Posted in Devotion, Encouragement, Fresh, Glory, GradSchool, Hope, Jesus, Life, Love, New, Spiritual, TheGoodGoodLife, WorldChanger

What is the Good Good Life?

Today, I am reflecting on just how good it is to trust in God’s perfect timing. There are so many things in life that I try to grab on to, and hold white knuckle. So many things I’ve tried to control on my own, to build in my own time. They ALL falter. Only the times in my life, where the original thought was from the one who made me, are the times where plans have not only worked, but they have WORKKKKEDDD. Like a YESSSS girl kind of moment, you feel?

God is so great in that way. He doesn’t ask much of us, only that we love him with all our hearts, and love others. The beauty of that is to know him. The more I get to know him, the more I want to be in his presence, because that is where I find such peace. There I find hope, love, and grace. Forgiveness. There is no condemnation, guilt, or shame, those things all come from the enemy, and he’s not welcome in the presence of god. Can I get an AMEN.

What an amazing love that is. One that doesn’t force us to love, or pressure us into things that make us sad. But, one that is so freely given, all you have to do is show up.

Broken.

Tired.

Shame-filled.

Lonely.

Frustrated.

Confused.

And he is right there, ready to take on whatever you’re dealing with, and he already knows. Why? Because he made you. And he created you with plans to prosper you, to give you hope and a future (Jeremiah 29:11)!

I used to hear the term “sit at the feet of Jesus” and think uh okay, how? Oh my how that has changed as I read about his love story to us. (That’s the bible in case you were wondering). How I long for the mornings I spend time with Jesus, talking to him. Asking him questions, telling him about my hopes, asking for clarity, asking for peace. My pastor at home always says “if you don’t know how to pray, talk to god about it.” It really is like talking to a friend, but it comes with practice!

How many mornings did it take to drag my butt out of bed to almost just fall asleep with my face in my bible?? SO MANY. Like probably a year or two to make it consistent…but now, I don’t rise early because I have to, friend, I NEED to. My soul needs to. I can tell if I haven’t had quiet time in the morning, because the whole day feels off.

Coffee drinkers out there (or other forms of caffeine), those mornings when you are somewhere without coffee first thing in the morning, or you wake up late and are in a rush to leave. That feeling you get when you realize it’s already noon, you have a headache, your cranky, and don’t feel quite yourself?

Well one, it’s an addiction to caffeine, oops. (The world runs on tired people y’all, just don’t grow weary)

But two, that’s exactly how my soul feels when I accidentally skipped quiet time because I over slept. Going through day without filling up with God in the morning. I get half way through my day feeling drained, like I am missing something. Something much more important than coffee! I get more grumpy in traffic, I get more judge-y to other people, who might just be having an off day too!! I’m not able to pour out the love that would normally fill my heart. I need my coffee just like I need my Jesus! Strong and first thing in the morning! Jesus and Coffee, Coffee and Jesus. Easily the best time of my whole day.

Side note I believe a lot of great conversations can happen over cups of coffee. Praise god for that!

If we were having coffee this morning and I could tell you all about the thoughts in my head, it would all boil down to this…

I’m in awe of the goodness of God. He brings me to tears of Joy almost daily! He is so good. And not only is he good, he is Good Good. God has brought me to a place in this life where I realized that I want to make the most of it, I want joy, and friendship, laughter, & love, and I want to help others do the same! I want to live The Good Good Life, because life isn’t meant to just be “good.”

You know like at church, the store, or school, this conversation….

Hey so good to see you! How’ve you been?

Good, and you?

Good!

Awkward casual small talk until you make your exit.

Friend, I’m not suggesting you tell every casual acquaintance your deepest darkest secrets, or all the intimate details of what you’re dealing with! My point is that life wasn’t meant to just be good. It was meant to be Good Good.

I firmly believe that is the mission that God has put on my heart, to learn and live. It doesn’t mean bad times don’t happen, but it sure does make them easier to face with a god who never leaves.

Are you living The Good Good Life?

Do you want to?

He loves you friend, and he wants you to live loved too!

