You don’t need to buy God’s love.

By now you’re probably familiar with the college admissions scandal. Earlier in the week several people were charged with bribery in order to get their children into elite colleges like Yale University, and the University of Southern California and several others.

Such bribes included paying money to forge SAT and ACT scores and paying others to take them and paying coaches large sums of money in order to tell the college office that their kid was an athlete – when they weren’t.

It’s not really a surprise to me. I sort of figured this sort of thing happened all the time in Hollywood anyway.

In general, people think they can throw money at a problem and it’ll go away. People think that they can buy their way into things. Because as much as we want to admit, money factors into a lot of things. Having money is a necessity in life.

I digress.

There is one thing that you can’t buy.

God’s love. 

Ephesians 2:8-8 tells us For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith-and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God- not by works, so that no one can boast.

No matter what we do.
No matter how we act.
No matter what we say.
No matter how many times we attend Sunday services.
No matter how many times we’ve volunteered and donated to charity.

We can’t earn our salvation.
We can’t buy our way into Heaven.

It is by the grace of God that we have been forgiven.
Salvation is a gift from God – freely given to us by the grace of God.

Why try to earn something when it’s already been given to you freely? 

We think we have to earn God’s love because we are flawed and we fall short of the glory of God daily.

We mess up and think that we need to earn back God’s love.

Romans 8:38-39 tells us, For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our LORD.

You don’t ever have to earn God’s love because it’s already been given to you freely. No matter how many times you’ve messed up, and no matter how many times you’re going to mess up again.

God’s love is unconditional and never changing.

You Can Keep Talking About It Or Do Something

“I want to take culinary classes”.
“I want to eat healthy”.
“I want to start saving money”.
“I want to start a business”.
“I want to travel more”.
“I want to make a change”.

We talk about our wants, desires and goals. When it comes to actually putting them into actions it’s a whole other story.

There is a clear difference in stating that you want to make something happen and actually taking the first step and making that change become a reality.

After working for almost a year at a coffee roasting company as a cook, I decided I wanted to learn more about coffee and roasting. I wanted to push myself. I wanted to do the dash my own coffee roasting business.

For months it remained just a goal in the distance. I found excuses to not start. “I’m exhausted”, or “I have too much going on”. I kept putting it off for “tomorrow”.

In order to make it a reality I would need to take a giant leap of faith into the unknown.

It’s the unknown. It’s uncharted waters.

It’s scary. It’s exciting. It’s stressful. It’s an emotional roller coaster.

Here’s the thing. You can find a million excuses to not try something or make something happen. You can spend your whole life making excuses to put that goal off until “tomorrow” or “next week”.

Or, you can take a small step in the direction of your goal.

Even the smallest step in that direction is a step toward making it become a reality.

Maybe that’s visiting local gyms and finding the right match. Maybe it’s not eating out and packing a lunch. Maybe it’s showing up to a local event in your community.

Whatever it is, take a small step toward making your goals a reality today.

Living With Dyspraxia: Life in the Kitchen

I currently work in a kitchen as a chef. Some days by the end of my shift my chef jacket looks like a work of art that Picasso might’ve created.

I absolutely love being in the kitchen and getting to create different dishes.

I also happen to have Dyspraxia, otherwise known as developmental coordination disorder, DCD. Dyspraxia is a neurological disorder which affects a persons ability to plan and process motor skills. Symptoms of Dyspraxia range anywhere from poor balance, poor posture, poor hand-eye coordination and clumsiness. Dyspraxia is often mis-diagnosed as a lot of symptoms run hand in hand with ADHD, OCD or even Aspergers.

Living with Dyspraxia can present all sorts of challenges in the day to day life. What may appear simple to someone without Dyspraxia may seem like a mountain of a task to someone who may have Dyspraxia.

When I’m in the kitchen I find it draining, and exhausting. Especially since I’m also extremely introverted. Yet, at the same time I’m great at it.

