Facing My Battle of Comparison

Facing My Battle of Comparison

Today I am going to be sharing with you all, something that I personally struggle with on a daily basis, and that is the battle of comparison. As much as I hear my husband tell me how beautiful I am, I am still trying to figure out what he sees in me. I find myself scrolling through social media, and I compare myself to people that I don’t even know. I want to look better, and do better. Who I am is just not enough. I know that’s a sad thought, but that’s how I feel and think some days. And I know that I am not the only one.

"Comparison is the thief of joy." -Theodore Roosevelt

Social Media Statistics

According to the “Huffington Post,” statistics show that

  • 60% of people using social media reported that it has impacted their self-esteem in a negative way.
  • 50% have said that it has affected their relationships in a negative way
  • 80% voted that it is easier to be deceived by what others share on social media.

So how can we escape comparison, when we are surrounded by it constantly?

Stop texting and start talking.

Valuable friends are hard to come by these days, and one of the main reasons in my opinion is because we can’t seem to put away our phones. I know I may sound like your mom right now, but seriously think about it. When was the last time you put away your phone when spending time with a friend or a loved one? If you can’t think of a time then that’s a sign that you need to make time. I have found that creating more time with my friends instead of trying to find the perfect lighting to take a selfie has brought me more satisfaction in my life. I know the world pushes us to have a self centered mindset, but me are truly happier when we allow others into our hearts and lives.

"I praise you, because I am fearfully and wonderfully made." Psalm 139:14

Affirmation

Today I was struggling with my role as a new small group leader, and I was reminded by a leader above me that I already know who I am. I am the daughter of the king, and I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Words of affirmation can be so powerful in moments of doubt. That is why we need others and we need to go to the Bible or if you are not a Christian, then find some really awesome quotes. There are lots on Pinterest! Affirm yourself with kind and positive thoughts. I find that when I replace my negative thoughts with positive thoughts I stop comparing myself to other people.

Catch your breath

Every once in a while I will find myself going to a dark place. The dark place of comparison, where my mind will think all sorts of negative things. Like, “Look at how successful she looks in that picture, I will never be where she is at.” And it’s true with that attitude I won’t. I also feel like not everyone’s life is not as perfect as they portray it to be on social media. However, once I find myself getting caught up in my emotions and battling with comparison I immediately turn it off, and tune my mind onto things that I enjoy.

Having a cup of coffee with a friend.

Loving on my sweet baby boy.

Going for a walk in nature.

Reading my Bible or other Blogs.

Taking a break allows me to recharge and gain control over my emotions, and helps me to see how truly awesome life is.

 

Today I have shared with you one of my top struggles. I want to be vulnerable and open up to other people, and let them see my not so perfect side. If this is something you struggle with then you are not alone. I am right there with you, and I hope that my thoughts on this topic will bring encouragement to someone.  Also if you did like this post feel free to comment or share it on social media.

10 Things To Do In The Summer for Under Twenty-Five Dollars.

10 Things To Do In The Summer for Under Twenty-Five Dollars.

“Here’s to a summer I’ll always remember, and people that I will never forget.” -XOXO Summer 2018

1. Go grab coffee with an old friend, and catch up on life.

Coffee is typically between $5-$10. Try out a new flavor and have fun with it.

2. Acts of Kindness

Do something nice for someone. Is your mom exhausted from working non stop? Offer to help clean around the house. Kindness is free, and it feels great to help someone out.

3. Have a water fight.

  • Buy Water Guns from Dollar Tree or Walmart
  • Fill up balloons with water
  • Have fun!

4. Attend a Festival

Summers are full of free or inexpensive festivals that you can attend. Find one that interests you, and your personal preferences.

5. Go to the Drive-In for $15 a carload.

Split the cost between friends, and buy your snacks from Walmart or someplace like that.

6. Have a summer photoshoot.

Capture those memories. Find something to wear in your closet, and look for unique places to take photographs with your friends.

7. Start a blog.

I know you may think it sounds crazy, but if you love to write, and share your thoughts why not let the world know that creative side to you? They deserve to see it too!

  • Start by using a free blogging platform, and I would suggest using WordPress.

8. Have a game night.

Remember those boring board games that are currently collecting dust in your closet? Well you may be surprised to find that game nights with friends and family can actually be really entertaining. Try it out!

