Ivan’s First Birthday

Ivan’s First Birthday

Hey, Y’all! I hope you are all having a lovely weekend! This Saturday my son turned one. I have mixed feelings about this as a mom. It feels like just yesterday I was holding him in my arms for the first time. Now my sweet baby boy is turning into a toddler, and is walking, and saying new words every day it seems. I love this boy with all of my heart, and a special thanks to, “Jessica Trammell Photography,” for taking these photos for us. Also for those of you who don’t know, my husband is away at basics, and wasn’t able to be there on Ivan’s first birthday, so these were just a small surprise to send to him, so he can see how much our son has grown over the past few months since he’s been away. 

Who Is Yahweh?

Who Is Yahweh?

When I began this blog, my goals, and intentions were to keep God and my relationship with Him as my number one priority. However, I found myself caught up in my own desires, and although there was nothing wrong with the things I would talk about it’s more about the fact that I stopped writing about my faith, and started worrying more about what I was going to get out of this blog. I have decided to prioritize my blog again, by keeping God at the center of all things in my life. With that being said,  I am going to talk about the many names that God has been called in the Bible. God has many different traits that He carries just like we do in our own selves. The first name He called himself in the Bible was, “Yahweh,” which is the Hebrew definition for, “I am.” So let’s talk about who Yahweh is. 

1. He is understanding. 

In Exodus 3:7-10 God says that He sees everything that His people (us) are going through, and he understands. He wants to deliver us and take us to a better place. Because He cares, and He wants better for us. Whatever you may be going through, whatever heartache that this broken world has brought to you, you should know that God sees everything. He understands, and He will deliver you. 

2. He’s simple. 

People try to make God out to be something that is so complex, and I love how in Exodus 3:14 Moses asked God what He should tell his people, and God said, ” Tell them that I am who I am.” God is not this gigantic puzzle piece that we have to figure out. We can just simply trust that He is who He says He is. 

3. He is Compassionate and Loving

Exodus 34:6-7 talks about how God is gracious and slow to anger. He is full of love and faithful on His promises to us. How beautiful is that? I grew up thinking that God was ready to throw a lightning bolt at my head if I said a cuss word when I stubbed my toe. I was afraid of this great big massive Creator was judging me every minute of my life, and I didn’t realize that the things that I worried about most were the least of God’s concerns. How refreshing, and how wonderful it is to know that we serve a God who is kind and understanding, and full of love. If you think otherwise try to dig deeper into His word and find out for yourself that the word Love is mentioned in the Bible 280 times according to “Quora.com,” versus the word condemned is only mentioned 59 times in the Bible according to, “Carm.org.”

Photo by Matthew Meijer on Unsplash

Today my challenge to you and to myself is to be reminded of who Yahweh is. Have we created our own definition for Him, or are we defining Him by who He says that He is? He is a God of understanding, simplicity, love, and grace. If you enjoyed this post feel free to share your thoughts on this, or share it by clicking one of the shareable social media buttons below! I look forward to discovering more of who God truly is with you all.

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.

Living With Purpose

Living With Purpose
Defining Purpose

Everyone wants to find out what their purpose is in this life. Why am I here, and is there any meaning to life, or are we all just going through the motions? These are some great questions, but sadly I am not the one to say why you where put on this earth, but I can say that you are here for a reason. As a Christian I do believe that reason is spiritual. It’s connected deep down within you, and we all possess our own unique God given abilities. For those of you who do not believe in this kind of faith. Please find something to believe in, because life has no meaning without something to believe in. So my first suggestion to finding your purpose. Find something to believe in.

Find Something to Believe In

I believe that God has a plan for all of us, and we all have our own unique abilities. Ask yourself this question. Can a puzzle be completed if a piece of that puzzle goes missing? It’s a simple question really, but if I were to tell you that you were a piece of the puzzle of God’s unique plan for your life would you believe that? Maybe, and maybe not. The reason being that many of us doubt that we are gifted with our own special qualities. I know it may be hard to believe, but each and every person matters. Everyone has a purpose.

