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2014. #Flashback Friday

One of the most humbling things to do is to look back at where I was and thank God that I am growing from my experiences. I am so proud of myself for not being where I was but at the same time I am so grateful for every experience I’ve had and even now, am in the middle of because all of it is shaping my character and maturing me into the woman that I want to be. In the midst of tribulation its hard to see the purposes in it and it’s easy to want to give in, but I am glad that I didn’t give up. It has been a good fight and has made me strong and confident in my faith. Today my heart is at peace and nothing can shake that.

I share this because it’s a reminder to me that life is always moving and where we are now is not where we’ll be tomorrow. Time is passing away every minute and we all have the choice to live intentionally for tomorrow. I want to spend everyday experiencing life at it’s fullest in love, hope, goodness and peace and I refuse to let fear, anxiety and insecurity steal anymore of my days. The days are too short to be spent in anything but peace and I’m so thankful that I know that now.

Today’s #FlashbackFriday is a journal entry from 2014:

Dear God,

Today was a good day. I can’t complain. This week is a short week and I have a dance convention this weekend. Yesterday and I had a Parenthood marathon on the couch and then I’m taking Friday as a vacation day too. I really have a blessed life. I have a great job that I love and am able to do what I love. Inside there is a war in my soul that is exhausting me everyday. The spiritual war in my mind and heart rages every moment of my day, when I’m asleep  and when I’m awake. To the casual onlooker everything looks calm and neatly collected but to me looking out, I feel like a huge mess. And maybe I am but I’m really trying to just get a grip on my life these days. My thought life is a raging storm that gets calm then picks up all over again. I am in a wandering mode and I’m tired and exhausted and feel completely alone. I just want to lay down and not move anymore. But I’m still trying to figure out where I am and I’m praying for just one friend that I can travel with and hopefully discover the path that I need to be on. I’ve been on my knees and even pouring out my tears to God in my car asking for help, an answer and also just really being honest with my thoughts. I read today on Instagram that “the thing about pain it demands to be felt” and that brought me some comfort. That’s the best way to describe how I feel. I am in pain. Plain and simple and I don’t understand why when my life is such a blessing. What is wrong with me? I just want to be happy and free from more pain. —Count it all joy when you encounter various trials…”Count it all joy in the middle of pain is actually where God is the closest. He is near to the brokenhearted. Maybe that’s what life is about…a series of circumstances, painful and joyful, that bring us closer to where God is. Don’t you hear him saying, “I AM in your pain. I AM in your brokenness. I AM here.” Turn around and embrace this time…this pain and the arms of Jesus. Eventually you’ll turn around and be so happy that you did.— This was so encouraging to read today. I don’t understand this war that wages in my heart but I know that this pain is crippling and constant. If I think on it for a few moments longer that I want to, then I spend the rest of the day trying to get back to a place of peace. I lose ground in my battle for my day when I give too many long moments to this pain. It sucks. I don’t want to be this depressed, emotional, crazy woman. I want to be free to just be in my day and not be struggling to just take a breathe because I’m drowning in my anxieties, fears, and insecurities. It’s so disappointing and discouraging and it’s draining the hope from my life and challenging my faith. I have been praying to be closer to God and wanting nothing more than to just curl up in that quiet place with Him where I feel so safe and at complete peace overwhelmed with his greatness and calming love. Although I have no idea what I’m doing right now and I feel like my life is not moving, I do know that this time is a chance for me to cling to God and witness his amazing love and comfort. Some mornings though, I forget to tap into His loving grace and by the end of my day I realize that I again chose to walk my life alone. I think that I need to stop being mad that I’m in this position of needing help and start accepting that I am here. I have no control over this, it is where I am. As much as I’d like to will myself to a completely different world, that is not going to happen overnight. The process is still the process and I need to surrender to it. I need a new focus. I get to be here and get to be in a place of needing God so much. This is a great opportunity for me to exercise my faith and allow God to work, to be who He is in my life. Now that I’m saying that I don’t know why I’m fighting it so much and trying so hard to survive. Yes it is true, all feels hopeless, and I can’t figure out what’s next but why am I not embracing this moment to just rest in God’s strong arms. If I must wait for what is next them why am I waiting outside alone and miserable, instead on in my favorite nook, with Him. Well things feel gloomy but I am not alone. I have many things to be thankful for and I just made cookies. It was a good day and I’m thankful. I just pray for the ability to use my faith tomorrow and stay calm and quiet in His arms. No one will ever love me the way God loves me. I cannot comprehend it but He is there and I need to just enjoy Him because I can. I love you God. Thank you for how you whisper quietly to my heart the truths that comfort my deepest cries. You’re amazing God. Good night.

