Stopping the Hate Talk: 5 ways to a Better You!

When you look in the mirror, what do you see?

“I hate my hair, my arms, my legs.” I look so fat in these pants.” Why can’t I look like that other girl? She always looks so perfect; she makes me sick. ” If I had all the money in the world and could afford a personal trainer, I could look like that too.”

How many times do we say these things to ourselves or about others? Why are we so degrading to ourselves and other women? It doesn’t matter your age: young girl, teenager, young adult, older adult, pre baby body., post baby body. When does it stop? When do you decide that you are enough and that God made you the way you are. As a teenager, I thought myself pretty; I thought myself confident. It wasn’t until middle adulthood that I started to doubt myself. There have been plenty of times that I have looked in the mirror and thought that I did not like the way I looked. Part of my problem is that I have not been treating my body right and I have had two babies and it really does change your body! What do you hate about yourself? What do you love about yourself? Which one do you think about the most?

Self-worth is defined as the sense of one’s own value or worth as a person; self esteem; self respect. Do you place value in yourself? Do you have respect for yourself? Do you think of yourself as worthy and beautiful?

All this self degrading hate talk stops here. IT STOPS HERE!I challenge you here-forth that when you look in the mirror you find one thing you like about yourself, just one. Daily. Yes, DAILY!

There is nothing that can separate us from the love of God (Romans 8: 31-39), but He still wants us to take care of ourselves and our bodies. The following things help me to take care of myself and help me feel good about my own self-esteem.

1.GET UP AND MOVE!  Whether it is taking a brisk walk around the neighborhood, an aerobics video in the comfort of your home, or training for a race, get up and move. Start TODAY! Even ten minutes a day can make a difference. Make it work. Maybe that means climbing stairs during a short break at work or parking in the furthest parking lot. Sometimes, for me that means having a dance party with my 3 year old. Or I have an aerobic app on my phone that lets me choose 5 to 10 minute increments. Sometimes my 3 year old and 5 month old join in the fun. One ting I’m going to try in the next few weeks is running before my husband leaves for work!

2. EAT HEALTHY! Of course there are lots of arguments about what is the best diet or supplement our there. Think before you eat! Is this particular food going to make me feel good or energized? I’m not saying to never have that piece of chocolate, I’m just suggesting you think twice about it. This is definitely one of my biggest challenges. I have a huge sweet tooth! It’s about lifestyle change. While I don’t follow it strictly and I am not an expert, my personal belief is that a plant based diet is best for health and energy. Commit to make a change. Just eating more veggies and fruit can make a difference! Progress not perfection!

3. CHALLENGE YOUR MIND! Take time to learn. Read, whether an actual book, a website, eBooks, newspaper, or a magazine. The world is full of great minds. You are one of them!

4. FEED YOUR SOUL! This is the most important point. Make time to pray or read your Bible and talk to God. I try to get up before my children in order for this to happen. Now lately, that has not gone like I planned. I have an almost 6 month old who wakes up in the middle of the night, and well, I am grumpy if I don’t get enough sleep. On those days, I try to read while I’m nursing him. Many times I’m praying in the car on my way to work. Those two things, especially the prayer, make a huge difference in how my the rest of my day goes, and how I feel about myself as a person. I am a much better mom, wife, and friend, when I make time to pray and read God’s word. End of story.

5. TAKE TIME FOR YOURSELF! I don’t care what that looks like or how much time you say you don’t have. For me it looks like time to write or time for a hike, a walk around the neighborhood, sipping on a hot cup of tea or coffee on my back deck. Coffee or lunch or breakfast with a friend, even if it has to be over the phone. Perhaps you can wake up 10 minutes before the rest of your house, just to sip and drink your coffee. Maybe once a month, you can find a babysitter or your significant other can watch the children, and you can go get coffee, by yourself or with a close friend. Find a  walking partner. Train for a race with your co-workers. Sometimes, I take an extra long shower because that may be the only time I have had to myself that day. I breathe in the steam and take pleasure in the solitude and not having to explain what I’m doing. Everybody leaves you alone when you are in the shower (most of the time).

Challenge yourself to love more. We don’t need all the hate talk. Life is hard enough without being so mean to ourselves

What are some tips you have on increasing self-worth?

Thanks for reading! Please share with those extraordinary women you think need a reminder of how awesome they are!

I have purchased my own website now, so I will be getting away from word press and starting my blog over there! It’s still a work in progress, so be sure to join me at ExtraOrdinary Living  to see what adventures lie ahead.

