a little panicked about what God just asked him to do. He then asks God, “Suppose I go to the Israelites and say to them, ‘The God of your fathers has sent me to you,’ and they ask me, ‘What is his name?’ Then what shall I tell them?” (3:13). Again, God gives Moses a straight answer, “I AM WHO I AM. This is what you are to say to the Israelites: ‘I AM has sent me to you.” God gives Moses a few more instructions and then Moses has ANOTHER question even though God has reassured him that He would be with him.

“What if they do not believe me or listen to me and say, ‘The Lord did not appear to you’?” (4:1)   At this point I find it comical the questions Moses is asking because of how relatable they are. How many times have I done the same thing? Anyway, let us continue.

Moses asks God this question and God gives him three miraculous signs to show them. The first one being Moses’ staff being thrown on the ground and becoming a snake. The second is Moses putting his hand into the cloak, it turning leprous, and then becoming normal again. The third sign is Moses taking water from the Nile and pouring it over dry land. The water would then turn to blood.

This is where I imagine major panic has set in Moses’ mind. After seeing God show him that he would be with him and showing him these miraculous signs to help prove it, Moses has another excuse thrown up his sleeve to pull out. One more thing that will maybe sway God to ask someone else to do it.

Moses says, “O Lord, I have never been eloquent, neither in the past nor since you have spoken to your servant. I am slow of speech and tongue.” At this point I feel as though we can all relate to the questions Moses is asking, but this is not even the best one. God tells Moses he will help him speak and teach him what to say.

Finally, Moses just gets right to the point and says, “O Lord, please send someone else to do it.”

(Cringing face happening as I read this part)

Am I the only person who can relate to the feelings behind these questions? In our women’s Bible study on Wednesdays we have been talking about how we can share the good of Jesus with others. We talk about how those opportunities come at random times and sometimes you might be caught off guard and how it can be a little intimidating to come up with what you want to say right on the spot. I think we put too much pressure on ourselves to have the perfect thing to say when we should really be honest and vulnerable and share how we have seen God work in our lives and let the Spirit help guide what to say because He will.

It is really easy for us to shove off opportunities for things when they come our way because it might be scary or hard or inconvenient. When faced with intimidating opportunities we might think things like I do not have the skills for this, I do not have the time for this, I do not the courage for this. God will you please get someone else to do it?!  

I will let you think for yourself if you have had a thought like that, but I know I have.

I believe those thoughts come from trying to do it all yourself and being your own savior when we should be leaning on God, who actually is our savior, for support, strength, and wisdom to make the most of the opportunities He presents us. We can rest on the promise that God will be with us through everything. This is a promise made over and over again throughout the Old and New Testaments. Next time a seemingly overwhelming or scary opportunity comes up lean on God and know He is with you through it all.

Until next week,

Peace and Love.

2018 Goal Update – Month 2

Alright friends, I am going to be honest. I feel as though I dropped the ball on many of my goals for this month, but going into March I feel more confident than ever that I can and will achieve all 7 goals.

 

I recently got back from a ministry conference in Phoenix, Arizona. I left feeling pretty empty and down, but I am back feeling refreshed and happy to have seen other friends across the country. During this conference I got to meet and network with so many new people who work in churches across the USA. I also got to catch up with friends I do not get to see very often. Honestly, it was so needed to be able to talk things out that have been weighing my heart down with people who totally understand where you are coming from.

 

Why I bring up the conference is because the feelings I had been feeling before I left played into why I have been so unmotivated. Not that this is an excuse, but it happens. Life happens. You pick yourself up and get going forward again. Now, let me dive in and tell you all about what has happened this month with these goals.

 

Blog 1 to 2 times per week.

 

For the month of February I will have only posted 2 blogs. I had every intention of writing while in Phoenix, but I was super busy and took the moments of free time to relax and catch up with friends. I know that it better to be consistent with writing, but sometimes other things are more important.

 

Finish writing my book.

