Friday, November 17, 2017

My journey to discover health

I remember hearing at a young age that your stomach should never block your view of your feet. I know that sounds silly, but I still remember hearing that, all these years later. I’m not sure when I was aware of weight or body image, but I know I was young. I thought eating less would make me thin, up until I was 22 years old. All those years until then were filled with a misconstrued idea of food that only took me further from what health actually is. 

When I was 14 I found myself in the emergency room, after leaving volleyball practice early one day, nearly passing out from exhaustion. I would drink a protein shake for breakfast, snack on a power bar for lunch, and drink an energy drink before practice and that was usually it. The doctor told me I was using so much energy, with not enough fuel to keep me going. It makes sense, of course, but at the time, I wasn’t thinking about my health. 

This unhealthy mentality stayed with me into college, where I would often have protein shakes as my meals...the end. Soon I learned that fast food restaurants were open late in big cities, and my friends all went together to break up study time. I also learned we could afford fast food, thanks to the dollar menus. This spiraled into a pattern of salads at the school cafeteria, and ice cream late at night. 

I like to workout. And I have always been active; ballet, volleyball, then slowly getting into weights, then yoga. I knew enough about working out by the time I was in college, but my relationship with food was messy. I knew a lot less than I thought I did, which left me working out more to compensate for my eating habits that I didn’t know how to manage. 

After I had my precious Emma, when I was 22, I had decided to start preparing for a body building competition, and I started learning more about macro-nutrients and the way our bodies use food. While this taught me so much, and I am deeply thankful for that learning time, I still wasn’t healthy. I would consume a pound of ground turkey breast in one sitting just to meet my protein goals for the day. I’m grossed out just typing that. I would drink strange, colorful drinks that only had 40 gram of protein and 0 grams of carbs or fat (how do they do that?). Although I met my goal, I stepped on stage, and actually competed, I wasn’t in a healthy mind set. I would have eaten anything if you told me it would get me to my goal. Yuck. 

I’ve learned that I don’t want to sacrifice my health as a whole for any one piece of it. Health is not just good foods to eat. It includes your mind and your body, both inside and out, and I believe your spirit as well. I will eat food that makes me feel good. I will eat colorful, dense, real foods. I will put things into and on my body because they are pure and beneficial, not flooded with chemicals and questionable ingredients. I will workout because I enjoy it and because it benefits not only my body and mind, but it will keep me here longer for my family. It will instill good work ethic and discipline into my children. I want my children to see their mom wake up early, study scripture, workout hard, eat with care, and live a long life, free of ailments that will inhibit my health as a whole. We are to honor our bodies as the gift that they are. That's why I want to love and care for my body. 

1 Corinthians 6:19 NIV

“Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies.”

In treating my body like I value myself, physically, in turn it's allowed me to love what's inside as well. 
In learning about God, I've learned he loves us no matter what. His love doesn't have conditions and isn't based on how well we do things or how smart or pretty we are. Once I was able to fully comprehend this piece, it's transformed how I view myself. In the passage below, Paul talks about how physical training is good, but "godliness has value for all things", suggesting that we should train our hearts spiritually as well, since our hearts will last beyond the lives of our physical bodies. 
 Bottom line, treat your body well, be good to it. Fuel it with nourishment, both in foods and in community and Scripture. That, I believe is health.

1 Timothy 4:8 NIV

"For physical training is of some value, but godliness has value for all things, holding promise for both the present life and the life to come."

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Power in Words

Ephesians 4:29 ESV
“Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear.”

Words are exponentially more powerful than we think. That’s the thing, I don’t think we think about what we say before we say it often enough. Harsh words can be hurtful, they can sting, and they are lasting. With that, we’ve been instructed to not only let nothing corrupting come out of our mouths, but to use words to build others up. Our words are given as a tool, so that whoever may hear them, would come to know Jesus. As are our actions, but I think we overlook the power of our words too often.

I tell my little Emma often how strong, smart, kind and beautiful she is. Maybe she doesn't understand it yet, but it is vital that she knows how special she is. We all need to know this!

James 3:1-12 ESV

"Taming the Tongue
Not many of you should become teachers, my brothers, for you know that we who teach will be judged with greater strictness. For we all stumble in many ways. And if anyone does not stumble in what he says, he is a perfect man, able also to bridle his whole body. If we put bits into the mouths of horses so that they obey us, we guide their whole bodies as well. Look at the ships also: though they are so large and are driven by strong winds, they are guided by a very small rudder wherever the will of the pilot directs. So also the tongue is a small member, yet it boasts of great things.