 

Advertisements

Be That Act of Kindness

To the lady in Walgreen’s:

Thank you! You were so kind to me the other day. You probably don’t remember me, or maybe you do. I was the mother of two, with a two month old and a 2 year old clinging to my side and crying. You changed my day, for the better. I dropped off my prescription for my little girl’s ear infection and was told it would be 30 minutes. I was not upset that I was going to have to wait, I was a little dismayed it was going to be such a seemingly long time, but I wasn’t mad. But you noticed me, you saw me with my two young children and from the kindness in your heart, you expedited our prescription to being ready in 5 minutes!  That was such an amazing act of kindness, you have no idea how much I appreciated you! I wish I had remembered to get your name and not just hurriedly said thank you, though I hope my sincere thanks was apparent.

How extraordinary to be the recipient of such kindness!  I was not expecting it, was not even go to ask, but somehow she knew. Maybe it was the little baby fussing or the little girl clinging and crying on her mommy. Maybe it was my disheveled look (though I think I looked pretty put together under the circumstances 🙂  Or maybe you noticed the bags under my eyes from near chronic sleep deprivation. ( I am happy to say my baby appears to finally be sleeping through the night now!)  Whatever her reason, it felt amazing. Amazing to be noticed, amazing to be loved, even if just for that moment.

She was Jesus to me in that moment. She stopped to notice the little people and made a difference. How many times have we read stories of Jesus, stopping to talk to those culture deemed insignificant? (the woman at the well, little children, the boy with the few fish and bread that fed five thousand, the fishermen to become apostles) What he did for those people, at first glance, did not appear to be a big deal, but for those people, it made all the difference in the world.

It seems fitting, on the eve of Thanksgiving, for us to remember to be thankful for those seemingly insignificant moments that make all the difference. So, as you are doing your last minute shopping, or your early Black Friday shopping, as you sit down with your family or friends, remember to take notice. Take notice of the salesperson still being friendly after a full shift or having to work on Thanksgiving. Take notice of the nurses and doctors and other healthcare personnel for  caring for you or your loved one. Take notice of the loving hands preparing your food, whether at home or in a restaurant (one year it was just my sister and I for Thanksgiving, and yes, we did eat our Thanksgiving meal in a restaurant, and we were thankful there were restaurants willing to prepare a meal!) Take notice of the homeless guy asking for food or money. Take notice of the elderly who cannot walk or hear or see as well as they once could. Take notice of the young mothers or fathers who are juggling car seats, sticky fingers, diaper bags and temper tantrums (If you have no children, don’t judge. When and if you decide to have children, your day will come. It will be your child screaming in the grocery store or restaurant, and if you haven’t had this experience, then please share your secret with the rest of us!)  Take notice ,not just on and around the holidays, but all year round.  Be that act of kindness. Be somebody’s Jesus. You never know what a difference even the smallest of kind acts can do.  God will do the planting; you only need to do the sowing.

“So let us not get tired of doing what is good. At just the right time, we will reap a harvest of blessing if we don’t give up. Therefore, whenever we have the opportunity we should do good to everyone- especially to those in the family of faith” Galatians 6:9-10

In what ways have you shown kindness or received kindness? I would love for you to share in the comments!

P.s. For more inspiration, follow my blog, and if this post encouraged you, please share with others!

 

When All You Can Do is Laugh

An adorable mess of constant exhaustion and joy. (See the dog in the background staying out of her way! Smart dog)

An adorable mess of constant exhaustion and joy. (See the dog in the background staying out of her way! Smart dog)

I am exhausted.  It is all I can do to make it through my day lately.  Between being 9 months pregnant and chasing an exhausting toddler who has been very belligerent to my admittedly increasingly impatient self, I don’t know how full time working moms or dads do it. I really don’t.  You have all my respect and compassion. I only work 24 hours a week (at an “away from home job”). I often say I work harder at home then at work. I can’t  clock out and leave my job at home, it is always there, with mountains of laundry ever mounting, dog hair blanketing my floor, a sink that constantly needs cleaning, and mouths that need to be fed. When I do get my floors clean, I turn around and see every single book off the bookshelf on the ground. My toddler’s latest pastime is clearing out all the contents of her drawers that she can reach during “rest time”.  I know that these are things I will laugh at one day, and I do laugh at them even now, because sometimes that is all you can do, laugh or cry. I need to choose to laugh.

