abigail leigh photography

Happy Friday friends!

One of my very good friends, Abby, has been blessed with the gift of capturing beautiful moments through photography. Although Abby has been doing photography for almost seven years, she just recently started her own independent business. Of course, as a fellow young woman with big aspirations of my own, I want to support her in any way; so I will be sharing her independent business with you today!

Abby does a variety of sessions from senior pictures, to engagements, weddings and scenic landscapes. Her style is simplistic in that she captures the personality of her subjects by highlighting their natural beauty.

Here are some examples of her work:

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You can connect with Abby through her Instagram and Facebook pages. Her rates are listed there as well.

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This is what Abby’s packaging looks like
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Here’s Abby’s business card!

Continuing to support small businesses and independent business owners is so important because it allows them to continue to pursue their dreams. Shop small 🙂

Thanks for stopping by today, go check out abigail leigh photography!

Alyssa

Fear Not

Hello Friends!

I apologize for being AWOL for a while. Life just gets in the way sometimes!

This past week during chapel, our Athletic Director, Mark DeMichael, spoke about fear. His message really resonated with me.

Fear can be so debilitating for some people. The idea of the unknown is something that can be terrifying. But let me ask you a question. What is something good that ever came out of fear? Are you having a hard time thinking if something? That’s because practically nothing good comes from being fearful. Now let me ask you another question. How many good things come from people trusting God and having faith in His mighty power? I bet you can think of many people throughout your life that this applies to.

When you look at fear in this way, there is really no reason to be fearful! Nothing good ever came out of fear so why would you do it? I know this is not how we normally think and emotions can take a strong hold over our mind, but if we try to think of fear in this way, the “need to fear disappears.

I think fear resides in college students more than almost any other population. There is just so much to be afraid of! Hard exams, relationships, grad school, rejection, interviews, future jobs… the list goes on and on! But I want to let you in on a little secret: fear is not of God. Fear is a tactic that Satan uses to push us farther from God. If you need some more convincing, let’s look at what the Bible has to say about fear.

Isaiah 35:4 – “say to those with fearful hearts, “Be strong, do not fear; your God will come, he will come with vengeance; with divine retribution he will come to save you.”

Joshua 1:9 – “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go.”

Matthew 6:34 – “Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.”

Isaiah 43:1 – “But now, this is what the LORD says— he who created you, Jacob, he who formed you, Israel: “Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you are mine.”

Psalm 23:4 – “Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.”

Psalm 27:1 – “The LORD is my light and my salvation— whom shall I fear? The LORD is the stronghold of my life— of whom shall I be afraid?”

What reason do you have to fear now??? Whenever you have something big coming up that makes you fearful, place it in the hands of God and trust in Him. Don’t get so caught up in worrying about when things are going to happen. Acts 1:7 says, “He said to them: ‘It is not for you to know the times or dates the Father has set by his own authority.'”

One of my good friends, Kayleigh, (who also helped co-write on this post) will be sharing her perspective on fear as well!

Fear: The four-letter word that is all too present in all of our lives. Here are 10 fears that can hold us back in life if we are not careful.

1. The fear of rejection. 

Getting shot down is terrifying. In today’s culture there are even more ways than ever before to experience rejection. Something as simple as a text message not being responded to can hurt. Rejection comes in the form of being kept in the dark about social events that we were not invited to and being broken up with without being given a reason. Rejection causes self-inflicted harshness than can causes us pain deeper than the event that caused us to feel that way in the first place.

2. The fear of missing out.

“You had to be there.” Most of the times we have heard this said was at social gatherings we did not even know about, much less had the option to attend. Social media makes it harder than ever to enjoy what we are doing when we are doing it with the people we are doing life with because there always seems to be something more exciting going on elsewhere. Let’s be content where we are. The chances are good we chose to be there.

3. The fear of being forgotten. 

When asked what people want to accomplish with their lives most respond that they want to make a difference. They want their absence to be felt. Chances are almost 100% that we are all going to die within the next hundred years. Living a life that accomplishes nothing and is not worth remembering is terrifying. Be content in the day to day changes and tell people when they have made a difference in your life.

