-Hi there! Thank you for taking the time to interview me. I’m really so excited and honored. So… to go over the formalities, I’m turning 23 years old next week, I graduated from Christian Life College in 2016, and live in a suburb town 40 minutes outside of Washington, DC! Now to the fun stuff… I’m a writer. I’m a foodie. I absolutely LOVE to travel. I went out of the country for the second time (and certainly not my last time) last spring. I got to visit the Holy Land of Israel with my senior class and that is honestly one of my favorite things to talk about. I binge watch YouTube videos and I’m not too proud to admit that ;). I love talking to people who are passionate about something because I always learn something from them. I’d like to think God created the ocean just for me- it’s my favorite place to be. I’m happiest outside, barefoot, on a sunny day. I really, really am. I love people. I love meeting new people. Like, a lot haha. I love my family and my friends, plain and simple.
What do you enjoy doing on your days off – hobbies, interests and/or other creative pursuits?
I’d like to consider myself a little bit of an entrepreneur, haha. I currently teach in our school system in Virginia and I am absolutely in love with my job! It is one of my favorite parts of the week. On the side, I have a photography business – Tay Lauren Photography, I am currently working on a lifestyle blog (which will be launched in early fall 2017), and am working on my second album! My first album is called “Awake” under the name “Taylor Lauren” and is available on iTunes, Apple Music, Spotify, and Google Play. Those are my hobbies as well as my “jobs”, I suppose. But I LOVE doing them, so they don’t seem like jobs to me.
One of the things I’ve been impressed with about you is the transparency you’ve had about your weight loss journey and foray into the world of health. In addition to sharing your snack-balls recipe, would you mind to share a little more with us here?
Yes, I’d love to share that recipe! They’re honestly delicious and so simple.
1 cup dry oatmeal
1/3 cup honey or agave
½ cup peanut butter
tablespoon of vanilla extract
freshly ground flax seeds (you can add as much as you’d like)
chia seeds (optional, but they’re SO good for you, and practically tasteless, so I add them to everything.)
Mix the ingredients up in a bowl then let the mix chill for 30-45 minutes. Once they’re finished chilling, you can form little balls.
They’re amazing. I hope you enjoy!
To be honest, I have kind of always had an unhealthy relationship with food (up until now, obviously). When I look back on how much I used to eat and what I used to eat, I really can’t believe I lived that way. I think I’ve always hidden my weight really well, because I’m tall, but I felt so unhealthy, and sluggish, and lacked confidence. Not to mention, my skin really suffered from it and I am still recovering from some acne scarring.
I started my “health journey”, as I’d like to call it after I graduated Bible college. I decided that it had to be something I wanted; nobody else could do it for me. All of the clichés you’ve ever heard about how quick fixes don’t work, how slow and steady wins the race, how it has to be about health and not a diet – all of those I found out to be so true.
I started with walking three to five miles a day and eventually started incorporating more workouts into my routine. I decided that if I was going to eat healthily, I was going to have to pour myself completely into it, or I wouldn’t do it at all. I started to look up the health benefits of everything I ate and it would make me so excited to realize I was fueling my body with foods that would help it and change it.
I have now officially lost 20 pounds (and counting!) and while that might not seem like much to some, I have completely changed throughout this journey and I plan on continuing this for the rest of my life.
That doesn’t mean I don’t enjoy a treat every once in a while, cause trust me girl, I do. But I don’t do it often. Those treats aren’t my life anymore and honestly, I’ve started to crave healthy treats. It’s an amazing feeling!
Do you feel that the healthy changes you’ve made have affected your other relationships? Both friendships and spiritual interactions?
I definitely could see that. I am such a different person now and I believe that my healthy lifestyle has aided in that. It’s such a spiritual journey, honestly. It really is. Because of that, I feel like it has changed the way I see myself and the way that I see others. I’d like to think I’m a tad more compassionate and understanding than I was before because I understand the struggle that people go through to lose weight (or gain weight, for some) and to become healthier.
I’ve also learned a lot about endurance. Not just physically, but an endurance to go through anything life throws my way. I really believe that is something we need in these last days is a spirit of willpower and a spirit of endurance. This journey has changed me in so many ways, and I’m honestly not the same person I was a year ago at this time. It’s crazy how that happens.
As She’s Intentional seeks to inspire others, do you have any word of inspiration for our readers?
Whatever you feel in your heart to do, whatever dream God has given you, no matter how crazy, just do it. Honestly. I am a product of crazy dreams and scary moments of “Ah, but what will people think?!” and honestly, God has blown my mind each and every time. I have learned throughout my life that HIS opinion is truly all that matters, and I really pray that every young lady comes to that place in her life, because it’s a beautiful, wonderful place to be. God will provide every single detail if you just step out in faith in what you believe He has called you to do. Try Him. Let Him prove Himself.
Finally, what is a scripture or passage that has been influential in your life and why?
Honestly, the entire chapter of Psalm 18. I encourage everyone to go read it. I was reading it the other night and it just moved me. I really believe that in these last days, the Church needs a revelation of who God is. This scripture reminds me that in every season I have ever walked through, God has been there. Not only has He been there, but He has remained constant with His faithful love, His gentle comfort, and His mighty, warrior hand. This portion of scripture has become one of my life-verses and I want to declare it over my life for the rest of my life.
“For You will light my lamp; the Lord my God will enlighten my darkness.
For by You I can run against a troop, by My God I can leap over a wall.
As for God, His way is perfect; the word of the Lord is proven; He is a shield to all who trust in Him.
For who is God, except the Lord?
And who is a rock, except our God?
It is God who arms me with strength, and makes my way perfect.
He makes my feet like the feet of deer, and sets me on my high places.
He teaches my hands to make war, so that my arms can bend a bow of bronze.
You have also given me the shield of Your salvation; Your right hand has held me up, Your gentleness has made me great.
You enlarged my path under me, so my feet did not slip.”