Meet Young YouTube Fitness Sensation Alivia D’Andrea (a.k.a. Fiercelivy)

 

If you are looking for some inspiration in regards to fitness and/or a healthy lifestyle, go to YouTube, type Fiercelivy in the search bar, and get ready to work hard and feel great while doing it! Alivia D’Andrea has succeeded in making fitness fun, and her videos are full of inspiration for everyone, whether you dance, cheer, do gymnastics, play sports, or just want to get fit. As a dancer myself, I find her workout and stretching routines very helpful, and I love to hear her words of wisdom and encouragement as she guides you to a healthier, happier you! Be sure to check her out at https://www.youtube.com/user/fiercelivy

 

R: How did you get into fitness and when did living a healthy lifestyle become important to you?

A: Growing up I was always relatively thin, but not fit. My sophomore year in high school, I gained some weight and started to feel lethargic. I wanted to lose the weight, but in a healthy way, so I started researching healthier food options and it just kind of took off from there. After studying and exploring the benefits of a healthier lifestyle, I felt so great inside and out, and wanted to share that with my subscribers.

 

R: What made you want to start a YouTube channel?

A: I wanted to do something that allowed me to project my voice, and I thought YouTube would be a great platform. Little did I know how much I would love making videos. I’ve been on YouTube for about three years now, but it wasn’t until last June that my channel started to really gain popularity. I didn’t receive a lot of recognition my first two years, but I kept at it because I loved it so much. Then last year, I decided to alter the content I was producing, and suddenly the acceptance began to soar.

 

R: What are some of the opportunities you’ve had since you became a YouTuber?

A: My presence on YouTube is still fairly new. However, I recently signed with a talent agency, and I’m looking forward to future opportunities like branding, collaborating with companies, and events.

 

R: What advice do you have for someone who wants to start a healthy lifestyle but doesn’t know how to begin?

A: Make small, specific goals, such as making a commitment to drinking five glasses of water a day. You will be more likely to be consistent, and a little progress each day adds up to big results. Also, your mind is a very powerful thing, so you need to make sure you have the right mindset about leading a healthy lifestyle. Get excited about all the healthy recipes you can try, learn the limits of your body, and reach for greater heights through recreational activities. Fall in love with taking care of your body, mind, and spirit.

 

R: It can be hard to stay motivated. What are some tips?

A: I get this question a lot from my subscribers. My top three tips would be:

  1. Take photos and keep a food journal to keep track of your progress and help you see the bigger picture.
  2. Follow social media accounts that post flexibility and fitness inspo and create a playlist of all the songs that motivate you.
  3. Lastly, don’t think of healthy eating as a diet, think of it as a lifestyle.

 

R: I heard that you travel a lot. Where have you gone? Where would you like to go?

A: I’ve been to China, England, Russia, France, the Caribbean, Italy, Spain, Germany, Finland, Denmark, Sweden, and Hawaii. I would love to visit Shanghai and Bora Bora.

 

R: I know that you dance. What else do you do?

A: I enjoy playing the piano and public speaking.

 

R: What are your social media addresses?

A:

Instagram: @fiercelivy

Twitter: @aliviadandrea

Snapchat: @fiercelivy

 

R: Is there anything else you’d like to add?

A: We see so many tragedies on the news today, and it breaks my heart. As youth, sometimes we may feel like we can’t do much because we’re only “kids,” but remember that simple acts of forgiveness and charity, like donating food or clothes, and even just smiling at someone, are things we can do now. Great achievements can come from many small deeds strung together. Nonetheless, the one constant that can change the world from lonely and bitter to beautiful and compassionate is love. In any form, big or small, love can transform us all.

 

Written by Anna Tallarico

Photo credit: Alivia D’Andrea

 

Chit Chatting with Shana Schutte

 

Written by Jill Sheets


I was excited when I got Shana Schutte’s new book Two Minutes in the Bible for Women. Even with a busy schedule, I knew even I could take two minutes out of my day to go over a Bible lesson. Whenever I read it, it seems liked Shana is talking to me–not like someone who has a degree in civil engineering, but in a language that is not over my head. Read on and learn more about Shana’s new book, why it is important to give God thanks, and what her favorite verse is.

