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Monday, February 29, 2016

So Many Blessings

God is doing so many amazing things in my life I wanted to share. First, off thank you for all the love your giving my little blog. It means the world to me. Everyday I check to see how many people read or viewed my blog, and I am happy to say those numbers are growing. Now let's kick it up a notch.


Please LIKE, SHARE, AND SUBSCRIBE - The more people that see my blog the more I hope will see the power of God's grace and love. That is my first and foremost goal. Second, the more people that see this blog the more people can laugh at my stupid relationship pitfalls. I hope more good girls like me will know they are not alone. Some men are just dogs!


Now to the really good stuff:

Website & Mobile App Contract: Gosh I am so humbled to write this. I just signed a contract with a website designer. (so surreal) Right now a local company is working on creating laurenhope.co It will be goodgirlchapters.blogspot.com on steroids. It will be all things Lauren Hope: my blog, my speaking engagements, my passions, my pictures, my friends, and most of all my God. The mobile app will have more exclusive content. There will be a small fee typically 1.99 per month. I know, I know. But we pay that much to so many things, all I'm asking for is this two bucks a month to keep my book dream going. Know that I will be a good steward of your money. I will be using it to work from home, lose weight, help my family, praise God, and publish a best seller.

Model Girl - I am in no means modeling. But, I have reconnected with a young man who is going to be taking my pictures in Hampton Roads. He is super talented, funny, and passionate. Allen "Apollo" Choice's company's name is Afocal Photography and he's an up and coming photography. He has come up with some great ideas for my next photo shoot. I can't wait to share it. Some pictures will be on the new website others will be exclusive to the mobile app. Please message me if you want to connect with him or discuss his rates. His email is apollochoice7@gmail.com




Giving Back - To much is given, much is expected. I am encouraged to be volunteering again. When I was back in Lynchburg I spent a morning at the Daily Bread, a local soup kitchen, that provides meals for those in need. They are incredible.They always need help, money, and people willing to give their time.  The organization has been offering free hot meals, blankets, and supplies since 1983. Click on Daily Bread to learn how you help.

I have also been tweeting, and discussing another ministry called Living Bread Ministries. This ministry is helping out on a global level. I signed up for their newsletter to see if I could help. In return they sent me a coffee shelve like the ones they sell at Starbucks. I love it and I take it everywhere. Their vision is to plant churches in some of the worlds poorest places so people there can experience the Lord. Click on Living Bread Ministries to see how you can help.

Mi Vida, Mi Corazon - Since this is a relationship and love blog I feel it is only fair to update you on my love life. Don't worry I will not release names or exact places. I will never do that even when my book is picked up. I won't spill the tea that much. In a nutshell, I am dating. I sincerely feel in my heart God is preparing my King to find me, and fall in love. In preparation I am sharpening myself too. I am losing weight, cleaning more for  my family, cooking, and working really hard on being a more confident woman. Just look at some of my 'Fat & Fabulous' Youtube videos 



What I am about to say may ruin my chances with the next guy who wants to take me on a date, but whatever. I am working through some heartache. My heart is stuck on someone who has clearly moved on, Know that I am trying my hardest to let that go. It is hard because I believe in him while he doesn't believe in himself. I adore him, and I know he doesn't know it. I think he's the funny, goofy, handsome, motivated, humble, family loving guy I wanna rock with for a while. But, none of that will happen if he doesn't reach out to me. And, folks that ain't happening. So in the meantime I am loving life with my girlfriends, writing, working out, and loving God's grace. Life is beautiful y'all even when it isn't easy. Just ask Jill Scott



So Many Blessings

God is doing so many amazing things in my life I wanted to share. First, off thank you for all the love your giving my little blog. It means the world to me. Everyday I check to see how many people read or viewed my blog, and I am happy to say those numbers are growing. Now let's kick it up a notch.


Please LIKE, SHARE, AND SUBSCRIBE - The more people that see my blog the more I hope will see the power of God's grace and love. That is my first and foremost goal. Second, the more people that see this blog the more people can laugh at my stupid relationship pitfalls. I hope more good girls like me will know they are not alone. Some men are just dogs!


Now to the really good stuff:

Website & Mobile App Contract: Gosh I am so humbled to write this. I just signed a contract with a website designer. (so surreal) Right now a local company is working on creating laurenhope.co It will be goodgirlchapters.blogspot.com on steroids. It will be all things Lauren Hope: my blog, my speaking engagements, my passions, my pictures, my friends, and most of all my God. The mobile app will have more exclusive content. There will be a small fee typically 1.99 per month. I know, I know. But we pay that much to so many things, all I'm asking for is this two bucks a month to keep my book dream going. Know that I will be a good steward of your money. I will be using it to work from home, lose weight, help my family, praise God, and publish a best seller.