“I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith”

-2 Timothy 4:7-

XOXO,

Alie

 

 

 

Posted in CleanEats, Devotion, Encouragement, Food, FoodBlog, Foodie, Fresh, Glory, GradSchool, Healthy, Hope, Jesus, Life, Love, New, Paleo, Spiritual, TheGoodGoodLife, Whole30, WorldChanger

Even the Best Choices Can be Hard

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High School Me: Senior Pics 

I want to talk to y’all a little bit about my clean eating journey thus far, so that involves taking it way back about six (ish) years ago to when I was in high school and still living at home. My parents just decided that in the house we were going full on Paleo. They were doing a 30 day challenge at the gym they attended, so by way of them, we were too. My mom being the rule follower she was threw away EVERYTHING that was not Paleo! At this point in my life I wasn’t too affected because I worked at Domino’s, had a car, made my own money, and could thus buy my own snacks/meals. So naturally we had the “healthy” food at home, and I went on my merry way. Then, I left for college.

 

At this point, I didn’t use much dairy at home, only what I consumed outside the house. (I also knew good choices, and didn’t care) I stopped being involved in dance senior year, so the gym and physical activity was on me! I lived in a dorm on an unlimited meal plan, and ate whatever, whenever. I always knew I had issues with stress eating, and turn to food for a sense of comfort. The first semester in college challenged me in so many ways, it was rough, so I turned to what I know, food. But it wasn’t until my sophomore year of college that I started not liking who I saw in the mirror. It didn’t look like me. Food wise, I still didn’t drink milk, but I ate pretty much all the other dairy products, yogurt, ice cream, cheese, etc. I love veggies and fruits, and I had seen my family go through some pretty drastic changes diet wise, so I knew how to prepare and choose good things. I just didn’t. And when I did, all the bad things I was eating far out weighed the good.

It wasn’t until I realized that if something was going to change, it would have to start with me. That as an “adult” the person who had to tell me “NO” was me. Wow. It might seem simple y’all. But that was a conversation I had with myself that changed how the next few years would go. At that point, I was as heavy as I’d ever been. Didn’t work out much. Even if I did though, I was making myself sick with food. Binge/stress eating things. I would make myself disgusted with the amount of food I could consume. There’s even sometimes where if I ate multiples of something I’d tuck the wrappers in random places in the trash so it didn’t look like I had so many that day (3 granola bars? Hide the wrappers strategically).

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Spring 2015

I had a problem of turning to food for comfort, instead of turning to God. He got a hold of my heart and just made me realize. No amount of motivation to go to the gym would change the power that food had over my life. So I made a choice. The weight had added up so gradually over a few years! (How did they come so fast?!) Which means it was going to have to do the same thing in reverse. To truly fix my problem I didn’t need a gym (though the gym is great too). I couldn’t even get the motivation to get to the gym with the lack of energy I felt getting up each day. This is what I like to refer to as the sugar hangover. AKA all the junk you are putting into your body making you feel like junk in return! It makes that morning in bed feel like you never want it to end. I lost motivation, confidence, and self-worth. I did not like pictures, so there are few. But I knew they would be important for progress. So I dug up one for reference. This was about Spring 2015 at my heaviest, and somewhere I never want to be again.

 

IMG_3903So that brings me to last summer 2017, my two year mark. Two years of progress pictures. Some with way more obvious progress than others, and some not so much. Two years of learning about food, and how to make better choices. My hopes that year three of this journey will be the best yet! (The best is yet to come, am I right?) There have been months of weight gain, and readjusting. Weeks of bad eating, and months of iffy choices.

None the less, I have learned some important things thus far, I can control my eating habits, they do not control me. Through God all things are possible. I can maintain my weight without fluctuating up and down like crazy. And, it is not easy, but it is worth it!

This past August I started grad school, and that stress almost made me fall back into old eating habits. I noticed bad habits coming back after Christmas break with not watching was I was eating as closely. Luckily I am learning, caught it quick, and decided once and for all I’m going to stop allowing food to control me.

