Sharing The Amazing Things God Has Done In My Life!!

As of the moment of posting this, I have 69 drafts, some of them barely worthy of sitting down to write a full-length post about! But right now, it seems so much more important to share with you all some of the amazing things that God has been teaching me in my life!

Lesson #1 – Give Him the glory; it always works!

Recently I had all the end-of-year activities – piano and voice recitals, a piano exam, last lessons, and, of course, many performance opportunities in my faith community! Sometimes our focus is entirely on ourselves because we’re so worried about making a mistake or missing a line, and yet, I long to have my performances reflect God’s grace in my talents and not just my own strength. I noticed a cockiness in my first performance this year that hindered my ability to fully give God the glory for the performance, and I want to continue to seek His help.

You know what the best part about not focusing too much on ourselves? When we focus on making ourselves look good, we all know the precariousness of that position! What with the nerves and butterflies, its a 50/50 chance whether we’ll even look decent! BUT, when we seek to make known God’s name and fame, He always ends up looking good!

Lesson #2 – He is SO faithful.

I have been going through the process of applying to go to a certain (amazing) camp this year! I just love the community there and the way the people are so real and so on fire for their faith! Through a lot of dialogue and connection with staff, friends, and prayer support from my faith community, God has shown himself so faithful in orchestrating it all in the most wonderful way, better than I could ever have imagined! Through the decisions of others, and my at-times blindfolded commitment to my convictions, and in spite of incredible odds, I have been given this amazing opportunity to serve as a cabin leader this summer!

This process was not without its moments of doubt, stress, stretching, and uncertainty, but in the end, I would gladly do it all over again for the triumph and gratefulness of seeing God’s ability to give me a beautiful gift in what will be such a joy to me this summer!

I had to take certain really tough steps, pray some really tough prayers, and give up some really tough feelings, but God worked through everything. EVERYTHING.

“And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.”

Romans 8:28, ESV
Photo by Andrea Piacquadio on Pexels.com

Lesson #3 – There is meaning in all parts of the Word of God.

Has anyone ever read the book of Obadiah? Its a short book, one chapter long, and directed towards the judgement of the Edomites. Not a very uplifting message – but yet, after reading it as part of my Bible reading, I still felt as though I had done something meaningful; like just picking up and reading the Bible, no matter how melancholy the message, has a purpose.

So many people and situations have recently convicted and reminded me of the importance of spending time in God’s Word. Especially the below verse from Amos, which really pierced my heart to think of just how desirable the Word of God is, and how much we as modern youth take it for granted.

““Behold, the days are coming,” declares the Lord God, “when I will send a famine on the land— not a famine of bread, nor a thirst for water, but of hearing the words of the Lord. They shall wander from sea to sea, and from north to east; they shall run to and fro, to seek the word of the Lord, but they shall not find it.”

Amos 8:11-12, ESV

The next verse says that beautiful young women and strong young men will faint from thirst; the thirst for the Living Water of God’s Word. If only we always held the Word in such high regard that our time spent within its pages was such a treasure and a priority to us! Thank God that He is patient with us in our seasons of ability and that His faithfulness is far more steadfast than our own.

I challenge you all to delve into the freely given water of God’s word for your sustenance; to take advantage of the wonderful gift we’ve been given by having the Bible at only a flip of the page away, or a click of the mouse. How blessed we are to be given the privilege of feasting at His banquet on this earth!


I hope y’all found something to treasure in this post! I am so grateful for all God’s been doing and teaching me, and I want to hear about your lives – what is something that is so amazing you just have to share it? How Has God been working? Tell me all about in the comments, or shoot me an email through my contact page!

Have an amazing day, friends!

Advertisement

What Are You Taking In? (Part Two: Role Models)

Hello all! Welcome back to the “What Are You Taking In?” series! Today, we’re covering role models, and their affect on our lives. (To see the previous post in the series, see What Are You Taking In? (Part One: Music))


The other day, I randomly decided to write down the women in my life that I see as role models. I wrote the first two on my mind; the first one has consistently inspired me on a daily basis, because she’s literally Superwoman and can do ANYTHING! The second woman had just recently inspired me, and I realized that although she never flaunts her abilities or skills, she has always been one of the most godly and capable women I know. So, I wrote down these two women.

But almost before I realized it, I was writing down the names of every other woman in my mom’s regular hangout group, shocked to realize that ALL these beautiful women have amazing qualities, godly characters, and are models of how I’d like to grow up and become!

Photo by Kampus Production on Pexels.com

And the reason that I was so shocked, was because I have taken these women for granted. But I have been so SO blessed to have these women in my life – I can hardly believe that they are in MY little world, going about THEIR business in the LORD’S way, shining THEIR example onto my life and demonstrating what its like to be a woman of God …

I am so completely overwhelmed by the blessing of the example of these women, and their generous, encouraging relationship with me.


