Monday, December 29, 2014

One Saint of a Tanning Product

Sorry guys, still no wedding photos, or I would most definitely be posting about that. 
But! I'm dying to tell you about the product I used to look bronzed on my big day!
I love love love this product- St. Tropez Dark Bronzing Mousse.

At first, I thought I would just buy a tanning package the month before the wedding, but let's be honest aint nobody got time for that during an extended baseball season and traveling to Arizona multiple times. 
SO, I went with my next best option. 
I used St. Tropez to tan myself for my bachelorette party and for my big day, and was satisfied both times!

(please excuse my makeup on Kenneth's face! We might have kissed a lot while dancing...)

It gives you a gorgeous glow that isn't overbearing and obvious. 
I'm in love. 
In fact, I think I'll apply it tonight just for the fun of it! 

Have you tried this product or have any comments or questions?
Comment below! 

Friday, December 26, 2014

Very Married Christmas!

Okay seriously my heart is so full!
For Christmas Eve we went to Ken's grandma's house, like we have the past couple years.
It's a family tradition for them (I freakin' love traditions), so I love going and meeting and seeing his HUGE family every year. 
This year was our first married Christmas, and it made me love the fact that these are the memories we are making together that we will be able to look back on years from now.
His grandma is the absolute sweetest, funniest lady you'll ever meet. 
To name a few reasons why I adore her: she flies across the country and goes gambling all by herself, loves drinking wine no matter what time of the day it is... and she's 91 years old. 
AMAZING right?! 
I wanna be like her when I grow up.

On Christmas day we opened presents (Ken's family SPOILED me/us). 

I couldn't be happier with the family God has allowed me to marry into! 
They welcome me in, we laugh till the point of tears, and trust each other to have real open and honest conversations that are deeper than surface level. 
I seriously love them so much.
I know my parents are happy that while I'm away, I have a family spoiling and loving on me just like they would! 

We had Christmas dinner (delicious if I say so myself) ; all cooked by yours truly.

Here are the recipes I used this Christmas:
We hope you all had a very Merry Christmas! 
The Roberts

Monday, December 22, 2014

10 Things I've Learned In My One Month of Marriage

Today marks exactly ONE month of being a married woman! Here are ten things I've learned so far.

1. Laugh at your differences
Like I've told you before, my husband is 100% introvert and I am 100% extrovert. (For the love, if you don't know what this means please google it.) That being said, we have many.. many... MANY differences, on top of being two totally different genders! One thing I've learned in being married to the guy, is that we have got to laugh off our differences. It makes marriage so much more fun, and we are literally laughing ALL of the time. 

2. Be weird
If there is one thing that Ken and I are almost always saying to each other on a daily basis, it's "You're weird. Like, you are SO...WEIRD."
And we love it! Whether I'm booty shakin' on him in the kitchen, or he's singing at the top of his lungs to K-Ci and Jo Jo , we are always just plain weird. I told Ken just yesterday how I love to get to see the weird, no walls up, side of him that literally no one else gets to see. It's special. It keeps our home filled with fun, vulnerable, transparent moments that result in genuine laughs and silly kisses. 
Found this on Pinterest the other day and of course I HAD to pin it.

3. Only buy one big couch
Alright, we didn't plan this one, it sort of just ended up being the only piece of furniture that we purchased for our front room (I call it the front room, Ken calls it the living room- yet another dumb difference we choose to laugh at- but it's my blog not his so in this instance, we'll call it the front room). Anyways, I love our couch because duh, it forces us to cuddle whenever we watch TV. 

4. Give each other space
That being said about the whole couch thing, I have definitely learned that if we give each other space and "chill time", it works out in both of our favor. I will stick to the quality over quantity rule every time (like I mentioned in a previous blog on making long distance work -rule #2). We try and make it a point each day to have individual time to ourselves. Sometimes, I'll be in the bedroom, and he will be in the front room (living room, whatever). Everyone needs time to themselves, there's nothing wrong with that in any relationship- in fact, it's healthy!

5. Serve beyond your own self will
This was part of our vows, and I will be 100% honest with you that Ken and I probably have to choose to do this on a daily basis. I don't wake up chipper and ready to make breakfast and do dishes at 8 or 9 in the morning every day. But! When I wake up and make a conscious decision to love him and serve him to the best of my ability and with all of my heart, it makes me love him that much more. Crazy how choosing to love someone beyond yourself makes you feel 10 times the love than if you chose yourself every time. 

6. Pray together
This has been key to keeping Ken and I on the same page, and just functioning in a healthy manner as we learn more about one another and are introduced to each other's differences. We started this before we were married but have continued to pray every night before we go to bed. We desire that our whole lives and our marriage be centered around Christ, and as we pray together, we see just how much God is doing in our lives and are able to thank Him together every night. 
I've learned this is my absolute favorite part of being married. 

7. Read the Bible together
Ken and I have been on the same Bible reading plan since September, and it's been so fun to see how God is intertwining our lives together through the Bible. It keeps us accountable to uplift and love one another on a daily basis, just as Christ so tenderly and graciously loves us. 

