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The Third 7even

Potential Rediscovered

Doubt

 Then Jesus told him, “Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.”

 

Doubt is a tough TOUGH feeling to overcome. I can’t tell you how many times I have given up on faith and given into the overwhelming thoughts that clouded my mind. It’s so much easier to give in, because faith is something you have to fight for. It’s a spiritual attack on what you know deep in your heart to be true. Life can be good or bad, but that should never affect whether or not you believe that He is the truth. Most people don’t realize that anxiety is also a form of doubt. Anxiety is what comes after the uncertainty, and it can consume you to the point where you are barely functioning (something I will talk more about in a different article). Whether it’s small or big, it’s not good to let it go untamed, otherwise the enemy will make you stumble when you’re not looking. It’s when we stay out of the word of God, out of worship, and out of prayer that we are the most vulnerable. That’s why I thought it would be good to share this video with you guys. The man speaking in this video is named Brian Johnson, as some of you already know. He is one of the leaders of Bethel Music, a popular Christian Contemporary group in America. In this sermon, he talks a lot about the struggles he has within his mind and how he’s dealt with it in the past. This really helped me a lot, because a lot of the time when I struggled with these thoughts, I thought I was the only one. It’s good to know that you can relate to someone else and that it’s not just in your head. I hope that this helps someone else who may be struggling to get past that seemingly immoveable wall around your mind. I can tell you from experience that it’s really not as big as it seems. I love you guys so SO much, and I pray that God speaks to you through this testimony.

 

 

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BODY POSITIVITY

This seems to be one of the biggest struggles for people of any age right now. You never know who it’s affecting, and you can’t assume that it’s just one type of person, or that one type of person is safe from it. It’s literally everywhere. The reason I’m writing this article to you guys today is because lately, I’ve felt it very strong on my heart to talk about it. I’ve been seeing some crazy things lately that have left me distraught and full of questions. It’s a subject that should no longer be taboo and it needs to be out in the open.

As I sat down to start writing this, I started to think of all of the times I’ve encountered it, with myself and with others. My experience with it may not be the same as the majority, but nonetheless, it was a lack of confidence. I’ve always consider myself to be fairly skinny. Ever since I was a kid, I was one of the tallest and skinniest in my class. It was never in an unhealthy way (because goodness KNOWS I love to eat), but I would always end up exercising it off in some way. When you’re a kid, your metabolism is just that awesome. As I got older, I played pretty much every sport you can think of. Basketball, volleyball, outdoor soccer, INDOOR soccer, cheerleading, etc. When I got middle school and high school, I focused mostly on cross-country & track. Running was not only became a way for me to live a healthier life style, it became a form of release for me. I worked hard, earned a couple of medals, and went on to continue that same lifestyle after high school and into college. I knew I would always like to run. Because of my love for cardio, I have managed to maintain a “thin” body. That never seemed like a problem to me, until people that I love began to criticize. Some would do it unknowingly, but some would just imply that I should gain more weight in certain parts of my body. Now before you ask the question, “Are you sure you’re not too skinny, Hannah?” Yes, the answer is yes. I know I’m normal for my age and height requirement and I know what anorexia is. Here’s a picture of me.

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I am healthy as can be. The craziest thing about it is that I LOVE FOOD. Food is life. Food is everything. Thank you Jesus for food, HALLELUJAH! I can’t imagine life without it, probably because I wouldn’t have one. I tried to let those comments sort of slip off of me like they meant nothing, but truthfully, it hurt. What girl or guy wants to hear that they’re too skinny or too fat to be with them, and should change the way they look in order to be accepted by them. Fat…I hate that word so much. I refuse to say the word fat because I hate it so much, unless I’m playfully making fun of myself. But I hear it used so much in the world today, that it’s almost become commonplace.

All of the sudden I’m 12-years old again. I’m in the girl’s bathroom inside of a public pool. I’m wearing my colorful, two-piece bikini surrounded by my summer camp friends, laughing and joking around. One of the girls turn around and look into the mirror. She has beautiful, bronzed skin and dark brown hair. Her hips flow in ways that a prepubescent girl’s should. She is a close friend of mine, whom I admire very much. Popular, interesting, clever. All of the things I hadn’t grown into yet. She looks herself up and down in the mirror and a grimace appears across her face. Fat. She calls herself fat and pinches outer edges of her torso and seems close to tears. We all reassure her that she’s perfect. She’s everything a girl would want to be. But she sighs, ignores us, and ushers the group toward the exit. I leave feeling confused and somewhat saddened. If a girl like that couldn’t be confident, how could I? Then I flash forward to about 10 years later. I’m in class and we’re sitting in a small circle. We’re talking over random things, shooting the breeze. I see a guy who represents everything I’d like to emulate. Strong, opinionated, funny, charming, smart, etc. You look him full in the face and wonder how he wouldn’t be successful in the future. But my admiration for him goes far beyond just a general respect. My heart beats out of my rib cage when he enters the room, with his broad shoulders and somewhat gruff appearance. Sitting in front of me, I see perfection. But on his own face is…disappointment. He curves the edge of his mouth upward and makes a joke I refuse to hear. When he pinches the front of his stomach, he gives me a feeling of deja-vu. Fat. He calls himself fat and laughs it off, but I know him better than that. I contradict him. I tell him that he’s fine the way he is. He’s burly yes, but not obese. “Be confident, but don’t degrade yourself.” I say. He looks ME full in the face and wonders how I could possibly mean that. He gets annoyed, and accuses me of being too pushy. I still worry, because I fear that this hobby is obsessive. But I keep my mouth shut, and let the ends of my heart start to fray.

I just want to be clear. There is a difference between bettering yourself, and just plain hating the person God has made you to be. There’s a difference between working out, and killing yourself. Being comfortable in your own skin in the moment is so much more fulfilling than waiting on that beach body to come in. It’s the heart that needs fixing. It’s taken me some time, but I think I finally get it. I like the way I looked before people started making comments, why would I screw with my own mind now? As long as I’m healthy, isn’t that the most important thing? There’s this girl on YouTube that I’ve been watching lately. I discovered her randomly one day was instantly intrigued. She’s a genuinely nice person with a beautiful face, so that’s why it made me so sad when I discovered more. She is clearly sick. Not skinny, sick. She has a ton of fans, but none of them want to say anything to her for the sake of being proper. And then there are those people who are content to be rude and post explicit comments. They go about it in the wrong way and get themselves blocked. They don’t understand that people with that disorder need to feel loved and accepted. I don’t know if she has body dysmorphia, bulimia, or anorexia because there is a difference, but something is wrong. I just watch her and try to be there for her, posting positive and uplifting compliments, but ultimately, the decision is hers. I pray for her as much as I can, because it hurts my heart to see anyone damage themselves in that way. So if you struggle with loving the way you look, I want to encourage you today. Keep in mind that God knew exactly how you were gonna look before the Earth even existed, and He loved it. He knew there would only be one you, and took His time thinking you up. “You are fearfully and wonderfully made.” (Psalm 139:14) That’s what the word of God says about you. Which basically means you’re complex, in a good way. So meditate on that everyday if you have to, and ignore the insensitive people you might have in their life. Most likely if they’re picking on you, they’re picking on themselves too, so pray for them. Anyways, I hope all of this has helped you guys in some way. It’s kind of a release for me to share my experiences, almost like it heals my heart a little bit. If you wanna share your own experience with body positivity, please comment down below. I would love to hear how you guys have worked through this, because there’s no quick fix. I love you all so so much, and I hope you have an amazing rest of the week!

 

TT7 Body Positivity Photo

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Unplugged

“So I sat there staring at the dormant smart device with no remorse. I knew that I would turn it back on, but only for YouTube and quick updates about my life. To be honest, I felt TONS better.

 

I’m just gonna lay it all out for you guys. No sugarcoating. No apologies. No regrets. I feel it on my heart to share this with you guys, especially because of the kind of world we live in today. One made of metal. I think I’ve gotten to the point in my life where, even though I enjoy most of the hobbies that I used to as a teen, I’m not as concerned with other hobbies as I was. For example, social media. I checked the stats for myself, and they show that in the past couple of years, the usage of social media in America has risen above 50%. Basically, everyone has an account on some platform these days. Don’t get me wrong, there’s nothing wrong with social media, I’ll be one of the first people to say that. I have a Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, Pinterest, YouTube, and…well I guess WordPress is one, too. They’re all amazing in their own way, but I just don’t feel the need to be on them all day like I did in high school.

Like I said before, over the past couple of weeks I’ve barely posted on any social media. Just a couple of updates and funny memes, maybe a selfie or two. When I first started doing this, it felt a little uncomfortable. Kind of like, okay..what now? But I started to realize that it was a bit of a weight off my shoulders. Social media can be very stressful, as some of you know. I felt like I always had to be on it for a couple of different reasons:

#1- I live far away from all my close friends. I’m the kind of person who never wants to miss out on anything that’s going on. I wanna be the first to congratulate my friend on getting the job she wanted, or post a funny memory to someone’s wall when they’re feeling down. I absolutely HATE not knowing things. So I stay on to catch up, and then, almost through some form of concealed hypnotism, I’m scrolling for hours! It’s so important to me to always be up to date that I miss my entire life.

