My Pace & Strange Phobia

As of lately, I've been up in the gym working on my pace. I desperately want to run a 7:59 mile and its appeared to be quite the feat. Honestly, I'm not even sure where that goal originated from, but my stubborn spirit won't let it go now...so I've GOT to get there. :)

I'm averaging about an 8:28 mile right now, and that (for me) is AMAZEBALLS. I honestly can't even believe I'm doing THAT.

I mean, it's pretty self-explanatory on the treadmill...you amp up the speed. The problem with that is I don't appreciate feeling like a sack of potatoes my entire run. Uh-uh. No bueno. Feeling on top of the world is more my style. 

What frustrates me beyond that is when I run outside, (where you think I would be more motivated) my pace TANKS. It's like a 600 pound weight decided to drag behind me and I suddenly hit +10:00 miles. It's the stupidest thing...but I have some sort of phobia with running outside. I get into this hopeless mood and all I can think in my head is, "I'll never make it back."

Mind over matter, I know. Maybe it's just a bad attitude...but there's something comforting about my treadmill, being able to watching Cake Boss, and having the ability to stop whenever I please that motivates me to move faster.

Anyway, tips appreciated on that if anyone has any! Now, for the REAL fun. Workout clothes are the bomb.com and I cannot.stop.hoarding.them. Here are a few favorites!
tee // here - by BlingNInk
tank // here - by FittdBrandClothing
tank // here - by SimplySophiaMaria
tank // here - by Ruffles With Love
I'm quite pleased and hoping to continue seeing results. :) My leg muscles have been feeling AWESOME - and they are getting TIGHT! Holla!

Linking up with Jen for...


God Has Promised & He Will Deliver

I'm not walking through a particular storm right now. It's been a season of waiting, waiting, waiting for doors to open - and while that waiting just plain stinks sometimes, I'm doing a TON of worshipping in the hallway. :)

I can honestly say there's a point in each and every day that I look back on the past 3 years and say, "Woah, God, woah. Look what you carried me through." How could I not? It's plenty safe to say that He has blessed me once twice ten times more than I will ever deserve.

I'm just trying to wrap my mind around that infinite love and there is no way it's going to happen. Our Savior loves us far too much. I know it's cheesy, but I've always been a girl who likes a good, happy ending. I'm so grateful that God has given me just that in His perfect, perfect love.

I'm not saying there won't be future storms to face...but I am saying that even in those storms, even through them, even after them, He is GOOD. 

God has promised to see us through. He has promised and He will deliver.


How Arthritis Has Changed Me

A few weeks ago on Instagram, I got a few questions on a picture of mine in reference to the pain juvenile arthritis causes me on a daily basis. A few girls wanted to know "what it's like." Someone asked how I've changed since my diagnosis. Another woman wanted to know how I keep my smile on.

I also got a comment from the SWEETEST girl, Lauren, last week...

"Girlfriend, I'm almost 29 years old, and you teach ME more than you will ever know!!! Love you for it!!! God is SO NOT done with you friend!"

That comment was a kick in the assets straight from God to share "what it's like." I really do believe that He's called me to teach about it and to be a resource for this disease.

A LOT of people have asked me how I deal with not wanting to feel "normal," and to be completely honest, I can tell y'all I don't have a clear memory in my head of what it was like to be "normal." Whatever the heck "normal" is! ;-) So it doesn't affect me. I can wholeheartedly say I've never envied anyone who is healthy. Ever. And I would never wish this disease on anyone. It's horrible, yes. It's treacherous, yes. But it's what God has entrusted me with, so I'll fight the good fight.

I've never truly addressed this before! Not even in my type A, complete over-thinker mind. Ha! How juvenile arthritis has changed me...?

It's made me more grateful for little, teeny tiny things. 15 minutes to lie down. Hot showers. That extra Excedrin you can take once you're +13 and older. (HA! Kidding. Kinda.) It's just given me that count-my-blessings attitude... And I never had that before my diagnosis.

It's given me a MUCH more outgoing, I-want-to-help-people attitude. Surprisingly, I was pretty quiet before my diagnosis... But now, I want to get to know people... Like, really KNOW. I want to hear about their struggles and how they've managed to overcome them. The only way I learned to have that attitude is because I finally overcame some of mine.

