“What’s Your Motivation” ~ Newsboys

For as long as I can remember the song “Shine” by the Newsboys has been around, and while I never remember much about the song my dad had a particular way of *trying* to sing the lyrics “What’s Your Motivation” in the closest Australian accent he could make out. However, my dad not being the most advanced vocalist has stamped that lyric in my head, forever and ever… even hearing the word motivation brings back those memories. So here we are.

The past two weeks recovering from Thailand and working on being present in the now and not always planning for the future has got me thinking about just that: What IS my motivation? Prior to Thailand it appeared to have been lost, the grind of running was wearing me down, I found myself reverting back to my headphones and treadmill and stopping any encouragement in conversation or on media totally losing what God had pressed upon my heart for the past several years: to encourage women to be the best vessel they can be to maximize the way God wants to use them.

So as the lyrics to this song go on:

Make ’em wonder what you’ve got
Make ’em wish that they were not
On the outside looking bored
Let it shine before all men
Let’em see good works, and then
Let ’em glorify the Lord

While running fast can be a great way to “shine” it became too much of a focus of getting as fast as I could, and believing only THEN I could really encourage women. Forgetting to stay in my lane until one of close and wisest friends was asking me about healthy habits and we were praying for each other as she starts forming habits to live a healthier lifestyle and I still work on gaining weight back and I remembered, the beautiful relationships that God has given me and the ability to help pray for and encourage them first.

What does it all mean? God has a funny sense of humor. Upon a conviction to stop running competitively and truly do it for fun, I woke up Saturday morning and got my first overall female 1st place in the 5Queso 5K. But the call was still clear, put down my hunger for achievement and start back at the basics. God can create a lot in the simplicity of home base and starting over. Change or redirection can be incredibly hard, but God will honor your obedience and it will be so rich and rewarding because you know you are walking in accordance with His will let him define your motivation and purpose. He wants to use you – so when it gets uncomfortable keep moving towards Him.

He will SHINE through you in ways you won’t believe.

So here’s to a new season and a new age. 28 you’re gonna be good!


Running Partners:

Honey Stinger


Nuun Hydration


Flashback to this time 4 years ago: Beauty

So one of the most amazing women on Earth, Amy B, and I were walking through some things and she asked me about a blog that I had written on women seeing themselves as valuable and how to be the best version of you you can be in order to be used to the fullest by our Father and Savior. SO, I searched and searched and ended up heading back to my old blog on blogspot (which by the way is not the one she was talking about because I’ve only known her for 2 or so years). However, before I met Jon, shortly after I had met Allie S (who we just adventured to Thailand with), and before the health challenges that I have faced, this is what I found from June 2nd, 2014:

“I started a blog post almost two weeks ago about modesty and what it meant to me, but I was just NOT satisfied with it. I didn’t like the tone that was coming across, so I put it away to sit on it and pray. I was frustrated. I had a message and an opinion, but was completely blocked from writing. Until today…

Without losing the importance of modesty, there is something bigger and more important that needs to be said, women: YOU ARE BEAUTIFUL. God knit you together in your mothers womb  He created you in His image, and he did NOT make a mistake. He loves everything about you; your hair, your eyes, your height, your build, your smile, your life. He created it all and he loves every detail of YOU.

He loves you more than you could ever imagine and you don’t need acceptance from things of this world to be whole. Jesus, and only Jesus, makes you whole.

Read and sit on this verse in 1 Corinthians:
19 Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; 20 you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies.~1 Corinthians 6:19-20

You’ve probably heard it a million times, but I want to explore this a bit more. The Holy Spirit dwells inside you. The all powerful, perfect creator, and our Savior lives inside everyone that believes. You should want your body to be a place pleasing to the Lord. Modesty is only part of that, taking care of yourself with exercise and eating right, and staying sexually pure are equally as important, among other things! 
Eating disorders are taking over our women these days; jokes about weight, constant comparisons among women, and men who are not valuing us as a perfect creation of The Creator are taking a toll on the millions of young women growing up in the US today. My amazing and beautiful cousin, Laura, works with a great organization up in Kansas City called Rebel; they work on changing young girls opinions of what culture tells them they should be to what they really are which is beautifully unique. But ladies this is a HUGE problem, we are all unique but we are all equally as beautiful, and I want every woman to believe that! 
Think about this for a minute: “you were bought at a price”; meaning: YOU ARE WORTH IT. God didn’t die for the select few, He died for everyone, because He loves everyone, and He made everyone uniquely perfect! He wanted you to be the you you are, because He has really big plans for that you. Trust and believe and He will make your paths straight. Grow in His word and lean on him because he will do immeasurably more with your life, because you are so very worth it to Him.
“Honor God with your bodies”, here, I want to talk about modesty. First, honor your Creator by loving his creation and that’s you. He made you beautiful, I mean seriously gorgeous, we were created in His image after all. All you need is God’s opinion of you, but when you are looking for attention and opinions of this world you will lose that respect for yourself and your Creator. Second, honoring God means also honoring your brothers, they really like beautiful things like women, and while I agree there needs to be control on their end, we need to respect them by doing our best to remove that temptation. Cover up ladies! There are beautiful and stylish ways to dress and be modest.
One of my amazing friends, Allie is serving women in this way and she’s launching her clothing shop NEXT MONDAY, June 9th! If you want some ideas for what stylish modesty looks like here’s the link to Marquis Modest Apparel: http://marquemodestapparel.com/. Cannot wait to see the ways Christ works through her and this store to express His love for his children and what He thinks about them!
Satan is great at convincing women that they are not enough, and fighting those attacks can be so hard, and sometimes we give in. We need encouragement and we need accountability from other sisters because we all know what those attacks feel like. If you are looking for ways to plug in to a place where women love on each other, whether you struggle with an eating disorder, have watched someone struggle, have a hard time believing that Christ finds you beautiful or just want a place to be loved or love on others, The Grove at Passion City Church is a place just for women to be encouraged and refreshed. If you want more information click here http://passioncitychurch.com/thegrove/. Next one is June 16th! 
The last thing I want to say is that no matter where you are or what you’ve done you are beautiful. God forgives, purifies and refreshes all that call on His name. Believe it. There is nothing you could ever do to make Him love you less, and there is no damage done that He cannot restore to its original beauty.
Remember ladies your Creator did NOT make a mistake, you are loved and beautiful and worth it!”
So I read these words on the page and jaw dropped, because the timing of finding this was so perfect. Especially in-spite of my facial injury and the regular battles I face with body image and health! God loves the you that HE CREATED and that truth will never change!
Love you all!