#2- Obligation. I’m always thinking of some new creative idea or project to get into so I can post it on social media. I want to inspire people and minister to them, even from just a little thing. Even though it’s something I enjoy, I do sometimes feel like the stress coming at me if I don’t keep promoting for my blog profiles, or my personal account. I think that stress is highly unnecessary.

Those are basically the reasons I have given myself a break, even though they may seem silly to you. I let myself get pulled in too deep, and I forget about the other enjoyable things in life that have nothing to do with the internet.

 

I think about what would happen if all the platforms suddenly crashed, like some Y2K incident. How would we all react? How many pictures would be lost that weren’t printed out on paper? How boring would life be to some people? I don’t ever want to be the one to sat that my life would be over. I want to be able to say that I have other hobbies, and could still live out life to the fullest. Looking at a screen for too long makes my eyes blurry anyways. Another thing I was thinking about the other day is meals. Yes, meals. Not only do I always have to have some source of entertainment throughout the day, I find that I can’t even eat a single meal without watching t.v. or some funny video on my phone. How crazy is that? Once I realized it was that serious, I decided it was time for a change. I logged out of social media, like I said above, and at first it seemed ind of strange. The only site I visited was YouTube. So I sat there staring at the dormant smart device with no remorse. I knew that I would turn it back on, but only for YouTube and quick updates about my life. To be honest, I felt TONS better. I found that it was somewhat relieving to not worry about how many followers I’ve gained since last week. Or worry about some drama that got started between some of my friends. I’ve truly just put all the petty stuff aside and unplugged. Unapologetically.

I’ve just started going back on social media, but for my own sanity and well being, I will never go back to spending the amount of time on it that I did before. It’s no wonder that God told us to have self-control and moderation. (1 Corinthians 6:12) Some people have gotten offended at the fact I’ve wanted to take a break, insinuating that I haven’t contacted them as many times as they feel comfortable with. But I don’t have to live my life to please other people, nor am I obligated (there’s that word again) to text, call, or message someone everyday. I care about those people, of course, but my journey is not about them. The life that I want to live as a woman of God just doesn’t include counting the likes on every photo I post on Instagram. I wanna do more cardio outside. Clean up and ride the bike collecting dust in the garage. Visit my uncle more so we can have those crazy, in-depth conversations. Relax. I would encourage all of you to do the same. Like I said before, I’m not shaming social media, because I actually DO love it. But the truth is, there is an enemy out there that will do whatever it takes to keep your mind off of God and on what the next new app is. There is an enemy out there who trembles at the fact that today might be the day you pick up that thick, powerful book again, and say something from it that might destroy him. I challenge everyone reading this to take the challenge! Even if it’s just for a day, or for a few hours. Your mind will feel 10x more relaxed, trust me. But I’m back on social media for now, just as long as I feel like I’M the one controlling how much I intake. I really hope that you guys got something from this, and just know that I love y’all so so much and hope that you have a fulfilling rest of the week, growing into people of God who stand for the truth and nothing less. 

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How To NOT Get Angry.

Anger makes me cry, anger makes me laugh, anger makes me lie..anger makes me do a lot of things. I’m sure you clicked on this blog post today to hear me talk about how to get rid of anger completely, how to make it so you never feel that shaking rage on the inside of your soul again. I’m here to tell you that there’s no such thing as getting rid of anger. Everyone gets angry, and everyone shows it in a different way. But not every way is the right way.

This all-consuming emotion is something I’ve struggled with for many years. For the most part, it has gotten better, but it still rears it’s ugly head at the worst moments ever. It all depends on what the person is saying to me at that time. Most times I can keep my cool during an argument, but when once someone makes me feel really insecure about who I am as a person…BOOM.

 

 

 

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It feels like my bones start to shake inside me. The space right below my chin starts to get really hot. I get a tension headache to the point where my head feels like it’s going to explode. How do you control something like that, especially when the person doesn’t seem to care about your feelings?

I feel a lot of shame when I get too angry, because I know that I have a certain standard to live up to. The verse that comes to mind when I think of anger is Proverbs 29:11, “Fools give full vent to their rage, but the wise bring calm in the end.” I know I make mistakes and that’s okay, but when my anger causes me to lie or throw insults out at people, that’s when I know it’s getting too real. So, because this is still something I struggle with, I’ve decided I’m going to try at different tactic. These are some of the things came up with for me to try when I feel myself losing control, and I hope that it helps anyone reading this, too:

 

1.  Breathe Deeply & Exhale. This seems like a pretty obvious one, but you would be surprised how easy it is to forget to breathe when you’re angry. That’s probably the reason I get so light-headed. Trust me, even the incredible Hulk wouldn’t mess with me! But breathing and thinking about something that makes you happy instead of what’s happening in the moment can definitely make a difference.

2.  Realize that no one can make you feel anything that you don’t to feel. This is a big one for me, and something that someone said to me a while back. If you don’t want to feel a certain way, you don’t have to. YOU have control over your own emotions, so if someone insults you, you don’t have to respond to it. That’s there truth, and if it doesn’t edify you in any way (if it isn’t to help you), you don’t have to take it in.

3.  Think about how you will feel later on. Your feelings about a situation may change later on. You may realize that it wasn’t such a big deal, or maybe that it was a big deal but  that instead you should said something else. That has happened to me plenty of times! It might’ve been a calm, peaceful Sunday about an hour ago, and then something happens to try to mess it up. Sometimes I just try to forget that something happened so I don’t have to have it on my mind all day.

 

I had this revelation a couple of days ago when I was really upset about something. I took an extra long walk around the block, sat in the park for a bit, and then I prayed for God to help me calm down. As I sat with my eyes closed, focusing hard on God, something happened on the inside of me that I knew wasn’t my doing. All of the anger I had felt before no longer consumed me in such a violent way. I felt it slip from my body, and instead I felt the love of Christ pressing down on my heart. Who can feel so much anger when love is pouring out over you, taking away the bad memories. After that shift, I was okay. I went back home and did something actually productive. This doesn’t mean that I’m not gonna have problems anymore, but I’m learning now as I get older, that giving stuff to God is way WAAAAY easier than dealing with it alone. So I hope that you guys can relate to what I’m saying (I’m pretty sure most of you can). The day is just too short to let these little things stand in the way of your purpose. So I hope you’ll join me on this mission to being a better person every single day. Love you guys so SO much, and I hope you have an amazing rest of the week! (And happy 4th of July if you’re in the U.S.)                                                                             XOXO.

 

P.S., here’s an example of the wrong way to handle things, and something that makes me cry-laugh when I’m mad.

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Where Have I Been + Grandma Update

      Soooo…all I have to say is that life has been quite hectic as of late. I can’t even get started on all of the changes that have taken place in just the past three weeks. Some have been good, some, not so good. I’m just gonna right into it because I’ve been dying to tell someone about it all week. So here it goes.

        First things first, I’ve decided that I’m going back to college in the coming year. This was a really big decision to make and I was hesitant to do it at first, but in the end, I felt like it made the most sense. I’ve been praying about it like crazy for the past couple of months, feeling mostly anxiety because I couldn’t figure out what I wanted. I don’t like to feel like I’m settling on something, or that I’m stuck somewhere. I’m the kind of person that needs to get out, live life, and do things. If I don’t, it’s easier for depression to walk back in to my life, as I talked about in a past article Depression.  I felt confined to only a few options, because I was scared of doing something to throw me off the path that God wants me on. I had heard about that happening to people before, and I was terrified. (Still kinda am) But I’ve finally started applying to a couple of universities where I think I’ll fit in. Some are Christian colleges, but the one thing they all have in common is that they’re in California. I plan to stay in Cali for awhile, accept when visiting friends. That’s another decision that has taken me some time to make, but I feel pretty confident in it.

The second big thing I wanted to touch on that some of you guys might know about is my grandma. I had said in a video I posted on Youtube about a month ago that my grandma wasn’t doing too well. She’s had arthritis almost her whole life and now it’s started to spread to other place in her body, like her skull. She is constantly getting headaches and has to make appointments to get a massage because she can’t sit up straight without her back hurting. I had asked for prayer in that video I posted, which is not something I usually do, but I felt very helpless about the situation. To update you guys on that, she’s doing a little bit better than she was. She’s able to walk and carry things without help, but she still has pain her back and weakness in her arms. She’s the kind of person who doesn’t want people helping her (sounds familiar). I’m continuing to pray for a full restoration of her body, and I’ve asked some friends to pray, too. Until then, I try to do what I can and have faith that she will be able to live out the rest of retired life in peace.

Thirdly, I learned that a friend of mine from Virginia just recently overdosed on drugs. Yeah. That was kind of hard to take in. This person and I weren’t as close as we could have been, but it still affected me a great deal. She was a really sweet woman who had children and a boyfriend. It was very tragic and unexpected. So I took some time to think over that and mourn a bit. I’m the kind of person who will put so much pressure on myself when it comes to helping people. I’ll think about what I could’ve done to help, or what more I could’ve said. But in the end, I always reach the same conclusion, which is that that person wouldn’t want me or anyone else to beat themselves up over what can’t be changed. I’ve learned that it’s best to remember all the good times with that person, even if there are just a few. You never forget the person or people, but you learn to move on from the sadness and regret and let God heal your wounds.

