“That’s a bummer.”

Growing up in the church, there wasn’t a whole lot that I didn’t already know about the Bible. You could say that I was emersed in it daily. My dad was a part-time preacher and had been a missionary, I went to a private Christian school, and went to church every time the doors were opened. Most of my childhood we lived as a house family at the local Children’s Homes. So misbehaving was completely out of the question. I had to set a good example, be the girl who never questioned authority, etc. That’s not to say that I didn’t sometimes go out of line or hold my own. I was and still are very independent and as my mom would say, “Aynsley you sometimes speak your mind too much.” All in all to say is that I was very much the goodie two shoe growing up.

When you grow up in the church, you aren’t really exposed to what it’s like not to know the story of Jesus. You kind of are brought up with the perspective of who He is and what He would be like. You’re told that Jesus and our Heavenly Father sometimes act like our parents. That when you do something wrong, there are consequences because, like our parents, God loves us and wants us to learn from our mistakes. We are told that Jesus is like our brother, but I feel as though He is also put in that disciplinary role and so it is hard for us to comprehend that He could ever understand the struggles that we face.

Honestly, it has been a long while since I have been able to feel that love from God or Jesus. I haven’t lost complete faith that They are always with me. I always have this sense that no matter where I am or who I am with that they are watching over me. But, for the most part of my 20s, I have felt that They are needed somewhere else. That the struggles I am facing are minimal compared to what the rest of the world is facing. And, this is very true. Some of the “problems” that I feel are big issues in my life are minimal compared to what starving children, homeless people, and terminally ill people face daily. So, with all that I had just grown numb to church and everything I had grown up to believe in. More or less, I had taken what was a part of me and tied it up and locked it away until I needed to be the Christian that people expect me to be. I would only open a little bit up just to get me through Church, social gatherings with my fellow Christians, and anytime I was around people who are struggling with their own Christianity. Cause you can’t show weakness. You had to be strong no matter what.

So, with all that I had just grown numb to church and everything I had grown up to believe in. More or less, I had taken what was a part of me and tied it up and locked it away until I needed to be the Christian that people expect me to be. I would only open a little bit up just to get me through Church, social gatherings with my fellow Christians, and anytime I was around people who are struggling with their own Christianity. Cause you can’t show weakness. You had to be strong no matter what. I felt that if I showed weakness people would judge.

Then something changed for me. No, it wasn’t a light that shone down from Heaven and a voice speaking to me. What happened was that I was listening to a YouTube interview of John Crist, and in that interview, something the person being interviewed said struck a chord in my heart. He started talking about a time when he was at a real low and what would happen if Jesus were to see him in the state he was in. Would Jesus be proud of the actions that he was taking at the time? (Watch the interview for the full story, for it is his to tell not mine) The answer is no, but the real question is would Jesus approach him with a judgemental spirit? And what this man said was profound. He said that Jesus would not, and instead He would pull up a bar stool, sit right beside him, and say, “Aww that’s a bummer that you’re doing that, but I get it.”

I had NEVER, in my life thought of Christ that way. That He would just pull up a chair look at what you’re doing and be like, “Dang that sucks that you’re doing that, but I get it life is rough.” He doesn’t like it, but He understands. Does He want you to continue down the wrong path? Goodness no, but He’s not going to come to you with a judgey spirit. That is something that is going to continually stick with me. Like this is something that has been on my mind all weekend long.

Nothing in a long time has touched my heart like hearing this. For a long time, I would go through the motions at church, get excited here and there, and then go home feeling numb. This Sunday, I was still the same way, but then I remembered what this man had said and then the song we were singing, “Magnificant,” started and I felt an overwhelming peace flood over me. It was the feeling I had when I was like 12 at a youth rally. That feeling that you are one with the Spirit and that God was right there with you singing. I started tearing up in church and had to hold back the tears because of how wonderful of a feeling that is.

So dear friends, if you are struggling in your walk or you feel like you have to hold it all together, let me be the first to tell you that you don’t. God is a loving God, and Jesus, He will always be there to sit and talk. It’s a wonderful feeling to know that He will be there to listen, pick you back up, and help you walk down the road of righteousness.

