Body Confidence

Health & Fitness

With the end of May approaching, I have been thinking a lot about things I have done to better my mental health this month. May is mental health awareness month, and while I think we should bring awareness to it everyday, I love that there is a month dedicated to it. One of my goals for this year has been to be more confident in my skin. With May being the start of summer, I decided to really focus on how I was treating my mind and my body, because I was so tired of spending countless summers hating the way I looked. I want to share some things that have helped me in the past couple months, and while I am still not where I want to be in my “body confidence” journey, I am making huge progress and I am so happy.

The first thing I learned, was that you have to learn to love your body at the state it is in now. This was hard for me, because I am always looking for things I want to change about myself. It is good to have goals for yourself and your body as far as health goes, but if you learn to love it how it is first, you can grow the love even more from that. Remember, you were made so beautiful and so unique! 

Second, I had to decide what my goals were. It is okay to want to change our bodies, but make sure you are doing it for you and what is going to make you feel the best and the happiest! For me, my goals were to gain muscle, strength, and confidence. My boyfriend is extremely talented in the field of fitness and nutrition (its what his college degree is in) and was happy to help. He helped me with meal planning and wrote me up a fitness program that was specifically tailored to my goals. (side note: If you are interested in starting a healthy lifestyle and need help obtaining your goals he is the best and would love to help! Feel free to comment for more info). 

Third, you have to stop comparing yourself to others! (something I am still definitely learning) These days with social media, it is so easy to compare ourselves to how others look. While I have gotten better at it, I still find myself guilty of it every now and then. Instead of comparing, we need to focus on our own goals and the progress we are making in our own lives and trust me, it makes your mindset so much better.

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Lastly, remember that slow progress is still progress! If you are starting a journey to a more healthy lifestyle and body confidence, patience is a huge part of that journey. I used to get so aggravated when I didn’t see progress or results right away. However, I learned that you will see it overtime and the feeling of seeing your hard work pay off is so amazing!

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I have struggled a lot with body confidence over the years, but I am slowly but surely learning to love my body and be confident in the skin I am in day by day. Never forget how beautiful and unique each and everyone of you truly are. If there’s something about your body you are unhappy with, its okay to make goals to change it, but be kind to yourself in the process.

-Taylor

Just Jeepin’

Lifestyle

This past weekend here in Kentucky was absolutely beautiful. With as much rain and cold weather that we have been having I was thrilled to see the forecast say sunny and 80 degrees. My family, my boyfriend, and I decided this would be a perfect time to take a road trip. We packed up the jeeps with food, drinks, and pups and headed off to Shepard’s Trail. If you live in KY or anywhere close, I highly recommend taking a drive on this trail. It’s full of twists and turns and it takes you through some of the most beautiful scenery. It also takes you through a state park, if you go a certain way!

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We rolled the windows down, turned up the music and had a blast. It was much needed after everything that has been going on in the world lately. I was so happy being surrounded by those I love and getting to take in some fresh air.

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While this trail was absolutely beautiful to drive through, it also had places where you can camp, picnic, or just stop to take in the scenery. About half way through the trail, we parked and walked to an overlook spot. The view was stunning. We drove the rest of the trail, and even took the long way home just to enjoy the drive even more. It was so much fun and I encourage you to find new places to road trip to during this time. It allows you the chance to destress, be with loved ones, and leave your worries behind.

This year, my jeep will be 5 years old and I am always looking for new spots to take her on adventures. If anyone has any suggestions feel free to leave them in the comments!

I know this was a shorter post, but I hope you still enjoyed and check out Shepard’s Trail if you get the chance! Thank you so much for reading about our little weekend adventure. I pray everyone is staying safe and healthy!

-Taylor

First Time Bread Baker

Lifestyle

Well y’all, a couple days ago I finally decided to learn how to make my own bread. I blame this endeavor on my new addiction to “The Great British Baking Show” on Netflix (If you haven’t watched it check it out, I promise you won’t regret it). Since being in quarantine, I have tried to find new things to do and learn every week. This week I decided to tackle bread making. I was terrified to say the least. I have always loved to bake and the idea of baking my own warm homemade bread to share with my family made my heart so happy.

I found a simple recipe on Pinterest and gave it my best shot. This is the recipe I used, and if you are considering making bread I 10/10 recommend you try out this one!I used a dutch oven to make my bread in, but you can also cook it in a deeper pot as well. I started my bread making journey around 10 am in the morning and finished around 4pm in the day. It was definitely a labor of love, but I was so happy with how it turned out. My boyfriend and my family loved it, so I think it is for sure a keeper.