Who is a role model?

“[A role model is …] a person whose behavior in a particular role is imitated by others.”

– Merriam Webster Dictionary Online, (definition of role model).

Its fascinating to see how a person’s character stems from their influences of others. When someone admires another person and spends time thinking about or interacting with that person, often they will come to imitate this “model”, by taking on their personality traits, opinions, or ways of thinking.

Role models can be highly motivating. Seeing the success or accomplishments of someone else helps us to think “I can do that too!” These days, its easier than ever to know about the successful people whose career paths and life decisions we’d like to model. However, sometimes the financially successful could be morally or spiritually corrupt, and I’m afraid that my experience with other teens is what has inspired this particular post …

For an example from my own life … I have a love for the people of God. I love getting together with them for some good worship and bible study sessions. And within that group of people are several who are so inspiring in the way they’ve decided to live for God, and set apart their lives for His purposes. Sometimes, I catch myself imitating the personality traits of the people I respect: not because I’m trying to laugh like he does or speak like she does, but because I’ve spent time and thought on their example.

Photo by Elina Fairytale on Pexels.com

Unfortunately, it seems that not every role model is a good one. (Shocker, right?)

What makes someone a “good” role model?

  • Their areas of specialty align with the same basic points of your personal convictions.
  • They speak with care, wisdom, knowledge, and confidence.
  • They act in a way that lines up with what they say.

Many singers and businesspeople and politicians and authors, all those with a huge influence on the world, are not only spreading their financial or business-related assistance to the world, but are also affecting the personal thoughts and convictions of young people (and old people too, for that matter!) that they’ve never even met.

I don’t think the average teen even realizes this. They’re certainly not thinking, when they get interested in, say, listening to secular pop, “Well, after about a year of listening to this music, keeping up the news about the best singers, and imitating their fashion and personality, I’ll be almost ready to take on their spiritual beliefs as well.” No: imitation, although it may be the sincerest form of flattery, doesn’t happen overnight, and it sneaks up on you.

Now, its not necessarily the presence of something secular in your life, that can cause you to become weak in your faith; in my opinion, it will tend to happen when there is an absence of the elements that grow your faith. Let me give an example …

Without water, a (normal) tree will shrivel and die. You can throw confetti, wind, and minor hail at the tree, but as long as its getting its water and sunshine and soil nutrients, it will do just fine. However, if that’s taken away, its easier for the tree to succumb to the pressure of all the other elements, the affect of which has grown immensely since the nourishment is gone. It shows just how important that spiritual nourishment really is.

Photo by Johannes Plenio on Pexels.com

So, just as the effects of listening to music which does not align with your personal beliefs, (as mentioned in the previous post in this series), so can you be affected by learning about, “interacting” with, and unconsciously being influenced by people whose lives evidence no knowledge of or desire for the truth. This is so dangerous, because something we don’t often realize, is that we change very easily, based on where we are and who we allow to influence us. If we’re strong enough to stand up to peer pressure, we may escape the secular school environment unscathed, but its hard to be different. If we’re independent enough, we won’t need to strive to be friends with those who will slowly break down our convictions, but its hard to be alone.

Its also hard to be “sheltered” and seen as “the naïve one” … but I can tell you, it sure beats knowing what the other girls giggle and whisper about on their cell phones!

We need to really dig deep down and think “Is this role model a godly example?”

We need to really stop and consider, “Are my actions reflecting secular morals?”

We need to really study the Word so we know the answer when we ask, “Is my faith getting weaker as a result of this influence, or is it being encouraged and nourished?”


We don’t have to be influenced by people we wouldn’t want to become.


I think its so important not only to look for and recognize role models in the popular media, but also the ones that we’re so close to that we almost miss; the believers at Bible study, the friends at school or sports, the pen-pal-ers and emailers that genuinely care about us, our siblings and parents and grandparents; these people have character and have learned so much in their own life. We have a lot to learn from people like them, and we don’t have to look to the magazines to find an inspiring figure to emulate.

So, in closing, I want to mention these woman who have inspired me so much. Thank you, to all of you who I consider role models for treating me like one of your own friends, encouraging and loving me, and for spreading your virtuous example to me and other young ladies. I love you all so much and am so blessed to have you in my life.

P.S. Thank you all for reading, and tell me; who do you think young people revere, that we ought not to revere? Which kind of people are your role models, and which people can no longer be? Let me know your thoughts!

Autumn Musings; Followed by Music, Life, & New Goals!