9. Go hiking or swimming in a local area. 

Places near Alabama for those that live in the same state I live in, here are some suggestions. 

  • The Falls
  • The Millpond
  • Little River Canyon
  • Cherokee Rock Village

10. Watch the sunset.

Buy a decent wine, one of my favorite brands is called, “Barefoot,” and it’s only like $10. Enjoy a glass of wine, while watching the sunset.

I hope you all enjoyed these suggestions. Feel free to leave any of your own in the comment box below, and don’t forget to subscribe to my blog for more topics like this!

Sunday Notes – “Four Principles of Rest”

Sunday Notes – “Four Principles of Rest”

Matthew 11: 28-30 (AMP) “Come to Me, all who are weary and heavily burdened (by religious rituals that offer no peace), and I will give you rest (refreshing your souls with salvation). Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me (following Me as My disciple), for I am gentle and humble in heart, and YOU Will Find Rest (renewal, blessed quiet) For Your Souls. For My yoke is easy (to bear) and My burden is light.” What a beautiful passage of scripture, and I love the way this version of the Bible puts it. Today we live in a busy world, and sometimes we can get caught up in the chaos. God’s gift to us is rest, and today I am going to be sharing with you , “Four Principles of Rest,” a message shared by Larry Stockhill. So let’s get into it!

1. “R” – stands for routine.

The most successful people normally have one thing in common, a routine. Having a routine can be harder when having a baby or little kids running around, but it is possible, and once you figure it out your life will go much smoother. Here are different kinds of routines you can establish.

  • Morning Routines – If you would like to see my morning routine, then comment, or give this post a thumbs up.
  • Work Routine – Getting ready for work can be a hassle, so if you are like me you need to get things ready in advance, so you aren’t running around like a chicken with your head cut off.
  • Family Routine- Family comes as a priority after God, so to me having a planned family day is really important, so I try to have one once a week.
  • Date Night – This also is very important, because in order to have a successful family your marriage needs to be the first priority in your family. So make sure you have a date night. Even if a date night just means playing a card game together, and sharing your dreams, when you lay down your kids at night. You need the one on one time with your man.
  •  Meal Routine- This can be hard for us depending on how well our day flows, so for us it’s hard to have a set time, so this is something we are still working on.
  • Sleep Routine – This to me is extremely important, because it’s hard to function properly without enough sleep. I am now currently going to bed at 10:30 PM. I would like to go to bed earlier, but for now that’s the earliest I can make it.

2. “E” Emotions – Learn to manage your emotions.

When he started talking to this I knew he was talking about me. I just recently found out that I have OCD, and I will be sharing that with you all very soon, but needless to say my emotions have been a roller coaster, because I tend to overthink things, but here are a few ways that the preacher shared on how we can have better control over our emotions.

  • Perspective: Put everything out of Eternity, which basically means Is what you are afraid of, angry about, worried about etc. going to matter when we get to heaven? Most of the time the answer is going to be, no. So for me that helps me to reconsider my emotions and put them in a different perspective.
  • Margin: Space your life out better.

3. “S” Sabbath – God took one day to rest, and we should too.

I know that there’s always that one thing on our to do list that we feel like we absolutely have to do. If you are a lists person I am right there with you. However, I do believe that we should all take at least a day off, and use it to spend time with our friends and family. It will make your soul so happy and you will be refreshed, and ready to go for the next week.

4. “T” Conquer Your Thoughts.

This is definitely my biggest struggle. My thoughts are on a constant repeat, and  I have to fight fear, worries, doubts almost every day, and I liked some of the tips that the preacher shared with us.

  • Isaiah 26:3 Focus on God’s purpose. Stop focusing on the wrong things.
  • Take every thought captive. The devil will try to lie to you and he will feed you with doubts and fears, so replace his lies with the truth. Make a pros and cons list if you have to and see if what you are thinking is actually the truth. Sometimes that helps me, when I am trying to find the truth. Also get into God’s Word there are lots of truth in that book.
  • Lay back in the arms of the Almighty God, because our lives are in His hands. If you’re worried about something surrender it to Him. (Jeremiah 29:11)

 

 

I hope you all have a lovely Sunday. Try to rest and enjoy worshiping our God and welcome his presence. Also call that friend that you haven’t heard from in a while and get catch up with them. Drink a cup of coffee with your husband and take a nice nap together, or play a game with your kids, while the music is playing softly in the backgrounds. This is the day of Rest! If you enjoyed this post, please feel free to comment. For more of these posts subscribe to my blog and you will get updated every time I write another post on Sunday notes. Love you all!