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We are living in some scary and uncertain times right now, and a way that I keep sane through all of it is just finding fun things to keep me busy each day. I love learning new things, so learning how to make bread was such a great experience. I encourage you to take time during quarantine and learn something new. It doesn’t have to be bread baking (even though it is super fun) it can be anything you have always wanted to learn!

There are many negatives to the situation we are in, but I am trying everyday to focus on the positives. We have more time than ever now to learn new things, find a new passion, and work on ourselves.

“A beautiful day begins with a beautiful mindset.” 

I am so excited that I started my adventures in bread making and I can’t wait to try out more recipes. This coming weekend/next week start your own bread making adventure or try out something else you really love. I am praying for everyones health, safety, and well being during this time.

-Taylor

What Is Our Purpose?

Devotionals

Last night, my family decided to start a bible study. It was my mom’s idea, and even after the first night, I am so thankful that she got us all on board. We all sat around the living room, opened up our bibles and dove into the word. The lesson was about Jesus traveling all around to help others and preach about the kingdom of God. It also touched on how His purpose on Earth was to save us from our sins. We had a sheet that followed up the verses with questions. It asked not only what Jesus’ purpose was, but what we thought our purpose here on this Earth was. I loved this question, because it is not something we think about often.

I have always believed that each person has a special and unique purpose on this Earth. Some were meant to be great doctors, lawyers, teachers etc. However, let’s think about purpose in a spiritual sense. As Christians, we were all made in the image of Christ. This being said, it means our purpose is a lot like His. We were created to spread the good news of the kingdom and to serve others. We each also have been blessed with spiritual gifts that we can use to spread the news of God’s kingdom. There are many articles online where you can read more on spiritual gifts, and even take tests to find out what yours may be. 

In the lesson last night, we learned the importance of being selfless just as Jesus was. He was constantly finding ways he could serve others, and He did it truly out of the kindness of His heart. He showed that serving others does not always mean going to extremes, it can be as simple as showing someone kindness when others do not. My mom touched on the importance of kindness in her new blog post this week, and I would love for you all to read it.

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“You can make many plans, but the Lord’s purpose will prevail”.-Proverbs 19:21

I find so much comfort in the fact that we were all made for a purpose, and finding ways to live out that purpose every day is something we all should think about.

As a family, we came up with three ways that we can better serve out our purpose.

  1. Find ways to serve others.
  2. Be kind always 
  3. Appreciate things more 

Take some time and write on a piece of paper, or type in the notes on your phone three ways that you can serve out your purpose. Look back on these things each week, and even add to the list as more come to mind! Just know friend, you are unique and special and you have a purpose here on this Earth.

-Taylor

 

You Are Not Alone

Devotionals

I lay here awake, debating on even writing this. What you are about to read has been heavy on my heart for so long, and I finally feel ready. (This may be a sensitive subject to some, and I completely understand if you feel the need at any time to exit this post. This is part of my story and I pray that it can give hope to others).

With the state of the world right now and everyone in quarantine, I have had a lot of time to think. While this gives many people the chance to spend quality time with their families, for some this is a nightmare being played out day by day in their own homes. The thought occurred to me the other day… those people who are suffering mental/physical abuse from their partners have no where to go and I felt my heart breaking.

Years ago when I would hear about people in abusive/toxic relationships I asked the same question that many others do “Why don’t they just leave?” I never understood until it became my reality.

From the outside (for the most part), my relationship looked great. That’s what I wanted everyone to think, and part of me wanted to believe that it was as well. For a while, I was blind to the mental abuse that was taking place. Occasionally friends, family, and even teachers would see how I was being treated and try to warn me. I brushed it off as if it was nothing. Eventually it got worse, and I started to realize the effects that it had on my mental health. I was constantly being blamed for everything, accused for cheating (when he was the one doing so), called crazy, told that I wasn’t pretty enough or smart enough, and that no one else could ever want me.

I decided one day that I did not want to tolerate it anymore and said something to defend myself. By doing this, I caused the mental abuse to become physical abuse as well. My spirits were crushed and I was terrified. From this day on, any time that I said something that seemed off putting, I had to suffer the consequences.

I became drained and I lost myself. I wore more makeup and clothing to hide the bruises best I could. Those I couldn’t hide, I lied when asked about them. I did not know how to think for myself, I became isolated, I lost friends and worst of all I began to slowly lose the will to live. I thought about dying often, because I knew that would be my only way out. I wanted with everything in me to leave, but I felt trapped and it gave me the most sickening feeling.

