Humor

Well, the title might be a little lofty, but follow me anyway.

I have been dealing with some stuff. And we all deal with some stuff. Yet lately my stuff seems so heavy and prevalent that it’s hard for me to even see the world around me. And I have become a hermit. Girls, sometimes just dealing with life is just way too flipping hard.

It’s easy to do (becoming a hermit, that is). I mean, I don’t really like being around people much at times. Sometimes, I don’t like people much at all. I hate small talk. I despise insincerity, I can be way too intense, and I usually feel like an alien in a room of people who look just like me.

Stuff with the kids, legal junk, business stress, work drama, bad days, weight gain, marriage conflict, financial strain, anxiety, depression, blah-blah-blah. Toss in limited time to relax or exercise, a nacho addiction, and the lurking worry that you might be drinking too often, and then you’re like,

“Hey world, here I am: a doughy, middle aged, stressed out mom, who cusses too much, maybe drinks too much,  who is socially awkward, overly critical, with alarmingly limited conflict resolution skills and a constant feeling of being stretched too thin. Who wants to hug the cactus?”

Why would I leave the house, if I am getting on my own nerves?

So I have bammed myself in, stopped writing, taken to living off of yogurt and a healthy/not-so-healthy fend for yourself mantra, and become a spectator of the world around me.

And now I am peeling back the layers of heartache, and months of good intentions, and trying to reintegrate into a world that sometimes feels like a revolving doors with giant cheese grater panels in place of the glass.

And it’s weird.

But I made myself do it. At least a little. And I lived.

Last week I invited a friend to get pedicures. Then I drove the next day to see a friend who I hadn’t seen in 10 or so years. I went to church two days after that, and then later that day, went to a book club with more than a dozen women, some of them strangers, but none of them my best friend, or my bourbon, or my cozy couch blanket. And today, I had a newer friend over, and made her lunch and held her baby and just talked. And it felt right for the first time in a long time. I was tired, and needed a nap after, but it was still good.

I could use the “peeling off the band-aid” analogy but that’s not accurate. I don’t have a wound. I am a wound. I am a downright mess some days, but I still have love and need love, so I have to leave the house, or open my doors and let others in, at least sometimes.

Have your ever been to the “petting” area of an aquarium and petted little sharks or sting-rays? Once when I was there, a worker said that the sting-rays like to rub up against people to keep their skin smooth. While I don’t have any proof that she knew what she was talking about, I can relate to this image: I have smoother edges when I rub elbows with other humans, and months of funk start to rub off when I finally emerge from the hidden sands in the safe and shallow end of the ocean.

People need people. Even grumpy, prickly, critical, anti-social, stressed out people. I also needed the months of hiding. Heck, it’s kind of been years. But for everything there is a season, and spring is finally coming. Did anyone automatically think of this though, lol?

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Winter is over and it’s feeling kind of good to move around again and plan a little life, to hug old friends, to hear new opinions, make new friends and even hold babies. I won’t lie and say it was all easy or pretend that I never felt a little out of place, but coming out of hiding will do that. The light is bright, but it’s so good for the soul.

If you are in a season of rest, just relish in it. But if your rest is becoming an addiction, a spot too comfortable and dark, maybe stick a pinky toe out from under your Cheeto covered blanket, climb out of your show hole, pop on some chap-stick, throw on some clothes with buttons and go rub some elbows, accept some hugs, or bounce a baby on your knee.

The healing is good out here. I’ll leave the light on for ya’.

Dear Hubby,

Sorry this is a few days late. This has been a janky week. Now that we got the house in order and tackled that linen closet we have been talking about for two years, I can write you a little anniversary letter:

Every year of life, and of marriage, seems jam packed. But it also seems completely mundane and the same in a way. Not in a bad way, but the busyness of life can make it feel like a blur.

And if we aren’t careful to take note of what we have been through together, we might not realize how really strong we are. Not just because we work really hard at our marriage, but because we vowed to let God be the center of it. A cord of three strands cannot be broken.

So I figured I’d take a moment to reflect on the last year and what we have conquered together.

