Joining the Tribe

Last year one of my customers invited me to try classes at BodyPlex during their launch week. So I dragged my friend Abbie along, we skipped our morning runs and for two days that week we tried Pump and RPM. I enjoyed the classes and loved the instructors, but brushed it off and joined the gym across the street. 

A few months later was launch again. This time the customer, who was an instructor, invited me to just be there and represent my store. Only problem was I got the date wrong and showed up the week after launch. Then in February of this year, I was invited again. This time I verified the date and everything. That first Super Saturday still sticks out in my mind. The energy, the passion, and the dedication of the staff just flowed that day. I set up my booth and engaged in some of the classes. This time I was hooked. I knew I wanted to be at the Plex. Outside of the classes, the big benefit was two squat racks which meant I could train all of my lifts there unlike at the gym I was a member of at that time. So that Super Saturday I joined the Plex, but I also joined something deeper. 

I joined the Tribe. 

See, since then I’ve engaged more and more with the classes. I’ve fallen in love with the Les Mills programs. So much so that I have some of the class playlists saved on YouTube and can do many of the tracks at home from memory. I’ve built relationships with people who now are on the fitness journey with me. The instructors now know me by name and know my goals and are willing to help push me towards them. 

We sweat together. We complete one more rep together. We laugh, cry, celebrate, pray, and rejoice together. I look at my Facebook feed now and know that there are 30+ Plex members who are apart of the tribe with me. They challenge me to be a better me. A stronger me. A me who recognizes that I’m beautiful. A me who is capable of fitness. 

I used to say I wasn’t one for group fitness, I liked the solo life in the gym. But now,I’m so thankful for that one instructor who invited me and then kept challenging me to go further. These past few months have been a blessing and I can’t wait to see what the future holds.  

 

I Am My Beloved’s featuring Helen Handmade with a {G I V E A W A Y}

I am my beloved’s, and my beloved is mine
Song of Solomon 6:3

I wear a ring on my right ring finger now. At one time, it resided on my left, guarding the place my engagement ring now holds. Inside the band is reads ” I will wait for” and above you’ll boldly see ” my beloved”

I’ve waited for you Thadd.

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As we began our wedding preparations, my friend Victoria has been on speed dial.. or maybe speed text because with our varying schedules, phone calls just don’t happen as much as we’d like. In mid February, she connected me with Helen from Helen Handmade and while I’ve never met Helen, she has been a blessing.

So when Helen asked I’d be interested in doing a product review, I said yes. All my bride friend’s out there, let me just say creative juices run D E E P in Helen’s veins. Seriously her talent and heart for homemade things just radiates from her work. We discussed a few options for items and settled on a custom piece of artwork that Thadd and I can display at the reception but also on the walls of our home after the marriage.

It was then I shared this with Helen to give her my inspiration:

For me, I would say Song of Solomon 6:3 is our verse primarily because my fiancé is my first and only real relationship. I’ve also remained pure and with that wear a ring that says on the inside “I will wait for” and on the outside “my beloved”. When we first began dating, he read through my blog and found the one that shared how I was waiting and how no other man had ever known my heart. It was the only blog that made him cry and ask God to remove me from his life if he wasn’t the man for me. Well, 10 months later we are still here and engaged. My name also means beloved so that adds an element.

After giving her my wedding colors and love for magnolias, she went to work designing. What she came up with blew my mind it was so beautiful.

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It’s a 12×16 solid wood custom built piece, and y’all I can’t wait to hang it! Helen was so great to work with. For the paint colors, I shared the Pantone colors to which she matched perfectly.  The design is perfect and represents not only our wedding style but also the style for our home.

Sometimes blessings fall like the sweet spring rain. 

