My Encouragement Playlist

My Encouragement Playlist

Good morning!

This weekend went by WAY too fast for me. On Friday  night, Mr. M and I had a movie night date night with our couple friends from church. They have two littles, so we waited until the kids were in bed before we snuck over for cookies, cheetos, and popcorn. We felt like we were in college all over again staying out late. Because we forgot to have dinner (I was engrossed in a book; he was engrossed in FIFA), I binge ate Cheetos and then thought I was going to get sick to my stomach. I stayed nauseous all day on Saturday and will not be eating Cheetos again.

Saturday I threw a launch party for skincare products that I started selling. I had a great afternoon doing a spa day with some great friends. Then on Saturday evening, Mr. M and I FINALLY put our bed frame together. We are officially no longer sleeping on a mattress on a floor. We’re moving on up in the world.

Sunday was dedicated towards unpacking some more boxes of Mr. M’s – mainly boxes of books – and color coordinating the bookshelf in our office. Mr. M was away reffing for the day. And while I’m not saying I like it when he’s gone, I get a whole lot of organizing and cleaning and podcast listening done.

Mondays come way too soon, and some days, I just wake up on the wrong side of the bed.

To combat those Monday grumpies, I like to drink my coffee extra strong and get some encouragement in my head. Today I’m sharing with you my favorite podcast and sermon playlist that I listen to for a good mood.

My Encouragement Playlist

Rooted in Delight

This the most recent podcast from Jonathan David and Melissa Helser and as soon as I finished the podcast, I knew I needed to give it a second listen. I was floored with the message Melissa shares about grounding our identity in God and how he is a GOOD father who delights in us. Melissa is like my spiritual aunt. I’m touched and moved by everything Holy Spirit says through her. She is so creative and talented and open to the move of the Holy Spirit. You can check out a little preview of the podcast here. To listen to the whole podcast, check them out on iTunes!

Managing Your Emotions

If Melissa Helser is like my spiritual aunt, Abi Stumvoll is like my spiritual sister. A few weeks ago when I was having a particularly rough time with my work/life balance, I listened to her sermon on Managing your Emotions. This was another sermon I quickly put in my back pocket to pull out whenever I need an encouraging slap in the face to woman up and calm the heck down. The thing with Abi is that she is a very vulnerable and emotional person, but she also leaves room for Holy Spirit to speak through her. You can check out her podcast on soundcloud or iTunes here.

My Encouragement Playlist

Renewing Your Mind

This is a series of short videos from Abi Stumvoll about renewing your mind. There is also a Todd White sermon at the end that I haven’t had a chance to listen to yet. But I gave this series of videos a listen while I was getting ready on my Sabbath day last Wednesday. In today’s world of busyness and routine, it is so easy to become set in our way of thinking. Often the rut we can get into is not always healthy, so it’s always good to do a heart check and mind check whenever we feel as if our emotions are getting out of whack. (Which, for me, is almost every Monday morning.) Check out the Youtube series Renewing Your Mind.

Embracing the Seasons

I almost always share sermons by Kim Walker Smith when I’m talking about sermons or podcasts that impact my life. As soon as I type in “KI” into Youtube, it automatically brings up Kim Walker Smith sermons. I have her sermons bookmarked to listen to again and again. All of these ladies speak so much to my heart and soul and the seasons I’m in. Kim Walker Smith’s sermon on Embracing Seasons shares wisdom that I often fail to remember, so I have to go back time and again to remind myself that the season I am in is not a forever season. The season I am in is preparation for the next. Because when you’re in an exhausting season, it’s easy to lose sight of where God is moving in your life. You can view Embracing the Seasons on Youtube.

My Encouragement Playlist

The Starlight Album

And to cap it all off, an amazing worship album. I’ve been listening to the Starlight album nonstop in this season of my life. My favorite songs are Catch the Wind, Take Courage, and The War is Over. These are great songs to listen to at your desk, in the car, or on blast while you’re cleaning your house. I love how it gets me in the heart of worship, even when I’m in the grump slumps.

What do you do to encourage yourself out of the grumpies? Tell me in the comments below!

*All of today’s photos come from Unsplash. Because I own an iphone, I’m not a photographer, and I’ve not been doing any iphone photography lately because I am uninspired, too tired and lazy. 

