Are You a Hopeful Christian? Or Are You a Believing One?

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Yesterday I prayed a prayer that I have been praying for months now. I pray it multiple times a week. It’s on my prayer wall. I have even asked others to pray it with me. But do you know what was different about yesterday’s prayer?

I realized that this entire time I had just been “hoping” it would be answered. I was hopeful that something would happen. Up until yesterday, I don’t think I truly BELIEVED that anything would come of it. As awful as it sounds to say it out loud, I didn’t believe that God was going to answer my prayer.

How guilty are we of doing that, though? How many times do we pray a prayer and “hope” that God will take care of it, but then we never actually give it over completely to Him? Why do we feel that we need to care those burdens around with us when God wants to take them off our shoulders?

Now, God may not answer my prayer in the way that I see, but He WILL answer it. And He will answer it in His timing and in His perfect way. Last week, I attended a leadership conference where I had the privilege to hear Lysa Terkeurst speak. She shared an amazing story about God’s perfect timing, but the one thing that she said that has stuck with me is this: “There’s what I see…and then there’s what God is doing.” We do not get to see the big picture, but God is always in control of it all. We only get a small piece of the puzzle BUT when we trust and BELIEVE that He is going to see it through, God will show up and show out.

So from now on, I am fully believing that God is going to answer my prayer. It may not be today, tomorrow, or next week. It may not happen for another few years. But when it does (and it WILL), I cannot wait to tell you all about it.

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Why I Share My Values, but Keep My Opinions to Myself

Why I Share My Values, but Keep My Opinions to Myself

Having a presence on social media is hard sometimes. When you have an online business, social media is just a part of life. You share your dreams, you share your struggles, you share your ups and you share your downs. You have to really put yourself out there, as scary as that may be. Think about the people you like to follow on Facebook and Instagram…you enjoy seeing their day-to-day lives, right? You feel like you can relate to them.

I have no reservations about sharing my values with my followers. If you have followed me for any length of time, you know that I am a firm believer in God and that my business is very faith based. You know that family is very important to me and comes only second to my relationship with Christ. You also know a few common things about me: I am a coffee addict, a peanut butter lover, a fitness and nutrition fanatic (in fact, I am a certified nutrition coach), a lover of all things fashion and style related, and that I have a heart to serve other ladies through my Fashionably Fit Community.

What you won’t see me share is negative thoughts and opinions about others. I know that in our society today, people seem to have an opinion about everything – especially since almost everyone puts a highlight reel on social media. As an online business owner, I get so discouraged when I hear someone tearing others down. It seems that some people have nothing better to do than knock someone else’s lifestyle – the house they live in, the car they drive, the furniture they buy, the clothes they wear,  the way they choose to spend their free time, the way they clean their house, the direct sales company they decide to join, the business they choose to open, and on and on.

In the grand scheme of things…does it really matter to YOU how someone else chooses to live their life? How they decide to spend their money? What activities their children participate in? What diet they decide to follow? If they decide to start a business to earn extra income for their family, does that affect your life? NO. If that money is helping them better themselves, do you need to concern yourself with the time they are investing in it? NO. Why? Because what you see on social media is just a little preview. You do not have the entire story, and you do not know what all has taken place behind the scenes. Why can’t we just be happy for each other and their successes, or rejoice in their blessings?  

In today’s fast paced, open book society, it is so easy to pass judgement on others. Just remember dear friend, that not everyone will understand your story and not everyone will cheer you on – and that’s ok. It is ultimately up to you and your Heavenly Father to decide the path for your life and what roads to take. When you get discouraged, take it to Lord. Do not stoop down to the level of the enemy. Do not pass judgement and spread negative opinions. Hold your head high and remember the purpose that God has instilled in your heart. Because THAT is what truly matters!

 

XO,

Rachel

 

Friday Favorites: Sunless Tanner

I would like to preface today’s edition of Friday Favorites by saying that I have always hated self-tanner. Putting it on is such a chore: making sure you are putting it on evenly so it doesn’t streak and trying to apply on areas that are hard to reach, all while trying to hurry so you can wash your hands before it leaves an orange stain. Then afterwards, you have to stand around awkwardly for an hour waiting for it to dry before you can get dressed so that all of your hard work will not be in vain. Who has that much time? Or patience?? Especially when you usually end up with streaks anyway, looking like an orange zebra…

 

Needless to say, after my previous experiences, I was absolutely against using self-tanner.