  1. Business-In it’s very own category for its obvious stress involved, we have closed a business, opened a business and grew a home-based business, while pretty gracefully handling people in and out of our home several times a day. Phew. That is no easy way to live! But we did it.
  2. We traveled quite a bit-In the middle of being slammed with our work, we took time to travel. We went on a romantic getaway to Cancun, took the boys to DC for a real educational experience, went an a cruise through the Caribbean with friends, went on a family trip with the Knudsons to Atlanta (where Kaden drank a silo of Coke products), and took the entire family (including Ricky Bobby) across country, climbing Pikes Peak (in a car, lol), visiting the Smokies, and going to our first White Sox game. And it was all because of how hard we (especially YOU) work and how we have been blessed.
  3. We worked out-We might not be on the cover of fitness mags, but we have carved out time to be healthy, even food prepping when we were really on top of things. Working out with you is fun, but it also gets me excited about growing old with you. The more years I have with you, the better.
  4. We briefly considered adoption-Infertility really stinks. And anniversaries are a chafing reminder of many, many losses. But briefly this year, we considered adoption, as we were approached to consider it for a mom with a last minute need. We talked with her, prayed about it, tried to imagine how to make space for a child in one short week, and then the mom decided to keep the baby. While this was a brief interlude of adoption struggles, we handled it, and allowed it to help us focus on what we really want in terms of growing our family.
  5. We parented-Every year, we hustlin’. Jackson got his license and we now spend 13% of our day tracking him on multiple phone apps. Kaden outgrew Jackson and entered the 5th dimension of puberty. We taught them new things, buckled down in new ways, and let go when it was right. We have prayed, argued and wrestled with many a decision, but we did our best to do it as a team.
  6. We prayed-We did like 21 days of a 30 day marriage prayer devotional. Well, like I said, we ain’t perfect. But we haven’t thrown the books away, and regardless of the devotional, we still turn to God for answers and nothing makes me feel more cherished than when you pray for me, for our marriage, for my work, for our children, and even for all of our friends. I love you so much for that, and I always will.
  7. We got help-We went to counseling, a lot, shopping around to find the right fit for us, never using time or money as excuses to skip when both of us would really prefer to sweep stuff under the rug and just grab a bourbon. When people say “marriage is hard” this is what is should mean: putting in the dang work to truly try to understand our spouse’s feelings and needs and tend to them, NOT just saying, “Well this is hard….next.” And thanks for letting me share a little of our struggles with the world so we can help make getting help normal and not a sign of weakness. Your commitment to God and our marriage is the strongest thing about you. Thank you!

You already know I love you but it takes more than love to last. It takes commitment, work and one hell of a sense of humor. Thanks for laughing at the crappy stuff with me, however inappropriately, and thanks for occasionally throwing chocolate and Mexican food at the problems. It’s actually a solid practice endorsed by world renowned therapists (it’s not). But seriously you’re the best.

And in the deep and sentimental words of Tim McGraw (kind of), I like you, I love you, I wants some more of you.

See you at the hizzy later,

I’ll be the one with the goofy grin 🙂

 

 

Self love sounds weird.

At least it did to me when I was barely double digits and a woman at a church I was uncomfortably visiting with my slumber party pal suggested that I should “love myself.”

Love myself? What in carnation was this nut-job talking about?

I knew how to love pizza and chocolate. I was comfortable loving the Facts or Life and even Ricky Schroeder. But loving myself? That seemed so strange.

Was that egotistical? Was it even possible? And what does that even look like? I pictured giving myself a hug and my creepy little fingers wrapping around my own narrow shoulders. It. Seemed. WEIRD. Like Silence of the Lambs weird.

Now I realize my childish view of love was rather dim, silly and shallow. I was clueless. But sometimes I still am. And I am not alone.

I look around and I am swimming in a sea, surrounded by capable & lovely women who are drowning in waves of self-doubt, low self-esteem and even self-loathing. Through comparison, guilt, shame and issues of perfectionism, these beautiful God-made women would claim they loved their husband, kids, parents, pets, coffee and stretch pants before they could even fathom loving themselves.

We are stuck in a “I will love myself WHEN pattern.”

And we are swimming in circles.

I will love myself when I start working out.

I will love myself when I lose these last few pounds.

I will love myself when I stop cursing.

I will love myself when I meet the right guy.