 

Last month I talked about me being in the research stage of writing my book and I am still in that stage. With being gone last week and then the week before I was trying to get everything for the week I was gone done, I did not get a whole lot of progress made. My plan for March is to actually start the first draft and have at least a few chapters written.

 

Swim 400 miles or (660,000 yards)

 

In January I swam a total of 10,000 yards. My goal for February was 30,000 yards. I did half that… I got to 15,000 yards. I was hoping to get some swimming done in Phoenix, but it was only 60 degrees, which is way nicer than Seattle, but not warm enough to swim outside. So my total to date is 25,000 yards. Not a big chunk. This month I am aiming for 50,000 yards swam. That comes out to about 1613 yards every day. Of course there will be days I swim more and some I swim less, but the March goal is 50,000 and I am determined to make it!

 

Read 1 book a month for fun.

 

This one I did not fail on! This month I read What Made Maddy Run: The Secret Struggles and Tragic Death of an All-American Teen by Kate Fagan. Kate Fagan is an ESPN commentator and journalist. This book is something I would recommend every single parent read who has a child in their teens or young adult years. The book is written about a University of Pennsylvania college freshman named Madison Holleran. Madison committed suicide and shocked everyone who ever knew her. Madison seemed like she had it all together. She was a rock solid student, talented athlete who was recruited to U Penn for track and she was extremely popular. This book explores the struggle of people suffering from mental illness and the pressures teens face to make it seem like they have it all together. Honestly, I cried reading this book. I had heard about Madison a few years ago and when this book came out I knew I had to read it. Working with teens I see them facing so many pressures that adults do not understand because they are growing up in such a different time. This book does a great job of digging deep into the issues of mental illness, the pressures to be perfect, and the culture of social media. This was the best book I have read in a very long time. I would rate this book 5 out 5 stars.

 

Daily devotion, prayer, and Bible reading time.

 

I feel that I am happy with my prayer and devotional life right now. My relationship with God seems to be more connected than it has been the last few months and I will keep trusting that he is there and hears me. It is the season of Lent and right now I am going through a study with an online devotion called She Reads Truth. If you are a woman and want an online devotional to read every day I would recommend this one. They also have an app you can download.

 

Stop obsessing over my body.

 

This is hard. Diet culture is EVERYWHERE and just when I think I am in a good place something will sling shot me back to obsessing over food. It is frustrating when I know how I should be thinking. I read an intriguing quote the other day that said, “ If you have to restrict, purge, over-exercise, or punish yourself in order to stay there, your body is NOT meant to be at that weight.” I am not positive on who said this quote, but it the biggest truth bomb I have seen in a long time.  When I am doing healthy things with my body I have a certain set point at which my body stays. Is it the society standard of a “healthy” body. No. Am I self conscious about this fact? Absolutely, but I know that when I am eating a balanced diet, not withholding things I love, and not overworking my body at the gym that my body is where it is supposed to be. Some days that is easier said than done, but I am at a point where it is not a constant battle anymore. In my book that is a win.

 

Get out of my comfort zone. Take more risks.

 

As you have gathered from reading my other blogs I am very much an introvert. Conferences are very draining to me usually because it takes energy for me to put on my extroverted side around a bunch of people I do not know. However, this conference was awesome because I knew a fair amount of people which then gave me the confidence to talk to people I did not know at all. I went to this same conference two years ago as an intern and from then to now I have grown in confidence of who I am as a DCE. Who knows, maybe one day I will be a super extroverted person! Ya right, but for now I am happy with the steps I took out of my comfort zone.

 

Well there ya have it folks. The good and the bad. Hopefully March will have better updates.

 

Until next week.

 

Peace and Love.

A Love that Will Truly Last

This past Sunday Phillip and I celebrated our first wedding anniversary. It is crazy to think it has been an entire year since we stood in front of our family, friends, and God to vow to love each other through thick and thin. It has been a wonderful year. I am not sure who said that the first year of marriage is the hardest, but this was not the case for us. At least from my point of view.

