The Storms of Life

Devotionals

Storms are something that have always amazed me. I have always wondered how they can cause so much destruction, but also be so intriguing and beautiful. When it comes to our everyday life we can experience a lot of storms, but they may not always appear to be so beautiful. I often find my self questioning if these storms are even necessary. Nevertheless, God always answers my question with “of course”.

Whatever storm has or is tearing through your life is doing so for a purpose. Wether your storm be a loss, financial trouble, physical health, mental health etc. I promise that this storm has a purpose to serve, and once it passes that purpose will be revealed. It’s easy to see the ugly in the storm. The dark gloomy clouds, the debris, the damage…but what’s not so easy to see is how beautiful the sky looks when the lightening illuminates it, or the glisten of the ground after the rain has fallen on it. My friend, just as the lightening illuminates the sky, the lightening of your storm illuminates how strong and beautiful you are.

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You may feel weak, tired, and ready to give up but remember…storms always pass. These storms in your life are a chance for you to grow. The growing process may be hard and it can be devastating but you will come out so much stronger in the end. Take each day one step at a time. It’s okay to feel scared and sad and so much more. Feel those things and feel them deeply. Share your heart with God, share your concerns and fears with God. Ask Him to show you the purpose behind your storm and be patient in His reply.

If you are experiencing a storm in your life right now, it may be hard to see through the dark clouds, but good things are coming. This is a promise that he made in the Bible:

“God promises to make something good out of the storms that bring devastation to your life.”-Romans 8:28

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We also have to remember that everyone is going through storms in life the timing may just not be the same as ours. I encourage you to be the sunshine in someone else’s storm. If you have a friend or family member or even a complete stranger that is going through a hard time build them up and pray for them. Shine some light into their darkness and remind them that their storm will pass.

-Taylor Johns

That’s So 70s

Fashion

When it comes to fashion trends, I have to say my favorite has been the comeback of the “retro” style…especially the 70s. I love putting together outfits that bring in both modern and vintage styles. Exploring outfits that are a little out of my comfort zone has been so fun so…For this post I thought I’d share some 70s outfit inspiration for those of you who are just as obsessed with the trend as I am!

For this look I paired these adorable stripped pants and bralette from American Eagle with my favorite item… this yellow suede button up from Lands End. The shirt is true vintage fashion as it actually is straight out of the 70s (it was given to my boyfriend by a co-worker of his, and my boyfriend knowing how obsessed I am with anything vintage lovingly donated to me) . I loved that fact that it fit oversized.

I love that vintage fashion is in, because it makes it so easy to find cute pieces. American Eagle is one of my favorite places to find this type of style. Thrifting is also a great way to find hidden vintage treasures when it comes to clothing as well!

I encourage you to explore new styles and find something that makes you feel truly you.

-Taylor Johns

Healthy Mindset

Devotionals

Happy Monday! I used to dread Monday’s, and every now and then I still do. However, instead of looking at them in a bad light, I look at them as a new start. A start to a new week and a chance to start new habits. One of my goals lately has been keeping up with a healthy lifestyle. I tend to forget that not only does this mean getting my body healthy, but my mind as well. Having a healthy mindset has always been hard for me. Surprisingly it is a lot easier to get your body healthy than your mind. Our minds are one of the most powerful tools we have and if we don’t use it for good it can really harm us.

A lot of times when I wake up in the morning, I don’t wake up with a cheerful heart and mind like I should. I automatically start thinking negative thoughts. I am sure many of you all can relate to this as well. This is a bad habit I would like to change and this Monday was the perfect time for me to start a new one. I have been wanting to start waking up earlier, so last night I set my alarm and was ready to wake up bright and early. Well, come alarm time I must have turned it off because instead of waking up at 8:30, I woke up at 10:30. Instead of beating myself up for turning off my alarm or being angry that I slept most of the morning, I said “You know what it’s all going to be okay, I got some extra rest, I’m thankful to be alive another day, and I’m going to have a great day”.

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You see, things aren’t always going to go right. You may wake up late, or mess something up and that is just life. We can’t let small inconveniences ruin our whole day. If we start the day and the week with a cheerful mind and a cheerful heart it makes these inconveniences a lot easier to handle. It will be easier to recognize them for exactly what they are (minor inconveniences) and to move on from them.

“A cheerful heart is good medicine.”-Proverbs 17:22

Let’s start thinking more positive thoughts than we do negative. It’s a new day and a new week, so you have a chance to start fresh. Having a healthy mindset needs to be at the top of your to-do list, and I am so glad I have put it at the top of mine. I’ve realized that if my mind is healthy it will aid in getting my body healthy. A cheerful heart means a cheerful mind, so let’s work on getting our hearts and minds in the right place.