Model Girl - I am in no means modeling. But, I have reconnected with a young man who is going to be taking my pictures in Hampton Roads. He is super talented, funny, and passionate. Allen "Apollo" Choice's company's name is Afocal Photography and he's an up and coming photography. He has come up with some great ideas for my next photo shoot. I can't wait to share it. Some pictures will be on the new website others will be exclusive to the mobile app. Please message me if you want to connect with him or discuss his rates. His email is apollochoice7@gmail.com




Giving Back - To much is given, much is expected. I am encouraged to be volunteering again. When I was back in Lynchburg I spent a morning at the Daily Bread, a local soup kitchen, that provides meals for those in need. They are incredible.They always need help, money, and people willing to give their time.  The organization has been offering free hot meals, blankets, and supplies since 1983. Click on Daily Bread to learn how you help.

I have also been tweeting, and discussing another ministry called Living Bread Ministries. This ministry is helping out on a global level. I signed up for their newsletter to see if I could help. In return they sent me a coffee shelve like the ones they sell at Starbucks. I love it and I take it everywhere. Their vision is to plant churches in some of the worlds poorest places so people there can experience the Lord. Click on Living Bread Ministries to see how you can help.

Mi Vida, Mi Corazon - Since this is a relationship and love blog I feel it is only fair to update you on my love life. Don't worry I will not release names or exact places. I will never do that even when my book is picked up. I won't spill the tea that much. In a nutshell, I am dating. I sincerely feel in my heart God is preparing my King to find me, and fall in love. In preparation I am sharpening myself too. I am losing weight, cleaning more for  my family, cooking, and working really hard on being a more confident woman. Just look at some of my 'Fat & Fabulous' Youtube videos 



What I am about to say may ruin my chances with the next guy who wants to take me on a date, but whatever. I am working through some heartache. My heart is stuck on someone who has clearly moved on, Know that I am trying my hardest to let that go. It is hard because I believe in him while he doesn't believe in himself. I adore him, and I know he doesn't know it. I think he's the funny, goofy, handsome, motivated, humble, family loving guy I wanna rock with for a while. But, none of that will happen if he doesn't reach out to me. And, folks that ain't happening. So in the meantime I am loving life with my girlfriends, writing, working out, and loving God's grace. Life is beautiful y'all even when it isn't easy. Just ask Jill Scott



Saturday, February 27, 2016

Lolo's Bar Confessions: I love Cocky Men

(Some names will be changed to protect the innocent, and prevent me from getting sued.)


Why are overly confident people called cocky? No, I really want to understand this.  And, why is it when you are said to be encouraging that person or pumping them up it’s called; ‘stroking their ego’? Last night, while I was posting to social media, I left off one letter of the word cocky.  One letter and it seemed like I was screaming for some naughty male attention. That was not my intention at least not last night.  Let me stop before people rip off the term ‘good girl’ for me. I went out to have a drink with some old marching band buddies, and what ensued was a affirmation that I love cocky men. I am not sure if that is good or bad.

It was a Friday night and I was bored. I missed out on a chance to go to a Christian Singles conference. I was bummed. I thought to myself, ‘This is where I need to go to find a good man.’ Now I know what you will say, “Lauren there are bad men in church too.”
But wouldn’t being in church increase my chances of finding a good one? Marinate on that. 

Well I called up my friend Ricky cause he’s always good for a laugh. He said he was hanging out with Apollo, an old marching band geek like me, who I hadn’t seen in years. (More on Apollo another day, he has an incredible story and I feel compelled to tell it if he lets me.) 

Ricky and Apollo were just shooting the shit at Apollo's house. I decide I should go over there since it’s been a long week, and I could use some humor. When I got there the three of us reminisced about high school days; marching band, past loves, life lessons, and well bullshit. I have not laughed that hard in ages. Seriously my insides were hurting. About two hours into this we all decide we need to go get a drink. 

We end up in a Virginia Beach bar that will remain nameless. It’s a cool spot, but there were more shall I say vanilla people than chocolate people. I was a little uncomfortable. The older vanilla women were staring at my lady lumps, gawking at my sweater puppies. I vowed to never return. 

We find seats at the bar, and talk for a few minutes. Then it happened, my eyes stumbled upon this Adonis of a man. He had hazelnut skin, with soft, curly black hair, and amazing biceps.  This bartender had a body like ‘The Rock’ in his younger days like before he blew up into the fucking incredible Hulk. If you know me, you know I love Dwayne Johnson like he’s my own man. When I see this guy with his old Rock body, my eyes start running the length of his body. Ricky catches me.“I see you girl,” he said.

“What? No, I was just looking at his shirt,” I replied.