 

R: Tell us a little bit about yourself and about your new book Two Minutes in the Bible for Women.

S: If anyone reading this feels like they are unqualified for a particular task, I hope my life is an encouragement. I come from a little town in Southern Idaho. I have no formal education in journalism. I just learned how to write by practicing. I had a little dream in my heart to write books and when I started to move in that direction, God met my desires with circumstances that validated that was what He had for me to do.

The book is designed to encourage readers to get into God’s Word. One thing about it is that you can just read the devotional. Or, you can also look up extra scriptures at the end that are listed for reading and you can also think about the devotional by reflecting on how it applies to you.

All the topics are those for the feminine heart: faith, relationships, and purpose. I have written about waiting on God, trusting Him when life falls apart, and everything in between. It’s really just a book about dealing with life.

 

R: How did you come up with the idea for the book? How long did it take you to write this book?

S: That’s a common question. I wish I had an incredible story about how I was lying in bed one night and got the revelation to write a Two Minutes in the Bible book, but I didn’t come up with this wonderful idea. The Two Minute brand was actually developed by Boyd Bailey, who is the president of Wisdom Hunters. Boyd had already written several books under the Two Minute brand for Harvest House publishers, and he asked if I would be willing to write another for women. I immediately said, “Yes!” I love Wisdom Hunters and I highly respect Boyd, so it was an easy decision.

I didn’t sit down and focus on writing the book in a short period. I feel that devotionals are best written as one experiences life. That way, the words I share come from real-time lessons I am learning with Christ. So, all together, it took about a couple years to write the book.

 

R: Why is it important to give God thanks?

S: Many people see gratitude as being kind of a fluffy thing, sort of like cotton candy. They think it’s a feel-good practice that is nice to do if you want to be a nice Christian. But gratitude is a whole lot more than that. It’s actually protection for the human heart. When you’re feeling down about life and the enemy of your soul starts to beat you up with negative thoughts, gratitude raises you above the trouble to His perspective. It guards your heart against despair.

 

R: This is hard for me to do, but how can one let go of fear and worry by trusting God?

S:  This is a moment-by-moment thing, but I believe one powerful thing to do is to look forward to what God is going to do with anticipation. When you look forward with anticipation and faith, then the worry of the moment vanishes. If we are focused on what bad could happen, worry overtakes us. But when we choose belief, even though our emotions might be saying otherwise, it makes life a whole lot easier.

 

R: How can one practice gratitude?

S: You can practice gratitude by telling God out loud what you are grateful for. You can practice gratitude by telling others that you thankful for them. You can make it a daily habit to notice the beauty around you. And, when things don’t go the way you’d like them to, you can “reframe” what happened to you by asking yourself, “What good has come out of this situation? How have I learned? How have I grown? How can God change me for good because of what happened to me?”

 

R: What can one do to achieve their calling? How does one know what their calling is?

S: Sometimes people think of a calling as one thing they do in their life. And they think that a calling is something that only happens at one particular point in time. However, a calling is like a journey. If you aren’t doing what you believe is your calling right now, a good thing to remember is that there is preparation time before you will complete a particular task. And the preparation is as important as the actual calling. God is always at work in our lives. I think remembering this is good because it will prevent you from experiencing sadness or despair if you feel like you haven’t “arrived.”

We can have multiple callings in our lives: to be a good friend, to serve at church in the choir, to be a teacher. We may do those all at once, or at different seasons.

All of God’s kids can use their gifts to glorify God. One way to know what God has called you to do is to look at the intersection of your passions and your talents or God-given abilities. If you like to do something and you are pretty good at it (or at least you have the seeds of the gift that you can grow), then you might have a calling in a particular area.

 

R: What do you want people to take away from this book?

S: My hope is that women and young women who read the book will become more encouraged to spend time in the Bible. Sometimes, we feel like we have to spend lots of time in the Bible, and then when we can’t we feel guilty. But no one has to spend an hour in the Bible every day. If you can, great. But God isn’t grading us. It’s nice to take the pressure off and spend just two minutes a day with Jesus. God can speak to our hearts in a second.

