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.

 

8 Life Lessons I Learned From My Toddler

DSC_0403 (2)I now have a three year old!  I can’t believe it!  Sometimes I feel like I am looking at someone else’s life. I honestly was never the girl that dreamed of the kind of kids she would have, and even if I would have kids. I never thought about what kind of mother I would be. I honestly really never liked kids, and if I’m being honest, I’m still not crazy about other people’s kids (I do like most of my friends’ children, most of the time). Sometimes I wonder if I am a good enough mother. Sometimes I’m lazy. Sometimes I get impatient or frustrated and yell or say things I shouldn’t say. In spite of all that, I believe I am the perfect parent for my children. And more and more, I understand a little of the unconditional love our heavenly Father has for us.

“‘For I know the plans I have for you’, says the Lord. ‘They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.'” Jeremiah 29:11

God has a plan for me and for my children, this I know. I have to remind myself almost every day. There are days when my beautiful Sophia is very tiring and challenging and exhausting. She is headstrong and fiercely independent. (I can’t imagine where she picked up that personality trait!.. Must be from her daddy. 🙂 )   She has taught me so much in her short 3 years of life!

Lesson 1: Sometimes you need to just be silly.

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Sophie is a jokester. We used to ask her, “What color is this?”  For awhile, the only thing she would respond with was “Orange!”  She knew the colors! That was her 2 year old self teasing us!  Another joke she says, “I’m BeBe”, or I’m “Uncle Matt”, and then now she follows it with “You’re Daddy”, or “You’re Max” (Max is our dog!)  She has a mischievous little glint in her eye while she’s saying these things too. Sophie loves to be tickled. She loves being thrown up in the air, loves hide and seek. If we can’t go outside, she will run in circles around our dining room table. She makes me laugh.

We need to let ourselves laugh. We need to remember what it was like to just be silly.

Lesson 2: Be Persistent!

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This past summer, we made the transition to a big girl  bed. Now that she can get out of bed freely, she will literally knock or bang stuff on the door. It’s really quite funny and difficult to not go back to her room. She is a world champion at bedtime stalling!  I have to give her props for creativity. “I need some water!” “Lie down with me!” (with big blue pleading eyes!), “I need to put my babies to sleep”. “I need to read” . She even uses prayer time as a means to stall her bedtime. If we have taken away story and song time because she is not listening, then she pulls the prayer card. She knows mommy wants her to pray!

The point is: While we don’t need to  give in to our children’s every demand, we can learn from their persistence.  If you want something, keep trying! Don’t let a few no’s (or a few hundred) stop you from pursuing your passions or dreams.

Lesson 3: Sometimes you just need to let it out!

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Oh, we have had our share of tantrums and fits!  Screaming in a restaurant, screaming in the store, you name it, we have had it.  How about the time she laid down at the train station, no wait, the cell phone store, no, the consignment store, and just had a textbook tantrum and sit down!  Oh, yes, my Sophie has a temper.

And talk about drama! Once, after a trip to the community pool, Sophie fell and scratched her knee while walking back to our car. Drama central!  After the drama settled, she wanted a Dora band aid, but when I tried to put it on her knee, she screamed. Then she just held it the whole ride home.

Okay, so maybe you and I are past the tantrum phase, but don’t you want to just let it all out and scream and stomp your feet and cry sometimes?!  Well, maybe we can’t scream and stomp our feet (unless you are completely by yourself, then I say, go for it!). However, it is  probably not the best example to teach our children in order to launch them into functional adults.  However, it is okay to accept a hug or want someone to kiss your hurt away. It’s okay to dry your tears on someone else’s shoulder. The point is: Stop being so independent! It is OKAY to ask for help. It’s okay to cry.

Lesson 4:  Sometimes a girl just needs to look good.

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Sophie  loves trying on shoes. I can’t tell you how many times I would walk in her room after nap time to find shoes and clothes, and toys EVERYWHERE!  She would take hair bands and use them as necklaces or for awhile she was attached to hats. She would wear them constantly, even sleeping with them.

Sometimes you just need to dress up a little. We should dress up, not to impress others, but just to remember how beautiful we are.

Lesson 5:  Life is about what happens everyday in the little moments!

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For all of Sophie’s challenges and tantrums, there are more than enough sweet moments. Like the time when she handed me my tucks during my pregnancy with our son (both embarrassing and sweet), or how she is with her baby brother, constantly loving on him, kissing him, and helping me mother him. Or when she spontaneously gives me a kiss or “helps” with chores (she can help unload the dishwasher and put clothes in the dryer! Sometimes she even sweeps! She loves to hold the dustpan for me!). Or how she “cooks” with her pretend food. How she loves to make baby brother laugh and share stories and tummy time with him. Or how she tugs at our heart strings every time she asks us to lie down with her. Or the times when she asks for a “big hug”.  Once, after I gave William his  bath, I turned my back for one second, and next thing I knew Sophie was bathing her baby dolls. All Ican do sometimes is laugh.