One of the struggles of having Dyspraxia is struggling with time management. I’ll often try knocking things out at once or jumping ahead. I can’t really do this as a line chef. One thing that helps me keep track of time is by setting timers. Setting timers helps me to better manage my time and I’m less likely to jump from order to order and be distracted.

There are times when it can be really stressful in the kitchen. To the point where some days I feel like I need to spend a year in yoga classes, but there are little things I can do to help me manage my Dyspraxia.

Living with My Dyspraxia: Kitchen Struggles

I currently work at a coffee roasting company as one of their cooks. It’s an interesting job and I get to make delicious food such as

However, I also have dyspraxia. Dyspraxia, otherwise known as, DCD, Developmental Coordination Disorder affects between 2-10% of the population. It is under diagnosed in the United States and can affect a persons motor skills, ability to sequence and hand-eye coordination, etc.

Living with dyspraxia can present all sorts of challenges in day to day living. What may seem like a simple task to someone without dyspraxia, may seem like a mountain of a task to someone with dyspraxia.

For instance, when cooking I get easily tired and get easily frustrated. Often because of this, it’s hard to motivate myself.

When I cook, I have this tendency to want to do everything at once. I have difficulty knowing what comes first or even how to keep things in the correct sequence.

Another thing I struggle with is grip and cutting. Even something as simple as just holding the whisk when I whisk eggs isn’t easy for me. I struggle with the hand coordination that is required to whisk eggs. Luckily one of my coworkers taught me a little hack to help me whisk the eggs.

The best advice I can give you on working in the kitchen and cooking with dyspraxia is to practice and take your time. It helps to know your weakness and to find constructive ways to deal with them.

For instance, what helps me is when I have recipes to follow exactly, and timers. Without timers, I’d forget all time. I will also scribble notes down to myself all the time to remind myself to get tasks done or if I’m out of an ingredient.

Living With My Dyspraxia: Exercise

Dyspraxia, also known as DCD, Developmental Coordination Disorder affects fine and/or gross motor coordination in children and adults. People with dyspraxia may find it extremely difficult to exercise or even to stay motivated. Many people with dyspraxia often have low muscle tone and poor hand eye coordination, which makes it hard for them to run/jump or even to play team sports.

For me, I feel like I personally have a great amount of muscle from spending an enormous amount of time in the gym and pushing myself to lift weights. When I was younger, my family and friends started nicknaming me, “Herculina”.

My downfall with exercise is that it gets exhausting and when I do run into muscles that might be weaker, I get discouraged from exercising.

Here are some exercises that I find extremely helpful and enjoyable:

Yoga:

As I stated before, I used to be a yoga instructor. At some point I was actually teaching two yoga classes a day, twice a week. When I wasn’t teaching I was in the gym every morning pushing myself to work on muscle tone and balance.

Yoga is helpful regarding balance and coordination. Although for me, I would struggle with the sequences and the timing of the sequences.

Swimming:

I find swimming very therapeutic and refreshing. Swimming is great for people with dyspraxia because it is made up of repetitive movements in a sequence, and with practice it is easy to follow.

Swimming helps with balance, flexibility, and endurance.

Running:

I enjoy running as it gives me an outlet to run off excess steam or frustrations that I may have. It also lets me get outdoors and enjoy the beauty of nature. However, most likely I’ll probably trip over while running. It happened more often when I was younger. I re-call having bruises and torn up knees from tripping and falling constantly.

I usually tend to run/jog, or to do interval running. That’s my way of trying to make sure I don’t fall as much.

Longboarding:

When I was in high school I would longboard more often. I often liked to hang around my guy friends who were often longboarding and/or skateboarding and watch them. Although, I never seriously got into it. I don’t have as much time to longboard as much anymore so my skills are pretty bad.

I find longboarding helpful regarding learning how to balance, however that can also be the downfall. I often lean too far to the right when I actually want to go left, or left when I want to go right. I also have a habit of losing balance as I’m trying to coordinate my movement.

