Hey, You… You are Loved!

John 3:16
For God so loved the world that he gave his only son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.
Romans 5:8
but God shows his love for us in this: that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
Ephesians 2:4-5
Because God had so much loving-kindness. He loved us with such great love. even when we were dead because of our sins, He made us alive by what Christ did for us. You have been saved from the punishment of sin by his loving- favor.
Galatians 5:1
It was for FREEDOM that Christ set us free. Stand firm then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yolk of slavery. 

I am not sure I say it enough, but, YOU are so deeply loved. Some days, with all the noise and clutter, the errands, work, gym, dinner, laundry we get stuck in the mundane. It seems like a just normal day of chores. I think we humans tend to forget that during all this, it is a perfect display of Gods perfect love.

His perfect love including provision, sustainability, laughter, stamina, intelligence. I had a brief encounter this morning while walking into work that was disturbing to say the least. At that very moment I was so thankful to have my mind recall how loved this individual was. It was fleeting. After resuming my daily tasks I began to dwell on this situation and feel sorry for myself. I was plagued with discontentment at work, in life. The ‘I wish I was…” or the ” I can’t wait for”… came in unannounced and gathered up my sanity. It was then that I was kindly reminded of the story of Abraham (thanks momma B).  When he climbed up that mountain he was fully expecting God to pull through, and it came with knowing full well it might mean that the sacrifice might just be his Only son. When Abraham showed faith and was seconds away from sacrificing his son the Lord provided for him. What Love! What generous love. But, it wasn’t enough that God just let him and his son go back to daily life, God then provided a beautiful spotless sacrifice. All that being said, this ram was making its way up and up the mountain too. Gods perfect plan included the seen and unseen.

This reminded me that the moment I start thinking in my ‘what ifs’ and ‘just maybes’ that Gods perfect plan is coming up that mountain for me too. God’s perfect plan has a way to show me His great LOVE. His perfect love is preparing that sacrifice, His perfect plan is in the works that I don’t yet see. What’s even better, is His perfect plan is in the works for you too.

Provision.

Stamina.

Sustainability.

Love.

See, He set us free so that we can encounter this love. He set us free so that our what ifs and just maybes don’t burden us. They become dreams all laid out in the precious hands of Jesus. We are saved by his perfect grace, so that we can become alive and live fully in His endless love. He sacrificed everything all for the sake of loving You. He made a way for us to know Him and to be loved by Him, All because of Jesus. You, yes you. You are deeply loved, called by name, intelligently crafted and purposed for a future full of blessings and grace.

I am praying that His Love saturates us all until overfilled. I am praying specifically for that individual this morning, that she may know the peace and Love of Jesus. That her mind may be set free and hurts healed by the only one able to sustain love.

I am praying for my friends and family to know and seek this love. Oh, what a day it will be when they all know this kind of love. I know this love full well. My desire is to know this love even more.

My desire is that you know this love, truly know this love.

Psalm 121:5-8
The Lord watches over you, the Lord is your shade at your right hand. 
The sun will not harm you by day nor the moon by night. 
The Lord will keep you from all harm he will watch over your life. 
The Lord will watch over your coming and going 
both now and forevermore.  
P.S. 

Happy Tuesday! 
xox

Walking with God

 
 
1 Chronicles 29:11
Yours, Lord, is the greatness and the power and
the Glory and the majesty and the splendor,
for everything in heaven and earth is yours.
Yours, Lord, is the kingdom;
you are exalted as head over all.
 
After walking through what used to be my greatest fear, I’ve learn that it is now my most treasured season. Surprisingly enough it’s not quite as scary as I thought it would be. Not that I really put ANY thoughts into it at all, until I was forced into it. I’ve come out on the other end and realized that I have survived, I am pleasantly surprised that I am even standing tall. In Him I have placed my trust, and I am learning more and more that the solid rock on which I stand is firmly on Him and Him alone. Knowing full well this will never go to waste. I am also confident that nothing can replace the lessons I have learned and the desperation I have for my savior: all to Him be the glory. For it’s only because of Him that I have hope.