Love you, sweeties! If you ever need to talk just let me know. You are definitely not alone!

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Bleh… L O V E

Reading my title you might think my sentiments on love are cynical, and honestly, you might me semi right. However, if you know me you know that I’m a lover of love. Never having ever been in love personally, I don’t really know what it’s like. I have ideas of what it’s like from Disney, romantic comedies, books I’ve read, and the list goes on. Yet, at the ripe age of 24, I’ve never actually been in love myself. I have probably loved guys, but the feeling wasn’t mutual. Yes, they probably cared, but like, in a, “if you were gonna die I would be there for you.”

I really don’t know where this post is going. I’m actually am just sitting here with my dog and cat watching one of my all-time favorite romantic comedies, “One Small Hitch,” and if you haven’t seen it, you need to go to Netflix RIGHT NOW and go watch it! It’s definitely one of those movies that didn’t make it to theaters or have any A-list actors or actresses in it, but it’s a fabulous movie! So, I don’t know if it’s the movie, the fact that my mom thinks I’m not going to find a guy, or that everyone I know is getting hitched or more accurately having a baby, but here I am reflecting on the sentiment of love, and quite honestly I kind of find it like bleh right now. Why is that you might ask?

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Well, dear friends, one of those reasons is because I am a lover of love. I have loved it for as long as I can remember. You know that feeling you get every time you see Cinderella and the Prince reunite after the long search? Or, when Mr. Darcy is walking through that foggy field in the early morning to go tell Elizabeth how he really feels? That’s how I feel about love, but it’s not just that. It’s the fact that they went through so much together to get to that point. To that beautiful moment when they both realize that they are going to spend the rest of their lives together. The ending is not really the ending, but the beginning of a wonderful journey.

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However, that world doesn’t really exist now, or really anymore. What’s left now is Tinder, Bumble, Hinge, Coffee Meets Bagel, etc., you choose your poison. If you don’t know what I mean, Google dating apps and you will see. Yes, there are some happy couples out there that have benefitted from these apps, but I wonder how many of them come from big cities and how many come from small towns. Cause I would like to know that study.

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From my personal research, the pickings are slim. That’s not to say there aren’t great guys in the small town scene, but they are slim and they usually already have their pick. And, if you live in a small, southern town their picking is their high school sweetheart, a country gal, or a beauty queen. Yes, this is a stereotypical generalization of men in a small town, but until I see differently, the generalization still stands. Granted these girls could be the nicest on the planet cause of some of them are my greatest friends, but when you don’t look like ANY of these types you’re kind of at a loss when it comes to men. If I’m wrong, somebody please tell me, cause I would LOVE to be wrong.

Love just hasn’t been my strong points in life. I’ve been on dates and just haven’t felt that connection. One of these days I’ll be living in a bigger town. I wonder if Carrie Bradshaw lived in a small town what she would do. Cause goodness knows she lived in NYC, and had a much better chance at meeting men that weren’t married or already in a committed relationship. Anyways, if anything changes in my current love life I’ll probably have a different outlook on all this. Till then, I’ll be in a whirlwind of my love/hate relationship with love.

Till next time sweeties, XOXO

It’s not a curse, it’s an honor!

Good evening lovely people! So tonight’s post doesn’t really have anything to do with healthy living, fitness, or anything like that. Tonight, I wanted to tell you why I don’t believe in the saying, “Always a bridesmaid, never a bride.” I mean who comes up with these sayings? Cause whoever they are, has never been a bridesmaid for their best friends.

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Well, I did a little digging and thanks to the internet you can find a couple of reasons why this saying was coined, and let me tell ya one had NOTHING to do with weddings. One reason was that back in the day, bridesmaids were there to stand beside the bride to confuse the evil spirits. So instead of the evil spirits attack the bride, they would attack the bridesmaid. That would make sense why always being a bridesmaid was bad luck. You could be attacked by evil spirits! And, who wants that? Definitely, would make a few girls after the second time as a bridesmaid want to run down the aisle and pledge their love to the next guy who walked by.