I will love myself when I find a job I am proud of.

I will love myself when I get my house in order.

I will love myself when I become a better parent.

I will love myself when I can get back into those jeans.

I will love myself when I look like her.

I will love myself when I have a child.

I will love myself when?

And we are getting nowhere.

And when the “when” doesn’t come we beat ourselves up. When the “when” does come, we find a new “when.” We raise our standards. Because far be it for us to love ourselves now. Why do that when we can always chase perfection?

But there is no perfection.

I am a size 4 (or so). I work out 4-5 times a week. I have worked out for the better part of three years. But there is always “work” to be done. I want soccer legs, and they are not even close to being in that category. I have cellulite and stretch marks. And shaving my legs is a quarterly event that usually coincides with a birthday or anniversary.

My body will never be perfect.

I have read parenting books, marriage books, self-help books and gone to counseling. I pray about, think about and breathe about these things.

My marriage and family will never be perfect.

I self reflect, remain aware, and try to root out my sins and bad habits.

I will never be perfect.

Yet I need to love myself now.

Loving Halo Top ice cream and puppies comes easy. Loving ourselves takes practice.
Yet life is short. Tick tock.

I might not be an expert on the ways of the world but I consider myself an expert on self doubt, guilt and beating myself up for my mistakes. I am still growing and learning how to be kind to myself, but I can’t stand the idea of all the women around me drowning in the waves of self-loathing, so here is what I know TODAY.

I am beautiful. And it’s okay to say that. My face and/or body are not going to show up on your free panty coupon post card from Victoria Secret (if it does, well hey), but I move my body daily, it serves its purposes, and I am happy to still be in it. It is a gift, at its best and at its worst and I refuse to live in a love/hate relationship with something that carries me through my life so well.

I am lovely. And it’s okay to believe that (even when the proof isn’t right in front of me.) I was made by a GLORIOUS MAKER. And He makes no mistakes. My emotions are mine. They are real and they serve a purpose. I will not deny them or punish myself for feeling them. I will forgive myself when I let my emotions hurt me or hurt others. I am human.

I am lovable. I have never met a person who didn’t have a bad day. Some chicks out there make it look easy. They smile more. They bake more casseroles. They wear lipstick to workout. I don’t have to be like them to be lovable. I can be like me: sarcastic, forgetful, grumpy, thoughtful, thoughtless, rash, patient and funny. I can even laugh at my own jokes, have a bad day, or not cook dinner. And I am still lovable.

I can forgive myself. If anyone deserves grace, it’s me. And it’s you. And we have to be the first to let it go and give our mistakes and sins over to God. We don’t have to carry it with us. We can, but we will regret the heaviness and the pain it will cause us. And we will likely regret the million ways it will hold us back from happiness.

I can let love flow through me. Even if I am mad, hurt, wounded, tired or sad. I can let love flow through me. I don’t have to be angelic, all-consumed with the well-being of others or floating on a cloud wearing a halo of baby’s breath. I can just be me, and let love flow through me to the best of my current ability. And I can be okay with that. Some days love will gush. Other days it will be a slow drip. But by golly, I am a conduit of love.

We can even tell ourselves, “I love me.” And it’s not even weird.

I sat in my sunroom the other day and listened to an extra long instrumental version of Hillsong’s Oceans and just told myself the good stuff I needed to hear. And it was GOOD. And the roof didn’t cave in on me. I was thankful that the FedEx guy didn’t show up during my hippy worship lovefest with my eyes closed whispering sweet nothings to myself, but other than an annoying telemarketer briefly messing up my love flow, all was well.

When you love yourself, you can love others better.

When you aren’t consumed with all of your imperfections, mistakes and self-perceived ugliness, you can actually love other people. You can be happy for them. You can be proud of them. And it won’t hurt you one tiny bit.

When we are waiting on something about us to change before we can throw caution to the wind and live, we miss out on a lot of opportunities for joy, love and life. And we can’t get it back.

I don’t know what’s going on with you. Maybe you stink at managing money. Maybe you like cookies a bit too much (there’s not really a too much, but just roll with it). Maybe you just don’t want to live the life that someone else has picked out for you. But does that mean you can’t go ahead and take the plunge and LOVE YOU? Now?