This week has been an especially rough week, with constant reprimands to my independent and stubborn toddler and the stress of getting ready for our upcoming baby.  A recap for the week:  My toddler, while at daycare colored on the walls, and then the next day at daycare, she pushed a baby down on the ground (not a reassuring fact considering we are about to have an even tinier baby in our own household).  Just today, we have had at least three moments of disciplinary actions and two to three temper tantrums, one while in a store. Three temper tantrums total in public this week, one in a public library which ended in me dragging my screaming two year out of the library, one in which she was throwing merchandise on the floor which resulted in a battle of wills and a public sit down, and the last one where she just laid down on the ground and screamed (which was short lived thankfully). Most of these were from sheer disobedience and others admittedly from this momma already being on a short fuse and not having much patience for two year olds these days.  (Pray for my patience and to not be too hard on my two year old or my poor hubby).

Not to say there have not been sweet moments, because of course there have been, moments of us all playing with play dough together, a nice reprieve from the heat to enjoy a leisurely walk, and time to play outside without melting in the hot southern sun. Moments of tickles and moments of  laughter while flying through the air with her daddy. Moments where she says “I help mommy” .  I don’t even mention all the above to air my complaints, but rather in hopes that I am not the only crazy pregnant mommy and to hope I can encourage you to laugh instead of cry when nothing seems to be going smoothly. (although there are moments where all I wanted to do this week was cry) Sometimes all we can do is get through the day and take things one day at a time. I am all about trying to find routines and lists and stick to them, but sometimes that is just is not possible.  And believe me, I have been trying. I have finally decided that this is not a season in life for me to stick to a strict routine, perhaps one day that day will come or perhaps that just does not fit my lifestyle.

I keep trying to compare myself to stay at home moms who homeschool their children and I am not that kind of mom. I have no desire to homeschool, ever. I don’t see that changing, though I do try to keep an open mind, but right now, nope, not going to happen. I don’t fit in with the home school moms or stay at home moms, because I have an outside job. I don’t fit in with the working moms, because I only work part time, and the rest of the time is spent with my child.  I can relate to aspects of both and yet not relate to either group. For those of you out there who are in the same boat, know you are not alone.  It’s okay to want to work part time or full time or stay at home.  Whatever you choose, it has to work for you and your family. You do not have to do it all.  I put so much pressure on myself sometimes to do all the “stay at home stuff” on the days I am home. (clean house, take care of my child, make dinner, well that’s about all you have time for really). I am trying to pack 5 to 7 days of work into 3 to 5. It… Just… Doesn’t… Work.  So, my encouragement to you and myself, is to take one day at a time. Do not worry about tomorrow til you have finished the work for today.  That is literally how I prioritize my days sometimes, What do I need to do today and what do I need to do to prepare for tomorrow.  That’s it. And that’s enough.

Let us remember when our days our ever exhausting to lean on the Lord!

“Have you never heard? Have you never understood? The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of all the earth. He never grows weak or weary. No one can measure the depths of this understanding. He gives power to the weak and strength to the powerless. Even youths will become weak and tired and young men will fall in exhaustion. But those who trust in the Lord will find new strength. They will soar high on wings like eagles. They will run and not grow weary. They will walk and not faint.” Isaiah 40:31

CELEBRATE YOUR CURVES

Beauty in So Many Ways

Beauty in So Many Ways

I was driving home from work the other day when one of my favorite songs came on the radio. I had not heard this song in forever!  When you hear the title you will know what a sap I am for lyrics.  The song was “This One’s for the Girls”, by Martina McBride. I think I heard the song in my early to mid 20s. I would sing as loud as I could in my little sedan. It always gave me goose bumps. I felt it could relate to the depths of  my very soul of being a woman. It always makes me so sad when I hear women insult themselves or even others. That is not how God made us to be, but yet it is so prevalent in our culture. Each section of the song touched me in different ways. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oTowId2CWHA

I think that now is actually when I need this song the most. I don’t recall very much lack of self confidence when I was a teenager or even in college and my early 20s. Somehow, I knew that all the things that people think others notice are not usually discernible to anyone but yourself. Very few people notice that zit or that you hair is too straight, or that you have one more roll or wrinkle than the person next to you. They are usually too busy thinking about their own flaws. I always knew who I was and to Whom I belonged.

It hasn’t been until my current years that my self esteem has started to plummet. I guess we all reach that stage at different points. You see, I was the girl that was skinny and didn’t have to worry about what she ate. While I was introverted and shy, when I made the effort, I could make friends easily. I put myself in situations where I would make the friends I wanted. It’s not that I wasn’t self conscious at times, but it was usually a fleeting thought, quickly brushed aside as being silly.