 

 
As I was listening to the radio the other night there was an interview with Laura Story and I was intrigued.  I have heard so many different things about her own personal story and was blown away hearing it from her mouth. Her and her husband went through a tough season, a rather long and extended hard season, and out of that came one of her most popular songs, Blessings. In that interview she said something that totally hit a heart string for my husband and I.
 
 
“Are we judging God based on our circumstances?
 Or are we judging our circumstances based on
what we know to be true about God?”
 
 
This totally made me wonder and question how I was choosing to approach my circumstances. Any circumstance, really, whether it’s good or bad. Considering this question and my current circumstances, I soon began to dig a little deeper and evaluate how I was going about and navigating through this life. For several weeks I found myself so frustrated that I had this wonderful Savior, and King who loved me, but at the same time I had the hardest time believing that He could really relate to me. How could this God, who knew no sin yet suffered tremendously, relate to the specific pain I was feeling? I was making judgements, that this God couldn’t relate. He didn’t understand. Shamefully, I forgot to consider and judge my circumstance on the truth of God and His character.
 
 
First of all, God knows full well what it’s like to lose a child. Secondly, Jesus didn’t have to go through what I went through to suffer, he willingly suffered it all. This new perspective that was plopped into my head was that if I intentionally removed the “name” of my own circumstance and classified it in one particular category, I would definitely place it well within the Pain and Suffering box. Just having the one label instead of a situation made it profoundly clear to me that I am connected to Jesus through the Cross. This small, and simple act made Jesus even more relate-able to me, Jesus became just a little bit more real to me at that moment. Not that He was never real, He just twisted my brain a little and zoomed me out from my perspective. This helped me stand a little more confident in the finished work of the cross through Jesus. He died so that I might live, and know Him on a intimate level. So that when my trials came, He knew full well the agony we feel at times.
 
 
 I realized that the type of God I needed wasn’t one who could relate to my specific pain,
 but I needed a God who suffered for the sake of my soul.
I was humbled and broken knowing that, this simple truth should have been enough for me,
a long time ago.
 
 
Sufficiency. I see a little more clearly why, many many months ago, he promised me three little words. The finished work, the perfect life He lived, and then His suffering for my sake, should have always been enough. I was far too ignorant, and far too fleshy to LET Him be enough.
 
 
I don’t care how many times I have to be reminded, I am just so thankful He is good enough to remind me of His perfect sufficiency.
 
 
” In light of the cross, suffering becomes purification not punishment.”
-Timothy Keller
 
 
Because of this connection we received through the cross there is a comfort in knowing that He is with us inside of our pain. He suffered so that we would know full well that He is with us.
 
 
1 Peter 4:12-13
12 Dear friends, your faith is going to be tested as if it were going through fire.
 Do not be surprised at this.
 13 Be happy that you are able to share some of the suffering of Christ.
When his shining greatness is shown
you will be filled with much joy.
 
 
I am learning to appreciate, value, and accept the sufficiency of the cross so that I can joyfully walk through this messy life with Christ, sharing in some of this suffering. When I was a little girl, I thought for certain that ‘Walking with Jesus’ looked a lot different. It was a lot more child like. The older I am the more tainted my image is of this walk. It looks a little less organized and it seems chaotic and messy. The more I take myself back into those times when I was little, the more I realize how much more accurate of an image it really was(peaceful, calm, content, joyful, confident). Choosing to Walk with God is a lot different than I ever imagined, but it is by far, the best investment I have ever made. I would rather walk this life with Him than trying to walk it alone.  As Peter proclaimed, I am filled with MUCH joy, and my heart and life is filled to overflowing with peace and happiness.
 