What’s the worst that could happen? If being hard on yourself isn’t working, maybe being kind to yourself will do the trick. I promise you one thing: once you try self LOVE, self hate will be out the dang door. It serves NO purpose and will never, ever help you reach your goals or your destiny.

I heard this recently, “Even a rat in a maze will change directions when he hits a wall enough times.” Well I ain’t no stinkin’ rat y’all.

So I’m going to back away from the wall, wrap my little fingers around myself, tell myself “You got this. You are lovable. God made you by design”, close my eyes and just meditate on that till the FedEx guy gets here.

And the world will be better for it.

Ryan Gosling called. He said to tell you, “Hey girl, love yourself.”

And who are we to argue with that?

 

 

Moms come up with the best gift ideas…for everyone else. They make holidays special, even ones you didn’t know existed. She has been celebrating you and your kids like it is her job. Now is your chance to make her feel special.

But what to get/do for her? You know your wife better than anyone, but let’s face it; you’re not a chick. And you just might feel fresh out of ideas.

Here is a list of things you might not have thought of. They range from FREE to $9 to about $250 and none of them are jewelry, chocolate, or involve glitter that she will end up cleaning anyway.

Stuff:

A Water Softening Shower Head – These are only about $35 and will make her skin and hair feel like a million bucks. Does she ever make you touch her hair after the salon? Yeah, now you can help her feel all soft and silky all the time.

Sports Bras – If you know her size and if she exercises ever, I bet she would like several more bras. We never have enough and since people can see them a bit, we like variety of color and style.

Cooler Purse – I love my cooler that looks like a purse. I take it to wrestling events for my son (they say they have “healthy” concessions but it’s just sausage biscuits and Doritos) and I take it with me when I know I am going to be too busy to eat healthy.

Infuser Water Bottle – I don’t have one, but I have friends who love them. My hubby bought me a water bottle once though and I loved it because I knew he had heard me saying that I needed to drink more water.

Essential Oil Diffuser – I don’t have one of these either, and there are many to choose from (varying in quality) but these are great for making the house smell amazing while also providing health benefits. I want.

Services:

Mini Photo Session – For around $250 (in my area) you can get a short photo session with about 10 photos that you can later print if you would like. I bet you she never thinks there are enough “good” pics of the whole family. Now is your chance to blow her mind.

Spa Service – So many options here: massage, facial, nails, hair, or med spa treatments. Easy option is to get her a gift certificate from her favorite spa and let her choose. I would suggest $125 for a few more options but even $75 can help her get some relaxation.

Personal training – If she has mentioned this to you, then go for it! If not, proceed with caution. You don’t want to push your wife into working out by implying you think she needs to. But many of my friends would love this as a gift!

Housekeeping Services – This is another caution zone, but if my hubby either cleaned the house or hired someone to, I would make immediate love to him. Do what you want with that info.

Landscaping – I love a nice flowerbed, but I suck at it. My hubs has scored major points by building, filling and planting flower beds. It’s terribly romantic in an oddly manure way.

Free:

A letter from you – This is the crème de la crème of “words of affirmation” deeds. Just tell her why you love her and what she means to you and your family. Watch her heart melt and the love flow. It’s magic. Sing it to her, and well, ya know.

A video from the kid(s) – Tear and laughter combined are the ultimate display of emotions. Involve the kids and you are sure to swell her heart and make memories worth more than diamonds.

Breakfast in bed – Never a complaint with the breakfast in bed. Just be mindful of what she actually likes to eat. And if you involve the kids, and the food turns out gross, that’s okay. But usher the kids out before she has to choke down soy sauce covered carrots on saltines. I might be speaking from experience.

A no-sweat dinner – No shopping, no planning, no cooking, no cleaning, and no thinking. Ahhhhhhhh. Sounds like a dream to me.

Quality time:

Plan an activity for the whole family – Even a walk followed by ice cream is great. Has she mentioned a bunch of times that she wanted to go on a picnic? Then now is the time to make it happen.

Alone time – She might like needs a little time alone. Give her a couple of hours to just do NOTHING. Maybe she wants to sit in the tub until her skin prunes, or she wants to read a salacious novel. Either way, she will enjoy having a little down time without the expectation of folding, wiping or cooking anything for anybody.

