Wednesday, June 25, 2014

one door closes, another one opens

As you know, or might not know, about 8 months ago, I began volunteering in the children's program at my church in an absolutely amazing environment for children 6 weeks - 4 years old. It's the same program that Blake attends, and she absolutely loves it! Every Sunday I not only looked forward to attending church, but also giving myself to the children for an hour of my day. I became to know the children so well - their quirks, what books they loved, the toys they loved and thoroughly enjoyed hearing about their lives outside of our classroom, they became like my second set of children, I adored each and every one of them. Seriously.

As time went on I longed for more. Now, I'm not downplaying the significance of working with younger children, but I just felt like I needed to expand my horizons and share my faith with other individuals outside of my every day life being I have a three year old. With that said, I decided to move on to the middle school ministry program, crazy, right? Yeah.
With some heavy thought on this decision, I went up and down on if I would be the right "fit" for this program, just knowing that I too am new to my Faith and I was weary of being asked the unknown or not knowing how to answer a question the "right" way, however, when it came down to it I decided that it wasn't about that, it was about God empowering me to deliver my Faith to these kids and to share my love for Jesus. It was that simple.
After completing the interview process I was asked to be apart of the program and truthfully, I couldn't contain my excitement. The thought of being a part of a young girls middle school journey, the roughest years of her life, and being able to help her in her walk with or to finding Jesus seemed like one of the most amazing experiences I could experience to date. That to me is HUGE. I attended an all day training with all of the other new group leader volunteers, met some amazing individuals, and had a complete blast. Our first day in worship all of the new 6th grade leaders (including me) were introduced by eating ice cream sandwiches on stage competing to see whom could eat it the fastest. Getting on their level. After attending worship I felt great. Here I was, excited. Pumped. So ready to get my group and begin this 3 year journey with these girls, but that's when the curveball came.

A few days after our first worship group setting I received a friend request from the director of the middle school ministry, in which I accepted. This is where things went astray. It was brought to light that I am a bikini fitness competitor. Now, everyone is entitled to their own opinion when it comes to what I do, but let me start off by saying what I do is in NO WAY provocative nor does it suggest that I don't have good morals and believe in modesty. Yes, I do wear a rather small bikini on a stage in front of 100's of individuals to be judged on my body - BUT - I work for that body, very hard. I apply so many valuable life tools to preparing for a competition and just staying healthy in general. It takes dedication, hard work, motivation, strength, FAITH and so much more to step on that stage and not one part of my body is shown that is not shown in an every day magazine or at the neighborhood pool. So where the pit fall is on this matter I'm not quite sure and really haven't figured that one out.

Anyhow - where am I leading to huh? Well, I received an email the very next day after receiving the friend request asking if I would be available to meet with the director briefly. I instantly knew what it was about. I mean why else would she be asking to meet with me? Reluctantly I went into this meeting feeling as if I could explain more to her about my love for fitness and what competing meant to me. It was expressed to me that my competing may portray a bad image to the young girls in regards to being modest and honoring their bodies, and that their parents may find it inappropriate and be uncomfortable with me leading their children in their walk with Jesus. Yes, you heard that. My competing may interfere with leading children to help finding and walking with Jesus. Now, I may be wrong here but doesn't Jesus love everyone? Did Jesus judge anyone? .....

With that said, in short, I was told I could choose to quit competing, remove all photos from my Facebook account and then I could continue being a leader in the program otherwise I would not be a good fit for the position. My heart was torn apart. I sat there and cried as she spoke to me, stumbling over my words and not even knowing how to express to her how badly I wanted to be a part of this program and how unfair this was. After leaving church that day I felt defeated. I felt as if I was being shamed for what I do. Shamed for taking care of my body and showing other individuals that they too can do it. I lost 65lbs after my pregnancy, turned my life around health wise and became a stronger person than I could ever have imagined and not just on the outside, but completely on the inside as well. I learned what dedicating yourself to something you love can bring you and how you can help motivate other individuals and show them they too can do anything they set their mind to. Yet, here I am basically being portrayed as a whore. Yes, I said it - a whore. That's how I felt.

That day when I pulled into my driveway my daughter sat in the backseat asleep. I looked back at her for a few moments, then turned and looked at myself in the mirror and thought - is what I'm doing wrong? Am I portraying a bad image to my daughter? What would Jesus say about this? Tears began to flow from my eyes and I just balled my eyes out. I was defeated, or at least I felt that way. After all that I put myself through deciding if I would be the right "fit" because I was new to my faith was a waste. I put so much thought into the decision of joining these kids' lives, only to have it taken away from me because of another love I have. I felt like I was being asked to choose between sharing my faith and my competing. It hurt. Bad.

