I am right here in Your hands.

This week’s assignment is search engine optimization. We were asked how we were going to use SEO for the website we’re creating. I plan to use SEO through the 5 SEO Strategies. The ones I am focusing on the most are “#1 Get Quality Links,” “#3 Set a Canonical Url,” and “#5 Responsive Design.” I have already created the url which is my full name so, when my name is searched for then my website portfolio will show up. I have been working on my design also, to make sure it is usable on different screens. The biggest way I am going to use SEO is through my links. Almost every page on my online portfolio has links to something I’m doing, whether it’s my blog page or social media or my LinkedIn account. We were also asked if there were disadvantages to this. With SEO, everything is connected and easily found, which can help keep me honest because everything I do is connected. That can be a scary thought, but it can also be a blessing.

It’s kinda funny that we’re discussing search engine optimization this week because I have been using it all week to find new blogs to read and this morning one found me. I woke up to my phone buzzing because I had a new follower so, as usual I went to go look at her blog too. Whether she found my blog through SEO and tags for Colton Dixon or Lysa Terkeurst, I’m glad she stumbled upon my blog because I was so encouraged reading hers too. Whether it’s because we have a shared love for Colton Dixon music or because she’s starting a Lysa Terkeurst bible study and I just finished one, I quickly realized that we have a lot in common. We had been through some of the same stuff. Last year, we both lost people we loved. She found a new relationship with You through it all and I found an old one. She was scared to go to church alone and so was I a few months ago. I have been in her shoes, waiting in that car, and gathering up the courage to get out and go inside. What I found inside was well worth the trip though. I found a group of people to hold me accountable, to challenge me, to encourage me, to strengthen me, to lead me to You. I have also had a professor who wasn’t a Christian and he let everyone know it. Although, I never got asked to raise my hand for my beliefs, I am really proud of her for raising hers. I can understand her and how she feels for people. I am the same way. I am not a sympathetic person, I’m empathetic. I feel what others feel. This can be a blessing and a curse. When someone comes to with good news, I am like the best person to come to because I can share in that joy with them. I can be just as happy for them as I would be for me, if not, more so. This can also be rough sometimes. She’s right and I can totally relate when she said it was a lot of weight to carry. What I’m learning this year is that You are already carrying that weight for us and we don’t have to hold onto it. Not only will You carry that hurt, but You will carry us.

I woke up this morning with my phone buzzing and Alan Jackson singing What A Friend We Have In Jesus on Pandora. You never ceases to amaze me.

“What a privilege to carry
Everything to God in prayer!”

So, this is my prayer today. I pray for her. I pray that she continues to grow in her relationship with you. I pray for healing for her loss. I pray that she is encouraged and supported at her new church. I pray that she learns a lot from her bible study from Lysa Terkeurst. I pray that Colton Dixon’s songs keep speaking to her. I pray that she continues to see the beauty in feeling what others feel. Thank you for your encouragement this morning. Thank you for leading me. Thank you for allowing me to come to you in prayer. Thank you for listening. Thank you for everything you’ve done and will do. I pray that I take Calling Glory’s song with me this week. Thank you for the plan that is bigger than my past. Thank you for carrying me. Thank you for speaking to my heart. I pray that I continue to grow in my relationship with you too. And as always I pray for my family and sorority sisters. I pray for my university. I pray for guidance for our government, church, and school leaders. I pray for protection for our troops. I pray for all of those that need you now and for those that haven’t met you yet. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

You have been my God through all of it.

I’ve been praying for the woman I want to be and the girl I used to be. I don’t wanna lose that little girl that still inside of me. She believed in seeing the good in everything because she hadn’t seen the bad yet. She loved wholeheartedly because no one showed her hate yet. She tried new things because no one told her she wasn’t good enough yet, but eventually they did. Dove has this commercial that says 6 out of 10 girls will stop doing things they love because they feel bad about the way they look. I did, which only made me feel worse. I stopped cheering because of other people’s opinions. I was a toothpick as a kid so, I still don’t understand. Plus why people thought taking me out of sports was going to help anything. I mean, here’s the thought process she’s gaining weight so, let’s stop letting her work out and run and play and exercise. That makes sense right? It took me years to learn that the voices telling me no should have been turned into a loud resounding unshakable yes. In college, I learned to dance anyways. I might be the worst dancer in the room, but I’m having fun and that’s important too. Now, I don’t stop dancing. Whether it was in philanthropy competitions with my sisters or down the isles of Walmart with them or taking a dance class with my person for an elective or dancing around Alpha Gam’s chapter room for no reason with the very people that inspired me to be a better woman. My best friend and I already made plans to play Just Dance and DDR on the wii this summer!