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Here are a few things to kick start a healthy mindset: 

-Start the day with positive thoughts instead of negative ones

-Don’t let minor inconveniences ruin your whole day

-Be kind to yourself, and to others

-Cheerful heart, cheerful mind

Say this prayer with me to start off your week,

Jesus, thank you for this fresh start. I ask for your guidance as I practice a healthy mindset. Let my heart be cheerful as it will be medicine to my mind. Give me patience to handle the inconveniences in my life. Thank you for the mind that you have given me, I promise to use it for good. Help me Lord to recognize when the devil is trying to get in my mind, and allow me the strength to overcome it. I thank you and I love you, Amen.

-Taylor Johns

Making A Masterpiece

Devotionals

Happy July everyone! I just got back from a great vacation with my family, and my time away allowed me to really take in all the wonderful things God has created. It is easy to look at the ocean and the glistening sand and think “wow, how beautiful”, but it is not so easy to look at ourselves in the mirror and have that same thought. When we look at ourselves most of the time we don’t see a masterpiece. We don’t think of someones hands carefully placing every detail and planning out even more details to come. I want to make a huge effort to not only take in the beauty of God’s masterpieces around me, but to realize that I am also one of his many masterpieces as well.

The thing about a masterpiece is…it takes time. God created us and who we are before we came into this world, but that doesn’t mean he was finished then and there. Each day he is still crafting and molding us into something magnificent. He can see that the end result will be a masterpiece, but we may not always see that. In fact, we may feel more like a disaster than a masterpiece and that’s okay! Life can get hard, the devil will try to win over your mind when you are at your lowest, but you have to hang on to the truth that YOU are a masterpiece in the making.

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“You are God’s masterpiece”-Ephesians 2:10

I like to think about it this way…When we were born God had crafted a beautiful blank and fresh canvas. Throughout our lives as we grow God takes his paintbrush and adds a little more to that canvas day by day. Somedays the details are so fine and so small that we may not even notice, and other days the colors are so bright and loud that we radiate them with every action. We may not always notice the work that God is doing in our lives, but trust me he is a painter hard at work on each one of us every single day.

To get to where they are, masterpieces endure a lot of hard work, testing trials, and dedication. In order for us to become the masterpiece that God is so carefully creating we must understand that in order to do so we have to work hard, and follow him even through the darkest of times. Life and the devil is going to constantly throw things at you that may put smudges or cracks in your canvas, but it doesn’t have to break it. Let those cracks and smudges be signs of strength in the making of who you are. Trust that God is creating something amazing, because I promise you that He is. Remember that masterpieces aren’t created in a day, or even months, it can be a long process but the end result will be worth the wait.

-Taylor Johns

Joy Comes In The Morning

Devotionals

The past few weeks I have been feeling a little under the weather both physically and mentally. I have been extremely unmotivated and have wanted to do nothing but sleep. These spells in my life come and go, but this one has been one of the hardest ones to kick for some reason. At the end of last week I knew I needed something to get me out of the rut I was in. My sister and I planned a sunrise photoshoot, and even though the last thing I felt like doing was getting up at 5 and getting ready for pictures, I did it…and I am so glad that I did.

If you have never seen the sunrise, I can’t even begin to explain the true beauty of it and the calmness that it brings over your life. As I watched the sun rise and saw it’s rays light up the world, I sat in awe at the true beauty of God’s creations. It was truly breathtaking. It was the most beautiful fresh start to the day. As I began thinking, I realized that no matter what happened the day or night before the sun still rises in the morning. It rises and shines it light on everything regardless of if it was the most beautiful day previous, or if it was a dark and grey stormy night.

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I began to think about my life and how the sunrise applies to it. Some days I am filled with so much joy and light, and other days that light tends to get dimmed by past or present storms that swirl through my head. I have begun to realize that not everyday is going to be sunshine and rainbows but that’s okay. God allows the sun to rise every day giving us a brand new fresh start.

“Weeping may last through the night, but joy comes in the morning.”-Psalm 30:5

On the sunny days, take time to soak it all in. Feel the warmth on your skin and take in the beauty of the world around you. On the rainy days, don’t let the clouds dim your light, shine so bright that your rays come through even the darkest of clouds. Just as the verse says, joy comes in the morning, so don’t focus to much on what may have happened yesterday.

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This is something I plan to practice more and more everyday. I forget how blessed that I truly am and how thankful I should be for each day that God gives me here on this Earth. So I encourage you to practice this as well. Wake up, soak up the sunshine and know that it’s a fresh start. Let your light shine for Jesus and know that no matter what, joy comes in the morning.