8. Eat as many meals together as possible
Okay, whether we are eating our traditional tuna sandwiches after Ken works out every day, or breakfast or dinner, we are always having conversation. This conversation helps us stay on the same page, talk about our Bible reading time, and allow us to discuss any problems we may be facing in our own lives. It's precious. I know that not everyone can do this, I know life is CRAZY for some. I also know that it's amazing to see how much we become one through this. We create this sense of community with one another over an un-interrupted meal together. 

9. Be on the same page about everything
Money, plans for the month, plans for the day, or heck even how much you want to spend on each person's Christmas gift this year... we have learned that it is important to stay on the same page. We do this through many of the ways that I've communicated through this post already. We have also learned to immediately express to the other person when we don't feel on the same page. 

10. Humbly, graciously, and vulnerably express your needs
Being such opposite personalities (and opposite genders) sometimes a simple change in approach or affection can change the whole game. I will find myself wishing Ken would do something more frequently, or maybe I'm having just an off day and need him to sit and let me talk for a good 30 minutes. When I express my need to him, or him to me, it allows open, vulnerable conversation that helps us learn about one another and the way we tick. When we express our needs to one another, though they don't always have to be met right then (and often can't) it lets each person practice meeting the need in a more natural situation. 
(This is where the humbly, graciously, vulnerably expressing comes in- 
never demand that your needs be met)
 For example, if I say to Ken that I need more affection, a long hug right then wouldn't necessarily fill that void. But, when he listens, and talks it through with me, then later that night gives me a long, loving hug, it means so much more than the affection I was missing. It means that he listened, he heard me, now he's putting it to practice because he truly cares for my needs. 

Any marriage advice for us? We'd love to hear it! 
OR if you have any comments or questions, feel free to comment or contact me! 

Friday, December 19, 2014

6 Tips For Roadtrips Across the Country

As I said in my post yesterday, in the last couple of months I've logged a pretty good amount of travel time across the states. 
In September, I drove my car from Washington to Arizona (about a 20 hr drive total), and then again with Ken from Arizona to Tennessee (about a 27 hr drive give or take). 

(When we started in Arizona) 

When I had to do the first trip alone, I asked some other experienced baseball wives what their tips were (kudos to all those baseball wives who do it with a U-Haul behind them, three kids, a cat, and a dog!). It's definitely a common occurrence for baseball wives to have to pack up their little apartment and drive across the country for a season, an off season, spring training, a team change, etc. (oh, you thought moving all the time was glamorous, we all flew everywhere, and shipped all our stuff all the time? Cute.)
Road trips are for the big girls. 
Whether we like it or not in this Baseball life, there are a lot of moves and driving. But! I'm here to tell you, whether you're taking a fun roadtrip with your besties, or traveling alone, there are plenty of ways to make it fun and enjoyable! 
So, here are 6 tips and tricks for roadtrips across the country:

1. Lotto Tickets
Yep. You heard me. I'm not a gambler, I don't make bets, and I'm awful at Poker, but one thing that Ken got me started on was buying a lotto ticket at the start of our roadtrips. 
We made it a point to stop and get lotto tickets in every state we passed through, and it was so fun! Sometimes we lost, sometimes we won....
Okay, can I brag? We won around 20 bucks off of 1 and 2 dollar scratch offs.

All that to say, find SOMETHING that makes you want to stop and have a little fun (make sure it's legal people).

2. Podcasts and Audio Books
On the road trip by myself, I got a long novel that, let's be honest I would never have the patience to sit and read, but I was still intrigued enough to get the audio book. 
I downloaded Amazon Audio Books free trial, and it was enough to get me the books I wanted for the trip. 
I chose Redeeming Love by Francine Rivers. (PS. AMAZING fictional story based off of my favorite book in the Bible- Hosea).

On the road trip with Ken, we listened to a lot of Podcast Sermons including some of our favorites- Trevor Atwood, Matt Chandler, and Judah Smith.

 3. Sunflower Seeds
Okay, probably the MOST needed thing on every long roadtrip. If you don't listen to any other piece of advice, listen to this one! Sunflower seeds keep you WIDE awake when you start getting bored, groggy, and just plain cranky from being in a car that long. I could eat sunflower seeds all day.
At 2 in the morning after being up since 5 am, Ken was rapping to every song that came on and chompin' on sunflower seeds. I'm telling you, they're a must. 

4. A Gallon
That being said, sunflower seeds make you thirsty after some time. Our biggest life saver was having a gallon of water that we could just keep filling up our cup with. It saved space on full water bottles, empty water bottles, and while we're at it, was the greener way to go as far as all that plastic! 
Water is a good thing on a road trip. I know a lot of people who say they try to drink very little so they go to the bathroom less. Please don't listen to them. 
Water keeps you happy, awake, and hydrated. 
It also allows you to make frequent enough stops to get out, stretch, and heck- buy yourself a lotto ticket. 

5. Switch in Increments of Time
When I drove with Ken, we had ideas of when we wanted to stop, and the hours it would take to get there. We switched when the time was up, and that made it a little easier to know when your "shift" was up. Another way to switch is just when your gas tank gets low and you need to get out and stretch anyways.
When I drove alone, I would stop and get gas every time I had a quarter of a tank left, and that seemed perfect for me! 

6. Switch Up The Route
When you are forced to go on a roadtrip, find the most attractive route to you! 
For example, Ken and I had two routes to choose from to get us to Tennessee. 
We had a route that took us through Dallas, and I had been dying to see it for a while now.
We went that way, and it made the trip SO much more fun knowing that we had something to look forward to besides our end destination. 