 

Marriage has been everything I expected and so much more. It is romantic and ordinary, spontaneous and yet full of routine, comfortable and always challenging you to grow. It is good days and bad days. It is patience and kindness after a long day. It is knowing I will be loved, cared for, and protected by the one who publicly vowed those things to me. It is love.

 

Love is pretty much the theme of February. As soon as the New Year is over we start seeing big heart shaped balloons and chocolate candy filled boxes roll into the store shelves. We see valentines made for elementary students to give to each other. We see rows of cards for us to buy our significant others. All this build up to a day for people to announce their love for each other, but all this excitement about love quickly fades after the day over. The cards get thrown away, the chocolate is eaten, and decorations for St. Patrick’s Day takes over where the Valentine’s decorations just were.

 

We throw the word love around so casually that sometimes I think people do not truly think about the deep feelings that come with love. We love our friends. We love our house. We love our job (hopefully). We love chocolate. We love our significant other. We obviously do not feel the same way about all of those things. We love our significant others more than chocolate…I would hope. There are different kinds of love, but there is one love that is truly greater than the rest. A love that will truly last. That is God’s love for His people.

 

In a world that can seem so dark, our light and anchor to hold onto is Christ. When we feel unloved or unloveable we must remember his work on the cross for us. When we feel alone and down we cling to the rock that is that God gave his only Son, Jesus, to come to Earth, live the perfect life, die a horrible death, rise again from the grave all to show His perfect love for us.

 

Christ died for YOU.

 

God loves YOU that much.

 

There is a reading I like to do every once in a while. It is a meditation based on the teachings of St. Mother Teresa of Calcutta. It is called I Thirst. There is one portion of the reading that really pertains to this. The meditation is written as if Jesus is speaking directly to you. It is written,

 

“I know especially of your need for love – how you are thirsting to be loved and cherished. But how often have you thirsted in vain, by seeking that love selfishly, striving to fill the emptiness inside you with passing pleasure – with the even greater emptiness of sin. Do you thirst for love? ‘Come to me all you who thirst’ (John 7:37). I will satisfy you and fill you. Do you thirst to be cherished? I cherish you more than you can imagine – to the point of dying on the cross for you.”  

 

Let those words fill your soul for a minute.

 

God cherishes you that much.

 

Valentine’s Day was yesterday, but it was also a much more important day. It was Ash Wednesday, the beginning of Lent. How fitting for Ash Wednesday to also be the day we celebrate love. Christ’s love is the truest love, the most permanent, and the most fulfilling love. This Lent and Easter season seek the love that will truly last and you will find Jesus with arms wide open.

 

Until next week,

 

Peace and love.

 

2018 Goals – Update #1

I heard on the radio that January 12 is the most common day people quit their resolutions.

I am not sure if that is accurate, but it is now February 1st.

How are you doing on your goals for the year? Have you risen to the occasion and made steps toward completing them? Have you forgotten all about them?

My first blog of the month I committed to keeping myself accountable to my goals and to report my progress each month. January has come and gone so it is now time to see how the first month went. Honestly, it went better than expected. I set 7 large goals for myself for the year and I am proud with how things have started off. To refresh your memory those 7 goals were:

Blog 1 to 2 times per week.

Finish writing my book.

Swim 400 miles or (660,000 yards)

Read 1 book a month for fun.

Daily devotion, prayer, and Bible reading time.

Stop obsessing over my body.

Get out of my comfort zone. Take more risks.

Now I am going to go into depth about each of these.

 

  1. Blog 1 or 2 times a week.

 

So far so good on this one. I am starting with just one post a week for the first couple months with a plan to increase to 2. I have planned out what I will be writing about each week from now until the end of June. I believe that planning ahead is key to being consistent with blogging. If there is one thing I have learned so far it is that consistency makes your writing better. You cannot expect to get better at writing if you are not writing constantly.