Bullshit and we both  knew it. I was checking this guy out. I’ve been single for almost two years. You can’t blame me for appreciating a visually stimulating man. Also, It is apparent my check out game is lacking so I turned away. Moments later me, Ricky, Apollo get into a heated exchange about the stupid things women will do to please her man.  The bartender with the old Rock body I will call ‘Muscles’ jumped into our conversation. Ladies, I didn’t mind.

“Well get yours brother,” Muscles said.

‘Yuck what a dog I thought. ‘Get yours.’ What a dog thing to say I thing to say,’ I thought.

Then Muscles turns to me.
“Don’t think I didn’t see you checking me out,” he said laughing.


My face felt hot. Why the hell was he bringing attention to this? Isn’t there some unspoken dating rule where you don’t shout out to the entire bar that a girl is checking you out? I should hate him. I should roll my eyes. I should turn around. But, I don’t. I laugh, and start to flirt even harder.

“Well I was just admiring your physique. I mean I can do that right?” I said. This is the worse pick up line ever, but in all honestly I will admit I’ve used it more than once. It seems to stroke their egos.

Muscles laughed, and flexed his pecs like my man Dwayne Johnson does. That is it. I am done. I am visually us on first date; him being stupid cocky, me being coy, and then us kissing. Ladies don’t lie you know our mind goes there that fast. I’m not ashamed to admit Muscles and I flirted back and forth for almost an hour. He would pour drinks, come back and wink at me. No one has flirted with me that hard since I’ve gained weight, and it was intoxicating, Dating as a plus size woman isn’t hard, it’s just different. The fact that this fine, well sculpted man was flirting with me made him even more attractive. But, that doesn’t escape the fact that he was cocky as hell. I watched him pose for pictures with horny vanilla women. I watched girls lean over the bar in an attempt to get close to him. And, there I was ‘Miss Goody Two Shoes’ flirting with this man who clearly loved himself way too much. A man I’m sure could pull any skinny, hot, Brazilian model looking chick he wanted. Muscles was either flirting for a tip, stroking my ego, or really trying to figure out if he could land a good girl like me. He knew I was a good girl too and he didn’t stop his pursuit.


“I’m going to pray for you Muscles,” I said.

“Don’t pray for me honey,” he replied. “No disrespect I believe if you work hard enough you can do anything”

‘Typical man,’ I thought. ‘He thinks he can get everything in life without God. OK, buddy go do that and let me know how it works for you. I tried and it sucks. Lauren you are not trying to school him on the love of Jesus, just get his number.’

This was my internal struggle.  Even though Muscles and I flirted for a while I never asked for his number. He never asked for mine, and I’m ok with that.  I’ve moved beyond that type of man. I want a cocky man who can joke with me at the bar, and still proclaim Christ as his Savior there. It is possible because I almost married two men that way.  I want a man who makes me feel sexy, but also expects me to work hard to find my own dose of confidence. I want a man who will look the other way when fine chicks walk by. I’d love an Adonis, a Dwayne Johnson, a Muscles looking type of guy. While that may be shallow it is not wrong. I’ve dated and loved plenty of men who were not Dwayne Johnson looking. But I also dated and love very hot men. Ask my girlfriends. Not bragging but I almost married one of the hottest men in Richmond after college. He was bald, caramel skin, with a beautifully oiled six pack, and guess what He loved the Lord. He upgraded me, and in turn I upgraded him. I can love all kind of physical types. But. there has to be more than just good looks.

Anyway, the cocky man that is overly confident to get laid, Lauren Hope is done with you. The cocky man that is over confident to make you think he’s all that, Lauren Hope is done with you. The cocky men who can’t love Jesus in one breathe and Lil Wayne in the next, Lauren Hope is done with you. I’m a new woman with new standards. In the words of Beyonce, “Baby let me upgrade you.” Now my standards are super high, and I won’t settle for anything less. 


I will leave you with this quote from Carrie Bradshaw, “Some people are settling, some are settling down, I will settle for nothing less than butterflies.” 