(I know, a pathetic, doesn't-do-it justice picture of Dallas, but I'm still obsessed.)

Do you have any other tips and tricks for roadtrips across the country? 
Comment below and let me know! 

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Why November Was Such A Blur

Alright, so I told you I would catch you up on our little life. Here it is, but there's no way I could add all the details, you would be reading forever!... or stop reading all together.

So, here we go!  
Ken played baseball in the Arizona Fall League until November 15.
(He did amazing, and I want to brag about him. I won't. But really?... YUM.)

Ken flew to Washington Sunday, November 16.

On Wednesday November 18 we packed up all my stuff and any gifts I received at my bridal showers, bachelorette party, etc. and put it all in a truck and trailer. We drove to Spokane and packed it into a pod and said sayonara as we sent it off to Tennessee.

After we got back to Tri-Cities on Wednesday night, we then turned around on Thursday, the next day, and headed to Spokane for the wedding!

 The wedding was amazing, but I'll talk about that in a different post ;)

That week, we headed to Cancun, Mexico for our honeymoon .. again saving that for another day but here is a sneak peek photo of why we fell in love with the place!

 After Cancun, we flew to Spokane, then flew to Phoenix (my car was there, I drove it from Washington back in September), stayed the night there, then drove from Phoenix to El Paso, Texas. In Texas we got a hotel, then the next morning we were up and driving starting at 6:30 am... we made up our crazy minds and drove ALL the way to TN. 
We got into Tennessee around 3:30 am.. yes that's over 20 hrs of driving in one day... and we still like each other! 

Anyways, now we are here in Tennessee until the end of the off season. 
We will move to Arizona sometime in February. 
Ken throws and trains everyday with other professional baseball players, and I've just had a blast being a little house wife. 
I love our little life, and our fun adventures. 
I wouldn't trade it for the world! 

Questions or comments concerning anything I wrote about today? Let me know! Comment below! 


Thursday, December 11, 2014

What's in the name?

Why Ten Rows Back?
Like I said in my bio, one of the places you can find me is ten rows back in a stadium seat (okay, sometimes farther sometimes closer) watching my hubby's baseball games.
Our baseball life is so complex, and so hard to keep up with (really, even my best friends ... heck, even my parents can't keep up sometimes with all of our moves!) that I think it will be really beneficial for people to be able to just track where we are, what we're up to, and everything else that comes with this life.
I can't even describe how proud I am of him.
I’m a HUGE fan.
But not just for him. So let me explain.
I am a fan in every area of my life.
One thing that I am a huge fan of is advocating for women.
Often, women feel "lost in the crowd" as I can relate to sitting in a stadium seat surrounded by other baseball wives and fans. My goal is to make her believe that she's not "out of the loop" in having it all together (because let's be honest, no one does) and to  help her not feel so lost. My goal is to see every woman collaborating with one another, instead of competing, as women (myself included!!) so often naturally do in the industry that I'm in. I am passionate about seeing women's lives changed from the mean girl that society loves to promote to the caring, yet powerful nature that women hold and have the ability to change the world with. I'm an advocate for women being able to express themselves freely and I promote every woman's voice to be heard. I could go on and on, and no I'm not a man-hating feminist... I simply just believe that women are powerful! For more on this topic, check out my recent blog post seize the opportunity, which was also recently published in a women's magazine based out of Oklahoma.

Finally, I'm a fashion fanatic. A new addition to my blog, every now and then, I'll post about my fashion finds, style trends, or products I just can't live without! Whether I'm getting dressed for a baseball game, traveling, or going out on the town, you'll get to read my tips and tricks, as well as posts by my absolute FAV lifestyle/makeup bloggers!
All in all, I love to encourage people to wear what inspires them and makes them feel confident and beautiful too.
I’m a supporter. I’m an advocate for empowerment.
And that’s precisely the things you will read about on my blog.
Whether it’s the baseball life, articles empowering women, or style and fashion…
I’m a fan, ten rows back, encouraging and supporting.
"Our chief want is someone who will inspire us to be what we know we could be." - Ralph Waldo Emerson

Saturday, October 4, 2014

ellis to roberts

I am still trying to figure out how it works...
but rest assured I will master it and flood it with ridiculous amounts of photos... 

Thursday, September 4, 2014

The Struggle Is Rewarding

I got asked the question today when I was going to blog again, and I said that I really didn't know!
I'm not the typical blogger that posts every day, well, not anymore at least, (thank goodness I didn't tie myself to another 365 day blog!) so I never really think about when to blog. This person then asked, "So Katie. You've had a long engagement, you're getting married in a little over two months...what's been going on in between? How are you doing? Have there been any 'the struggle is real' moments?"


To be quite honest, this is something that has been on my heart and mind for some time now, but I didn't exactly know what to say or really how to even begin to explain-- until tonight.
As some of you may know, or I hope you grasp as you read my blog, my goal in every post is to be completely transparent about my life, my struggles, my highs, my lows, and everything in between...but what exactly is the "in between"?
I've shared some of my darkest times, I've shared my dreamy fairytale of how I met my now fiancé , I've shared my struggles with long distant dating, and even the details and photos of my very intimate marriage proposal.
In all of this, my heart's cry is to remain genuine and transparent.
So here, at 12 am, by myself in a hotel room in Tulsa, Oklahoma, I attempt to write about what's tugging on my heart strings--
the "in between".