And lastly, I’m gonna catch you up on this past week, which was a total mess. I got up early last Sunday, just like any other Sunday. I have to get a head start before anyone else (because, of course, I’m a girl and these things take time). I started on my face routine just as everyone started waking up. Everything went smooth until I heard my name being belched from what I could only guess was the highest point of heaven. I came rushing into the kitchen to see my mom and brother surrounded by a trashcan lined with ants. But not just around the trash! They we’re under the sink and crawling up and down cans of lysol and bleach. Needless to say, nobody was happy about it. To make a long story short, we didn’t end up going to church (and I had really needed church that Sunday), and we spent half the day taking everything out from under the sink. We’re pretty clean people, but it was because of the heat that these little guys decided to find shelter in our house. Then we sprayed it down with water and sprayed underneath that cabinet until not one ant was left crawling. After that, I mopped the floor (which I HATE to do), and then I proceeded to go for a walk. Things can get kind of tense in the house after stuff like that happens so I knew I needed time away. It ended up being fine in the end, but I didn’t much feel like writing after all that had taken place. I always need time to process when I’m overwhelmed.

So here I am after all that,  and I’m feeling pretty good. Life’s still not perfect and I’m pretty sure it never will be. But God is still good, and I know that His plan for my life exceeds any attacks from the enemy. I’m praying that He will guide me to make the right decisions in my life and learn to trust myself, as I continue to stay in The Word and worship. I would encourage all of you who are going through similar situations to do the same. Thank you all so much for your support through all of this, it’s truly a blessing to have this platform where I can share my experiences and grow with all of you. I hope you all have a great rest of the week and remember to give every little problem to the only one who can solve them.

 

 

P.S., here’s the link to the YouTube video I was talking about if you’re interested. Sorry about the emotions, I don’t usually show that much in front of other people. The stress just got me that day. Love y’all!

 

 

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I’m Lit As…

Alright guys, today I want to talk about something that I think is very important to the lifestyle of someone following Christ. It’s something we all fail at at some point. We all know as people, that the way we act, the way we talk, and the things we do portray the kind of person we are. It’s hard to make a second impression completely cancel out the first. Basically, if I pull up to my boyfriend’s parents’ house with a holey tank top on with barbecue sauce stains all over it, and then I plop myself on their couch while asking what’s for dinner, I doubt they would want to have me over again. It’s the same concept.

I have been very careful lately to be aware of the way I treat people. I don’t always succeed, but I try. A lot of people outside of the belief system think that Christians are dry, pushy, judgmental freaks. I literally hear it all the time. It makes me sad to know that I’m sometimes already being judged when I make it clear where I stand. I never want people to get the wrong impression of Christians, as I talked about in my other article, VOTD: Double Shrug… . If people tell me that they believe differently than I do, I don’t just immediately thump them on the head with a Bible. It can looks really bad. My tactic has always been to love them, whether they follow my lifestyle or not, because that’s exactly what Jesus did. He hung out with thieves, prostitutes, and people with contagious diseases. He took no “L’s” when it came to loving all kinds of people. He didn’t insult or berate them. He spoke to them with understanding, even ate over their houses. (John 8:1-11) I believe that God called us to do the same. When meeting people who are atheist or agnostic, do you really think that telling them that they’re a terrible person  that’s going to hell is going to MAKE them love Jesus? First of all, you can’t make anyone love someone or something, it has to be their own decision. Second of all…no. Granted, we all have different tactics, but I don’t believe in the one that puts people down.

So you may be thinking to yourself, “Nice Hannah, so I’m not supposed to evangelize to any nonChristians? Real smart idea.” I’m not saying don’t evangelize to people, but do it respectfully. Do it with order. Do it in the form of a conversation. We all have at least one friend and/or loved one that doesn’t know God. We may have known them for years or just a couple of months. Pray for God to work on their heart, you can even get more than one person praying. (Matthew 18:20) If they start asking questions about God or challenging you, take that as something good. It means they’re questioning themselves, and that’s the time God is providing for you to “sneak in” and be a light that shines for His name.

I just wanted to talk about this with you guys because it’s been on my mind a lot. I’ve always heard the statement, “You may be the only Jesus that someone sees.” Imagine how you would want someone to come at you, and that’s how you should come at others. It’s all about respect and love. That’s what almost half of the Ten Commandments consist of. So just remember that. Most of us have the best of intentions, we just have to go about it the right way. Anyways, I love you guys and I SO badly want to see you succeed, in the same way I want to see myself succeed. So I encourage you to get out there and show the world what your really made…hopefully that didn’t sound to corny. Okay I’m done BYEEEEE!!

 

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I CURSED LIKE A SAILOR!

Alright, so this has been on my mind this week. To some of you guys this might not come off as something bad or alarming, but I’m just going to share my opinion with all of you. Hopefully you agree. I’ve always felt this need to maintain a certain look around other people. I don’t want to get to rough or start a fight. I’m more passive-aggressive since I rededicated my life to Christ. This is not to bash anyone who acts any different than me, I’m only telling you my personal preference. I fell like the best way to show the love God to other people is to act more like the way He would want me to act. (James 1:19) There was a point in my life where all I did was be aggressive about every little thing. I’ve discovered it’s a much more peaceful life when you’re not angry about everything. So that leads me to today.

Today, something happened that really upset me (I know, I know, what’s new, right?) so I got put in a crummy mood. It seemed like every time I tried to get something done, something personal to make me feel more confident, or something important in just my everyday life, another task got in the way. So in this case, I woke up early in the morning in hopes that I would get a head start in my personal tasks. I got about half-way through what I was doing, until I was met with fated dismay. Several different projects popped up at once. I would finish them and go back to what I was doing and (I kid you not) the minute I picked up what I had been doing before, along came something else. I don’t want this to turn into a rant post, but you get what I mean. It was ANNOYING. I instantly started asking God for patience because I could feel it slipping. I hadn’t eaten so I was “hangry”. I was tired because, again, I had woken up early. My back hurt, as it often does whenever I try to do anything strenuous, as well as other setbacks. When I get like that, I completely shut down. There’s nothing for me to do in those moments but be quiet and show no emotion at all, because I don’t want to be “braty” and negative. I think that’s where the problems always start.

I remember I had washed my hands and started to get myself cleaned up after doing some work outside. I put coconut oil on my hands, cause that’s my go-to product (sent from above) and again I went on to some personal things. Things that I hadn’t gotten done in weeks. The reason I hadn’t done these things on a different day, you may ask, is partially my fault. I put it off to work on my writing, video editing, cleaning, calling friends, etc. But I decided on catching up today, yesterday, so at least it was somewhat planned. As soon as I picked up what I was doing before, the same thing that happened the last time, happened AGAIN. This time I was fed up thinking, why is the world against me? It’s Saturday! Before I knew it…actually before I could even THINK about it, I let it slip. “OH MY F****** GOSH! WHAT NOW?” I stopped dead in my tracks. What treacherous crime had I just committed. I felt like all the angels in heaven had just gasped and set off some alarm. Billy Graham must’ve just gotten an unexplainable shiver down his spine. Basically, hide your kids…this girl has officially lost it. I felt so bad you guys, like I couldn’t recognize my tongue. Like, what is my life even? So let me explain why.

I had made the conscious decision not cuss, again, when I rededicated my life to Christ. I wanted things to be different. But before that, I cursed like a sailor. I said pretty much every curse word you can think of, I’m just being honest. Whenever I tell people this now, they don’t believe me. They’re like “Lol, whatever Hannah, you’re just this dainty little flower child of positivity.” But it’s the truth! I started cursing when I was as young as 12-years-old, although I’m not proud of it. I couldn’t go a day without saying my favorite swear word, the S word. The last time I said the F word…I think I was 20. I’m 23 today. So truly, I felt kind of dirty. It’s the smallest thing in the world, but it seemed so big to me. My fear was and IS that I will let myself slip up so much, that I’ll compromise my values. The world tells me that it’s okay to do a lot of things, and that you’re not normal if you don’t do like them. I don’t care, I don’t ever want to jump off the bridge other people are jumping off of.

I’m telling this story, partially to vent, but also to let you guys know that you’re not a horrible person if you make those kinds of mistakes. I’m so hard on myself that I shame myself and put myself down like dog owner does to their dog. I do that, because I feel like I deserve it. I should feel like a horrible Christian so that I don’t ever do that again. The only problem with that is, of course, my humanity. I don’t give myself enough grace. I have a hard time understanding that God isn’t pointing His finger at me saying, “Look, she screwed up again! That’s 50 points off of her salvation record!” We as Christians have to stop putting ourselves down in that way. We strive for perfection, but we aren’t perfect. If you’re not a Christian and you don’t understand what I’m saying, that’s fine. But this is how I feel. If you struggle even a little bit with guilting yourself, comment down below some ways that you deal with it. I want to hear what you guys have to say about this. I may not have explained everything, but I hope that this helps someone like me. By the way, I did get some of the stuff done that I planned to do, but it’s going to be a longer day to do the other things. I’m already over it. I love you guys so much, and I hope that you enjoy this memorial weekend in whatever way you choose to celebrate it. God bless!

 

P.S., if you can comprehend this photo, you’re the realest one! XOXO

 

 

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It’s all Spongebob’s fault.