Your Body Shouldn’t be Your Kryptonite

Friends! I am so pumped to share one of my all-time favorite encouraging bloggers with you. Megan writes for Apron Strings and Sticky Fingers, but she has gladly done a switcharoo with me. (After you read today’s post, head over to her page to read about Life’s Transitions!)  Today I have her on Hugs & Lattes to share an important topic that 97% of us women struggle with: Body Image.

Negative Body Image is something I started to encounter in my post-grad adult years. So I turned to my dear friend, Megan, to encourage us and speak into our lives about loving our bodies. She is a gorgeous lady with a gorgeous heart, so I am thrilled she is gracing my page with her wisdom!

Your Body Should Not Be Your Kryptonite

I was thrilled when Christina asked me to write a post on this topic because basically it’s my thing. You know how you have that one thing (or maybe multiple things if you’re a teeny bit of a hot mess) that always slip you up. That one thing that is your kryptonite, your weakness, the devil’s foothold in your life?

Yep that’s body positivity for me. Or really the lack thereof.

For those of you who know me, you know I’ve got a little bit of history with loving my body. We haven’t always been the best of friends. Back in high school I developed an eating disorder and was trapped in a terrible cycle of restrictive eating, obsessive calorie counting and not very fun amounts of exercising (although to be honest no amount of exercising is really fun.)

 

Looking at photographs of myself back then always horrifies me because I can still remember how awful I felt and how much I hated my body, when in reality there was absolutely nothing wrong with it. I was a waif. I was wasting away day by day. I was so painfully insecure and I thought changing the shape of my body would fix that.

 

Well five years on and I am happy to say that God has done a marvelous job of healing the damage I caused. I’m at a happy weight (very happy thanks to my love of chocolate.) I no longer restrict what I eat or exercise like a mad woman. And most days I can genuinely say that I love my body.

 

But this body loving stuff…it’s hard work. And nothing is more annoying than someone saying just love yourself. As if it’s as easy as flipping a switch.

 

If you are really struggling with body positivity you need more than just an airy fairy answer, you need some practical ways to make this change. So I wanna share a few things that have worked for me.

Your Body Should Not Be Your Kryptonite

 

How to love your body:

 

Be mindful with the media you consume

Your Body Should Not Be Your Kryptonite

Stop reading women’s magazines.

 

Bummer I know because it’s fun seeing what Beyonce’s mansion looks like or who Jennifer Aniston is gonna marry next but these magazines are the worst.

Not only are they airbrushed, photoshopped and touched up so that nobody is even the slightest bit real. They also promote fad diets, body shaming and food fear. Ain’t nobody got time for that.

Get rid of the fitspo

Hands up if you are guilty of having one of those fitspiration pinterest boards…because I sure was. A little bit of motivation never hurt anyone but the just do it, go hard or go home, nothing tastes as good as skinny feels (lies!) stuff is one of my pet peeves.

 

Exercise should be about feeling good, not going until you pass out from exhaustion. I say get rid of the fitspo.

 

And while you are at it, unfollow all of those fitness models on instagram. They’re just trying to sell you gross skinny teas and that nasty chalk dust, protein powder anyway.

Your Body Should Not Be Your Kryptonite

Surround yourself with truth

First of all by reading what God says about you because obviously that’s the truest words you’ll find.

But secondly, follow body positive and encouraging people on social media. Fill up your newsfeeds and timelines with people of all different races, shapes and sizes. Broaden your definition of beautiful.

 

Stop trying to fit into your clothes

 

You know that pair of skinny jeans that are a little too tight around the thighs and make you feel awful every time you struggle to zip them up? Yeah well they’ve got to go.

 

Stop feeling guilty for not fitting your clothes. You are constantly growing and changing and so is your body…it just means an excuse to go shopping!

Your Body Should Not Be Your Kryptonite

Treat your body with respect

 

This one is kind of intuitive. You know what your body needs best. Start listening and taking cues from it.

Try to eat a vegetable every once in awhile. Make time for exercise that you love. Drink plenty of water. Sleep as much as you can. Laugh often and much.

 

You’ve only got one body so you should probably take good care of it!

 

Every time I’m having one of those days where I’m feeling especially crappy because my skin is breaking out or my hair’s a mess, I remind myself that right now I’m in my prime, this is the best I’m ever gonna look, it’s all downhill from here.

 

Right now I can get away with eating another piece of cake and not putting on foundation and sweeping my hair into a ponytail but one of these days that won’t be the case.