1466

You would think that now, in my 30s, would be the least likely time for me to have self esteem problems. But now is the time when my body has changed the most. I have been through one pregnancy and am currently pregnant for a second time. I felt confident I would lose the weight I wanted with my first child, (after all, I was going to breast feed) but I didn’t.  I was able to breast feed for over a year, but I have yet to lose the weight I wanted. I eat healthy; I exercise. (granted I could do better at both). I know in 10 to 20 years I will laugh at my 30 something year old self.  I have a beautiful daughter and a husband who loves me and adores me and thinks I’m beautiful all the time. But it is not enough for him to think that or say that, as much as he wants it to be. I have to believe it. And I have to remind myself of the beauty in myself and more importantly, the beauty that God sees in me. After all, He is the one who made me.

2103“O Lord, you have examined my heart and know everything about me… You place your hand of blessing on my head. Such knowledge is too wonderful for me, too great for me to understand! I can never escape from your Spirit! I can never get away from your presence! If I go up to heaven, you are there; if I go down to the grave, you are there. If I ride the wings of the morning; if I dwell by the farthest oceans, even there your hand will guide me, and your strength will support me. … You made all the delicate inner parts of my body and knit me together in my mother’s womb. Thank you for making me so wonderfully complex! Your workmanship is marvelous-how well I know it. …You saw me before I was born….How precious are your thoughts about me, O God. They cannot be numbered! I can’t even count them; they outnumber the grains of sand!  And when I wake up, you are still with me!…Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. Point out anything in me that offends you, and lead me along the path of everlasting life.” Psalms 139

IMG_1018 Everything He makes is beautiful. What I see are extra curves, but God sees hips that gave birth to a miracle and Lord willing a second healthy miracle. When I see my laugh lines, I see wrinkles, but God sees memories and love. When I feel that minor back pain, I feel hurt and frustration, God sees a healing back who stooped to help others.  Where I see ugliness, God sees beauty. In the near future, I may see gray hairs, but God will see wisdom. I may see arthritic hands, but God will see hands that provided comfort. Who are we to mourn our lives, we should be celebrating. Celebrate every curve, every gray hair, every wrinkle, they all have stories to tell. Know that it is okay to not be your same size you were in high school or college.

You are beautiful! God declares that you are precious!

I

Favorite Inspirations

Two of my favorite inspirations on a daily basis!

Two of my favorite inspirations on a daily basis!

My goal for this section is just to inspire and lift up others who have caused inspiration in some form or another. I hope for this blog to be able to incorporate articles, bloggers, songs, or books. Basically anything that you can think of that brings a smile to your face or laughter in your heart. My goal is to publish this weekly on a Saturday or Sunday! I hope you enjoy! Feel free to pass on any encouragement!

1. I have just finished a book by Kari Patterson called “I Will Look Up”. It is a devotional book that has 31 devotionals. I enjoyed all of them, but my favorite was the chapter called “The End of Mommy Guilt (Or Whatever Other False Guilt You Face)”.  One of my favorite quotes was “We’re not called to a child-centered existence; we’re called to a Christ-centered existence. Yes, we give countless hours to our children, but they don’t run the show. God does.” If you want to check out her blog, here is the link: http://www.karipatterson.com/welcome-2/

2. You know the song “I Can Only Imagine”, by Mercy Me. Perhaps a bit overstated,but this song always inspires me. I heard it as I was driving home from work feeling frustrated, overwhelmed, stressed, and disheartened (though for the life of me I could not tell you why). It came on right when I needed it and helped lift my spirits. I listened to it again on you tube (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0xwzItqYmII) while I was writing this post. This song reminds me of something my pastor said a few sermons ago. He was talking about how as Christians we like to debate what we will ask God when we meet him, like what went through Noah’s mind when you asked him to build a boat when there had been no rain, EVER. Or perhaps, he can replay the scene where Jesus walks on water. I am sure you can think of your own questions for which you have always felt curious.  My pastor stated something along the following lines, “I don’t think we are going to care about those questions when we meet God. I think we will fall on our knees or be rendered speechless or dance and sing for joy. We are not going to be able to do anything but worship, in whatever form that takes for you.” I can only imagine…