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Extra fries, please.

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That’s all I want in life, to eat extra fries, everyday. Oh, and for it to be as healthy for me as eating a carrot. Hey I can dream, right? Let’s be real, if fries were healthy for me like carrots, I would not eat them because that greasy yummy-ness would be gone. Since I can’t have all the fries I want, I think I’ll just take this tank top in remembrance of my french fry love.

Dramatic much? I don’t think so because this is how I feel today. I can’t deny my feelings because that just gets me in trouble and I’ll end up in the Chick-fil-A drive thru. Haha! I’ve been working on eating whole foods and eating less “fun” food to fuel my workouts and brain so that I can go the extra mile at work. I have been feeling better, more energetic and it makes getting through my workouts easier. It doesn’t hurt less to workout but I don’t run out of gas in the middle.

For the next nine days I’m going to be leveling up my nutrition which means focusing on fueling my body with only whole food and way less “fun” foods. Part of me thinks “Yay this will be awesome!” and the other part of me is dying inside! I love my carbs- french fries, mac & cheese, mashed potatoes…my heart hurts. I have been half-halfheartedly cutting these foods since January but I know that I need to just stop the dramatics and get more serious about cleaning up the foods that I consume because I don’t want all of my hard work in the gym to be for nothing. If my nutrition isn’t supporting my goals, then that means I’m choosing to self-sabotage my results. Which doesn’t make any sense at all. So for the next nine days I’m going to share my day-to-day progress and any tips that I’ve found helpful for me. Since I’ve started this process I’m learning that transforming mindsets is no easy task, and we can all use any help that we can get.

Day 1 Tip:

Plan, plan, plan then pray, pray, pray.

Thank God, for Google calendar because it tells me exactly where I should be and what I should be doing. I created a special calendar just to plan my workouts and meals and at the start of my week I plan out everything. I plan what time I’m leaving work to drive to the gym. I plan what time I’m making my lunch shake and when I’m taking my vitamins with my afternoon carrot snack. If I’m going out to eat I even plan what I’m going to order and how I’m going to eat well leading up to that “fun” meal. When everything is planned, its easier to just listen to my calendar (since it’s synced to my phone) and do it. Important note: You need to be flexible and proactive with your calendar, sometimes things come up mid-week, so you have to make it a point to re-visit your calendar and adjust for the change.

“If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail,”

With that said, the real challenge comes with trying to stick to the plan in spite of what you are feeling that particular day. This is where the praying comes in. Haha! Seriously though, I find myself praying a lot more for focus and the strength to make choices that support my goals instead of choices that feed my most current emotions. Our feelings are fleeting. Think about it, one minute you’re super happy, the world is beautiful, and then that jerk cuts you off, and you’re furious with how no one EVER uses their blinker and then you get to work and you’re back to ” Good Morning World” let’s tackle this day with a smile. Ok maybe that’s more like one of my days but honestly you know your feelings vary through out the day too and it can change in an instant based on anything. Such as your energy level, lack of caffeine, workload, personal life issues…you know what can press your buttons, the point is our feelings are not a good foundation to stand on since they change so much. So when I pray, I pray to remember only truth and to drown out the feelings that want me to just mac & cheese for lunch. My truth is remembering the goals that I set for myself and the reason that I want to be healthy. Right now I’m trying to change habits that have been in place for years, so for now this is going to be a major struggle for me and I do have to pray a lot for my will power to grow so that I can achieve change. But I know that I’m at a pivotal point in my life where I want change in my life more than anything else.

“Change happens when the pain of staying the same is greater than the pain of change.”

So I won’t be having extra fries as much anymore but I’ll always have a special place in my heart for my precious fries, mac & cheese, oh and pizza, I love my pizza too.

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Exactly, always in my heart. 

via Daily Prompt: Fry

Can I be a hermit?