Longboarding may not be for everyone, so I would strongly caution this if your balance is basically non-existent. Or, if you are just starting out, try on a flat surface. Baby steps, y’all.

 

What If I Don’t Like Any Of Those Options?

I also like to walk and go hiking whenever possible. Find an exercise that motivates you to want to workout. It’s never fun to do an exercise that you feel, forced into or bored at. Try to pick sports that’ll improve your coordination, and muscle strength. As with anything, exercising requires determination and practice. Don’t get discouraged. If you don’t succeed, keep at it. It’s okay to start slowly and take things easy. You don’t have to be a pro at it from day one.

Living With My Dyspraxia: Grooming and Personal Care

In today’s blog post I’m going to be going through the grooming and personal care struggles that dyspraxics may go through.

Adults with Dyspraxia face challenges daily from tasks that non – dyspraxic adults may find easy to carry out.

Makeup: 

For me sometimes the struggle is between being afraid I’m going to poke myself in my eye when doing my mascara, and finding it difficult to do the hand movements everything. I know the process of doing make-up: moisturizer, foundation, concealer, eye shadow, mascara, lips, etc.

I usually try to keep my makeup application simple.

As for eyebrows, I gave up trying to do them myself. I get them done at the beautician. I’ve learned from experience when I do my eyebrows, I end up leaving huge gaps in them and looking sort of like Seamus Finnigan from Harry Potter every time he produced explosions and blew off parts of his eyebrows.

seamus

Hair: 

Do not even get me started on hair tasks. Most children and adults with dyspraxia try to find hairstyles that are simple and easy to maintain. Especially when you have to use a hair dryer, it may be awkward to grip and handle.

My struggle with hair is trying to figure out how to get my hair into all those cute styles I’m always looking up and wanting to try and trying to figure out how to hold my hair dryer in the process.

I tend to like to stick with shorter to medium styles for my hair as it’s easier for me.

Teeth Care:

People without dyspraxia may find brushing their teeth easy. For dyspraxics, trying to figure out how to grip their toothbrush and co-ordinate movement while brushing teeth may be an actual frustration and nightmare.

Many dyspraxics find setting a timer on their phones helps, and using an automatic toothbrush extremely helpful.

Who are you?

Who are you?

How would you answer this question?

For many years whenever someone asked me this, I would begin by listing my hobbies or things I liked.

“I’m Libby. I like coffee and hiking.”

OR

“I’m Libby. I love crystals, and watching anime.”

OR

“I’m Libby. I love exploring abandoned buildings and reading.”

It wasn’t until a friend told me, “That’s great! Though, all you told me was what you liked.”

Now, in the moment I probably looked at this friend like, “Man, you woke up on the wrong side of the bed”, and I probably also rolled my eyes in annoyance.

Looking back, this friend is right.

How, many times as Christians do we tell people, “Your sin and past mistakes don’t define you”, while simultaneously defining ourselves by our hobbies or clothes.

You see, we are still allowing ourselves to be defined by something. Whether that’s grades, fashion, our job, or a relationship.

As people we are constantly learning and growing, and thus our hobbies, fashion taste, and worldview are constantly changing.

While these things do have the power to describe us and provide people with the insight as to who we are, they don’t define us.

Who are you when nobody is around? Who are you underneath your hobbies and labels?

If you don’t know you who are or what you value in life, or even where your worth comes from, you will constantly be searching for your identity in hobbies, interests and even people and allowing those things to define you.

Know who you are underneath the labels.

Who are you?

We’re all “Works in Progress”

“I can’t wait until I lose this weight, I’ll be beautiful.”

“I’ll stop working as much, and spend more time with my family once I get this promotion”

“I need to study until I get accepted into Harvard, then I’ll hang out with my friends”

“I can’t stop! I need this to be absolutely perfect!”

We’ve all said something similar. We promise to love ourselves more once we aren’t a “work in progress”.

I used to. I told myself once I lost such and such weight, I would be beautiful. Guys were constantly shaming me and abusing me and making me feel less than perfect because I wasn’t their definition of “beautiful”. I’ve learned to love myself through the works in progress in my life.

