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Faith Goals Self-care

Power In Weakness

Every Wednesday night, our church does Care Night to reach those who are struggling with anxiety, isolation, and addictions. Recently, our Care Night Pastor was encouraging people to attend and talked about how there is power in our weakness. We find God’s strength when we are able to admit our weaknesses and trust in him. Those words really struck a chord with me.

I’ve been learning a lot about vulnerability and sharing my weaknesses this past year. I’ve always been a perfectionist and I hold things close to the chest. Even when I try to be “in the moment” there is a since of control to it. I recently saw a video of me singing on worship team. I remember feeling to free to move to the music and raise my hands, yet as I watched the video, I was surprised how controlled my motions seemed. Apparently, 43 years of perfectionism is hard to break!

The problem is that being perfect pushes people away. And to be honest, being perfect is exhausting. There’s so much self-doubt, self-criticism, and loneliness. I try so hard to be perfect on the outside, but I’m a mess on the inside.

Not Perfect

I’m not perfect. I have nervous ticks that come out even more when I’m stressed — from rolling my eyes, to scrunching my nose, to slightly nodding my head or stretching. It’s embarrassing to me because it is such an obvious physical imperfection. My daughter struggles with anxiety/OCD and is getting a tween attitude that leaves me at my wits end and struggling to know how to help her. I’m more angry, frustrated, and depressed than I want to admit. But that’s okay. God’s power and strength is found in my weakness.

My previous church talked a good game about grace and forgiveness, but made it clear that if you didn’t appear perfect (say the correct things, be involved in certain ministries, wear the right clothes), you didn’t fit in their church. It hurt. But in my feelings of weakness, God led me to a church that values our differences, welcomes us, cares for us, and points us to our Savior. I find myself being more vulnerable and real with people…and they still want to hang out with me! ūüėČ

Be Real

Jennie Allen gives a great example of being known, not perfect, in her book Get Out of Your Head. She writes:

“I met a new friend after the move to Dallas. Ellen is sophisticated and always says the right thing…she was the kind of new friend who is so awesome, you feel intimidated to be around her (though she would never want you to). The first time we met, I remember playing it safe. I thought I’d hold back and feel her out.

“But the second time, I decided to go for it. I was all of me — opinionated, loud, honest, and passionate. She laughed and started calling more often. She liked me in all my chaotic glory.”

When we stop trying to be perfect and share who we are with others — strengths and weaknesses — that’s when the deep relationships form. That’s where God can meet us and grow us.

As I have been willing to share my hurt and pains with others, I’m realizing that I’m not alone and creating deeper friendships. God is bringing joy and healing to my heart by being real and weak. I’m thankful for recent women in my life with whom I’ve been unapologetically me…and felt known and loved.

And I’m thankful for God’s hope and strength in my weakness.

“And He said to me,¬†‘My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.’¬†Therefore most gladly¬†I will rather boast in my infirmities,¬†that the power of Christ may rest upon me.¬†Therefore¬†I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in needs, in persecutions, in distresses, for Christ‚Äôs sake.¬†For when I am weak, then I am strong.” 2 Corinthians 12:9-10

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Faith Self-care

Control Freak

If you’re familiar with enneagram, I’m an 8w9. The 8 means that I like to be in control and don’t want anything to control me. The w9 means that I have a peacemaker side. How this often looks in my life as an 8w9 is that I want to control people’s emotions and have everyone be happy.

I used to think that I wasn’t an empathetic person, however that isn’t true. My empathy just has a time limit. Meaning, I will empathize with you, but then I want to get you feeling better again. Yes, I am great at seeing the silver lining and finding the blessing in the pain, but I tend to rush people to feel better. I want them to “shake off” the emotional pain as if it were just a scraped knee.

But, I need to be willing to sit with people in their pain and not rush them. God isn’t in a rush, so why should I be?

Job’s Faith

I’ve been reading through the book of Job in the Bible recently. Job is known as “blameless and upright, one who feared God and turned away from evil.” Satan comes to God and claims that Job would curse God if you took everything away from him. God disagrees. He know Job will remain faithful.

Job loses everything! His livestock, his farm, his children, and eventually his health as well. He is utterly destitute and miserable. Job doesn’t sit and think about how blessed he is or look for the silver lining. Job is mad a God. He is severely depressed and wishes he was never born. BUT, he never turns from God and curses him.

