Blog · God · kindness · Life · live · love · new · opinion · thoughts · Wordpress · words · write

Our Worst Enemy.

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Fat.  Ugly.  Worthless.  Stupid.  Short.  Useless.  Unable.  Lazy.  Invisible.  Weird.  Quirky.  Broken.  Alone.  Indecisive.  Anxious.  Gullible.  Weak.  Insecure.  Detached. 

When you have an overachiever at the office, you may feel a bit frustrated.  Maybe you will call them names to your peers, accuse them of sucking up to the boss.   You mutter on the phone to others finding anything negative to say about them that you can.  It’s ok to vent.  We are human.  But, what you don’t know is this.  They work hard to hide pain.  They work hard to block it out.  They don’t have what you may have at home, like family.  Work fills the void.  For 8 hours, they are somebody.  Somebody they don’t hate.  Somebody they wish they could be all the time.  Somebody who matters.  She goes to sleep at night, excited to go back to feeling this way in the morning again.  Weekends are long and vacations aren’t necessary.  She doesn’t help everyone for attention, she helps because to her, this is her family.  Work is her life.

Your cousin didn’t show up to your grandfather’s funeral.  Terrible, right?  You instantly talk about how it’s not right and how selfish they are.  They must be living it up or found something better to do.  Everybody goes to pay their final respects.  Anyone who doesn’t is inconsiderate and you will not associate yourself with them again!  What you don’t know is this.  Your cousin sat in the car, shaking and crying for an hour.  Hyperventilating because of anxiety.  Uncontrollable anxiety which can hit at any given moment.  She wants to be there, she’s trying to be.  Her brain just won’t let her.  She prays to God to get her through, just for today.  It’s too much.  She doesn’t want this to happen at the funeral.  The attention shouldn’t be on her, the focus should be on the beautiful memory of her grandfather.  She decides to stay home to make sure she doesn’t ruin anything once again.

You notice somebody wearing an outfit a little snug.  Instinctively, you make a comment to a friend about how she should not be wearing that.  “I’d kill myself if I looked like that.”  The girl overheard you, closed her eyes and could feel the sting of the tears prickling.  You don’t know that she heard you.  You also don’t know that it took her years to get to this point.  To get to the point of working hard to lose weight.  To feel a little bit more comfortable in her skin, she took the plunge and wore something a bit out of her comfort zone.  She convinced herself 7 times this morning, changing in and out of other outfits, to finally leave the house in this.  She felt good, yet could still hear his voice in the back of her mind.  You see for years she heard from someone she thought loved her about how disgusting she was.  How she should never wear anything aside from oversized clothing.  How she must wish she looked like other women, so she could actually put on a bathing suit.  Today took a lot for her.  But, listening to somebody confirm what he always said made her realize that maybe he was right after all.  She didn’t report to work that night.  She couldn’t handle feeling worthless anymore.  Today, you helped her reach her final breaking point and you probably didn’t think about her feelings for a minute.  She didn’t even look bad at all, you just knew you probably couldn’t pull it off yourself. All because in your own mind, you aren’t physically where you wish you were. Ten seconds of your own insecurity is all it took to break someone down.  Someone who finally gave up.

If we all took a moment to understand each other’s stories, we would know that there’s so much more under the surface.  We see people passing by and we think we know everything about them.  The truth is you probably don’t know even a 1/4 about why they are the way that they are.  Maybe instead of spewing hatred, maybe we can try to spread more love.  God only knows how much we all need it.  It’s a cruel world, but for a lot of us, the darkest words come from inside our own heads.  Our own worst enemy tends to be ourselves.  If we are critiquing ourselves throughout the days, do we really need strangers or friends pointing out our insecurities verbally?  We need more love.  If you took a split second to stop and think before making the rude remark, maybe even changing it to a positive comment, maybe you would be saving a life.

We all have stories.  We all have felt broken.  The last thing we need is for the pieces to continue to fall.  I challenge you to be the glue.  Mend people back together.  Understand who they are without doubting them.  Rather than turning to vocalizing the faults of others in an attempt to you feel stronger, try using your own broken heart to put people back together.  We are all capable of doing this.  Imagine being the person whose compliment saved another human!    You may not even realize it happened, but I guarantee the person you saved will always remember your words.  Make them good!

Our mind is our own worst enemy, don’t contribute to the chaos.  Help the words in the minds of others become positive.  You have the power to be the good.  You have the power to be a light for others.  Don’t leave them in the dark.  Shine all your light on them and I guarantee He will do the same for you!

