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.



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!


For the Love of Chocolate

DSC_0197I LOVE chocolate! Just about any kind, with nuts, without, with peanut butter, caramel, whatever. If it has chocolate in it or around it, I will eat it and be bribed by it. One of my favorite kinds of chocolate is Dove chocolate, every flavor. I even love the little sayings that come in the wrapper. Now, I’m sure the Dove manufacturers did not intend to provoke profound thinking on their wrappers. And often, I just read them in passing. Some are cute, some are downright stupid (sorry Dove), and some are sweet. But one recently did have me pondering deep thoughts (maybe it’s the breastfeeding hormones).  “Do all things with love.”

Do ALL things with LOVE. Really?? Do ALL things with LOVE? Am I supposed to potty train with love, change diapers with love, eat, feed my children, fold laundry with love? While these things seem trivial, are they? What if we did everything from the lens of “Do ALL things with LOVE“.

Would that make the mundane things a little more enjoyable, or just increase the pressure of being a parent? After all, as all moms and dads know, toddlers and infants are exhausting (as I’m sure any age can be).  Between taking my two year old to the potty for the millionth time, cleaning the floor and sheets from pee and poo (I am happy to report that we are now almost completely potty trained!, just trying to get that #2!). Between  begging her to go # 2 on the potty and bribing her with a new toy and ice cream (which has not worked), and just short of forcing her on the toilet (which I realize does not work either!).  Between nursing every few hours to soothing a fussy baby at all hours, the last thing I  think about sometimes is love. I think about sleep and rest and peace! I think about being able to sit down with my lunch and not have little hands grabbing at my plate demanding at that instant to eat, even though they may have just eaten or just said they were done! I think about drinking HOT tea or coffee. I want to read a book in its entirety and in one sitting. I want to finish writing this post without interruption. I want to be able to eat my chocolate without having to hide it or share it with my child.

Maybe that is the point. Parenting is not glorious work. But neither was Jesus’ work . Did he want to constantly be traveling and speaking and healing? How many times did he get interrupted while praying or having a meal with his friends. How many times did he get woken up by cries and whines? How many times did he just want to spend time with his Father without having to break up an argument or soothe somebody? He did those things out of love and with love. Do ALL things with love.

“Let all that you do be done in love.” 1 Corinthians 16: 14

What if, instead of lamenting our days away we said the following instead:

How amazing is it that my two year old is learning to go to the bathroom all by herself? How awesome is it that I can see my baby boy growing right before my eyes?. How extraordinary are all those dirty and wet diapers, for they are a sign that he is healthy?

While not the most glorious acts, these are all opportunities to show love. Show our love in discipline and teaching and learning. And even though this season of my life with young children seems to be dragging by at times, I know this too shall pass. Will I look back and say I did all things with love and that my children knew they were loved? At the end of the day, ask yourself:  Did I have a heart filled with love or was my heart weary and weighed down with the tasks and to do lists of the day?

I want to make sure my children know that they are loved. I don’t want them to remember a clean house, every meal being at 6:30, or an organized playroom. While there is certainly nothing wrong with, and I do aim for those things, my point is this:

I want my children to remember the laughter we shared, coloring and building blocks together. I want them to remember me baking with them and taking them to the park. I want them to have love filled memories.  I want them to remember that I loved them, just as they were. And, perhaps, I will share my chocolate. 🙂 (Sometimes…)

Thanks for reading! Don’t forget to share!

Be sure to follow me for weekly encouragement from the realities of my ordinary life!


IMG_1098The first few inspirations of the week come from a few articles from my MOPS email I receive:


The above article talks about how a community of women were able to pull together during times of sadness and tragedy. It speaks to the fact that we need a community of support, no matter your beliefs.

2. The following article talks about guilt that we, especially as moms, lay on ourselves. It speaks about not feeling guilty for basically being who you are and that we need to learn to respect each other’s parenting styles. We all come from different backgrounds and experiences. You are a good parent.   I especially like the points about letting your child watch a little television and the point of how you choose to feed your child. I, for one, struggle with guilt and pressure of both of these.

3. Next is an article about not having many toys:  I know, for one, we have too many toys! Partly because I had several handed down to me and partly because of the blessing of doting grandparents, aunts, uncles, etc. I am thankful for what we have, and in fact, I probably suggested several of the gifts we have received. I think we thought we needed more than we did, being that this is our first child. I must admit, this one is hard for me, as I see things all the time that I want to buy for our daughter, though she barely plays with some of her toys now. She loves balls, blocks, books, little people, and basically anything she can push or carry around. Other than that, everything else gets pushed to the bottom of the toy chest. She never stays on one thing for very long, with the exception of playing outside. She would stay outside all day if I let her.

