a bright future.

In the last week I have done several things outside of my comfort zone…from doing a CoMO scavenger hunt full of embarassing tasks all while dressed head to toe in a red-headed Christmas “Wrapper” outfit to actually dyeing my hair a shade of red after thinking on it for a few hours. Volunteering with Dray and J Christmas Eve morning, to seeing my back (lliterally lol) on the front of a local magazine.

imageIt has been a fun couple weeks but I have to say I have had a hard time figuring out what to write about even with all the things. Tonight (New Years eve) it hit me. A whole year and  two months of this blog, trying new things, getting uncomfortable to some degree. Yet, I realize I don’t want to write about these recent experiences because….its not the uncomfortable things I NEED to be doing. It’s easy to choose the fun things that are a little uncomfortable… but what about the hard things? The really uncomfortable stuff. The conversations you need to have, the work you need to do, the changes you need to make.

Don’t get me wrong, I do have a ton of fun with this blog and it has most definitely helped improve my self image by being real with people, opening up, doing things out of my comfort zone and connecting with others. But the most important lessons I have learned in life won’t come from my hair color change.

With all that said, I will continue to share my experiences, venture out trying new things but as I reflect on the New Year, my new goals, my new outlook, I want to be focused on what needs to be accomplished.

2015 was awesome. But with a dream and a game plan 2016 will be even better. It will take discipline. It will take stretching myself. It will take a constant vision to focus on. I have never been a huge resolution person, I do however believe that goals are important.

I have done some self reflecting the past couple of days and though it can be hard to be REAL with yourself, I have come up with a list of things I want to improve on and what kind of person I want to grow into. I asked myself one of the most important questions I think you can ask: What kind of life do you want to live?

I have business goals, relationship goals, financial goals. etc. But below are some of the personal goals that ultimately will help mold and shape my other ones. Reflection is good, memories are awesome but looking towards the future is what I want to celebrate.

  • Become more emotionally stable
  • More predictable
  • More aware
  • A better communicator
  • Less offended
  • More forgiving
  • A better positive mental attitude
  • Less judgemental
  • To not gossip
  • Be braver
  • Become a better listener
  • More spiritual
  • More confident
  • Have a magnetic personality
  • A better server
  • A team player

I encourage you to do  some self reflection, be grateful for your past blessings,  and ask yourself what you want 2016 to look like. Hold tight to those dreams and vision and work everyday to accomplish them! Happy New Year!

“Your future is as bright as your faith.”

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Piece By Piece.

Wow time flies! Last week for my challenge I was to watch an encouraging video, read 1 chapter of The Dream Giver and my affirmation cards all before I started my day to keep focused on my goals.

It helped me stay on track, to keep the vision in front of me, however I still missed two days. A 5-7 day challenge and I didn’t successfully complete it. Its not the end of the world, but it got me thinking a lot about distractions. And all the forms they come in.

I was with some friends the other night talking about dreams, goals, vision. It was brought up that our dream is sort of like a puzzle. When you do a puzzle you have the box to look at, the pieces to fit it. At first the puzzle pieces scattered everywhere may look like a mess, but slowly you keep piecing them together and ultimately keep your eyes on the finished picture on the box. Every person’s puzzle is different, maybe you start with the corners and work your way in, maybe your friend works left to right. But each time you look at the pieces you have to remember the end result, have faith that if you stay the course it will take shape, keep that in focus.

In the Dream Giver it talks a lot about remembering your ultimate dream and goal, staying focused on the prize, trusting in the end result; the finished puzzle. There are so many distractions in life. Some can be in the form of good. Holidays, hanging out with friends, shows you enjoy watching. But if you let it get you off track and take your mind off what you are trying to achieve then it slowly, unexpectedly distracts you from your goal. Time passes so quickly, and its the one thing we can never get back.

Other distractions in life hit hard. Surprise financial strain, unexpected illnesses, heartbreak, hurt. If you are struggling with a situation, I do not mean to say it’s not important. But its so important to realize that God has your back and He can and WILL get you through. Trust in Him, trust that He gave you the right puzzle pieces and if you stick with it, you will see it come together. Let go of the worry, the hurt, and ask yourself what you really want? How do you want to live?

We only have this life once. Which pain would you rather have? The pain of discipline or the pain of regret? Rarely have I regretted things I have done, its more of the things I didn’t do. The chances I didn’t take, the opportunities I didn’t embrace.

Will you finish the puzzle and be able to impact those with the stories of the struggles you’ve overcome? People need to hear YOUR story! What will you have to share?

XOXO

 

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Getting Your Mind Right, Starts With Your Heart.