I love that God has the book of Job in the Bible because it reminds us that it is okay to feel mad at God and/or depressed. He can handle it. So, hold tight to the truth of God through the hard time. Job trusted God even through the hard, even as he waited for a change.

In the meantime, I’m going to work on letting people “feel” and not trying to manipulate or control their feelings. Because it’s okay to have feelings, it’s okay to be angry, and it’s okay to be hurt. And it’s also okay to find joy and see God’s work even while your still struggle. God’s not in a rush — we don’t need to be either.

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Faith Self-care

Empowered

The top of my LinkedIn profile says “Empowering Freedom” and below my profile picture it says “Empowering women to design a life they love.” I talk a lot about empowering women and moms, but what does that actually mean?

Empowerment is defined as the process of becoming stronger and more confident. On LinkedIn, it’s about women finding their way in business and their personal lives. I believe that as women, we were created to do so many things and that we can do big things! I want women to feel empowered to thrive in life.

However, society says that what you need is inside you and you just need to dig deeper to find it — that you are to rely on yourself and no one else. It says that empowerment is taking control of one’s life and claiming one’s rights.

But I believe true empowerment is found in Jesus Christ. See, the amazing thing about Jesus, it that he was all about women’s empowerment! Jesus took women from a place of shame (in their culture at that time) and gave them honor…and he still does today!

If you want to know what a strong woman is, look to the Bible. If you want an example of a man bringing honor and empowerment to women, look to Jesus. You don’t need to look to yourself, you just need to trust Jesus and look to him for the honor, respect, strength, confidence, and power he has given to you already.

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Goals Health and Wellness Self-care

Finding Balance

Balance…the word brings images of peace, calm, and stability, yet it also feels so far away from our lives.

As a mom, there’s the balance of taking care of your kids and yourself. Add in a job and a working mom must balance work, kids, and self.

In relationships, we often strive to balance others emotions and our responses.

Health-wise, we need a balance of foods that give us energy and help us and foods that can cause inflammation (you can have your cake and eat it too…just not all the time!). With exercise, we find ways to make our bodies stronger and have better breath capacity without breaking ourselves down, leaving us injured or immobile.

Where are you needing balance in life?

I shared recently that for this year, I’m not setting a bunch of goals. I’ve learned that balance, for me, is taking one day at a time. When I set lofty goals for my business, I can push so hard and do so much that I burn out.

I love to eat healthy and stopped eating sweets over 5 years ago. Yes, I don’t crave them, but I also fear even taking a bite and trying something. Yes, it sounds ridiculous, so I’m working to find balance having a piece of dark chocolate every once in while without the fear that it will start controlling me. 😉

I’ve spent a lot of my life closed off from people, resisting community, and compartmentalizing my life. I’m learning to balance my relationships by opening myself up to others and allowing them to invest in me while I also invest in them.

Where do you need balance? Work? Relationships? Health?

Start with one area and start making changes. Remember, small changes over time make a big difference.

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Health and Wellness Self-care

Healthy Happy Joints

Are you stiff when you get up in the morning? Do your knees or hips hurt when running or jumping? Do you feel like your 70 when your only in your 30s?

You don’t have to feel that way! Taking care of your joints now is SO important and there are simple things that you can do to help you feel and move better.

Here are 5 things you can start doing today to support healthy joints and movement:

  1. Move your body: The longer you sit, the more your muscles tighten. Staying active throughout the day (get those steps in!) will both help your joints feel better now and in the future.
  2. Strength Training: Did you know that a lot of knee pain comes from an imbalance of muscles strength? Our quads tend to naturally be stronger than our other leg muscles. When our quads (front of our thighs) are stronger than our hamstrings (back of our thighs), it pulls on our knee joints and can cause shooting pain. By strengthening your hamstrings and glutes (butt), you’ll not only feel stronger, but have less pain in your knees! But don’t just strength train your legs! You want to train your entire body. Looking for a great app that can help you do strength training (and overall fitness) at home? Try out the Pretty Muscles app by Erin Oprea. You’ll love it!
  3. Stretching: Just as an imbalance of muscles can cause joint pain, tight muscles can pull at your joints and affect how your move causing pain as well. Take the time to really stretch after a workout, try adding Yoga 1-2x/week, and find times throughout the day to stretch (just make sure you move those muscles some and warm them up before you stretch).
  4. Chiropractor: When your body is out of line, you will feel it in your joints. Find a good chiropractor to help keep your body moving well. Just going once a month for an adjustment will keep you feeling good for a long time…not just now, but as you age as well (take note: if you are dealing with pain now, a chiropractor will start you coming around 2 x/week, then eventually move it down to a maintenance phase as you start feeling better.) Also, find a chiropractor that you love — everyone has different styles and techniques. Don’t be afraid to shop around for a chiropractor that gels with your needs and comfort level.
  5. Supplements: There are a variety of supplements that have been proven to support healthy joints.
    • Collagen: Collagen is important for skin, hair, nails, AND your joints! In fact, it is one of the key building blocks for healthy joints. Never hurts to add some collagen to your supplement routine.
    • Glucosamine: Glucosamine has been proven to rebuild cartilage! Great supplement to add to your diet to keep you moving well.
    • Fish Oil: Omega-3s help to reduce inflammation. Less inflammation means less joint pain.