My parents started to notice a big change in me, helped me get into therapy, and helped me through the process of talking to my family doctor. I was diagnosed with depression and was put on medication. Through all this, my parents begged me to get out of the relationship, but still I stayed. Though the abuse continued, my fear did not. I began to slowly realize who I was and what I was worth. I became closer to God and I prayed and prayed for Him to help me and to guide me.

After almost 4 years, I finally built up the courage and I got out. It wasn’t easy, but it was worth more than I could ever put into words. Since that day, God has worked so many blessings into my life. He put a man into my life whose hands and words show me nothing but love. I have found my way back to myself in many ways, but in other ways I have grown into a new woman…. a strong woman who knows what she’s worth and a happy woman who knows she is loved.

The fact that so many people all around the world are in abusive relationships absolutely breaks my heart. I hurt for them. I pray that I can use what I have been through to help others who may be in that situation or know someone who is. I pray for all of you. I pray that you find the love you deserve. Just remember, God made you beautiful and He made you strong, and with Him you can conquer anything.

If you made it to the end, I thank you for reading my story and I hope that it shines a light at the end of what may seem a never ending tunnel.

Love and prayers,

Taylor

God Is In Control

Devotionals

It has been a while since I wrote a devotional post, and I think now more than ever it is definitely needed. In the span of a few short weeks the world has seemed to turn upside down. We are in the midst of a global pandemic, and it is scary. Not only is the situation at hand frightening, but fear of the unknown is as well. I know it keeps many of you up at night, as it does myself. Something that has helped me the past few days is focusing on the fact that God is in control.

“Be still, and know that I am God. I will be exalted among the nations. I will be exalted in the Earth.” Psalm 46:10

We may never know the reasoning for everything that is going on, but God has a purpose for it. During this crisis it is so easy to get caught up in the news and everything else going on that we forget to turn our hearts to the one that can help us the most. It may seem like everything is out of control, but God is working in great and mysterious ways. He wants to hear from you and he wants to take care of your worries.

My mom recently wrote a blog post that I would love for you all to read. In part of the post she talks about the importance of prayer. I cannot stress to you enough how important this really is, especially in a time like this. We need to come together as a nation and lift this world up in prayer. Take a little time out of each day to pray for your loved ones, your community, your governors, president and other countries as well. We may not be able to control the situation at hand, but prayer is one of the biggest things we can do to help.

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“Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.” Philippians 4:6

Another important thing to remember is to focus on the things you can control, instead of what you can’t. Like I mentioned, we can’t control a lot right now but we can control how often we pray and the precautions we take to keep ourselves safe during this time. I encourage you to stay home as much as you can and take this time to bond with your families, get some work done, or even pick up a new hobby!

I know it all seems like chaos, but in the midst of it all God is our light. He is in control, and we can find peace in this. When you are overcome with worry, pray to Him. This is a scary time in our nation, but we will get through this and I have all the faith in the world that God will deliver us out of these times into better days. I am praying for each and everyone of you!

-Taylor J

Staying Productive

Lifestyle

With everything going on in the world right now, it is easy to fall into the hole of panic. As my college classes have been transitioned to online, I have stressed about how the rest of the semester will go. It will definitely be different, but I know that our teachers are doing everything they can to make this transition easy for us and them as well. To those of you who are parents, I know this is a hard and stressful time for you. I am praying for you, as you work extra hard to do everything you can to help your little ones during this time. This is a chaotic time for our country, but it is important that we focus on the things we can control, instead of worrying about the things that we can not.

Since I have a lot more time to be at home, I decided I was going to make the most out of it. I want to be as productive as possible during this time. Staying productive is a great way for us to take our minds off of everything else going on around us. With this being said, we should still be cautious and take measures to keep ourselves healthy, but worrying ourselves to death over matters we can’t control is not going to do us any good.

I want to share some tips on how you can stay productive and make the most out of this time! I have tried all of these so far, and this day has already been one of the most productive days I have had in a long time.

Tip # 1: Wake Up Early

Now, I know this can be extremely hard for us night owls (trust me I feel your pain), but it is so beneficial. Even though I did not have a set time to start my classes this morning, I woke up at 8:30 and got my day started. I showered, had my breakfast and coffee and got right to work. Staring the day early allows you to get things done earlier in the day, so you have more time in the evening for other things you like to do.

