As Told To is a recurring segment on xoNecole where real women are given a platform to tell their stories in first-person narrative as told to a writer.
This is JaLisa Jefferson's story, as told to Charmin Michelle.
I have went from girlfriend to fiancée to wife...in less than one week.
My husband, Cory, proposed to me on May 14th in a carefully planned, highly anticipated—yet unexpected—evening. As soon as I walked through the door, there he was, down on one knee, asking me to spend my life with him.
We dated for almost a year prior to the proposal, and we even planned to get engaged in the near future, but due to the pandemic, and everything being shut down, I figured there was no way he could accomplish a special engagement or even get a ring, so I never suspected anything. But Cory worked with my parents and brother to set up a beautiful proposal at our weekly family Bible study.
Five days later, we were married.
Ironically, we realized we had conversations with each other on Instagram over the last few years, but didn't make the connection until after the fact. And since that day, we've been together for almost a year, happily and blissfully living out our flourishing lives.
I grew up in a healthy, faith-based household, which I ultimately credit my success to. I was a focused youngster, didn't involve many in my world. My family is full of preachers and pastors, so we were often in the church, knowing and learning The Word. I was shy, somewhat quiet, and always desired to be married and have a family. However, I knew that processing was necessary; which included completing my education, reaching some personal and career goals, all while praying that God would send me the man He approved for my life. Several bumps in the road when it came to my dating life (I know we all can relate to that one), yet I waited on God.
After all, I always viewed marriage as an eternal and sacred commitment to God and to your spouse—a commitment to seek God and remain best friends forever.
So, I waited.
And then He brought Cory to me.
From the beginning of our relationship, we have taken pride in the fact that we over-communicate our thoughts, feelings and desires with one another. We are both Capricorns and natural planners, so as soon as we knew we wanted to do life together, we pretty much had all this planned out and agreed upon. And now that we have lived out our idea of a engagement and wedding, we have laid our trust and faith at each other's feet.
Even before the pandemic, neither one of us were interested in having a huge wedding. We wanted to keep it extremely small with our parents and then maybe later have a reception to celebrate with our friends and extended family. We initially planned to just go to the courthouse, however, it evolved to having some of our closest friends and family present via Zoom for the ceremony as well.
Our wedding was intimate and full of love. All we cared about was committing our love, relationship, and marriage to God in front of the people who loved us most. My pastor officiated the wedding and counseled us prior. I wouldn't call our engagement and wedding traditional or modern, honestly it was just what WE wanted it to be.
Of course, the people closest to us, meaning our parents and best friends who we speak with all of the time, already knew that this was how we wanted to marry, so none of them were shocked. Extended family and those of which we don't really talk to on a regular basis, were the most shocked. And social media. We were definitely questioned by some trying to figure out what the rush was.
And with me being a full-time influencer they just assumed in their head that I would have this big extravagant wedding. Clearly, they didn't really know me or my heart as it relates to marriage or weddings.
I actually asked Cory about his thoughts on the past few eventful days and he said:
"The engagement couldn't have been any more perfect. The in-laws really made it that much more special. I was just expecting a few balloons, but mom had a whole ceiling full of balloons with an archway setup with streamers, cupcakes and had a great playlist playing for the whole thing. The day of the ceremony wasn't any different. I'm not exactly sure what I was expecting, but our friends and family went above and beyond anything I was thinking it would be. The day couldn't have went any better."
I couldn't agree more.
Courtesy of JaLisa Jefferson
My dress was stunning, my husband was dapper. Decorations were magical.
Case's "Happily Ever After" was blaring:
And you told me that you loved me
More than anything in your life
And I asked you would you do me
The honor of being my wife (yes I will)
We were so happily in love, wandering in euphoria and observing our joy radiate from person to person. The energy was so strong, so deep. Even with the ceremony being as intimate as it was.
Everything was perfect.
And now, it's time for us to live abundantly, ordained in the image of God.
"But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Matthew 6:33."
I say this to encourage any couples inspired by our story, or simply don't have the appetite to marry traditionally, to wed on their terms. Don't lose your vision. It's yours. And most of all, seek God.