Blog · Life · live · love · mom · opinion · write

All the feels.

Capture

I’m sensitive. I have been my entire life.  I tried for years to deny it and always considered it an insult if someone called me such thing.  I was taught that being sensitive is a bad thing.  Realistically, the world at times makes being sensitive into a negative character trait. Look at the nicknames we’ve heard on the news over the last few years.  If you feel strongly about something and voice your concern in politics, you’re suddenly dubbed a, “snowflake.”  It’s as though people think all humans should consist of ice kings or queens with no emotions at all, or at least with no opinions other than their own.  If they do have all the feels, they are too sensitive, wrong, and their voice just doesn’t matter.

I’ve been told to, toughen up, let it go, suck it up, you need thicker skin, or my personal favorite, don’t let things bother you so much.  Right.

One of my kiddos is incredibly sensitive. Things just get to him, big and small.  I found myself saying to him, “Dude, you need to toughen up.”  Then one day, my own words just slapped me right back in the face.  I was repeating those same phrases to him!  He can’t help being sensitive, it’s who he is!  It’s who we both are. I can’t believe I let something that had bothered me my entire life begin to impact him the same way.

I realized at that moment that it’s ok to be sensitive.  As a matter of fact, it’s not such a bad thing at all. I’m not weak by any means, neither is my sensitive child.  We just seem to feel everything around us more than others.  And that’s ok.

Some days I may wish to be an ice queen. It may seem so much easier to not be able to feel anything and to just not care.  But, that’s just not who I am.  Maybe things do bother me faster than they do others, but at the same time I feel the good things all the more.  I’m empathetic and perceptive.  I’m aware of those around me, whether they are having an off day or not.  I can feel their pain and by having this trait, I’m able to show them that I care.

I don’t want to change anymore and I’ll never tell my kids to toughen up again. I don’t take being sensitive as an insult.  Quoting an old Jewel song, “I’m sensitive, and I’d like to stay this way.”  I think it’s one of my best characteristics, my kiddo’s too.  We all have our place in the world, the tough, the laid back, the outspoken, even the most sensitive.  We’re all in this together.

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Blog · forgive · God · Life · live · love · new · opinion · Uncategorized · Wordpress · write

Take down your walls!

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I can’t remember what show it was, but years ago I remember hearing someone refer to their best friend as, “their person.”  Their person is the one who they tell all secrets to, go to for all advice.  They can call them any time of any day to head to the mall or just walk into the front door without knocking.  This person knows all of your secrets, fears, hopes, dreams, kid’s birthdays, and then some.  More and more of people I know have somebody like this in their life.  Seeing this has made me wonder, geez, why don’t I have a person!?

I’ve always had a lot of friends (acquaintances may be a better word), but never really anybody quite this close (aside from my fantastic husband).  I always have wanted this type of friendship, who wouldn’t, but could never figure out what I was doing wrong? Why didn’t people like me enough to call like they do others?  Then it hit me, it’s completely my fault.  I’m doing it all wrong!  My problem is my wall.

I have a ginormous wall up.  It’s there, it has barbwire, an electric fence, guards with tasers, attack dogs, anything you can think of to keep people out, this wall has it!  Everyone’s a little different, but in my case the reason is all trust.  You can only be hurt so many times until eventually this wall just shows up.  You may not even realize it’s happening, but it does.  There are two things that go hand and hand when this occurs, 1) People may want to be your friend, but they may not understand why you keep pushing them away.  This will probably make them stop trying eventually and 2) when you trust God and learn how to forgive others, you will find it easier to let people in!

There it is, that’s what I had to do! Trust God and forgive!  Oh, but forgiveness is so hard, isn’t it?  There have been a lot of people in my life who hurt me.  A lot.  Some I don’t speak to and probably will never speak to again.  However, I made the decision to forgive.  I promise you, when I finally did this, there was a weight that was lifted from my shoulders!  All of these years of holding a grudge and being unforgiving probably had no impact at all on these people. You know who it hurt the most?  Me.

I was sabotaging my own happiness!

Did the person (which could be “your person”) reaching out to you hurt you?  Nope, probably not.  Are you being unfair in keeping them away and not being the same friend to them as they want to be to you?  YES, yes you are!  And, you probably don’t even realize it because you cannot see over that wall!

Forgive and knock those walls down!  If you’re having a hard time with this, ask God to give you the strength to forgive.  It’s not easy, at all.  But, it’ll get you a step closer to finding your person, that is if you want one.  Maybe you’re a one-man wolf-pack, if so, forgiveness will free you from the burden of hate!  Who wouldn’t want that?