Love you, Love God More

Lauren Hope

Friday, February 26, 2016

My Rock Encounter

Some people want to meet Oprah Winfrey, President Barack Obama, or Lady Gaga, but my dream is to meet Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson.I am a huge Dwayne Johnson fan. Part of my obsession comes from being an awkward, quirky girl in middle school who found a small measure of strength in The Rock's larger than life personality.I started watching wrestling with my great grandmother when I was little, but I never clung to a character the way I clung to 'The Rock'. After watching a few of his matches, I had to have everything with The Rock's name on it. I bought Rock T-shirts, magazines, pictures, and bobble heads. I even spent two months of my allowance to buy nose blood seats to see him at the Richmond Coliseum with my friend Michelle Snow. It was a magical moment, even from the top of the coliseum, when 'The Rock' entered the arena I cried. Yes I'm a huge fan, so imagine my surprise when I found someone who not only knows The Rock, but trained with him before he went into the WWE.I met The Rock's friend who I will call Bruce in Bedford County through some contacts who know about my love for Dwayne Johnson. I told Bruce about my love for "The Rock" and how much I wanted to meet him."If you hear from "The Rock" again, can you tell him there is a girl in Virginia who is a huge fan?" I said."I'll do you one better. I'll give him a call and get you an autograph," Bruce said.At this point my heart was pounding, and since this was the closest I had ever come to meeting 'The Rock', I had to take full advantage."Can you give 'The Rock' this DVD and letter I made when I was 15?"Bruce smiled, and agreed to send my stuff. Have you ever heard of that old show called, "Fanatic?" It's the show where crazed fans send videos of themselves with stories about why they deserve to meet their favorite celebrity. Well when I was about 15, I made one of those tapes, but I was too scared to send it in. That's what I send in a packed envelope to The Rock.A few weeks later I received an autographed picture from 'The Rock', and the feeling that I am getting closer to meeting my teen idol."The Rock got your letter," Bruce said. "He wants you to know it really touched his heart, he even cried reading about how you were picked on in school. It really meant a lot to him." The idea that 'The Rock' shed tears over my pain was unreal. One day I am sure our paths will cross and I'll get to tell him face-to-face how his big personality and encouraging words helped a little awkward middle-schooler find some courage to stand up to her bullies. Until then I will hold onto this autograph, and remember somewhere, somehow 'The Rock' knows me.

Friday, February 19, 2016

My Weight Loss Mission: Being Fat & Fabulous

I have a thought: "Is it wrong to call yourself fat?"


Look I know sometimes the word can carry negative connotations. But I'm not calling anyone else fat. I'm calling me FAT. For those of you who know me personally,  you know I have self-deprecating
humor. I just do. I always have. 


So when I became a plus size woman my weight became something to laugh at. Look life is hard! Being overweight is hard! I don't care how we dress it up curvy, voluptuous, thick, big girl. When it comes down to it last year I got freaking FAT. 

OK so I laugh at it. I joke at the fact that I drool when I think of Krispy Kreme donuts like Homer Simpson. I fantasize about a good Five Guys Burger or a greasy cheeseburger from Sonic's. Don’t get me started me on cupcakes, cookies, and pizza; I may get the food shakes just thinking about how good those can be.



Look by choosing to call myself fat and laugh, I believe I am taking the sting out of it. It’s like beating everyone to the punch. Heck yea I’m a fat girl, and I’m fabulous! Yes I wear Spanx, bras that feel like they are suffocating me sometimes to hold up my huge knockers, and there is no thigh gap here. As a lover of reality television I know it could be worse. I could be on ‘My 600 Pound Life.’ If you haven’t seen this show, wow! It not only shows the struggles of being morbidly obese people it smacks you in the face with the reality that being fat, large, or obese is not something society is accepting of. Most of these people on the show recall being taunted, pointed at, and humiliated all because of their size. It’s horrible actually. It’s such a sad show. Have a box of Kleenex nearby if you decide to watch an episode or two. I also love another show on the same network called ‘My Big Fat Fabulous Life.” This show follows the life of Whitney Thore, an obese dancer, as she navigates being a big woman in a small world. It’s an amazing show, and if you are interested in how Whitney got her claim to fame, it all started with this fat girl getting on Youtube and shaking her ass. Watch the video below home girl is getting it.



  

I conclude by saying, I feel there is nothing wrong with calling myself fat. When I had to go to the doctor because my feet were swollen and aching, the doctor said, “Well being overweight brings its own set of new challenges.”


I’m like, “Doc, give it to me straight! Are my feet swollen because I’m fat?”

 I’m going to look at my fat ass in the mirror and dance like Whitney Thore. My current jams are ‘Confident’ by Demi Lovato , ‘Big Booty’ by Jlo and ‘Love Myself’ by Hailee  Steinfled. I’m going to put the videos down below. Also see the blog on your theme song for more on this topic of songs giving me life.


Listen to these songs. They are about loving yourself and self-acceptance, a message we call could get down with.


She laughed, “In a nutshell, yes Lauren. These water pills should help. Stay off your feet, elevate them, and work out slowly. Losing weight is not a race Lauren. If all you can do is walk 30 to 40 minutes a day right now that’s fine,” she said.

“Well doc, I’ve lost ten pounds so far, and I’m following the Weight Watcher lifestyle,” I replied.

“That’s fabulous Lauren. I know you have never been this weight before. Understand as a 30 year old woman it will take time to lose these pounds, but it’s not impossible.”

That’s all I needed to hear. It’s not impossible.  Look the reality is it may take me a year to lose the 100 pounds I know I need to lose and that’s ok. But, in the meantime I am going to love my lady lumps; I am going to date and dance, and love.



https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nxtIRArhVD4 (Big Booty BY Jlo featuring Iggy Azalea)


Confident by Demi Lovato



Love Myself by Hailee Steinfeld



So as Whitney Thore says, “I’m fat but I’m also a badass.”
Let’s do this! As the song goes, ‘Big, big, booty cause you got a big booty! Happy Fitness Friday! 