The second reason I found that the term was made up was that of a Listerine ad. You read that right. A. LISTERINE. AD. Like what the heck?! Here’s what the ad said: Poor Edna was getting on for thirty and most of her girlfriends were either already married, or about to tie the knot. How she wished that, instead of being their bridesmaid, she could be the bride! However, any romance of hers invariably ended quickly. There was a reason. Unbeknownst to her, she suffered from bad breath and no one would tell her, not even her closest friends.

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I mean how crazy is that! Also, thanks to the movie 27 Dresses (which is a fantastic movie but), a girl who’s been in quite a few weddings will be asked if they are headed towards 27 dresses themselves. I can tell you this much if I was promised James Marsden at the end of that and I get to sing karaoke to Benny and the Jets, then YES, yes I would be going for 27 dresses.

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In all realness though, being a bridesmaid for you best friends is a complete and total honor! In this day and age, brides are finding ways to make their bridesmaids feel awesome at the wedding. Yeah, some brides will make you wear the same dress as the girl standing next to you, but I feel as if they will try to find something that will work for everyone. Yes, there are a few that are relentless with their bridesmaid, but I think all thanks to Pinterest most brides are finding creative ways to make their bridesmaid look stellar too!

Another great thing about being a bridesmaid is that you are there with your best friend through pretty much EVERYTHING! You met the guy she’s going to marry. You’ve seen them date, and now you get to see them exchange their eternal love for each other. Not only do you get to experience this beautiful moment with her, you also had all the fun events beforehand. There was the many wedding showers (maybe not as fun, but there was food) and also the bachelorette party!

And if you’re being completely honest, you really are hoping that the groom has a hot friend that you can walk down the aisle with and maybe make a connection with them. Don’t lie. You know you’ve planned it in your head. Y’all would meet at your friend’s wedding, walk down the aisle as bridesmaid and groomsmen, but hopefully, in a few months or a year or two, it’ll be you two walking down the aisle. We’ve all been there. Realistically, it won’t happen but a girl can dream!

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I could go on and on about why a being a bridesmaid isn’t so bad, but then that would mean me writing a book, and I’m not about to do that right now. So instead I’m just going to say that it has been a complete honor to be in my friends’ weddings. I don’t expect to get asked, but when I do I treat it as if it is a part time job. My sole responsibility is making sure my bestie has the best day ever! I mean that’s why we’re all there is to be supportive. We’re the supporting actresses to the lead actress.

So to all you long term bridesmaid out there, own it sister! Be the best freaking bridesmaid and just have fun!

Till next time sweeties XO

Back on Track

Hey strangers! I looked today, and I realized that it has been FIVE days since I last written anything. It’s been a great time for relaxation and spending time with my family. This past weekend was Labor Day weekend, and my family and I went up to Kansas City to visit with some close friends. It was Samoan Flag day, and we were able to celebrate our Samoan heritage. I could probably talk all day about it, but that’s not what I’m going to do.

During my five days away, I’ve been struggling with the idea of plateauing. When it comes to weight loss, there are many times that people have experienced this. For those of you who have no idea what I’m talking and think it has something to do with a landscape, well you wouldn’t be too far off. Plateauing when it comes to weight loss is basically staying the same. You’re not losing or gaining weight.

Well, y’all that’s kind of where I stand today. I’ve plateaued. Yes, it can feel discouraging and you wonder is any of this worth it. Is limiting eating the foods you love or the drinks you like to drink worth it? Is putting your body through an hour or so of hard work worth it? I don’t know what your answer is, but to me yes it is worth.

I’ll give you a few reasons why it is worth it.