For all the bad moments there are 10,000 more good ones. We  can learn from the bad moments, but we need to cherish the good moments. After all, people don’t usually take pictures of the bad moments (although I think that is warranted sometimes!). Our pictures are of the happy moments. You don’t usually remember the tantrums and attitude between the pictures.

Lesson 6:  Life is Messy!

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Life is Messy.  From throwing up in the doctor’s office and in the car and all over me. (all three of these happened last year!), life is messy. From snotty noses and ear infections, life is messy. From spilled drinks and dumped over cheerios, life is messy. (thank goodness for dogs!). From tear stained faces to skinned knees and new scars, life is messy. From emptying out all the drawers to emptying the toy boxes, life is messy.  Life is Messy! Let it go and keep making messes!

Lesson 7:  Celebrate the little successes!

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My Sophie finally went poo in the potty! It has been a long time coming! I dare say, we may be done buying pull-ups! (at least day time ones) If you are a mom, you know how exciting this is! It was all I could do to restrain myself from posting it all over social media! I did text almost all my close friends and family! We celebrated this feat with ice cream and a toy.

That’s how toddlers are, they celebrate little things, like putting their shoes or pants on all by themselves. Or finally figuring out how to open the doors! Or putting that last puzzle piece together. Let’s take a lesson from our toddlers and celebrate the little successes. Like doing prayer/bible time even once or twice a week. Or maybe it is making it somewhere on time! How about getting noticed for a job well done. Picking up a few pieces of trash (that’s one less piece of trash!) Or finally learning to parallel park. Perhaps, it is making one person smile. Or making it to bed on time. Or making it through the day without killing your children.

Little successes add up to make a big difference!

Lesson 8: You are capable of so much more than you realize!

Do you know how many times Sophie has done things  I didn’t think she knew how to do?  Like the time she opened our screen door and walked outside, BY HERSELF with the dog! (we have no fence and we live on a steep hill!) Or the time she started drinking out of a regular cup.  Or  the time when I walked into her room and she had figured out a way to pull off items from the top of the dresser!  They are capable of so much more than we give them credit for!

And so are you!  Don’t sell yourself shot. Believe in yourself!

 

Yes, this year has taught me so much. It’s taught me that this parenting stuff is hard, that life is hard, and marriage is hard As the cliché goes, anything hard is worth doing!  I said at the beginning that I didn’t really like kids, but I LOVE my children. I love my Sophie and everything she is and everything she stands for. I love her just because. She is a gift. One that I do not deserve.

To my Sophia: rbp-42

I love you and everything you are and everything you have taught me, and everything you stand for. You have taught me so much more about love and life than I ever imagined.  You are uniquely wonderful and beautiful. God has a plan for you! I don’t know what it is yet, but it will big! Bigger and more wonderful than I or you daddy can imagine!

 

What are some lessons you have learned from your life experiences? I would love for you to share your stories!

Thanks for reading! If you liked this article, don’t forget to share!

 

 

 

 

15 Simple Ways to Show Someone You Care

Recently, I asked my husband what he considered the most important things he needed to do for his day to be successful. His response, quite frankly, surprised me. Not because of what he said, but more so because of what I had in mind. I was thinking along the lines of housework, meal planning., etc…  He quickly made me realize what really mattered. His list was 1. Spend time with your spouse. 2 Spend time with your children 3. Do something nice for somebody every day.

The last one is what really honestly floored me and totally made me reevauate, well, everything.

How do you do that exactly? How do you do something nice for somebody every day. It seems like such a simple tasks, but when I actually tried to put those words into practice, it proved to be quite difficult. The majority of my days are spent with a 30 something inch little person. Even when we leave the house, my focus is on not losing sight of her, keeping her from running out in front of a car, and from destroying other people’s property. You know, just your usual day spent chasing a toddler. To say or do somthig nice for somebody else??? Are you serious??

My husband’s mindset is right, even if you don’t do it correctly all the time and even if keeping your toddler from destroying other’s property might be considered your good deed for the day (even if they didn’t know it! :)). Perhaps, my service would be walking out of my house showered and with make up applied to my face. Gasp! They, being the world,  have no idea what they would have been presented with if I had not left my house somewhat prepared.  In all seriousness though, I sat down to to actually think of ways to actually be nice to somebody that did not include my toddler not coloring on their wall or demanding a 5th sucker. 🙂 I came up with the following list:

1. Wash your loved one’s car (You could either do this by hand or if you despise that you could take it to a basic car wash; I prefer the latter)

2. Freeze their favorite summer fruit and then bring it out in the winter for them to enjoy (this was inspiration from my friend Lisa)

3. Send an old fashioned card. You know, the ones you buy in a store and put a stamp on an envelope.

4. Send a simple text message telling your loved one how much you appreciate him/her.  It will put a smile on their face.