Thursday, February 18, 2016

Five things I love about Lynchburg

In my heart I will always be a Virginia Beach girl. My family has lived in Hampton Roads since I was a fifth grader and there some things about the community I will always love; the ocean, the festivals, the atmosphere. It was in the seven cities that I grew to appreciate our military and government. And, as a Navy Brat, I understood all too well the sacrifices a military family makes. Virginia Beach also allowed me to acquire a great mixture of friends; Filipino, Caucasian, Black, Asian. And, each of my friends have helped me appreciate the beauty in diversity. Even with the traffic and tunnel congestion so heavy something you can literally spend hours in your car waiting, I love Hampton Roads.

 I lived in the Hill City from 2009 to 2012. Lynchburg is not Hampton Roads, but I’ve learned there are some things in the Hill City you just can’t find anywhere else.



 1.)    Southern Hospitality – Now I was born in Mississippi so I know a thing or two about southern hospitality, and here in Lynchburg it’s a part of everyday life. I love how cordial and welcoming people are within minutes of meeting you. It seems people are genuinely interested in hearing about your life, your hard day, or your faith. I’ve had the most interesting conversations with people around town. When I lived in Richmond these kind of stop and chat treatments were not only rare, but not advised. You’re taught to be defensive when you live in a city like Richmond. But, here in Lynchburg just about everywhere go you meet someone who is willing and able to offer their support.

Picture taken by Caitlin Candler 

2.)    Community Support-  This maybe a extension of the first mention, but citizens in Central Virginia give like no other. When the tragedies in Haiti and Chile hit the news immediately people ask to help. It was humbling to see people so willing to offer their time and money to help. As a reporter in Lynchburg I reported on  several college students in the viewing giving their time to great causes. It’s amazing how active Lynchburg College students are in saving the environment.  It’s taught me that even when you don’t think you have much you can always help someone in need.


3.)    The Great Outdoors- In Virginia Beach seeing a deer crossing the road would have certainly been a treat. The few times I did see one I’d slow down my car to take a close peek. Here in Lynchburg I see deer all the time behind my house, just eating grass, unafraid of my presence. And, Lynchburg’s natural beauty is remarkable. From the Blue Ridge Parkway to the several scenic mountains, there’s plenty of places to see the best Mother Nature has to offer.

Garlic Festival with friends


4.)    Festivals – When I was the weekend reporter in Lynchburg I covered a lot of festivals, It seemed like there was one every weekend.  The festivals celebrates a wide range of interest and history: Native American History festivals, wine festivals galore, Chili Cook off festivals, and that is just to name a few. Who says there’s nothing to do in Lynchburg?  You can also meet all different types of people and even better a lot of these festivals have great food. 

5.)    An Opportunity -  And, of course I love the Hill City for welcoming me onto the reporting scene. Almost everywhere I go people offer encouraging words on my work and it pushes me to work even harder. I’m so blessed to have lived in such a great city and do a job I love. I leave you with one of my most popular stories in Lynchburg about a woman who passion is eating rocks. You have to see it to believe it.



 

Saturday, February 13, 2016

Valentine's Day:My Love of God


I was going to write a blog about loving yourself this Valentine’s Day. I am single, and I felt it was important for single ladies to realize the holiday is not about excluding them. It is about love and love comes in many forms. There is the love you have for your child, your family, your lover, your friends, and there is the love of God. And all those loves are important. IT’s on my heart to talk about my love of God, and my love for His son Jesus Christ.

I’ll admit my faith has wavered throughout my life especially during my twenties. Those were some tumultuous times. My mother got and beat cancer. I lost my dear Aunt Doris. I fell in and out of love so many times I’m not sure how my little heart survived. I almost lost my sister. 
I became a television reporter, my dream for so long. Even better I got to work for two amazing television stations WSET and WAVY News 10. If you know me, you know WAVY was my ultimate dream. I forged new friendships and I lost dear friendships. In the field, I saw the humanity in people, their love, their care, their passion. Unfortunately I also saw the ugliest of the world; dead bodies, murders, black families being torn apart, tears, real pain, grief, and heartache. It’s no wonder my heart couldn’t take it much longer. I just don’t think I’m wired for it, and that’s ok. Through all of that even when I wasn’t shouting from the rooftops, God was always there.