4. Lastly is the following video between Melissa McCarthy and Ellen:  I don’t normally view celebrity videos, but I think this one is notable. Melissa hit the nail on the head when talking about how women are degraded in Hollywood and the media, and how young girls are watching. It does effect them. What even impressed me more was how Melissa didn’t get defensive, but rather appeared to respond to this reporter, who greatly insulted her, in a loving and gracious manner. I don’t know about you, but I would want to knock that reporter down a few pegs, and not in a gracious manner. Thank you to Melissa, who not only stood up for young women all across the world, but also taught the world about graciousness.  We, as women, need to stand  up for ourselves and stand up for our daughters and take a look at what our culture is teaching our children.

Finally, I will leave you with a verse for the week:

“Wherever your treasure is, there the desires of your heart will also be.” Luke 12:34

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:

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 ( 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:

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.

The True Definition of Hospitality

Above picture was taken in Peru, 2012. We received great hospitality from numerous families while there!

Above picture was taken in Peru, 2012. We received great hospitality from numerous families while there!

Hospitality has always been a big thing for me. Growing up, my mom always seemed to be embarrassed to have people over, especially last-minute. We lived in a small house with very little storage, thus equaling our house being cluttered. I can now relate, but I have always enjoyed having people over and still do to this day. I struggle with the same thing my mom did. My house is in the ballpark of 1200 to 1400 square feet, with not much storage, and not even a formal dining room or laundry room (thus my living area becomes my laundry room).

I remember as a child never noticing other people’s mess.  While I don’t have people over near as much as would like, I try to look at my house with fresh eyes and think what will really be noticed ( And the rest goes in our bedroom. 🙂 ) . The things I remember about going over to people’s homes was the fun I had and the love and warmth I felt.  To me that is more important than sparkling floors and an empty sink (though those are nice). I find that if I wait until I have time to clean my house to have guests (consider that I have a toddler and a constantly shedding furry dog running around making messes behind everything that I clean), then I would never have company.

All that being said, what is the definition of hospitality? states it this way:

1. The friendly reception and treatment of guests or strangers.

2. The quality or disposition of receiving and treating guests and strangers in a warm, friendly, generous way

Synonyms: warmth, cordiality, geniality, friendliness

What does the Bible say about hospitality?

Matthew 25:37-39,40

“‘Lord, when did we ever see you hungry and feed you? Or thirsty and give you something to drink? Or a stranger and show you hospitality? Or naked and give you clothing? And the King will say, ‘I tell you the truth, when you did it to one of the least of these my brothers and sisters, you were doing it to me!’ ”

Romans 12:13

“When God’s people are in need, be ready to help them. Always be eager to practice hospitality”

Hebrews 13:2

“Don’t forget to show hospitality to strangers, for some who have done this have entertained angels without realizing it!”

What about Biblical stories of hospitality?

Matthew 9:9 -13: Matthew the tax collector, who when Jesus called him, hosted a dinner party for Jesus along with some disreputable guests.

Luke 7; The story of the sinful woman washing Jesus feet while his current hosts looked at the woman condescendingly, verse 44 “Look at this woman kneeling here. When I entered your home, you didn’t offer me water to wash the dust from my feet, but she has washed them with her tears and wiped them with her hair. You didn’t greet me with a kiss, but from the time I first came in, she has not stopped kissing my feet. You neglected the courtesy of olive oil to anoint my head, but she has anointed my feet with rare perfume.

And consider the following stories: The story of Mary and Martha (Luke 10:38 -42);  Zacchaeus (Luke 19:1-10); and the story of Lot in Sodom (Genesis 19: 1-3)

Not in any of the above definitions or examples does God once talk about cleaning your house or making sure everything is in perfect order. In fact, he cautions  Martha against worrying about that very thing and instructs her Mary is right where she needs to be, at His feet.  Now I don’t know about you, but I am definitely more of a Martha. I have to fight to keep my focus where it needs to be.  My mind is too busy making sure everything is perfect. (It never will be. )  Is not that Jesus’s whole point? Our hearts should be with Him, and we should stop what we are doing in order to practice true hospitality, even to strangers! Jesus knew the rest didn’t matter. He knew as long as your heart was right, the rest would fall into place. Forget the dishes, forget refilling glasses, or making everything smell good, forget  making sure everyone is entertained at every second; Just be.