"For I know the plans I have for you, plans to prosper you and not harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future." Jeremiah 29:11

Photo by Anthony Tran on Unsplash
Be Confident

Before I became a mother I had all the confidence in the world, but it took a while to get that way. Once I became a mother it’s like I had to start the confidence building process all over again. It’s easier to live with purpose if you live your life with confidence. So here are a few ways that you can build your confidence.

  • Self Care
  • Build Healthy Relationships
  • Be Kind and Giving
Photo by averie woodard on Unsplash
Explaining the List Above

Self Care- Many Christians and even non Christians associate self care with selfishness. However, that can be further from the truth. God wants us to take care of ourselves. How can we serve someone else if we are running on empty. You can practice self care by doing at least one thing you love every day, and by also doing things that are necessary. Things like exercise, eating healthy, and maintaining your emotional and physical health. If we are made in the image of God and that is something to be proud of. Own that with confidence. (Song of Songs 4:7)

Build Healthy Relationships – Building healthy relationships is essential to building your confidence. My relationship with God is my top priority, then my family and friends. Building healthy and positive relationships will not only make you feel confident it will also make you happier.

Be Kind and Giving – I have always believed in the reap what you sow. I don’t think that coincidences are a thing. (Ephesians 4:32) When you are kind to others, then others will be kind to you. It’s a simple concept. Try doing one act of kindness a day, and you may find that your life has more meaning to it then you realize.

I hope that this helps you find your purpose. There is nothing that brings more peace, then knowing that you where put on this earth for a reason, and you are that reason. If you enjoyed this post leave a comment below, or share it with others!

"When it comes to the end of my journey it's not about being remembered, but who I am remembered as."

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5 Things to Start Doing in Your 20’s Before Buying a Home

5 Things to Start Doing in Your 20’s Before Buying a Home

Home is where the heart is.

1. Start building your credit right away.

If you haven’t started building your credit that is something I highly suggest putting at the top of your list. When purchasing a home, almost every loaner that you come across will want to know what your credit score is, and how long you have had it. If you don’t know where to start, I would suggest going to your bank and starting with a small student credit card. My first credit card had a $200 limit on it, and I used it on small things like gas and out to eat places.

2. Make sure you are smart with your credit.

I made the mistake of going credit crazy, and now I am having to pay of $3000 worth of debt. Do not make the mistake I made. I only recommend using one credit card like the one I mentioned above, and only use it for one small thing, and as soon as it’s time to pay your monthly payment pay off 90% of what you used. That way you will be building your credit, but not allowing yourself into a massive hole of debt. Just an FYI it’s not free money guys.  

3. Start putting money back for a down payment. 

Look up money saving plans on Pinterest. Figure out what would work best with your budget, and if it means cutting out unnecessary costs then do it. Most sellers require a minimum of $3000 to $5000 down. Just keep the bigger picture in mind, and you could be a homeowner in a year or two!

4. Keep in mind the location.

For future reference think about the future. Is this an area that you want to raise a family in? Is it safe, and what kind of schools are around. This is just something to take into consideration. Especially if you are planning on buying a home with your future spouse.

5. Consider renting before buying.

I know renting may seem like you’re wasting your money, but consider these things. 

  • Can you really afford buying a home just yet? This includes house payments, home owners insurance, water, electricity. When living in an apartment most of the time the only thing you have to pay for is rent and electricity.
  • Do you have the furniture and appliances you need for your home? If you wait and rent before buying, then you will have more time to save to buy furniture and appliances, because most apartments come with the appliances. The only appliances we had to pay for where the washer and dryer, and our microwave. 

Although it is frustrating to live in an apartment sometimes, these are just some things you need to consider. 

I hope these suggestions have helped you. This is something that I wish someone would have shared with me, because it would have helped me to make smarter decisions sooner rather than later, but hopefully I can help someone from making the same mistakes that I did just because I didn’t have the knowledge or understanding of everything that goes into buying a home.

“Life takes us to unexpected places, and love takes us home.”