 
On a totally new, unrelated note, I was able to celebrate my Daddy’s birthday with him this year. That was one highlight from my week. Here are a few snapshots:
 
Me and the Pops
 
 
My Beautiful Auntie whom I absolutely ADORE
 
 
And what kind of week would it be like if Mr. George didn’t cause some commotion:
 
I am pleased to announce his bandage is off, and he is finally healing!
However, the cone gets to stay for a few more days!
 
 
Dinner with our besties included one of my favorites:
 
 Cat shaped candies and candy pumpkins had this girl going in circles!

She also thoroughly enjoyed play time with the kitties:

Mmm, I just love this girl. Thank you N & A for making such a cutie! 

 


Emily Livingston, Beach Body Fitness and Health Coach

A few posts ago I mentioned how great my sister is. I also mentioned that she has made some amazing changes in her life and is super duper encouraging and motivating, and quite the rock star. I may be a tiny bit biased though.

Well, I recently asked her to share her story with us, me. I want to share it not only to get her name out there a little more, but I truly believe there are many women out there who would really enjoy her story and find hope in it. 
Emily was blessed with her first baby at the tender age of 16, and she has been a fighter, and my hero ever since.  Enjoy:
    “For the last two and a half years I’ve been what you would call a “caretaker”. I have been caring for my daughter, Madison, she was born with downs syndrome, and in January of 2011 she started to have a LOT of medical problems. Problems with her diet and from things I couldn’t control. This was when I started letting go of me. 

 

I dropped everything to care for her.  She went through two corrective brain surgeries. During her second surgery I went from caring for just her to being my husbands caretaker as well. My husband had left on deployment to Afghanistan shortly after Madison’s first surgery. On the day of her second surgery he was wounded in Combat. We spent almost a month in in-patient care, and roughly two months living out of hotel rooms close to the hospital after he was discharged. We didn’t have access to our own kitchen so we ate out everyday. Caring for him, and my daughter who was still recovering herself, got me completely off track. I began gaining unnecessary weight. I wasn’t “overweight”, but I sure wasn’t where I had been before I started my new role. 

 

 
In October of 2011 I wasn’t really concerned that I was far from my ideal weight. Then we found out we were expecting! this was a very exciting time for us! As exciting as it was, I was sick. I was plagued with, never ending, morning sickness, and my cravings for processed food was intensified. We weren’t terrible eaters, but we were definitely not caring for ourselves like we should have been. This was especially true since two out of the three members in our family were still recovering, healing, and needed care. I slowly gained weight through the first part of my pregnancy and I was okay with that. I knew I wasn’t 16 anymore, like when I had Madison.
 
 Well, my happy moods were quickly turned to fear and binge eating for comfort when I found out Madison had a brain tumor that needed to be removed. I believe that’s when I developed my addiction to sweets, caffeine, and other comfort foods. Long story short the surgery went well, and she healed well. What I didn’t realize is that I had obliviously blown through the remainder of my pregnancy ending at 40 pounds of weight gain. I was devastated. I knew it was going to be hard to lose.  After giving birth I was so excited for the weight to just fall off with breast-feeding. This was not the case for me and my body. 

 

 
To fast-forward a bit, December 1st 2012 I started my first round of Insanity. I hadn’t changed the way I ate at all yet. I slowly realized my whole family was stuck. We were stuck in a routine of quick and easy comfort food (from the stress of the events). We ALL had weight to lose. It wasn’t all that surprising to realize we were all sick and uncomfortable. I saw pictures of myself and was disgusted with how poorly I was treating my one and only body I’d been given. Although I had lost close to 7lbs I was still not happy. 
 
THEN I found my coach, Stephanie. She worked hard on me. Supported me. Encouraged me. Told me my goals were 100% possible. Waited for me to come to her and say OK, I need your help. She introduced me to Challenge groups. 
 