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my current mood

I’m only 4 days into my get healthy journey and I think that it would benefit me to just become a hermit during this time so that I can reach my goal. I’ve planned out all of my workouts and meal plans for each day in my journey. Unfortunately I’m not able to plan on my daily moods and my motivation levels. Which really can be a determining factor in whether of not I follow my plan. It’s only day 4 and I’ll already was invited to a birthday party and a great networking event luncheon, which neither really fit into my plan. I received bad news about a close family friend and now I have no desire to workout, but would rather lay in bed and watch Netflix. I just have to laugh because just a few days ago I had so much motivation, I couldn’t wait to start my plan and start working out and was so excited at all the possibilities, but now I can’t see past the tortilla chips in front of me.

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It has become undeniably clear that my success in this journey completely rests on what I allow in my mind. This is going to be my biggest challenge every day and I have a feeling I’m going to become an expert at changing my attitude by the end of my journey. The bright side of this, is the I am the boss of my mind. My mind will focus on what I choose to focus on. I have the power, I just need to get better at redirecting my focus to my goals when things start to get off track. The problem is sometimes I hop onboard when my mind starts to wander and next thing you know I find myself mindlessly eating tortilla chips about to watch Netflix.

This physical transformation requires an entire paradigm shift which sounds a little scary when you put it like that, when all I wanted was to lose some weight. The reality is that our belief system is so engrained in us, that in order to change a handful of physical habits, we must go straight to the root (our belief system) and pull out the bad weeds or things that we tell ourselves that discourage us from our goals. We all are wired completely different so each of us has different beliefs about ourselves that hold us back. The trick is being brutally honest with yourselves when pinpointing them and being courageous enough to pull the weed no matter how long it has been there. The longer the weed has been there the harder it is to pull out.

You have to ask yourself: Are you thinking about what you think about?

You’ll be happy to know that I put the chips away and made myself get up and change into my workout gear. I made it to the gym and knocked out my leg day. It was a slow start but after almost two hours I changed my attitude enough to get me in the car. The goal going forward is cutting that time in half because this will happen again and I need to get quicker at changing my mindset in those moments. It’s a battle against my mind and I plan to win. Remember you’re in control of what you think about. What you think about produces action, good or bad. Let’s think about great things so that we will be great this year!

Deciding to Live

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Every day is full of decisions, like what to wear, where to stop for gas, which Starbucks drink to get, should I take the plunge and add the extra $2 guacamole at Chipotle? Usually I mindlessly make these decisions, it’s just a part of my “work week” and the exciting part of my life starts on Friday at 5pm. Then I spend every moment of my weekend living intentionally and carefully deciding what I want to do and where I want to eat. I realized that lately I’ve given into the mindset of living for the weekend and just dealing with Monday thru Friday. When in reality life is still happening Monday thru Friday and I’m letting it slip by. With the new year I’ve been taking a self inventory and I’ve noticed that my weight has been creeping up and lately my food choices depend on my mood.

It’s not been completely terrible but it really hit me last week, the small mindless choices that I make today add up in the long run. These choices directly affect the quality of life I will have in a year or ten years. It’s no joke and from just the past six months of making ok-ish choices I have been unhappy about my clothes being snug, feeling sluggish and constantly battling a negative mindset. After watching Jamie Oliver’s TED Talk, I can’t get it out of my mind that “..diet related diseases [are] the biggest killer in the U.S. right now..” During Jamie’s speech he shares a graph that shows that heart disease is at the top, as the leading cause of death in the United States which is preventable. Other preventable diseases near the top of his list are stroke and diabetes. This just blows my mind that we could live longer and better but we’re not. I’m not. I have not been consistently making choices to live healthy, instead I’m just hoping that I’m healthy forever. Truth is, I can stop hoping and take action today over my health and start living well.

“Heart disease is the leading cause of death for women in the United States, killing 289,758 women in 2013—that’s about 1 in every 4 female deaths.” -Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Continue reading

Enjoy a Float

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Just surrender and float

When I was in elementary school I was not a very good swimmer but I really enjoyed going to our apartment pool in the summers. We played diving games and tried to perfect our handstand without toppling over. I would be having so much fun and then get so exhausted that all I could do was float on my back. It was so peaceful to just completely relax, focus on breathing and just focus on the blue sky above and the palms trees surrounding the pool, standing guard.  It was effortless and so simple and if I ever tried to fight it, the more I would sink. Once I just let myself go, floating would just happen and for a while I’d feel like I was on cloud. When I felt ready, I’d drop my feet and go right back to canon balls and diving with my family, happy for the recharge.