 

 

Lauren Smith

Sunday Notes (Grandpa’s Wisdom)

Sunday Notes (Grandpa’s Wisdom)

]Every Saturday night I would like to go over my Sunday notes before church I go to church in the morning. I would like to share what God has spoken to me through the notes that I take. These past few weeks we have been talking about wisdom. Wisdom is a gift from God that we can all have, but it is something that we must seek. Here are the notes from the sermon called, “Grandpas Wisdom,” by Tom Mullans.

Three Truths of Wisdom

1. Be trustworthy in the small things.

When we are focused on the small things that God has put on our hearts, then we will give us the chance to excel in the big things. “We need to learn to bloom where we are planted,”and I know that cooking supper for my husband and cleaning our home may not be the most exciting thing that can happen in my life, but God has called me to serve my family, and they come second, so I am going to be faithful to God even in the small things that may even be taken for granted sometimes, because that’s when I will be prepared for the big things that he will ask me to do in my life. Also when we are trustworthy in the small things people will empower and invest in us.

2. Be a second miler.

Matthew 5:41

“If anyone forces you to go one mile, go with them two miles.”

This one really got to me, because I sometimes find myself being lazy and wanting to take shortcuts in life, but God expects us not only to do what we are asked, but to take it a step further. Go the extra mile. Don’t be that person that only half way does their job. Even if your job is to just pass a class. Give it the best you have, and if a C is pushing it, then try doing a little more and aim for a B. I know it’s hard sometimes, but as Christians God has called us to do the best with what we are given. He wants us to stand out. Remember who we are serving, and be a light to the world. 

3. Be honorable. Honor God, honor others, and honor your commitments.

Finish what you started. I know that sometimes that can seem like a burden. There have been a couple of instances where it was tough to go another day doing something that I dreaded. For example there have been a couple of jobs, where just the thought of going into work made me miserable, and there were days where I just wanted to walk out the door without any notice, but because I knew that I made a commitment it wouldn’t be right to do that, so instead I waited out the two weeks notice, and came to work until my last day. I had made a promise, and I didn’t want to dishonor people, and lately I have really realized that my actions can affect the purpose that God has for my life, so I not only want to bring honor to others and my commitments I also want to bring honor to God. Honor isn’t always fun, and sometimes we may not always like it, but in the end it makes us feel a lot better, when we know that we are making the right choices.

I truly hope that these things will help you in your everyday life. Stay tuned in for more Sunday notes, and encouragement. Try to be trustworthy in the small things, don’t be afraid to go the extra mile, and don’t forget to give honor to God, to others, and to your commitments.

Proverbs 4:6-7

6 Do not forsake wisdom, and she will protect you; love her, and she will watch over you. 
7 The beginning of wisdom is this: Getwisdom. Though it cost all you have, get understanding.

 

 

 

Sincerly,

Lauren Smith.

 

Mothers Day Gift Ideas For Four Different Kinds of Moms

Mothers Day Gift Ideas For Four Different Kinds of Moms

All moms have different personalities. Although once a woman becomes a mother she often feels like she loses her own personality traits because from now on she is just known as mom. Speaking out for all moms in the world even though we love what we do, it would be nice to be known for something other than being the worlds greatest mother. So today I am going to share with you four different personalities of the different kinds of moms, and how you can truly make their day special for them.

1. The Girly Mom

Some moms are girly and enjoy being pampered, so here are a few suggestions for this kind of mom.

  • Take her to get her nails done
  • Suprise her with her favorite flowers
  • Buy her a gift card to a girly store For Ex. Victoria Secret, Ulta Beauty, Belks Etc.
  • On a Budget? Offer her an at-home spa day. Light the Candles, Make a Bubble Bath, and offer to paint her nails

Stores: Already named some above, for nails just look up local nail salons

2. The Simple Momma

Some moms would rather have practical things instead of luxury items, if you know that is your mom, then here are a few gift ideas for her.