Sometimes it’s hard for us to love the version of ourselves that’s still a work-in progress.

It’s easier for us to see the negative in ourselves and we have a habit of beating ourselves up. I’ve been there.

Without realizing, we are all actually works in progress. There’s always something to learn from and improve on. We aren’t perfect.

 

Love yourself where you are, friend.
There’s always something that we can improve on and always something to learn from.  If you’re waiting until you aren’t a “work in progress”, you’ll be waiting a lifetime to love yourself.

 

 

– Elizabeth Louise

Sweden Pocket Dress – Cleo Madison

Happy Wednesday!

This is the first time I’ve ever done a fashion type blog post- I must admit I am slightly nervous, but I’m beyond thankful for the opportunity.

The one thing that I have always noticed and struggled with in my shopping is to find modest clothing. Ladies, raise your hand if this is an issue for you as well. You want to find a beautiful dress that isn’t too flashy or inappropriate. Or a t-shirt that is comfortable and modest. The struggle is real.

For this blog post I have partnered with the clothing boutique – Cleo Madison. They specialize in modest clothing for dresses, skirts, shirts and even swimwear. And everything is SUPER affordable and cute.

 

I will admit though- normally I don’t like wearing long dresses because I’m short and sometimes trip in them.

Whatever nervousness I had about long dresses was washed away when I tried it on.

This dress is super comfy, and super soft. I can’t even describe how soft it feels – if you guys could feel it over the internet, you would say the same.

Oh!

Did I mention this dress comes with pockets?

Which was definitely something I loved because I love having pockets on me to hold my keys or phone or a few dollars of cash.

To get this dress visit the link here(Sweden Pocket Dress – $29!!)

At first I paired it with long, black boots but they also went with blue boots I had.

It’s been chilly here lately so I ended up using a jacket at some point.

But, on a lovely day you wouldn’t need the jacket.

To check out more of their SUPER adorable and affordable modest clothing visit their website.

Click here to shop Cleo Madison

I hope you all love their clothing as much as I have.

Let me know if you get anything and your thoughts!

-Elizabeth Louise

That “No” may be a blessing in disguise.

We’ve all been there.
We’ve prayed and prayed only to end up receiving a “No” from God.

I don’t know about you guys, but often when I’ve gotten a “No” from God I’ve ended up feeling disappointed, hurt and devastated.
Sometimes I’ve actually even questioned God and asked Him, “Why God? Why?”

I mean, we pour our hearts out to God about a want or need in our life, only to receive a “No”.
We pour our hearts out to God about a situation or circumstance in our lives that we want resolved, only to receive a “No”.
We pour our hearts out to God about a job interview we may have just had only to have it fall through and receive a “No, that’s not the job for you”.

What we fail to realize is that every, “No” isn’t meant to be devastating or hurtful. Yes, it absolutely sucks when something we’ve been praying for doesn’t turn out the way we wanted it to.
In every “No” there is a hidden blessing from God.

When I prayed to God about mending a friendship with a friend and He said, “No” I learned that some friendships aren’t mean’t to be fixed. Some people are in our lives for only a season, others for a lifetime.

When I was applying to jobs and kept getting turned down over and over, even after praying frequently to God I learned to turn to God and ask Him for direction in my life. I learned to lean on Him and His understanding for my life.

When I was completely stressed out and trying to figure out how I was going to afford to pay to go on a mission trip to India for the summer, and it fell through I learned that while it is important to go out into the world and lead people to Christ, there are people in your hometowns, cities, and even states who need Jesus just as much.

You see, inside every “No” I learned to cling to God more and lean on His understanding and not my own.
I learned that I hold but only a fragment of the puzzle of my life while God sees the whole puzzle of my life completed in all it’s beauty and chaos.

When you receive a “No” from God, don’t view it as a punishment or even a bad thing.
Keep trusting Him and know that He has great things in store for your life.