 

R: What is Beyond Imagination?

S: Beyond Imagination is an organization I founded in 2008 that is dedicated to helping people with everyday life through biblical truths. Through Beyond Imagination, I do speaking, I write blogs and devotionals, and I have had a nationwide radio platform.

 

R: Tell us about Blueprint for Life and Wisdom Hunters.

S: Blueprint for Life is an organization based in Atlanta that helps people discover and live out their calling. It was founded by Mike Kendrick, and I wrote devotionals for them for a couple years. Wisdom Hunters is dedicated to improving biblical literacy. I have been writing for them for a couple years as well. Both organizations publish daily devotionals and can be found online at blueprintforlife.com and wisdomhunters.com.

 

R: What is your favorite verse and why?

S: I don’t really have a favorite verse, as so many of them have been so impactful to me over the years, but I particularly love Isaiah 61:1-3.

The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me,
    because the Lord has anointed me
    to proclaim good news to the poor.
He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted,
    to proclaim freedom for the captives
    and release from darkness for the prisoners,
2 to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor
    and the day of vengeance of our God,
to comfort all who mourn,
3     and provide for those who grieve in Zion—
to bestow on them a crown of beauty
    instead of ashes,
the oil of joy
    instead of mourning,
and a garment of praise
    instead of a spirit of despair.
They will be called oaks of righteousness,
    a planting of the Lord
    for the display of his splendor.

When I was in my early twenties on the way back from a young adult retreat, the Lord gave this passage to me while on a bus. I sensed that He was revealing to me that I would spend my life working with Him to bind up the brokenhearted. For a long time that didn’t make sense to me, but a few years ago, I looked back and realized that’s exactly what I have spent my adult life doing—and continue to do through the words He gives me.

 

R: Tell us about your blog and about some of the topics you talk about.

S: I have been blogging and writing devotionals regularly for five years. I didn’t sit down and decide ahead of time that I would write about particular topics. However, the topics I write about are generally about faith, purpose, and relationships.

I usually write from the things that God is teaching me through life, or what I am learning through the Bible. I have always thought that the most powerful lessons we can share with others are those that we have experienced ourselves. So, I try to be a funnel and be pretty transparent.

 

R: Tell us a little bit about you other book.

S: I have written several other books: Betrayed by God? Making Sense of Your Expectations. It’s about dealing with the disappointment we all face when life doesn’t turn out how we would like. I’ve written 30 Days of Hope, which is another devotional inspired from the blogs on my website. I’ve also contributed to several God Hearts Me devotionals for tweens and have ghost-written a couple books for a good friend who lives in Georgia. One was self-published, The Fulfillment Factor, which is about finding fulfillment through discovering and living out a calling God has for your life, and also Blueprint for Life, which is the same idea, published with Harper Collins.

 

R: What are you currently working on?

S: I actually just started creating new content for singles over age thirty. I am working on an online course for that group as well as a new website. We will see where God takes me. There are over fifty percent single adults in the U.S. for the first time in history, and many of them want to marry and are hurting. I didn’t marry until I was forty-six, so I understand that pain of being an older single, so I want to encourage that group.

 

R: Where can people get your books?

S: They can get them at shanaschutte.com.

 

R: Shana, thank you for the interview. Have a great day.

S: You are so welcome. It was my pleasure.

 

Get Up

Get Up

by Patrice D. Wilkerson, B.S., M.B.A.
We are all destined to do great things

Let’s all dream big and live like queens and kings

It doesn’t matter what your situation may be

You can grow up to be anything you wish to be

A doctor or a lawyer the possibilities are endless

Let’s try our best and strive for greatness

Don’t let anyone stop your shine

Get up and do something, stay on your grind

Put God first in everything that you do

The rest is left up to you

Interview With Author Lisa Grace

Interview With Author Lisa Grace

by Crystal Kelly

Lisa GraceRelate: Lisa I am so thrilled to have you here talking about The Angel Series. What is your inspiration behind the series?