After moving to a new state, new town, I started fresh. I started thinking about myself again. I began my second month of Insanity in January 2013. I lost a good bit of inches and maybe a few pounds in that second month. I was getting very excited. Then February came around and this amazing product called Shakeology, became a part of my life 100%. I lost 6lbs and TONS of inches that first month! I was shocked! I looked forward to having it everyday. I kept doing Beachbody programs and Shakeology. I cleaned up my diet 100%, and to date I’ve lost over 25 inches around my body, and roughly 20lbs. It took me a year, and I never met a goal “on time”, but I met them! Even my husband has lost 25lbs, and my Daughter, Madison, lost ten. I felt fantastic. I had more energy, and wasn’t binge eating anymore. I wasn’t even craving comfort food. Most importantly I loved that I was losing weight, and feeling positive about my body. It taught me that eating healthy can be quick, and easy, too. No more grab and go foods.
 
 I even jokingly told my coach that the Tony Horton Shakeology commercial must have been made for me because everything he said fit me to a “T”. 
 
We were all very happy and finally healthy. I was so excited with my progress that I talked to my coach about becoming a coach myself. I wanted to help others make a positive change in their lives like I had in my own through the use Beachbody products.

 

 
The best part behind my own story is my daughter’s story. Back in January 2013 she was still having symptoms of Brain issues, got diagnosed with asthma, and just wasn’t feeling well.  After about 3 months of feeding her healthier foods she was making steps in the right direction. It was during the summer that I decided to see what Shakeology would do for her. I figured it had worked great for me so why not try it for her too. I can’t even begin to thank, whoever created this product, enough because it has been a game changer in her life. Not only has her health improved in general, but her digestive track is functioning better too. She also hasn’t been sick in months, which is RARE. We have taken her off all her meds for sleep apnea, acid reflux, and are using eczema creams less often. The best part is she’s almost off her asthma medication, and is showing NO symptoms of brain issues. We are back in school, and she has yet to bring home a cold (Knock on wood). She has always had a pneumonia or lung infection, by fall, which usually lasts almost all winter long, but we have had NOTHING yet. She LOVES that she gets vanilla milk, or chocolate milk almost every day! She would never know that it’s really Shakeology. She even picks it out (sometimes) for herself when I ask her if she wants a snack, or something to drink. I can actually say that Shakeology has saved her from many more months, or years even, of medications, colds, terrible flu bugs, and many more health problems that children with downs syndrome face. Even if Shakeology hadn’t worked out for the best for me (I love the stuff!), I’m thankful for what it’s done for my daughter. Luckily, in my case, it has worked out for the both of us! I’m sure glad I made the decision to have it in my house for our family. 

My role hasn’t changed, and it won’t with all the trials we’ve faced in the last two years, but I will say, that living a healthier lifestyle is what we needed to make a positive change for our family. If it wasn’t for Shakeology I don’t think I would have changed as much as I have, and certainly don’t think my daughter would be as healthy as she is right now. I plan on Madison and I drinking Shakeology everyday for the rest of our lives, god willing.  

This is MY Why, What’s Yours?
 

To end, I stopped letting my role be my excuse, and realized I can use these trials and triumphs to my advantage and let it fuel my passion, my dreams, and push me to my final goals! “
 
This is just the beginning of her story. I know that once she started seeing changes in her body, it motivated her to become the best Emily she could be. This included changes in her spiritual journey, changes in the way she sees life, and raises her kids. It has all been very positive, and I am certainly proud of the woman she is becoming. 
Today I asked her to share with me a few of her favorite verses. A few years ago, I don’t know that she would have been able to pick one, however, I am simply BLOWN away at the verse she sent me, and I know for certain now, that I am suppose to share them with YOU,
Ephesians 1:7
In him we have redemption through His blood, 
the forgiveness of sins, 
in accordance with the riches of God’s grace.