4. The fear of failure.

Failure is inevitable. I speak with almost 100% certainty that 100% of the people reading this sentence right now are human beings. Fun fact about our species is we make mistakes often. However, what distinguishes a person is how they respond to a failure. Failure is a part of life that shows us how we can learn to do something better the next time, that is if we can muster up the courage to try it again. Change your perception to see failure as a way not to do something and try again.

5. The fear of uncertainty.

It is hard to find someone who can map out our lives for us and answer all of our questions, because no one knows. It sounds tempting to want to know who we are going to marry, where we are going to live, what job we are going to have and what happens when we die. Not knowing these things can cause them to preoccupy our mind for hours of each and every day. Be content with living right now and the answers will come in due time.

6. The fear of being alone. 

This goes out to more than just the people that are not in a relationship at the moment. No one is exempt from the feeling of loneliness. Even in a room full of people, one can feel alone. For those of us who reenergize ourselves by spending time alone, it may be hard to commit to that because that does not mean that we are not exempt from this fear. Take care of yourself and love yourself enough to withdraw and reflect.

7. The fear of change.

Moving homes, entering into a new relationship, or starting a new job are all obvious examples of change. But what about the ones that are not so obvious? We fear that those closest to us will change and may not like us or care about us as much as they once did. We may also fear about changing ourselves for the better. Let’s embrace change and learn how to make the best of whatever situation we find ourselves in.

8. The fear of being judged.

Filters. Some of us have them, and most of us don’t. It may be hard to tell a story that may lean toward being embarrassing if we have this fear. Comparison also can play a big role in this fear. As students, we compare our grades and make a judgement about academic ability based on them. We seem to care so much about what other people think of us that we worry about how each person perceives us to be. This fear may keep us from living fully authentic lives.

9. The fear of getting hurt.

It is easy to put ourselves in positions in which the risk is minuscule because it is comfortable and easy. The most extraordinary things in life happen when chances are taken. This includes applying for our dream jobs with little expectation of getting the position or trusting someone enough to be vulnerable with them.

10. The fear of inadequacy. 

There seems to be a never enough problem that is steeped in comparison that all of us have experienced at one time or another. No matter how hard we try it is easy to view ourselves as not being good enough, perfect enough, thin enough, powerful enough, successful enough, smart enough, certain enough, or extraordinary enough.

Too many of us live in a constant state of fear.  In whatever way that fear manifests itself if your life, it can be debilitating. Identify the fears in your own life and be reminded that you are too unique to let anything get in the way of living your life to its fullest. You won’t regret it.

 

Stand Up For Your Sister

Hey y’all!

How’s life treating ya? We are less than a week out from Thanksgiving and I absolutely cannot wait. I need this break desperately.

I wanted to share a little bit about an event my school had a few weeks ago called Stand Up For Your Sister.

The whole idea behind Stand Up For Your Sister is to see how many of your friends, classmates and sisters in Christ are struggling with things that you may also be struggling with.

Everyone anonymously fills out a questionnaire with hard, serious questions. These questions look like:

  • Have you ever compared yourself to another person?
  • Have you ever experienced divorce or separation in your family?
  • Have you ever experienced debilitating anxiety?
  • Have you ever been physically and/or sexually abused?
  • Have you ever experienced depression?
  • Have you ever intentionally not eaten or starved yourself to lose weight?
  • Have you ever had suicidal thoughts?
  • Have you ever intentionally hurt yourself?
  • Have you ever kept any of these topics to yourself?

These are just a few of the 40 questions that were on the survey.

After answering the questionnaires, we turned them in and got someone else’s paper. When I received someone else’s survey, I began to look over their answers and was filled with emotion. My heart ached for this person. They had circled “yes” to many questions. The amount of pain and trauma this person has experienced was heart-breaking.