Hello everyone! I hope you’re all doing well! What are your future plans; special days, special get-togethers with others, and activities you’re stoked to try? Let me know below, friends!

The end of summer has filled the beginning of autumn with a flurry of preparations! For some reason, our family has been super busy this autumn, so school had to take to the back burner for a couple weeks; although, for a couple days, I managed to get done quite a bit before the busy part of fall!

Autumn is such a gorgeous season; especially in the Pinterest photos! 😉 I only wish that my backyard could always contain the idyllic autumn-themed black iron-wrought lamp-posts, red brick walls, orange and yellow and red and burnished umber leaves, and pumpkin arrangements among the burlap and twinkling fairy lights! Out in nature, the autumn is majestic – the bright colors speak for themselves without a pruner or gardener to maintain during its short-lived flight towards winter’s approach.

Autumn may be able to share its glory with us without much effort – the season does the work for us! But what about when the transformation requires a bit more dirty work?

Take home improvement and upkeep, for example. Washing windows, scraping off peeling paint, and making repairs are all part of maintaining a house in condition to weather the approaching seasons. When finished, the work is beautiful. It’s noticeably so much better than before.

Photo by Artem Saranin on Pexels.com

What about ourselves? Are you feeling confident in your ability to “get back into the swing” again? Or has school and academic pressure overwhelmed you like a sudden tsunami? Maybe you’re disappointed in yourself for how much you seem to have “lost touch” with your school routine, or feel sad to be “behind” in school, even if nobody else cares.

But don’t be discouraged. Yes, we’ve fallen, slipping as we attempt to scramble up the slope of our own expectations. Yes, we’ve failed, though it may be ever so minute, or seem so to others from the outside looking in. Yes, although nobody really knows how you feel or how much you’ve beat yourself up over your apparent shortcomings; there is hope.

A little bit of trimming here, a splash of paint and a dab of water to wipe clean the little stains, a whole lot of good honest effort; and you’ll get it again. Your habits and abilities will come back. You can do it.

We can “autumn clean” for the school year, pick up these responsibilities, and honor God through it all. Don’t give up; it should be an honor to work hard for the King.

“And whatever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord and not to men, 24 knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance; for you serve the Lord Christ.”

~ Colossians 3:23-24, NKJV

In this beautiful and fresh season of autumn, I want to encourage you all to take a deep breath. Exhale. Close your eyes. Take a sip of water. Glorify God with the breaths you take of the Breath He gave you. And don’t sweat the pressure, because that’s exactly where your enemies want you. Take care of yourself, friend! Enjoy the opportunities, even if they’re stressful. Instead of falling into temptations or time-wasters, find an accountability partner *ahem .. parent* to keep you steady and on track with your school, especially if you’re homeschooled and self-taught. And instead of worrying about your grades or that tough assignment, laugh in the face of those who think you can’t do it. Eat tough assignments for breakfast. In the colloquial sense, of course. 🤣

I just want to encourage you that no matter how behind, how inadequate, how dumb or busy you feel, YOU. CAN. DO. IT!

“I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”

~ Philippians 4:13, NKJV

Because my life is so interesting (bows to my fans), I’ve put together a list of some of my recent favorites in a short attempt at reconciliation for being gone from the blog for so long! I hope you all enjoy the following thoughts and short bursts of hilarity from my recent life!

Moments:

  • Getting told I’m a blonde, getting asked if I’ve ever heard of blonde jokes, and then getting laughed at when I said I’d never understood them. XD
  • Stealing a friend’s whistle on a backpacking trip, and leaving clues around our campsite for him to find!
  • My mom and I talking about how tired we both were, then her telling me the only difference between her and I was that I stunk! (Background: I had just returned from the said backpacking trip in the previous bullet point. So yes; stinky teenager. XD)
  • Some great conversations and personal realizations. Tough times make for tough people. 💪
  • Making coconut flour cookies, a recipe of my own design, and getting the shock of my life when my Dad, the pickiest culinary expert in our house, told me they were good!

Music

My friend Laurel Jean at laurel-jean.com just made a music swap post that was so fun I thought I’d share my many recent favorites in a post of my own! I hope you all enjoy listening to my recommendations – they’re all perfectly clean and family friendly! (I haven’t listened to all recently, but they’re all dearly beloved by yours truly!) Please forgive the repetitiveness of the artists … I know, I’m stuck in the genre of Christian pop! 🤣 If you have a favorite song that gets you really bubbly and energetic, let me know! 😉

  • “Dead Man Walking”, Jeremy Camp
  • “Control”, For King and Country (Somehow, this one always makes it onto my list of favorites! XD)
  • “Healing”, Riley Clemmons
  • “Until Grace”, Tauren Wells
  • “Defender”, Jeremy Camp (SOOOO GOOOOD!!!)
  • “This Could Change Everything”, Francesca Battistelli
  • “Known”, Tauren Wells
  • “Godsend”, Riley Clemmons
  • “God’s Not Done With You”, Tauren Wells

Favorite posts:

Goals for Autumn (and the new school year!)