5. Prepare their coffee or tea just the way they like it or buy their favorite beverage

6. Bring home ice cream unannounced or whatever their favorite treat may be.

7. Flowers (even those who say they don’t care about flowers appreciate the gesture occasionally). It doesn’t have to be a dozen red roses; a simple bouquet from the grocery store will suffice.

8. Keep a bag of candy or gum at your workspace for co workers.

9. Do a chore someone else in your family always does.

10. Hold the door open, for anyone! It’s always appreciated.

11. Pick up somebody else’s trash. Sometimes the best deeds are those unnoticed.

12. Take cookies or donuts to a firehouse or to your work place or husband’s work, doctor’s office etc.. (They do not have to be homemade!)

13. Put $5 dollars in a library book or pay somebody’s library fine.

14. Try the pay it forward thing at a fast food restaurant or if you can afford it, find someone’s meal in a restaurant you can pay for.

15. Call a friend you haven’t talked to in awhile out of the blue.

What are some of your ideas for a simple kindness you can do for somebody else? I would love to hear from you. I challenge you to practice an act of kindness at least once a week for the next month. Once a week is really not very much, you can do it! Follow me as I attempt to meet the challenge as well at #showsomeoneyoucare

Proverbs 16:24, “Kind words are like honey-sweet to the soul and healthy for the body.”

Galatians 6:9, “So let’s not get tired of doing what is good.”

I Challenge You to Serve: Weekly inspriation on service

This week is all about service. The past week started out with me having jury duty. I, of course, was not looking forward to it (except for it did fall on a day I had to work, so I wasn’t too sad about missing work). Once I arrived at the courthouse, they talked logistics and judiciary process for about an hour. Then they started calling out names for the jury panels. They called eight panels, and about 30 people did not get called. I was one of those 30, so they excused us.  By that point I was actually starting to look forward to it. It would be something different, a break in the ordinary, and a good experience. In  essence, it was serving our country. I thought of all the soldiers serving our country now and in the past, and I thought serving on jury duty could be the least I could do. Hence, I decided for this week’s theme to focus on articles and inspiration about service.  I thought of all the times that I focus on myself and my family, and how little I focus on others. This, of course, is in direct contrast to what God teaches us. Of course, I don’t intentionally not serve others, I am just very busy and wrapped up in a life filled with toddlerhood, work, marriage, and pregnancy. I also thought about how much I want my child to lead a life of Christian service and humility. I can only teach that through my actions. Now, before children, I used to volunteer at random places quite frequently: at a volunteer clinic, a literary clinic, habitat for humanity, church activities.  I have since fallen off the rocker, if you will.  The following is some inspiration to start a life of service, for me and hopefully for you. All that to say: I do believe you have to take time for yourself, and by that I just mean, some kind of activity, even if for ten minutes to help you relax and rejuvenate, so that you may serve others with a humble heart.

1. I recently read an article titled “Four Totally Unselfish Things You Should Do Today”. Unfortunately, I forgot to save the link, so I do not have the link for you to read through the whole article. (I promise I will do better next time! I am learning!) My favorite quote from the article stated, “And that’s a shame, because every job-and every person—deserves to be treated with respect. Every job is important. Every employee is important.”

This especially rings true for me in my line of expertise. I work in an environment where you have people making six figures to those barely making ends meet, living  paycheck to paycheck, and all income levels in between. Somehow, we all have to work together. From doctor and manager, to nurse, to cleaning attendant, and to the maintenance crew. If one person fails at their job, then it could cause immense harm. Somebody else, if not multiple people will have to work ten times as hard. We have triple checks and double checks and triple checks on all of the previous checks. The ultimate goal is to ensure optimal safety and quality care to those in the most vulnerable position of having surgery. These people cannot speak for themselves; we are their voice. If one part of the system fails, then potentially someone’s mother, child, husband, sister, or loved one may be harmed.  Every person has to serve and work in some capacity to make the system work.  I wish we could all realize that and recognize the efforts of all parties involved and serve those people. Let every person know that they are important.