Lisa: Thank you Crystal Kelly for having me here today. When the vampire series that are out there started hitting it big, I, as a Christian, was upset that they were using make-believe monsters to represent evil and putting all the supernatural world in the realm of myth. I believe this is another tool the devil uses to weaken peoples’ faith.

I was on my knees praying, why isn’t someone writing books about the real supernatural world and make it as exciting as they fake ones? That still small voice asked, “If not you, then who?” And that’s why I started writing young adult books that I would’ve enjoyed reading at that age.

R: Angel in the Shadows is the first book in a series. Is there a reason you chose a female as the main character?

L: Yes. I wrote book one in the first person. I never physically describe Megan (except to say she has hair long enough to tie back) because I want every young teen to imagine they could be her. I clearly remember the emotions I felt in my high school years. Also, I worked with teens at a dance studio while I was writing the book. It never even dawned on me to write from a male point of view.

R: What influenced you to pick the names of the angels and demons in the book?

L: I named the main evil angel, the one you see on the cover of the books, Judas, because he was the great betrayer. He lies. He also goes by three names in the book, because as personifying temptation, he is the rock star of the school, and he can appear to be whatever you want him to be. The teachers see him as the perfect student. The druggies as the best friend/supplier. The Goths as a powerful evil source. He goes by Damon, Jude or Judas, what ever fits his needs at the time. Remember, everything Judas says in my books is only half-true.

For Johnny, I was influenced by the disciple John, who loved Jesus the most. Later, in Book two, you find out Johnny’s angel name.

I use the Hebrew language and meanings to influence quiet a few of the tidbits I put in the books. I’d like my books to be used as tools to get teens reading and exploring the truths in the Holy Scripture.

R: The Angel Series has been called an alternative to the Twilight Series. What are your thoughts on that?

L: I was very happy when AOL named the angel series the Christian alternative to Twilight back in 2010. That’s exactly the market I’m trying to appeal to. Rather than waiting for a vampire boyfriend to rescue you, and deciding only to live if he saves you, is a terrible message to send to young adults.

In my books Megan knows right and wrong, and every choice she makes has consequences. She loves God, and even though she has a sin nature, her goal is to please God. When she feels God is wanting to do something against her wishes, she doesn’t always choose his way. Like all of us she sometimes rationalizes why her way is okay. Unfortunately, her choices have consequences, just like in real life.

R: You write with such clarity on matters of spiritual warfare. Have you experienced visions of angels and demons? Do you know anyone who has?

L: I have my books theologically approved by my spiritual leaders. I know I’ve been given the gift to write these books so some teens will “see” and learn to recognize how the devil can lead us into temptation. If he tried to tempt Christ, his fallen angels will try to destroy us through our weaknesses. No, I don’t see angels or demons, but I know they’re there. Just like I can’t see electricity, but when I flip the switch, I know it’s there and the lights will come on.

I give talks on modern day angel appearances and have had many trust worthy people tell me of their experiences. On the other side, if people don’t know their Bible, the devil can appear as an angel of light and give people false doctrine. This is why it is so important that everyone learn what the Holy Scriptures say.

R: I love how you incorporated the message of Christ and the plan of salvation into the series. What are you hoping to accomplish through this series?

L: I want teens to realize there is a supernatural battle on for their souls. They are either saved or unsaved and there is only one way to get saved. I present this message in a fictional story so it’s not threatening to those who are opposed Christianity.

In post-modernism, which a lot of households practice today, they teach their kids that all religions are myth. These kids will never go to a church, never be read a Bible story, and never be exposed to the Good News. However, a lot of those same parents will allow their kids to read books about the supernatural, like the Twilight Series. Many of these kids have a thirst for the supernatural, because we know deep in their hearts, they know there is a God and they’re searching for Him.

The Lord promises that His word will not return void. All I can do is write the books, make them available, and hope enough saved people care enough to get them out there to the general public.

R: I have read both Angel in the Shadows, Book 1, and Angel in the Storm, Book 2 both of which I loved. When should we expect Angel in the Ice, Book 3?