  • Go hiking
  • Bake a pie
  • Begin school – which I’ve already done!!!! (Come on! I know it IS stressful, but surely I’m not the only one who’s excited!! 🤣)
  • Watch some OLD movies as school assignments … should be fun!
  • Spend as much time outside as I can!
  • Listen to great music while driving (The best combo ever! 👏)

Well, guys, I’m swamped with such amazing blog post ideas but not enough time to write them! About seven pretty cool drafts sit unfinished and unedited in my drafts box, waiting for a time when I and my proofreader are a little less busy! 😅 I’ve received some great encouragement that’s helped me to feel wanted on the blogosphere, by some sweet friends! I hope y’all will forgive me, and thank you to all who have chatted with me during my absence!

I hope you are all doing well, and, as I said at the beginning of the post, please feel free to let me know what you’re up to! And what – tell me, do – what is your favorite fall baking recipe? (By the way, my proofreader *ahem, AKA my mom* wants to know what y’all’s favorite pumpkin recipe is! 🤣) Have a great week!

Womanhood (Part One)

(Hey everyone! Here’s a post I originally published on my other blog, Wake up, Girls!. (View the original post here.) I wanted to post it here for my “Yah’s Girl” followers too, so I hope you enjoy!)

As a young teenager, I struggled with the concept of womanhood. When our Bible study group decided to study this topic, I was excited because I wanted to learn more about what I was supposed to become, how I was supposed to act, as a woman in Christ.

But after the meetings, I was so confused because of all the information coming from the people in the group. The verses we talked about were on submission, teaching, head coverings. Yes, I know it’s a sensitive topic and it’s good to know where you stand, but I think it was a lot for me to take in, as an inexperienced and a tiny-bit-immature-15-year-old.

What made it harder was that most of the people presenting their ideas were … the men. I didn’t see any women saying things about how they’d learned to take their identity from the Bible. I didn’t see any women sharing their wisdom with the others.

If you know me, you can see that this topic would be hard for me.

I love debate and freedom. I love the idea of living alone and being independent. I want to do dangerous and risky things, like walking fenceposts, kayaking down crazy rivers, and going on backpacking trips. I’ve even wanted to be a secret agent at one point!

I’ve had the image of the strong, independent woman in my head for my whole life. I wanted to be that kind of person.

But I wanted it for MYSELF. Not for the glory of God. For the glory, courage, and fame of MYSELF.

See? When you start with the heart of the matter you see what’s wrong. The defenses fall away. And you can see the truth.

See, what I realized was that men and women have different purposes. The purpose of the godly man is to be responsible for his family, wife, and children. To protect them. To love them. To lead them where God leads him. He can’t do that if his wife or daughter is constantly second-guessing his decisions or pulling at his hand to move him elsewhere.

And the purpose of women? I’ve learned that it is multifold – but I think the root of it all is to help. To help their parents, instead of tearing them down and making trouble. To comfort and encourage their friends with their troubles. Cook when Mom’s sick. Do the chores when Dad’s away. Babysit for a couple on a date. To help their husbands lead them in a godly way.

Instead of thinking of the men’s responsibility as an encumberment to our independence, why don’t we think of it as a blessing from God? Instead of thinking of our purpose to be helpmeets as a burden, why don’t we rejoice that we have the power to change and to move people? We woman can help people be the best they can be! We can encourage the men in our life instead of scoffing at their leadership!

Something that was really important for me to learn was this: That my Dad has my best interests at heart. In fact, at one point I didn’t believe this. I thought he was out to wreck my fun – maybe he wouldn’t ever let me move out. Maybe he’d never let me date the guy I liked. Maybe he’d never let me leave the province without him or Mom. I thought, “This sucks. Why does he have to be in charge of me for my entire life? Can I never make my own decisions?”

But stop a minute, old Makayla. I know my Dad. He loves God. He loves me. He wouldn’t want to hurt me. He wouldn’t do anything he didn’t truly believe in. He’s not out to wreck my fun. He’s out to protect me – to fulfill his God-given responsibility to take care of me, his baby girl.

When you think about it THAT way … it takes away all the skepticism and all I feel is gratefulness and love.

————————————————

So now we know what it DOESN’T mean to be a Godly Woman … what DOES it mean?

