You Are Beautiful

I heard about Dove’s most recent Beauty Campaign video, and had to check it out. A forensic artist sketches women as they describe themselves and each other. The results are different than they expect. See it here:  Real Beauty Sketches – Dove 

I can identify with the women in Dove’s video. I used to think I was worthless. Almost every woman I know struggles with how they view themselves. Society attacks women daily, with what they should or should not look like. Most messages are unrealistic. It can really crush a woman’s perception of herself. So please, please tell the women in your life–mother, daughter, sister, cousin, girlfriend, wife, friend–that they are beautiful! Because they are.

Men may not typically be called beautiful, but the concept is still the same:  They can view themselves differently than they really are. So be sure to let the men in your life know how much they are valued!

Most importantly, remember how much the one who created you values you! How beautiful you are to him! How could you be any more beautiful?

Spontaneous Relaxation

StarbucksSometimes having a spontaneous change in plans is a good thing!

After arriving home from work, I was so down in the dumps. All my stress over the past few weeks had caught up with me. I sat in front of the computer screen with my head in my hands.

My husband proclaimed he didn’t think it was a good idea for me to work on the computer right after getting home from work. And yes, I was actually working on something; not just surfing the net, playing a game, or Facebooking.

He suggested a change of plans. Instead of running the distance we were supposed to tonight, we ran a fast mile. And instead of working on things at home, we got out of the house and relaxed at Starbucks.

Sure, there were a number of things we could have been working on at home. But every once in a while we need to be able to step back, recognize what in reality has to be done, and drop everything else. Take a break.

I know now that I needed one. I feel so much better. So why don’t you, go take a break?

Gazelle Hooves & Hide (per my husband)

Last summer my husband and I went through Financial Peace University. We were so inspired, we wrote down some goals for ourselves! We set four years as our timeline to reach our listed goals. It hasn’t been a year yet, and we’re ahead! I know things will happen we don’t expect, that may set us back. But that’s what the emergency fund is for, right?

Anyway, I thought I’d share some pictures with you of a couple of my “Dave” clothes.

The toes all scuffed up...

The toes all scuffed up…

Four holes in the soles

Four holes in the soles

I don’t even really remember when I got these boots. I know it was before getting married, and we have been married for almost seven years. I wore these almost every single day at work. Fortunately we had enough money left over from Christmas bonuses this past year, I was able to buy a replacement pair!

Holes in the knees

Holes in the knees…

Not bought this way...

Not bought this way

These pants remind me how God has such perfect timing! I have had these pants for thirteen years. They did not get those holes until January 2013! after I received another pair for Christmas, and we had enough money for me to buy a couple more pairs of jeans. Crazy!

It can be a struggle to be “gazelle intense“, but when you have absolutely amazing goals for your future, and you and your spouse are on the same page, it can be pretty exciting too!

What crazy things have you come across in being “gazelle intense”? What made you go for it? Got any advice for us?

Wipeout!

Today was a first for me: Wiping out while running.

I started running March 15, 2010. I’ve ran in blizzards, pouring rain, 30 mph gusts of wind, lightening (wouldn’t recommend it),100* weather, and on ice covered roads. I trained for and completed my first marathon last fall. And never fell. Until now.

I have a running buddy for short runs, ranging from one to four miles. My dog. She’s a very good running partner. If I need her to pay more attention to me, all I need to do is give one click with my tongue. We have passed many animals on our runs, most frequently other dogs. And things have always been fine. But today was different.

You would think I would fall on a day with any of the weather conditions above, or on a long run. But today was a perfect running day–sunny and 60*–and we were only doing a mile. We hit the halfway point, and were headed home. We were making decent time up a hill when I saw a guy with his dog at the top. He stepped off the trail and had his dog sit, waiting for us to pass. I smiled and nodded thanks. Right as we started to pass, his dog lunged at my dog. My dog freaked out and slammed into my legs. Unfortunately the first leg she slammed into was my down-stride. And she proceeded to pass in front of me, keeping my up-stride from ever reaching the ground. My feet flew up behind me, I landed on my hands, and rolled over onto my back. I lay there for a second, the air knocked out of me. My dog bewildered. The guy asking if I was okay, if there was anything he could do, apologizing, saying he didn’t know why his dog did that. I sat up, inspecting myself for injuries. I said I was going to be fine, finally convincing him to slowly move on.

Scratched up a bit...

Scratched up a bit…

I was soaking it all in, getting my bearings. Never falling for over three years, on such a glorious day for a run, why did I have to wipe out? Sometimes that’s just the way things go. Outside forces we can’t control…. on days we least expect it….. Just like other trip-ups in life. We may be going along in life thinking everything’s sunny; nothing will get us down. Then something happens we don’t expect; our feet are knocked out from under us, and we find ourselves staring up from the ground. What are we going to choose to do next?