So in addition to blessing me, Helen wanted to bless my readers. So we have created the first giveaway ever featured on this blog.  What is she giving away? A $50 SHOP CREDIT! So excited about this. The giveaway will run from today, April 13 to April 18th at midnight so make sure you enter! Click here to head to Helen’s site then you’ll find the giveaway under the Giveaway tab.  In addition, she has provided a coupon code for all to use until April 30th for 10%. The code is BELOVED. I’m so thankful she extended these offers to y’all and hope you enjoy her work as much as Thadd and I have.

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Girl Meets Boy: The Thadd and Kaela Story

In just a few nights Thadd and I will celebrate the night that we met face to face. The night  pictures became real, the words spoken in front of us and not via phone, and for the first time we’d get to watch each other’s eyes light up as we told stories. It was the night we said hello in the parking lot, and the night we began the journey we’re now on. 

But how did we get to that night? 

I haven’t shared much of our meeting story and thus given all the memories from a year ago I thought it was finally fitting.

To stay I stumbled into this wouldn’t be too far from the truth. It still remains a mystery what led me to Sovereign Grace Singles and will forever be the starting point of this story. Either way, March 14 I stumbled upon this site and decided to create a profile. I wasn’t necessarily seeking a relationship but was ecstatic about a site that connected Reformed believers around the world together. It was a social media site developed to allow us to share understandings of scripture and yes had a platform for dating. Once I made my way through the profile, I decided to search and friend request everyone in Georgia. Reformed believers in the south are few and far between. The search led me to a profile of a handsome, blue eyed man who’s page lifted up the name of God and shared his passions: running and Braves baseball. The friend request went through on Monday and shortly after I received the message that would send us into lengthy conversations for the next few days.

Every night that first week we messaged back and forth sharing details about our likes and dislikes, and with every message I grew more eager to meet the man who was showing such interest in my life. On Friday night he causally shared his number with me. After spending time praying about sharing my number( and letting him know I was Southern in my ways and so he’d have to make the first move), I sent a message back and the next day we were texting. Texting led to phone calls. The phone calls went on for hours. For those who know me, you know I despise talking on the phone. I actually use to have to give myself pep talks just to call someone. So when I would hang up and see that we had spent 3 hours on the phone, I knew this might lead us somewhere. Sure enough, we planned our first date and wound up at one of my favorite coffee shops- The Daily Grind. I was full of nerves and arrived 2 hours early. After browsing through nearby shops and taking some time to journal, I walked back to my car ( I didn’t want him to think I had been waiting long) and anticipated his arrival. The 13.1 sticker gave his car away. He rounded the lot and pulled in beside me. Our eyes met, we smiled, rushed out of cars, and embraced for the first time. I look back on that night and smile. Some may not believe in love at first sight, but that night my breath was stolen by a man who I barely knew but knew I wanted to spend eternity with. We had somehow managed to match- both wearing my favorite colors (coral and navy), the navy gingham pulling out the blue in his eyes. He paid for our coffee, both getting java coolers- him with cookies and cream and I with my white mocha- and we spent the next 4 hours laughing and chatting. The night ended with him opening my car door and embracing me the same way the night began.

Our schedules and distance keep us from seeing each other often. We planned another night out, this one for dinner and putt-putt which turned into adding froyo and strolling through Walmart laughing at each other as we pulled $5 movies from the bin and recalled childhood memories. The next week we went out for our first Braves game. He drove the hour drive to my home, picked me up, blared country down 278 as we pulled into The Varsity. After a traditional Atlanta dinner and chaotic drive to the stadium- we spent the next 5 hours cheering on our Bravos, hand in hand, tomahawk chopping in sync, and sharing snacks of Reese’s Pieces, Sour Green Apple Big League gum and peanuts. The Braves won that night, but we won even more. The journey home was spent singing country lyrics back and forth, tracing the lines of each others fingers, and ended with an embrace and comments of how we’re ok with sharing pics together, and then the question came of status changes. I agreed so long as he initiated it ( I believe guys should lead). There he stood holding my hands, his 5’6” self looking dead into my eyes, our gaze locked, he leaned in until our foreheads met, one more glance up and I knew the next move he’d make. This 24 year old who had never been kissed, closed her eyes after noting the direction his head went, I tilted left, and let magic take over. They say sparks fly. I’m sure bombs exploded. I let the moment linger. As much as I wanted it to continue, I knew it was past midnight and he still had a long drive home. I murmured a goodnight, kissed him again, then slowly walked to my door where I bid the night to an end.