Recently, I had the extraordinary fortune of receiving a rare kind of hospitality:

A few months ago, my husband and I decided to take our two-year old and  cheer my brother-in-law on at a marathon in which he was competing (He did awesome by the way). Now , I don’t know if you have ever done this, but this was a first for my husband and I. We got up early Saturday, tossed our toddler quite literally into her stroller, and walked very quickly to the start line.  Fortunately, the hotel we were staying at was within walking distance of the start and finish line. We made it on time! Whew! We felt like we had run a marathon! We were there for five minutes, and then there was the lag time between start and finish.  Our daughter was getting over a double ear infection; I was developing a sinus infection and as I am pregnant could not take anything that would be effective. My poor husband was having to deal with the both of us. Think cranky baby, plus cranky pregnant wife equals stressed out hubby! And it was February in the mountains and freezing!  There we are, walking around town freezing our booties off, no place to stay (we had to check our of our hotel already). Our toddler was having an epic tantrum about which only God knows.  My husband and I were arguing (and probably yelling) at each other on the streets about what to do about said tantrum. Not an ideal situation.  My emotional pregnant self starts crying. By this time, we are all basically acting like toddlers. We finally decide to take a friend of a friend’s invitation to come stay at her house. We find the house and are instantly taken in and made to feel at home. They even have a spare pack and play for our  justifiably cranky toddler to take a nap. Talk about answered prayers (and we weren’t even praying though that would have probably made a huge difference in our drama)! We were able to leave our child at the house while we saw our friends cross the finish line. The fact that we left our child with a woman we had met for five minutes, attests to the peace and generous warmth we received there (our utter frustration and exhaustion may have  played a small part as well). I have never felt so at home with complete strangers then I did at that moment. I only hope and pray that one day I can repay the favor to somebody. If only we had opened our hearts and their door sooner. God knew what we needed at that moment, and I truly believe he put that family in our lives for just that fleeting moment. We may never see those families ever again. From the depths of my soul we will ever be thankful.

Even the smallest moments may make a difference,  if only for a moment.  If you ever think you are not good enough to be a hostess, remember God does not call us to be perfect. He only calls us to open our doors and clean off a seat. Offer what God has put in your heart.

If you have ever had a time where you have received hospitality, please share! I would love to hear your story!

Extraordinary Moments of the Week, December 28th-January 3rd

1. Sunday: I was at the grocery store checkout counter; the lady in front of me left her buggy in the middle of the aisle. Instead of walking around it,  I moved it where it belonged. (though I admit with a little grumbling). I hope it at least helped the employees a little.

2. Sunday: We received good news this week that a friend’s breast mass was benign! So thankful for that!

3. Monday: Usually, I go to Costco with my husband on an evening or weekend. I decided this week to go on Monday by myself. (we really needed some stuff before the weekend!). I was glad I did! As it was 10:00 in the morning, it was not busy.  We (my Sophie and I) were also able to enjoy the sample stations. (usually there are a hundred people waiting in line, and I just don’t have that much patience or time to wait in line!)

4. Tuesday:  I enjoy Christmas lights all season, but I tend to  enjoy them more after Christmas. Maybe it’s because a small part of me is ready for the new year, but I think mostly I know they are only going to be on for a few more days. Then we will have to wait another 11 months!  Bittersweet.

5. On Wednesday, I was able to enjoy an afternoon to myself. Now, I love spending time with my daughter and husband, but I do enjoy those rare moments of times where it is just me. I did end up cleaning most of the day, but it was without interruptions! (I forgot how productive I can be without a toddler following my every step!)

6. New Year’s day and New year’s eve, we were able to enjoy catching up with dear friends. We only need to make more time in our daily lives!

7. Friday: Dance party with my little girl. (And no, I did not video it!)

One last moment that was too sweet to not share: Tonight while putting my Sophie to bed, I was able to rock with her. Now this may not seem like much, but for us it’s rare. Sophie is usually asking to be put her in her crib and is not willing to sit still for longer than a minute. But tonight, but she sat in my lap with her precious head bundled against my chest, and we listened to the rain. My little bit of heaven on earth.

Don’t forget to share any moments you had this week!

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.