There are SO many facets to what it means to be a godly woman that I can’t fit all the concepts in this post! This will be part one of a series on Biblical Womanhood, and I’ll be incorporating the stories of Biblical women in the posts, to illustrate the qualities we can show in our lives today. I hope you’ll follow my blog or continue checking it out so we can journey through this womanhood series together!

“Yahweh, I pray that you would work through this series. Help all the women and teenage girls to know what your special purpose is for them, and to accept the purposes which you have given to men. Thank you for your principles of Biblical manhood and womanhood that we can follow. They are beautiful and desirable, not a burden or an encumberment. Help me as well, to know what to write, and continue to fill us with your words through Your Word. Please renew us all. In the name of your son Yeshua, Amen.”

I hope you all have an amazing day!

Makayla

(By the way, the Womanhood series will be continued on the other blog, Wake up, Girls! Head over and click the follow button to receive notifications for future posts!)

Goals and Habits … Is it God’s Will?

Over the month of December and early January, I’d been making personal goals and accomplishing them, and here’s what I’ve learned; It feels really good. It feels good to do things, and do them well. It’s empowering to feel strong, smart, talented, and organized. And for someone who’s love language is ‘words of affirmation’, having people affirm my efforts and tell me I’m wonderful makes my heart burst with joy!

However … is it really me?

Are my brains, my strength, my talents … are they really mine? Can I crush whatever goal I have simply because I’m determined and motivated? Does health mean everything? Is my body mine, to use however I want?

And I had to concede … the answer is no.

No, my brains and strength and talent is not mine – it’s YHVH’s, that He gave to me to use for His glory. No, my own determination and motivation only goes so far – it’s YHVH who breathes life and energy into me to enable me to work hard in life. And I can’t get anywhere on my own strength – It’s YHVH I need to lean on, trust in, to help me in distress and hard times.


However, even though we know that we should take this step, how do we do it? How can we smack back our bad habits of trusting in ourselves, of making goals that take YHVH out of the picture? Habits are hard to break – especially bad ones.

There isn’t a one-size-fits-all solution. But because my target is youth audiences, I’ll give you some things to think about …

  • Are your goals focused on an end goal of being God-oriented, others-oriented, or self-oriented?
  • Are you involving your parents, other family, and close friends in your dreams, goals, friendships, and the desires of your heart?
  • Are you praying over all your struggles? (Emotional, physical, mental, spiritual, relational?)
  • Are you working so hard at your goals that you don’t have time to do things you’re passionate about, or things that help others?
  • Are you giving God the glory, if only just in the quiet of your own prayer time?

A habit isn’t broken by mental assent. You’ve got to discover something that resonates in your soul – something that means something to you. For me, my “soul resonating” comes when I’m trying to act in trust in YHVH’s Will for my life. I’m coming to the realization that YHVH’s plan is the only plan I want. Any other plan will fail to satisfy.

So please don’t expect a lifestyle switch to be easy. It isn’t.

But please DO expect it to mold you, and change you. Of course, if you’re afraid of change (like I am) this will be even harder for you.

But are you willing to change? To line up your goals with God’s Will for your life? To break the habits that detract from God’s Will? To trust God to give you the strength for the things He wants you to accomplish?

There’s only One Way to find out.


I’d also like to add something that a friend told me …. Grace, over at Vibrant for Jesus. She said that we should always remember the MAIN goal, which is glorifying God. That made me think of this verse …

“I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.”

Phillippians 3:14, NKJV

Paul had #goals too! His goal was the prize of Christ’s calling. What an amazing goal.

Cute hairstyles for Summer Camp!

Hey everyone! Just popping in for a short post today. Hope you enjoy!

Have you ever been to summer camp with your hair on its second day? Trust me, its not something you want to go through without that one trusty person who knows how to French braid! But although French braids are THE hairstyle when at camp, there are several other preppy styles to wear that are way easier and cute as well!

1. half up, half down.

I like this one because it calls attention to the back of the head, which doesn’t happen with normal styles. If you have long flowing hair, this keeps it out of your face and adds dimension to the back of your head. Plus, you can dress it up a lot! Scrunchy, braid, kerchief, a mini bun (trust me, it doesn’t make you look like a guy!), you could even add small flowers! (I tried this once and it made me feel like a princess!)

2. braided ponytail.

I went through a phase where I did this quite a lot! I find that you can use either the three-strand braid and the two-strand (or “rope” braid.) Start with a section of hair at the front middle of your face, and pull it into a braid. (The larger the section, the larger the braid, but also the bigger the pouf, which makes it harder to control.) Then pull the rest of your hair into a ponytail, and tuck in the braid, so it travels from your hairline to the ponytail, across your head.

