Category Archives: Uncategorized

Is it wrong to want to be beautiful?

monalisaBeautiful:

  • the quality or aggregate of qualities in a person or thing that gives pleasure to the senses or pleasurably exalts the mind or spirit : loveliness.
  • having beauty; possessing qualities that give great pleasure or satisfaction to see, hear, think about, etc.; delighting the senses or mind

So, how do you respond to these definitions of beauty? Do they line up with your own definition? Who comes to mind when you think of the word beautiful? Someone famous? Someone you know? (I know, I know, I ask a lot of questions.)

Here’s the thing: do you consider yourself beautiful, or is that honor only reserved for the exceptionally good-looking-few out there? How about this: can you consider yourself beautiful?  (Did you squirm?) Frankly, there’s not very many of us who have the self assurance to declare that, yes, we are beautiful. First of all, we think it’s awfully arrogant to admit such a thing, and secondly, not everyone has a mug like Halle Berry, so how fair is that?

But let me ask you this, isn’t beauty relative? Isn’t it supposed to be in the eye of the beholder? Let me further ask you, did you read the definitions at the top of the page? Beauty is defined as ‘something’ that pleases the senses (not just sight); delighting the senses or mind. We all have met  that one person who appeared so gorgeous when we first spotted them, yet as soon as they opened their mouth, or acted in a certain way our perception immediately changed. And we also know of someone who isn’t necessarily eye-candy to the average Joe, but who we can’t help but gravitate to because their attitude and demeanor pulls us in.

I will admit that I have struggled with this whole beauty thing for years. Our society touts a certain kind of beauty and if you don’t quite measure up to the standards, well then, you don’t measure up at all. After 4 babies, then hitting depression full-on due to unresolved issues, plus a failing marriage, I have really felt ugly. Not only ugly on the outside, but I felt ugly on the inside too. I just couldn’t see myself in a favorable light, and sadly, it affected my behavior.

It has taken a ton of in-depth searching for me to not be disgusted with myself anymore; a complete over-haul of my understanding of God and how He sees me to assist in getting over my “bad case of the uglies”. Learning to take responsibility for my emotions, my thoughts, as well as my eating habits has resulted in a more favorable view of myself. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t fawn over myself in the mirror. But I also don’t sneer at my reflection anymore either. Knowing that my Creator smiles at me, calls me Lovely, and waits patiently for me to welcome Him into my thought processes and daily living is nothing short of amazing. And the same goes for you.

You are loved. You are beautiful.

Food for thought, Chica.

 “For the Lord your God has arrived to live among you. He is a mighty savior. He will rejoice over you with great gladness. With His love, He will calm all your fears. He will exult over you by singing a happy song.” Zephaniah 3:17

Talk to me. Tell me about how you see yourself in terms of beauty.

[contact_form]

The Art of Being Healthy

images-3Did you groan when you read the title, or was that just me? If I’m to be completely honest, the concept of living healthy can seem overwhelming when working full-time, raising kids, balancing and juggling all the details of life.. the drive-thru is so much easier on crazy days, and that work-out doesn’t always get done like I planned. Maybe I’m the only one out there that struggles with it. Maybe not, either. The problem is that a large number of us don’t take responsibility for our physical well-being until we are presented with a problem, which is unfortunate.

Let me ask you something:

  • Do you know how you feel?
  • Do you know your body, and how it reacts to certain foods or your environment?
  • Do you follow what the latest trend or guru has put in front of you and hope for the best? Or do you just eat and do whatever you feel like and roll with the punches, whatever they may be?

Here’s why I think those are valid questions: I have noticed that there are pockets of people who have completely taken over the welfare of their bodies due to an illness or disease (including obesity), typically resulting in a complete overhaul and subsequent change in outcome. ie: they get better.

The quirky thing to me is that it’s not a one-size-fits-all solution that they’ve embraced. For example, one may have gone completely vegan, and another paleo, yet they are each thriving. My little brain wants to find the common denominator and lay it down so I can have the ultimate in answers and never have to wonder again. My guess is it may not be quite so hard-and-fast as I’d like, though. What it appears to comes down to is that they discovered what works for them as an individual and ran with it. They learned to listen to their bodies and made the necessary adjustments to serve it well. Maybe it was food allergies they dealt with, or an emotional attachment to unhealthy foods,  maybe a thyroid issue, maybe cancer, maybe MS… but it was something personal. And they took ownership of it.