 

Featured post

Put Your Eggs In One Basket

So this short blog may read kind of like a devotional, it’s just something I’ve been thinking about all week. I was walking around the neighborhood this morning and just looking at all the beauty that God created. Sometimes it’s just that beautiful outside to where you actually put down your phone and pay attention to it. It was really hot outside to be honest so I was walking kind of fast, but the mountains seemed so much bigger today. And I just started thinking about that verse in the Bible that says that all good things come from the Lord (James 1:17), and how the devil will try to claim it all as his own. He will try to sneak into the minds of people and convince them that he created these things, that he’s the ruler of them, and that he can give them more if they’ll only worship him. I feel like this has been happening a lot in our world today.

The word of God says in 1 John 2:15-17, “Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world. And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever. A lot of people take these verses as God saying that He doesn’t want them to have fun or have good things in their life. Lots of people reject being a Christian because they think that it’s about being BASIC (boring and bland) The enemy has them convinced that the Bible is not for them with all the “thees” and “thous”, therefore causing to be of the world. We are all born with a sinful nature, every single one of us, and when we come to God, we still want to sin sometimes, but we have grace to redeem us. My point is that, it’s not that partying is a bad thing, it’s the things you do at parties that make them bad. (drugs, excessive drinking, sex, etc.) It’s not that sex is bad, it’s when you do it that makes it bad. Video games are not bad, but if you don’t do anything else but play them, your mind might feel a little warped when you finally stop. This is not to judge anyone who’s done this because I’ve made dug myself in holes, too, but this is how the devil will trick and manipulate you.

You might see people in society, or people that you look up to media/entertainment selling themselves to these things to make a couple of extra bucks. You may even think that’s pretty, I know I used to. But trust me, it’s costs more than you think. When I had just about finished my walked and was headed home, I felt like I heard God saying something to me. It was so small, but it meant so much. Like I said, it was hot outside, and I couldn’t wait to get back home. I was kind of sticky on the back of my neck, and I absolutely HATE  sweating, like more than anyone in the world. I passed under a tree and I felt Him say something like, “Abide under me, I am shade, shelter, and rest. The heat may scorch you, but I provide relief.” That was basically the gist of it. It just made me think about how people walk so far in the desert to actually get somewhere, but they end up in the middle of nowhere. The people of God will eventually find a tree to rest at, because they know the promises of God. I know I’m kind of rambling now, but the point I’m trying to get across is that this world, physically is beautiful. We should love the beauty of it and travel far and wide to see every part. People are beautiful because they’re made in God’s image. Every single one of them is our brother and sister. We are all connected. But it’s important to know the difference between Godly beauty and sinful beauty. Sinful beauty will try to dress itself up in a catchy song and amazing graphics to grab your eye. We are all connected, but not all of us are nice and can be trusted (it’s not the person we hate, it’s the spirit of darkness guiding them that we hate. (Ephesians 6:12)) What I’m saying is, don’t let yourself be deceived. Put your eggs in one basket. In other words, commit completely to God, don’t have one foot in the world and one foot out.

I hope this mini-article made sense, I tried to explain the best way I possibly could. I love you guys so much and I just wanted to let you guys in on this. If you have any questions, comment down below and I will do my best to get back to you. Continue to live out your potential be everything HE has called you to be. I’ll see you next week!

 

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Featured post

If You Don’t Do This, You SUCK!

       I kind of went into talking about this in another article, VOTD: Double Shrug…, which was about being complacent. This one’s basically going to be about the “labor of religion”. I just felt in my heart that I should talk about this a little bit more because I see it and hear it all the time.

       I’ll start off with a verse I was reading in the Bible this morning in Matthew 5. In my opinion, Matthew 5 is lit. There’re all kinds of nuggets of information and encouragement. That’s where I go sometimes when I’m on edge, or want to know how God feels on certain issues. So right after the BEattitudes, Jesus starts talking about the law. He talks about how He’s not going take away the law, but rather keep it. You see, there were several people who followed Jesus thinking He was going to overthrow the government, and implement His own. He said this to clarify that He’ll only be there a little while, to make the sacrifice, and then return home. After that, He keeps it real by saying that basically anyone who teaches about what’s wrong, and then does what’s wrong, shouldn’t be teaching at all. Later on in the gospel, He calls leaders out for their hypocrisy, saying that they’re misguiding people with their set of unreachable standards. They were making people think that you had to give a certain amount of money to the church, or look a certain way to be close to God, which is absolutely not true.

       Let me make it very clear. It doesn’t matter how you look or how much money you give or how much you read your Bible, you will ALWAYS be good enough for God. There’s proof of this in Luke 21:1-4, And He looked up and saw the rich putting their gifts into the treasury, and He saw also a certain poor widow putting in two mites. So He said, “Truly I say to you that this poor widow has put in more than all; for all these out of their abundance have put in offerings for God,[a] but she out of her poverty put in all the livelihood that she had.” It was never about money for God. He’s not trying to steal from you or make you perfect. There’s no way that any of us can be perfect. If you have 50 tattoos and 7 piercings on each ear, you’re still enough for God. If you have a dollar to your name and you’re living on someone’s couch, you’re good enough. If you done every sin imaginable on this earth, you STILL good enough for God. He will never stop pursuing you for a relationship. Religion makes it so that only people who fit the “status quo” will get into heaven. Jesus came to take the “sucker punch” out of “religion’s fist” and hold people to a new standard. Grace.

       So if you struggle with feeling unworthy, or you’ve been pretending to go along with other Christians without really committing, just know that you don’t have to. I’m here to tell you that even though God wants us to stop sinning, His grace is immeasurable. There’s no one right way to be a Christian. We’re all different. We all look different and communicate in different ways. If you have someone in your life telling you that you have to act a certain way to be a Christian, but you’ve given your heart to God, you’re doing it right. Ask Him to get rid of those insecure places in your heart, so that you can feel free to be yourself without fear of judgement. That’s one of the most important goals you could ever have in this life. So I hope you guys got something out of this little blog today. Share this article with someone else that you think needs it and spread the love. I hope you guys have a fabulous AND blessed rest of the week. Keep pressing on!

 

P.S., this is how God sees you:

 

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Or this if you’re a guy:

 

67aa5ecbbabe4884437f100356196176

 

Featured post

Depression.

My best friend, who was there at the time, could tell something wasn’t right with me. She tried to ask me questions, but I was very short with her because I didn’t want to talk about it. Like always, I desired to isolate myself.     

 

It can make you feel like you have no purpose. Like you will always just be here stuck in this moment. It can give you anxiety about the future, or say that you don’t have one. It’ll make you wonder if you’ll live to see even one more day. When it rains, there’s literally no ray of sunshine that can lift you up. You hide under the covers like a bear in hibernation, just waiting for someone safe to come around and tell you it’s okay to come out. But even then, you’re unsure if you’ll believe them. You’re stuck inside your own head. You’re a prisoner of war to your own thoughts and fears with no relief. When you finally come out people ask if you’re okay, and you think you are. You think maybe it’ll end this time. That maybe you’ll be magically restored. Maybe you’ll be able to hold it together this time, not fall apart in the feeling of after-shame. But just like the last time, there it comes again with it’s hooks so nasty and sinister to rip you from the rail of hope you were desperately clinging to. This is depression.

As a lot of you may know, I struggled with this crippling disease all through high school, and some in middle school. Whether it was situational depression, or full-on depression, life became almost unbearable. I never really expressed the extent of it to anyone because I thought I could handle it, or that it would just go away on it’s own. But it kept getting worse. It got to the point where I felt like a zombie half-sleeping my way through life. Eventually I called on God to take it away, along with my anxiety, and He answered me. I had to figure out what was causing it and learn how to treat myself better. From then on, the bulk of it has subsided and I’ve been able to live a relatively normal life. I’d be lying, though, if I said I don’t have bad days. I usually just sing and praise my way through any time I feel like it’s creeping back up. I think Bible verses in my mind that pertain to joy and peace of mind, but I’m not always able to make myself okay.

Lately, I’ve been struggling with situational depression a lot more because of some circumstances in my life that I can’t change. I’ve sort of felt stuck, and for someone with depression, that’s the worst feeling in the world. I HATE feeling stuck. It blocks my ability to problem-solve sometimes, because I’ll do anything to feel free again. I had something come up last week, that made me completely shut down in that zombie-ish way again. It was something so small, but it triggered thoughts like, this is never going to be over. It’s never gonna stop. My life is in limbo. We’ll never get along. Over and over these thoughts kept coming. I ended up going in the garage and sitting in the car just to find some tranquility. I cried for a little bit and sang praise songs, but I was crying so hard that I could barely get the words out. After it was all out of my system, I went on Twitter to distract my mind. I found a live broadcast from one of my favorite Christian speakers, Christine Caine. I watched her travel around Italy for awhile, and somehow it lifted my spirits enough to go inside. The next day, I decided I needed to get more into “the word”, because I knew that was the only thing I could truly depend on. It has helped a lot, but I still felt a lot of confusion on how to ensure it doesn’t happen again. How do you beat this once and for all?