I prayed that night, talked and cried to God and asking him what he thought I should do and if I should completely forego my love of competing and fitness to give myself to these children. I thought that the answer was going to be yes, but I was pleasantly surprised, it wasn't. Every part of my body was told to let go of this chapter, that He has bigger plans for me and that I am where I am meant to be. To trust in him.

Faith has brought me so many friends in this industry and we all bind together in our faith and love for fitness. From our prayers together before going on stage, to our talks of our love for Christ in casual conversation, the fitness world is a place of so much more than just dumbbells and iron - it's a place of love, a place of sticking together and sharing our love for our bodies that Christ gave us.

Now I'm not sure where Christ will lead me and what exactly his plans are for me, but I do believe they involves fitness and sharing the word through it. The sky is the limit and I will not let a bump in the road take that away from me. I will continue to share my love for Christ and not only that, but I will push myself even harder in this journey so that I'm able to share the word further than I could ever imagine.

[i am in the center, number 72]

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

top 10 reasons why I'm single and probably will be forever

I get asked quite often why I'm still single and people often seem so surprised that I'm not all tuckered down in a relationship. Don't get me wrong, I love being in relationships. Heck, I WAS married once, ha! What I've come to find is that there are actual reasons of why I'm single and - no for those friends of mine that will laugh and say "it's because you're crazy!" that's not the case. THESE reasons are why I'm single and probably will be forever, but hey it's not solely my own fault. hahaha.
"top 10 reasons why i'm single" "single females" "single in your twenties"
1.) I'm not superficial (really, I swear!), but the guy kinda has to have abs. If he doesn't, then he needs to have something pretty dang near it!
"guys with abs" "jason poston" "ifbb pro physique" "hot guy with abs" "fitness"
2.) I'd honestly really rather stay in than go out on a Friday night. Something about sitting on my couch watching tv, curled up in a blanket seems so much more enticing than going out to a bar.

3.) I have an issue with being blown up. Just when I think okay, this guy is cute, he starts blowing up my phone. A little mystery is okay, actually you know what it's down right freaking awesome!! I don't need to know your every move #sorryimnotsorry. Let's pick a happy medium because we all know if I don't hear from you for several hours on end it doesn't end pretty.
4.) You don't need to be my sugar daddy (and I don't want one either guys), but if you can't take me out on a real date, I'm good. None of these "let's pick a Living Social deal" dates either or if it is at least don't tell me about it unless we've been dating for awhile, just comes across as tacky.

5.) I love fitness and I love to talk about it, but guess what? I do have a life outside of the gym. I may be interested in hearing about your day rather than how many times you flexed in front of the mirror. This goes for all topics though - we can talk about more than just one thing we have in common!

6.) You Facebook friend request me, poke me, like a million of my pictures, send me a message telling me you can't wait to get to know me and friend request my friends you don't even know. Just stop. Stop right there. No explanation needed here.

7.) An issue with the "stalkers". You wait for me several days a week outside of a place I frequent often just to tell me "hello" and re-introduce yourself each time. I remember your name, trust me, I've also given it to my office buildings security and told several members of my office what you look like in case I end up missing so they know who exactly abducted and skinned me.

8.) I'm a bit too blunt. I tell it like it is. If I don't like your shoes with your shirt and you ask me if you look "okay" I'm going to tell you no. It's quite simple. Ask and you shall receive. I also tend to say things that really shouldn't be said out loud.

9.) I like to joke around. I'm sarcastic, witty and sometimes go a little overboard. That's what makes me me, but that's what also makes you men scared. What can I say? The witty will have fun and the stupid won't get it.

10.) Let's just be real. I'm just downright picky.

So as you can see. The end resolution is my singlehood. Ha!

Friday, March 21, 2014

Keep Good Going

This is a Sponsored post written by me on behalf of New York Life. All opinions are 100% mine.

Just as this video has displayed, I've found that it's really important in life to keep your memories near and dear to you, and not only that but pass them down to others within your family, whether it be your own children, nieces, nephews or even just those around you. Life lesson's - which typically turn into fond memories are crucial to pass on to others. I love listening to stories from my mom, and always have. Even though she didn't live a crazy life, stories from her childhood of growing up on a farm, especially with My Grandfather, my grandmother, and my uncles always make me feel good. From her and my uncle singing like they were rock stars to popular music of the time, to her strong love for a cow her family owned that they eventually sold. Her words of fun times, as they went through rough times make me see that even though one can have a hard time with growing up and family problems that you can still have fun and live a truly amazing life. The video above truly touched me to see a grandfather telling stories about his life to his grandchild, reliving each memory as if they were yesterday - This to me is how you keep good going!