My Little Family

Nothing ever prepares you for having to be apart from your soul mate, and nothing is preparing me for living the life of a military wife. Yet, here I am getting ready for my husband to leave me to go train for basics. However, it makes me proud knowing that my husband is going to be out there doing something to help someone else. For those of you who do not know me or my family I wanted to take the time to let you all know more about us, and what is currently happening in our lives right now, so here are some photos of my sweet selfless husband Stephen Watkins, and my precious fun and spunky baby boy Ivan Watkins.  Soon my husband will be leaving for the National Guard, and we will be miles apart from each other with the only communication being through letters, so please pray for our family. The transition is going to be different for sure, but with God all things are possible.


“God Bless America, land that I love.”

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!

Three Reasons Why I Started My Journey With Young Living

Three Reasons Why I Started My Journey With Young Living

Just an FYI: These are not promised to cure any serious illness, cancer, etc. if you have any problems like these, please consult your doctor.

 

For those of you who are wondering what essential oils are, they are often called the ,”life blood,” of the plant. The oils are concentrated, aromatic liquids steam-distilled from the seeds, bark leaves, stems, roots, flowers, or fruit. They support a plant’s internal structures. When properly cultivated and distilled, Essential Oils can support a healthy lifestyle. Today I am going to share with you four reasons why I have decided to start this journey. I will talk about what it was like when I first heard about it, how it affected me, and what I plan to do with it.

When I first heard about Young Living…

The first time I heard about Young Living Essential Oils was from someone I knew that had mentioned looking into it, and at first I was skeptical. I had began to receive various messages from Young Living distributors and advocates, and honestly that made even more skeptical, because this had happened to me before, where someone was trying to sell something to me, and it was basically a scam, so I kept coming up with excuses, and that was when someone else I knew convinced me that it was a legit company.

How did I know it wasn’t a scam?

Well after talking to people that I knew personally, and doing some research on my own I found out for myself that this was something I would really enjoy sharing with other people. The girl that I talked to was like me, and was a stay at home mom with two little ones, and after telling me about it, and giving me a little booklet to read on Young Living I was ready to start.

Why did I decide to join?

  • The Major Health Benefits Are Great!

After the major research I had done I realized the amazing health benefits for me and my family. Even I didn’t make a profit off of it I knew it was something that could be really beneficial for my family and I. For example one of the oils that comes in the premium starter kit is called, “Stress Away,” a combination of Lime and Vanilla. Not only is the scent amazing, but add two drops of that along with two drops of Lavender Essential Oil in my bath, and you have one happy mama. As a mom I tend to stress about a lot of things, so for me this was a gift from heaven itself.

  • The Company Is Genuine

I love sharing the products with others, because I know that I am being genuine with their products. Their products are authentic, and 100% pure Grade A oils. I also love sharing them with others, because they have worked so great for me that I know that I am not just trying to sell someone a product that I wouldn’t even use myself.

What do I get out of it?

I am so glad you asked that, because I am just going to be straight up with you.

  • I will get out of it whatever I put into it.. which includes: time, effort, and sometimes money.

  • I can be my own boss and set my own hours.

Who doesn’t dream of being their own boss and setting their own hours? And I can promise you it doesn’t mean being lazy. You still have to put in the work. I still get up pretty early and get off around five, but I do have the weekends off, and I love what I do, plus I don’t have anyone that getting onto me for silly things. It’s pretty simple, and easy to follow.

  • I learn new things all the time!

I am kind of a nerd, and I love that this company gives me the chance to expand and broaden my horizons. I love learning about natural medicines, and there is always something new to learn it seems like everyday.

  • Again the health benefits are amazing!

I have the opportunity to be healthier and stronger by using Essential Oils. I am getting rid of toxins and chemicals throughout my home and replacing it with everything natural and healthy.

  • Discounts and Free Stuff

Even if I have a week, or month where I don’t sell anything I still get to be apart of the Essential rewards, which offers up to 24% off wholesale products, and they have special deals every month, freebies and more!

 

 

That’s all that I have to share with you all today! I hope this has helped you to better understand what Essential Oils are, and how they have benefited me personally. If you are interested and want to know more, please let me know! I will give you my referral code, and don’t forget until May 25th you will get 10% off of the premium starter kit, and I can help you start this journey and grow to your full potential. Don’t wait until tomorrow, choose a healthier lifestyle now! Also don’t miss out on the chance to sign up for my blog newsletter for essential oil recipes, and more!

 

 

 

Love always,

Lauren Smith.