-Taylor Johns

Do Not Worry About Tomorrow

Devotionals

This week I started a new devotional study book that I received while attending Sunday school at my boyfriend’s church. There was a verse in the very first lesson that stood out to me and it was like God knew I needed to see it. The verse was Matthew 6:33-34.

Seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.”

Lately I have been worrying nonstop about my future. I worry that it will not be as I imagined or that I am not paving the way to a good future for my future self and family. These thoughts run through my head all day long and keep me up at night. When I saw this verse it was almost as if it had big flashing lights around it prompting me to pay attention to it.

A lot of the times, because I am constantly worried about my future I can’t enjoy the present moment. I am determined to make this happen no longer. As the verse says ” do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself”. I want to focus more on living in the present each day and just appreciate the fact that God has given me another day on this beautiful Earth. Each day I want to seek His kingdom more and more, instead of worrying about what tomorrow may bring.

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I have to learn that you never know what tomorrow, or the future may hold. Tomorrow could be the best or the worst day of your life, but that’s okay because God has plans for your today that you need to pay attention to. He is constantly at work in our lives, and most of the time we are to busy worrying about other things to even notice. I want to learn to appreciate each day, appreciate what God is doing in my life, and put my trust in Him for my future and lean not on my understanding but on His.

If you are struggling with worrying about your past or your future say this prayer with me today:

Dear Lord,

I thank you for another day you have given me here on this Earth. I pray that you calm the worries in my mind about the future. I trust in you to lead and guide me down the right paths and I know you will be with me even in times of trouble. Help me God to lean not on my understanding but on yours, for your plans for my life are greater than I could ever imagine. Help me to remain patient in the process, and know that I can always count on you. Thank you Lord for constantly being at work in my life and for loving me unconditionally.

Amen

-Taylor Johns

Tips For Growing Long & Healthy Hair

Beauty

“Hair Care” is something that I have always loved, but sadly not always been the best at. At a very young age I began having my hair colored. I had naturally dark blonde hair, with dark roots and just wanted something a little different. It started out as just a few highlights here and there, but then soon became an obsession with bleach blonde hair. Now, don’t get me wrong I love super blonde hair, and still have it today but I am talking cotton ball white hair at my eighth grade graduation….

IMG_6396Ah the good ole days…

Even though my hair was pretty close to white, I actually didn’t notice a big problem with it until I was put on Acutane my freshman year of high school. Acutane is an acne medication that basically drys your skin and you guessed it… your hair out to. My hair began falling out in clumps and breaking off. When I reached my sophomore year it was so damaged that I had to cut it off  very short. I was heartbroken. My dream was always to have pretty long blonde hair, and within the matter of two years that dream was gone.

After I got over my spell of crying everyday about my hair, I realized I was going to do something to change it. I began the process of getting my hair in the healthiest shape that it has ever been in. It started by completely dying my hair brown. My roots were dark brown so I knew this meant that I wouldn’t have to get my hair colored as often, and could use that time to let it grow, and that is just what it did. Over the years I gradually have gone back to a light blonde color.

This is what my hair now looks like

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I take steps every week to ensure the health and growth of my hair so, I want to share my top tips with you.

  • Don’t use heat everyday! This one is so important, especially if you are someone who colors their hair like me, your hair needs a break from all the damaging heat tools.
  • Don’t wash your hair everyday! My hair tends to be extremely dry, so I only wash my hair about twice a week. This gives it a chance to let the natural oils work through my hair.
  • Find a shampoo and conditioner that works for you! Everyone’s hair is different so finding good products for the days that you do wash your hair is so important. My favorite shampoo and conditioner at the moment is the “Pantene Radiant Color” line. It helps my hair feel soft and moisturized and also protects my color.
  • Leave In Conditioner! Along with my shampoo and conditioner, I always make sure to use a leave in conditioner to help me detangle my hair after my shower. This makes it easy to comb through without breaking my hair. My favorite is the “Not Your Mother’s Way To Grow Leave In Conditioner”
  • Vitamins! A healthy body leads to healthy hair growth so making sure your body has all the vitamins it needs is so important! I recommend finding ones that contain biotin, this will help your hair growth tremendously. I use the “One A Day Women’s Multi Vitamins”
  • Drink A lot of Water! A very important tip is to drink tons of water. There are so many benefits to this, but it just over all helps with hair growth by ensuring that your hair is not dry. I try to drink at least 1/2 a gallon of water a day.
  • Be Patient! The last and probably the hardest tip to follow. Hair growth is a long process. It took me 6 years to finally get it to the point I wanted, but don’t give up! Do everything you can to ensure that it is healthy and growing and remain positive throughout the process!