The braid looks visible, and at the root of the braid is a pouf that adds dimension to the front of your head, which may have otherwise looked flat on its second day.

3. messy bun.

If you know you’re not going to be doing a lot of running that day, a loose messy bun looks amazing and won’t fall out if you use the right tricks! (I confess I have yet to discover these tricks!) I normally make my buns just by twisting the hair at any point on my head (normally mid to low height) and wrapping it with a spiral ponytail band (which are my favorite hair band EVER! They hold hair in place really nicely and tightly, because of the spirals. If they stretch, just put them in a bowl of boiling water and they’ll shrink magically!)

4. the famous, the one-and-only, milkmaid braid!

This is my absolute favorite style ever! Not just because it gives off such whimsical swiss alpine vibes (be still my heart!) but because it wraps the face with such a beautiful braid that whoever wears it instantly looks gorgeous! It can be super simple, but it looks like it takes a lot of practice to get it right. Here’s a tutorial (simply because I have never excelled at giving instructions about something which I can’t do! 😂)

5. bandana.

I saw this one a few years ago and my cabinmates and I instantly fell in love! (No, it wasn’t a boy, it was a bandana!) Fold your bandana in half so it looks like a triangle, then flip the long side one inch over, and over, and over again until it looks like a ribbon. Loop it around the back of your head and tie it at your hairline, being sure the “bow” lands slightly off-center, or you’ll look like a rabbit. Here’s a pic because my instructions look confusing even to me!

(Source: https://blog.stylewe.com/step-up-your-hairstyle-fashion-with-bandana/)

I hope y’all enjoyed! Let me know your thoughts. What are your favorite hairstyles for summer camp?

Makayla

Chloe Ting 2019 SHRED Workout Challenge – Day #5

Hey fabulous people!

I started the Chloe Ting Shred Workout Challenge! Guys, I am so excited to share this with you because I finally found a workout I like!! *cheers*

My friend SonofYHWH made a post about how he wants to complete the Chloe Ting Two-Week Ab Workout, and I’ve decided to take the plunge and begin the Challenge! He’s asking people to keep him accountable and to do it along with him, so go ahead and join us both!

(Check out SonofYHWH’s post here!)

I’ve decided to do a little more than just the Ab Workout for these next two weeks … I’m doing the whole 2019 SHRED Challenge! (Yes, I know, it’s my first workout challenge ever, but I can do it. And so can you!)

So, the Challenge includes 5 different exercises, which are paired up differently for different days, and it also includes two rest days.

You guys, rest days are really important! The rest day is when your body actually begins to build the muscle, in addition to letting you rest the parts of your body you’re working on so you don’t get burnt out. So be sure to take a break every fifth day of the program, and to take at LEAST a four day break from intense workouts after you finish the Challenge.

(Check out the Chloe Ting 2019 Shred Challenge!)

Having already gone through five days of the program, here are my tips for your best performance in the coming weeks, should you decide to join me in the Challenge.

  • Be sure to stretch before and after, even if it’s only a little. Stretching afterward is, in my opinion, one of the most important things to remember to do in tandem with your workout, because it causes your muscles (and potential muscle growth) to be relaxed and settled into their proper places, instead of leaving your workout tight and sore. Ballet dancers use and employ this technique for long, lean muscles.
  • Use a protein powder for maximum results in gaining muscle and satisfying your daily protein count without micro-managing your diet.
  • Don’t be afraid to make adjustments to the program for you personally. I’ve tinkered with it a bit, but it hasn’t changed the overall scope of the workout. You know what your body needs, and if you want to make a few small changes (swapping certain workouts, resting on different days, etc,) then go for it! Just keep in mind that too many adjustments can render the program less effective.
  • Eat as healthily as you possibly can. Most people embark on workout challenges for either fitness benefits or prestige, but healthy food is important anyway regardless of whether you actually want results or not. Just be aware of what you’re putting in your body. Think “Will this help my body function well through my physical activity for today, or will it drag me down and slow my progress?”
  • Make sure to hydrate, hydrate, hydrate! Drinking water can get boring, but you can force yourself to get your quantity by flavoring it, keeping a bottle handy at all times, or sipping while at your desk.
  • Have fun! Don’t pressure yourself! A workout challenge can be way too stressful if you’re always pushing your body to the point of exhaustion. Take it easy – working out should never be a burden.

So people! If you want to do something awesome with 25 to 50 minutes of your day for the next two weeks, then join us! 😉 I hope you all have tons of fun with these workouts and feel awesome about your results!

Stay awesome, y’all!

Makayla

Are you going to join me in the SHRED challenge? Are you currently doing it? What are you doing differently during this challenge, and what are your best tips for staying hydrated and loose while working out?