 

Whatever you decide to do to recognize your wife, just make it’s personal and don’t wait until the last minute if you can help it. Women are quite reasonable (even if stereotypes disagree), just realize that loving her is usually quite simple, just do it.

Happy Mother’s Day everyone!

Selfies really irk people. They seem vain, self-serving, pathetic, and well…selfish.

 

I used to hate selfies. I hated their captions. I hated their angles. I might have even hated their owners.

 

Young people love selfies. They have selfies sticks and they aren’t ashamed to use them. Their image is their number one subject matter. When I was 20 you had to ask a stranger to take a picture of you with your crappy 110 cameras. It was guaranteed to suck. Every time. Then you would throw the photo in a drawer with 600 other pictures of you with your eyes blinking or rolling back into your head like your demons were being exercised. No self-respecting human enjoyed this experience.

 

When we did get lucky and have our good hair day memorialized by a random photo (probably of the dolphin floating behind our head), we didn’t know what to do with the picture. Put it on the fridge? Send copies to all the grandparents? Frame it for our own desk so we can look certifiable? There was nowhere to broadcast it and no one cared.

 

Perhaps no one cares now when we post pictures of ourselves, except to get offended.

 

But I care. And I am getting over being grumpy about it.

 

I might not truly care that you had a spinach and goat cheese omelet that was to die for, or that you finished your 11th 5k, or that your clothes fit better this month than last, but I care about you, and so should you.

 

Famous people have their pics taken all the time, but they know to expect that so their hair looks fantastic and their clothes are so put together and they love it. Their lives are being recorded because they are beautiful and important and everyone wants to see how they live.

 

But what about regular people? Who is telling their story? I mean, we have “Humans of New York” but no one cares about humans in Clarksville, TN or Springfield ____________ (insert random fly-over state). There are no paparazzi grabbing pics of me in my hideous green bathrobe right now while I type this in my dirty kitchen. I am just boring in the eye of a public. I am a wife and a middle-aged Tennessee mom of two.

 

But if I’m being honest, that kind of fires me up! I go to IEP meetings every month and advocate for my son. I take my boys to the doctor, maneuver the DMV, clean baseboards, walk dogs, help manage my husband’s business, encourage women and sometimes even brush my hair. And no one is getting all this sweet action on film. Who is telling my story?

 

I have taken pics of every aspect of my kids’ lives. I have pics of them in their tiny hospital hats, UT Vols onesies, preschool graduation robes and pee wee football uniforms. I have pics of their first day of every school year, every Halloween costume, every milestone and thousands of pics of them sleeping (because let’s be honest, we love them the most then.) We have every birthday cake, every vacation, and every animal they have looked upon at every zoo cataloged somewhere. But we are rarely in the picture.

 

We try to capture dad too, grilling, building, painting, napping, coaching and accepting honors for his job. But unless we wore sequins and were his arm-candy for the banquet, we can float around unseen. We hold it all together, we capture it all on film, and then we proceed to be invisible. Then we feel kinda sassy one day and post a pic and then feel like a douchey loser because non-vain sophisticated moms who put themselves last aren’t supposed to do lame stuff like this.

 

But no more. No more selfie-shaming of the lady folk. We deserve to have our lives seen and if no one else is going to ask us to say cheese, we will just cheese it up in our own way.

 

Good hair day? Click it. Good work out? Click click. Feeling smart in your new glasses? Click click click people. If you can photograph a plate of food, you can photograph your face.

 

And you don’t have to feel sexy to take a pic of yourself. Feeling accomplished, sad, introspective silly or inventive? Capture it. This is your life ladies, and one day you will be crazy old, and you will wonder where all the time went, then you can pull up some 40 year old photos of yourself in a swimsuit, a graduation gown or a pair of over-bedazzled jeans that fit just right and you can remember that you lived and that on some days, you even crushed it.

 

Ladies you are living, and balancing and struggling and accomplishing. And there’s no paparazzi creeping around your windows showing the world how kick-ass you are. Oh, your friends and toddlers take pics of you that make you look crazy, and that’s okay, but what in the world is wrong with wanting to remember a moment, a look, or a feeling that you earned, you felt and you lived?