Let me catch you up (long story short) on what's happened and where I'm at now.
I was engaged in October, took a short trip to Tennessee in November, came back to Washington, flew back to Tennessee in December for a couple months (so Ken could train and workout with other players), flew back to Washington in the end of February, two weeks after that I flew to Arizona (for Spring Training), two weeks after that I flew back to Washington (PS. I graduated college around this time), two months after that I flew to Oklahoma (where Ken played this season), stayed there for three weeks and flew back to Washington, close to two months later I flew back to Oklahoma, stayed for two weeks, tomorrow I'll fly to Charlotte, North Carolina (to watch one of my Maid of Honors get married!!), I'll spend two days there, fly back to Washington, and after that, I literally have no clue where Ken or I will even be in two weeks.

My life's not as crazy as some others', let me tell you,
but here's the thing...I wouldn't trade it for the world.
I think it's important to be very transparent about the "in between"
... because without that, I wouldn't be the person I am today.

Like I said, I was engaged in October.
Our first months of engagement were amazing. I was so happy and excited to get to spend the rest of my life with literally the man of my dreams (insert 500 heart eye emojis)
And then... after four months of being engaged, I had never been more tormented by the enemy in my entire life.
The stress of wedding planning, finishing my senior year in college to graduate, working, and the stress of a long distance engagement was overwhelming.
The devil loved it, and went to work.

For some reason, I started feeling really unworthy to even be engaged to Ken.
I felt like any mistake or thought that I had done in the past made me "un-marry-able".
I struggled with the heavy burden of my sin whether I viewed it as
"small" or "large", a thought or an action.
I kept counting strikes against myself, beating myself up, trying to remember any good that I ever did and I just grew tired and weary because the struggle of good and evil deeds in my life was immeasurable on both sides, and quite frankly the bad, selfish sinful nature inside of me kept outweighing any glimpse of the "good girl" that was supposably in there too.

I struggled to find my identity in Christ, and struggled even more to believe that He not only replaced my sins with Himself, but also all the shame that comes with that.
I struggled with the way I thought Kenneth viewed me.
I thought that in order to feel better about myself, I had to tell him every sin I had ever committed, and if he accepted me I was good, but if he got hurt, judged me, or was taken back at all.. well I was simply doomed beyond rescuing.
The enemy had me so convinced that the label of my past or the struggles I've faced or still face would ultimately wreck my future marriage, that Ken deserved way better, and that there was no way I should get married.
And, if I'm being completely honest?
That I should even call off the engagement.

Maybe you have felt this way, and maybe you haven't.
You feel wrecked by what you've done, and you think there's no way you could ever change.
You think you're good for nothing, and that you have most people fooled on who you really are.
Often times you feel like you don't even know who you are because of the lies or facades you have put up to impress people, that you've even started believing about yourself.
Now, you're stuck in this limbo of whether or not you're worthy of someone else's love or I would even say this... if you are worthy, good enough, or even capable of loving someone else.

All I know is that at one point in your life, if not even right this moment, you have felt completely unworthy of a great destiny or influence.
Women, you feel unworthy to be loved because you have been promiscuous in your past- or even last night- have a deep hidden secret that you don't want anyone to know, or you just can't say no to your influential friends.
Men, you just keep battling and going to war with lust, cravings, and addictions that satisfy for a moment but leave you guilty to the point of absolute torment.
So.. what do we do?
Is there an answer?


I will be the first to admit that I saw a therapist, and got counceling by my pastors.
So many times our problems seem too large to handle.
I know for many of us (including myself), we bottle these things up out of fear that people won't understand, will judge us, or will tell other people.
I am a firm believer in seeing a therapist.
Don't be embarrassed about that.
You're not embarrassed to go to the doctor when you have a physical wound, why should you be embarrassed going to someone who can help with your emotional wounds?
Just do it.
Trust me.
(I know and work with some amazing therapists, if you need recommendations PLEASE ask me.)

I told Kenneth all my struggles, my thoughts, my worries... and all the in betweens through this whole process.
He was the one person that the devil convinced me would reject me.
But guess what?
He was the very person that helped (and continues to help) heal my deep emotional wounds.
He treats me like Jesus does.
When I do wrong against him, he is quick to forgive.
When I am scared, he assures me and imparts faith in me.
When I feel unworthy or tormented by Satan and his schemes...he pulls me close, holds me tight, and affirms me exactly how Jesus would.

Do not be afraid of rejection;
Bond with someone who has grasped the grace of Jesus.

Watch this video.
It's 8 minutes long, but I promise
it helped me through my darkest shames, guilts, and anxieties.

I watch this video whenever I feel attacked by the enemy.
God's love for me is greater than anything I've ever done or will do.
The fact is that I did nothing to deserve his love, and I can do absolutely nothing to undo it.
I don't care if you feel your reputation will struggle, you won't have friends, or that you'll lose someone close- I have felt this way to my the very core and in the worst way imaginable, and God proved faithful to rescue me, assure me, accept me, and proclaim me as free from every torment, shame, and guilt.
Now, I get to help you.
Then, you get to help someone else.