A recent analysis of weight loss research by The New England Journal of Medicine, entitled Myths, Presumptions, and Facts about Obesity had some very interesting things to say regarding our excuses for not setting high goals and making drastic changes. Hmmm…

We are all very unique, complex individuals and I have no business saying that we all should adhere to a particular regime or plan when it comes to getting and remaining healthy. That said, there are some fairly basic rules-of-thumb regarding healthy-living , and I think we should call them out:

  1. Get as close to the original real-deal stuff as possible. Meaning organic, home-grown, grass-fed, let it out of the freakin’ cage kind of thing. The less toxic, the more natural, the better you will feel and perform. It’s the way you were created to thrive.
  2. Take a closer look at grains and how you respond to them. (Going gluten-free won’t necessarily solve a gut problem, so nix it all together for a bit and then slowly add it back in and see how you feel.) Make sure they are complex/whole grains. Not white flour products like store-bought pasta and muffins…
  3. My vegan friends will tell you to do the same with meat. The issue in both of these instances is inflammation. Personally I can’t do white flour or other simple starches or I swell up. Nice, eh? People with arthritis, or gut issues have gone one way or the other and noticed significant results after a few months. Interesting.
  4. Scrap the sugar! And aspartame. Try Stevia, or agave nectar. They won’t spike your insulin the same, and don’t have the same poisonous effects on your system.
  5. Omega 3’s. You need ’em, but probably don’t get enough of them. Essential for a healthy heart, brain, and immune system. Fish-derived omega-3’s are not your only option either. Flax seed is a good source, as well as algae oil (which, interestingly enough, is the primary source of omega-3’s for coldwater fish).
  6. Eat your breakfast. In the vast weight registry of people who lost more than 70 lbs and kept it off, the common denominators were simply eating breakfast and exercise.
  7. More fruits and veggies. The more of these you eat, the less junk you’ll be apt to take in, while helping create health by providing your body with tools it needs. By the way, this is the only thing that all nutrition experts will agree on. We need to eat more fruit and vegetables for our health!
  8. Move that bod! Get your tush off the couch, and do something. Go for a 30 min walk, take your kids to the park and play with them this time, or maybe actually take the dog for a walk instead of just letting it off the leash to run around on it’s own. You were designed to move. You don’t have to sign up for the marathon next week. Just move! Everyday.

Being healthy is a state of mind just as much as a state of being. Yesterday I touched on contentment, and if you haven’t dealt with some core issues first, your body will respond in kind. You are a complex being.

How you think affects how you feel.

How you feel can affect how you think, so be careful.

Take stock of why and what you eat, and how much.

Take care of yourself. I believe you can!

 Let me know what your biggest successes and failures are regarding taking control of your health. 

[contact_form]

 

 

 

My morning cup of… Kale

kaleKale is one of those veggies that is rich, rich, rich in vitamins A, K and C and other antioxidants and has proved to have anti-cancer and anti-inflammatory benefits. So I thought I’d share my morning staple with you. I am not a die-hard juicer, but am completely convinced of the many reasons to do it, so when I stumbled upon this recipe and began to make it every morning, I’d have to say I was pleasantly surprised at how fantastic it helped me feel. Needless to say, I am always disappointed if I forget to restock one of the ingredients or don’t make enough time to juice before my day begins. I love it!

Thank you to The Holy Kale for providing me with this super recipe. Lauren even goes on to explain the benefits of each of the ingredients, which I find very helpful. Here it is:

Kale Cleanse Juice

I meyer lemon

1/2 cup chopped pineapple

1 bunch kale

1 bunch continental parsley

Read more

Don’t tell me to be happy!

Be happyBe Happy.

Almost makes you want to break out and sing in a Jamaican accent doesn’t it? Not really?

The word happy often gets lumped in with other words like “nice” or “awesome”, and has lost it’s meaning somewhere along the way due to over (or ill) use. So what is the definition of happy? According to the dictionary, happy is:

  1.  enjoying
  2.  characterized by well-being and contentment
  3.  feeling or showing contentment
  4.  having a sense of confidence in or satisfaction with (a person, arrangement, or situation)

Ok, so what if you’re not happy? Am I suggesting by being happy that you must plaster a smile on your face even if you don’t want to, and force yourself to feel something you’d rather not? No. No, I’m not. You can’t force yourself to feel anything. It is a by-product; a result. But you can influence the means by which you attain that result.

For years I have allowed my emotions to swing like a pendulum, depending on other people or circumstances to dictate the direction it would take. I blamed anyone and everything else for how I reacted and felt. It was wrong. My circumstances may not be favorable in a given moment, but I have the ability to control how I respond, instead of reacting. I can decide in that moment that the situation does not have power to make me react unfavorably if I do not give it. I control my thoughts, not the circumstances. Nor does the person who has irritated me, or offended me, or caused me harm. Ultimately, how I view and subsequently feel about what happens to me is completely on my shoulders. Am I keeping the power or giving it away?