 

  1. Finish writing my book

 

I have big writing goals for this year. It is something I love to do, because I can get all the gunk that clogs up my brain and get it out onto paper and hopefully turn it into something worthwhile. Writing has been something I have loved since elementary school. I can remember sitting and writing in notebooks for hours. I never knew if I was really good at writing, but in the last three years I have learned that it does not matter if other people believe I am good writer or not. I write for myself and if I like it then that is all that matters. For my book I am in the research phase. I have an outline of where I want my book to go and what I imagine the plot to be, but right now I am doing research.

 

  1. Swim 400 miles (660,000 yards)

 

I love swimming. It is a way for me to exercise that does not feel like something I have to do. It has been the perfect thing to help me keep up my cardio while healing from running injuries. Swimming is a great escape for me because all I concentrate on is my breath, form, and speed. I do not have any other thoughts on my mind when I am in the pool. That being said this month I did not want to overdo it by swimming 3000 yards every day. I wanted to ease into it and make sure my form for each stroke is correct so I do not get injured and I am building speed to get more yards in less time. This month I have completed 10,000 yards. For February my goal is 30,000 more yards. I will be out of town for 5 days for work so that will take out some swim days.

 

  1. Read 1 book a month for fun

 

I love to read and I do a lot of reading for my job, but I have lost time to read books for fun. This month I read The Other Side of Beauty by Leah Darrow. This book was wonderful and I highly recommend women of all ages from teens to elders to read this book. Leah gives her personal story of her time on America’s Next Top Model and working as a model in New York City. She talks about the impact chasing worldly beauty has on us as women and what the true beauty of God is. She gives her testimony beautifully, but what I loved most was that it was not just her writing about all the harmful things that come with chasing the world beauty standard, but she gives practical advice on how to be a Godly woman. I would give this book 4 out of 5 stars.

 

  1. Daily devotion, prayer, time in my Bible

 

Last week’s blog I opened up about my spiritual journey the last couple weeks and that it has not been the greatest. This has lead me to trying different things with my devotional time each day. I have tried different styles of prayer and meditation. I have tried different ways of reading scripture. Honestly it has been fun to get out of my normal routine. Here is to continuing trying new styles of devotion. God is good!

 

  1. Stop obsessing over my body

 

This goal is something I am going to work really hard on, and some days I feel as though I have conquered it and other days I completely fail. Honestly, from the standpoint of where I was two and three years ago I have come a long way. I do not do mirror checks every morning and I have stopped weighing myself for the time being. There are days when I get out of the pool and I feel so strong and proud of the work my body just did and there are no negative thoughts that are swimming in my head. Other days I wake up and try to get dressed for work and feel completely defeated  and not beautiful. The book I read this month (see point 3) has really helped me shift my perspective on beauty and I truly see a difference in my thinking. There are so many other important things in the world to worry about besides if my body is fitting some world standard that no one can achieve. Also, why should I care about a standard that I did not set and God surely did not set? I am a God made woman and I am going to live like it.

 

  1. Take more risks and get out of my comfort zone

 

I am an introvert. Talking to people I do not know is hard and I am awkward at it. I can turn on my extroverted side when I need to, but I hate it. However, this month I have made some new friends, which does not seem like a risk, but making new friends as an adult is not always the easiest thing to do. There is a term called the Seattle Freeze and it is a real thing. If you ask people who have moved here from other parts of the country most will agree that people in Seattle are friendly, but are not quick to invite you into their already formed friend group. Now that is not always true and honestly I think part of that is because making friends as adults is harder than it was in school. That being said, I have made some pretty great friends out here and I count that as a win and a risk. A risk because any time you put yourself out there, whether that be romantically or just looking for a friend, there is a risk of being rejected and nobody wants that. Other than making some new friends I have not had many other opportunities to get out of my comfort zone, but I am keeping my eyes peeled.

 

So there it is my friends. Progress report number 1. Thank you for all your support!

 

Peace and Love.