Isaiah 12:2
Behold, God is my salvation, I will trust and not be afraid,
for the Lord Jehovah is my strength and my song.
He has also become my Salvation.
If you are interested in knowing more, or visiting her websites you can contact her here:
you can also find her on FaceBook:
and Also Instagram:
Em_107
This is where I insert my mushy gushy note:
Emily, 
I am so proud of you. I am amazed at the transformations in your life, and NOT just the physical. Although I am uber proud of that too! I hope you know just how deeply loved you are by me and by God. He has created you for such a beautiful purpose and I love watching you grow and use those talents and gifts that He gave you. You, my twinsie, are amazing. You are my hero. I love you to the moon and back, always!
xox- M

In Memory of.. 7/25 & 9/24

   

Today is National Pregnancy & Infant Loss Remembrance Day. 


When I pre-thought about my blog I had absolutely no intentions of discussing this. However, I felt that it was a disservice, not only to myself, but to the hundreds and thousands of women who have experienced this type of loss.  I want to make clear that this, in no way, is meant to discount the loss of any child, at all. However, I think it is important to validate and support those women who have had early losses. 
My first pregnancy ended as an ectopic at 6 weeks. If you missed that story (part 1) you see it here. I don’t think I could ever capture the emotions that went along with my experience. This blog may give some insight as to how it has rerouted my journey and surely changed my thoughts about almost everything. I am fairly certain that there will never be anything that can replace what was lost.
My second ended as an early miscarriage. This did not bring quite as big a blow to my emotions as the first, but none-the-less it was quite shattering.  It came with all sorts of baggage that myself, nor my husband, was prepared for. Matter of fact, it is unfair for me to even try and compare the two. It’s quite impossible to even express the stark differences and challenges that I faced. For me, it was like adding another form of anesthesia on top of already being numb. Thankfully, my Husband is amazing, and my Father loves me. That changes everything.
2 Corinthians 12:9-10 
  But he said to me, 
“My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.”Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

It is so amazing to me that 30% of ALL pregnancies end in miscarriage, and 1 in 40 pregnancies end as ectopic. That is fairly high if your asking me! 
What wrecks me the most is I am so certain 100% of these losses were desperately loved and desired. 
Although I cannot say that every woman who has lost a pregnancy feels this way, and I cannot claim that they were impacted in the same way I was. I do know, if she’s anything like me, she probably just wants a hug, and to know that she’s loved. There are no other words necessary, and there are  (probably) no other words that she would rather hear.
So, here’s my cheers to the STRONG, brave, amazing women who have endured all this and still smile. Cheers to the women who keeps on keeping on even when she’d rather not. 
You, my dear, are a powerful force whom is deeply and profoundly loved by Jesus (and me, whether I know you personally, or not).
On another note, here lies proof of my first run walk….post wedding, post surgery, and post miscarriage. I wish I had a video of the gasps of air I couldn’t find, and the jiggly legs that didn’t want to go any further. It would have provided a few giggles I’m sure! This picture is Proof that I survived!! Thank you Jesus! I am sure that my body will thank me later, but for now I am getting hate notes from my muscles!
This is George. He had surgery on Friday, and his weekend was one to take notes on. This boy can sleep I tell ya! Sleeping for days… Literally. Each time I found him he was basking in the warm sunshine, sleeping away. It was quite possibly one of the cutest kitten moments ever. Period.
Meet Momma B. We laugh and joke about our Mexican heritage. This weekend was no exception. I love serving with this lady, and I might add she is absolutely one of my most favorites. This picture was taken at a church potluck at an orchard, picking apples and sunflower seeds. Needless to say, we were using our inherited talents. At this particular moment, I was thankful for my background, and thankful that I get to share it with a wonderful woman such as her. If I haven’t said it lately, I love you to the moon and back Momma B. Seriously.
So, the take home notes for today:
Hug a woman who needs it, don’t get behind on your exercise, take lots of naps, and tell those people who mean a lot to you that you love them.
And…. Don’t ever forget who you are loved by.