I’m here to tell you my God is so real. When my mom was sick, He surrounded her with amazing women who took care of her. You know who you are. Dawn Henderix thank you for being the rock I couldn’t be. When I lost Aunt Doris, God brought her to me in dreams. We talked,cried, and laughed. I awoke knowing she was ok, knowing God had prepared a place for her. When my sister almost died, I was in the depths of my own pain. When I couldn’t bare to see her hooked up to wires and tubes, my Father protected her.  God I don’t deserve this love.  I know I don’t and that makes it even more beautiful. I am broken, and my God still loves me. How many men on earth can say that? How many people can say, ‘You hurt me. You walked away. You betrayed me, but I love you child?’ I’m willing to bet there aren’t many. That’s what my father did for me, my whole life. Even when I disappointed Him, said mean things, hurt people I loved, went the wrong way, my Father said, ‘Lauren, I know you are better than this. I will wait for you to find me again.” Every time, every time he was there.
 

God carried me through the hardest year of my life. The year I gave up on myself, and my dreams. He kept whispering to me, ‘I am with you child.’ I am crying now thinking about it. There were so many days I wanted to run away, escape, go off to some country place, and never be heard from again. My God said, ‘I got you baby girl. You are more than a conqueror.’ For so long I didn’t believe Him.  One night, when I was in a food coma, watching another episode of A&E’s Biography sometime stirred in my heart. It hurt so bad. I turned off the television , and wept.

“God, I’ve messed up so bad. I pushed my friends away. The men I loved all left me. They’re all married, and happy. My dream didn’t work out the way I wanted. I am overweight, miserable, and alone,” I whispered through my tears. “I am all alone. It won’t ever get better than this, and it’s all my fault.”
That hurts to even type. But my amazing Father held me that night. He said, “Ok, are you finally ready to let all that hurt go?”

God was I ready? Most definitely! It was nearing the end of another year, and I had spent mine on a downward spiral of despair.  I simply didn’t want to spend more precious time on those feelings. That night in the darkness, with nothing but God to hear my cries, I started to let it all go. I realized I can’t get the past back. I can’t undo the hurt I caused, I can’t make those men want to be with me, the friends who loved me, really loved they would be there when I decided to get back up. I could lose the weight, I could stand tall again if I wanted. I could be braver, smarter, I could be a fighter. I could be a fighter for my own life. I could be a warrior for God’s word. I could fall in love with the scripture and really get to know my Heavenly Father. I could marvel at the parables I learned as a kid. I could, and I can conqueror this.

 

That night changed so much in me. I am not the same Lauren that fell off in 2015. I am stronger, I am braver, I am smarter, and I am hungrier for this life. Through His word God has shown me, ‘All things are possible to those who believe.’ With every inch of my fiber,  I believe. I am grateful for the amazing young man God brought into my life to help me understand scripture. He needs no introduction, because it’s not about that. It’s about God’s love. This kid (he is younger than me) told me to study the book of John, pray every night, read as much of the Bible as I could. He essentially helped me fall in love with the word in a way I never knew possible. It is my Daily bread.  He listened to me cry out in pain when the world wouldn’t embrace the new me. Thank you Father for any time I had with this young man, for the fellowship, the laughs, the tears, and the renewed belief that I am everything I am because of you Lord. 

I am grateful to all the friends that did come back, some didn’t and that still hurts me. It’s ok because I understand.  Thank you to the amazing prayer warriors who lit candles for me in my darkness, who listened to my pain, and comforted me. Not enough money in the world could show you what that meant to me, it’s priceless.  God, thank you for my family. They saw me drowning way before I knew it. They tried to help, but they couldn’t. It was only you Father that knew the way to my heart.  God as silly as this sounds, thank you for letting me love Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson. I’ve read his book, and watched countless interviews. I am convinced Dwayne is a man of God. He doesn’t always say it. Or maybe God is using The Rock to show me how all things are indeed possible. If you know Dwayne’s story then you know when he decided to start wrestling he had seven dollars in his pocket. He had to call his Dad, and tell him he had failed as a football player in the CFL. He was scared, and unsure. What followed is an amazing journey if you ever get to read it. He trained with his Dad, he worked low paying wrestling jobs. And, now he’s one of the highest paid actors in Hollywood, all because he believed. It all started with just seven dollars that’s why his production company is called 7 Buck Productions.  Dwayne took a journey many thought was typical, but no one thought he’d be the star he is today. Except maybe God and Vince McMahon ( the man has an eye for talent) He let The Rock introduce himself during a Royal Rumble, I mean that’s big time.
 