  1. The scales might not show it, but you will feel it.
    Let me elaborate on what I mean. Every day or every other day you may step on the scale and not see your weight drop. However, when you try on your clothes do they feel a little looser? When you look in the mirror can you see your double chin slowly shrinking? When you flex your muscles are they stronger than before? If your answer is yes, then baby you are moving forward! Scales can be a bunch of BS, and sometimes they don’t show you the results that you have been making. You have to also keep in mind that muscle weighs more than fat, and honey you’ve got to build those muscles up to be stronger.
  2.  You are stronger than you know!
    Your body is getting stronger. I know that since I started working out more and trying to eat better I have been able to complete my exercise with better ease. I could really tell when I was at Jazzercise tonight. I wasn’t huffing and puffing as much, and I didn’t have to stop to take water breaks in between songs. The feeling of pride you feel for yourself and your body is something that a number on a scale can’t take away from you.
  3. Track your progress, and the results are in the numbers.
    Now, this may not sound like much of a reason, but let me tell you, I am so thankful for my smart watch. I have an Apple iWatch, but that may not be the kind of tracker you want. There are so many out there that can help you track your progress. From my watch, I can see my progress and it makes me excited!

So I hope for y’all who you think you’ve plateaued to keep moving forward. If you’ve fallen off track get back on it! You can continue to make progress!

 

King, Prince, and Pauper

The title of this blog can definitely be a bit confusing. At first glance, I could be talking about a fairy tale or even how guys can act like these three (maybe I should write about this one LOL), but no neither of those are accurate. How many of you have heard this phrase, “Eat like a King for breakfast, like a prince for lunch and a pauper for supper?” I first heard this phrase a couple of years back, and I wasn’t one hundred percent about it. However, yesterday I tried this theory out, and I was happily surprised! So what did I do?

For breakfast, I went to my usual place to go eat Kum & Go. It’s a gas station that seems to hybrid with a fresh market. It has freshly made sandwiches, breakfast, lunch, and supper if you like. It has wonderfully made salads and wraps. They even have fresh produce like apples and bananas. Their coffee isn’t half bad either! Yesterday, what I got from Kum & Go was a breakfast sandwich that was made of a croissant, egg, ham, and cheese. I also had their orange juice and a coffee. It was great! Definitely felt like a king or well a QUEEN! What’s great about eating this, is that you’re not that hungry mid-morning.

Then for lunch, I had what Walmart calls their “Protein Punch” package. What it consisted of was baby carrots, almonds, a slice of cheese, broccoli, and ranch. Now that doesn’t seem like a lot to eat, but if you eat like a king for breakfast and drink water it’s absolutely perfect. Granted, a few of my coworkers looked at it and said that it looked sad, and admittedly it kind of did, considering it wasn’t a lot. What I enjoyed about this is that I wasn’t bloated from too much food, I felt energized, and I was satisfied. So that was eating like a prince or princess!

Lastly, what I had for supper was a protein shake. Between lunch and supper, I worked out and didn’t feel as hungry. I had also drunk my gallon of water for the day and that helped a lot. So by the end of the day all that I was really hungry for was a nice protein shake. I even almost forgot about it too lol. So it was the perfect ending for trying this theory out!

Now is this something that will happen every day for me? Probably not, but it is definitely something that I will try to do every day.

If you have other diet theories that you think works, let me know! I would love to try them out! Till tomorrow XO

It’s all Y.O.U.!

Good evening beautiful people! Tonight let’s talk about you. That’s right! We are talking about you tonight. What is holding you back? What is keeping you for keeping up with your goals? Trust this is as much me talking to you as talking to myself. I’m asking myself these exact questions.

Throughout our lives, we make up excuses about why something happened. We think that someone else was the cause. That the reason we didn’t do something was that another person held us back. I know that I have sometimes blamed other people for my problems when in reality it was me who could’ve prevented a situation from happening. Something that has happened in the past shouldn’t be affecting our future. Yes, there will be some repercussions, but that doesn’t mean it is the full reason why you can’t reach your goals.

We know that our friends, family, or even significant other can’t help us create the change that we need in our lives, but they can definitely help out! They are our support. The people that cheer us on, and the people that can keep us accountable. Sometimes they are even the ones who tell it 100%. And, isn’t that something that we all need?

I know I definitely do. I know that through this weight loss journey I’m going to have some ups and downs, and whatever journey you are headed down you will too. So when you come across those downs what are you going to do? Are you going to blame the friends and family that is surrounding you? I hope not. In my case, they aren’t the ones shoving fast food down my throat. They aren’t the ones who aren’t getting up and not running. They definitely aren’t the ones telling me that I should prob just give it up. No that’s all on me. And, if you feel the same way, that’s all on you, sweetie.

