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Tuesday, May 20, 2014

The Image Factor

Recently, my little girl came to tears because of a perceived physical imperfection that was revealed when she wore this super hero costume.  It is the first time I've seen her be insecure about a specific physical characteristic and it broke my heart.  

My youngest daughter to me is the literal vision of physical perfection.  She is gorgeous (I'm biased) but I work hard not to emphasize her appearance as the key to what makes her acceptable.  Oh, I tell her she's pretty and we enjoy choosing outfits!  Yet, I try to emphasize other things are what makes a person lovely.  I make a very determined effort to guard my words and include her heart, her character, kindness and abilities as the marks that make a woman beautiful.  I talk about what I love about my middle-aged, marred body so that she feels free to love parts of herself, too.  We talk about what we like, what our bodies can do and what makes us feel strong.  We talk about what is healthy and what is not, why it's good to exercise and why it's great to splurge!

I've been middle school girl with crazy hair.  I have been a high school girl with bad acne and a flat chest...and still the crazy hair.  I have been a college girl with the "freshmen fifteen."  I have been a new mother without time to consider my appearance and I've been single again in middle life and wondering how I'll measure against all the other women who put so much of themselves out there.  It's unrealistic to consider that our physical appearance isn't a factor in this physical world.

And yet, there is so much more to us than our outer facade can reveal.  We are all full of energy, history, hopes, disappointment and a spiritual side that needs to be nurtured more than the physical.  I notice that it's so easy to be consumed with improving my physical self and neglect the spirit that craves time with the Lord, connection with others and depth beyond the superficial and the depth of character that only time and experience can develop.  We are so much more.

Thankfully, my girlie was able to overlook her slight "flaw" and focus on the performance and all the hard work she put in.  The show was fabulous and the girl was radiant!

It's easy to let our physical appearance consume us.  I know I struggle to prioritize the inner, spiritual self with the time I spend primping, covering up and attempting to improve my outer self.  Is this a struggle for you?  How can we find balance?  How can we instill in our daughters that it is so much more important to tend our heart than our body?

People look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart.  I Samuel 16:8

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Throw-Back Thursday Stories: Early Motherhood

When I look at this photo from six years ago, I can't believe how my life has changed.  This was taken Mother's Day in 2007.  Soon after, I learned I was expecting another baby - Big surprise for me!

So much has changed, but my heart was happy to remember a sweet moment.  My children were happy, I was content and so proud and it is a pleasant memory.  My entire world revolved around these two.

Now, we live elsewhere.  I have a new husband.  I work outside the home.  Our family has grown.  We have more peace, more security and even more love.  It's nice to remember that not every moment from the past is a negative one.

Linking up with The Mom Creative.

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Mothers Day / Fathers Day + Steps and Ideas

Mother's Day has deep meaning for me because I have the greatest mom ever!  Also, my first Mother's Day meant so much to me and I'll never forget the high of those emotions.  During my single mother years, I enjoyed the day with my kiddos and gave myself a break from household chores.  Their dad acknowledged the day and they little ones always had homemade gifts from Sunday School or their classes.  I still treasure those!  When I began dating Mr. Wonderful, he took me and my three out to lunch each of the Mother's Days we were together.

This is my first year as Step Mother.  I knew it would be important for the girls to honor their own mom on this day and they did so at a family luncheon.  Yet both spoke sweet words to me at different times and gave me special stepmom hugs.  I was touched that they acknowledged me as the mom in this home.  It meant a great deal to me and I appreciated it more than I expected.  I'm beyond blessed by the girls that I didn't bear in my body but get to serve daily.  I'm thankful for the way their dad allows them to love. I'm grateful to their mom who supports the cooperation of our families.  I'm a far from perfect mother, but we are blessed.

Right on the heels of Mother's Day comes Father's Day.  My little ones will be with their Daddy and of course, the older girls will be with us.  We'll go to a restaurant that Mr. Wonderful chooses and I'll be sure he receives some of his favorite things (hello, dark chocolate).  I have something personal for his step children to deliver, too, and we'll do so when they can be with him, on another day.