I end this love letter to God, by saying this: Isaiah 61:3 says, “God will give you beauty for your ashes.” How beautiful is that? Everything torched, burned, dead thing in my life; God will give me beauty for. Honestly I’m seeing it. I feel like I’ve been working my whole life for this moment. I hope I never get off this high of loving God, and loving life. For the first time ever, I’m able to just be a writer, and that’s always been my dream. When I was a little girl, God would sit as I wrote silly stories about my friends, real or imagined. When I was a teen God chuckled as I passed out my own young adult soap operas starring my friends.  Now as an adult, after heartache, defeat, and sorrow God is letting me write again. I have so much on my heart I feel I could burst most days. Even when I’m sad God brings me a lesson, a story, a chapter in my one of my many books we have planned together. God always says, ‘Baby girl this is your gift. This is your testimony, your way to give back to my world. Your pain will show others I am real, I am alive, and I want them.” It is humbling and scary when you hear God talk to you like that. But, now I feel like I have a direct line to God, my Aunt Doris, and my great grandmother we affectionately call , ‘Mother’, because she was everyone’s mother at one point.  Thank you, Father for bestowing this gift on me. Thank you for giving me the strength to finally pursue it.

I love you more than words can say. Happy Valentine’s Day! May today, and every day be a chance to show your love.

 
 
 

 


Sincerely

Lil Mena

 
P.S. I'm surrounded by strong, Godly women-- support them too --- here is one of their causes https://www.gofundme.com/e7nvkqn8

And I'm on Periscope planning a day to go LIVE  and connect with all you.

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Friends: PICS Added


The end of my fourth grade year my father, the Navy man, got orders to  move to Virginia. At the time my family and I lived on the outskirts of town in Mississippi. The dusty, rural roads made almost every home look like a small farm. It also didn't help that most of my neighbors had hogs, chickens,  or snapper turtles they caught from the creek. I didn't know much about Virginia, but the thought of moving there was exciting. 

It was the summer of my fifth grade year when we arrived in in the commonwealth to begin our new lives. I remember feeling nervous and anxious about living in a new place,  and I often wondered how people  would embrace a tomboy, countrified girl like me.  Luckily for me the first friend I made in Virginia was a Tomboy named Pam who loved boy stuff even more than me.

Pam & her amazing sisters. Pam is on the far left. I love their spirits.

Pam was everything I wasn’t. She was tough, and pretty in an effortless way. Somehow the girl made scuffed jeans and a flannel shirt look cute.  Boys were constantly checking her out. She was oblivious to their affections. Pam had bigger things to worry about like, nabbing the TLC 'Crazy, Sexy, Cool' album or balling up her fist to let a boy knew she was serious. She took very little bullshit. 


  Whenever someone said something mean or cruel to me, Pam would step in front of me, and give them the most intense stare. I never saw her actually hit anyone, but it seemed like no one wanted to press their luck finding out if her jab was as fierce as her gaze. I also loved that Pammy didn’t give a damn what anyone thought of her. Most of the boys at our bus stop adored her, but the ones that didn’t Pammy paid no mind.  I hoped that some of her confidence would rub off on me, sadly it didn’t.  She fought a lot of my battles, and by her side there were times I felt invincible.

Pam and I were best friends my entire fifth grade year. We did the quirkiest things. One boring summer day, we buried all of our old teenage notes in a time capsule. The idea was to go back and dig them up ten years later. I pray no one found those letters. I don’t want to see inside the mind of my elementary girl self; I imagine they are hilarious though. Now many moons later, Pam and I have very different lives.  She is a mother and lives in the country. I am a single woman living in the suburbs with three fur babies who do not consider me an Alpha dog. Such is life. Even though we’re on different ends of the spectrum I will always consider her my road dog, my tomboy friend, my sister from another mister.

I learned a lot of core values about friendship from Pam, things like loyalty, trustworthiness, the power of humor, supporting one another, the golden rule, and how critical it is to always have your girlfriend’s back. I carried all of those lessons with me into my high school friendships and into adulthood.


 Let me tell you how amazing this chick was. We both had a crush on the same guy in elementary school.  As luck would have it he liked Pam not me. He asked her out to the school dance on a Thursday. That Friday he was at my door asking me the same thing, why you ask? Pam being the class act she was turned him down.  Not feeling extremely confident in myself I jumped at the chance to be on my crush’s arm at the school dance.My mother bought me a white dress with huge red flowers from Fashion Bug and, Pam couldn't be happier for me.  She was super supportive of me going to the dance with our crush.  I’m sure you are wondering how this turned out. Well I got so nervous I almost fainted; I ditched my crush at the dance. Like always Pammy there to pick me up.


“He wasn’t all that anyway,” she said.
“Pammy I blew it. No guy is every gonna ask me out now,” I replied wiping tears from my face.
“His loss girl! Besides who needs boys anyway?”


That was so typical Pammy. She helped you brush yourself off, and get back up. She will always have a special place in my heart.  Even now in my thirties, whenever I think about friendship I think of my fifth grade year with Pammy. Proverbs 21:17 reads, ‘As iron sharpens iron so a friend sharpens a friend.’  This scripture basically means that real friends motivate you, inspire, and sharpen you to be better. They push you to cut through life’s hardships, and get back up a stronger person.