 

Take that selfie dang it. And if anyone tries to make you feel bad, 86 them or tell them to go photograph a rock or something so they can feel intellectually superior.

 

Sometimes I feel small, or old or frumpy or weak. But when I am feeling strong and lovely and confidant, I might decided to make a 16-piece collage of myself and hash tag it to the moon and back. It’s my life and my business and my aging face and I will selfie as I please.

 

And if anyone thinks that is vain or pathetic or self-serving, they can get over it. Because they are my memories and my feelings and I have the right to enjoy them, now and when I am old and when I have grandchildren to tell my story to.

 

Wealthy ladies used to commission artists to paint a portrait of them. They wanted to leave a legacy and capture a fleeting moment or fading youth. My face won’t end up in oil and hanging in a museum, but my little photos of my little life make me feel significant and memorable for a few minutes here and there. And in a life full of minutia and beige and ordinary tasks, it’s not too much to ask.

 

I want to know what I look like when I am doing my best. And I shouldn’t have to pose with a friend or my kid or my dog to validate that desire. I am accomplishing things and I want the world to see it. I want to see it.

 

Want this moment to last? STOP. And post a selfie. Now. #iearnedthisselfie

 

For pics of my dogs, kids, omelets, my biceps and even my face, feel free to follow me (or just stalk me) on IG @mrskriswolfe

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Moments before I realized I had gotten carried away writing and forgot to get my kid from school. Ah. Life. #iearnedthisselfie

 

 

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Am I the only mother who…

 

Thinks of dropping off her kids 6 miles from the house––in a blizzard because they are fighting.

 

Always knows the cost of a flight to Mexico. Just in case I need a little “me” time.

 

Has all the good chocolate in the bathroom closet. Or the safe.

 

Sees a call from the school during a workout and finishes the work out. They’ll always call back.

 

Tells my child to stop touching me before I go bananas.

 

Wishes that the school didn’t send 15 notifications about snow days so they kids will just go to bed so I can go to bed and read about fictional lives.

 

Resents PowerSchool for constantly telling me “what’s up.”

 

Prays we don’t get in a wreck in the car circle because I am wearing a bathrobe and snow boots. And no actual clothes.

 

Tells my kid we are out of syrup so he will stop having Elf moments and leaving syrupy paw prints all over the kitchen.

 

Drinks an Angry Orchard in the bathroom for a mini vacay (that was just once so and it’s practically apple juice, so you know, stop judging me, lol.)

 

Does the Jacob’s ladder at the gym AFTER the workout because it’s more fun and relaxing than cleaning the house.

 

Counts my Easter Peeps before leaving the house and when I return (to keep an eye on my kids sugar intake of course.)

 

Has a thing called “snack dinner” (insert glitter cannon), which is propped up to sound like a carnival of epic proportions but it’s really just a smorgasbord of crap from the fridge with questionable remaining minutes of quality.

 

Being a good mom is really subjective you know. Some days are Mary Poppins days. Some days are Bloody Mary Days. Some are like a scene from The Shining. But some dang reason, our kids love us anyway. So bask in that for a minute. You are loved unconditionally. Weird isn’t it?

 

Like little mini Frankensteins, they were created to love us. Well not really. But it’s fun to imagine.

 

Keep crushing it mom. One day their counselor will enjoy the stories.

 

Forgive me while I talk out of both sides of my mouth for a minute.

I like feeling pretty. A good hair day, nice skin and a new outfit can all brighten my day. A well-placed compliment can kick my mood up a notch or two.

I also like complimenting my friends. I want them to know they are pretty, that I have noticed their new hairdo or their extra effort with makeup.

But in the end, I am just over it.

I am so tired of talking about beauty. Tired of hearing about beauty. Completely over reading about beauty. And just cringe at everyone trying to define and redefine beauty.

Here’s the real deal. There are two kinds of beauty: the kind you see and the kind that just is.

I heard it said once that Catherine Zeta Jones just is pretty. That it’s not a matter of opinion. It’s just truth. And honestly it doesn’t matter if you or I agree. Because it’s true.

But here’s why. It’s not because of her lovely eyes or perfect pout, it’s because God created her. Therefore it’s true. She is a creature of beauty. But so are you.

