Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Health Tips

Living a healthy lifestyle is something that is pretty important to me and I try to incorporate exercise and healthy foods into my every day life. I was never really taught how to live a healthy every day life and had to learn through friends and the internet. I picked up a few things and I am pretty proud of my little routine I have made for myself! I wanted to share what I do daily in hope that it would encourage some people who are looking for some healthy habits but might be a little lost.

Exercise routine:

For a quick morning workout: (or any time of the day)

-Run 2 miles (at least 1 mile if you're not much of a runner)
-20 jumping jacks, 20 jumping lunges, 20 squats, 20 burpees, 20 push-ups and 20 sit ups (repeat 3 times)

If you go to the gym:
Monday's- Routine above + legs (you can make up your own leg workout plan)
Tuesday's- Routine above + arms & abs
Wednesday's- Routine above + more cardio (stair steppers for 10 minutes, bike for 3 miles, run sprints)
Thursday's- Routine above + arms & abs
Friday's- Routine above + legs
Saturday & Sunday- I typically just do the morning routine above. 


Breakfast: Greek Yogurt PLAIN with honey, granola, strawberries & blueberries
OR scrambled egg whites with cheese, avocado & spinach. DON'T SKIP- most important meal of the day :)
Lunch: White meat chicken with brown rice, mixed veggie salad with chicken, pretty much anything with protein in it plus veggies.
Dinner: Grilled tilapia or salmon, white meat chicken, all natural ground beef, sweet potatoes, green beans, brown rice.
Snacks in between meals: Apples and peanut butter, carrots and humus, cheese string or the little cheese wheels that are in a red shell, almonds (or any type of nuts), banana's with peanut butter, mixed berries and nuts, greek yogurt cups.
It is super important to eat through out the day, especially if you are on the move a lot. I also have low blood sugar so I need to have energy to keep going.

I hope this is helpful, it sure is for me! If you have any other suggestions or questions I would love to hear them, feel free to comment.

Love, Alyssa

Sunday, May 17, 2015

A New Home

As the week has wound down, my mind has been oozing out thoughts of overwhelming happiness. I am at an unbelief at what God is throwing in my lap. Sometimes opportunities from God are misinterpreted. Sometimes I think I am a victim and nothing good will come out of this life and I have been proven wrong.

My freshman year has come to a close this week as I wrapped up my finals and packed my things to move out of my dorm. Earlier in the semester I decided to live in Denton for the summer and the plan was to live with my brother who is just down the road. As summer crept up on me my plan to live with my brother started to fall apart. He finally told me, only 2 weeks before I was suppose to move in, that he was moving 45 minutes away from Denton. My backup plan was to live with a friend where I have to pay rent over the summer, so saving money was going to be an even bigger obstacle, and now I would be separated from my brother and sister law which I was very excited to be spending time with.  This awesome plan that I created for myself in my head started to seem like a curse. A week before school ended I got a call that a women named Janelle, who works with my friend, wants me to live with her for free this summer. I was very skeptical to live with someone I had never met before, although this was the best route for me to take to save money. I was filled with lots of anger that things were not going my way, that I would be separated from all my friends and family in a stranger's home, that I have to work two jobs because money is tight and my famous complaint that I often tell myself, "I never get what I want."

I met Janelle the day before I moved in and she was very kind to me. As I was moving in to my new room Janelle's husband, Doc, came out to help me. Janelle said, "Oh Doc would you take it easy! Alyssa, give him the small boxes, he's going blind."
I was taken back but I quickly realized that Doc was literally going blind in both of his eyes! I grabbed the giant boxes and he smiled with the most warming smile I have ever seen, and continued to help me.
Doc saw my running shoes and asked if I liked to run and I told him I loved to.
"We should go running together sometime, I run pretty slow but I run everyday to Eureka Park," Doc said to me. I asked how far that was from their house, knowing that it was not close at all.
"Ahhh, it's about 5 miles," Doc said very casually.
Okay, at this moment I realized something is very different about this elder couple, especially Doc.
I sat down with Doc and Janelle to go over some of my schedule and their house rules. I explained I would be up very early to work out before I have to work at 8 and Doc said he would be up as well and would make me coffee. My skeptical heart began warming up to my new Mom and Dad for the summer.