I’ve been blessed to have several friends who have sharpen me. I have professional mentors who saw things in me I never knew possible, and motivated me to reach for my dreams. I have childhood friends who have loved me through my ups and downs. I have guy friends who help me realize my beauty and worthiness.  I have girlfriends who act as the sisters I’ve always wanted in my life. I could go on, but there isn’t enough paper to write how much my friends mean to me.
To everyone who called, texted, and wrote me during my tough time last year; there are no words to thank you for your love. Now that I’m back chasing my dreams, I’m so happy so many of you want to go on this journey with me.
Love you, Love God More




Friday, February 5, 2016

My Weight Loss Mission: Why I Gained the Weight

Sometimes when I look down at my now massive female peaks, round belly, and wide calves, I ask myself, ‘How the fuck did I end like this?’ I mean seriously, I worked my ass off in my twenties. I ran all the races I could, read the work out books, and ate healthy. How did I become the woman gasping for air at the top of the stairs? Or even worse, why am I resting at the Wal-Mart park bench to give my aching knees a break? This is not who I am. The short answer to those questions is, I ate my feelings. We all do it.

In the past, I’d celebrate a payday with a special meal and some Dateline. It felt good to reward myself with some new culinary adventure or escape into a fresh confectionary dream. What’s so wrong with that? I didn’t binge eat, and I rarely would buy enough of those high calorie foods to have seconds. When I was working out on the regular, I even allowed myself cookies, and brownies. What I’ve learned about successful diets is the ones that allow you to live your life tend to last the longest. So, say you’re craving a Krispy Kreme donut. Who wouldn’t? When that hot-n-ready sign is on it’s like the race bells are off for me. I’m going there no matter what. But, the healthy way to enjoy these sugary delights is to have one, enjoy it, and maybe put in a little extra in the workout the next day. Trust me I know all the right things to do to lose weight.  My days consisted of breakfast, snack, lunch, snack, dinner. I was also sure to drink lots of water. I almost never felt empty.

But that all changed when the thing I started feeding wasn’t my stomach anymore it was my heart. One night I came face to face with the decisions I made, the men that left me, and the friends I didn’t have. To ease my heartache I took a sip of a sugar laced Vanilla Coke. Over ice, the brown fizz came alive. That sound of fresh soda took me a way for a minute. Then I had to have something with it.

“What do we have in the house,” I ask myself.

Well there’s leftover pizza, and even cookies.  Then something in me says, “Yes that will do it.” I take the treats down to our family movie room, I plop down in front of the television, and my mind escapes. Some nights it was A&E Biography, other nights Alfred Hitchcock. Whatever it was the captivating stories mixed with my food debauchery took me away from any regret I felt about my past, the pain I felt in my present, and the hopelessness I felt was in no doubt my future. Every time it hurt, I just took another bite, another sip, another swallow. I let myself get lost in the flavors, the glare of the television, and before long I was in a full blown food coma. Knocked out on the couch, belly full of food, and for the moment a heart that didn’t ache.

I wish I could say that was the only time I used the food/television to comfort my broken dreams, my shattered heart, and low self-esteem. But it became my norm.  So, today when I look in the mirror and question where the fullness of cheeks came from or the extra jiggle in my step, I know exactly how it got there.

 

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

My Weight Loss Mission: Acceptance

Well it is official, I am plus size. This truth was reaffirmed when I went shopping at the trendy clothes stores and I had to reach for the 1X, or the size 14. Curvy, voluptuous, thick, no matter how you spell it I’m officially a big girl. Trust me; I am trying to come to terms with that. But it is hard considering how healthy I was just years ago. In my twenties I worked hard to maintain a 130 pound frame.  I ate right, I worked out religiously, participated in races, and I even joined Weight Watchers (way before Oprah did mind you).  But, here I am 31, overweight, unsure, and trying to love the skin I’m in. I don’t say these things for pity. This is my truth. Every day I look in the mirror and I say to myself, “You are wonderfully made. You are beautiful.” It’s my little morning pep talk. I speak down deep to the little teenage girl who still remembers getting teased for developing lady lumps before the other girls. My heart aches for the even younger girl who boys did not chase and girls did not envy. Those formative years made me feel beauty was on the outside, and as a woman I’m trying to embrace the beauty  that is all of me: my smile, my laugh, my spirit, the pep in my step lately. That is not to say it isn’t hard.

Another truth of mine is this; I will lose this weight. It might take six months; it more likely will take a year. But, I am going to shed this weight. Not to attract men, trust me there are some who already want this jelly. It is not just to shimmy into all the cute clothes they make for skinny women. I am losing weight for me. My family has a history of deadly cancer. I want to decrease my odds.  I will run a half marathon even if I come in last. And, a big part of me wants to show others struggling with weight  loss that you can do this without a fad diet or a magic pill; you can do this just one day at a time. To be continued --- part two will discuss how I got all this jelly.