So what do you do? Well, I can tell you what I’ve done. I’ve teamed up with some of those people. My mom and I are working together to watch what we eat. We basically are keeping each other accountable, and anytime one of us wants to eat something unhealthy or at a random hour of the day when we already had full meals, we tell each other we don’t need that. Do I like it when my mom says, “Aynsley! You don’t need to eat that!”? Heck no! I want to eat what I want. If I’m at a wedding shower, I want that second cupcake, but at the same time, I want to lose the weight. So even though it can be extremely annoying and embarrassing I know that I need to hear it. But, trust me, I do the same exact thing to her. It’s a two-way street.

My coworkers and I are all workout buddies. We are lucky enough to work for a company that pays for our gym membership and we have to go at least 5 times out of the month. Each time that we plan to go to the gym, one of us will message the group at the butt crack of dawn (seriously a time when only the dead are awake). Do I want to leave my cozy bed? Of course not! I love the warm covers and soft pillows in the morning, but at the same time, I don’t want to pay for my gym membership. I know if I don’t hit that 5 times then I have to pay the fee and this girl cannot afford that right now with student loans. (Who else is with me?) So I get my lazy butt out of bed and hit the gym with my girls! Honestly, I feel better and it’s a lot more fun too. We can work out, talk about boys, and other gossip. It’s a great time with them!

Having excuses aren’t going to get you toward your goal. Instead, you’ll be tripping over those excuses and you’ll be sitting on the ground watching people pass you by. However, if you have a great support team to go on that journey with you, the excuses that started off as rocks end ups becoming pebbles in your path. Before you know it, they won’t even exist.

So dear lovelies, I hope that you will leave all your excuses behind you and find your group of people to go with you! Till tomorrow XO

Fruit Smoothies…Yummy, Yummy!

Well y’all, week two is about to be over with and it has been a pretty interesting week. Tonight, I want to talk to you about what I use as inspiration to find healthy foods or exercises to do at different times.

Thankfully, we all live in the 21st century, which makes it ten times easier for us to access help online. If you have wifi and a computer or mobile device you’re pretty set to go. So that’s really one huge resource that I use when looking for advice, inspiration, or just help. It’s as easy as going to Google and typing in a question you might have or a good recipe that you’re looking for.

For me though, I love using Pinterest as my search engine. I go there to look for smoothie recipes, exercise examples, and motivational quotes. Pinterest truly has revolutionalized how we save ideas for projects that we want to do. It’s not, “Oh you should talk to so-and-so about doing that,” it’s, “Have you looked at Pinterest yet?” I go there especially when I have some food that needs to be cooked, and I don’t have a recipe for it. Also if you are looking for meal plans it’s a great spot to hit as well.

Now Pinterest isn’t the only place on the internet that has great inspiration for me, I also love to follow inspiring people on Instagram. One person that I have been following for quite some time is Chinae Alexander. She has some great motivational posts, and she has some great tips about keeping up with a healthy lifestyle. She’s not the only person on Instagram that has great content, but she’s usually the person I go to when looking for inspiration. When you find people that you admire, it makes it easier for you to continue working toward that goal you have. You can see their journey and appreciate what they have to say.

Now if you’re looking for workouts to do, and you don’t want to pay a hefty monthly fee, YouTube is fantastic! I have gone on there and looked up cardio workouts, yoga, and other exercise routines. One person that I love to do workouts with is The Fitness Marshall. He has some great dance workout routines, and he makes them SO much fun! I can’t tell you how many time I have either taken my computer or gone on my TV to just dance in the living room or my bedroom. What makes it so great is that when those songs come on at the store or on the radio in your car you can’t help but use those moves to dance. (yes, I have danced a bit in Walmart cause a song was playing that I loved.)

There’s a lot of resources out there. There’s really no excuse for us to not get up and start moving and grooving or eating better. I know I don’t use my resources all the time, but I’m getting better at it. On my Instagram post tonight, I have a smoothie that I made from Pinterest. It’s not the exact recipe, but it made for one GREAT supper tonight!

Till tomorrow beautiful peeps! XO