Interested in what supplements I use and recommend for healthy joints? You can check out this list here.

Here’s hoping that incorporating these ideas will have you feeling free to move your body anyway you choose!

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Faith Self-care

To Be Known

One of the greatest desires of our hearts is to be seen and known. I’ve struggled most of my life with feeling like I’m on the outside looking in or feeling invisible…being the last to the party and not knowing where I fit in.

I started attending a new church a few months ago. I’m thankful for God’s goodness, guidance, and direction, but it was hard and intimidating to leave and go somewhere else. Oh, but what joy is found when we follow where God is calling us to go!

Anyways, I have obviously been meeting and getting to know some new people. I’ve always been a good conversationalist and able to engage with anyone. I’m willing to be the first one to stick my foot in and test the waters of friendship. I’m used to carrying the conversation and asking the questions of others.

However, in getting to know these new people, the tables have been flipped. After meeting people once, they have remembered my name and invited me to hang out. In one on one settings, they have asked me about myself and got me talking. Each time, I’ve apologized for monopolizing the conversation. Each time, I’ve been told that they wanted to hear my story and know me — that we will have plenty of other times to get together and talk…and they continue to invite me to events and engage with me.

I’m not invisible. I’m being seen. I’m being known. And I’m accepted.

It’s a weird feeling. And awesome.

Outside of my amazing husband, with whom I am amazingly known and loved (and my family), this is a new experience for me with strangers and new acquaintances.

I can feel God working in my heart and healing me – addressing the issues that I have stuffed deep and thawing my frozen heart. And maybe someday down the road, I’ll finally learn how to be vulnerable with friends, share my hurts and experiences, and still be known and loved.

I’m wary and nervous, but trusting God as I let myself be seen, known, and loved.

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Health and Wellness Self-care

Give Us Grace

This is my second year of teaching P.E. Last year I taught K-5th grade. This year I have K-8th grade…a range of attitudes and personalities. ūüėČ This also means that instead of teaching two days a week, I now teach 4 days a week.

Teachers do amazing things. I’ve been learning this as I create lesson plans and manage my classroom. But, I think what gets overlooked, is the amount of grace a teacher shows his/her students. I treat each day as a brand new day. If there is a kid that was difficult one day in class, I let it go and don’t carry it to the next time that I see him/her. Every child gets a clean slate every day.

Can I be honest? It’s hard to constantly be letting things go. I’m able to do it with my classes, but I’m noticing that I’m doing a worse job at home. It’s as if I give out all the “grace passes” that I have at school and am empty by the time I get home.

Now, I exaggerate some, but I have noticed how little hurts or frustrations outside of school stick with me more…they swirl around in my subconscious and I have a hard time letting them go. This ends up with me either irritable or in tears.

So, if you have any teacher family and/or friends, give them a little extra grace when they seem irritated or emotional…we’re busy giving grace all day long.

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Health and Wellness Self-care

My Wish For You

I talk a lot about wellness and taking care of your bodies. This isn’t just a passing phase or hobby…it is truly my heart and what I care about, not just for myself, but for the people around me. I heard someone say recently, “I want die young at an old age.” And that is my wish for you: to live a full life – healthy and thriving – until an old age. I want you to get the most out of life. This requires you to take care of yourself…and not just physically.

True wellness (or total fitness) is physical, emotional, mental, spiritual, social, and environmental. I hope that through my blog, you’ve been able to see some of my journey in each of these areas and have encouraged you in your quest for wellness as well.

So here is my wish for you…

Physically: that you would find ways to move you body that bring you joy; that you would fuel your body with good foods and use quality supplements to fill that gap; that you would give you body the rest it needs to heal and replenish; that you would take care of your body so that you can thrive each day.