Reading a book tonight I was almost in tears. The Dream Giver by Bruce Wilkinson. Such an easy read, simple story, yet the story of all of our lives. It hit home. I have read this book before but at a different season in my life and in my dream.

It’s funny because I had cleaned the house earlier today and couldn’t find the other book that I am currently reading anywhere. You know when you put things in places so “you don’t lose them?” Well I guess that’s what I did. But after looking for 10 minutes I felt drawn to the book shelf where I decided to pick up this book for whatever reason.

I quickly realized  it was not a coincidence that I couldn’t find my current book and picked up this one instead. And so I decided to use this for my blog challenge this week. I haven’t done a challenge in awhile and I thought what a better way to start my week with a challenge to get and keep my mind right, focused, full of faith.

Gosh I wish every person reading this post would just jump online and order this book right now! I guarantee it will hit home for you too, regardless if you think you are a “dreamer” or not.

So for my challenge this week I am getting up early (struggle in itself) and reading 1 chapter from this book, reading my affirmation cards and watching 1 positive video to keep me focused on my goals. All BEFORE I start my day. May sound easy, but it’s definitely something that is not only harder to stick with than you think but also something I NEED to do.

I hope this challenge helps renew my mindset, by drawing from my heart. A dream is something you feel inside, a desire, a purpose you know is in your heart. It is something that the ultimate Dream Giver instills inside  of you.

Praying you have a great week! XOXO

Here is the first page and a half right before it  starts getting REALLY good:

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What’s YOUR Brand?

I am a simple kind of girl. Brands have never been my thing. When I shop I’m looking for how I feel in the outfit and if I love the way it looks on, not the name on the tag. 

When we got engaged I was extremely happy to be spending the rest of my life with Johnny but I didn’t want to plan the wedding for the rest of my life either. We were going to be together forever so I wanted to get it done. Date was set for 4 months. I was slow to begin planning. Texts, calls, asking where I would be having it, what flowers I wanted, who would be in the wedding and the main question: HAVE YOU FOUND A DRESS?

photo 3 (1)Well I hadn’t.  I didn’t want to get all wrapped up in the little things when the MARRIAGE is what it’s really about. I was so laid back…some would go as far to say…I was quite the procrastinator. With 4 months to plan there wasn’t much time to procrastinate.

The dress question came up ALL THE TIME. I finally booked a couple appointments. One with Belle Mariee Bridal Boutique. A new bridal boutique that opened up in town. Simple as I was, I wanted the dress to be different. I wanted to go somewhere different than where most brides went.

When I arrived at Belle Mariee, I was greeted by the owner; Jessica. She was kind, genuine, helpful. She treated me like I was important and special. She chose dresses for me, she listened to what I was looking for, she even helped me put them on. She gave her honest opinions when I asked for them. She was a pure joy to have encountered.

I fell in love with a dress but when we checked to see how soon we could get it, there wasn’t enough time. My wedding was April 25th…the dress, at the earliest could arrive early June. I was bummed.

I continued my hunt for a wedding dress. My mom and I went to St. Louis, Tipton, another place in Columbia. Same problem everywhere. No one carried my size in store, it couldn’t be altered down to  fit and there wasn’t enough time to get one in. I began to get a smidgen stressed. Here I had be so relaxed, yet now I was begining to get a little worried.

My mom and I discussed Jessica and Belle Mariee and how badly we wanted to do business there. A new business owner in our hometown, the best customer service I had received. The experiences at other locations majorly failed in comparison to the experience I got at Belle Mariee.

Then the call came. Jessica had worked her magic, she hadn’t given up, she hadn’t forgotten about me. She called and said there was a crazy opportunity that she worked out with the company and I would be able to get my dress at the end of March. I was so happy and grateful. I wore that dress on my wedding day and I was Belle Mariee’s first bride to be married. It was pretty cool.

I ran into Jessica a couple weeks ago and she asked me to be a model for a magazine that was featuring her store. AND she wanted me to wear my dress. I jumped at the chance. It was a blast. I am not nearly as talented as the other girls in the shoot, so we will see if I make it in the magazine, but the experience was a once-in-a-lifetime. Wearing my dress again, wearing GORGEOUS bridesmaid dresses. Feeling special and supporting a company I believe in: Belle Mariee Bridal.

Jessica at Belle Mariee has made her brand. Her “brand” to me, is a place I can trust, a place I can recommend whole-heartedly, a place that goes the extra mile. Exceptional customer service. Gorgeous, unique dresses. Genuine people.

photo 1 (5)What’s your brand? Not your favorite designer. Not your go-to store. But YOUR BRAND. What are YOU about?