Those women taught me how to become the best version of myself. They inspired me to do more, be more, and love more. They loved me for all that I am and saw the potential in who I could be. I don’t wanna lose that woman either. The woman I hope to become. One thing that didn’t change from who I was or who I want to be is that I pray. One thing remained that You were there through all of it. You were there the first time someone told me I wasn’t good enough and every single time since. You were there when my sisters taught me all that I could be. And You’re here now.

“I look back and I see You
Right now I still do
And I’m always going to”

So, this is my prayer. Today, I wanna pray for who I am, who I’ve been, and who I’m becoming. I pray for all that you’ve taught me and are still teaching me. Thank you for my sisters and for their love. Thank you for being there through it all. Thank you for leading me. Thank you for guiding me. I pray that I hold onto some of that childhood innocence. I pray that I keep striving to be better and to grow. I pray that I learn to be content right where I am too. I pray that I trust your plan. I pray that I give it all to you and let you take me by the hand through it all. I pray that I only grow closer to you. I pray that I keep seeing your work in me through it all. And as always I pray for my family and sorority sisters. I pray for my university. I pray for guidance for our government, church, and school leaders. I pray for protection for our troops. I pray for all of those that need you now and for those that haven’t met you yet. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Make me who I’m meant to be.

The ladies in my Becoming More Than A Good Bible Study Girl bible study were talking about insecurities. One of the questions in our workbook was “Is it Christian to say you like yourself?” One of the girls answered with “I like Christ in myself. I like who I am with Christ.” I was pretty much blown away with that answer. It was perfect. Another lady started talking and said she wanted to be a woman people said “She’s been with Jesus. She spends time with Jesus.” I’ve been thinking and praying about that a lot. I want to be that kind of woman.

I’ve been praying a lot for the kind of relationship I want and for the man I want to marry one day. So, today I wanna pray for the woman I want to be. In the book I’m reading, The Single Woman by Mandy Hale, there is quote that stuck out to me that said: “But sometimes what we learn and who we become in the process of waiting is even more important that what we are waiting on.” That seemed pretty powerful to me. Maybe that’s what this year was all about. To become the right woman. “A woman who walks in purpose doesn’t have to chase people or opportunities. Her light causes people and opportunities to pursue her.” So, here’s a list of some of the ways I’m fabulous because ya know, I like lists:

1. On a personality test I was told that because I have a blue personality, I bring unity to society. (Just saying, that’s pretty cool.)

2. I believe in prayer.

3. I try to look at things positively and focus on the good. I mean, Alyssa means “of good cheer.”

4. I’m loyal. When I commit and feel invested, I’m not going anywhere.

5. I like giving and serving. I like making plans and building dreams.

6. I can act like a kid with the best of them. Bring on the pillow fights, camping, nerf guns, bowling, trampolines, game nights, water balloons, dancing around the house, or whatever.

7. I like safety and security so, I’ll do my best to provide the same feelings.

8. I like encouraging. I can cheer during a game with a painted poster or simply a post-it note on the mirror giving my love. I can get real creative with notes. I like words. (I used to carry a dictionary everywhere I went in my purse!)

9. I want a life surrounded by love grown in Your love.

10. I’ve been trying to the woman You made me to be, Lord. I’m not perfect, but I’m trying to live more intentionally.

So, that is my prayer today. I pray that I am consumed with you. I pray you fill every part of me. I pray that you are working on my heart. I pray that I work to become who you need me to be. I pray that I continue to grow closer to you. I pray that you guide me and mold me and move me. I pray that I keep following you. I pray that I continue to try to be a better woman. I pray that I keep striving to share your love. Lord, let your will be done. I trust your plan. I am listening to your words. Lord, show me the way. Lord, keep making me. I pray I remember Colton Dixon’s song today. I pray that you take it all, I surrender. Be my king. God I choose more of you. I need more of you. And as always I pray for my family and sorority sisters. I pray for my university. I pray for guidance for our government, church, and school leaders. I pray for protection for our troops. I pray for all of those that need you now and for those that haven’t met you yet. In Jesus’ name, Amen.