Each question was read aloud and if the paper you were holding was marked “yes,” you stood up. The scene was overwhelmingly powerful. Almost every girl in the room was standing for some questions. There was not a single question where no one stood. My eyes filled with tears. For some, answering these questions honestly put them in an extremely vulnerable position. However, knowing that you are not alone in your struggles was very comforting.

The physical act of standing up is a whole-body movement. Standing up for your sister isn’t something you do passively. Standing up for your sister takes intentionality.

The main thing that I took away from this event is that your past experiences DO NOT define you. You are fearfully and wonderfully made in the image of God. He intentionally formed you in your mother’s womb to become the beautiful woman that you are today.

Some people may judge you for your mistakes, but the only opinion that matters in the end is the one True King’s. If you have asked for forgiveness, that is all that needs to be done. You are truly forgiven.

While this event was anonymous, you could go the extra step and tell someone you trust what you’re experiencing. Who knows, they could be struggling with the same thing!

I absolutely loved this event and would highly recommend doing something like this at colleges all across the country. Especially at a Christian university, it’s easy to think that you’re the only one who struggles with something or have made a certain mistake. We tend to shove all of our trauma and baggage deep down and never let it come out. We’re supposed to be these perfect Christians who never struggle with anything, right? This night proved that 100% wrong.

Please know that if you’re struggling with something YOU ARE NOT ALONE. I promise that even though it may feel like everyone else has it all together, that’s not the case. You are loved. There is hope.

If you want to learn more or organize a Stand Up For Your Sister event at your school, visit their website: https://standupforyoursister.org/home/

Your sister,

Alyssa

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It’s Okay To Not Be Okay

Hey Friends!

I wanted to take some time to talk about not being okay. People ask us multiple times a day “Hey! How are you?” and for the most part we answer “Good” or “Fine.” But what if we’re not good? What if we’re really struggling with something and we are trying to put on a front for everyone around us?

With classes starting last week among a number of other things, I didn’t have the greatest of weeks. Well, it was mainly just the middle of the week that wasn’t good, but either way I was in a funk. I think the main reason why I was feeling this way was because I felt extremely unprepared for classes to start. My school got a new online tool to view your classes and the night before classes were supposed to start, only one of the syllabi were up. I am a very organized person so I have to have everything that is due written in my planner on the due date or else my brain will be scrambled.

So I went to classes without any preparation and I quickly became overwhelmed at the amount of things that were due by the next class period (only because I didn’t know about it ahead of time.) To make matters worse, I thought I had completely forgot to order half of my textbooks. I had reading due by the next class so I scrambled to buy them on Amazon. A few days later I got an email for the campus bookstore saying I had books to pick up. So I just paid twice for the same books!! I really need a better memory.

And for the cherry on top, I got a cold because Indiana weather is fickle and it was 50 degrees at the beginning of September!

I know for many of you, this doesn’t even seem like that big of a deal, but for whatever reason, it was for me. I was not myself. I couldn’t find anything to make me happy. I skipped dinner several times (not because I was upset, because I literally didn’t have time, but it didn’t even phase me. I love to eat, so this was weird for me.) I even broke down and cried at football practice. I wasn’t even crying because I was upset. I was talking about how precious this kid who has a learning disability on the team is and then I started crying because I was emotional. I just needed to hug someone and let out everything that I had been bottling up inside of me. I was a mess.

After that day, I was completely fine. I got my syllabi, I got my textbooks, I still had my cold, but I just told myself everything was going to be okay. When people asked “How are you?” I was honest with them. “Better than yesterday.” Some would ask why and I explained it to them and you know what? Some of them felt the same way. My wonderful friend, Andi, went through a similar experience last week that she will be talking about a little later. However, our experiences are nothing compared to our friend, Kayleigh, who will also be sharing later in this post.

After going through this funk, so to speak, I can tell you that whatever struggles you go through in life, going through it by yourself is one of the worst things you can do. Chances are there are people around you who are going through very similar struggles as well. Even if they aren’t, there is one person you can always go to—God. Matthew 11:28 says, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” We are called to come to Him when we are in times of need. Isaiah 55:6 says, “Seek the Lord while he may be found; call upon him while he is near.” No matter what, you are never alone.