 

However, after a scary visit to the dermatologist back in May where I was diagnosed with Dysplastic Nevi, which is noncancerous, but people who have them are at an increased risk of developing melanoma later on in life. So as much as I love to sunbathe in the summer, I have to give it up. SeneGence released a new Self-Tanning Coconut Bronzing Milk several months back, and while I had been hesitant to try it (because of my previous self-tanning horror stories), I continued to hear wonderful things about it and decided to give it a try.

 

 

To my surprise, I absolutely fell in love with the product. It gives a nice, naturally bronze glow. It does not streak, and it does not leave an orange stain on your hands after application. It sprays on, so it is easy to get an even application. It also does not take long to try. After about 15 minutes, I can get dressed and go about my day. It also has a wonderful coconut smell that is just like “beach in a bottle.” This has quickly became one of my favorite SeneGence products by far!

 

*Personal Results*

If you’d like to purchase some for yourself, just click here!

 

Are  you a member of the Fashionably Fit community yet? If not, hop over now and follow along for more daily favorites, tips, and inspiration!

We Never Minded the Mess

Sometimes I get tired.

 

I get tired of trying to work a full time job while also working my own side business, grocery shop, cook nutritious meals, make time for workouts, keep a clean house, get the laundry done, etc.

 

So sometimes it doesn’t get done.

 

I used to think that I had to do it all. I had to keep a spotless house while getting up at 4:00 am to work out while eating nothing but “clean” food. I had to come home in the evenings and spend countless hours “hustling” on a side business to make my family more income so we could have nice things.

But then I realized my priorities were way out of order. I was failing to make time for my family because I had work to do. I was failing to keep God first because I didn’t “have time” to do my daily Bible study. All of my free time was spent listening to business podcasts and getting caught up on countless errands because there just weren’t enough hours a day to get everything done. I was sacrificing sleep: staying up late to finish projects and rising before the sun to try and get ahead of the day. I was always tired, always stressed, and always (no matter how hard I tried) still lacking to accomplish everything that needed to be done.

 

So I stopped.

 

I realized I couldn’t do it all. I couldn’t even come close. I began to look back at my childhood and how my parents did things. Sometimes the house was messy. Sometimes we had pizza for dinner. And sometimes (actually, a lot of times) we slept late on the weekends.

You know why?

Because they had their priorities in order. We always went to church on Sunday, and my Daddy always said grace before we ate. We had family meals together. We played outside and spent QUALITY time together. I knew what football and baseball were by the time I was 5 because my Daddy taught them to me. My mama let us sleep in because she knew we were only going to be little once. She taught me how to do my hair and makeup. She always made everything we did so much fun, no matter what it was. She was the best concert buddy in the car ;-).

Both of them have always been my biggest supporters and believed I could do anything I set my mind to do. And I know they were never able to do it all when my sister and I were growing up – but they did the things that mattered MOST – and we never minded the mess 🙂  

 

We may have had a messy house at times. There may have been dirty dishes. But we made memories – and for that, I will be forever grateful.

 

So…I am going to give myself some grace and stop trying to be super woman. Sometimes my house will a wreck. Sometimes I will be too tired after a long day’s work and opt for a drive-thru pizza instead of a home cooked meal of baked chicken and veggies. But I will make time for what matters most. I will make time for Jesus. I will make time for my husband. I will make time for family. My future children will have memories like I have. And they will know what truly matters most.

Until I Saw It With My Own Eyes…

I am a certified nutrition coach, so OF COURSE I know that dangers of artificial sweetener. I have studied about all of the negative side effects they bring, the downsides to using them, the long-term effects…but I guess deep-down that I never really believed all of the hype.

 

Not until I saw it with my own eyes.

 

Years ago, I was a chronic Splenda user. I used three packs of it in a single cup of coffee. Yes, THREE. Slowly, I weaned myself down to two packs. Then I started mixing Stevia in with the Splenda until I had finally transitioned to using Stevia alone. It has been years since I have bought Splenda or used it in my house.

 

This past weekend, I traveled to Tulsa for a business conference. I had to fly, so I was very limited on what I could bring with me. I remembered to pack a water bottle, meal replacement shake packets, protein bars…but I forgot the stevia. For five days, I had to resort to using Splenda again. No big deal, right?

 

WRONG.

 

Almost instantly, I had severe bloating and just felt “off.” This is no surprise since Splenda reduces the healthy bacteria in your gut by up to 50%. It also increases the amount of pH in your intestines.