Think I’m on crack so far? Think that since I don’t know what mistakes you have made, or what has been done to you, or who is messing with you that I couldn’t possibly be talking to you? Let me just say that I have either experienced myself or have relationships with, heard stories of, and watch attentively the lives of people who live with alcoholics or addicts; people who have been raped, abused, beaten, or neglected; suffered loss, marriage failure, death of a child or other loved one… and the people who stick out above the rest are the ones who have chosen to take the power away from what has been done or is ongoing, and be solely responsible for themselves and how they think and live. Now that is power.

** It is important for me to interject here and say that if you are in the middle of an abusive/harmful situation, please get help. There are resources for you to tap into, and I urge you to do so. Your life matters.

It takes courage to take the reins. To whip off the dark sunglasses, and allow yourself the freedom to spread your wings. But that freedom is sweet. Oh so sweet. (You may even be surprised at some other benefits of this change in perspective, like lower blood pressure!)

One of the most useful tips I’ve received in regard to this is to learn to say, “oh well”. Not “oh well, I don’t give a rip”, but “oh well, I can’t control that person or the circumstance, but I can control how I respond.” Powerful stuff. Oftentimes we expend so much energy reacting and trying to control or manipulate people or situations when it is really quite impossible in the 1st place. So we become bitter. We feel stuck. We have lost our ambition, or we live in fear.

Fear stinks.

My friend, that is no way to live. Believe me. No wonder Jesus said to take our thoughts captive. They can either poison, or sweeten our lives. They are a force to be reckoned with. Be responsible for your thoughts, which will contribute to your emotions, which will contribute to the quality of your life.

Learn to be thankful.

Learn to be content in all things.

Learn to be happy. Despite your circumstances.

I believe you can.

God, grant me the Serenity to accept the things I cannot change

Courage to change the things I can

and the Wisdom to know the difference. – amen

 

**there can be other factors contributing to unhappiness like hormones, mental or emotional issues. Again, take responsibility for yourself and seek help. You deserve it.

Shameful Little Secrets

embarrassment       Sharp intake of breath. Right hand rubs my forehead, covering my eyes. Barely audible groan. Whoosh of exhaled breath. Stomach in knots.

That’s what happens when something crosses my mind to remind me of an embarrassing moment, a poor judgement call, a foot-in-the-mouth episode, colorful language I let fly without thinking, or anything else I’ve done that now makes me cringe. These moments still take me by surprise, and tend to plunge me into a mud hole of despair. My shameful little secrets grab me by the throat with no intention of letting go.

I shake my head in disbelief as I recall the people I have hurt, or embarrassment I’ve incurred. What brings tears to my eyes is knowing I have besmirched the name of God countless times by my ignorance, my hot temper, bad 1st impression, or a poorly handled situation. For most of my life I have lived under the category heading of  ‘Christian’. I’ve attended church, youth group, camp, mission trips, and even traveled through the U.S. singing in churches about love and blessings. Yet I still behaved poorly. I would be one of those wretched souls who cause someone that does not know God to look and say “no thanks, if that’s what it means to be a Christian, I don’t want it.”

Believing that it was completely up to me to muster up enough love and control to better my life and be a good example, I deemed myself a failure. A lost cause. 1 Corinthians 13 -the famous Love chapter in the Bible – was avoided at all costs lest I be reminded of my lack of fortitude in that area. I did not have enough love, no matter how deep I dug.

I suppose it’s taken slamming to the concrete floor of nothingness and loosening my hold on all that I thought I could control to allow me to discover priceless treasure: I am different. I am unique. And the anger I have kept prisoner for over 20 years, fueled by fear, does not need to remain as my primary staple for survival. Slowly, but oh so surely, I have begun to cock my head in wonder as I listen to the whisperings of love that have been slipping past my defenses. Gently seeping into the hidden places of pain, the musty cellar hiding my insecurities and conclusions that I do not measure up.

The Voice I am learning to recognize, learning to trust, speaks to me of a love that is not based on what I do or have done in the past. It is given freely to me because the Giver is like that. He gives freely. The only requirement is that I accept it. To accept Him as the ultimate giver of love, freedom, peace, and fullness of life. His grace is immeasurable. And as I welcome this grace with jerks and halts and stops, it begins to settle into my bones, filling me with strength.

What baffles me the most in this extraordinary process is that as I release my anger and in turn accept love and adoration from the Giver, I find I don’t react to people or situations negatively like I used to. Sure I slip up once in awhile, but learning that God is bigger  than I am, and loves me for me somehow enables me to respond rather than react.

That love I could not seem to muster up on my own? It bubbles up to the surface and overflows, and it didn’t originate with me. What a beautiful thing.