Everyone's situation and relationship is totally different, so while I am elated that I was able to inspire people, ultimately, I just pray that I inspire you to get closer to God and seek what's best for you. Cory and I have prayed collectively, individually, and sought counsel from those who we know have our best interest at heart.
Which is most important.
We're so thankful for the outpouring of love and support in choosing to marry our way. It's so hard to explain how we even feel right now. It's a mixture of being elated, but also feeling like everything happened exactly the way it was supposed to—even greater than my dreams since I was a little girl. The entire process from engagement to wedding ceremony, with all of our closest people, just felt so natural. There was so much love and support around, it's hard to even put into words.
So, thank you for celebrating our union with us. Thank you for being just as happy for us as we are.
We're officially a couple of weeks in. With just a fruitful, dynamic, and loving lifetime to go.
To keep up with the Jeffersons' journey, visit their website. For more of JaLisa, follow her on Instagram: @jalisaevaughn.
Featured image courtesy of JaLisa Jefferson
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This article is in partnership with Sensodyne.
Our teeth are connected to so many things - our nutrition, our confidence, and our overall mood. We often take for granted how important healthy teeth are, until issues like tooth sensitivity or gum recession come to remind us. Like most things related to our bodies, prevention is the best medicine. Here are five things you can do immediately to improve your oral hygiene, prevent tooth sensitivity, and avoid dental issues down the road.
1) Go Easy On the Rough Brushing: Brushing your teeth is and always will be priority number one in the oral hygiene department. No surprises there! However, there is such a thing as applying too much pressure when brushing…and that can lead to problems over time. Use a toothbrush with soft bristles and brush in smooth, circular motions. It may seem counterintuitive, but a gentle approach to brushing is the most effective way to clean those pearly whites without wearing away enamel and exposing sensitive areas of the teeth.
2) Use A Desensitizing Toothpaste: As everyone knows, mouth pain can be highly uncomfortable; but tooth sensitivity is a whole different beast. Hot weather favorites like ice cream and popsicles have the ability to trigger tooth sensitivity, which might make you want to stay away from icy foods altogether. But as always, prevention is the best medicine here. Switching to a toothpaste like Sensodyne’s Sensitivity & Gum toothpaste specifically designed for sensitive teeth will help build a protective layer over sensitive areas of the tooth. Over time, those sharp sensations that occur with extremely cold foods will subside, and you’ll be back to treating yourself to your icy faves like this one!
3) Floss, Rinse, Brush. (And In That Order!): Have you ever heard the saying, “It’s not what you do, but how you do it”? Well, the same thing applies to taking care of your teeth. Even if you are flossing and brushing religiously, you could be missing out on some of the benefits simply because you aren’t doing so in the right order. Flossing is best to do before brushing because it removes food particles and plaque from places your toothbrush can’t reach. After a proper flossing sesh, it is important to rinse out your mouth with water after. Finally, you can whip out your toothbrush and get to brushing. Though many of us commonly rinse with water after brushing to remove excess toothpaste, it may not be the best thing for our teeth. That’s because fluoride, the active ingredient in toothpaste that protects your enamel, works best when it gets to sit on the teeth and continue working its magic. Rinsing with water after brushing doesn’t let the toothpaste go to work like it really can. Changing up your order may take some getting used to, but over time, you’ll see the difference.
4) Stay Hydrated: Upping your water supply is a no-fail way to level up your health overall, and your teeth are no exception to this rule. Drinking water not only helps maintain a healthy pH balance in your mouth, but it also washes away residue and acids that can cause enamel erosion. It also helps you steer clear of dry mouth, which is a gateway to bad breath. And who needs that?