How great a forest is set ablaze by such a small fire! And the tongue is a fire, a world of unrighteousness. The tongue is set among our members, staining the whole body, setting on fire the entire course of life, and set on fire by hell. For every kind of beast and bird, of reptile and sea creature, can be tamed and has been tamed by mankind, but no human being can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison. With it we bless our Lord and Father, and with it we curse people who are made in the likeness of God. From the same mouth come blessing and cursing. My brothers, these things ought not to be so. Does a spring pour forth from the same opening both fresh and salt water? Can a fig tree, my brothers, bear olives, or a grapevine produce figs? Neither can a salt pond yield fresh water."

I love this verse in James, because it parallels our tongues (or our words) to leading a horse or a ship. He talks about our tongues having the capacity to burn like fire, able to spread and also able to poison.

These verses leave us with a clear direction of how we should use our words, but what about if harsh words are said towards us? What if we're the one burned or hurt?

Romans 12:14-21 ESV

"Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse them. Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep. Live in harmony with one another. Do not be haughty, but associate with the lowly. Never be wise in your own sight. Repay no one evil for evil, but give thought to do what is honorable in the sight of all. If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all. Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.” To the contrary, “if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink; for by so doing you will heap burning coals on his head.” Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good."

Two things stand out to me here; the first being that we are to love and pray for those who hurt us. We want to respond the way Jesus would. The second, it's not our job to have revenge on anyone, we are not the judge, God is. It is our responsibility to love, not punish.

I will remind you often, baby girl, you are fearfully and wonderfully made!

Psalm 139:14 ESV

"I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.
Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well."

Thursday, November 9, 2017

What is prayer?

I think prayer is calling out to God in desperation. When we feel weak and empty, and prayer is being with God, so He can fill us up again. I think prayer is comfort, knowing that even when it’s quiet and you can’t hear anything, someone is listening. Someone who cares and knows you better than anyone. Often, we come to God with requests, questions, or hopeful murmurs about our families or jobs. Sometimes it’s just being with Him, being still and present with His Spirit. I think God loves these moments. I think He loves the doubtful people, the devoted people and the angry people alike. I imagine God giddy with excitement when He hears our cries, anxious to be by our side.
Prayer to me feels nourishing and satisfying, like indulging in a warm cup of soup on a snowy winter evening. It’s healing all the broken pieces and bringing peace to all the chaos inside our hearts. Prayer is warm, it’s calming; prayer is unraveling the messy ball of yarn, and knowing the finished project will be beautiful. You’re in the hands of the Creator, and you’re His favorite, so He will take care of you and hold you closely.
Prayer is reflection and thanks. I come to God rambling about what I want and need, what I feel, what’s happening in my life and the lives of others. Then I am quickly reminded that the people I’m praying about are in my life to begin with.  And the situations I’m praying about will make me stronger and more refined because I must go through them. I’m left with a lot of unknowns, sometimes nothing feels different, but I am always thankful.
Writing this, although everything I’m saying is true, what I’m portraying about prayer looks very pretty. It is beautiful, yes, to be able to have a conversation and active relationship with God. But to be clear, it’s also very confusing sometimes. It’s hard to listen, it’s hard to be still, and it’s frustrating when we come to God with an anxious heart and all we want is answers. God doesn’t always respond when or HOW we want Him to. I don’t always know what I even want to say to Him. It’s messy because we are human, but just knowing He’s there is enough for me. 

Psalm 107:28-30
Then they cried out to the LORD in their trouble, and he brought them out of their distress. He stilled the storm to a whisper; the waves of the sea were hushed. They were glad when it grew calm, and he guided them to their desired haven.

Philippians 4:6-7
Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
My little angel

Friday, November 3, 2017

About Tyra

Hello! My name is Tyra. I love waking up early and enjoying my coffee slowly. I love exercising my heart, mind and body, and I love food that makes me feel good. I love dressing up, but I love staying home. I appreciate discipline and passion in people. I'm surprising myself by learning that I love to read and write, and not so surprisingly, I love to share what's in my heart. 

I am a mother to my precious, independent, joyful sweet little girl, Emma, and it's the most wonderful, difficult, learning job I've ever had. I am so blessed to have her. I am a fairly new wife, to my handsome love, Colton. He's the funniest person I've ever met, he's thoughtful, and has the most beautiful heart. Being with him is my absolute favorite. 

I am a grad student, hoping to become a school counselor one day. I am a follower of Jesus, leaning on Him for strength daily. I am a dreamer, definitely not a realist. I am strong and brave, yet also timid and introverted. I am constantly learning more about myself and the woman God's created me to be.
I am thankful.  