When you become an adult, completely aware of the craziness of life, it is so easy to forget to enjoy a float once in a while. Some where along the way in “adulthood” we convince ourselves that we have no time to pause, recharge or refocus. We believe there is no option but to keep going and pile more on to achieve success, love, and happiness. In a world where everything is instant and fast paced, we don’t want to miss out on anything. When in reality, we are doing just that. Rest is a life skill, a discipline that enhances every area of our life and enables us to be our best selves. This is how I’ve learned to enjoy resting or floating.

Make it Happen.

It is inevitable so why fight resting? So many people are on a race to burn out and then they are even more mad when they get sick and end up being forced to take a lot of time out to recover. I’ve learned to be proactive and just plan a rest day to press pause on my crazy busy life and just enjoy the recharge. The trick is when you do have a rest day you must be 100% present, because you’re still trying to work, answer email or what not, then you are not actually resting. Some days I have to fight for my rest times but in the long run it is much easier to proactive to my body’s needs than to be reactive on the fly. Continue reading

My Cup Overflows

Sunrise from 1st flight leaving Phx to meet my team in FL.


Today is travel day for our Never the Same Missions team, and this year we are going to San Jose, Costa Rica. We are on our way to the airport and even as I sit here on the bus, I still cannot believe that I am here. Just a few months ago I was content with not coming on this trip and happy to make 4th of July plans with my local family and friends. But God clearly has other plans for me. 

It was a struggle to get here for me financially and emotionally. Thankfully God did not give up on me and used all of my fearfulness and anxiety to show me even more of His greatness. One of the areas is my life that I feel that God is always pointing at is my independence. If I’m not attentive, over time my independence begins to take over and I start thinking, “I can do this all by myself.”  When I start letting that thought rule my days, fearfulness and anxiety soon follow. Independence that is seperate from God is empty and lonely. The pride of that kind of independence isolates you and that makes you vulnerable to anything. 

My cure for this is to reach out. I know that if I tell my close family and friends how I feel and explain my struggle, immediately I have peace. The truth is I am not alone and the second that I reach out to someone it is confirmed. I pretty much wrote off coming on this trip but a nudge from God had me talking about it in my small group. Slowly I began to tell others and before I knew it I was raising funds. For me the decision not to come was made out of fear and that’s not how I want to live my life. As I prayed more about this, I really felt that God was calling me to Cost Rica. And He confirmed it over and over through words of encouragement and through the support of my loved ones. 

All this to say that God is good and God dreams bigger dreams for you than you could ever imagine because He wants you to live life out of abundance and big faith not fear. He not only fulfills just what we need but then He goes above and beyond and pours out even more blessings on top of that, so that we are overflowing! Can you imagine living life in overflowing abundance?! 

It’s amazing. I’m in awe. 

Thank you to my friends and family for all of the love and support. Thank you for the prayers, the encouragement, and the financial support. My heart is overflowing. I cannot describe to you all the gratitude that I feel and how much I appreciate each of you. Truly your support is so felt and I pray that God blesses you ten fold. 

I’m looking forward to many coffee dates after I get back to Phoenix, so that I can share all the great God stories from Costa Rica! 

Please continue to pray for our team. 

-Shine

a porcelain doll

porcelain

there is a deafening scream

that awakens the heart to everything

the earth quakes with rage beneath my feet

life beats a thousand times a minute

but to onlookers the outside of me

is of porcelain perfection

no blinks to be had

make-up beautifully intricate, flawless

my smile precise and stained so lovely

my outfit boldly fashionable

a cause for envy

compliments flow like a strong river

but never quench the thirst

the inside remains parched

searching for sustenance

desperate and shaken

yet tough and still

perfect to the eye

my porcelain style

________________

A poem by: Shine Smiley

Post Inspired by September 22nd  The Daily Post prompt – Flash Talk

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Project You  This is probably the most difficult life lesson to learn but the most necessary. The pressures and stresses of life this summer have allowed me the opportunity to look myself in the eyes. This summer I’ve questioned so many things and have also made some life changing decisions. I’ve reminisced about my past and agonized over some of my hurts and at the same time proudly celebrated my greatest triumphs thus far. I’ve fought with my inner self to the point of exhaustion and then just felt like completely walking away from the whole project of me.