The struggle was real.
There were many 'the struggle is real' moments.
And there will always be struggles.
But you know what?
It was really rewarding.
I've now come to a place, not even three months later,
where my anxiety is no more,
I feel confident that Christ takes away the shame and weight of my mistakes,
I know I will be an amazing wife and someday mom,
 and all that struggle?
It is rewarding.
Because I get to blog about it.
I get to help other people.

I've learned to look at every struggle as a method that God uses to draw me closer to him, and in turn, help other people...which is all my heart longs for.

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Seize The Opportunity

Today, my cousin and I stopped by the grocery store to grab some special treats to enjoy while wedding planning later tonight. As she was dropping me off at the door to run in real quick, we both noticed a woman walking in and commented on how great of a figure she had for her age, and how she looked so good.
After some shopping, the woman happened to be in line behind me, and I seized the opportunity to empower her. 
I turned to her and told her what had happened and how my cousin and I both made comments about how beautiful and fit she was. 
With tears in her eyes, she touched my arm and began to tell me how just yesterday her mother was making comments about how chunky she was getting. 
As a result, this woman hadn't eaten anything all day and was having second thoughts on wearing a swimsuit to a family pool party this weekend. 
She told me that my words completely lifted her spirits and that I didn't know how much that meant to her. 
I told her to eat some carbs, feel good, and put on that swimsuit! 


I am a firm believer that women should be looking for every opportunity to empower other women. There is so much healing, revelation, and confidence that happens inside a woman when she hears life-giving, positive, empowering words from another woman. 
In this life, I believe that women are an incredibly strong force to be reckoned with. 
Women give life, nurture, and sacrifice more than people can ever understand. 
A woman is a delight, a joy, and an absolute gift to everyone who she comes in contact with. 
Women have absolute limitless boundaries of things they can accomplish in a way no man can. 
Not to say they are better, no not at all. 
What I'm saying is that women have an incredibly unique ability to be strong and fearless, yet nurturing, empathetic, and caring all at the same time. 
A woman's beauty goes deeper than the makeup on her face or curves on her body. 
Yes, a woman's beauty runs deep with rivers of love and sacrifice that continually flow out of her even when it is discredited, ignored, or taken for granted.
Her prayers, lifestyle, and words have the opportunity to capture hearts in a way that pierces the soul, changes attitudes and mindsets, and breathe life into every heart that encounters hers. 
Women are a powerful, beautiful, graceful display of the God who made them and formed them in His image. 

So, women (and men!), I challenge you- seize every opportunity you can to empower the women around you.

.girls compete with each other.
.women empower one another.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Why Seeing People How You See People Is Damaging To Every Relationship

Here's the reoccurring problem I've been noticing in every situation, and even in my own life. 
You ready? Here it is.
Sometimes, we see people through our own eyes. 
Yes. You read that correct. 
Sometimes, we see people how we see people
Let me explain why this error on our part leads to damaged and unsatisfying dating relationships, family relationships, and/or friendships. 

Have you ever not gotten along with someone because they just rub you wrong? 
Girls, come on, I know you can relate to this. 
You just didn't like someone because they were too loud, came off better than you, acted like they knew everything, you thought they were skinnier, prettier, had better hair than you, etc? 
Guys, you're part of this too. 
You can't stand that guy because he always talks about himself, has a negative or bad attitude, thinks he is the greatest athlete ever, or always tries to one up your stories?
Every human on the planet, at one point or another, has had a broken relationship on some aspect of the scale from friend in middle school didn't invite me to his/her birthday party to my heart has been absolutely shattered by a vicious unhealthy relationship/friendship. 

I'm not saying every relationship can be completely forgive and forget (forgiveness is not forgetting, but that's for another post). 
All I'm saying is that there may be hope in how you can revolutionize and recharge the current relationships you are in right now, as well as prepare and learn how to be better at relationships in the future. 

We see people how we see people. 
The problem with this is that our lens with which we view others is, simply put, imperfect. 
Our lens or "filter" if you will, views people only how we see them in comparison to us. 
Often, our lenses are polluted with seeing the flaws in other people, or even our own insecurities which turn to jealousy (the root of all evil). 

Kenneth was preaching one time and something he said resonated with me to my very core. 
He said this, my first piece of advice when interacting with people:

1. "Just because we can see the sin (or flaws) in other people and they can't see ours, doesn't mean we have any right to judge or not love them."

Just because we observe that they have a bad attitude, have poor social skills, sleep with every guy or girl, are mean to everyone but their best friends, or whatever your excuse to not like them may be, doesn't give us any right to treat them differently or without grace or love or compassion. 
The reality is that we have dirt too. 
We have a past. We have habits. 
And just because it may not be visible to the whole world, doesn't mean they don't exist, and in turn, doesn't mean that we are better than any other person. 

This leads me to my second point,

2. Get rid of your dirty lens 

When will this generation of women begin to empower one another and seek to compliment other women in hopes to form deep, lasting, solid friendships? 
When will boys grow into men and start to believe that when men lay down their pride and facades to one another that they truly have the power to change generations to come, the power to change their whole families, communities, and nation? 
Why must there be a filter on our view of people that so grossly convinces us that WE get to choose who is "cool" and "uncool", "worthy" of our friendship and "unworthy" of our time or love?