This doesn’t mean you need to keep allowing the same people to hurt you over and over continuously. This just means you are no longer hurting yourself.

Forgiveness really is a beautiful thing.

“Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.”

– Ephesians 4:31-32

 

Blog · God · Life · live · love · new · opinion · religion · Uncategorized · write

Religious, Churchy, Jesus Freak.

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Religious, Churchy, Jesus Freak.  Just a few of the names I have heard describe me since becoming a new Christian over one year ago.  I am amazed how my faith could push some people away.  I’m not scary, although I try to be when it comes to reprimanding my children (doesn’t work well).  I’m a pretty nice person, although I have a terrible tendency to laugh when people fall.  It’s a terrible habit, most likely some type of coping mechanism that I haven’t been able to shake for at least 25 of my 30-something years (this did not work out well in my summer camp counselor days).  But, still I wonder why my new-found faith pushes people away?

One thing that comes to mind is what many Christians are portrayed as in the media. Most of the time we hear the bad things that happen, over the good.  I have heard people describe Christians as having holier than thou, judgmental personalities.  Same with other religions.  As unfair as it is, there are still folks in the world who associate Muslims with terrorism.  That’s not an accurate comparison.  You do not damn an entire religion due to a few very evil seeds.  Same for Democrats, Republicans, different races, males, females, etc!  It is not truth, nor fact.  Yet it still happens.

It’s not my job to fight to make people believe in the same faith as I do.  It’s not my job to judge or look down on someone who does not believe in God (I married a man who did not believe).  It’s also not my job to preach my beliefs for the sole purpose of proving your belief wrong.   That’s not who I am and in my heart I do not believe that is who Jesus would have wanted me to be.

It is my job to be a light to the world, to accept everyone as they are.  I tend to observe and internalize my opinions, rather than putting it out on social media for the world to see.  You’ll find numerous amounts of family photos and silly kiddo quotes on my page, but you are not going to see me attacking other religions, political parties, or anyone. That is not Christianity to me.

I support gay rights.  I have several friends who are in the LGBT community and I love them all.  The thought of judging them all because I love Jesus and read the Bible does not even cross my mind.  While I know people who are incredibly vocal about their hatred for those that are gay, that is not me.  That is not the Christianity I practice.  Again, that is not what loving Jesus and believing in God means to me.

To me, loving Jesus means come as you are.  We all sin.  Every single one of us.  Myself, my husband, my kids, every single one of you, even those who hate.  Just because you hate strongly does not make you free of sin.  I feel that you can be gay and love Jesus.  I also think you can be gay and not believe in Jesus, but guess what?  I’ll still love you just the same.  This is the Christian that I am.  The funny thing is that while I like to call myself an Independent when it comes to politics, I always tend to lean more to the right. Again, not all Republicans (or Democrats) are the same.

I will testify all day long about the impact that loving God has had on my life in the last year and half.  I will tell you stories of God providing for us in a time where I didn’t think it was possible.   I’ll talk to you about what it means to tithe in our church and what that has done for our family.  But, I will not talk to you about why you should believe in all the same things that I do.   I also don’t want you to talk to me about why my beliefs are ridiculous.  It’s called being respectful, a characteristic  that I truly wish more would practice.  Differing opinions should not give you or I the right to be disrespectful to another human beings.  It’s not ok, even if you justify it with your own hatred.

I’ll continue shining my light into the world.  I’ll also promise to be a safe place and a voice for anyone feeling like they are shamed, scared, alone, or persecuted, Christian or non-Christian!  I am here for you and you are loved by me as a brother or sister.   Please do not let the darkness that some pour into the world impact your own light and spirit.  Keep pushing and keep fighting and know that I have your back!

It’s ok if you contact me regarding my opinions.  I’d love to have a conversation, as long as there’s a mutual respect involved.  It’s ok for you to disagree with me!  It’s also ok if you continue calling me a Religious, Churchy, Jesus Freak.  I’ll take it, I will own it and I will continue practicing being the loving, accepting, caring, non-judgmental, Jesus-loving Christian that I am.  Because that is what being a Christian means to me.

“Let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.” – Matthew 5:16

beach · Blog · Body · Life · live · mom · opinion · summer · Uncategorized · woman · write

Get your swimsuit on, mama.

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Sandy toes, crashing waves, and seagulls flying above.  The sun’s warmth is blanketing your skin.  It’s 90 degrees and you’re sitting in your beach chair, toes in the sand.  You peek over your sunglasses at all the beach goers, waist deep in the water.   Why are you still in the sand when you could be cooling down in the crisp, Atlantic water?