It's taught me millions of lessons about responsibility. From all the meds I've taken throughout the years to driving myself to therapy each morning... I can truthfully say it has taught me more about reliability and maturity than anything else could have!

It's taught me that crying is completely acceptable and understandable. I know that might sound like a bawlbaby-101 lesson, but I'm serious. There are some serious benefits to having cry fests with the people you trust. There are days when words don't do the trick.

It's taught me that Jesus has a lot of faith in me. It's taught me that He knows my strengths and weaknesses long before I discover them. He's taught me that I am not strong enough to face the world + my circumstances on my own... And boy, has He taught me the power of prayer...

How arthritis has changed me? Y'all would never, ever be able to tell the ways by glancing at the outside... (And you can thank therapy for that!)

But on the inside, I am not even relatively close to the girl I was 3 years ago. She was a lot of drama... With a HUGE side of bad attitude. I don't talk to her anymore. ;-)

I like to think that through it all, my smile has become more genuine, my faith has become more of a necessity, and my battle has become more of a victory.


Goals vs Expectations

Ever since I started working out {voluntarily} about 6 weeks ago, I've seen a lot of changes in my body.

I've noticed an increase in my pace, my endurance amazes me, and overall I just feel so much stronger. I'm finally running because I LOVE IT again and I just can't thank Jesus enough for giving me my passion back.

As far as pain goes, I know my arthritis friends want to know... YES, running tends to make it worse. Some days I can't even look at those weights without cringing. I guess it has ultimately come down to the fact that I know exercising will keep me mobile. I also know that with it will come added pain and sometimes I will want to quit because of it... But in order to keep moving forward I have to combat that pain, the negative thoughts, and just keep running. EVERYONE has challenges on their journey to get fit... Yes, mine is a little abnormal for a teen to be dealing with... But nonetheless, God has entrusted this journey to me because He knows I'm strong enough to walk run it.

Two weeks ago, I finally reached the 3 mile mark. It was a huge moment for me because I never, ever thought I'd RUN a 5k again. I'll admit, that run was a little rocky. I hit mile 2 and I wanted to be donezo, but I kept pushing through that last mile and it was so worth it. For some reason, I was super crampy that day... It sucked, but it sucked worse when I finally stopped. Obviously glad I didn't stop before I reached my goal because it wouldn't have been worth it.

Headband // Bondi Band
Tank // Simply Sophia Marie

A few days following that awesome run, I really didn't want to go to the gym because I didn't feel like going 3 and 1/2 miles... Or even 3. I just didn't feel like "owning up
 to what I'd already accomplished. I made myself get there, though, and decided to tone it down a go for a 2 miler. I didn't want those expectations of ALWAYS having to compete with myself. I ended up running my fastest mile that day and was over the moon!

During that run, I realized that in order to keep growing and improving, I need to let go of the expectation to ALWAYS do more, more, more and focus on my goal to ALWAYS do better, better, better. Quality not quantity... And just because I run 3 miles one day, doesn't mean I have to do it the next as long as I'm doing SOMETHING. As long as I'm trying.

This past Friday, I took my frustration from the week out on that treadmill and without hardly even knowing it... I went 4 miles! That run was a complete cake walk until I reached mile 3. Obviously, there was a lot of motivation coming from my frustration, but my body really proved itself that night. It proved to me that even though there isn't always improvements I can see with my eyes, there's a lot going on underneath and progress is being made.

Saturday night, I didn't have a single problem telling myself I was headed to the gym. I didn't have those feelings of "measuring up" to my run the previous evening and not once did I think my progress was anything less because I only decided to run 1 1/2 miles. My pace was still one of my best and I still felt that burn.

I still made progress.

Headband // Bondi Band
Tank // Ruffles With Love
I've learned in a very short two weeks that being proud of the both the little leaps and the huge bounds is where I'm going to find not only happiness, but strength in my body. 

Measuring up is not the same as improving. So very glad my focus has shifted to my GOALS early in the race. :-) It can only go up from here.