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What Disney Won’t Teach Our Daughters

Recently a dear friend of mine sent me a text that had us laughing, but made me think deeper. Her simple text was brought about after sharing a recent Disney princess purchase and it’s unrealistic standards of beauty,then this:

“but seriously what do we do about Disney?”

I responded with the only thing that came to mind and heart:

“Disney- you treat it like Santa and the other make believe things of the world- you teach your child the truth. Show her the Godly women of the Bible and remind her no matter what Disney creates, beauty can not be airbrushed or created- it is birthed from the love placed in our hearts by the resurrection power of Jesus”

And then I might have wanted to post a fistbump emoji.

In all seriousness, though, our daughters will never learn true beauty from Disney. They will never see the work of Christ in a princess ( although, if they ever did that might be a huge score for Disney.) Yes they will see happily ever afters, dream of Prince Charmings, and hope for fairytale weddings, but in the end they will one day face reality.

In reality, life isn’t full of happily ever afters. It’s full of darkness birthed from sin, broken hearts by men they thought were Prince Charming but ended up being just duds in tin foil, and weddings that end up not a grand as they imagined because going into debt over a wedding wasn’t worth it ( if only we had Disney’s bank account number!)

And what Disney taught them will begin to crumble like the man who built his house upon the sand.

Because Disney taught them with a “Bippity Boppity Bop” all their troubles would disappear.

But for our daughters who grow-up hearing stories of the women of the Bible, in the midst of the Disney fame, may they learn things that only the Gospel can teach, and begin to see that beauty is indeed only found through the cross and not the glass slippers or tiaras.

The Gospel teaches them that with the cross, things won’t necessarily disappear but the burden won’t be theirs alone. They might have darkness, but Jesus brings them light. They may never met Prince Charming but they will meet the Prince of Peace. They might not have the fairytale wedding but they can have the Christ centered marriage.

My prayer is that daughters everywhere would be:

As curious as Eve, and not just Ariel,
As full of courage as Esther and not just like Rapunzel,
As brave as Rahab and not just Mulan,
As caring as Ruth and not just Snow White,
As sophisticated as Anna and not just Aurora,
As self-sacrificing as Mary, sister of Martha and not just like Belle,
As hardworking as Lydia and not just Cinderella,
As invested in the future generations as Eunice and Lois and not just the Fairy Godmother.

Because while the princesses may teach us those things, the Gospel shows us how Eve’s curiously brought forth sin into the world but she still birthed the family line that would lead us to our Savior. Esther was courageous despite what it could have cost her. Rahab through her bravery was turned from a harlot to a heroine. Through the caring loyalty of Ruth we are shown a beautiful submissive woman. Anna’s devotion to serving God both day and night, gives light to a sophisticated life despite her being a widow. Mary, the sister of Martha, sacrificed not only costly perfume but also her humility as she boldly spilled her feelings out at the feet of Jesus. Lydia was a hardworking business woman, yet she still found time to worship Jesus and was willing to serve God’s people. Eunice and Lois took their responsibility to invest in the future generations seriously which led to the spreading of God’s word.

Our daughters might still “ooh” and “ahh” over the princess dresses. When they pose in front of the mirror and twirl around and round, I pray that they may see themselves just as beautiful as they see their favorite princess. Because when I see them, I see them as a princess of the King of all Kings with a much deeper beauty that flows through them that never ends.

That my friends, is the happily ever after Disney won’t teach.