  • If she likes to read buy her the favorite book series she likes to read. If you don’t know what she reads buy her a gift card to Books A Million.
  • If she drinks coffee. Buy her a cute mug, and fill it with chocolate, and a Starbucks Gift Card
  • If you are on a budget, give her a mom free day. Clean the house for her, and surprise her with breakfast in bed.

Stores: Barns & Noble, TJ-Max, Books-A-Million, Starbucks

3. For the Fitness and Wellness Mom

For the mom that likes to workout, exercise or so forth these are suggestions for her.

  • Buy her a new pair of tennis shoes
  • Get her a workout outfit
  • Buy a cute water bottle with the workout headbands
  • Buy a Diffuser and Essential Oils. Make sure they are legit essential oils not the kind from the grocery store. I recommend Young Living Essential Oils.
  • If you are on a budget, search at home workouts on Pinterest, print them off and put them in a binder for extra inspiration.

Stores: Hibbett Sports, Sports Academy, TJ Max, Young Living Site and you can ask me for more info on that.

4. For the Social Mom

This is for the mom who just enjoys doing things for entertainment, and socializing with others.

  • Take her to her favorite restaurant
  • Go to a drive-in movie
  • Go to the movies
  • Take her to a concert
  • If you are on a budget. Have an at-home cookout. Invite her friends or family over whichever she is closest to.

 

I hope these suggestions help. Just remember that moms do more than you realize, and it’s not always easy on us, so try your best to make not only this day but every day meaningful for them. I also want to say thank you to all of the moms out there who have sacrificed their lives for your children. Our lives would not be the same without you. So here’s to you on your day, and I hope you all enjoy it.

 

 

Things That I Am Currently Going Through

Things That I Am Currently Going Through

We all have obstacles that we face in our life, but what we have to realize is that is exactly what it is an obstacle. I try to remember the quote, “This too shall pass,” because it is so true, no matter what changes you are going through in your life eventually we will adapt to them. Just think about it for a moment. What is one thing in your life that has upset you and lasted for longer than five years? There are going to be a few traumatic moments in our lives, but we can either let those moments drag us down, or we can choose for it to be an opportunity to grow stronger as a person. I am going to share a few things that are going on in my life that have been hard, and how I am overcoming them. I hope that you can find!

1. Religious Differences

I know that for some of you when you read this you automatically thought, “Puke,” and zoned out. I know that this can be a controversial topic, and that is why I specifically choose it.  So if you are that person, then I encourage you to skip this part. However, I know that some of you who are reading this are thinking, “Omg yes, this is something I am struggling with too!” I apologize for the omg part. I am kind of a dork.  Lately, I have been dealing with a lot of confrontation with family members who don’t agree with my lifestyle of faith, and some of these people I never would expect the reaction that I have been getting from them, and I am not going to mention any names for their privacy sake, and also because I am not sharing this with you to gossip or talk bad about anyone. I am only expressing this to you because I just want all of you to know that it has not been easy. I feel like I cannot be myself and express myself the way I used to be able to around my family, because it makes them so annoyed and angry when I talk about my faith, and for me that has never happened before, and it is a natural part of my life, so I find it hard not to talk about it, but out of respect for them I have chosen not to force my beliefs on them. If God gave me a choice of whether or not I wanted Him in my life, then as much as it hurts me I have chosen to do the same for them.

2. Mommy Blues

I am currently struggling with postpartum depression, and it has been a constant roller coaster. I feel like I am stuck going through the motions. It goes something like this in the morning Ivan wakes up I feed him, change his diaper, and play with them. He then proceeds to puke on me, and then poop, and then cries until he falls asleep, and the cycle continues. In the midst of taking care of him I sometimes forget to take care of myself, therefore leading to thoughts of depression, such as, “My life has no meaning,”  “If you can hear me God, can you please help me,” ,” Or can you please send someone to help me, because I can’t do this anymore.” If you have ever had thoughts like these just know that you are not alone.