This is why the way you see people damages the relationships around you.
Slowly but surely in every relationship I have encountered I'm starting to see that the blame game is played all too often! I blame them for being annoying, when in reality the problem is that I see that certain person only by their means to benefit me. 
How sick and twisted?
How selfish. 

I got tired of this type of attitude towards people I know and even people I have never met, and it lead me to this conclusion:

3. Transformation is powerful- no, not in them, in YOU. 

Once I began to pray that God would transform my view on people, He truly did it. 
Even those people who have hurt me for no reason in my book.

The power of praying that God transforms my heart towards a certain person, I have found and experienced, is a far greater progress of healing in my heart than if I pound my head against the wall praying for him/her to change.
Usually, the people you meet and the challenges you face, is God wanting to do something in you
Will you give it a try?
Will you join me in this movement to let God transform the way you view people?
Because, in reality, you have dirt too. 
In reality, you view people through a dirty, selfish lens.
In the end, God is wanting to heal you from those jealous, hate-filled thoughts that bind you up from living a life of love, joy and grace towards all people. 
I promise you, it is much more freeing to see people the way God sees them. 

Will you give it a try?

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

The Battle No One Talks About

I've been meaning to blog this for a while, but can I be really honest with you? Sometimes, okay often, I feel as though I don't even have enough of a grip on my own anxiety to share how to breakthrough, let alone give advice on it.
But, let me tell you something. 
If there is anything that I have learned through this season of my life, it's that the devil really is a liar, and he really does come to steal, kill, and destroy every good thing in my life-- especially those things that are a threat to him when it comes to building God's kingdom. 

For years I have slowly built an anxiety in my mind, but it never festered into anything until this last year. One day I woke up, and I let my anxiety spiral out of control, and have been battling it ever since.
My stomach would ache, I would lose sleep, I would throw up, and I would have a constant knot of anxiety inside. The devil was attacking my future marriage, my career dreams, and clouded my thoughts to the point I felt I wasn't good enough for anything or anyone. 
I used to blame it on myself thinking I was going mentally insane, I used to blame it on my long-distance relationship, and recently I've been blaming it on the fact that my past, my present, and even my future are not perfect.
Silly, right?
You would be surprised to hear how many others blame their anxiety on themselves, but the only thing I can recognize as being the cause (and you should too after this blog) is satan himself trying to press you down.
 The worst part about it all was that I believed I was a (self diagnosed) mentally crazy person and NO ONE else was going through what I was going through. 
I know people hate list blogs, but I love them, and it's my blog, so here we go. 

Here are 4 things that I believe are crucial for you to know in order to overcome your anxiety.

1. Be honest with your emotions.

I recently heard a sermon about how humans (myself included) are so incredibly scared to be transparent, open, and honest with other people. The pastor used a perfect example of how people go to movies to feel something, yet they are choking back tears because crying makes them feel as if they are over emotional or weak. It just doesn't make sense!
Here's the thing. Humans are emotional beings.
Some may not be as emotional as others, and that's okay.
For example, my fiancé is the least emotional person I've ever met, and I am full of emotion.
Dating him, sometimes I would suppress my emotions because I didn't want to come off as the overly emotional girlfriend or the crazy girl, but guess what? All that did to me was hurt myself and catapult me into anxiety and emotional torment.
Hiding your emotions isn't healthy.
Not once in the Bible do you see a verse about how Jesus choked back his tears or suppressed his anger.
No. In fact it was the opposite- Jesus wept (John 11:35), He grieved (John 11:33), and Jesus even got angry (John 2:15-16).
Jesus was human just like us.
He was emotional, and that was normal.
Like I said, my fiancé isn't very emotional, however, when something does make him angry or need to cry, he doesn't hide them or pretend he's fine.
He feels. Just as Jesus did.
I think seeing the examples of Jesus and my fiancé really opened my eyes to how it's completely normal to feel your emotions.
I'll say it again- to different, unique degrees, we are emotional beings.

My first bit of advice would be this:
Simply, be honest with your emotions.
Don't be afraid to feel something.

2. The devil wants to isolate you.

Many more people battle with anxiety and depression than you would think. Heck, I will tell you, I am  outgoing, fun-loving, and bubbly, but sometimes I would literally be dying inside with anxiety and sadness, and no one could tell. 
That's what I wanted-- or so I thought. 
The devil can trick you so easily.
He will do anything to get you alone, scared, and weak.
If you are feeling the weight of anxiety, call out!
Call out to those who love you and those you can trust.
Tell them how you are feeling, and try to get to the root of your anxiety.
This leads me to my next piece of advice

3. Trust the process

For me, my anxiety came from all different angles, but the root of my problem was that I didn't trust in Jesus, nor did I look to him in every aspect of my life.
For example, I would often give him areas of my life, not my whole life. The areas I wanted to control, the things I wanted to keep hidden or my reputation, were the areas I didn't let God have.
One day, I remember journaling for God to take control of every area of my life- and poof! My anxiety was gone! .....just kidding. It was almost the opposite.
The devil hated that I asked God to take control, and I've never felt so tormented by him in my life.
It was a struggle. It was a process.
I had to deal with things in my past, get counseling, and ask for prayer from my fiancé and pastors.
THEN, I had to believe God was doing something greater than myself inside of me.
One of my best friends told me one day after talking to him about some of my fears, he said,
"You know, sometimes you just have to trust the process."
That resonated with me.
But that was hard.
That was challenging.
I had a choice to stay isolated, or share my deepest wounds and expose my whole self.
Choosing to un-isolate myself and share my fears, anxieties, and be honest with where I was at emotionally was the best decision I could have made.
It will be for you too, but you have to trust the process- for me, it took a long hard month that I am just now coming out of. It may take a longer or shorter time for you, but you have to keep your eyes on Jesus, and trust the process.