Those are my top tips for growing long and healthy hair. I hope you found this helpful, I enjoy sharing life tips and can not wait to share more! If you have any other questions about hair care feel free to leave a comment, and I would love to answer.

-Taylor Johns

Dear Mom,

Devotionals

I wanted to dedicate this blog post to none other then my beautiful mom. With Mother’s Day being this past Sunday, my family and I got the chance to show my mom how much we truly appreciate her. I loved seeing her light up when she opened her gifts and saw the video we made for her, but this feeling of appreciation is one I want her to have every day, not only just on Mother’s Day.

Mom, I want you to know how truly blessed I am to have you in my life. You have taught me so much, and above all else you have taught me to seek Jesus in both times of joy and times of pain. I know there are times you may feel as if you have failed, but just know that me, Emma, Elle and Abby look up to you more then you will ever know. You have not only set an example for us as to what a woman should be, but what a mother should be as well. Your beauty shines from the inside out.

“As is the mother so is her daughter.”-Ezekiel 16:4

My prayer is that if you are a mom, or a mother figure in someones life that you feel appreciated not just on mothers day, but every day. The role God gave you here on this Earth as a mother is one of the most important roles there is. I thank God every day for the mom I have, for it is because of her that I am strong.

So, mom thank you for all that you are and all that you do. To all the other moms out there, thank you as well for just being you. The sacrifices you make on a daily basis show just how much love is in your heart. I encourage everyone to pray for all the moms, as their job is not always easy, but I know they wouldn’t trade it for the world.

-Taylor Johns

Chia Seed Pudding

Health & Fitness

Lately I have been into making some new healthy recipes, and chia seed pudding has become my go to! It is so easy, delicious, and great for your health. The main ingredient (chia seeds) provides your body with nutrients such as fiber, antioxidants, protein, and Omega-3 fatty acids. Not only are they great in this recipe, but they are a good little item that you can add to smoothies and other meals as well! Now, lets get back to the pudding. As soon as I tasted it, I was more than excited to share how I made it so you all could experience it as well. The pudding is dairy free and gluten free.

For this recipe you will only need 3 ingredients: 

  • Chia Seeds
  • Unsweetened Almond milk
  • Low Calorie/Sugar Free Syrup

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Directions:

  • In a bowl combine 1 cup almond milk, 1/4 cup of chia seeds, and 1 table spoon of syrup.
  • Stir the mixture and let sit for 5 minutes
  • After 5 minutes, stir the mixture again
  • Place in the fridge and allow to sit overnight
  • You can eat it plain, or top it with whatever you choose! I went with granola, a banana, blackberries, and a drizzle of honey and let me tell you…it does not disappoint.

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That is all it takes to make this chia seed pudding! It is easy, fast, and the perfect breakfast to start your day. I have been really looking into more dairy and gluten free recipes and this has been my favorite so far. I hope you decide to give it a try, if you do let me know how it turns out in the comments!

-Taylor Johns

God’s Goodness

Devotionals

As I was scrolling down Pinterest for some weekly motivation I came across a bible verse that really stood out to me.

“God, you have been so good to me.”-Psalms 116:7 

Some days life gets so busy that instead of focusing on the goodness in my life, I am quick to focus on the things that are giving me stress. I get so caught up in the craziness that is life that I fail to realize the blessings that are all around me. When I saw this verse, it brought tears to my eyes because God truly has been so good to me, and I don’t give Him the “thank you” that He deserves most days.

I read a quote once that said “What if you woke up tomorrow with only the things that you were thankful for yesterday?” This really changed my perspective on things. I am always so thankful for the things and blessings that I receive, however I don’t always show it like I should. So I have decided to challenge myself to start doing two things:

1.Instead of waking up in the morning and have the first thoughts in my head be about what I need to get done for the day, I am going to make them more about what I am thankful for first thing in the morning. This will allow me to start the day with a positive and refreshed mindset.

2. I am going to keep a journal beside my bed and write down 5 things I am thankful for and thank God for those things before going to sleep.

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I encourage you to challenge yourself to do these things as well. It will really put into perspective all the things that we have to be thankful for no matter how big or small they may be.

God has been so good to me, especially just within the past couple of years. I am ready to show Him how thankful that I am for blessing me day in and day out. Having a thankful heart will not only make you shine from within, but people will be able to see it from the outside as well.  I know it is easy to get caught up in the stresses of life, but just keep in mind the goodness of God, especially on days when you feel down. His goodness never fails.

-Taylor Johns