L: Any day now. If your readers sign up as an angel friend on my website http://www.lisagracebooks.com they will get a notice as soon as the book is available to order through Amazon. It’s in final edits. I lost two f my most trusted editors this year, so it’s slower going. I don’t want the editing to distract from the story.

R: Now on to some exciting news. Your series has been optioned to be made into a film. Would you tell us how this came about and would you offer some advice on how others can go this route?

L: It was a matter if timing. Angel in the Shadows, Book 1 hit #1 on the Amazon Teen Horror Bestseller list back in mid August 2011. I was eventually bumped from the number one spot by a book that was being made into a film, The Woman In Black.

Movie trailers advertising the film were shown in the side bar of the list and since the film was starring Daniel Radcliffe (AKA Harry Potter) my books were noticed by a couple of movie producers.

In the end I signed with Motion Picture Pro Studios. It is being fast-tracked into preproduction and their will be a press release announcing the deal soon.

My best advice is write a book you love, get it edited. Pick out a great cover and blurb. If your book gets on a bestseller list, you do have a chance of a movie producer wanting your book for a project. No matter what keep writing. It takes most novelists at least five to seven books before they hit their stride. I’ve written five books and contributed to two more, so I’m still getting started.

R: Where can readers find your books?

L: My series is currently available on Amazon, but I’m looking to sign a paperback deal so they are available everywhere.

Angel in the Shadows, Book 1
Angel in the Storm, Book 2 (The Angel Series)

Angel in the Ice, Book 3 available soon

R: Where can we find the latest film and book updates?

L: Your readers can sign up to be on my angel friend list at http://www.lisagracebooks.com where they can find the latest book and movie news. Thanks for having me on, Crystal Kelly, God bless.

Ellie Holcomb: A Christian Vessel

Ellie Holcomb: A Christian Vessel

Written by Ellen Marie Hawkins

Ellie Holcomb

Ellie Holcomb

I didn’t know about Drew and Ellie Holcomb’s strong Christian faith when I first reviewed their album, Chasing Someday, a few months ago.  As long as I hear nothing objectionable, I embrace music wholeheartedly, and this album was one that I connected to without effort.  Their love story is prominent and the lyrics are often poetic masterpieces.

So imagine my surprise, and my obvious happiness, to discover they are devout Christians.  In research for the interview, I read an interview that Drew had done with CCM, and I was inspired. I love that there are artists out there who refuse to alter their hearts for success.  While they are a “secular” band, Drew and Ellie focus on the hope that Christians need to cling to in both prosperous times and times of hardship.  Anyone can find inspiration in that, Christian or not, and they are reaching an audience that so desperately needs to hear it.

I was honored to ask Ellie a few questions about music and her faith.  Her openness inspired me, as did her clear maturity as a Christian.  While she is humble and gives all praise to Jesus, I believe she is a vessel, and it’s her choice to shine that light and help others find Him.

Who is your biggest personal inspiration?

My mom.  She was incredible.  She had great faith and passion and was always honest with me.  And to this day, I still feel like I can tell her anything.  She always encouraged me to be me, and I always felt like she believes in me.

How has your relationship with Christ influenced your musical career?

I feel that I am greatly loved by God and therefore, I can greatly love others.  Music connects with people, and I think it’s a cool way to speak truth, life, and hope.  Our music isn’t necessarily “Christian,” but we sing about things that happen in life and that there’s hope in all of it.

Knowing what you know now, what advice would you give your 15 year old self?

I would tell myself it’s okay to not be perfect.  That you can learn a lot by falling on your face. Learn to turn to Jesus. Jesus knows that you won’t always get it right the first time, and that is what grace is.  I feel like I understand grace deeper now than when I was 15.

Name one song you love that you wish you had written?

There’s probably a list of about a hundred of them, but I love Patty Griffin and the song “When It Don’t Come Easy.”  It takes the perspective of a friend as a car breaks down and really describes what love truly is.

What is your first memory of music?

Dad and Mom used to sing all kinds of songs to me as I was falling asleep.  They were always singing.  I would fall asleep listening to Dad writing songs on the piano.

As independent artists, are there ever times you feel so discouraged that you want to give up?