You are SO Beautiful!

Have you ever known a girl who was just so beautiful and had such an attractive personality in her own way, but … she just couldn’t see it? In fact, maybe she even thought she was ugly … or dumb … or annoying … and maybe she wanted to be somebody else! Maybe that girl …

Maybe that girl … was you?

That girl was me.

Surrounded by what society calls “beauty”, I looked around, and saw that everyone else had clearer skin. Everyone else had skinny legs. Everyone else had a crush who liked them back (Presumably because of their looks.) And then there was me.

Can I tell you something, little girl with a crown? What you are doing is comparing yourself to others. And each of those girls are comparing themselves to you. And you are both coming up on the short end because you don’t realize that God made you YOU and even if you weren’t born with your struggles, get this: The YOU that God made is gonna have to put up with the hard times as well as the good times. And God will help you! He loves and won’t leave you hanging!

Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the LORD your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.”

Deuteronomy 31:6 (emphasis mine)

And listen: If God is for you, than who can stand against you? Don’t let the world stand against you! Don’t measure yourself by their standards. Trust in God. Commit yourself to developing a beautiful character, an inner beauty.

Little girl with a crown, you are God’s child, and he will give you the desires of your heart … when you seek first His kingdom and righteousness.

I know it’s hard to wait, hard to be different, hard to keep going, hard to change your thinking … But you can choose to let the hard things make you better. Diamonds are formed under intense pressure. In the same way, your pressures can crush you, or it can create a sparkling beauty.

Things to avoid …

  • Stop comparing yourself to other girls. Every time you catch yourself, chastise yourself. Tell God, “Thank you for your beautiful creation. We are both beautiful because we are made in YOUR image.”
  • Don’t make the situation worse. If you are REALLY down in the dumps about your weight, acne, school, or something more serious, seek help! Talk to your parents or a caring friend, do a little research, you could even talk to me!😉 Seriously … you are not alone!

Step 1 – KNOW that outward beauty is second to inward beauty. Inner beauty is oh-so-important and comes FIRST.

Step 2 – LIVE what you KNOW. Work on your inner beauty. It’s okay to wear make-up and care about your clothing and try to look nice, but really cultivate your inner beauty. Let your inner beauty shine through the clothes you’re wearing. Let your happiness and contentment give your skin a glow.

Step 3 – Wait on Yahweh, and be strong. It takes strength and patience to wait, and these are both elements of inner beauty. Find a role model (your mom, aunt, even a friend) who shows you what inner beauty looks like.

I’ve been there, done that. I’m here for you, girl!!

Stay strong in the Word.

Inner Beauty – Start with your Heart (part 3)

Yes, I may be reading the Bible. Yes, I’m a lot nicer and more polite to my siblings. I’ve been getting better at honoring my parents. But my heart’s not right.

Yesterday we were all singing praise songs. I felt sad and moody and I could hardly sing because I was worried I would burst out crying! What happened? Exactly nothing!

I didn’t feel right. Now you may chalk it up to me only being able to play mandolin for one song. Maybe. But it felt bigger than that, like a stone in my stomach and a bees-nest in my head.

I thought back on the week. I only read the Bible when I had time. I still have a bit of a temper and a habit of acting quickly without thinking (even though I didn’t have bad intentions.)

I wrote this on my vision board last week. I had no idea how much I’d need it.

“Start with your heart.”

I was trying to do all the things, but my heart wasn’t in it. If Yeshua had come back during singing, what would he have found me doing? Sitting on my butt feeling sorry for myself?! Worrying about the future?! That’s not the way I want to live.

Take a pause. Are you trying to do ‘all the things’, but your heart isn’t in it? Are you exhausted from trying to be someone you’re not? Are you disillusioned or depressed with working and striving and never stopping to think about the whys?

I want to live each day like it’s my last. I need my heart to be soft and my spirit willing to do WHATEVER! I need to stop in the tough moments and take it to Yahweh. I need to give Yahweh the very best of myself and my abilities. Obedience. Hard work. Patience. A loving and soft heart.

As a huge milestone in my life approaches (my 16th birthday) I’m worried I won’t be ready or mature enough to deserve it, to shoulder the responsibility and the change that comes with it. I had so many goals for my 16th year, goals I haven’t completed, won’t be able to complete anytime soon.

It has to remind me to be worthy of each and every single day that God gives me. To use my time wisely, down to every hour. To live like each day is my last. When I feel Yahweh asking me, “What have you been doing, daughter?” I want to be able to confidently answer, “The work of The Lord.”

BeautifulYou Tip: Start with your Heart. Focus on the best and only reason to have inner beauty and a strong faith – Yahweh. Get yourself right with God … He’s coming back soon!