My final piece of advice is this,

4. Train your brain.

In the process of getting over anxiety and battling my thoughts, I picked up a life-changing book that I would recommend to anyone in this position.
If you feel stuck and struggling even after being honest and open with others about your feelings and emotions, pick up this book.
Battlefield Of The Mind

This book has opened my mind and heart to experiencing victory over sadness, anxiety, and all around negative thoughts.
Grab a highlighter and a pen, and mark up and write down everything that helps you and speaks to you.
I can tell you this has helped me understand why I feel the way I do, and it constantly reminds me of the truths I need to hear.
Get this book!

No matter what you are going through, have gone through, or what you need to deal with, know that you are NOT alone and you are NOT the only one who is going through your situation.
 In fact, the Bible clearly states that you aren't the only one battling or suffering.
1 Peter 5: 7-10 says this:

7: Casting all your anxieties on Him, because He cares for you

8: Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.

9: Resist him [the devil], firm in your faith, knowing that the same kinds of suffering are being experienced by your brotherhood [other people/other Christians] throughout the world.

10: And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will Himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you.

If you ever need anything or help battling what you're going through, I pray that you wouldn't be fearful to share your thoughts or fears with people you trust. If you need someone to pray with you, talk you through this season of your life, or to just listen, feel free to contact me and I would love to be that person for you.

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Making Long Distance Work

I have been inquired by multiple people on how I "made long distance work".
(I realize some people blog and say "multiple people have been asking…" when in all reality no one has been asking, but I promise, multiple people really have contacted me asking for advice on what worked in my LDR.)
As some of you, most of you, know I dated my now fiancé for over two years long distance.
It was the easiest thing I've ever done, we never fought, and I never cried and asked God if this was really the plan he had for me.
Obviously-- I'm completely lying.

Now, I'm not going to hang out all of our dirty laundry in this blog post, so if you're looking for juicy gossip, look somewhere else. 
My intention isn't to talk bad about Ken, our relationship, or even myself. 
Because let's be honest, that will get no one, no where real quick.

Since the engagement, I have heard some of the most endearing things ever, but sometimes I don't think people see the reality of the whole long distance thing. 
For example, people see all the traveling we get to do, the professional baseball world we live in, and the fun cities we get to visit, but there is a whole different side to all of those things.
People don't see the side where every time we leave each other there are tears (okay, I cry; he doesn't). People don't see the struggle to keep our relationship alive because we both pretty much do the same thing every day during baseball season, know each other inside and out, so therefore run out of things to talk about. 
(Trust me, when talking on the phone is your only way of communicating and you continually run out of things to talk about, it isn't pretty, fun, or romantic; it's frustrating.)
Or how when people say I'm "living the dream" dating a guy who plays baseball for a living, but they don't see the tears running down my face, or me (completely frustrated, happy, sad, and confused) saying, "this is NOT real life" to my best friend sitting there with big eyes watching me have a melt down when I am scheduled to see him in four days but have to cancel my flight (and lose a ton of money in the process) because the Rockies decided they want him in a completely different state on a completely different team. 
(Running sentence, I know, be quiet, it's my blog.)
Trust me. 
I wouldn't trade my relationship, his career, or our two and a half years dating long distance for the world, but I can say that it isn't ideal. It isn't easy. And sometimes, it isn't fun. 

For what it's worth, 
here is my advice.

1. Talking about your LDR to people who have never experienced one is a HUGE no-no.
Stop. Just stop. 
The next time a group of your friends are all sitting around hanging out and they ask you how your boyfriend/girlfriend is or how your relationship is- just say it's good. 
Nothing else. At all. Say it's good. 
Here's why.
I can remember a group of me and my friends sitting around one day and they were all talking about going off to college and how much fun it was going to be. The memories they were going to make, the trouble they were going to get in, the friends they were going to acquire.. ahh college at a university will be SO fun they kept saying. 
Then, all the attention shifted to me and they asked what my plans were.
When I told them I was going to do all online classes so that I could work and travel to see my boyfriend, I was bombarded with looks as if I had just told them I was dropping out of college all together. Instantaneously questions and comments were aimed and fired-
"Why would you do that?"
"You need to live a little!"
"How the heck are you supposed to get a Communications degree online? That makes no sense. Sounds stupid."
"You're gonna look back on your college days and regret not getting out of Tri-Cities"
"I don't think that's a good idea at all."

These were the remarks of people who had never experienced a long distance relationship (or even a solid in proximity relationship for that matter), and they were telling me how horrible my idea was to work and travel and yes, sacrifice a little of my "college experience" for my relationship. 
I was hurt, confused, and quite honestly- just mad. 

