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?

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?

Purposeful, Intentional, Productive

Okay, wow.

I did it! I reached over 50,000 words in the month of November. For those of you wondering what I’m talking about, it’s NaNoWriMo.

NaNoWriMo Winner 2012-180x180

The month was a crazy one:  Moving everything we own one weekend, working on a church project every night another week, and of course, the Thanksgiving holiday with family. On top of having a full-time job. I spent the last week getting up at 5:00 a.m. to catch up on my word count. And strangely enough, it turned me into a morning person. Which I now love!

Unfortunately, I didn’t get to write about this last Thursday–I was sick for an entire week. Which brings me closer to the point of this post…

After training for and running a marathon (see Here We Go Again… and Good vs. Crappy Runs and My First Marathon:  The Wonderful in the Horrible), after trudging through NaNoWriMo (see NaNoWriMo!!!!!!!!!!!!), and after a week of being sick, I decided to take an evening “off” from everything by watching TV and surfing the net. Of course, I did a few productive things like eat supper, play with the dog, and put laundry away/organize my closet (it’s still a little crazy after moving). I expected to feel relaxed.

Nope.

I felt like the evening was a complete waste. And I was frustrated because I had no idea why. Well….. Having spent every spare minute in the last six months working productively and intentionally toward huge goals, I have reprogrammed myself. Just like a person can “become” a morning person (see Michael Hyatt‘s post, How to Become a Morning Person), a person can become other things. I am becoming purposeful, intentional, and productive.

So now I’m struggling with conflicting feelings about the “new me”. I’m excited because being purposeful, intentional, and productive will propel me toward my future goals, life dreams, and crossing things off my bucket list. But I’m also a little saddened because I wonder if I will never feel relaxed again. But my husband reminded me, relaxation could just be redefined.

All in all, even if I have lost the ability to feel relaxed doing “nothing”, I am beyond excited at the future accomplishments and realization of dreams before me!

Learning Lessons Through Pet Peeves

A couple Sundays ago our pastor had everyone fill out a form. One question was, “What is your pet peeve?” At the time, I couldn’t come up with anything, so I left it blank.

The rest of the week I was reminded, daily, what my pet peeve is:  people not using their turn signal. Maybe you think it’s silly. But it drives me nuts. Too many times I’ve had to slam on my brakes or jump out of the way (while running) because I didn’t know the vehicle would be turning. What seems even more ridiculous to me is when a driver gets mad that I’m in their way, but they have given no indication they plan to change direction. Anyway, enough venting. Time to hit the real reason I’m writing this post.

One of the days I got cut off without warning, the thought popped into my head:  Laura, you don’t know why they did that. Um, okay. Then all the possibilities flooded my mind. Yeah, some people are just rude or don’t care. But what about the person who just received devastating news? What about the person who’s life is in shambles? What about the person who’s hurrying to the emergency room? What about the person who’s trying to make it to an injured or dying friend or family member? What about the person contemplating taking their own life? What about the person who’s just plain miserable? Those people…those people are less aware of their surroundings.

Then I thought about the Sunday after, when pastor shared a list of people’s pet peeves. Two of them stuck in my mind:  when people don’t say hi or when people don’t make eye contact. Most of my life I didn’t do either of those. It wasn’t because I didn’t care about others or thought it was okay to be rude. It was because I believed I was worthless. I was not worthy of others noticing me. I was not good enough for someone to want me as a friend. Those beliefs kept me from interacting.

When I was able to piece together the negative cycle my actions and others’ perceptions created, I realized how devastating our pet peeves can be. How devastating my pet peeves can be.

Since then, I have worked to alter my attitude on the road. I have hung farther behind the car in front of me, to let others in as we pass construction. And I noticed something strange. Even though I opened up an easy opportunity, cars still passed. And because of the construction, I would catch up to them while they’re trying to cut in. It reminded me that sometimes we are so focused on where we think we should be or want to be, we miss the simple opportunities God holds out for us. Don’t miss those opportunities.

How do you view the world?