 

One day I’m gonna be wrinkly and need mascara to make my lashes even visible. I’m gonna be wobbly and unable to enjoy a brisk walk. And I’m gonna be on a bunch of medication that probably means I can’t eat as much cheesecake.

So I’ve decided that I’m gonna enjoy these fresh faced twenty-something years and not let a pimple or bad hair day stop me from living fully.  

 

Love your body but remember it’s simply a shell that holds all of the rest of you.

 

Megan is the sunny personality behind Apron Strings and Sticky Fingers a lifestyle blog for twenty-somethings who are learning to become the best versions of themselves. Megan is a sucker for cute shoes and paperback books and she lives all the way at the bottom of the world in New Zealand. If you wanna connect with her, you’ll find her on Twitter, Instagram and of course on her blog.  

 

4 Steps Towards Living a Full Life

4 steps towards living a full life

Last week I passed by an oak tree – branches heavy with leaves. The house behind it peeked through its fullness and I thought, I want my life to be like that, Lord. Full.

And then the thought came: Your life will be as full as you want it to be. I get the choice. I can choose to live a full life or I can choose to live a small life. What does living a full life look like?

4 Steps Towards a Full Life

Become Uncomfortable

The older I get, I find myself more cautious. I am neater, more organized, and more aware of consequences and implications. All these things are an important part of development and maturity, but sometimes overthinking and staying too rigid leaves little room for adventure and the ability to be uncomfortable. It’s amazing the little things that make me uncomfortable these days: a change in routine, a small inconvenience. I’ve turned into a persnickety 83 year old in my early-mid twenties. When I get too comfortable with my routine, who I am, and where I am at in life, I limit myself.

One reason I knew I Mr.M was the man I was going to marry was the sheer fact that I was uncomfortable. From Day 1 of our relationship, he pushed me outside my comfort zone. I was uncomfortable at the level of spiritual vulnerability. I was uncomfortable navigating the intercultural nuances. I was uncomfortable with the leadership that came with our relationship. But my life was full. Being outside of my comfort zone pushed me in ways that I could never have imagined. I experienced intense growing pains during the beginning part of our relationship, and I loved it.

What is one area you need to get uncomfortable?

4 steps towards a full life

Establish Deep Roots

The second thing that came to mind as I considered the full oak tree is the roots. A tree cannot grow into adulthood and expand its wings, so to speak, without a deep root system. Likewise, we need our roots to grow long and deep into healthy soil.

How do we get our roots to grow?

We drink deeply, feed our soul, and press into our foundation.

Drink deeply of the life you are given, and press into your foundation. My foundation is my faith. I drink deeply of the wisdom of those older than me and of the Scriptures. I notice a change in myself when I’ve isolated myself from my roots. When I neglect to take time to feed my soul – whether that is refusing to take time for a bubble bath sans Netflix, going on a walk outside, or reading my Bible at night – I feel my leaves start to wither.

How do you feed your soul?

4 Steps Towards a Full Life

Healthy Soil

For those of you who grew up in Sunday School, you likely heard the parable of the sower and the seeds.

A sower threw his seeds into four different areas. The seeds fell onto the path, where they were eaten up by birds – they were denied the chance to grow. Other seeds fell into rocky soil. The plants quickly took root and shot up, but the roots were shallow and the plants were scorched by the heat. Some seeds fell among the thorns, where they were choked up, and the seeds that fell on good soil grew strong and healthy and produced a large crop.

Our soil is our community. Who are we surrounded by? Who do we have to lift us up? Who do we have to nourish us, encourage us, and give us the space to grow?

There were times when I felt as if I was on rocky soil. I feared that if one more thing happens, I would give up. During these times, I wasn’t surrounded by a strong community. I had isolated myself. And even worse, I allowed people who didn’t have my best interest to speak into my life.

There are growing pains that come with a full life. We go through various seasons, and if we are not rooted in a strong community, we will wither and die. What does a strong community look like for you?

For me, a strong community looks like peers who are ambitious. They are pursuing their dreams, their calling, and most importantly, the Lord. A strong community also consists of allowing people who are older and wiser to speak into my life – to call me out when I’m being crazy and to encourage me when I’m weak. In a strong community, there are also people who may be different than me – whether it be younger, or living with a different (but holy) perspective from whom I can learn.

What does a strong community look like for you?

4 Steps Towards a Full Life

Duration

When I think about how long it takes for an oak to grow, it’s exhausting. Oak trees can take up to 100 years to grow to their full potential. Some days it may feel like we see little to no growth at all in our lives. We wonder when we will reach our destiny and fulfill our potential. But we remember, growth comes little by little. We may not see it in the moment, but we get to look back and see how far we have come.