3.From my daily Bible reading: “O God, you are my God; I earnestly search for you. My soul thirsts for you; my whole body longs for you in this parched and weary land where there is no water. I have seen you in your sanctuary and gazed upon your power and glory. Your unfailing love is better than life itself; how I praise you! I will praise you as long as I live, lifting up my hands to you in prayer. You satisfy me more than the richest feast. I will praise you with songs of joy.” Psalms 63:1-11, NLT This passage reminds me of one of my favorite songs as a child. “Better than Life” by Acapella. It made me so happy to find this song and many more of my other favorites on you tube. Here’s the link to the song: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qv5zZOnQ654

4. From the Huffington post, “The Life of the Party is closer than you think” This was great article highlighted by the Huffington Post about living life in the most extraordinary of ways.  http://www.huffingtonpost.com/rachel-macy-stafford/the-life-of-the-party-is-closer-than-you-think_b_6950288.html.

KEEP DREAMING, NO REGRETS

KEEP DREAMING, FARTHER THAN THE OCEAN

KEEP DREAMING, FARTHER THAN THE OCEAN

Lately, I have been thinking a lot about what I want to be when I grow up. You see, I want to be proud to tell my children and grandchildren what I do, whether that be a homemaker, a lawyer, a doctor, a volunteer or anything else. I want them to know that they can reach for their dreams and if their dreams change, that is okay, because that’s life and God speaks to us in different ways at different times. Lately, it has been a struggle. You see, I am a nurse. I decided that is what I wanted to do in college. Being 18 or 19 or 20 and having to decide your entire career path is very daunting and overwhelming. So being the analytical person I am, I did personality tests, career tests, talked with career counselors, perused all the careers my personality matched. Basically I spent a semester to a year of my life contemplating this ever daunting decision that would forever change my path of life. Or so I was led to passionately believe.

Now I am all for career counseling; please don’t misunderstand.  I think nursing is a noble profession, and I think I made the right decision for myself with the knowledge I had at the time. I try really hard to not live with regrets, because what are regrets? Nothing but pining over your past life thinking about what might have been. That is no way to live. And I believe, even if you did make a bad decision, that your past is part of who you are today. It does not define you, but to deny your past is to deny yourself.

What I have struggled with the last few years is thinking I had to stay a nurse forever. That it wasn’t okay for my life or passions to change. I am just now coming to the realization that it doesn’t have to stay that way. I should have figured that out a long time ago. There were several women in my nursing class who were not the traditional age for college and in fact it was their second career choice. They had different careers. So why have I felt this way all these years?

I worked so hard to graduate nursing school. I studied constantly, I had no life, I was constantly worrying about falling behind (more on worries another day). I lost hours of sleep. Just about the only relationships I had were the people in my nursing class (who were awesome by the way). There were days when I stayed up until the early hours of the morning, studying and working on  projects. The next day I had clinical, and then the next night was the same. It just seemed a shame to waste what I had spent five years studying and working towards. Not to mention, that I am still paying off school loans (I chose to go to a private school). I have worked in all different arrays of the nursing profession. I worked in an intensive care unit, a rheumatology clinic, a medical surgical floor, and I now work in the operating room. It’s not that I don’t enjoy what I do, but it’s that I have lost my passion, I have lost my way. I have become apathetic, and that is what I’m not proud to tell my children. Now, maybe that just means that I need to find a different avenue of nursing. If that is not the case, then I have to accept that  I may need to pursue a different passion, one that I can be excited to dream about  I feel like right now,

God has put it on my heart to start this blog. I want to be able to reach out to women all over the world, who just need a little encouragement or don’t feel like they are enough. They are enough, and so much more. They are God’s daughters. You are beautiful because God chose you before you were even born, and you were made in his image.

Jeremiah 1:5, “Before I formed you in the womb, I knew you. Before you were born, I set you apart.”

Genesis 1:27, “So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God, he created them, male and female, he created them.”

Perhaps, like me, you are struggling with thinking  you have to stay in the career you chose, but I no longer believe that is true. In fact, that is preposterous.  As moms and daughters and sisters, we should always dare to dream. Ask God to help you with your dreams and show you the way. It might take you down a path you would never expect, but as long as you are following him, it will be the right path. As for me,  I pray this blog is also God’s dream for me and that he can use me to inspire and encourage woman for His glory. And if he says no, then I pray he will direct me in the way I should go.

Psalms 23:1-3, The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing. He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters, he refreshes my soul, He guides me along the right paths for his name’s sake.”

Keep Dreaming and being your extraordinary you. There is none other like you, none so beautiful as in the eyes of the Beholder.

Matthew 5:16 (ESV): In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.