Real, Raw Honesty on Health

Fitness and nutrition is important. I firmly believe that and it’s something the Lord has pressed on my heart as a passion and way to encourage women, especially when it comes to having the energy and lifestyle to press into God’s calling to be disciples, love people, and make His name famous.

Unfortunately, sometimes it gets taken a little too far, and that’s where I’ve found myself in the past week.

The Background: As a competitive swimmer, up until 2012, I didn’t always eat healthy because I was training so many hours a day and in between practice I was walking from class to class so burgers, bags of potato chips, ice cream, and salads with all the dressing and cheese were a norm. My senior year I made the decision to go gluten free for several different reasons, but it kept me fit and trim and I felt great during my last season of competition. I was eating less processed sugar, but my portions and substitutes helped me to maintain my fitness.Shocking I know, but that didn’t really change when the swimming ended, and while still exercising it was in much smaller quantities and intensities so needless to say I gained several pounds.

In 2014, the realization hit me that continuing on in that lifestyle wasn’t going to be the best so I made some changes to my overall fitness by ramping up my workouts, running regularly, and setting some competition goals. Some of the weight came off, but there were still some bad decisions I was making from a nutrition standpoint.

In 2015, during Jon and I’s engagement and right after we got married the personal decision was made to strictly be gluten-free because of the way it made me feel, however alongside that came a bigger drive to set more and more running goals and I began to train and compete regularly.

The weight dropped to a place of confidence, not quite as much as my peak swimming competition weight because of the lack of muscle (weights are a regular part of my training, but not so much on the Olympic lifts side like in college), I felt trim and fit and full of energy.

The Problem: Challenging my body has been a normal part of my life, goal setting has been normal however the adjustment to make those new goals a reality hasn’t always clicked for me. Especially because I live an active lifestyle outside of running, adjustment in nutrition is key and it hasn’t happened.

The other element – I don’t keep a scale. My family has a history of eating disorders and the realization that it can be an unhealthy obsession is understood. However, a few weeks ago fatigue hit me hard and finding myself consistently irritable began to cause me slight anxiety. Then there was sickness, after not having been really sick in over 3 years. Then the mirror became overwhelming – there wasn’t much left.

So: A quick login to Amazon Prime, a comparison of the best scales and 2 days later there was one at my doorstep (really amazing how that works). Stepping on that scale brought sadness, tears, anger, and disappointment. Why? I wasn’t healthy anymore, I wasn’t fit, my body was starting to shut down and I better act fast if I wanted to keep running, competing, and living life. It made me sad that I had stopped treating my body as a temple, gone far past what health was, and it took repentance of not stewarding the body and passion that God had given me well.

What Now: It’s writing out tangible goals to improve, it’s having Jon and family come around and hold me accountable, it’s having girls that are aware of my training and overall fitness come around me in prayer. It’s celebrating the small wins (aka fixing myself a double portion of breakfast the other day), and surrendering the anxiety that can come from watching the number on the scale increase at the foot of the cross.

Why Am I Writing This:  Because vulnerability is tough, and as a woman we struggle with so many things in relation to fitness, health, body image, living, the list goes on and on, but it’s ultimately living a life for Christ that’s it in it’s most simplistic form! Being a disciple, loving others, and making His name famous. And yes treating your body is crucial in doing that to the fullest but it goes BOTH WAYS! So whatever you are struggling with today, you are beautiful, you are loved, and you are being prayed for by me even if you have no one else. Shoot for Jesus and don’t obsess from right to left just straight on towards Jesus!