Now Andi will share her thoughts:

Hello readers! First of all I need to give Lyss a shout out for letting me co-write this blog post with her! We had been discussing our crazy beginning to the semester the other day, and Alyssa mentioned to me that she was thinking of writing a blog post about the whole concept of “it’s ok to not be ok.” She so sweetly asked if I’d contribute my thoughts and I was thrilled to join in!

I, like so many of us, am a creature of habit. I find myself getting into routines, most of which are beneficial, but some of which I could probably do without (like getting on my phone before bed…we all do it.) When those routines get disrupted it’s pretty normal to feel as if everything is a little out of wack. These little changes build up until you are just a big ball of frustration and emotion. I tend to bottle my emotions up, much like Alyssa, and with the right combination of events this can turn into a full blown breakdown in no time! I fondly refer to this particular event as spilling pink lemonade out of my cup (my weird code for built up emotions spilling over.) Luckily, I did not quite hit that point last week, but I certainly did feel out of sorts for a day or two. What can I say, I hate it when things don’t go my way. Anyone with me?

It’s these moments when I’m reminded that I serve a God that is WAY bigger than me, and my problems. In those moments when you feel like you just can’t pull it together, run to God. We’re talking full out sprint! He is always waiting with open arms, I just have to swallow my pride and admit that I can’t do everything on my own. Thankfully that big God I serve takes care of all the planning. I just get to sit back and enjoy the ride (even when that’s the last thing I THINK I want.) Jeremiah 29:11 says “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD,” plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and future.” AMEN! What a comfort to know that it’s not our job to have it all figured out!

One other thing I think is important in combatting these kinds of days is surrounding ourselves with the right people. As much as I hate to admit it sometimes, it is SO important to talk about things with trusted friends and family! We weren’t made to live in solitude, we were meant to love on each other. These are the times we should reach for a friend to get that much needed hug or just a listening ear. More often than not, they might be going through the exact same thing! That’s what Alyssa and I discovered, and what a comfort it was to know we weren’t in this alone. Amen for friends like Alyssa! (so you all should keep reading her blog 😉)

Now Kayleigh will share her heartbreaking experience:

A few weeks ago I got a phone call that forever changed my life. As my little brother explained to me that a very close family member of mine had just committed suicide, I went into shock. Fears and doubts rushed to my mind. I felt the most alone that I have ever felt as those that didn’t understand sent me text after text apologizing for what wasn’t their fault.

While I should have been enjoying pre-season football practices, I found myself crying myself to sleep only to cry more once morning came. In my experience, death alone is hard enough to rationalize, but losing someone to suicide hurts so much more because not a thing about it makes sense.

I forced myself to think about how things could have been. Would that family member of mine still be here if I had had one more conversation with him? If I had prayed for him one more time or given him one more hug?

Someone once told me that God never gives a person more than they can handle. I disagree completely. Losing a loved one to suicide was more than I could handle. I promise you that. I was forced to rely on the people closest to me to listen to me and love me despite of the constant grief, sadness, and depressed mood I was experiencing. I had to trust that God had something worthwhile to bring out of this devastating chaotic mess.

The truth is that I would do anything in the world to have my cousin back. And I mean anything. My only hope in all of this is that if there is one person out there who may be experiencing the same kinds of thoughts that raced though my cousin’s mind, they may hear and know that they don’t have to fight alone.

God gives us more than we can handle sometimes. And that’s ok. It’s ok to not be ok, because God didn’t create us to be in isolation from one another and fight our battles on our own. He created us for community. To be there for each other through the worst times and the best.

My hope in sharing part of my story is not for anyone to feel bad for me or compare their story with mine, but rather to remind everyone reading this that it’s important to be kind. Everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle. These battles may seem minuscule or massive, but a battle is a still a battle. Be a friend and appreciate those you love as long as you have them. Love intentionally and often, because it’s ok to not be ok as long as we are not ok together.