I'm not saying don't listen to your friends. 
I'm just saying don't take their advice on your LDR as Bible when it comes to something they have absolutely no experience in.
If you need advice, talk to someone who has walked a mile in those same shoes you're walking in. 
Talk to someone who has been there. 
Heck, read this blog a time or two, I won't be mad. ;) 

2. Stop talking so much
This one is short and sweet, but I think helped me a ton in my relationship with Ken. 
We text throughout the day sometimes, or barely just a good morning and goodnight text, but that was okay. We found (and this worked for us, maybe not for everyone) that the less we text and the less we talked on the phone, the better it was!
I know, weird concept, but let me explain. 
When we talked every day, we would constantly run out of things to talk about. He did the same thing literally every day, and so did I. I had my routines and he had his. 
We got to a point where we had to stop trying for quantity of communication and start aiming for quality of communication. We could get a whole lot more words in when we hadn't talked to each other all week; we looked forward to hearing one another's voices, and things naturally came instead of awkward forced conversation.  
So maybe the ole' saying is true:
Less is More.

3. Don't play the break-up game.
You heard me. You know what I'm talking about.
Everyone knows that couple (maybe you are that couple) that breaks up, gets back together, breaks up, gets back together, breaks u-… you get the idea. 
Can you just… not?
Seriously. If you say you love someone, if you're in long distance and times get tough, don't be childish and pull out the "well I'm breaking up with you!" card. 
It gets old. 
Wow, great threat.
The last time you broke up with him or her, you played this game of "I'm not texting first" or "the ball is in his/her court to own up to what he/she did"…. stop it. You're acting like a 3rd grader in a bad game of recess kickball. You know, how they keep adding rules to the game and say "that's not fair" just cause they didn't get their way?
That's you. 
When you play the break up game, you aren't accomplishing anything. 
In fact, if you're in a serious relationship and you're playing the break up game with someone who you consider possibly marrying someday- you're setting yourself up for divorce if you ever DO end up getting married one day. 
Breaking up with someone to get even with them isn't going to suddenly make them not mad and grovel at your feet for forgiveness.
Ew. You don't WANT a woman or man like that.
If I told Ken while we were dating, "You can never talk to me on the phone for more than 15 minutes!! I'm breaking up with you!!"
… you know what he'd say?
"...Huh?..Okay, if that's what you want."
And where does that leave me?
I'll tell you.
Single and feeling dumb for yelling at an introvert for not talking a ton.

Stop with the break up game.
Just work things out. 
If you truly love someone, if you truly want to make the relationship work, the breakup game has GOT to go. 
Be mature.
Stop being dramatic.
Most of the things that I hear people broke up with their significant other for are petty little things that probably wouldn't have bothered them in the first place if they didn't make that one relationship the center of their whole world.

Which so eloquently (or lack there of) brings me to my next point of advice. 

4. Your relationship shouldn't be your everything. 
Okay, let's be real for a second. 
We all have that friend who talks about their dog like WAY too much. 
Or their kids.
Or their job.
Or their relationship.
Don't be that guy.

I get it, you love love. 
I love love too. 
(Love love)
But here's the thing. When your relationship, or your significant other becomes your whole world, it's going to crumble real quick. 
In the beginning of my relationship with Ken I remember my every emotion was catered around how my relationship with him was going.
For example, (and I tell this to Ken even today- I honestly have no clue how he put up with a brat like me in the early stages of our relationship) I would occasionally (okay more than occasionally, frequently) nit pick the relationship. 
I would compare it to other people's relationships like ALL the time. 
We weren't talking enough.
He loved baseball more than me. 
He didn't talk enough.
I didn't get a goodnight text (I don't care that he just pitched in a stressful game, his phone died, and he fell asleep on his 8 hr bus ride home) I NEED A GOODNIGHT TEXT.

Come on girls. This will preach. 
I know y'all are crazy or were crazy at some point like this. 
You aren't fooling ANYONE. 
I was SO overly concerned with my relationship with him that I became emotionally drained, stressed out, full of anxiety, and never once thought that my priorities were out of whack. 

Yes, I put Jesus first. Well, by that I mean that He was the first one I complained to when I didn't get a good night text, hadn't got flowers in a month, or felt like I was the only one "giving" in the relationship. 
Truth is- I was over giving
I was putting too much thought, time, and emotion thinking about my LDR. 

Come on people this is real life stuff, and I know SO many girls (and guys!) who get caught up in the whirlwind of making your relationship your everything
Let me tell you.
It ISN'T. 
If it's meant to be, it will be. 
The relationship will go MUCH smoother if you just chill
Stop with the crazy. 
Just be yourself and let him or her be themselves.
What's meant to be will be. 
You guys break up, you break up. 
It isn't the end of the world. 

THAT being said, I am not saying to not invest in your relationship. 
Make sacrifices, be emotionally involved, care for your significant other, practice loving them unconditionally- those are the things you should be doing. Not spending time nit picking the things in your relationship (or your significant other!) that needs work. That helps no one.


That's it for this blog post!
(I know, finally, it's over, that sucker was annoyingly too long)
Let me know what works for your LDR, how this blog may have helped you out, or how maybe I have no clue what I'm talking about- either way, let me know! :)