Tip # 2: Get Some Housework Done

Since I will be home the majority of the day now, I figured it would be the perfect time to get caught up on laundry, cleaning, and organizing. For me, I hate doing it all at one time so I found a schedule that works perfect for me.  (They have tons on Pinterest) It allows me to get a little done day by day, which is perfect since I still have school work to do in the morning. This is also a huge way for me to destress and declutter. The cleaning/laundry schedule I use is below:

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Check out my Pinterest board for more cleaning/organization inspo!

 

Tip # 3: Do Something For You

Wether it be once a day or once a week, I encourage you to take a little time out of your day to do something that you enjoy and that allows you to destress. It can be anything from reading to journaling to praying or exercising. Whatever it may be, make time for it and use that time to take a break from everything else that is going on.

I know that this is a scary time, but is important that we still stay productive and do the best we can with the situation at hand. Find a productive routine that works best for you and stick to it! I am praying for our country, as well as all of you. Please remember to stay safe and wash your hands! 

 

-Taylor J

Adventures in Snowshoe

Lifestyle

This past weekend my boyfriend and I decided to take a trip to Snowshoe, West Virginia. We were both craving a little adventure, so we headed 5 hours to the snowy mountains and had the best time. If you are looking for a great place to go skiing/snowboarding or just a quiet place to get away I would definitely recommend going. I want to share with you some of our favorite places and things to do while we were there!

The first evening we were there, we headed up to Snowshoe Village to hang out and find a place for dinner. Not only was the village itself beautiful, but the walk to the village was absolutely stunning. We had to park a little ways away since we weren’t staying at any of the resorts, but the walk through the snowy paths and forests looked like something straight out of a movie. The village definitely had me feeling like I was part of a Hallmark movie. Our first stop was Starbucks to get some hot tea, because we were both freezing. After looking through the dinner options we chose a place called “Old Spruce Cafe & Tavern“. 10/10 recommend checking this place out! The food, drinks, and staff were wonderful!

 

The next day we went snowboarding. Let me tell ya, if you’ve never been, I would highly recommend lessons before!  We decided to teach ourselves and let’s just say we wound up a little more bruised and sore then we probably would’ve been had we had lessons! We also decided to snowboard at Silver Creek, which is a part of snowshoe, but had wider slopes and is less crowded since it was our first time. Despite the minor injuries we still had a blast. After a long day on the slopes we ate at “The Pizza Slice” and it definitely hit the spot. It was our favorite food place!

As far as places to stay, we chose to stay in an Airbnb, because it was cheaper than staying at the resort. However, the village had many beautiful places to stay and we definitely plan on checking them out next time we are there! If you do chose Airbnb when you go, I recommend staying at Overlook Village. The little cabins were beautiful and so clean! The host was also extremely nice and helpful. Our place was only a couple minutes drive up to Snowshoe. You can book online or on the Airbnb app.

 

Overall, we had the absolute best time and would recommend it to anyone. These were just a couple of our favorite spots! We had no cell service the whole time we were there, so it was really nice to be able to just focus on each other and disconnect from everything else. I am so thankful for my sweet boyfriend, who is always down for an adventure. This was our first one of 2020 and I can’t wait for many more to come!

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-Taylor J

 

Welcoming 2020

Lifestyle

I honestly can’t believe that in a few short days we will be welcoming not only a new year, but a whole new decade.  2019 was one for the books. I’m not gonna lie it really had me in the first half and I began to think I’d never make it through, but things quickly turned around and it turned into my favorite year yet.

This year has taught me so much about life, people, and myself. I learned that life isn’t always going to go your way and that’s okay. One of the hardest things I had to learn how to do is to let go and let God. I have to accept the fact that His plans for my life are way greater than any plans I could make for myself. Getting to experience His blessings and some of His plans for my life this year has been nothing short of amazing.

The lessons that I have learned this year have made me so strong, and while they were painful, I am so thankful. I learned that people aren’t always who you think they are in the beginning. People can put on a mask, but once their real colors start to show that is when you have to be careful and sadly I failed to do so. I cared too much and gave too much time and energy when I shouldn’t have. I got my heart shattered and was left so broken. While at first I thought it was the worst thing that could’ve happened I quickly learned that it was the best. I did not need anyone in my life that was going to leave me feeling any less than loved and worthy everyday.