I’ll leave you with this quote by Daniell Koepke:

“If you’re struggling, you deserve to make self-care a priority. Whether that means lying in bed all day, eating comfort food, putting off homework, crying, sleeping, rescheduling plans, finding an escape through a good book, watching your favorite tv show, or doing nothing at all – give yourself permission to put your healing first. Quiet the voice telling you to do more and be more, and today, whatever you do, let it be enough. Feel your feelings, breathe, and be gentle with yourself. Acknowledge that you’re doing the best you can to cope and survive. And trust that during this time of struggle, it’s enough.”

Be You!

Hey y’all! Hope the start to your summers are treating you right.

I just wanted to make a quick little post before I head to work for the day about being yourself when it comes to beauty.

It’s no secret that girls are under a ton of pressure from the media to look a certain way. Slim super models on the cover of almost every magazine in the grocery store check out line seem to look at me disapprovingly with my armful of chocolate and ingredients to make guacamole (my fave!)

From perfume commercials to TV shows like America’s Next Top Model to songs that talk about beautiful women, the pressure to conform to America’s standard of “beauty” is immense. These forms of media have a significant impact on young girls especially.

I’ve never been very comfortable with the way my body looks, but recently I’ve tried not to compare myself to others, because they’re not me. God made me exactly how He intended me to be, which is beautiful in His eyes. Therefore, I should see myself in the same way.

I’ll admit I could hold off on the chocolate and guac a little, but as long as I’m confident in myself, others will see the confidence and maybe use it for themselves.

When it comes to makeup, I’ve never worn a lot, but if I do, it’s all natural looking. A couple months back though, I became interested in makeup more, so I bought a few things I didn’t have and even considered buying the Naked3 palette.

However, now, I have been going practically barefaced almost everyday. I’m not sure if it’s just because it’s summer and I have work every day or I’ve just gotten lazy, but if I do wear makeup, it’s literally just mascara and eyebrow powder (gotta love my ginger eyelashes/brows.) And you know what?? I don’t care what other people think about how I look. If a cute boy comes through the drive thru, I don’t think “Oh, I wish I would have put more makeup on today.” I’ve been single for over two years now, so its allowed me to rethink my view on the way guys view me. If they don’t like me with hardly any makeup on, they don’t deserve me when I do wear it. I want someone to like me for me, especially when I first wake up in the morning and am not coherent (lol when I tried to take an order that I thought was mine at North Lime Donuts this morning, but wasn’t.) One thing I do really like about myself is my freckles and they really show during the summer. If I wear foundation, they get covered up, and why would I cover up something that compliments me? (By the way, I never bought that Naked3 palette because who wants to spend over $50 on that?)

Also, if y’all don’t know, I go to private Christian school in Indiana where my class’ ratio of girls to guys is 5:1. That’s not a joke. The overall ratio is 4:1 so there are obviously more girls on campus and the majority of them dress nicely or curl their hair almost every day. And here I am in Nike shorts and a sweatshirt with my hair in a messy bun because I woke up late (funny story, I slept through a presentation I was supposed to give at 7:50AM at the end of last semester and one of my friends in the class (shoutout Abby Manwell) had to come bang on my door to wake me up. I threw some business professional clothes on and ran out the door. Didn’t do my hair, didn’t do my makeup. Showed up to class, presented with my group like a boss and went back to bed.) Anyway, a majority of the girls look so good everyday and I’m like “who has the time or energy to do that?” Them, that’s who! Some people are early birds and can get up on time to look nice and feel confident about themselves, don’t judge them for that.

So, all that to say, when it comes to makeup or fashion or whatever the latest trend is, be you! This means if you like to wear a full face of makeup every day, then do it girl! I’m not shaming anyone who likes makeup by any means. Do whatever makes you feel comfortable in your own skin and do it for yourself and nobody else.

Love,

Alyssa

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My every day look for the past few weeks. Only wearing mascara and eyebrow powder (peep the pimple on my forehead, show it girl.) Haven’t touched my hair at all.