I’ve come to the conclusion that you have to watch what and who you surround yourself with. When toxic/negative people remain in your life, the likely-hood of you being as negative as them is higher. Also, if you’re in a job that you hate, that highly contributes to situational depression. In that instance, you really have to listen to the voice of God and what He’s asking you to do. Most likely He will tell you to either: stay in the situation because He’s about to turn it in your favor, stay in the situation to make you stronger for just a season, or leave because He has something better for you. It is impossible to feel happy all of the time, but it’s important that you make time to enjoy your life. I know some people who never stop working. They never sit back and put up their feet. They forget to smell the flowers, and then they wonder why they’re so stressed out. Always, ALWAYS, make time for you. Always, ALWAYS, make time for God.

Something happened to me last spring that brought a load full of situational depression. It was around the same time I was still struggling with my anxiety. I didn’t really know how to be myself after being an ex-addict. Addiction took away my ability to be completely genuine and in the moment. God had to break me of that and is still breaking me. I talk more about that in my previous article, Unfocused: An Ex-Addict’s Tale of Redemption. Anyway, I was fighting with a friend that, at the time, I felt very close to. I felt with all my heart that I could trust this person, because they made me feel safe. I honestly felt like they wouldn’t do anything to purposefully hurt me, but was soon faced with the truth. This person told me something that, at the time, I didn’t need to know. It was a truth I never saw coming. I thought everything was fine before. There was no warning, and I remember feeling really numb and shaky after that. You never quite forget the feeling that rips your heart to shreds. After that conversation, I headed back home. I walked with no emotion, just kind of dead on the inside. My first and only thought was, I have to get out. I have to get away from this place. So I did. I changed my clothes into something more appropriate, and took a little walk, unsure of when I would return. My best friend, who was there at the time, could tell something wasn’t right with me. She tried to ask me questions, but I was very short with her because I didn’t want to talk about it. Like always, I desired to isolate myself. I started walking and immediately realized where I wanted to go. I was headed to the store to buy alcohol, just enough to take the edge off. This was what I had always done. This was what I was used to. I needed familiar. It was by the grace of God that when I got to the store, I realized I didn’t have my i.d. (what a fail). I was irritated but left the store and just kept walking.

This is the part of the story that will tell you how really not myself I was. Remember, that when you’re depressed, there isn’t much that can shake you out of it except God, medication, and family. 2 out of 3 of those things were not around in that moment. There was an on ramp and an off ramp near where I was walking. In order to get to where I was going, I had to cross both. I had done this a gazillion and one times, so it wasn’t that big of a deal. I started to think about everything that had happened up to this point. Who’s really my friend? What will people think of me? How will I ever get past this pain? I saw the cars headed my way, and got so close to just stepping out in front of them. It would’ve been quick. No mess. No fuss. Something stopped me though, and I pulled my foot back in. I tried to reason with myself by thinking, just take it one minute at a time. I finally made it to where I was going, which was a relative’s house. I remember opening the backyard fence and sitting on the white chair outside, facing the grass. I just wanted to be alone to feel what I was feeling, but I couldn’t feel a thing. Couldn’t cry. Couldn’t scream. Couldn’t talk. At some point, I ended up calling some people that I knew would be worried about me. They were not happy at all by my reaction. Apparently they had already been told by the friend I was fighting with about our little conversation. As if the whole thing wasn’t embarrassing enough! The issue was finally let go after I let loose where I was, and I stayed there in the backyard, just staring. I listened to “Bloodstream” by Ed Sheeran on repeat, and still wasn’t sick of it. Just trying to feel something, anything. It never came, at least not that day.

There’s so much more to that story that I can’t even get started on. It was just a really sad time in my life where I had to suck it up and work through the pain. Eventually, I did work through it, but it still affects me to this day. I never did make up with my friend. I don’t think I was important enough to that person for them to want to fix it. To this day, I still wish I could speak to them again and make things right. I’ve completely forgiven that person out of love and at least tried to see things from their point of view. Sometimes that’s all you can do. You can’t control other people’s actions, only you’re own. The reason I’m telling this story is for anyone who may feel the way I did right now. You may feel like you’re situation is never going to end, and that people aren’t going to understand you. Another thing I’ve learned is, you can’t blame your failure on people not being understanding. Whether they understand or not, you have to do what’s best for YOU. There’s only ever going to be one you in this world. Make the best of this life. Do what makes you happy. Live for God. Be a light. This sad period that you’re in isn’t going to last forever, and I really wish someone had told me that when I had my episode. Don’t be ashamed to talk about how you’re feeling with someone. Even if it’s just one person. When I was going through it, I felt like I couldn’t talk to anyone for fear of judgement. But the right people will always listen, even when they think you’re wrong. And lastly, be completely honest with God. Yes, God knows everything. He doesn’t need for you to tell Him what’s going on with you to know. But He wants you to come to Him first and talk to Him like a friend. That’s not what He’s there for. The Holy Spirit is also very gentle with the way that He speaks to you. John 14:16 refers to Him as “the comforter”, so there is no reason to be afraid.

I hope you guys got something out of this article, that’s the only reason I made it so long. There’s just so much I could share with you guys about my experiences. I just don’t want people to think that there’s this quick fix for depression and that your instantly healed. I still struggle, even when I’ve pretty much overcome. If you have any questions for me be sure to leave them in the comments down below. Also, share some of the experiences you’ve had, even if it’s not the kind of depression I’m talking about. Tell as many people as you can about something you’ve struggled with in life, and learned to conquer. I love you guys SO so much and I hope you have a blessed rest of your week!

 

P.S., here are some songs I sing when I’m at my worst (Christian & Secular):

 

Hillsong United – Even When It Hurts (Of Dirt And Grace)

Taylor Swift – Clean

Paramore – Born For This

NF – O Lord

Dierks Bentley – Riser

HAIM – Falling

Lauren Daigle – My Revival

Eddie James – He’s Alive

NEEDTOBREATHE – TESTIFY

OK Go – This Too Shall Pass

Coldplay – Talk

Snow Patrol – Run

Little Big Town – Silver And Gold

Natalie Grant – King Of The World

Yellowcard – Here I Am Alive

 

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Featured post

VOTD: Double Shrug…

Actually it’s more than one verse because I feel like you can’t understand one verse without hearing the others.

Matthew 23:2-9

The Pharisees and the teachers of the Law are experts in the Law of Moses.

So obey everything they teach you, but don’t do as they do. After all, they say one thing and do something else.

They pile heavy burdens on people’s shoulders and won’t lift a finger to help.

Everything they do is just to show off in front of others. They even make a big show of wearing Scripture verses on their foreheads and arms, and they wear big tassels[a] for everyone to see.

They love the best seats at banquets and the front seats in the meeting places.

And when they are in the market, they like to have people greet them as their teachers.

But none of you should be called a teacher. You have only one teacher, and all of you are like brothers and sisters.

Don’t call anyone on earth your father. All of you have the same Father in heaven.

God has really been laying this on my heart lately. The challenge being, why do we do what we do? Do we serve God because HE wants us to, or because WE want to. These are the questions I asked myself while thinking about this the other day:

  1. Why do I got to church? Is it because that’s what my parents have always done and want me to do?

2.  Am I worshipping, praying, going up to the altar, fasting out of love (wanting               to get closer to God) Do I do these things because I want something from Him and           see no other way out; am I using God?

3.  Do I tithe so people can see? Do I care too much about who will see the                          amount? Do I give with a joyful heart like the woman with two mites? Do we                      just want to look like we’re devoted to the church? (Mark 12:41-44)

 

If you feel like you’re stuck in a rut, and you see everyone else growing in their relationship with God except for you, maybe it’s time for a change. I’ve struggled myself with this from time to time. You know you’re SUPPOSED  to go to church and read the Bible and lift your hands and you refuse to curse and don’t cut people off on the highway. You know what the perfect Christian looks like, but how is that helping you any if you’re putting on facade for everyone? When I read the word of God, I usually feel something happening on the inside of me. Like some mess is being cleaned up. I never want to get the point where I double shrug while reading it because what’s being said no longer has any effect on me. (A double shrug means you’re nonchalant about something) In other words, I don’t want to sit up straight in church with my perfectly ironed outfit and be a robot saying, “Amen.” at the appropriate time. It’s just not me. One thing I hate more than anything is people who pretend to love God, and then ruin it for people that are thinking about serving God. People stay out of churches because they think that Christians think they’re “holier than thou” and hat everyone who isn’t as perfect as them. Then you find out that leaders who have claimed to be doing the right thing, have actually been doing the opposite and it’s broadcast on the 5:00 o’clock news. NonChristians see this and say, “There go those Christians again being hypocrites.” They are then turned off by the idea of even going in a church. All because of one person’s actions. Jesus himself even said that He can’t stand this either in verse 13 and 14 of the same chapter:

“Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You shut the door of the kingdom of heaven in people’s faces. You yourselves do not enter, nor will you let those enter who are trying to.

He hates when people try to act perfect around other people because it makes it seem like there are unreachably high standards for having a relationship with him. The whole reason He was on this earth was because we AREN’T perfect. To fix our mess. So to act as though we are better than others when we’re all the same is…I can’t even think of a word.