The first night I came home from babysitting, Doc and Janelle were in the living room watching Gilmore Girls (which was so hilarious to me). I sat down with them to visit and started to put the pieces together about my mystery foster parents.
Doc had been a pastor at a church in Austin (my home town) for 13 years and is now preaching to various students in China. He had traveled all over Asia to preach the gospel and he Skype's students in China to teach them English using the Bible. He told me a story that once he was preaching in an underground church in China and the police had came in the lobby so all the church hid Doc in the bathroom to protect him. Religion is very restricted there and they could get arrested for speaking about Jesus in their country.
Doc is leaving for China to preach and meet with his students for two months on Thursday. Eventually, in about a year from now, Doc and Janelle are going to move to China to minister full time.
The Lord right then and there opened my eyes to show me that he placed me in a very special home to grow me this summer.
It has been very hard for me to accept that this summer will be filled by lots of hard work and minimum amount of play time but I am clear on why I am here. I am not here to please my selfish needs, I am here to grow in my relationship with God and He sure did make sure I was somewhere where His word is relevant.

He's chasing after me even when my heart is hard and angry. It's the most graceful love I will ever receive.

Pray for Doc's journey to China! I am excited to see what I will learn here in my new home.

Love, Alyssa

Sunday, May 10, 2015

Mother's Day

Mother's day really is just a Hallmark holiday but recognizing everything mother's do for us is not such a bad thing to celebrate. There is nothing else this world can give us that is anything like a motherly love.

Since I was about two years old my mom has been moving mountains for me and my little sister. Through all the times I have lied to her, been unappreciative of her and have hurt her she has never stopped loving me and I do not deserve it by any means. For this mother's day I really want to recognize the things my mom has done for me that have really shaped who I am today.

For as long as I can remember my mom has had the hardest work ethic. I have never seen her half-ass anything in my life. When she needs to work until 8 PM to get the job done she will work until 9 PM. Her career has always been important to her and I've always recognized that but at times, I couldn't understand why work was so important. My mom gives 150% to everything she does in order to provide for me, my sister and herself.

Any heart break, failure or pain I've experienced in my life my mom has experienced with me. Despite what I may have told myself in the past, I know now that there has yet to be a day go by where she has not been on my side rooting for me. If she could she would put me in a little box because she is so terrified of the world hurting me, but since she can't do that she has willingly gone through hell and back with me.

As a single parent she has had to be the mother and father, though it exhausts her, she was made for the role. There are some funny stories I cherish of our pipes bursting and A/C going out, or even all of us girls screaming when a lizard gets in the house. My life would look so different if we didn't have those hilarious moments because a dad was there to fix everything up. She had relationships but she never would let a man take over her entire life because my sister and I came first. She taught me to love everyone but be an independent woman at the same time and I am forever grateful.

Any part of me that is good comes from the goodness of her.
I have a heart to travel and experience the whole world, something my mom gave me.
I have an extremely sociable side and a side where I love to be alone, something my mom gave me.
I have a hard work ethic, something my mom gave me.
I have a love for writing, something my mom gave me.

If I become even half of the woman my mom is today, I would be one heck of a gal!

I love you Mom, Happy Mother's Day!

Thursday, May 7, 2015


The one and only thing getting me through the process of working 2 jobs, finals and moving is the fact that summer is around the corner. I applied to work at a camp, applied for an internship and was extremely excited to spend time soaking up the sun with my friends from my hometown. Unfortunately every single plan that I made for myself fell through and if you really knew me this wouldn't be such a surprise. 
Most things I try to plan for my self crumble out from under me and I don't quite understand how I've acquired such bad luck. My plans for the summer went from getting paid $15 an hour at an amazing social media journalism internship to... Wait for it... Living in Denton and working 2 jobs to pay for school and living expenses, 4 hours away from all my friends and family. 
The more I think about my summer plans the more my heart aches but at the same time I have never gotten anything useful the easy way out (it's apart of my bad luck). I'm excited for my future and if that means to sacrifice the fun part of summer than so be it. 
I still have goals and aspirations for the summer which are:
-Save up enough money to pay for rent next semester
-Create more relationships with the people here, while still maintaining the ones from home
-If I'm available to take time off of work, travel and explore the DFW area
-Learn to love life where I am at instead of waisting time wishing I was some where else  

I pray that I can achieve these things and much more as my life is being shaped while I am in a new town! 