I encourage you and your family to keep good going, pass along your stories to younger generations or even ask your grandparents or parents to share some of their own with you! I'd love to hear about some of your fond memories you have with your family and stories they've told you below that relate to the video above. Learn more about how New York Life can help you and your family Keep Good Going!

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A breathtaking vacation on the horizon!

This is a Sponsored post written by me on behalf of Gulf County, Florida. All opinions are 100% mine.
Summer is just around the corner and my daughter has been asking me none stop if it's almost time to go visit the beach, my response? Yes, yes it is. There is just nothing better than having the sand in between your toes, laying out in the beautiful sun and listening to the waves of the ocean crash into the shore. With that said I am looking to find one of the most beautiful beaches we can find and honestly, the best place in my opinion to do that, especially cost effectively, is Gulf County!
Gulf County is located in Northwest Florida and includes 43 miles of natural shoreline. The water surrounds you, and there are no high-rises or busy highways, and never will. White sands beaches facing westward into spectacular sunsets on the Gulf of Mexico and St. Joseph Bay, it's absolutely breathtaking!

On top of the beach being something out of a magazine Gulf County also has two-time zones, two stop-lights and spotty Wi-Fi, which all will let you unplug from your daily hustle and bustle and enjoy the most important thing in your life - your family! Take a look at this Pinterest page to view some amazing photos pinned by those that have visited and spent their vacations here.
Also, if you didn't already know the beaches in Gulf County, Florida are consistently ranked in the top ten US beaches to bring your pet on vacation! Leashed pets are welcome on the beach at all times and most rental homes will throw out the red carpet for your furry friends! Nothing beats a vacation with your pets, right?

One thing I saw that would be absolutely amazing to do would be paddle boarding. I have always wanted to do this and think it would be so much fun! I know Blake would definitely want to go fishing (she LOVES to fish!) - but I think we would have to decide if we want to go fresh water fishing or ocean fishing - maybe both, right? Ha! I personally love ocean fishing and grew up doing it, so I think this might be the most fun option, but we shall see :)

I've seen some images with descriptive words all about Gulf County and some of them were: quiet, pristine, friendly, tranquil, serene, secluded. Honestly, how could you possibly not want to go to a place like this for a vacation? Honestly, I don't even want to wait until summer at this point! I'm kind of getting more and more excited about it as research a bit more. Most vacations I tend to come home and think I need another vacation just because I am constantly on the run and standing in lines or just being in a crowded place with many other people, I'm thinking Gulf County may be my first vacation that won't be that way - and that is too exciting! Come visit GCFL
So right now there is currently a contest going on where all you have to do is go outside and snap a selfie of yourself doing what you love. Be real, be messy! For 30 days Gulf County will celebrate you "unfiltered" and will donate $1 for every entry to Outdoor Nation. Outdoor Nation believes in reconnecting the Millennial Generation, kids and teens, to the outdoors. They stand for nature and stand for adventure! So go ahead - snap your selfie and #GCFLnofilter on IG and/or Facebook for a chance to win one of five long-weekend Spring getaways to Gulf County! A winner will be drawn each week and one extra upon the sweepstakes completion. For more details click here! Also go Like GCFL on Facebook and salute real beauty! I put my "selifie" on IG of me in my backyard soaking up some sun by the koi pond! So heading to the beautiful beach shore will be my top priority to soak in those beautiful rays of sunlight! Go check it out on IG here!

What would your favorite thing to do at GCFL be?
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Thursday, March 20, 2014

you just never can be prepared ..

There are some things in parenting you can never really quite prepare yourself for, no matter how big or small things that get thrown your way may be. Recently, Blake went in to her pediatrician for her 3 year old check-up, everything being fantastic from her height to her weight (off the charts as always, my big girl!) to her vision being spot on and her verbal communication being beyond where it could be. Then came the shocker. She failed her hearing test. What? What do you mean she failed her hearing test? That was my question. My baby hears perfectly - she talks up a storm, she's smart as can be, she hears noises I barely even notice. How could she have a hearing problem? Well, let's start off with this - the pediatrician informed me that yes, she did fail her hearing test in both ears, but she also had fluid behind her eardrums in both ears, enough to make a child that would normally pass a hearing test fail. Phew, right? Yep. Even though there still was a small bit of nervousness deep inside me. I decided to chock this up and blame it on her nasty cold she had. I mean, my child hears perfectly fine, why not? Right? Well..
Yesterday we went in for a hearing re-test. This time we had no runny nose, no cough and I knew we were sky free. Right ear - pass, 1st try. Last time they tried each ear about 3 times or so before they told me she failed. Now on to the left ear. 1st time, "hmm seems like it's not working", 2nd time "still not working hold her head up a bit", 3rd time "I'm going to go ask another nurse to see if she can help". New nurse comes in, 1st time "hmm let's try a bigger ear bulb", 2nd time "yeah, same results - it says refer". My heart sank, but I wasn't sure what "refer" meant so I asked - "Does that mean the machine isn't working properly?". The response was a calm, soft "no, I'm sorry it means she didn't pass." At that very moment all I wanted to do was cry. I looked at my baby and thought to myself, no this can't be accurate and hugged her tightly. It was so disheartening.