 

I want to know that I ‘m giving God my all because I truly want Him more than anything, not because I’m afraid He’s going to condemn me. I know that God recognizes when I’m being real, and when I’m just screwing around. My prayer for anyone reading this today is that you get as much out of reading those verses as I did. It starts with asking God to give you a new mindset. We have to ask Him to forgive us for the way we’ve been thinking and for being “too religious” and start giving our whole heart to Him, no matter how it makes us look. I’ve started checking myself every time I feel a little prideful about something, and I think I’m getting better at it. I love the new song by Kari Jobe called, “Cause Of Christ” that talks about being dedicated to the agenda of God and not your own. When I listen to it, I’m reminded of where I come from and how far I’ve come. So until next time, don’t be robotic with the love you give to God, then you’ll finally be able to say that you do what you do, for HIM.

 

Featured post

POTD: In Honor of Easter

So in honor of Easter tomorrow, I wanted to share this poem with you guys that I wrote last month. I wrote it in a time when I was having a really bad day, and felt very unsure of the future. It’s really meant to be like a lullaby for a child, but I say it as a poem. Every word I wrote definitely came from the heart. It encouraged me and helped me to get out some of the frustration I was feeling. I hope you guys enjoy and get something out of it:

 

 

Jesus Catches Even The Strong
by Hannah Johnson
Jesus catches, even the strong.

You were gonna fall, all along.
You hold back you’re tears, with your back against the wall.
But you don’t need a wall, cause Jesus catches even the strong.

I had a bad day.

The house was a mess.
I spilled purple frosting.
On my perfect white dress.
My husband’s a drinker.
My wife’s gone astray.
But don’t think the grace.
Has run out for the day.
There’s always tomorrow.
The house can be cleaned.
I’m sure nobody saw it.
Spray that stain with something.
That hard head means he’s tough.
A prayer might bring her back.
He could kick this old habit.
She is better than that.
Jesus catches, even the strong.

You were gonna fall, all along.
You hold back you’re tears, with your back against the wall.
But you don’t need a wall, cause Jesus catches even the strong.
Take your faith with you darling.
Remember it’s strength.
When you think life’s against ya.
Try to think again.
We all have to hurt some.
To fight for the joy.
It’s for men and for women.
Every girl and boy.
Jesus catches, even the strong.

You were gonna fall, all along.
You hold back you’re tears, with your back against the wall.
But you don’t need a wall, cause Jesus catches even the strong.
Jesus catches even the strong.
Jesus catches even the strong.
HAPPY EASTER EVERYONE!! I’m going to take this time to truly soak in the sacrifice Jesus made on my behalf and spend time with my family. Let me know what you think of my poem in the comments down below. Much love, XOXO.
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30 Fun / Weird Facts About Me

       So I thought I would write a fun little blog this week, just so you guys can get to know me a little bit better. I wouldn’t call myself a complicated person, nor would I call myself a very simple, person. I would probably put myself a little past the middle on the interesting scale. When I say some of these things back to myself, I have to admit, I’m scared to go forward. I also wonder how God can still love me so much that he overlooks my quirks. But I think transparency is one of the most key pieces that make up confidence. So here you go, all of the facts that make up who I am. Hopefully some of you guys can relate to them…or else I’m in trouble:

 

 

 

 

1. I’m terrified of heights. I don’t remember the first time exactly when I realized I had this fear. The earliest memory I have is when I went on this ride at Knotts Berry Farm that actually turned out to be like a ski-lift. Yeah. As soon as I got to the very top I had panic attack and felt like I was gonna fall out. It’s kind of funny when I think about it now, but my friend had to talk me down until we got back to the bottom. Yep, that was the moment I knew.

 

2. #TAYLORSWIFT I have been INSANE about Taylor Swift from day 1. (Since I was 11 years old) She holds such a special place in my heart for so many reasons, but mainly because of her courage, integrity, style, kindness, and of course, talent. No one has ever taken her place as my favorite singer, and although I know she’s not Jesus, I believe she’s the best of the best. If I ever met her…I pretty sure I wouldn’t make it.

 

3. HUGE Patriots Freak! So even though I consider myself a country girl, I did live in Boston for a portion of my life. I’ve grown to love the city and it’s charm through all four seasons. It was then that I learned something very important, something I would carry with me for the rest of my life. Um, the Patriots are THE BEST. I won’t even get into all the reasons why, but if you look at the past 2 super bowls, I think you’ll catch on quickly.

 

4. I’ll eat spaghetti literally any time. Spaghetti is my absolute favorite meal. I love pasta in general, but spaghetti (and bolognese) are too amazing to ever pass away. There is nothing not good about spaghetti, but that’s just my opinion.

 

5. Music is a must-have in the morning. Okay so, music is basically life for me. I like to believe God was thinking just about me when He created music. He knew how much I was gonna need it. (I’m kidding) But seriously, without music I don’t know how I would express myself. Music helps convey emotions that you feel like you can’t put into words. Life would kind of be gray without it. I listen to literally any genre, but my favorite genre in the world is country music. Most people think that it’s songs about dead dogs and horses, but that’s only a stereotype. Country music is storytelling. If you listen to the words behind the music, you’ll find out there’s so much more to one song than you thought. It’s real life experiences.

 

6. Curly-hair problems? My hair is very curly. I wouldn’t say it’s tightly wound, but just tight enough to keep me straightening it for hours. I’ve learned to admire and embrace my hair for the most part, but every once in awhile I get those days. All I can say is gel and hairspray are life savers.

 

7. I practice henna on my arms when I’m bored. I tend to be extra creative when I’m bored. Sometimes I’ll take out a pen and doodle on a post it note, and sometimes I’ll just use my arms as paper. I love looking up pictures of the Indian designs and trying to replicate it with my left hand. Sometimes it actually turns out presentable.

 

8. Singing is LIFE. So for those of you who don’t know, I actually love to sing. That’s part of the reason I love music so much. I was in choir for pretty much my entire life. (From when I was 8-years-old until high school) I’ve had my fair share of solos and have even one a couple of awards, but all of the glamour and popularity isn’t why I sing. It’s instinctive for me. I do it when I’m watching t.v.. I do it when I’m in the car. I do it when I’m in the shower. Literally, all the time. Sometimes I get really shy is when people want me to sing in front of them, that’s only because I haven’t done that for awhile.

 

9. I’m the worst at public speaking. I wish so badly that I could change this, and believe me I’ve tried. But failed. I get shaky and start to look up instead of making eye contact. I have to look back at my notecards to remember what I was saying. I. Suck. At. Public. Speaking.

 

10. I can walk for hours in heels. My friends have pointed this out to me plenty of times. If I’m at an event or helping set it up, I can walk for miles before my feet get tired. I don’t know if it’s because I was supposed to be a model or something, but I’ve just got this drive in me to do it. Even when I eventually get tired, I can try to suck it up for the sake of finishing whatever I’m doing.

 

11. I hate confrontation. I used to be very confrontational. I was someone who like to argue about everything, simply because I knew I was always right. (Crazy I know) If someone got in my face, I wasn’t afraid to get in theirs, it wasn’t until I rededicated my life to God that I changed for the better. I stopped trying to argue so much, and realized I wasn’t right about everything. Once in awhile, I get someone who is exactly the way I used to be and I have to learn how to deal with the situation maturely. I don’t always succeed, as a matter of fact I’ve failed plenty of times, but I can say for sure that I no longer like that sinking bitter feeling that comes when I hold onto anger.

 

12. Once I love you, I never stop. Not in a creepy way of course (lol) but once I start caring about someone for a good period of time, it’s really difficult for me to just stop caring. Even if that person has hurt me/is out of my life. I pray for people that I haven’t talked to in a year, and when I pray for you, I mean it. We may be apart, but you’re still part of my family.

 

13. When I’m angry, laughing is how I cope. So weird, I know. I’ve tried to get better at this several times. But yes, when I’m angry or really nervous, laughing is how I cope. I don’t know why, but I usually say embrace your flaws if you can’t change them. So that’s what I do.

 

14. I was a receptionist. For about a year and some change I was an administrative assistant at a facility my aunt works for. It gave me a lot of good and interesting experience that I actually ended up using later on in life.

 

15. Live to run! I’m a hardcore runner. I was in cross country in middle school, and then cross country and track when I was in high school. Some people lose that discipline they had once they leave the sport, but I wanted to take it with me. It’s become a part of my lifestyle, and it’s another coping skill I used when I’m upset. It kind of helps me in my recovery when I feel weak and want to go back to what I shouldn’t. It also helps me stay healthy so I can live to be 100-years-old (comfortable, beautiful, and flexible).

 

16. Sarcastic. Not all the time, but sometimes I tend to have a bit of dry humor in me. It’s never about being hurtful about it, just funny and ironic. I mean, what’s the punchline gonna do without me?

 

17. Caught lipstick-handed. This one’s so embarrassing. When I’m running out the door and trying to save time, I put on my lipstick while I’m walking. I’m not someone who believes in wasting an ounce of my gorgeous red plum shade, so I dig my finger into the tube and scrape out whatever’s left. As I”m putting it on my lips, I just wipe what’s on my finger on my hand. Sometimes I remember to rub it in, other times my friends are like, “Oh my gosh, are you bleeding?” Then I have to explain it.

