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.

IMG_0980

“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.

IMG_0465

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.

IMG_0390

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.

IMG_1885

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

IMG_0060

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

IMG_9593.jpg

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.

IMG_9518.jpg

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.

IMG_9543

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

Brands That Give Back

Fashion

Recently when it comes to buying clothes I have been really looking for brands that give back. About a week ago a brand named Peak Above commented on one of my Instagram posts. I checked out their page and instantly fell in love.

This brand is all about bringing awareness to mental health. I loved their clothing, as well as the meaning behind each shirt. I chose to purchase a tee for myself. I got the “Can’t Beat The Peak Tee” . The mountain peaks on the logo represent strength, progression, and stability. Once you reach this peak nothing can beat it. Depression, anxiety, whatever it is that you are struggling with can not beat this peak!

img_9453I’m wearing a size small in the color steel blue.

I truly love the message they are spreading, not only is mental health awareness something that is extremely personal to me, but something that I will always fight for. So many people everyday are struggling in silence, and that needs to change. Not only did their message have me hooked, but this brand also gives back to support mental health awareness. They donate 10% of their proceeds to Mental Health America, a nonprofit organization dedicated to helping all people live mentally healthier lives.

With it being mental health awareness month, I figured this would be the perfect brand to spot light. If you have never checked them out please do! I love brands that not only use their platform to send a powerful message, but to also give back to organizations. The t-shirt I purchased was great quality, extremely comfortable, and so cute! I can’t wait to sport it all summer.

I encourage you to find more brands that give back. I would love to make it a goal for myself as well, so I can share them with you all. Shopping is always fun, but it feels even better when you know your money is supporting a good cause!

-Taylor Johns

Coping With Stress

Devotionals

These last couple weeks of school have really challenged me when it comes to being stressed. This week in particular…finals week. This semester has been one of my hardest ones in college so far and there have been so many times where I have let the stress get to me. With it being finals week I knew I was going to be more stressed than usual, so I have been doing a few things to help cope with what I am feeling and I thought I would share those today. These tips help with the overwhelming feelings of stress that life may bring and allow you to find comfort in knowing that you are not alone.

1.) Give it to God! 

This one may seem easy, but for me it has been one of the hardest things to do. I try to cope with the stress all on my own, instead of giving it to who wants to help me most! In the Bible it says, “Cast your anxiety on Him, because He cares for you”-1 Peter 5:7  

Praying and talking to God about the things that are giving me stress always leaves my mind in a more positive refreshed state.

2.) Take Your Time! 

For me, when there are deadlines and multiple tests to study for, my mind just wants to rush through everything and get it done. I have learned to space things out and focus on bits at a time instead of rushing to get everything done at once. One of my favorite ways to do this is writing down what I need to do in a planner and spacing it out over my week. I try my best to get everything done on Mondays-Thursdays so that I have free time on my weekends.

IMG_9387

3.) Just Breathe, It Will All Workout!

“Be Still and know that I am God”- Psalm 46: 10

Finally, just breathe! Take a break from whatever it may be that you are working on and take some time for yourself. One of my favorite things to do is sit out on my little balcony and read or just simply listen to everything around me. This gives me a chance to refresh my mind so that whenever I do go back to my tasks, I won’t feel so drained. I can sit and find calmness in the fact that God is in control.

Ollie really enjoys it as well…

IMG_9384

These have been my top 3 ways of coping with my stress lately. Life can get crazy busy and it is easy to feel like the world is on our shoulders, but just remember God cares for you more than you could ever imagine and He is willing to carry that weight for you. Whatever your stresses may be this week I pray that you find comfort in knowing that God is with you and everything will be just fine!

-Taylor Johns

 

 

Why Self Care Days Are Essential

Beauty

If you have never taken a self care day…girl…it is time to start! Life can get so busy sometimes that we forget to take care of our bodies. I used to feel like I had to be doing something productive every single minute of the day, but I have lately realized that it is okay to take a day to destress. These days help not only our bodies to recover, but our minds as well and that is so important. We need to make sure that we have a healthy mindset and aren’t constantly overloading it.

A healthy mind is key to living a productive life. When our mindset is down, so is our bodies. It makes you feel sluggish and all you may feel like doing is laying in the bed. This is how I would feel all the time until I started implementing a self care day into my weekly routine. This is just a day or night where you can take some time for yourself and relax.

I usually like to have a self care day/night at the end of the week on Friday or Saturday, just depending on what I have going on. What you include in your self care routine can differ just depending on what helps you relax. These are just a few things that help me:

IMG_9331

The first thing I like to do is take a warm bath, add a bath bomb, and listen to some relaxing music (Billie Eilish on repeat). Bath bombs not only smell amazing, but they help your skin feel amazing to.

IMG_9340

After my bath I throw on some comfy pjs and a face mask. One of my favorites is the L’Oreal Pure Clay Clear & Comfort Face Mask. This helps comfort stressed skin while also cleansing it. Leave this on for about 10 minutes and you’re good to go!

IMG_9330

Lighting a candle and reading a good book are some of my favorite ways to keep my mind from racing. I love poetry books. They are so calming, the one I am currently reading is “The Sun and Her Flowers” by Rupi Kaur

IMG_9326

Oh, and if you have never cuddled with puppies to destress 10/10 recommend it…

-Taylor Johns