I know there are so many more worse situations that could be in our court and a hearing problem in one ear isn't huge on the spectrum, but still. No one wants to hear that your perfect little child might have a "problem" for the rest of their lives. You want the absolute best for your children, and I'm not saying that if something is wrong it's not the "best" - I'm just saying you want it to be easy for them and never have to worry about extra things other than maybe a bad report card or a skinned up knee. Now I know I may be jumping to conclusions, and quite possibly there is nothing wrong and maybe she has an inner ear infection the pediatrician couldn't see - but I'm still nervous. Name a parent that wouldn't be!
Next week will be our visit to the specialist to see where we stand and what's going on. I feel for her. The doctor's office already makes her uneasy and nervous and now we may be going to one much more frequently. Sigh. Seeing her sit there on the table yesterday while they placed little headphones over her ears to see if she would respond to an "older child's" hearing test broke my heart. I wanted to ball my eyes out. She was so confused and didn't understand that she needed to raise her hand when she heard a noise and just looked at me with her sheepish grin. It took everything I had not to scoop her up in my arms and hold her tight in that moment. Being strong for your kids is sometimes difficult when inside you are tearing up. Whoo ..
I guess for now, all we can do is pray that whatever it might be is either resolvable or if it's not we can pray for the strength and determination to get through whatever might be thrown our way. No matter what the outcome is, we will get through it, I know this. However, meanwhile I'm kind of a bundle of nerves. Just saying.

Monday, March 17, 2014

Nothing says Happy Birthday more than an awesome eCard!

This is a Sponsored post written by me on behalf of eCards from American Greetings.
All opinions are 100% mine.
Nothing beats receiving a super cute eCard in your email on your Birthday, am I right? These little cards are great for keeping in touch! eCards are a fun and easy way to send a message to a friend or loved one that you want to reconnect with or just simply stay in touch with and wish them a special day. You can connect instantly with the ones that matter most. For easy delivery, video eCards can be sent via email, direct to mobile or to Facebook. I tend to choose the Facebook route - that way everyone else can enjoy the eCard as well and plus you can differentiate yourself from just the standard "Happy Birthday Joe!" comments :)
For me I always like to choose something funny, that's just me. I think that in life there is absolutely nothing better than a good belly laugh, it truly can brighten anyone's day. One of my personal favorite eCard's I've found is the Mariachi Birthday Video. Totally cracked me up and there's nothing better than when at a Mexican restaurant having a Mariachi band play for you and to dance along. (Plus everyone that know me knows how much I love Mexican food and can drink some queso! ha!). This one would definitely go out to my best friend (UBF), Mark - because he would totally be dancing away at his computer!

Make your American Greetings eCard now for your friend or loved one today! Membership options start at just $3.99 monthly for a monthly membership or you can pay $19.99/year for a yearly membership or the best option yet would be $29.99 for a 2-year membership. Video eCards are included in this membership and are also free with a 7-day FREE TRIAL Membership. That's right, free! So go check them out! Learn more.

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Monday, March 3, 2014

Finances made easy!

This is a Sponsored post written by me on behalf of Kmart Share the Word for SocialSpark. All opinions are 100% mine.
I don't know about you but I honestly feel like one of the worst feeling's in the world is not feeling in control of your personal finances. What about you? Sigh. I've always struggled with not being able to buy a super cute outfit because I needed to save money for 50 years down the road, but it's the right thing to do, right? I mean as you have children, get married and really life's unexpected bumps come along, your finances can often take control of you instead of the other way around. Am I right?
Well, it's time to empower not only yourself, but your friends and family with the help of Kmart and author of "Girl, Get your Money Straight!", Glinda Bridgforth. The Share the Word Financial Empowerment platform was created to honor the African-American legacy and provide valuable resources to enhance the lives of Kmart customers.
Kmart Share the Word photo STWStacked-01_zpsb50e2957.jpg
From family budgeting and savings advice, to useful templates and money saving tips, Glinda's guide seriously has it all. In addition, she'll help you make your money go further with Kmart programs such as layaway and Shop Your Way Rewards benefits. Are you ready to take your budget by the reigns?
The first step to becoming Kmart Smart and a financially savvy shopper is downloading this guide: So be sure to go download this guide for your family budget and savings advice, and enjoy all the useful templates and helpful money saving tips! I know I will!

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