I like the balance we have found.  We honor the birth parents of each of our children, yet also honor the roll that the grown-ups have in our home.  I'm the "Mom" of this house, even if some of the people here call me by my first name.  He's the "Dad" even though the children have another man they call Daddy.  

This is just what works for our family - but I'd love to hear how you do things in yours!

Thursday, May 8, 2014

The Day I became a Mother - #TBT

Throwback Thursday Photos always have a story ... and here's the quick one behind mine.

That woman above is me - it seems like a lifetime ago.  That newborn, he is mine and he turns 10 years old today.  He was born on a Saturday and the very next day was my First Mother's Day.  All those first-time mother emotions are wrapped up with the holiday and it affects me greatly.  I'm so aware of the mothers around me how devoted we are to our little ones.  If you are a mother - you deserve so much more than this day will bring, but enjoy however you get to celebrate!

I looked at the baby books last night...time to trim the nails.  But look-

I love my boy like crazy!

(I linked up at The Mom Creative)

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

The Fix

I enjoy shopping, but don't always have time and often get overwhelmed with the plethora of choices.  I love shopping online, yet struggle to determine the best size and how a brand will fit me.  So when I noticed a personal styling company popping up on blogs, it got my attention!  Stitch Fix is a company that offers personal styling based on your body and your life and your preferences.  I always admire women who seem put together, effortlessly stylish and have a plan for their wardrobe.  While I don't want my clothes to be focus of my life, I know that what I wear affects the way I am perceived and how I feel about myself.

I checked out their website to learn more and then decided to try it for my birthday - it was so exciting to get my first "Fix!"  I filled out my style profile and requested that my fix arrive in time for a birthday/Valentine date.  

It was fun to see what they put together for me.  I was excited to wear something new on Valentine's Day and while I only kept a couple of items, I scheduled my next fix for spring.  The next fix was fabulous!  I updated my style profile a bit, tweaked my preferences and was more clear with my dislikes.  

I think that my height may pose a problem because both the pants received are in the "ankle length" category and for me, that just feels too short.  I kept the jeans, though, because they were so comfy and fit well.  I figure I can roll the legs for summer denim needs.  I've enjoyed the brighter tops - colors I wouldn't have gravitated to on my own.  I love having a designer's eye looking out for my needs.

I haven't scheduled my next fix, but I will soon.  It's like getting a gift from yourself, complete with a surprise!  My favorite part is getting to try things on at home, and not have to get out there to shop.  The ease and simplicity have been fabulous and I find the service to be a fabulous one.  

Have you tried Stitch Fix?  I'd love for you to try it - I am not compensated for this post, just really like the service, but if you decide to try it and use this link, I will earn a little bit of credit toward another fix!  Try it and share how it works for you like shopping yourself?  Do you trust someone else to style for you?

Monday, May 5, 2014


Quick Post of What's Going on...

  • Today, I'm putting Mother's Day items into the mail.  Nothing has made me more grateful and aware of my own mother and grandmothers than becoming one myself.  This is my first year ever to have a Mother-in-law!
  • The most important game of our soccer season happens tonight - since my hubby is the Coach, you can bet we'll be there!  I'm so hoping to continue our current 5 game winning streak.  Way to go, Mr. Wonderful!
  • I'm sitting in amazement that my first born will be ten years old this week. Ten. Wow.  
  • All-at-once spring is giving way to summer, school will be out in just over two weeks and once again life marches on.  Why does this always surprise me?
  • I'm trying to schedule a get together with distant friends and hoping it works out for us to be together this year.  Last year, we all gathered for my wedding, but I was a little preoccupied and didn't fully appreciate and soak up the togetherness.  I'm praying for a bond with friends closer to home.
  • Oh and for the first time, my three "little" children consumed an entire pack of hot dogs at one meal setting.  With buns and chips.  That seemed like plenty of food, but soon we'll need two packs!
Life is full and good.  There are so many things in my head that I can't wait to share, but my life is prioritized by other things at the moment.  What's consuming you this week?