Talking to yourself in the mirror

God, gratitude, women

Women, have you noticed that there seems to be a constant tug-of-war going on in our minds with our body images?

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I don’t know about you, but in my mind, the fighting’s not fair. Most of the women that I know are not ugly, horribly fat and unkempt. Yet to hear them talk about themselves, that’s exactly what you’d think they were. If we were half as hard on other people as we were on ourselves, we wouldn’t have any friends!

What about you? Are you friends with the reflection in the mirror? Do you look at her and point out all of her faults and criticize her?

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Nobody wants to befriend someone like that. Would you? I wouldn’t. Why do we treat our own body that way….I have been wondering. We are only entrusted with one body for this lifetime. We can be kind to ourselves and our inner talk as well as outer talk, or we can put ourselves down and constantly point out faults before anyone else does. Either way, we will believe ourselves, and we all know that is miserable.

I have been doing a strange but healing practice for myself lately that I think any female can benefit from. When I’m getting dressed, instead of pointing out my own faults, I thank God for my strong legs that can walk and take me places. I thank Him that I am mobile and can do the work that I need to that day. I then thank Him for my arms, then my torso. You get the idea! I practice the same with my face. It’s a little harder when I get to the wrinkles, but I can thank Him for the smile lines because I laugh a lot.

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How different would we feel if we spoke to and cared for our bodies and ourselves the way we do our best friends? Think about it! Maybe you’ll try talking to yourself in the mirror. 🙂

Thanks. Sometimes it’s not fun getting to that.

gratitude

GIving thanks for a trial and difficult time in life? Nope! I’m not that spiritually mature, and not sure that I ever will be. I’m a regular person who runs like a maniac to avoid any pain at all cost.  The last two and a half years have been the most difficult years of my adult life, and I couldn’t run from them as I have gone through some intense health challenges. However, I can definitely say that I learned to give thanks in the trial and in the painful circumstance.

If you’ve never had a loved one go through a medical difficulty, there is not a place in your heart or brain to understand it. I’m generally a compassionate and caring person. But as far as knowing someone going through infertility, cancer, diabetes, or any chronic or terminal illness, I just didn’t know what it felt like to go through something like that. To be perfectly honest, I was really quite glib about my questions and conversations with someone going through these things. Mind you, at the time, I felt sincere. Looking back, I think, what a clueless wonder I can be. Even with my own son, who has narcolepsy, a disease that affects him every day, I didn’t have a clue.

I am thankful that in the trial of this difficult medical journey, I have learned a deeper compassion for those who are hurting and looking for answers. I can empathize more with the anxiety of not knowing and waiting for a diagnosis, the fear of what diagnosis you may get, your family’s fear of the unknown, doctor visit after doctor visit, blood work, CT scans, MRI’s, medical bills you didn’t expect, the desperation to find answers, questions from people, no questions from people, and well-meaning things people say that through you for a loop.

My brain MRI at the Mayo Clinic last year

My brain MRI at the Mayo Clinic

Most of all, I am thankful in the trial for the constant God who doesn’t ever change. He walks with us through the valley when it’s dark and scary and unknown, and He is always there.

The sad truth is, that if I had read something like this before my own medical trial, I would have skimmed right over it. And that’s just the point. God taught me some really hard and good things through this difficulty that I only could have learned by going through it. So I’m being real and saying that I don’t like this trial and I would have rather fast-forwarded past it. But I’m thankful in it. And thankful for the God who has walked with me and never left my side.

(In case you were wondering what my medical issue is: For the first year and a half of my mysterious and sometimes debilitating symptoms, we suspected I had MS, with no conclusive diagnosis. After many, many tests, and doctor visits, we have learned that I have unusual complex migraines. They usually present themselves without a headache, but with double vision and other neurological symptoms. That’s why it was so hard to figure out that they’re migraines, because of the usual absence of headaches. I am in the process of getting the right medications and feel better than I have in the last two and half years.)

During my most difficult times of this health scare, the first year and a half, when I was so afraid of the unknown, I often recited the verse James 1:2-4

Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.

Thanksgiving tradition

crafts, gratitude

Here’s one of our favorite family traditions for Thanksgiving:

Thanksgiving tablecloth!

We started this tradition over ten years ago. I think it originally came from a magazine. I purchased an off-white cheap tablecloth from Wal-Mart, some acrylic paints, and a leaf stamp.

Every year, whoever is at our house for Thanksgiving signs the tablecloth. We always put our name, the year, and something we’re thankful for. It’s so fun to look at who visited us in years past or what we wrote last year! Some of us write paragraphs, some only a word. For the younger ones, we ask them what they’re grateful for, then write for them until they’re old enough. It’s also sweet to see how our kids handwriting has changed through the years, along with their priorities.

Some write a little, some write a lot. We love to see both.

Honestly, the next two pictures are the cutest ever! You’ll see both of our kids quotes for different years, but close together.

Christian (who is now 20) at 11 years old says he’s thankful for his life and friends. When he was 8, he says “food”. I love it!

Danielle is now 14, but when she was 2, she says she’s thankful for God. At 3 years old, it was her brother. She was too young to write, so I did it for her.

Yes, there are a couple of grease stains here and there, because we actually serve food and eat on this tablecloth each year. Just use stain remover on the wicked stains and overall, it’ll be okay. Nobody cares about the stains, and I know that it’s clean.

Here’s how you can start your own tablecloth:

Mix brown, red, and orange paints on a paper plate and stamp the leaf in paint. Stamp on paper first to make sure you have the desired color combo and amount of paint you like. Then stamp on tablecloth in different directions. Have a couple of Sharpie markers available sometime before or after your meal and ask everyone to write something they are thankful for with their name and the year. Be sure to have some paper for underneath where they are writing so the permanent marker doesn’t transfer to your table!

Yes, I still try to initiate a verbal gratitude moment. I often ask everyone to state out loud something that they’re thankful for. It’s guaranteed eye-rolling, and everyone may or may not participate. But everyone likes the tablecloth.

The importance of thank you

gratitude

If you ever read “Diary of a Wimpy Kid”, then you remember the fill in the blank thank you notes that Greg writes after receiving lots of presents. He decided that it would be easiest to write the same basic form of note to all of his relatives, only changing their names and a couple other details. Unfortunately, some of the notes came out a little awkward. For example:

“Dear Aunt Loretta, Thank you so much for the awesome pants! How did you know I wanted that for Christmas? I love the way the pants looks on my legs! All my friends will be so jealous that I have my very own pants.”

Call me immature, but this part of the book makes me tickled inside and it makes me laugh out loud every time I think of it! Scratch that, the entire book makes me laugh out loud. Who hasn’t been guilty of doing some variation of this when we want to crank out several thank you notes in one sitting? (If you’re not guilty, please don’t judge me. I am sorry and am changing my ways.)

I can’t help but think of Luke 17 when Jesus heals ten men with leprosy. The Scripture points out that only one came back to say thank you, and that one was a Samaritan. Samaritans didn’t associate with Jewish people. Since Jesus was Jewish, it makes the Samaritan’s thank you even more significant. Jesus comments, “Were not all ten cleansed? Where are the other nine?”

Today I had a new insight on thank you notes. Thank you is polite and kind. Saying thank you is what people do if they have decent manners. But I think there’s something even deeper than that. “Thank you” and a thankful heart matters to Jesus. Today I practiced being deliberately thankful as I wrote several notes. I paused to think of the gift from the giver’s perspective and their intentionality in giving it. It actually felt great to do that and it made me realize how thankful I should be as a result. It was then that I actually felt gratefulTry it and let me know what you think!

photo by ehow.com