I want people to hear my name and have only have good things to say. To say that I am a positive influence, an inspiration, a go-getter, a dreamer, a kind-hearted person, a sharp, strong, ambitious young woman, successful, genuine. To know what my brand’s morals and values are and them to not be questioned. I want people to feel better after interacting with me.

What do you want your brand to say about you? What legacy do you want to leave behind? What example do you want to be to your children? If your name was stamped on something…what words would come to mind?  Belle Mariee has figured this branding thing out. 🙂

 

Hope you are having an amazing week! Love you all. XOXOXO

 

Photos: 1) Jessica and I behind the scenes at the photo shoot 2) Me in my actual wedding dress with the precious model flower girl 🙂

 

 

 

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Crossfit & Community.

Last Wednesday night I took on the challenge of Crossfit. It was a lot different from what I had expected. I thought I would walk into a super intimidating atmosphere, with a bunch of gym junkies and I would feel like the newbie who had no idea what they were doing.

I was wrong. The trainers and the co-crossfitters were some of the nicest people. Willing to meet you wherever you were and encourage you along the way. When we came into the class, the trainer; Nick wrote our names on the board and introduced us all to each other. lashestolungesHe talked a lot about safety, technique, consistency. The goal was to perfect the move, not fly through it with as many reps as possible, but to do it perfectly accurate while staying consistent in the time allowed.

After introduction and a few practices with a pvc pipe, we used actual weights. The trainer grabbed a bar for the guys and for the gals. I was first in line for the girls  and went to do a press with the weight. Bent down, picked it up, lifted it to my shoulders and then… I struggled. I said, “Well I don’t think this is going to work.” The trainer felt terrible because he thought he had embarrassed me in front of everyone. I was truly NOT embarrassed at all, but he apologized several times, grabbed me a lighter weight and had everyone lift with me the second time around.

We moved on to a few different kind of presses and then kettlebell swings. We finished up outside doing 5 kettlebell swings, running to a tree and back , then repeating as many times as you could in 5 minutes. The goal wasn’t to do it as fast as you could, but to pace yourself so you could keep going the entire 5 minutes. This is where I redeemed myself.

I noticed the community of crossfitters. Encouraging each other, pushing one another. The way that I felt comfortable with the group of people I just met. The kindness and sincerity of the others in the class. It was a good feeling.

Community and association are sooo important. As a parent, you want your children to choose their association carefully. To be surrounded by positive influences that lead to good choices. To be lifted up after spending time with another.

But what about as an adult yourself? Do you stop and think about the people you surround yourself with? Do you leave conversations with friends feeling better than when you arrived? Are you encouraged, pushed to be better, dream bigger, work harder? Are you around people who see the glass half-full, that are going somewhere in life?

Why is it that sometimes what we don’t want our children to do, we justify in our adult life? Complaining, gossiping, being all-around negative? How would we feel if we heard the same way we talk – come out of our children’s mouths’s? How we treat one another? What kind of friend we are?

They say you are like the 5 people you hang out with the most. Who are they? What kind of lifestyle do they have? Are they in marriages, financial situations, spiritual places in life that you want to be?

Proverbs 13:20 says, “He who walks with the wise, grows wise.” I encourage you to not only find a great association that helps you grow, but also – be that for someone else. Influence is the most powerful tool one can possess. What will you do with yours?

XOXO

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Tonight: Crossfit.

exerciseThat’s right. That workout that has been called insane, ridiculous.. that has been praised and criticized. I am trying it out tonight at CrossFit COMO at 6pm. They said they won’t throw me in with the pros but that this class is for anyone at any level of fitness.

If you want to join – message me! The class is FREE if you have never been and will last about an hour. Why not check it out? What could it hurt? Maybe a few sore muscles I guess. 😉 But better sore than sorry.

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10 Things You May Not Know About Johnny & I…

  1. photo (13)By choice we don’t have televison. At all. Netflix, cable, country cable..nada.
  2. We have dance parties in our house often, just the three of us or even the two of us.
  3. We want to home school our future children at least awhile before entering private school.
  4. We have a lot in common but our personalities are completely opposite. I am a sanguine-phlegmatic, Johnny is a choleric-melancholy.
  5. Johnny is the spiritual leader in our home. So thankful for that!
  6. Neither of us ever liked to read but as adults we read a lot. Leadership, spiritual, self-help, etc.
  7. Our last name is Conde. Johnny went by a different last name and was known by another last name until he was 27 when we met his dad for the first time. And we took his dad’s last name when we got married.
  8. We are striving to be financially independent through our business by age 30 & 31.
  9. Two places we want to travel in the future: Australia & Israel.
  10. We aren’t homebodies. If we are home, we are probably eating or sleeping.

Challenge announcement coming this week! Stay tuned!

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