So that brings me to the last 9 days, and the next 21…

I’m in the beginning steps of a Whole 30 challenge. So far the meal prep it is not as hard as I thought it would be, considering a lot of the cooking habits were developed over time. The mental game is a whole different battle. Surprisingly enough, I am doing okay, and cravings for junk is at a low. When I do think about them, I just tell myself after the challenge is over, I’ll find one thing that really is worth it and treat myself. But, I know my challenge then lies ahead in the in between zone. Not strict whole 30 rules, but still clean eating. I’ve heavily considered making it a permanent life change. However, I think I have some more experimenting with foods that my body doesn’t tolerate first! It is all a trial and error process. So far though, it is Day 9, and I’m going strong. I feel good, I don’t eat near as much. I don’t get hunger pains like I used to, and I find myself not being overly hungry.

In addition, I know the time has come in this journey to health that very soon, I’m going to have to tie the exercise component to my lifestyle, and find one that sticks! I’m looking forward to the rest of 2018, and all that it can teach me about being healthy from the inside out. Being new to blogging, and Instagram stories have been fun for keeping me accountable, and sharing my love of food.

In order to live the Good Good Life, we have to start on the inside. I can’t do it alone, so I do it with God. He’s the best way maker. Follow his lead and he’ll take you along for the best ride. Do you wanna come live the Good Good Life too? I’m an open book.

P.S. Stay tuned for this summers progress. Here’s to hoping it’s the best yet!

“So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God”

-1 Corinthians 10:31-

XOXO,

Alie

 

 

Posted in Devotion, Encouragement, Hope, Jesus, Life, Love

He is in the Waiting…

Sometimes life feels lonely. You have all these people around you, yet you feel like your drowning in work, school, life. Friendship grow apart, and seem harder to keep in touch with. Waking up for an early morning gets greeted by more snooze buttons, and grows even tougher as the week goes on.

Have you had mornings/days/weeks/months like this?

The feeling where you are waiting for God to move, to show you that He is here and working. Meanwhile we are doing nothing but going going going. I have to remind myself of this often, SLOWWWW DOOWWWWNNN. Breathe. Take in this day. You only get one of these. One February 20th of 2018. There will not be another like it. If we are fortunate enough, we will see the sun rise and set tomorrow. But, that is not guaranteed.

Can I just encourage you to slow down today? Stop and smell the roses if you will. Write a list of things you are thankful for. Send a quick message to a friend you haven’t spoken with in a while, remind them that you love them!

Slow down today and realize how good we have it, even in the midst of hardships. God is faithful. So good.

That coffee this morning, so good.

Quiet time with Him, so good.

That morning traffic that we face, is more time to sing to the radio, in the car that we are fortunate enough to have, so so good.

An education (that at the moment seems impossible), SO GOOD.

The new day that you get to start fresh, so good.

Friends and Family, so good.

Are you starting to see where I am going with this? It is a matter of perspective. Even on the worst day, there is something to be thankful for. Finding that spirit of Joy and excitement each day can be tough. The best way though, is to speak life over each day. Even if that means saying it out loud 50 times a day, DO IT.

Today will be a good day.

I am so thankful for another day.

God is faithful and will provide.

It is a beautiful day.

Friend, say it until you mean it. Say it until that spirit leaks from every surface of your being. Say it until you not only believe it, you feel it, and you live it.

And no, it is not easy. Sorry. I’ll be the first one to tell you how much I struggle with being happy happy all the time. Or for being annoyed at the person who is (you feel?). But y’all, when you truly get to a place where you do believe there is good in every day… It gets little easier.

It all starts in your mind, and on your lips. Speak it. Fake it till you make it.

So today, slow down, take a look at the world that is surrounding you. Take a break from that hustle and bustle and…. just be. Reflect on all of the wonderful things in life that we so easily take for granted. Don’t let the little things bog you down, let them just be little things.

Today will be a good day! God is faithful. He put you here on purpose. Rest in that. Hold on to it for dear life. He is life. He will show you.

He will help you live that Good Good Life.

“Do not grieve, for the joy of the Lord is you strength.” 

-Nehemiah 8:10b-

XOXO,

Alie

Posted in Encouragement, Hope, Jesus, Life, Love

A Letter to the Kid on the Diving Board

I am undeserving of the person you are. You’re strong-willed, organized, funny, loving, and so faithful. I love watching you work on literally anything, your concentration, your mind at work. Your endurance overwhelms me, I feel like I grow weary watching how hard you press on. For the life you want, for me, for your family. I can’t help but be overjoyed that’s the type of spouse and parent you will be. I love being the one you come to, about life, about anything. I cherish those conversations more than you will know. I wish I could explain the amount of joy it brings me to see your heart at work. You may not see it, but I do always, you have a big heart. The biggest. And like most people are, or will be, you’ve been hurt, and scared too many times. Unfortunately, there will probably be too many more in this lifetime to count. I wish I could protect you from them all, but I’m only human.