After discovering one of my knees will be developing a nice bruise, and my hands were nicely torn up, I gave thanks that was all that was damaged. I checked in with my dog to make sure she was okay. She was. I stood, walked to the curb, crossed the street, and started running.

After being knocked down in life, we may not be able to start “running” again right away. But, I have found that when I look to my God, he enables me to get up and move forward. I continued on today. Don’t forget that you can too.

Do You REALLY Know What’s Going On??

Ever talk like you know what’s going on in another person’s head?

The other day my husband and I were driving home from an event. We started talking about why this one person probably chose to do what they did. After a bit of postulating, I said, “You know, we really don’t know what’s going on in his head, so we could be completely wrong.” My husband agreed. Then we started talking about how easy it is to assume the reasons behind people’s words and actions. A long time ago I started working on getting out of that habit, when people choose to do something seemingly surprising, make a mistake, etc. But it’s so easy to make assumptions on the smaller things. The things that “don’t matter” as much.

But when people make wrong assumptions about me, it matters to me. It bothers me.

So what do we do? We can’t control what another person assumes about us. It may tear us up, or make us worry. However we choose to handle it, there is one thing we can always do. Don’t be that person. Make it a point to not assume the reasons behind another person’s words or actions. Treat others the way you want to be treated. Ask questions. Find out the reasons, if appropriate. People will start feeling heard, understood, cared for, valued. And you will reap great rewards from interactions and relationships.

Proverbs 17:27

Proverbs 17:27

Do you find yourself thinking you know “what’s really going on”, when you don’t know a person’s background, personality, life?

Don’t Do It.

What are you thinking on?

What are you thinking on?

Have you ever gone through trials, and thought if only you had someone else’s life?

Don’t do it.

It’s easy enough see the good things in another person’s life…. But remember, you can’t see all the bad. You can’t see the heartache. You can’t see the trials. You can’t see the broken relationships. You can’t see the disease. You can’t see the addictions. You can’t see what’s lacking. You can’t see the stress. You can’t see the tears. You can’t see the pain inflicted. You can’t see the pain received. You may see some. But not all.

The other night a friend compared it to “the Facebook picture”. On Facebook many people have happy pictures, and comment about the amazing things going on in their lives. But most people don’t share everything. Our friend said someone she knows has a profile that makes it look like they have the perfect life:  A loving spouse, children, fun and exciting trips and activities. But if you could see behind the scenes, you would see the anxiety, depression, tears, and strained and broken relationships.

Everyone has trials. The trials we bear may cause us, or those we love, to suffer so much. But so far, we have survived. Is it possible that if we did experience someone else’s life…. experienced someone else’s trials…. we would not be able to stand up under what they’re going through? Would we not survive? People may try to weigh the severity of trials in different ways, but we are all different people. What one person may be able to handle, another would crumble under.

Trials would be truly devastating if nothing good could come from them. But I believe in a God who loves us, and takes the worst of times and uses it toward good. Even if you don’t believe in God, good can come out of trials. We can learn appreciation for things or others. Relationships can be healed or made stronger. Connections may develop or opportunities presented. We can become better people:  more patient, kind, loving, understanding, forgiving, smarter, empathetic, etc.

I’m not saying trials are easy, or that we should be thrilled to have them. Seeing people suffer, I just don’t want them to lose out on what can come from trials. Wishing for another person’s life can easily distract us from the good that comes in our own. There is always something to hold on to.

A Tribe. A Family. A Dream?

I am blessed. By a group of people who are supporters, confidants, mentors, prayer warriors, cheerleaders, encouragers, think tanks, truth tellers, ideas people, accountability partners, driven, goal-setters, dream-pursuers, and….like family. Also known as a tribe.

Why do people think pursuing a dream has to be an “alone” journey? It doesn’t matter how unique your dream is or how much of an introvert you are, it’s possible to find people to make key connections with. And it’s good for you.

Becoming a tribe member introduced me to others with similar passions. Being part of that tribe has helped me grow as a person and leader, tremendously. It has helped me see the world in broader and deeper terms. It has exposed me to sheer joy. It is one of the things in life that has helped me develop in the direction I was created to go. And I will always treasure those relationships. Even though they may always remain cyber.

So. Whether or not it’s on the internet–through blogs or other forms of social media, or talking face to face–go find people to connect with. A group that’s just as passionate about specific things as you are. You just may find exactly where you were meant to be. And someday find yourself in the middle of your dream.

Who are your people?

Who are your people?

Do you have a group of people like that? On the internet, family, work, school, church?

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