Swimsuits.  That’s why.   The person above was me.

I cannot tell you how many years I was envious over people brave enough to throw a bathing suit on.  They really didn’t care what anyone thought, they were just enjoying their beach days.  I was too busy sweltering, in my capris and t-shirt, more than likely with a towel draped over my lap concealing myself.  It wasn’t that I didn’t like swimming, I did!  It was because I was petrified that everyone would be staring at me.

First of all, I’m not that important that the world would feel the need to stare.  However, many of us women have this mental image of ourselves being 10 ft tall in the middle of the beach with a Superbowl sized audience watching our next move.  Here’s a newsflash, it doesn’t happen.  Most people are just people watching like you were earlier.  They probably aren’t judging you.  There’s a little negative voice inside of you that likes to show itself and tell you otherwise.  We’ll call that voice the enemy.  The enemy can go find a great white shark to hang with.  We need to learn to silence it.

Back to swimsuits.  Why are we covering ourselves up because we don’t have a perfect body?  Baby weight, cellulite, bingo wings, pale skin, freckles, whatever it is we are trying to cover up, is it worth it?  Is it worth feeling the freedom of swimming in the ocean, a lake, or a pool?  Chances are it’s not.

I was that girl.  I was that girl in high school when I was the smallest I have ever been.  I was that girl after my first child was born and again after my second.  I started to continue being her after my third child was born and something clicked.  This life we have?  Well, it’s pretty darn short.  Why in the world am I covering myself up over what people will think of my body.  MY body!  It’s mine!  I worked hard and earned every scar, every ounce of weight I gained probably has a story.  A memory that I or my children will carry with them forever!  Do I want one of those memories to be of mommy refusing to wear a bathing suit to swim with them?  Nope.  It’s not happening anymore.  I won’t do it to myself, but most of all I don’t want to damage them!

Going back to the people who may judge you or make a comment, there’s one thing to remember:  Their problem is not with your cellulite.  It’s not with your lack of muscles.  It’s not with your extra weight.  Their real problem is their inability to love their own self.  I guarantee you that people who are truly comfortable in their own skin, who don’t criticize every detail of their body, I guarantee they will not make a comment about another person’s body.  They’ll see you for who you are, not for what your body looks like.

Don’t lose memories focusing on not having that thigh gap or six pack.  Make memories, mama.  Go get that swimsuit on and get in the water!

Gentleman, this goes for you too!  Get in there!

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Blog · God · Life · mom · new · woman · write

A new blog.

Bench Reading

It always amazes me when people ask me when I’m going to write again.  I’ve always loved putting my thoughts to paper, but never really gave it a thought to share with others.  When a friend mentioned blogging to me 10 years ago, I didn’t think I would be interesting enough.   However, I took her advice and tried it.

I had a lot of feed back on that blog.  I posted about love and loss, divorce and marriage, being adopted, the comedies of having children, finding confidence, ignoring the ignorant, and more.  I love that blog.  However, it’s hard for me to re-visit it now.   It’s hard to find new material when posts from 8 years ago pop up.  I’m grateful for those lessons, but I don’t want to see them anymore.

Writing during those years was incredibly therapeutic.  At that point in time, I was in my 20’s and going through some moments that I wouldn’t wish on my worst enemy.  Visiting that page brings those thoughts and feelings back and I really don’t want to go back.  I’m so happy that my words helped to inspire others, but I am a completely different person now.  I’m a woman who has grown up, a woman who is still learning about herself each day, and most importantly, a woman who has recently found God.

I know.  I feel like nowadays it’s not acceptable to speak about Him, but I will here.  Gone are the days where I let the opinions of those behind keyboards impact my own personal thoughts.  They can have their thoughts, whether they be negative or positive.  And the beautiful thing is, I can have mine too!  I’m no longer going to delete a post because a reader is upset that I posted my opinion on the meaning of Christmas (yes, that happened).  This blog is my heart speaking and I am not going to silence it.

Slowpaceandgrace.com is something I have been thinking about for a while now.   All of those thoughts of self-doubt that we all tend to have kept sneaking into my daydreams. I’ve finally stomped on those thoughts and here we are!   I’ll still be writing about confidence, life, and kiddos.  I’ll also be adding in recipes, health topics, lifestyle changes (aka the hundreds of diets I have tried), and more.

I hope to meet new people with my posts, just like I did before.  I also hope to catch the eye of some of you that have read my posts in the past!  This is just for fun and I am so ready to start this fresh, a brand new Chapter 1.