 

18. I love my tiny mutt. I have the most adorable chihuahua that has ever walked the face of this Earth. His name is Ozzy. He has big brown eyes and always looks like he’s smiling on the side of his face. He’s an older dog but he can still be a handful, barking in the early morning and leaving little presents on the floor. But somehow I still love him. He brings me so much joy in just one day.

 

19. Hair color? I get my hair color from dad. It’s a mix of dark brown, blond, and even little bits of red that you can see in the sun. I love it, but lately I’ve been dying it more often. My next venture is gonna be letting my roots grow out, and then putting in blonde ombre. The perfect summer color.

 

20. I’ve played almost every sport there is. Okay, so with this one I’m really not kidding. I have played soooo many sports in just 23 years of my life. Basketball, volleyball, outdoor soccer, INDOOR soccer, cross country and track (as I said earlier), tennis (during the summer), badminton, ping-pong (during the summer). Everything. The only thing I was never good at is baseball, and surprisingly it’s my favorite sport to watch. I just love competing in anything pretty much.

 

21. I love EVERY shade of blue imaginable. Blue is and always will be my favorite color. There’s never been a shade of blue I didn’t like. It’s funny because when I was younger, I was taught that boys were supposed to like blue and girls, pink. I never wanted to seem like a boy, so I think suppressed it as much I could.

 

22. Flirtatious? Even Christians can be flirtatious, there’s nothing wrong with it. It’s all about your intentions, if that person is single, and how far you take it. I wouldn’t say I’m overly flirtatious, but I know how to flirt. The guys I’ve flirted with in the past have definitely known what I was doing. I will admit I can be obvious just to see how the person is guy is going to react. If they flirt back, I’m lit.

 

23. I love rustic decor. Like I said, I’m a country girl. I love the outdoors and walking fields of wildflowers. I mentioned in one of my earlier articles, The Cabin & Me I love cabins in the woods and often dream of owning my own someday, preferably next to a lake. I want the inside to look just like the outside. Rustic. When it comes to mason jars, fireplaces, and lanterns, I want it all! I’m so in love with this style of designing that I fell like I might over do it when I finally buy my first house. Hopefully I don’t.

 

24. I’m obsessed with white lace! Sometimes I’ll be at the store, and I’ll see this beautiful skinny-strap dress and go on my way to buy it, only to remember I already have 5 more dress like it. I love white lace so much I forget how much I have. It’s still too soon to tell if I’m getting better, or worse.

 

25. I used to move around a lot. My dad was in the military for my whole, which is why I’ve been to so many places. It was hard at times having to leave all my friends and memories behind, but it also taught me how to learn social skills. I used to be really shy as a kid because always TOLD me I was shy. I just assumed it was true. It wasn’t until my last year of middle school and first year of high school that I realized it wasn’t true. I’m actually an extrovert who can talk to people at the store, or on a bus. If I hadn’t moved around a lot, I may not have discovered that part of myself.

 

26. Not a fan of being ignored. I HATE feeling like I’m not heard, it really sets me off. I’ve have to talk to God about this several times because it one of my biggest pet peeves. It’s one things to listen, but it’s another to hear. When I think I’m not getting my point across, or that someone will interrupt me, my voice might get a little louder and I start stumbling over my words. I don’t ignore someone unless I absolutely have to, so if I’m doing it, you have to know there’s a dang good reason.

 

27. I’m in loooove with big trucks! Something about big trucks gives me goosebumps. I know it sounds so strange, but when I see one going really fast, it makes all warm inside. They’re beautiful.

 

28. Car for myself? A 1999 Suzuki Vitara. Other than trucks I’ve consistently liked cars that are older than me or look older than me. One of them is the Suzuki Vitara. This car is most popular in places like California or where there’s plenty of sun because of their design. It’s a beach/road trip car that normally has an open roof. It’s definitely the car for me, and when I finally get it, I want it with HUGE wheels.

 

29. Christian Artists? My favorite Christian artists are Firefight, Lauren Daigle, Switchfoot, Britt Nicole, NF, KB, TobyMac, and Chris Tomlin. There’re so many more I love, but those are just a few.

 

30. Wanted to move to Nashville. Only people who are close to me know this. As I said, I love country music and at one point, I wanted to move to Nashville and make my name known. It didn’t end up working out in the end, but I still love Nashville very much and hope to visit someday.

 

 

There it is, 30 facts you probably did know about me. I hope you enjoyed me exposing all my deepest darkest secrets and hidden desires (Not really). I hope after hearing some of my flaws, you will feel like you can accept who you are and make your own flaw into your greatest strengths. Be assertive. Be brave.

 

P.S., here’s a picture of my dream car. Don’t laugh:

 

 

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excited-baby

 

 

 

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Don’t Be An Old Maid

      I’m 18-years old sitting in my room after another long, hard day in high school. It hadn’t been a particularly cheerful, and I find myself getting settled into one of my moods. So I do what I always do when the depression comes on. I lock myself in my room with the blinds shut and turn on one of my favorite movies, “Persuasion” (a book by the great Jane Austen made into a movie). I’m immediately pulled from the world I’m in, into a simpler, more refined world. The smiles and curtsies alongside the dry humor as a contradiction is all I need to satisfy my need for a suspenseful, dramatic movie. I admire Anne because of her dedication to her family, and her willingness to maintain a decent attitude despite their superficial and frivolous nature. She even manages to hold it together when the love of her life returns, and she’s unsure of where she stands with him because of a decision she made years ago. I say to myself, “I wish I could be more like Anne”. Less dramatic and more content, so I make a pact with myself to do so. I notice, yet, that even though Anne has many finer qualities, she is swallowed into the expectation that society at that time had set before her. Marriage. She is disappointed that she is 27-years old and has no accolades or fortune to offer her family. As she goes into doubting herself, I struggle within my own mind to understand the importance of marriage at that time. I think about my own future, where I want to be, what job I’ll have, where I’ll live. I think about when I’ll meet my future husband. And I think about it happening when I’m at least 25. I realize then that I’m putting the same pressure on myself that Anne is putting on herself. Then I wonder if it’s right for me to think this way, or if it’s been put in my head by society that this is the way things should be.

      I believe that nowadays, the pressure is on women AND men alike to settle down quickly. I would say it’s more so women that feel the pressure, because we’re the ones who are going to have the children. It’s amazing how unfulfilled you can make someone sound if they are unmarried with no children. Then come the helpful friends (who sometimes mean no harm, I know because I was one of them) that try to set you up time and time again. You get you’re hopes up, only to be let down once again, and then you just want to be left alone. In an article I was reading the other day by Gallup (a company focused on building good analytics, 59% of millennials since 2014 have never been married. It’s implied that the reason is because most of them are waiting until a later age. I believe that this is the best way to go. In my opinion, you can gather more knowledge about what you want in your husband/wife, and you can do some of the things you’ve never done before. You have to find yourself before you can have anything to offer anyone. But some people say that this is a bad thing. Some call this new knowledge “tragic” and say that there will be regret in the end. I heavily disagree. I believe that if you’ve found the right person, the person God wants you to be with and the one who brings you closer to Him, you’ve got it made. Go ahead and talk about marriage. Plant the wedding. Put on the matching outfits. Good for you! But only do it if you’re stable within yourself, stable in your relationship with God, and stable financially. Talk about any concerns you might have with your significant other, and come up with a plan. You don’t want to be one of those people that realizes they married a complete stranger for the wrong reasons. NEVER rush in without knowing all the facts first.

       My personal preference, at this time in my life, is to stay close to God and find out more about who I am. I just got myself out of a very sticky, heartbreaking situation, and I’m no where near ready to give my heart to another man. I’m not going to rush into a relationship just to avoid being lonely on Valentine’s Day, or just because somebody comments about my clock ticking. I actually went out on a date with my grandma this past Valentine’s day and had a lot of fun. Basically, we just wanted to celebrate together instead of moping around at home all day. So I have it set in my mind, that if ever I get married, I want to do things right. The way God would have me do it. Even if I’m called an old maid. As I’ve written about in a past article, “This One’s Not As Good…” Jacob waited 7 years to marry Rachel, and then he was tricked, so he had to wait another 7 years. (Genesis 29:20-30) That man was put through the ringer. So just because you see your friends hoping in and out of relationships, doesn’t mean you have to do the same. I am very lucky to have known people who engrained the importance of waiting in my life. They’re lives have been an example to me in more ways than one, and I’m so grateful that I no longer think of being 27-years old as being without hope.

       Now I’m 23-years old. I still watch “Persuasion” on occasion and cry at the end every time Anne gets everything she ever desired. I watch sappy wedding videos on YouTube because I love to see people happy. I smile at the deep affection in their eyes, because I know I’ve loved someone like that before. It’s enough for me, even if it didn’t work out, because I became more of the person I am today. I love the way I’m growing a little bit in the right direction every single day, and when I’m older with gray hair, I’m still going to be the same vibrant, spontaneous, young woman on the inside. Single or not. My reason for writing this is to convince all of you to do the same. Don’t be ashamed if you’re not seeing anyone right now or even close to that. Get yourself together first and follow the path God has set before you. He truly is faithful to do everything He said He would. If you have experiences of your own about being married at a young age or being single at an older age and some of the pressures you’ve felt, feel free to comment down below. I am so interested in hearing someone’s else point-of-view. And as always, I’m so grateful for those of you who have stayed with me on my journey. I appreciate the support from the bottom of my heart. Have an amazing day, and be confident about where you are in life.