Sometimes the world will try to make your heart hard.

But we have a choice, to close ourselves off, or to dive right in.

Sometimes I feel like you’re on the diving board. Like a little kid jumping off for the first time. You want to turn and run back down the diving board, and slip safely back into the pool from the side. All the while, your Father is waiting for you to jump, with arms wide open. He’s been waiting for you the whole time. Treading the water, willing you to jump right in. I will be with you He says. While you stand wavering on the diving board, wondering what it’s like to jump right in. Do it.

When you let go, and let the Father catch you in His arms, it is freeing. In that moment you feel like there is nothing you can’t do. And with Him. It’s true. You can do all things through the Father. Sometimes just a leap of faith is required. Just like on the diving board. It may seem scary, or not worth the risk.

BUT OH MY…

When you jump in, you’ll want to again, and again, and again. And keep coming back to the Father. You can’t stop. You want more of the thrill of life that jumping to Him gives you. The joy you feel when you land in His arms. The safety that is His presence.

~      ~      ~     ~

For those of you who are wavering on the diving board, come on in. The water is swell. The presence of the Father is flowing just waiting for you. He wants to catch you, arms wide open. Jump into the pool. You won’t regret it.

XOXO,

Alie

Posted in Devotion, Encouragement, Hope, Jesus, Life, Love, Uncategorized

New Year, New Worries?

Hello 2018,

This is something I have been trying to write in my head for days now. Waiting to have something good, a nugget for this year. A way to better myself in the new year. Well I am not one for New Year’s resolutions. I’ll tell you this, everyday is a new day, an opportunity to change yourself for the better. Or some days, the not so better. You feel? However, each day the sun rises because He is faithful. And that gives each of us a brand new day to change, grow, and learn, about God and about ourselves.

This year I’ve been trying to think about who I want to be, more specifically what kind of person, friend, girlfriend, daughter, student, and sister. I’ve been trying to think about what needs evaluated in my life to get better. I’ve been praying some big things for 2018. Most of which are going to play themselves out in God’s perfect timing. My boyfriend is job hunting, and that’s tough. My parents are working really hard for my mom’s business to flourish. My sister is in high school, and we all know how many trials there are there. My brother is becoming a young preteen and growing to become the person he will be. For myself, it’s my first full year attending OT school (I survived 1 term, what’s seven more?)

God is good. God is good. God is good.

All of those things will work out for HIS timing. Maybe not in the way we’d expect, but none the less. They bring worry. Worry of not fitting in, not making the money you need, not being able to find a job, not passing. All of this is just to say thinking about all of these things, and the uncertainty of life is just so prevalent right now. I am in the process of reading a devotional called Flourish: Live Loved. Live Fearless. Live Free. By Margaret Feinberg. After a long prayer about how I wanted this year to go, I open the devo only to read something that slapped me so spiritually hard across the face, I smiled. He is good.

I challenge you if you’ve read this before ask God to show you something new. He sure showed me…

“So do not worry, saying ‘what shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the pagans run after all of these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.” -Matthew 6: 31-34

Did you catch it? Mostly people focus on the do not worry about tomorrow… but here read it again.

“So do not worry, saying ‘what shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the pagans run after all of these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.” -Matthew 6: 31-34-

HE KNOWS!

Friend he sees you, and your concerns, worry, and doubt. He hears you and he will provide. He is faithful. That stuck out so much this morning! I hope it can encourage you too. He knows what is to come, for tomorrow, for this week, for 2018, and forever. That is freeing. It gives us so much more time to feel joy, and enjoy this good good life. And if you’re like me and don’t know what you want out of this year yet. Shoot for one thing first. His plan. And then Joy. You won’t regret it.

Happy 2018, may it be the best year yet! Full of growth, new beginnings, challenges, and joy! Always Joy.

XOXO,

Alie