You see, there is beauty in every human that just is. And the opinions of our parents, peers or partners simply cannot alter that. They can only alter our perceptions of ourselves. And isn’t it sad that we would let another person alter our view of God’s creation?

Listen y’all. It’s okay to have a little concern over beauty. I do. But we can’t sit around waiting to feel beautiful because someone tells us it’s okay to finally feel it. Ironically, I think most women know that have something beautiful about them, but they seem to be waiting for someone to give them permission to admit it, own it and believe it. And that makes me sad.

And when I was younger, with smoother skin and fewer gravity affected parts, I knew I was attractive in some people’s eyes, but I never felt lovely or truly loved because I didn’t have a clue what God thought of me. So all the lust in the world couldn’t make up for the love of Christ. It just can’t. And it won’t.  And I am sorry if I am the first person to tell you that.

So it’s cool if you are just know embracing your stretchmarks and your scars, and learning to be okay with the loose skin that follows drastic weight loss. I am pumped if you are okay going to the gym with no makeup or to the mall in a ball cap. I am impressed if you are in the camp of growing old gracefully, rolling up them boobs and stuffing them into your sensible bra. I am fine if you want to contour your whole blessed face, shave the side of your head or tattoo your neck. For all I care you can go topless on the beach, spend your downtime in a moo moo or wax off your brows and draw in rainbow caterpillars in their place.

I just don’t care, and neither does God. It’s just so unimportant.

I would rather tell you: good job not losing your mind with your kids today, great job at work surviving that evaluation without getting weird smelling sweaty armpits, way to rock it at the gym today doing 2 more push ups than you normally do, way to hold it all today, way to forgive yourself, way to love, way to take it to God in prayer, way to surrender.

It’s time to change the conversation ladies. Finding beauty in everyone isn’t changing the definition of beauty, it’s knowing that there is only one definition of beauty that matters and it depends on our relationship with Christ, our standing in Him that occurred when He gave all for us and continued to cement when we chose to be adopted my Him and accept His love and grace.

I am not going to stop buying skin cream, but I am not going to lose any sleep when no one knows that I am using it or that no one cares, but why should they? It just doesn’t change the world for the better and in the end of my life, no one is going to be touched that I kept my roots on point.

We are more than hair, skin and boobs. Let’s start acting like it.

 

 

 

When I turned 40 recently, two realizations hit me hard:

  1. Someday, I will die. (like for real die like every person eventually does)
  2. I better work on my personality, because I’m too old to count on my looks. (I’ve never been on par with the likes of Olivia Wilde, but I am looking more like a twice-baked potato each year.)

Charm is deceptive, and beauty does not last; but a woman who fears the LORD will be greatly praised. Proverbs 31:30

What realizations hit you when you turned 40?

In 14 days, I will be 40. That’s half way to 80 in case you didn’t know.

When I turned 30 I was thrilled. I am petite and I have always looked a little young for my age. I was determined to be taken “seriously” and I felt that with “30” on my side, I could finally stand up for myself, say no when I felt like it, and not even have to make up an excuse. I felt grown.

The last 10 years have gone by so slowly yet so quickly. I have been divorced, hit the dating scene again, got engaged, got un-engaged, dated some more, found the love of my life, remarried, and have seen my two sons turn into young men.

I have found Jesus in the darkest moments. I centered my marriage on God. I have found a church home, became a Christian blogger, gone to seminary and have begun my Christian counseling internship.

I have lost weight, I have gained weight, I have joined and quit four gyms, eaten gluten-free, clean, dairy free and taste free. I currently favor the cupcake diet, but am certain that my budget can’t handle many more trips to buy new jeans in the next size up, so I am focusing on my health once more. My waist is expanding, my breasts are softening, my eyebrows are thinning, and for the love of Pete, I still have acne (how is this possible??)

I have lived in about seven different homes from a small 2-bedroom apartment that promised a pool (that was open about 11 days that summer) to my ranch on 17 acres that begs for a chicken coup but will have to settle for puppies and my dying aloe plants under the florescent lights in my guest bathroom.