I felt what I needed to feel, I picked myself up and I was determined to be the strongest and happiest version of myself that I could be. I learned to love myself more and more each day. I knew I was a little broken, but I accepted that and let it make me stronger. For the first time I was living life for myself and not for someone else. I went out, I had fun, and I did things that made me smile from ear to ear. I finally felt free and happiness was written all over my face. Little did I know that God had something big planned for me this year…

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In August I met the love of my life. Out of all the blessings I received this year he is truly my biggest one. I thank God every single day for sending him to me at the perfect time in my life. He made everything I have ever been through feel worth it. All the pain, tears, and heartache were all worth it and I would go through it all a million times if I knew he would always be the end result. Not only did I gain one of the sweetest humans in my life, but I gained a second family as well. His family never fails to make me feel welcome and they love me like their own.

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I am so excited to welcome 2020 with open arms. I get to take on a whole new decade with someone who loves me for everything that I am and who is my absolute best friend. I get to learn more about myself, experience new things with my family, and will be closer to graduating college. There is so many exciting things in the decade to come and I can’t wait to see what God has planned. Let’s make this the best decade yet.

Goodbye 2019… thank you for the memories, lessons learned, and blessings you have given me.

-Taylor J

5 Books That Have Changed My Life

Lifestyle

Guest writer Aaliyah from https://aaliyahinspired.com/

It’s nearing the end of 2019 and I feel that, personally this year, I’ve experienced the most growth than ever before. I would have to give all of the self-growth credit to the books that have changed my life within these last 12 months. Although I’ve read over 20 books this year, I narrowed down my list to the top five books that have influenced me the most this year and I hope that you will have the chance to close out the year with one of them!

The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg

This was the first book I had read at the start of 2019 and it was the catalyst that I needed to gear up for all the new goals I had planned for. Charles Duhigg digs deep into the psychological barriers that we have when trying to change or create new habits and offers practical strategies to combat the “habit loop” we’re all victim to.

Purchase Here: https://www.amazon.com/Power-Habit-What-Life-Business/dp/081298160X/ref=tmm_pap_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=1574871386&sr=8-1

The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho

Will Smith once said in an interview that this book changed his life so I knew I had to read it. This is a beautiful story about a young boy Santiago who’s in search for his Personal Legend (in other words, purpose) in life. He encounters a wise old Alchemist who gives him guidance to discover the secrets of this world and wisdom on how to uncover his purpose. If Will Smith recommends it, then you know it’s worth the read!

Purchase Here: https://www.amazon.com/Alchemist-Paulo-Coelho/dp/0062315005/ref=sr_1_1?keywords=The+Alchemist&qid=1574871484&sr=8-1

The More of Less by Joshua Becker

Living with less is a concept that is gaining more and more attention in this generation and I am all for it. Instead of being in a vicious loop of consumption and overaccumulation, Joshua Becker puts his foot down and says our happiness doesn’t lie in the things that we fill our lives with instead it comes from the experiences we have and create. I loved this book so much that I read it TWICE this year.

Purchase Here: https://www.amazon.com/More-Less-Finding-Under-Everything-ebook/dp/B015BCX0X0/ref=sr_1_1?keywords=The+more+of+less+by+Joshua+becker&qid=1574871633&sr=8-1

The 5 A.M. Club by Robin Sharma

I remember all the previous attempts I made trying to wake up at 5 a.m. every morning, but for some reason the habit never stuck. I never knew the secret ingredient to how all the successful billionaires and professional athletes of the world achieved this feat until I picked up The 5 a.m. club. Intertwined in a fictional story of two characters trying change the course of their lives, Robin Sharma introduces formulas, guides, and solutions that can be implemented in your life to ingrain this habit. I’ve been apart of the 5 A.M. Club for five months now and we’re recruiting new members!

Purchase Here: https://www.amazon.com/AM-Club-Morning-Elevate-Life/dp/1443460710/ref=tmm_pap_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=1574871800&sr=8-1

Best Self by Mike Bayer

I love the idea of everyone reaching their fullest potential and being the best version of themselves and I believe that this book does a great job of bringing that out of the reader. I worked every exercise in this book and the results are astonishing. Mike Bayer is a life coach who’s seen it all when it comes to people’s limiting beliefs, addictions, and struggles. He, himself, struggled with drug addiction years prior to writing this book. This is a great book to fine tune the beautiful person you’re already into the best version of yourself.

Purchase Here: https://www.amazon.com/Best-Self-You-Only-Better/dp/0062911732/ref=sr_1_1?crid=25BR4KAUY47M6&keywords=best+self+mike+bayer&qid=1574871872&sprefix=best+self+mike+%2Caps%2C187&sr=8-1

Those are the top five books that have taken my year from 0 to 100 real quick and I hope that at least one book on this list makes it into your hands and changes your life forever.