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Bad Dreams.

        Certain scary movies…mess me up. I can deal with ghosts and witches and all of that, but there’s one thing that makes me cringe and run if I even glance at it. I can’t handle watching people dying slow, painful deaths. Like being burned alive, or being eaten by an animal. Just the thought of it makes me…*breathes in deeply and exhales extremely slow*. I can’t. But those kinds of movies I can avoid, because I’m pretty sure when I see the title of the movie or start watching some of the beginning scenes which ones are going to traumatize me. The thing I hate the most are the dreams I can’t control. The dreams that keep coming back, sometimes every week. These dreams don’t necessarily have to be bad ones, just ones that seem very really. My brother and I were talking through this a couple of days ago, and he was sharing some facts with me about dreams. While he was talking, he brought up an interesting point. When we’re awake, we know that we can do anything in a dream, but when we’re dreaming we have no knowledge of that. We have no idea that we can do absolutely ANYTHING we want. Sometimes we can learn how to wake ourselves up, but that’s about as far as it goes. For me, I have tactfully learned the art of this. If a monster is chasing me through a hallway, I can wake myself up before it gets to me. I have even called on the name of Jesus in a dream, and it woke me up immediately. I have gotten to the point where those kinds of dreams don’t affect me that much anymore, and I think it’s because in the back of my mind, I have knowledge that God would never actually let something hurt me. No, it’s not a ghost that haunts me or vicious dog’s veneers that send chills down my spine. It’s not being stuck in place unable to run. It’s memories of the past.

        It started a couple of months back with a habit I brought back to life. My habit may seem like nothing out of the ordinary to you, because I’m pretty sure we all do this, but for me it’s kind of unhealthy. I keep my apple device next to me when I sleep, and I check social media before I go to bed. Let me explain why this is so bad. My mind works on 4 different levels. Happy, sad, angry, and functional (functional meaning practical and operative). Lately, I’ve been in a sort of “messed up” mood because of some things that had happened, so I guess you could say my mind was functional (a whatever, nonchalant attitude). When I’m just barely hanging on, the worst thing I can do is skim through social media before I go to bed. I can even go into how many times I’ve seen something posted that has messed up my entire flow. Don’t get me wrong, I love social media. I’m on a lot of the different platforms, but I can’t handle the rush of emotions that come just before I switch off for the day. So here it goes: I start getting back into that habit, scrolling through the lives of my friends to make me feel like I’m actually there. I make the crucial mistake of going through the new “memory” section on Facebook and, I see something that, to be perfectly honest, stabs me in the heart. I can’t take the overwhelming nostalgia in that moment, so I quickly click out of it. I know I could just delete the memory forever, but I just don’t want to. And it’s not like I can delete the memory from my mind, so it feels pointless to me. At that point, I just want to go to sleep, but I know myself. Think of something else, I tell myself, hamburgers, country music, heaven, blue jeans. But my thoughts are wandering around that memory now, and the second I close my eyes…

         It’s not long before I wake, and I’m sitting up in my bed, staring out the window. I feel stupid for thinking it could be real. How could it possibly be real? But it felt…every touch, every smile, every bit of laughter. It’s a cruel, cruel trick to play on the heart. I grab my Bible that’s also right next to my bed, because that’s what I always do in these situations. I read over a Psalm to bring me back to calm. Then I lay awake on the bed, wondering if I should try to get some more sleep, or just get up and call it daylight. I get kind of restless laying there, so I decide to get up and make a mug of green tea (my favorite). At this point, the dream is but a dull memory, but I still feel the pain of it as I think of the blurred images. I don’t cry, I just sit on the recliner, as the pretty shade of dawn starts to show in the sky. I wonder if this is life from now on, and I pray that it isn’t. I’m making significant progress in forgiving myself and others, there’s no need to be reminded of who I was. Who would’ve thought that instead of a sasquatch, the monster would be me. I’m chasing myself down with these “could have beens” when there’s nothing I can do to change what’s fact. 

         I don’t know if you guys have experienced anything like this, but it’s a very, scary thing. When you want so badly to go back, and you think you’re there, only to realize you’re not. I deal with this on a weekly basis and the only comfort I find is in the word of God. It does something to me on the inside that nothing else can do. It comforts me with words of encouragement when I feel like the biggest failure in the world. It takes away most of the sting from what I can’t change. It says in Hebrews, chapter 12, verse 4, “For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.” Nothing seems more true to me than that. I feel very clean on the inside when I read the word, there’s no other way to describe it. And if you’re in a place right now, where you feel like a loser, and you can’t control what you dream about, I would like to encourage with this: God didn’t put any of us here to live like that. Events take place that change the course of our life. What was once a fragile life can be turned into a hard, bitter, and confused one. But you have to rise above it. Don’t let it get the best of you. I always say, open up the word and read what God says about you. Quote it back to yourself. Life goes on from here and there’s so much more to learn, you don’t want to miss it all because you’re festering over the past. Over the “should have beens”.

        There was a 41-year old South African woman who I read about in an article recently. She had many aspirations as a young girl, including wanting to be a dancer. But all of that was halted by a startling and unfortunate situation. At 15 years of age, she watched her mother shoot and kill her alcoholic father in self-defense. Her mother faced no charges. Images like that, of course, stain your brain for the rest of your life. How can you forget something so painful. Following that, she started going to school, but she had great difficulty staying on track like the rest of the kinds. She ended up changing schools to one that was more suitable for her. She trained to become a dancer like she’d always wanted, but suffered a major injury in her knee and had to give it up. Struggling, she called on her mother for advice, who encouraged her to figure out what else she wanted to do, or come back home to South Africa. She didn’t want to give up, but she was living in a small basement apartment owned by her friend. So she moved to L.A. shortly after that (I can only imagine what a huge adjustment that was for her). Her mother her sent money by check so she could pay the rent, but there was a mishap in cashing the check one day. The woman was furious, insisting that the teller try it again. While arguing with him, she was approached by a talent agent, who instantly gave her his card and told her to call him. As things led on from there, she ended up making a big name for herself, and became one of the most respected actresses in Hollywood. She has won 2 Academy Awards for Best Actress and 2 British Academy Awards for Best Actress In A Leading Role along with a roll-out list of other accolades. Her name is Charlize Theron. 

        Even as we wake in the middle of the night, thinking of endings we might’ve done differently, God is only thinking of our future. The people who walked out on us don’t control what happens next. The places we never went don’t control what happens next. I’m still playing this game with myself where I think that I can control the circumstances around me, but deep down, I know I can’t. My future is determined by the one who created me, my pain was taken by Him upon his shoulders. So if this seems like another hurdle you can’t jump, take a couple of steps back, and dream on.

  P.S., here’s a picture of Charlize with one of the most influential people in the world.

 

 

 

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Featured post

Ramen Noodles And A Toothbrush

I was at Walmart the other day window shopping in different sections. One thing about window shopping is that you do it to pass the time, wondering what it would be like to actually have money to spend. It just so happened that I was not broke during my visit. I had a good amount of cash and saw several things I really wanted. Like those high neck seamless tank tops that everyone’s been wearing. I’ve been dying to have one for the longest time. They look something like this:

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And then I got this idea in my mind that if I bought that, I could pear it with a nice “leaf” necklace about 10 inches long. It looks something like this:

 

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I was so was so close to pulling the money to see how much I had when I heard a voice say, ” Don’t you remember what you said you were going to do the next time you got money?” Dang. I thought. I had made a sort of silent promise to spend hardly any money when it came to things that I wanted, I would only save for things I absolutely needed. And truthfully…I don’t need anymore clothes. I have shoes and accessories packed away in storage that I don’t even think about. Why WOULD cave to the trend when there’s gonna be another one just as good next month. Eventually I will get the top, but right now, I’m going to manage what I have the way God would want me to.

I think about the story in the word of God about a man who was rich. When I say he was rich, I mean he was loaded. In our day, he would be driving a Benz or the newest Jeep. It says in Luke 12: 17 that he couldn’t fit all his riches in his storage units because there was so much. So he had the bright idea that he was going to have more storage units built to put his stuff in. He was so attached to everything, it was like he couldn’t even think of giving one thing away. Well it goes on to say that angel came down to the rich man to let him no he was going to die that night, and all the stuff he had saved up for years would be lost. I can’t imagine how the rich man must’ve felt hearing that. But it helps me realize how impulsive buying things that I don’t need in the moment is. It’s still gonna be there in a month. Why not wait?

Really it’s not all that difficult for me to survive. I’m not a very high maintenance person. All I need is Ramen and a toothbrush and I’m good to go. For those of you who don’t know, Ramen is the “college diet”. It’s delicious while also being very cheap ($1.00 for a 5-pack). I know that God will give me the desires of my heart if I leave it to Him. I can’t count how many times I have been given a gift for Christmas or my birthday that I planned on buying a week before. Paul even says in one of his letters to the churches that he has learned art of being content. You see, he knew the secret that the rest of us are still trying to get make a habit. That’s that God, family, and friends are the key to happiness. Not possesions. So as I go on in life, this will be my goal. Wait for God and his timing is always best.

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