Thursday, November 2, 2017

Charleston Elopement

Eloping was everything I always wanted it to be and more. It was romantic, special, and we were able to focus on one another and have that be our only concern. I loved every moment with my brand new husband and all the experiences we had together.

There seemed like there was a lot of planning involved, but it really wasn't that difficult. We had heard from others that had eloped that they regretted not dressing nicer or taking photos. We hired a photographer, opted for normal wedding outfits, and we got flowers as well.

We began the morning at the local magistrates office, where we were legally married. We held hands and said traditional vows, but waited until later to say our own to each other.

Upon arrival to our hotel (Harbor View Inn), we got ready to meet the photographer. I got in my dress, without him seeing me of course, and before we left, we did our own "first look". He looked so handsome!
We met our photographer, Leslie, at White Pointe Gardens. We spent about 2 hours taking photos, in all the most beautiful places in Charleston. It really was so gorgeous, and we loved how sweet Leslie was. She took photos of us reading our vows we wrote to each other, and we put on our rings at that time. It was so special, and WOW, my husband's vows were incredible. I'm one lucky girl!

That evening we ate dinner together at High Cotton, where I had the most amazing salmon, and Colton, of course, had NY steak. The next few days were spent walking around, holding hands, eating amazing food, riding bikes down Rainbow Row, and kissing on our horse drawn carriage through the beautiful homes.
I highly recommend not only a visit to Charleston, SC, but eloping as well.

Lunch at Magnolia's
Dinner at 225 Grill

Fall is here

shirt necklace   

We are flying quickly into the holiday season, and when I reflect on the milestones of this year, I am so thankful. God has continuously showed me how strong I can be with Him. He's taught me about grace and love and patience. His presence has consistently given me a peace and warmth and an understanding to know He always has my back. Growing in His word has been nourishing; like I've been thirsty, looking for water, when I find a waterfall with glitter, and have an unlimited amount to drink. He's brought me to a place where I can relish in His glory. The Scripture below is my new favorite. I can't get enough. Paul mentions physical training, which we know makes us healthy and strong. He parallels this to training for godliness, which also makes us healthy and strong, but will benefit us eternally. Paul encourages us to labor, to work hard to strive towards God. He then reminds us to set an example in the way we live, and to continue reading and preaching, and to use our gifts. Can't we just eat this up?! I love how much depth and meaning there is in this Scripture. It's profound, and yet so clear how we are to live.

1 Timothy 4:8-14
8For physical training is of some value, but godliness has value for all things, holding promise for both the present life and the life to come. 9This is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance. 10That is why we labor and strive, because we have put our hope in the living God, who is the Savior of all people, and especially of those who believe. 11Command and teach these things. 12Don't let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith and in purity. 13Until I come, devote yourself to the public reading of Scripture, to preaching and to teaching. 14Do not neglect your gift, which was given you through prophecy when the body of elders laid their hands on you.

This season, fall, my favorite season. And currently my favorite season in life. I am newly married to my sweet Colton, who is finally home from deployment. We eloped in Charleston, SC, just the two of us. We rode bikes down Rainbow Row, took a horse drawn carriage through the beautiful neighborhoods, ate amazing foods together, and walked around holding hands and cherishing the time we got to spend together. (You can read about our elopement here). I am so proud to be his wife and to share his last name. I love watching him walk with Jesus daily, always striving to grow, I love hearing him pray over his family, and I love seeing how deeply and courageously he loves myself and Emma.
Precious little Emma is growing like crazy and I am so in love with her conversation and her curiosity and her continued tenacity. Her hair is growing, and so is her mind. I am so thankful for her joyful spirit and humor.

poncho boots tights dress

Sunday, June 11, 2017

Summer Season

Sometimes when you open your mouth to speak, and everything that comes out doesn’t quite explain what you’re feeling, it’s best to write.