Yes, it’s like life.  It’s been a rollercoaster, and there’s many times we wonder, why does this matter, but then we hear from a fan who’s had a song resonate with him.  We feel we have won the lottery with Jesus, and the ups and downs have less importance than our faith.  All the highs and lows are not where we need to find our worth.

What is the most difficult thing that you’ve faced that music has helped you overcome?

I’ve had my heart broken several times; once in high school and once in college.  Songwriting was a way to process things and work through them. I had great pain and anger-songwriting was a way to put hope into it and process the pain.

Tell me about the writing process for the song “Your Love”

It started with the guitar and the music.  I’ve been married to Drew for almost five years, but when I wrote it, I was realizing I had to look to Jesus more than to Drew.  It had been a hard year, and I had to be honest about not being okay-pretending to be okay doesn’t work.  It really is a song about freedom-it’s okay to not being okay, and God’s love can be found in all seasons and loves you how you are.  It gives me hope that God can change me-I’m more honest and the changed patterns are a miracle-I hope they can help change hard hearts.

And it’s great that this song can be interpreted as a love song, too.

Describe the moment you decided you wanted to be a musician and would you ever consider doing anything else?

I was an English teacher the first year that Drew and I were married, and so I wasn’t with him all the time-usually only on the weekends.  While in Texas on grandparents ranch, Drew asked, knowing how much I loved teaching, if I loved him more and would do this with him.  I would always wonder if I didn’t do it-it was a leap of faith.

We were made to do this.  It’s fun to do this together rather than being apart for half the year.  Teaching is a beautiful calling, I loved it, but I would be at peace if it wasn’t music.  I wouldn’t mind if there are kids hopefully one day, but I love music.

Please visit www.drewholcomb.com for more information about Drew Holcomb and the Neighbors and iTunes to purchase their latest release, Chasing Someday.

Inspirations That Affect Your Future

Inspirations That Affect Your Future

Written by Ellen Marie Hawkins

open door

open door

For many of you, you’re just starting to think about life after high school and what you
may want to do. It’s confusing and scary to think that the decisions you make now can
affect you years from now. Inspirations that can help you make choices that you’ll be
happy with are all around you. Not sure what you want to do or not sure that what you
have decided is what you really want to do? Read on!

Visit your High School’s Website

No, I’m not kidding. Most schools feature links that can guide you to tests or articles
that may make you think about a career you hadn’t thought about before. There are
a multitude of tests you can take that can pinpoint what your interests are or help you
determine what you are good at. Both of these things are vital to choosing a career you
can be happy in. And happiness leads to success-both in your personal life and in your
career.

Family and Friends

The adults around you have careers and lives you can take inspiration from. Ask them
about their jobs; what they like about it, what they don’t like about it, what are their
interests that help them in their career, what inspired them to make that career choice.
Also, ask them what they can see you doing with your life. Like the tests, they may have
insight you hadn’t considered before. Whatever you do, focus on the positive things they
have to say and be open minded.

What do you want to DO

Do you want to help people? Do you want to travel? Do you want to have a family? Do
you like to create things? What makes you happy? Ask yourself questions and write out
your answers. If you like to travel, consider journalism or sales; pilots aren’t the only
ones who get to see the world. If you want to have children someday and this is really
important to you, that doesn’t mean you can’t have a career, too. There are jobs out there
that offer the ability to have both.

What you choose now may not be forever

I know that sounds like a horrible reality, but it is a very real one. I have never had a job
utilizing the degree that I have. Gasp. And the fact is I have several friends that say the
same, including one who has a master’s degree for social work. It’s not the end of the
world. All of my friends are happy doing what they do and can’t be persuaded to use
their degrees. For me, the fact is, I was afraid to pursue my passion in college. It really
wasn’t any more complicated than that. So I chose to study on something that didn’t
fulfill me because I thought it would help pay the bills. It’s ironic that my degree doesn’t
help pay my bills at all. Regardless, don’t let the fear of choosing wrong paralyze you
into not making a choice at all. Because, really, we make mistakes and that’s okay. We
have second and third chances, and by making those choices, we discover a little more
about who we are and what makes us happy.