Living a full life takes patience. We must weather through various seasons, year by year, in order to grow. Like the oak tree, we experience high winds, torrential downpours, snow, the hot sun year after year after year. But one day, thirty years from now, when we look back, we will see how much we have grown.

4 Steps to Living a Full Life

10 Verses for When You Feel Afraid

 

do not fearThe news has been crazy lately. My heart goes out to the victims of Irma, Harvey, the earthquake in Mexico, those in fear because of DACA ending – my list could go on. There is so much pain and hurt in the world.

It is so easy to overwhelm ourselves with anxieties about the world that we cannot control. Yesterday at church, my pastor shared a convicting message about fear that inspired me and revealed 3 important truths:

1 – Terrible things have been happening in the world since day one. Think: crusades, the Civil War, World War II – the list could go on. Nowadays we know about all the terrible things happening in the world. With an overload of information, it’s understandable that we get overwhelmed with anxieties and fear.

2 – In a world that broadcasts chaos daily, we are called to be peacemakers.

3 – Peace is not a reaction of our external circumstances, but a presence from within.

For the past couple of years, I’ve been intentionally overcoming fear. Two years ago, I declared to become a prisoner of hope. After listening to a sermon from Pastor Bill Johnson (Bethel Church, Redding, California), I declared that to be the year that I would become not a prisoner of fear, but a prisoner of hope.

Someone who had time and the energy looked up the word “Fear” in the Bible and noticed that it says “Do Not Fear” 365 times. That is one time for each day of the year!

When we are afraid, we must declare who we are, and whose we are. We are strong. We fight from victory. We are children of God. And our God will fight for us.

I don’t say these things because I pulled them out of the air. I say them because they are full of light and truth from the word of God.

10 Verses For When You Feel Afraid

God cares for us 

1 Peter 5:7 

Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.

God is our Salvation

Isaiah 12:2 

Surely God is my salvation; I will trust and not be afraid. The Lord, the Lord himself, is my strength and my defense; he has become my salvation.

God is our Father

Romans 8:15

 The Spirit you received does not make you slaves, so that you live in fear again; rather, the Spirit you received brought about your adoption to sonship. And by him we cry, “Abba, Father.

God is with us

Joshua 1:9 

Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.

God will fight for us 

Exodus 14:13 – 14

Do not be afraid. Stand firm and you will see the deliverance the Lord will bring you today. . . The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still.

God gives us peace 

John 14:27

Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.

There is no fear in love 

1 John 4:17 – 18 

This is how love is made complete among us so that we will have confidence on the day of judgment: In this world we are like Jesus. There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.

God does not give us a spirit of fear 

2 Timothy 1:7

For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power,love and self-discipline.

God brings us joy in the midst of anxiety 

Psalm 94:19

When anxiety was great within me, your consolation brought me joy.

Don’t worry about tomorrow. 

Matthew 6:34

Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.


What are your favorite verses on fear?

What is your fear coping mechanism? 

4 Ways to Upgrade Your Week

4 Ways to Upgrade Your Week

I don’t have all the answers. I don’t have all the skills, the knowledge, or the know how. I don’t want all the answers. Because if I did, then I wouldn’t need anyone else.

I have said it before, and I will say it again: the COMMUNITY is one of the best things about blogging. We’re all reading each other’s how-tos, online diaries, and learning more about each other and ourselves as we do so. There are so many amazing women out there who are killin’ the game, and today I wanted to highlight some amazing ladies writing some powerful things.

The amazing thing about perspective is that even though we have our own, we get to learn from each other. You see the world differently than I do, and that is why we need to highlight, encourage, and listen to what each other has to say.

Below you will find some oldies and some more recent posts from 4 bloggers with wonderful and full of life-giving sentiments that you can carry throughout your day and throughout your week.

4 Ways to Upgrade Your Week

Perceive Your Opportunities


Erica from Coming Up Roses is all about positivity, style, and coffee (and her cats) and I always appreciate it when she serves some straight truth.

“It’s an opportunity to grow, or an obstacle to keep you from growing.” 

How many times do we feel like we triumph over one thing and are faced with a big old rock in the way? I had a friend who recently completed a Spartan race on the hardest course in the country. I listen with awe as she talks about the obstacles and challenges she faced and overcame. It is so easy for us to see a bump in the road and want to sit down or turn around. But that’s not why the obstacle is in front of us. The obstacle is in front of us to give us an opportunity to make us stronger. As Mandisa says, “You’re an overcomer.” Read more from Erica’s perspective here.