I Struggled

About three years ago, I was diagnosed with clinical depression and was put on an anti-depressant that (in my opinion) seemed to make everything worse. My anxiety was at an all time high because I was in so much pain and hadn't been diagnosed with a specific condition. Therefore, treatment was nonexistent.

To this day, I'm not sure if I really struggled with depression or if the doctor's just needed something to "blame" the pain on as juvenile arthritis wasn't mentioned until about six months after my depression "diagnosis." To say the least, there were a lot of unanswered questions...my doctor's were helpless. I was helpless.

I remember so many occasions where I walked into school, threw my books in my locker, and went straight to the bathroom to cry...and I remember doing it all without anyone noticing me.  It wasn't until I said, "Enough is enough - I don't want to live like this" that things got any better. No anti-depressant can give you a piece of mind that says, "This life IS worth living. I have a purpose." I truly believe that can only come from God.

Finally, I told my parents and my doctor that this medication wasn't for me. I quit taking it cold turkey and ended up staying wide awake for nearly 72 hours straight. The side effects were horrible, but I didn't want my body being hindered by the medication that took away my energy and feelings of purpose any longer.

I didn't get my smile back magically by any means, but I started to realize that a medication was not going to make me feel alive...I needed to push myself to stay social, to stay active, to stay ME...even while I was in a significant amount of pain, I realized the importance of remaining myself.

I know there were days that it didn't look like I was trying...in fact, I'm sure I cried MORE after I made the decision to ditch the medication...because it was HARD. But, in hindsight, I can say it was my best decision to date. I learned to cherish the good days more than ever during that period of time because I realized that they were often few and far between. I also learned to appreciate the bad days for what they were.

I don't think my smile ever really went away, but it was hidden for a long, long time. I wasn't happy with my life, myself, or my circumstances, but there was a hope that kept me going and believing for better days...and His name is Jesus.

That same hope is what I still hold onto today and I know I'll be holding onto tomorrow. I'm so thankful that He is so much stronger than anything that we will ever have to face here on earth.

When I meet Jesus face to face, I highly, highly doubt that I will be looking back on my circumstances/struggles and say to Him with a frown... "Look what you made me endure." I imagine the only thing I'll be able to mutter out will be something along the lines of, "Thank You. Thank You for carrying me through."

I struggled, and there are days I still do...but the battle over my heart and happiness here on earth has already been won...by Jesus. 


My Best Friend Rocks My Face Off

It's Tuesday. Tuesday and I didn't have class yesterday. It's gonna be a good week.

Especially since YOU'RE joining us for...

* * *

{Too Cute!} Tuesday is a simple link up that will give us all something to saw "aww" about at the beginning of the week. :-) Share pictures of your adorable kids, show us the new pair of shoes you got, or maybe a new Pinterest project you tried! The possibilities are endless and the rules are easy peasy...


1. Keep it family friendly!

2. Include a link back to this post in your blog post- along with the blog button- to help spread the word with your readers!

3. Not mandatory, but we'd love for you to show your support by subscribing to Megan and I!

4. Have fun and meet some new blog friends!

* * *

This week, my cuteness comes in the form of a best friend. I spent most of the weekend with my bestie... The GORGEOUS Amy... And y'all can't even tell me she isn't absolutely adorable. 


We got our caffeine fix late Friday night after I got done with work. We also met up with a small group leader of ours and had the BEST night laughing and catching up. Girl time rocks my world.

We totally had a sleepover that night. We spent Saturday in our PJ's until around noon when we decided to go for a run... After our run, we actually got dressed properly and met up with two of our other girlfriends for a coffee date + dinner.

And other craziness that shall not be named, otherwise I'm going to spit my morning coffee all over this keyboard because I'm laughing so incredibly hard.

We spent Easter apart (SAD FACE)... But yesterday, we hit the gym together before studying hard for school.

She went 10 miles on the bike. 10 MILES.

She freaking rocks my face off.

And then we went home and ate the ice cream we just burned off...

Our adorable NEW Bondi Bands! Google em!
I kinda love spending every second possible with her. She's a keeper of-a-best-friend if I ever did see one. :)