As I’ve written before, to grow and be better than you once were, we require forging, challenge; much like the way a diamond is formed. A diamond begins as a carbon, and looks a lot like coal. Under heat and pressure, at nearly 90 miles below the Earth’s surface, a diamond is formed.  Then they are excavated from the Earth and cherished as some of the most precious jewels there are. Aren’t we kind of like diamonds? Given, diamonds don’t have the choice to be stuck under pressure and heat. But sometimes we do. We can choose to take what is hard, what is challenging, and goes against everything the voices inside our head tells us, to push through and come out stronger and more beautiful than before. I like to parallel this to God’s love for us. When we come to Him, most of the time we are a carbon mess, right? We carry fear, doubt, brokenness, messes from our past, and God says we are welcome, and we are made new. I read a passage in Psalms recently, and I was completely amazed by how endlessly forgiving, and warm and full of love our God is. Bear with me, I know this is the entire chapter, but watch how beautiful…
Psalm 107 ESV

Let the Redeemed of the Lord Say So

Oh give thanks to the Lord, for he is good,
for his steadfast love endures forever!
Let the redeemed of the Lord say so,
whom he has redeemed from trouble
and gathered in from the lands,
from the east and from the west,
from the north and from the south.
Some wandered in desert wastes,
finding no way to a city to dwell in;
hungry and thirsty,
their soul fainted within them.
Then they cried to the Lord in their trouble,
and he delivered them from their distress.
He led them by a straight way
till they reached a city to dwell in.
Let them thank the Lord for his steadfast love,
for his wondrous works to the children of man!
For he satisfies the longing soul,
and the hungry soul he fills with good things.
Some sat in darkness and in the shadow of death,
prisoners in affliction and in irons,
for they had rebelled against the words of God,
and spurned the counsel of the Most High.
So he bowed their hearts down with hard labor;
they fell down, with none to help.
Then they cried to the Lord in their trouble,
and he delivered them from their distress.
He brought them out of darkness and the shadow of death,
and burst their bonds apart.
Let them thank the Lord for his steadfast love,
for his wondrous works to the children of man!
For he shatters the doors of bronze
and cuts in two the bars of iron.
Some were fools through their sinful ways,
and because of their iniquities suffered affliction;
they loathed any kind of food,
and they drew near to the gates of death.
Then they cried to the Lord in their trouble,
and he delivered them from their distress.
He sent out his word and healed them,
and delivered them from their destruction.
Let them thank the Lord for his steadfast love,
for his wondrous works to the children of man!
And let them offer sacrifices of thanksgiving,
and tell of his deeds in songs of joy!
Some went down to the sea in ships,
doing business on the great waters;
they saw the deeds of the Lord,
his wondrous works in the deep.
For he commanded and raised the stormy wind,
which lifted up the waves of the sea.
They mounted up to heaven; they went down to the depths;
their courage melted away in their evil plight;
they reeled and staggered like drunken men
and were at their wits' end.
Then they cried to the Lord in their trouble,
and he delivered them from their distress.
He made the storm be still,
and the waves of the sea were hushed.
Then they were glad that the waters were quiet,
and he brought them to their desired haven.
Let them thank the Lord for his steadfast love,
for his wondrous works to the children of man!
Let them extol him in the congregation of the people,
and praise him in the assembly of the elders.
He turns rivers into a desert,
springs of water into thirsty ground,
a fruitful land into a salty waste,
because of the evil of its inhabitants.
He turns a desert into pools of water,
a parched land into springs of water.
And there he lets the hungry dwell,
and they establish a city to live in;
they sow fields and plant vineyards
and get a fruitful yield.
By his blessing they multiply greatly,
and he does not let their livestock diminish.
When they are diminished and brought low
through oppression, evil, and sorrow,
he pours contempt on princes
and makes them wander in trackless wastes;
but he raises up the needy out of affliction
and makes their families like flocks.
The upright see it and are glad,
and all wickedness shuts its mouth.
Whoever is wise, let him attend to these things;
let them consider the steadfast love of the Lord.

Reading this, I thought to myself, “Okay, this time He’s going to unleash and punish these guys.” But to my fascination, He didn’t.  Over and over and over and over again (yes, four times just in that passage), God “delivered them from their distress”. God doesn’t have a magical number of chances He gives. We get to be human, make mistakes, learn, FORGE into more than we were before. I truly believe that with God as our rock and foundation we are held by no bounds, there is no limit to our growth. We are redeemed, we are free to grow. Stop living like we're supposed to be punished, or that we can't move forward.
I am deeply thankful for this season in my life. I am thankful for health, clarity, and wisdom. Through the messiness, we will have room or “pressure” to change and grow under. I am thankful for the light of my life, my little Emma. I’ve learned so much about blissful joy and patience through her. She sees the world with such innocence, and beauty. She points out flowers and butterflies, making me slow down and appreciate the captivating world around us. Her love is handed out freely, and I so admire her genuine care for others. The love of my life, Colton, and his heart full of honor and selfless love. You have taught me so much about love, and brought clarity to the kind of woman God’s intended me to be. I am eternally thankful for the friends and family around me, and I cannot wait to see what kind of growth we all will experience next.

When Colton came home on mid-tour leave.