Unsubscribe from that Negativity

We had our book study earlier tonight. It’s always funny to see the glances or side-eyes people give me when they see the title of the book I’m reading. “The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work.” Part of me wants to place a label on my head that says, “NO. MY MARRIAGE IS NOT IN JEOPARDY.” But part of me is also slightly entertained by the funny looks people send my way (especially when the look is coming from my husband himself!). . . One of the 4th year spouses started a book study because she’s seen firsthand how medical school can break apart some of the strongest marriages. We’re only on Week 2 and Chapter 5 in the book. But, I’ve been loving the discussions I’ve been having with these wonderful people. . . Before we moved here, I was given a lot of advice and warnings from family and friends who have been through similar experiences. They said I would never see Ankur. And that I would be sacrificing so much. And that I should suppress my feelings and never share my problems or concerns with him for fear that it would distract him from his studies. It took me some time to tune out the well-intentioned advice. Because our marriage doesn’t operate like that. I think the reason we ARE so successful is because we are able to put our pride aside and successfully communicate what we need without feeling guilt or shame. . . But another big reason we are able to make it through medical school is because of this amazing support system of spouses. Checking in with one another during an exam weekend or hanging out with one another while our husbands and wives are buried in the books has been a LIFE. SAVER. It’s like therapy. But with people who ACTUALLY get what you’re going through. Because they’re doing it right there with you. By your side. Every step of the way. . . Feeling especially grateful for these friendships and our book study today. ❤️

A post shared by Divya Budhraja (@eatteachblog) on

If you’re like me, you may be a little bit of a clutter bug. We stayed at our friend’s house this weekend and I looked around with amazement (and slight jealousy) of how clean everything was. Where were the drunk drawers?! Someone needs to teach me minimalism, because I have so much STUFF.

But stuff doesn’t have to be physical, it can also be mental. Clutter can be what we listen to, the relationships we have, the job that is bringing us more pain than joy, etc.

I know minimalism is a thing for the millennials right now, but we could all deal with some clearing of that negative energy. I love how Divya from Eat, Teach, Blog removes the clutter from her life specifically by hitting that “Unsubscribe” button. How many of us need to unsubscribe from the things that leave us joyless? Need more encouragement? Check out Divya’s post.

Treat Your Marriage with Honor

I’m pointing you back to another old post today… my 30-by-30 list! Search for it on the blog and see how far I’ve come ?

A post shared by Joy Lynn | Lifestyle Blog (@joylynnlifestyle) on

You may not be married yet, but this is still a great read from Joy at Joy Lynn. I’ve been following this lifestyle and minimalist blogger for a couple of years, and I have learned so much from her posts!

Earlier this summer, Pai and I were at a Longhorn Steakhouse and talking with someone about how wonderful marriage had been in the first four months. A man overheard us at the bar and said, “Well just wait, it gets worse. I’m on my second marriage.” To which I thought, “Well duh. You seem like a Rumplestiltskin.” With that kind of negative attitude, of course you’re on your second marriage.

It’s important to me that we treat marriage and our spouses with honor. I love how Joy brings the house down with this truth bomb: We have to stop treating marriage like damaged goods. 

Even if you are not married yet, you can treat your friendships and relationships with those around you with honor. Without honor,  we do not value and respect the goodness that we have in each other.

Stop Those Insecurities and Love Yourself 

Megan from Apron Strings and Sticky Fingers is seriously a little corner of sunshine in this dark world. I have so much respect for her bravery, vulnerability, and I freakin’ love her New Zealand accent. (That’s an added plus.)

Have you ever met someone with so much confidence that you wonder what/where their flaws are? I have. It’s those type of people that you are gravitated towards, but then go home feeling one of two ways. 1) I can be like them and change the world. 2) I wish I were like them, but I have too many flaws. No matter how the person treats you, you sometimes feel that way.

I am just as insecure as the next girl, but I want to stop. I want to fight my insecurities and walk out in confidence and bravery like Megan does. So here is a great life lesson and exercise you can learn from her.

There are thousands more bloggers I could and would love to highlight. If you have a particular blogger friend with an inspiring post (or if you have a great post you wrote yourself!) leave it in a comment below so we can meet more amazing people!