5) Show Your Gums Some Love: When it comes to improving your smile, you may be laser-focused on getting your teeth whiter, straighter, and overall healthier. Rightfully so, as these are all attributes of a megawatt smile; but you certainly don’t want to leave gum health out of the equation. If you neglect your gums, you’ll start to notice the effects of plaque buildup, which can irritate the gums and cause gingivitis, the earliest stage of gum disease. Seeing blood while brushing and flossing is a tell-tale sign that your gums are suffering. You may also experience gum recession — a condition where the gum tissue surrounding your teeth pulls back, exposing more of your tooth. Brushing at least twice a day with a gum-protecting toothpaste like Sensodyne Sensitivity and Gum, coupled with regular dentist visits, will keep your gums shining as bright as those pearly whites.
There are moments on our health journey when our bodies are bugging us to hit the reset button.
With life, we can start to see slips in our diet, irregular exercising, and inconsistent sleep schedules, and our mental health can suffer because of it. But what many people come to find is that with just a few adjustments — as opposed to restrictions — being made to their food intake, we can see a focus more on eating “the right” calories and less on being on a restrictive diet.
"Raw Till 4" is a dietary concept and lifestyle associated with the raw vegan and high-carb, low-fat vegan (HCLF) movements. Created by Australian blogger and YouTube star known as 'Freelee the Banana Girl', the method suggests eating raw, uncooked plant-based foods until 4 p.m. each day and then having a cooked, vegan meal in the evening.
The Raw Till 4 lifestyle follows the guidelines of vegan and rawist eating and involves consuming fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, and sprouted grains in an uncooked, natural state until the designated time of 4 p.m. or around one’s typical dinner time. After 4 p.m., a cooked vegan meal is consumed, which may include foods like steamed vegetables, grains, legumes, and plant-based sources of protein like tofu or tempeh.
On TikTok, creator Adina Yaffa is repopularizing the trend, sharing how it’s helped to improve digestion, boost energy levels, and support weight loss.
Replying to @🌜kat🌛 here is what I eat in a day on a raw till 4 lifestyle. I eat with the sun and according to the circadian rhythm that out bodies follow on a typical day. Where i drink liquids during the first 8 hours, then juicy fruits, then smoothies, more dense building fats, proteins and veggies! #snatchedwaist #bellyfat #bellybloat #smallwaist #hourglass #rawtill4
“During the hours of 4 a.m. and 8 a.m., your body is in an elimination phase and needs all the help it can get,” Yaffa says in the clip. “So what you’re going to do is drink coconut water, citrus juices, and green juices during this time, and around 8 a.m., you can break your fast with some fruit. I suggest juicing fruits, and then after that, I suggest having a smoothie or a bowl with berries and granola so you can get your fats and healthy proteins in.”
Raw till 4 has so many benefits including better digestion, nutrients, belly fat and bloat elimination, snatched waist, more energy and so much more! #snatchedwaist #bellyfat #bellybloat #smallwaist #hourglass
On the official Raw Till 4 website, Freelee the Banana Girl shares tips on how to get the best outcomes of this lifestyle change, which include:
- “Stay hydrated! You should pee about 8-12 times per day, and your urine should be clear. Drink 1 liter of water when you wake up in the morning, and 1 liter of water about 30 minutes before each meal for optimal results.”
- “Fragmented sodium (salt) should be kept to a minimum. Use herbs, lemon juice, etc. wherever possible in place of salt.”
- “Eat unlimited calories at every meal, no restriction. The majority of your calories each day should come from fruit. Don’t under-eat on fruit during the day or 'save up' your calories for dinner time. RT4 is about abundance at every meal.”
- “Move your body daily. Find an activity you love and make it your playful exercise.”
- “Make sure to get lots of rest, relaxation, and good sleep. Learning to incorporate good rest, early nights, and regular sleeping patterns into your life will greatly improve your overall health.”
- “Practice gratitude and peaceful emotions at mealtime, and get a vision book started! Be sure to enjoy this journey. Focus on long-term health instead of short-term results.”
Critics argue that it can be challenging to get all the necessary nutrients from a raw vegan diet and that it may not be suitable for everyone, especially over the long term.
As with any diet, it's important to consult with a healthcare professional or registered dietitian before making significant dietary changes to ensure that it meets your individual nutritional needs and health goals.
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Featured image by FreshSplash/Getty Images