I was also hungry all the time. Now, granted everyone that knows me knows that I love to eat (and I can honestly out-eat almost all my friends!), but I was HUNGRY. I was also hungry for unhealthy foods that I wouldn’t normally eat, such as sweets. This is also a side effect of the artificial sweetener. Splenda can stimulate your appetite, increase carbohydrate cravings (hello, cheesecake!), and stimulate fat storage and weight gain.

Lastly, my eyes were swollen and watered the entire time I was there, which was extremely frustrating since I wear contact lenses. I had to resort my pulling out my glasses in the afternoons because I just couldn’t handle the itchy, watery, uncomfortable feeling any longer.  Now that I’m home, it has almost completely stopped.

 

Artificial sweeteners certainly do live up to the bad rap they have been given. If you have no natural sweetener alternatives, I would highly recommend resorting to sugar before ingesting artificial sweeteners. This pertains to diet sodas as well; if you must have a soda, reach for one that isn’t diet (although I strongly suggest giving them up altogether).

I know that there are others out there that have read the articles, learned the facts, and have done the research, but you also have to “see it to believe it” like I did. I hope that my experience with this will open your eyes and show that it just isn’t worth it to cut corners with your health.

Worth the Wait

I can’t believe it’s been a year. It seriously seems like just yesterday! Almost one year ago, on February 6, 2016, on a hiking trip by a waterfall in Gatlinburg, Tennessee, Jordan asked me to be his wife. I honestly don’t remember everything he said that day because I was too busy smiling and nodding and happy-crying.

I had waited a long time for him. I had honestly reached a point in my life that I had given up on finding a husband. I had finally given everything over to God and told Him that I was content and at peace with it, but if He had other plans, then I would gladly follow. Only a few short weeks passed by, and then I met Jordan.

I had been on some terrible dates before I met him. I had also been on dates where everything “should” be right. You know, where the guy has a great job, nice house, goes to church, treats you well…but you just aren’t feeling it. I would get so discouraged when my family or friends would ask how my dates had gone because I never had good news. I felt like something was wrong with me. Eventually, though, I realized (after lots and lots of prayer), that you just can’t force those things. If a relationship doesn’t come from God and God is not in it, OF COURSE it won’t feel right. God is trying to tell you something when a date (or relationship!) doesn’t go as well as you hoped – He isn’t in it, and that man is not the one for you. I truly learned patience through this process. I learned to trust God and I learned to trust HIS timing.

I feel that so many young ladies settle. They settle for the one they “should” be with according to material matters. They never wait and find the one that was MEANT for them. The one that God made especially for them.

If you are still waiting on your meant-to-be, I encourage you to keep waiting. He’s out there. God has a plan for both of your lives, so the decisions you may make trying to force something that isn’t right will affect not only you, but the man God made for you. I’ll share with you the verse that I clung tightly to during my waiting period.

“Delight yourself in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart.” – Psalm 37:4.

Cling to Jesus during this time. Wrap yourself with His love, stay in His Word, and surround yourself with His people. Your time will come soon enough. Right now, delight yourself in Him, and He will hold true to His promise to you. Your meant-to-be will come and you will KNOW beyond a shadow of a doubt that he is from the Lord. I did. And I am so glad I waited.

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Overcoming the Struggle of Control

15170818_10153941461946587_8593302576359086811_nThe Christmas season is finally upon us! This is my absolute favorite time of year. I love everything about it: the lights, the movies, the decorations, the music, the meaning,  and the joyous time spent with family and friends. Tis the season of holiday parties, Christmas cookies, honey hams, apple pies, sausage balls, homemade fudge and many other tasty treats. Christmas food has always been such a special part of our family holiday traditions.

A few years ago, however, I stayed away from holiday parties as much as possible. I made excuses not to attend, even though I had no other plans. And it wasn’t just at Christmastime. I avoided social gatherings altogether where food was involved. I had lost about 40 pounds and I was terrified of gaining it back. I had developed an unhealthy relationship with food, but it wasn’t that I was over OR under eating. I was simply scared to be put in situations where I did not have control because I was terrified of putting the weight back on. I felt when I could not meal prep or portion out my food, or if I knew that no healthy options would be available,  I simply could not attend. It really ended up making me miserable and feeling like a hermit. I felt like a socially outcast, except I had made MYSELF the outcast. I was letting food control my life.

I know that in this time of year, as well as the upcoming New Year, the focus is mostly on those that are trying to lose the holiday weight, but there is a fine line between wanting to become strong and healthy and letting an unhealthy relationship with food and body image take over and consume you.

 

It is not necessarily easy to overcome the struggle with control, but it can be done!