2. I am currently in the process of completing the “Make Over Your Morning” course, from moneysavingmom.com.  On Day four of the course, it asks the following question: Ask you spouse what he considers the top two to three tasks are to consider a day successful. Ironically, it stated that you might be surprised by the answer he provides. So I asked my husband, and I was surprised. I, of course, was thinking he would say something on the lines of housekeeping tasks. His top three: Spend time with God, Spend time with Family, and to go along with our theme, do something nice for somebody else every day. What an awesome thought, to do one thing nice for somebody everyday, one thing.  It doesn’t have to take up most of your day or be planned or it can be planned. Perhaps you can make cookies for your neighbor, mow their side of the yard. Perhaps you can let someone in front of you at the grocery store line? Perhaps you can pay for someone’s coffee or meal just out of the blue? Even something as simple as a compliment or letting someone know they are important. It could be for your family, co-worker, neighbor, church member, or complete stranger.  I challenge you this week to take five minutes every day to do something kind for somebody.  I would love to hear any other ideas you have. My kindness for today day: baking cookies that my husband would like. (It was his idea, after all.)

1 Corinthinians 12: 4-6 “There are different kinds of spiritual gifts, but the same Spirit is the source of them all. There are different kinds of service, but we serve the same Lord. God works in diferent ways, but it is the same God who does the work in all of us.”

3. What better example of service is there then to look to the Bible.  One of my favorite stories of service is the Parable of the Good Samaritan.

“A Jewish man was traveling from Jerusalem down to Jericho, and he was attacked by bandits. They stripped him of his clothes, beat him up, and left him half dead beside the road. By chance a priest came along. But when he saw the man lying there he crossed to the other side of the road and passed him by. A Temple assistant walked over and looked at him lying there, but he also passed by on the other side. Then a despised Samaritan came along, and when he saw the man, he felt compassion for him. Going over to him, the Samaritan soothed his wounds with olive oil and wine and bandaged them. Then he put the man on his own donkey and took him to an inn, where he took care of him. The next day he handed the innkeeper two silver coins, telling him “Take care of this man. If his bill runs higher than this, I’ll pay you the next time I’m here.” Luke 10: 30-35 

Jesus tells us to go and do the same (verse 37). Don’t be the person who leaves the person for dead or looks the other way.  Be the person who picks up the trash, buys a homeless man a meal, helps the elderly carry their load. I am challenging myself as well. It is so easy to get wrapped up in our own lives and forget to look around.  Look around, and be the one who practices compassion. Follow along with me as we complete our challenge together.

I will leave you with words to a favorite hymnal. Check out the following version on you tube. Beautiful! ( https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0rznoe3zKxM)

“Make me a servant, humble and meek

Lord let me lift up , those who are weak.

May the prayer of my heart always be

Make me a servant, Make me a servant,

Make me a servant, today”

Neighboring in extraordinary ways

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Lady in Peru who just received new glasses!

Lady in Peru who just received new glasses!

 

My original plan was to focus on women (and still is). However, Friday night I was inspired to write on wha it means to be a good neighbor. Halloween night was our first time to take our little girl trick or treating. We are walking door to door (which was bizarre seeing how I have not done that since I was a little girl. ) We go to this one house; they have a whole spread set up in their garage: cheese dip, chili, sweets, cupcakes, the whole nine yards. They apparently provide this every year for all their neighbors. Now, we have lived in this neighborhood for four years now. I have walked/ran by the this house almost every day for four years. We have never officially met the couple that lives in this house (we have exchanged a few words and a smile and a wave as I stroll by) But tonight we meet three or four neighbors we have never met. It was inspiring, and to keep with the theme extraordinary!  To know there are still goo neighbors (in spite of the image the media portrays), is uplifting. It inspires me to be a better neighbor. It inspires me to make cookies for my neighbor, to play with neighbor kids just because I care. to stop and talk to that neighbor in the yard.  Of course, this is not the first time we have met extraordinary neighbors. When we first moved in, our neighbors on either side of us were awesome. One would be mowing our yard before we had our own mower. The other was watching our (then) puppy for free. Unfortunately, they have both since moved, one house replaced with equally awesome neighbors. The other side, I am sad to say, we have not met. My challenge to you is this: STOP, LOOK around, LISTEN to your neighbors. Mow that one yard, walk a dog, be a listening ear. In everybody’s own way, we can all be extraordinary neighbors, so let’s reach inside ourselves and put ourself out there. The challenge for the week: find someone in your life that you do not know, or do not know very well, and go out of your way to provide an act of kindness. It does not have to be mind altering; it is the little things that make the most extraordinary ripples sometimes.  Visit a nursing home.  Offer to babysit a co-workers kids so they can have a break or a date.  Pay for someone’s coffee or groceries.

Be sure to share your challenge and please share any stories where a stranger’s act of kindness made a difference for you.

“For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you clothed me. I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me… And the King will answer them, Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me”  (Matthew 25: 35-36, 40; ESV)