 

 

You make me so angry!

Do other people drive you nuts sometimes?

Do you hate it when they just won’t quit? When they don’t get it?

angry

When they won’t stop doing the thing you told them not to do? (It’s for their own good, right?)

Yeah, me too. So why are we the ones with the headaches, the ulcers, the high blood pressure, the once-happy-now-irritable temperaments? It’s their fault, not ours, right?

Wrong.

Let me throw this out there: has it occurred to you that the offending individual will most likely continue their behavior whether you badger them or not? Now, I’m not talking about young children that are our responsibility to teach and protect. I mean the spouse, the sibling, the friend, the acquaintance, the parent, the adult child… the ones that you’re allowing to get under your skin. If you just up and quit the reminding, the bailing out, the protecting, the defending, the hounding, the rescuing, I wonder what would happen? I’ll tell you what would happen, you’d be free!

Hear me when I say this: you can’t control them. You may try, but the reality is that you can’t. The individual that is causing you so much angst is responsible for themselves. Period. They make their own decisions whether you are involved or not. You can have influence, yes, but the choices they make are theirs and theirs alone.

The choice you have is whether or not you’re going to die a slow death of suffering by giving them the power to affect your well-being (do you really want to give that power away?), or to own your responses and process your emotions in a thoughtful, freedom-giving manner. You can do that you know. Amazing, but some of us have lived our entire lives without that knowledge. Somehow we have conducted our day to day lives with the belief that our state of mind or ability to have a good day or experience was dependent on how someone else behaves. Nope.

I’m not saying that what they do won’t affect you. I am saying that you have the choice as to how you will respond and what you will do with what they do or say to you. You can let it fester and become bitter, or angry, or hurt and dejected, or you can choose to believe that they don’t have the power to control you. How freeing is that?

Get off the roller-coaster sweet’ums. Take the power back, and take responsibility. You can do it!

Side note:

  • If your good feelings about yourself stem from how someone approves of you, or whether they seem to like you or not;
  • if you can’t seem to be happy unless you are rescuing that person;
  • you don’t really know what your likes or dislikes are anymore, but you do whatever they like;
  • how that person presents themselves in dress and appearance or how they behave is to you a direct reflection on yourself;
  • or the quality of your life is dependent on the quality, values, and opinions of that other person,

I encourage you to consider the fact you may be co-dependent. It’s “a pattern of learned behaviors, feelings, and beliefs that make life painful.” (Sondra Smalley)

A social worker named Sharon Wegscheider-Cruse has defined it as, “all persons who

  1. are in love or in a marriage relationship with an alcoholic (or someone who engages in addictive behaviors. ie: drugs, booze, work, food.)
  2. have one or more alcoholic parents or grandparents, or
  3. grew up in an emotionally repressive family”

According to her, this includes 96% of the population. Whoa. If this rings true for you at all, you’re not alone. I urge you to begin the journey to take your life back, by looking for an Al-anon group in your area and get the support you need. There are many experienced counselors out there too, so please don’t wait. I regularly attend a group in my area, and it has been life-changing. You can click on this link  Al-anon to find one near you.

Take care of yourself.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Failing to achieve my goals- and how I fixed it!

frustratedSo, its February. How’s the New Year’s eve resolutions panning out? If you’re anything like the rest of the population, maybe the fire within has dimmed a wee bit now that we’re a month in to 2013.

I got an article in my inbox this morning that spoke right to this resolution-sapping phenomenon, and I’d like to share it with you. Dr. Mark Hyman addresses something that often escapes our radar because we are so downright determined to accomplish what it is we think we have set out to do, and often trip ourselves up in the process. It took me a long time to finally realize this about myself, and so maybe this can help you to fast-forward a bit and skip the tedious wandering I was trapped in for too long.

Dr. HymanI like Dr. Hyman’s approach to living because he focuses on what’s important, what is needed, and not just how to cover up or shmooze over an issue. Here’s the article:

Eat better, sleep more, exercise more, learn more, love more, love better, be a better son, father, friend, be a better doctor, reach more people, heal the planet, end obesity, starvation, and global warming – ARRRRRGGHHHHHHH!!

It’s enough to make me want to stay in bed and watch movies on iTunes.

How can I do all of this? How can I wake up and figure out what do to first, second, or third? How can I achieve even one of these things? I actually fail all the time. There is absolutely no way I can achieve my goals.

Our culture is awash with endless pressure to do more, do better, be skinnier, be richer, be happier, be fitter, and be healthier. We are offered endless lists of what do to, how to achieve more, reach our dreams, lose weight, attain the five steps toimmortality, find the seven ways to stop wrinkles, or how to lose 100 pounds in ten daysget the story