I have had several different jobs, many out of necessity because I was a single mom. I was a makeup artist, a lingerie store manager, a housekeeper, a real estate agent and now a business owner/writer/teacher/student/intern. Yes, I have done it all and that’s okay. Not all of us settle in easily. I like to take the long way “home.”

In the last 10 years, I have read over 300 books, owned 8-10 cars, written hundreds of blogs, had several surgeries, had 6 very brief pregnancies, cried thousands of tears, laughed, danced, partied, napped and traveled. I have lived a lifetime in these 10 years.

With only 14 days left in my 30s, I am beginning to mourn this decade. No, I am not mourning my youth, my once firm tush or my laugh-line-free-face. I am beginning to say goodbye to the decade that I learned the most in life.

In my 30s, I learned how to be a good girlfriend, how to be honest, to stop competing, to truly love my friends the way they deserved to be loved.

I learned to stop telling people what to do with their lives (as much). I am a better listener, less bossy, and better at allowing people (and the Holy Spirit) the space to figure things out for themselves.

I have learned to follow, to give up (some) control and to not always get my way (every time.) I have learned to let my husband lead (that was HUGE!), and I am learning to not always be the alpha in my friendships.

I have learned to be okay and even excited about high-waist jeans, comfortable shoes, stretchy sports bras and a really good eye cream. I still love fashion and I enjoy trends, but I am happily making decisions about what to wear that would have made me cringe a few years ago. I dress “my age”, and I am proud of that.

I have learned to forgive myself when I disappoint myself as a mother, to apologize, and give myself the grace I give my children (and those around me). I have stopped wondering if my parenting would put them in therapy, started stashing money away for the therapy that will come, and am already planning ways to spoil my grandchildren (in 20 years.) I don’t even care what the grandkids call me, as long as they do.

I have become less beautiful yet less vain. I have become more confident, yet less prideful. I have become a better leader, and a better follower. I have learned I am not always right (although I have not learned to like it). I have learned to say I am sorry quickly and often. I have given up on ever becoming a good singer but I have become quite comfortable with raising my hand to worship my Maker.

My heart has softened, my silver tongue has lost some of its sting, and I am in general kinder. I am still short, bossy, quirky and fickle at times. I can still be a little mean, moderately impatient, and quite demanding.

As I bid farewell to my 30s; I want to say thank you to this incredible, broken, humbling, yet victorious decade. Thank you for making me stronger, gentler, kinder, more forgiving, less selfish, while still imperfect. Thank you for showing me what really matters like good girlfriends to split a bottle of wine with, kids to chase down for a hug and a husband to hold hands with and to tell me I am pretty when I am in my high-waist jeans and sensible shoes. Thank you for dragging me out of the darkness and into the light, for making me an advocate instead of a victim, a problem solver instead of a whiner, and a woman instead of child. It was time to grow up.

As I face my 40s, I think of all the things I still want to do, and all the places I would like to visit. But I always want to pay homage to the life I have already lived, the love I have already felt and the God I have already met. If today were my last day on earth, I have already lived a good life.

(Oh, and don’t tell me that 40 is the new 30…I am proud of every hour on this Earth!)

I have a theory. Ask anyone what they wish their super power would be. Then evaluate. But before you continue reading, stop and think about what you would want your super power to be. Write it or tell it to someone. Got it? Okay, now read on…

 

For example:

 

Byron said he would either be really fast (in all movements, think “Quicksilver” from X-Men) or could read peoples’ minds.

 

And I have concocted the best super power. I want to be able to go back in time, to see what really happened, not to change anything, just to witness it. When my kids say, “He hit me; I didn’t do anything!” I could actually see for myself. When Byron says, “You never told me that,” I can rewind time and say, “See, here’s is when I told you.” I call it the rewind power.

 

From this one question, you can find out your strength and weakness. Let me break it down.

 

Byron wants to be fast. This tells me that he is impatient (weakness) but it also tells me that he is a go-getter and likes to feel accomplished (strength).

 

I want to be able to TIVO real life. In part, this is because I value the truth; good or bad (even if it shines a poor light on me) I want to know the truth (strength). But it is also because I enjoy being right. If I could just turn back time, I could prove that I am right (weakness, and apparently not so attractive of a trait according to my hubby).

 

Now go analyze your spouse! They will totally love it;-)