  1. Focus on the people – not on the food

It took me a long time to realize that when I missed an event due to my food paranoia, I was also missing the relationships with the people invovled. During the holidays especially, we see several friends and family members that we do not have the privilege of seeing throughout the year. The focus of the event should be loving on the people – not avoiding the food in fear of gaining a pound. Enjoy the time spent together (and enjoy a small slice of pie!) because time is precious and life is short!

2. Learn to eat a balanced diet instead of being a calorie counter

When you learn to eat a balanced diet containing the right number of  protein, carbohydrates, and fats, it is relatively easy to allow room for “fun-foods” such as a Christmas cookie or two! This is where the popular method of IIFYM, or If It Fits Your Macros, comes into play. When you track your meals and know the exact number of each macronutrient you are consuming each day, you can tweak your foods on the days you have an event or party to allow for discretionary calories. Of course, it is still important to eat a diet made up of clean, whole foods, but this method allows you to enjoy special occasions without feeling guilty or anxious.

3. Reach out for support and accountability 

There is nothing wrong in asking for help, whether it be in the form of a friend to support you along your journey or by working with a nutrition coach. In fact, it wasn’t until I hired a coach before my September wedding that I truly learned the fundamentals in living a lifestyle that did not revolve around food. Now, food is incorporated into my lifestyle, not vice versa. Working with someone that can help you to develop a plan you can actually stick to that doesn’t involve crazy crash diets or ultra-restrictive methods is  a key part of the process. In fact, it may be the most important one of all. You are not alone!

 

Healthy Halloween Deliciously Dark Apples

Did you know that when you pair apples with dark chocolate you create a heart-healthy snack that is rich in antioxidants? Here is a tasty twist on the traditional version of candied and caramel apples that is actually heart (and tooth!) friendly!

Materials Needed:
4 apples
Sticks
1 cup dark-chocolate baking discs or chips
Parchment paper

Directions:
Remove the apple stems and insert the sticks into the top of the apples. Melt the dark chocolate baking discs or chips in a double boiler (or just insert metal bowl into a pot of boiling water). When the chocolate has melted, slowly rotate each apple until all sides are covered in chocolate. Place on a tray lined with parchment or wax paper and set in the refrigerator to cool.
*Once cool, serve and enjoy!

Friday Favorites: Day Designer Planner

I’ll be honest…

I used to be one of those people that would jot things down on napkins, envelopes, random strips of notebook paper – just anything that was convenient at the time. I knew that if I did not write it down, it would not get done. The problem with that strategy though was that by the time I went back to do the task, I had forgotten where I wrote it down! When technology started to become more prevalent, I would use the “Notes” section of my smartphone to keep a list of “to-dos.” This strategy worked for a while until all of the notes became jumbled, and then I would get overwhelmed and stop looking at the app.

Can you relate?

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I have a super Type A personality, so I love to cross things off a list (hence all of the papers mentioned above!). That is why when I found the Day Designer planner, I immediately fell in love. It is simple to use, but complex enough to keep everything in my busy life organized. Running a fitness business and finance business while working a full time accounting job – as well as spending time with my husband and family and juggling housework – can get overwhelming at times, so I needed something to keep all of my many lists and tasks together. The Day Designer planner has time slots to account for each hour of the day, as well as a “to-do” list for each day. It has plenty of room for additional notes, and you can also view each month as a whole along with each day individually.  In addition, It has a rather large section to utilize for goal setting, which has been extremely beneficial to me so that the list is always in front of me and updated on a regular basis.

If you’d like to try it out before investing, Day Designer provides wonderful printables for free! To grab yours, just click HERE!

 

Get Your Balance Back!

Has “busy” become your way of life? Get your balance back by marking off the items on the checklist below!

 

  •  Plan a date with a bath or good book. Be sure to keep it, just like you would a business appointment.
  • Learn to say “no” to tasks or events that drain energy and do not benefit your personal or professional life.
  • Combine tasks. For example, fill prescriptions where you buy groceries.
  •  Set priorities, then sort your list in order of importance.
  •  Outsource time-consuming chores. Hire a teen to mow your lawn. Have groceries delivered.
  • Schedule one fun activity per week. Give yourself something to look forward to when things get crazy!
  •  Turn off the TV. Resist the urge to watch the late show, and go to bed. You will be amazed at how much better you feel the next morning.
  • Work exercise into your day. Take a walk at lunch, use the stairs instead of the elevator, or add a gym-time reminder to your calendar.
  • Live in the moment. Sometimes things are just more important than work deadlines. God first, family second, and the rest will fall into place!

 

*Adapted courtesy of WebMD