A Foundation to Be Broken

In December I competed in my first federational powerlifting meet. I came second in my weight class and division but walked away with two PRs and two state records.

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But with PRs and records, also came defeats. My competitor beat me in both my bench and deadlift.

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Even with that I still walked away with a medal and as of yesterday a certificate acknowledging the success of the meet.

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But what I did was just a foundation. Myself along with my competitor Rylee set the foundation for the 82.5kg weight class in the open division. My goal is to never compete again in that weight class, hoping to drop to the 75kg and then ultimately the 67.5kg class. But I hope one day someone breaks my record. Because while I set the record, my numbers really weren’t all that impressive. Someone out there is warming up with those weights.

What I wish for women who are beginning to compete, is that they would see those numbers and aspire to change them much like I look at Michelle Coile’s numbers and aspire to see my name there for a period of time. I hope women would be challenged in the gym to grow in strength and no longer be intimidated by men that would see them as weak beings. I desire to change the myth that if you lift heavy you’ll be bulky. I want women to feel strong and powerful, yet still know they can be graceful and sweet.

So I hope some female lifter in the 82.5kg USPA classic raw class reads this, sees my name and numbers and desires to replace my name with theirs. Because a record is only as good as the challenge to chase it.

So what records are you chasing? 

{Make It Happen}// Book Review

After many friends began reading this book, I knew it was one I should review. No more than 3 pages in, I was already in tears knowing that this book was about to help me take the leap and make changes to live on purpose.

Make It Happen by Lara Casey is not a manual to success. It’s not a 3 step guide to greatness. It’s simply the detailed path that brought Lara into understanding her purpose and it shares the path that you can also take to understanding yours.

Through the easy to read format, the space for self analysis, and additional resources provided, Lara helps readers work through their own struggles and fears and replace them with action steps to bring progress to goals.

A key theme throughout the book is this : My Life + God’s Way= True Success. This key theme is what helped remind me that apart from God’s way, my life will never yield success.

This book is for those who are ready to live beyond fear. To apply purposely thought out action steps to their goals, and finally Make It Happen.

” In choosing purpose over perfect, the dreams God gives us may be hard because they are bigger than us. But, in Him, we are part of a whole, and we help others to know that they are too. We are never alone. We are enough. We are free.”
-Make It Happen, Lara Casey p.273

Focus on progress, not perfection.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookLook Bloggers <http://booklookbloggers.com> book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 <http://www.access.gpo.gov/nara/cfr/waisidx_03/16cfr255_03.html> : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

A Season of Struggle

“Hi, may I take your order?”

It’s a phrase I had began to hear more frequently. It’s one that I spent a good part of my day dwelling upon my response. Which place would I go to? What would be my feast today?

I had developed the relationship with the drive thru again. So much, I thought the attendant was beginning to recognize me week after week.

I’d become addicted again, and I was struggling bad. My binges would range from a variety of different places and leave me used and abused later as my body ached from it’s intoxicating overdose of food that I’d let creep back into my life. I’d stop at one place and not get full enough, so after I finished whatever task at hand ( while dreaming up my next drug of choice) I’d race to its supplier for yet another late night meal.

Because, Fourth Meal y’all.

It didn’t matter the calories, I just craved more. I wanted to feed an emptiness inside me that had grown because of one forgotten thing- the word of God. When I stopped feasting there I feasted elsewhere.

The struggle had to end.

So while sitting in my favorite drive thru after placing my order, I said I was done. I went home, ate that last meal and decided that as the season of Lent was beginning, I would no longer be bound to the chains of drive thrus. So for 40 days I’m fasting from fast food. Most likely I’ll continue you this afterward, however during this season, I’m replacing the thoughts of tacos, chicken nuggets, waffle fries, frostys,  and sweet tea with the reminders of God’s word.

Are you engaging in the season of Lent this year? If so, what are you laying down at the cross to allow you to reflect on Christ more?