Love, Alyssa

Monday, May 4, 2015

Freshmen 15

The notorious fear that comes with entering your first year of college is the Freshmen 15. Due to the excessive amount of coffee, $5 pizza, buffets in the cafeteria and endless amounts of ice cream, the myth is you gain fifteen extra pounds your freshman year of college. As my freshman year is coming to an end I want to share my personal freshman fifteen- what all I’ve gained.

  1. A fresh start: I’ve gained the ability to let go of everything that was holding me down in my hometown. Going away to college isn’t necessarily going to get rid of all your problems but taking a step into a new town with new people opens up a door that you just can’t open at home.
  2. Confidence: Whether I wanted to admit it or not, in high school I was consumed with caring what everyone thought. That’s something that is almost impossible to overcome and easy to do subconsciously. Since my time in college, my fear of being liked has dwindled and my confidence has grown just by the freedom of getting to start over.
  3. Fear of the Future: Although this is a fear, it is something important to gain! I have dreams, goals and career aspirations that would have never crossed my mind if I didn’t attend college. It’s a scary, inspiring thing to fear the future.
  4. Trial and Error: Boy have I screwed up this year. What I've learned really is that college is a whole lot of testing the waters.
  5. People to miss: Being 4 hours away from my family and closest friends has given me a heavy heart in loving as many people as I can from a distance.
  6. Independence: This one may seem like a given but it will hit you like a bus. I’ve always felt very independent growing up but I am now experienced to the true meaning of freedom. By the way, grocery shopping comes with that and it is no fun.
  7. Tattoos: Ok but seriously, I came in with one and I’m leaving with four…
  8. Anxiety: If you really knew me you’d know that I’ve never struggled with anxiety or understood it prior to college. Well now I can say I can understand the feeling crystal clear.
  9. Friendships: I have met the most amazing people here and the absolute worst people here. The biggest aspect of college that I am grateful for is the ability to separate yourself from the “bad apples.” You can pick and choose who to have valuable friendships with and I have made the best of friends over the past year!
  10. How to be a pro at being lonely:  As much time that I get to spend with people, the majority of my day when I am in and out of classes is spent alone. This was really hard for me at first because I talk so much that when I have no one to talk to I get a little crazy. It’s something that I am grateful to have learned because it has made me so aware of what is best for me.
  11. How to live off of $5 for two weeks: No explanation needed.
  12. Curiosity: Since I have lived in the same area my whole life, moving to Denton has meant that I’ve had to find all the best coffee shops, restaurants and fun things to do around here. Man, has it been an awesome adventure.
  13. Planner: I’ve never used a planner before and now I write down what time I’m going to eat otherwise I’ll just forget.
  14. YOUNGLIFE: I’ve done YL all throughout high school, I came to college not even wanting to be a leader and now I am a college leader at UNT. Probably the biggest part of me that was gained my freshmen year was through YoungLife.
  15. A Relationship with Jesus: If you really knew me you would know that a relationship with Jesus was never something I was chasing after. Honestly for me to be saved during my first year of college was the last thing I expected but the love of Jesus was something that I couldn’t run away from anymore. Not to say I haven’t made mistakes this school year, actually my first semester was nothing but mistakes, to say the least. I'm thankful for a graceful God!

My freshman fifteen has created a journey that I am so happy to have gained. I could lose a few pounds on my list but some weight I don’t ever want to leave me. Goodbye to my freshman year of college, I am ready for what is to come!

-Alyssa Stringer