3. Life Changes

I feel like we all experience change at some point in our lives. So I know that this is something we can all relate to. I am currently preparing my heart for a change that I am about to face. Some of you may know this and some may not. For those who do not know, my husband has enlisted for the Army National Guard, and he will be leaving August 20th, of this year, and I won’t see him again until Christmas. I know some of you may think that the National Guard isn’t as hard as some of the other branches, but you are wrong. Anyone who serves in the military have to go through the hard things in order to become a member of the Military, and needless to say of the time that they have to spend away from their families. Stephen and I have not been a day apart from each other for almost two years now, so being away from him for six months is going to be a huge change for the both of us, so I am just praying that we come out stronger than we were before, and Lord willing we will.

So how am I getting through all of these things?

I promise this is going to be quick and sweet.

1. Pray, Pray, Pray

I realize what I am up against, and I cannot face these things alone, however I know someone who can. Philippians 4:13

2. Time

It takes time to heal all things. Just remember the quote, “This too shall pass,” because it will.

3. Support

I cannot stress enough the importance of having positive people surrounding you.

4. Self Care

Don’t forget to take care of yo self girl. Sorry that was cheesy, but seriously find something that you enjoy doing and get lost in it.

5. Let It Go

When all else fails, and it’s something that is beyond your control, “Let go and Let God.”

I promise that’s all I have for you, and I hope you read this and you are encouraged. We are in this together. If you have any questions, or need any prayers, please don’t hesitate to email me! I would love to be there for you.

My Favorite Shows to Binge Watch

My Favorite Shows to Binge Watch
I am not a huge television person, and I never have been.  Ever since I was a little kid I can remember always having my nose in a book.  Watching TV just didn’t match up to the imagination that I had as a child, and all the way up until I was a teenager, but now that I am older I find it hard to do either.  So every now and then I am like the typical American, and there are a few Netflix Shows that I occasionally like to watch when I can find the time, and here they are.
  1. The Office                                                                                                                                                                                   On the top of my list is the show called, “The Office.”  When I first heard of it I thought that it look kind of boring.  My parents and sister seemed to love it though.  So one day I decided to give it a try, and now I am re-watching the entire series for the third time, if that tells you anything.  I love the humor in it, and the office romances are so cute. Jim and Pam are seriously adorable, and Micheal is one of the biggest idiots that I have ever kind of met, and he happens to be the head manager over the office, but I feel like this is just one of the shows that you will need to experience for yourself rather than me explain it to you.  So if you happen to try it out, and end up falling in love with it like I did, please let me know, so we can laugh about it together.
  2. The Gilmore Girls                                                                                                                                                                      I love the “Gilmore Girls” , because first of all it is somewhat sentimental for me, because it reminded me of my mom and I.  The show is about a Mother and Daughters relationship.  The mom had her daughter at sixteen, and my mom had me at seventeen.  I started watching the show my senior year, and my mom and I watched it together.  They were like our soulmates.  The mom was quirky and sarcastic like my mom, and the daughter Rory who I looked up to had a lot of similar characteristics to mine.  She was either reading or writing something, and her love triangle was ridiculous all of which I could relate to.  In addition to those things, I also enjoyed their sweet little town, and their determination to drink black coffee every day.  They understood how essential coffee is for survival, and the small town brought back so many memories of my own hometown in Arab.  I still miss that place to this day, and have actually considered moving back. There are many reasons why I love this show, but most of them are sentimental, but if you are kind of a nerd like me, and love coffee, reading, and writing then you will love this show.
  3. Stranger Things                                                                                                                                                                         Last but not least my third favorite show came out a couple of years ago.  This show is set back in the eighties, which to me in itself was pretty original.  Like why the eighties? Oh yeah, because they had good music.  The show is all about an existing upside down world, where everything is dark in the upside down.  I just loved the creativity and the thoughts that it took to come up with something this unique, and it literally kept me on my toes the whole time.  I don’t want to ruin it for you, and besides it’s kind of hard to explain something with the word strange in it.
As some of you may know I am trying to do a blog series on things that you may want to know about me, even if it is something as unimportant as to which Netflix shows I love the most, because I feel like it is always the little things that help people connect to each other.  If you love any of these shows, or try any of them I would love to hear about it, so please email me if you would like on my About Page, and don’t forget to subscribe for weekly newsletters!

Sincerely,

Lauren S. Watkins