“Watch therefore, for you know neither the day nor the hour in which the Son of Man is coming.”

Mathew 25:13, NKJV

I took a pause that day. I didn’t like what I saw in my life. I didn’t like that I wasn’t in it with my whole heart. So I started right then to fix my heart. I know it’s not going to happen right away – it’s going to take time. But I am going to do it. I won’t live a superficial life of exhaustion and striving. I’m going to love Yahweh my Elohim with ALL of my heart and soul and mind and strength.

The Early-morning habits of Successful people!

We all know that success is more than just the finished essay, the completion of an art project, or a great meeting. It takes a lot of preparation, and starting your day off right is the best recipe for success. So pull out your notebook or WordDoc and start jotting down these steps which will result immediately in a more productive day.

Habits aren’t easy to implement … when they’re good habits that take work to master. Don’t feel bad if you occasionally miss some …. Or all of them … because, you know, there is always tomorrow morning!!

1. Wake up early.

An early riser has a tremendous advantage over the late riser. We all ‘know’ that there are exactly the same amount of hours in the day no matter when you drag your body out of bed, but when you get up early you have a significant boost in morning hours, during which I personally find it easier to think.

Waking up early can also help you to be on time for classes, which is always a good thing! But don’t feel like summer is the time for lazing around! While it’s a great idea to catch up on missed sleep during summer break, too much sleep actually dulls you and makes you lazier.

Pro Tip: Unless you have a resident rooster to crow you awake with his adolescent voice at 5:30 AM *hand raised*, set a timer for your ideal wake-up, around an hour before you eat breakfast.

2. Drink water.

You’ve heard it millions of times, but it gets truer every repetition. Most people don’t drink even close to eight glasses a day, and lacking it hurts on so many levels. Potential results of not enough water include dehydration, breakouts, tiredness, sunstroke … the list goes on.

Pro Tip: Use (and frequently refill) a water bottle to get your daily water quota. It’s easier to drink if you can take it around with you.

3. Keep your space clean and organized.

A dirty desk is a useless desk. An unmade bed testifies to a chaotic mind. Take some time to clean up, even if you only set a timer for 5 minutes and scramble around. Working in a clean space fosters greater concentration, and provides way less distraction than messy surfaces and floor.

Pro Tip: Set that timer! Or, if you want to go really overboard, clean out under the bed.

4. Dress for success.

Think about it. Do you work better in PJs, or in jeans? For some, the answers are different! Most, however, work better at home when they change into day clothes. Find your outfit and slip in. You’ll feel professional in a minute!

Pro Tip: I find this super helpful in motivating me. It’s hard to feel motivated to conquer the world … when you’re wearing fuzzy slippers!

5. Mentally prepare.

This might look like a quick review of the goals that inspire you, or it might include Bible-reading and journaling. Whatever you do, be sure it strengthens you for the big, unique, amazing day ahead.

Pro Tip: Mentally go over which things are important to you. Focus on some of those things and use them to motivate you as you go through the day. Remember that you can do all things through Christ who gives you strength!

6. Make a To Do list.

I’m a list lover and I’m not ashamed of it! Seriously though, a list can be a great visual aid to remind you what you need to get done. Challenge yourself to complete everything on your list, no matter how hard you have to work. Remember, “six days you shall work, and the seventh you shall rest.” Make those six days COUNT!

Pro Tip: Do not procrastinate! Procrastination can become a bad habit. If you absolutely can’t do something on your list today, force yourself to do it tomorrow, before you even check your email. This builds discipline.

7. Get some exercise.

Working out is not only helpful for gaining muscle and losing fat, it can be a great way to destress and clear your head. Be active outside in some way! Sports and biking and hiking and swimming, the list goes on!

Pro Tip: Exercising is only good for you if you aren’t hating every minute. Find something you actually enjoy.

8. Kill your bad habits and morning time-wasters.

I’m looking at you there! You know your personal time-waster. I’m encouraging you to take steps to let go of it. If it’s a waste of time, it’s probably not that important … give it up! (Or at least reduce it.)

Pro Tip: Most habits are reactive mechanisms. Find another way to deal with the issue, like replacing it with a good habit.

Here are a few things NOT to do …

  • Unless you must, try not to check your email or the news first thing in the morning. Negative input can affect your mental attitude, so try to only take in uplifting material while you are still beginning your day.
  • Don’t give in to your bad habits. It’s okay to slip sometimes, but have in your mind the goal of attaining a new routine. It’ll be hard, but it’s worth it.

Have a great day, and remember … there’s always tomorrow morning!

~ Makayla

As always, please comment! What’s in your morning routine?