Emotionally: that you would be able to process through your feelings — whether with a friend or a professional — and find healing and hope; that you would grow in empathy and kindness.

Mentally: that you would find solutions to your problems and learn to process through all the information thrown at you to determine what is worth listening to and what should be ignored.

Socially: that you would have fulfilling relationships with others; that you would be a good friend; that you would find ways to serve and care for those around you.

Environmentally: that you would choose products that are free are harmful chemicals and toxins; that you would be wary of what you put in and on your body.

Spiritually: that you would run to Jesus and know him as your Lord and Savior; that you would see God working in the good and the bad and know that he loves you, sees you, and cares for you; that you would experience growth in your faith in God and love for others; that you would be filled with a peace and contentment and joy that makes no sense to the rest of the world.

My prayer and my desire for you is to find true and total health. That is what “wellness” means to me.

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Chemical-free Health and Wellness Self-care

My Top 5

It’s been awhile since I’ve posted my favorite things, so here is a list of some things that I am loving right now:

  1. Vuori: I recently heard about this clothing company from an ad on the Smartless Podcast. I’ve always been loyal to Athleta, but Vuori’s prices were comparable and I thought I would try them out. I got a pair of their joggers and they are both incredibly flattering and SO comfortable. I literally rub my hands on them whenever I’m in my closet because they are that soft and amazing. 😂 Looking forward to the weather cooling off (just a little bit — I don’t like the cold) so I can wear them. 😊

2. Smartless: If you are looking for podcast that has great celeb interviews with a lot of laughs, then look no further. Smartless is hosted by Will Arnet, Jason Bateman, and Sean Hayes – three of the funnier comedians. They interview different celebs each week and it is AWESOME. If you love podcasts, give this one a try (*there is some language, so don’t listen with young children in the car).

3. Withco: I recently learned about Withco Cocktails when I visited a boutique that my friend works at (if you live in the Chicago area, check out Wykewood House in downtown Aurora or Wheaton). It is a mixer made with simple ingredients. You simply add the alcohol (or club soda for a mocktail), shake or stir, and enjoy. Each bottle is $20 gives you around 10 servings. So, you can have a easy quality cocktail at home for way less than a restaurant.

4. Advanced Collagen: USANA just released their Advanced Collagen drink a couple of weeks ago and it is SO delicious! It has collagen, biotin, hyaluronic acid, and vitamin C to promote healthy skin aging and strengthen you hair and nails. Contains antioxidants to help you look and feel your best…at any age!

5. Beautycounter Deodorant: I have been using natural deodorants for years. The one I was previously using was good, but I had to apply it more than once per day. I love Beautycounter for their great chemical-free makeup, so when they released their deodorant (the Clean Deo), I knew that I needed to give it a try. I’m so glad that I did! It smells great, goes on easy, and – best of all — it keeps me smelling great ALL day…even through my sweatiest workouts.

Give these products a try and let me know what you think!

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Faith Family Self-care

Just Because

It’s been a few weeks since I’ve written. Life has been a little crazy and we have been dealing with some hard things in our family. I’ve spent my moments caring for my husband and children, learning about who we can trust, and running to my Father in heaven who loves me, knows me, and comforts me.

In my quiet times, the song “Just Because” by Judah has touched my heart and reminded me of God’s undeserving love for me and my family.

Below are the words and you can listen to the song here:

“Boldly I come into his arms / with nothing to bring but all of my heart / How could this be? The way He looks in my eyes / All broken and crimson sin, He sees only white.

And I can’t do anything to gain what He’s done / He just loves me, ’cause He loves me, ’cause He loves me, just because He does

Tired and afraid, forgotten what’s paid / so I’ll hide in my shame, like an orphan in chains / I ran from my promise, but it’s never enough / ’cause my walls and my mountains always run out of luck

And I can’t do anything to deserve what He’s done / He just loves me, ’cause He loves me, ’cause He loves me, just because He does

I’m His beloved, I am His friend / His love has no limit from beginning to end / No angel or demon will ever separate / me from His goodness and His wonderful gaze

So let me remind you of all that He’s done / He just loves you, ’cause He loves you, ’cause He love you, just because He does

You are His favorite; You are His friend / No weapon against you ever stands a chance / Not heaven or hell, nor darkness or light / will ever deny you of His wonderful smile

So I won’t be silent; it’s too good to be true / He just loves you, ’cause He loves you, ’cause He love you”