It is so easy to lose myself in the world’s definition of success, beauty, & happiness. It’s easy to start striving for standards that are not my own just to feel accepted, loved, validated….to feel like I belong somewhere. As I chat with ladies of all ages I’m discovering the struggle is the same and no matter the season of life, fighting for your self-worth is a lifestyle. It starts with loving yourself first and treating yourself the way that you want to be treated, knowing that your value doesn’t change because of someone’s inability to see your worth.

I’m a person that just wants to love everyone but sometimes I do it at the expense of myself all in the name of helping and loving someone. I’ve taken the long road to learn that lesson in my past and know now that loving and giving to my breaking point is not love. It doesn’t help anyone for me to destroy myself in the process.

Remember that taking care of yourself enables you to be a better provider to those around you.

It’s not healthy and I’ve learned that a healthy life is a happy one. That is easier said than done especially when it comes to relationships, because relationships are just plain messy. We’re human and it takes a lot of patience, grace, and maturity to navigate through the ups and downs of miscommunication, hurt feelings, and all the randomness that can spark a conflict. A part of taking care of yourself means to have the courage to be honest with yourself about the relationships that are draining your life instead of being life giving. In the long run by deciding to cut ties in those relationships will be the best decisions that you’ve ever made for yourself. You deserve to be happy and healthy and setting boundaries to take care of you is always the right decision.

It doesn’t matter where you’ve been or where you are now, all that matters that you have the power to choose to start loving and taking care of yourself today. This moment, this life is yours and you can change. Don’t be so hard on yourself. I always have to remind myself that imperfect progress is still progress. I still make mistakes and still fall victim to my insecurities some days but none of those things change that fact that I’m worth the fight. Taking care of myself has made me a stronger woman and given me the opportunity to give and love others in ways that I never thought possible. So it’s ok, take some time for yourself. Do something that you love, take a quiet walk, read a book, take a nap, wander around an art museum…celebrate you! You’ll be better for it. You’re uniquely you and that’s always worth celebrating! Have fun and enjoy!

God Bless,

Shine

 

Project: Me

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she is real.

She second guesses every word,

every thought

every choice.

She has made many mistakes and still makes them daily.

She is not perfect by far.

She loves hard

her family

her friends

even complete strangers.

Her love pours out and sometimes it’s too much.

She gives everything to everyone.

a gift to those in need but a curse to her for those who take everything.

She is not good at saying no but

she does know perseverance

very well.

Her boldness moves her forward.

She never gives up.

She will always fight.

She is tough but so fragile.

She’ll never admit that to you.

But the secret cry in her heart knows the truth.

She came from nothing

this victory can never be taken away.

She has survived so much already yet still the rain falls.

She is not shaken.

She is calm.

She knows nothing of the future or where she’ll be.

Her risks have changed her path.

She couldn’t resist the temptation of adventure.

She wants to be different.

She wants to live

to love

to be found

to explore.

She wants more.

She is against herself and at the same time not.

Her struggle lies within

Her truths can be distorted

She needs Him.

She loves Him more than words.

He is her everything.

She knows that.

She stands on that fact with a smile.

Her life, like anyone’s, can be a storm

a sweet blessing

a burst of laughter

or carry the weight of a million tears.

She can be so many things.

She can be confident

encouraging

funny

insecure

honest

optimistic

angry

independent

At her worst she feels irrelevant.

She is content in her sorrow.

Her brokenness humbles her.

Her depth always brings her back.

In the midst of the passing moments she is always

just her.

She can be no one else.

She is unique.

She is missed.

She is loved.

She is enough.

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Not My Memo

There it was just laying out in the open in plain view on the floor in the women’s restroom, a folded up piece of paper. My curiosity instructed me to pick it up and unfold it, It was a page torn from a small memo pad barely big enough for a shopping list but the few words on this small page cried out for answers.

The author had made a case on this small torn out page for her life like a claim had been made against her and this was her chance for a rebuttal.

“I could’ve been a doctor, a lawyer…or finished my business degree. I could’ve been a teacher… There is a lot of could haves but were there any “should haves”?

Wow. That’s a good question…I’m just been thrust into deep thought about my life decisions. I let the thought process roll over me like a strong wave and just let it run it’s course.

Who was this woman and does she need this memo back? Is she a psych major that’s just pondering deep thoughts of life for an assignment or is she in a life crisis trying to find herself? As I walk down the hallway I can’t help but notice all the woman that pass, I’m carefully studying their facial features to see if there is anything that might identify the author I’m searching for.

But nothing stands out.

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