Do What Makes You Feel Beautiful

So you know that you secretly cherish the hope that one day Stacey London will find you and give you a $5000 gift card to spend on a shopping spree in NYC! You’ve imagined your reaction, mingled with surprise and embarrassment and lots of sappy tears. But since that won’t happen for 99.9% of us, we’re left to take matters into our own hands. Plus, do you really think you could ever forgive the person that nominated you?? I just don’t know…

Most women today are hurried and worried and stressed. Putting ourselves last is the name of the game and martyrdom isn’t becoming. I’ll be honest: I looked like total crap most of the time when I was working fulltime. I would get up, do the bare minimum to look presentable, and rush off to work. Then I’d rush to the gym after work. Then I’d come home, shower, and sit. And eat. And then I had a baby, and I’d skip the gym (membership ran out), rush home to take care of her, and eventually shower…at some point.

My appearance suffered because it wasn’t important. All of these other more important things and people filled my life, and justifiably, I let myself go. For several years. I didn’t do things to make myself feel beautiful, except occasionally. This may sound like you.

If you find yourself sitting on the toilet, staring down at your toenail paint that’s been chipping off for months…or staring at your crazy, unkempt hair and your leftover eye makeup in the mirror first thing in the morning…this is for you.

You are beautiful. Even with the chipped toenail paint, and the wild hair and unwashed face. You are beautiful, even with those extra pounds. Because you gained them while you were caring about everybody and everything else, except you.

But if you’ll decide today, to do just one thing every day, to make yourself feel pretty, I promise you that you will feel better about yourself.

Stop hating yourself for having that extra weight. Love yourself. Stop being so very hard on yourself about not meeting all of your expectations. You’re meeting the ones that matter, because your family is cared for, your job is done every day, and the well-oiled machine of your life somehow keeps running.

Let go of those expectations for a few moments every day. Paint those toenails a pretty new color. Fix your hair the way you like it. Put on lipstick. Take a selfie, or a million. Just don’t post them all to facebook all the time. One or two occasionally is fine. Tip: Angle the camera up and angle your head down, and you’ll achieve the no-double-chin look. You’re welcome.

The point is: women actually have a need to feel beautiful. All I know is, when I feel beautiful, I am far more confident. I can take on the world with the bubbly attitude that I want to. I can conquer my to-do list with gusto. When I have on eyeliner and mascara, look out! I’m feelin good, and I just might try to conquer you while I’m at it. 😉

Remember Esther in the Bible? Well, I think we forget that she spent an entire year being pampered and doing spa treatments and preparing for the king. Believe me, your husband will be loving it. And if he doesn’t notice, it’s his loss, and you can still feel good about yourself anyway.

So tomorrow morning, get up and decide to do one thing that makes you feel beautiful. Love yourself. Pamper yourself. If that means a long bath after the kids are in bed, do it. Pour some Epsom Salt in there while you’re at it. It helps sore muscles and promotes magnesium absorption (which most Americans are deficient in). Just had to throw that in there. 😉

Do it. Whether you feel like it or not. Whether you’re just going to be home all day with kids, or working all day, or pulling an all-nighter to cram for an exam…it doesn’t matter. You matter. You’re worth the effort. Invest in yourself.

Now, the next time you see me and I look like crap, don’t be judging me. I may have painted my toenails and you just can’t see it because I’m wearing close-toed shoes. I may be feeling all kinds of confident because I know my toes are so pretty. This may or may not be my attempt to excuse myself from looking amazing all the time.

So, whatever one thing you need to do to feel beautiful, just purpose today to make it happen. You are the one who will benefit the most. While you’re at it, your confidence will be attractive to those around you. Your smile will be more engaging. You will be able to make eye contact with ease. It’s totally worth it.

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That One Annoying Thing

We live our lives frustrated much of the time. Have you noticed that? When you think about it, we want everything to go perfectly. To flow smoothly.

Traffic needs to do what we want it to. The people we work with need to do their jobs better so that ours is easier. The customers or clients or patients we converse with need to be nice and patient and, of course, totally understand that we’re busy.

The world revolves around us.

I realize this throughout the day as I notice myself becoming irritated with little things.

They are always little things.

Like:

Taking a sip of my freshly-made water bottle. Does it really have to find a way to spray water droplets all over me? Running down my arm and dripping onto the floor??

When I’m making eggs. Does some of the egg white always have to drop on the floor, causing me to get sarcastic and have to bend over (I hate bending over) to clean it up before Olive comes down with salmonella??

When I’m getting dressed. Does Olive really have to run into the closet, open the drawer, and start taking ALL of my underthings out and start throwing them everywhere?!

When I fix Olive something to eat. A meal that I lovingly crafted with all the motherly instincts within me…does she really have to refuse to eat more than two bites and gleefully play with it and get it in the creases of my wooden coffee table…where I can’t get it out?!

When I bring Olive inside after playing outside forever. Does she really have to have a meltdown…every time??

When I’m fixing my hair. Oh man. WHEN I’M FIXING MY HAIR!! Does it really have to be unruly and annoying and make me want to shave my head?!

Life. It is FULL of these things. I could go ON and ON. Because these things are never-ending.

But I’ve known something for a long time.

It’s my response to these things that really needs changing. Because I’m focusing on me, and the fact that I want a perfect day every day, where nothing ever gets on my nerves and life is awesome.

I want to be sweet. I want to be kind. I don’t want to ever be a mean, sarcastic person. It comes out in these moments though. It just comes out. And you know why?

It’s a matter of the heart.

The Bible says somewhere that our hearts are inherently wicked. Well, yes. Mine is. I’m totally selfish. I want my day to be perfect. I don’t want anything to get on my nerves. I don’t want my toddler to yell at the top of her lungs, or throw tantrums over little things.

But isn’t that what I’m doing, in my own way?

I’m throwing an adult tantrum. Except that it’s mostly kept inside, where I’m profoundly irritated, and that irritation doesn’t really calm down until things are going my way again.

Oh, I want to be different!

I want to be able to be calm within, when everything around me seems chaotic and annoying. When I seem to be treading water through my day, never quite digging myself out from under the messy house, the piles of clothes, the toddler messes, the pile of unpaid medical bills. Oh, there are days when I feel like I’m getting the hang of it. But most of the time? I’m hanging on by a thread. I’m barely afloat. I feel like I’m drowning in the midst of all the things I want to get done (that I’m really, truly motivated to get done!) and the reality of the fact that I am simply NOT getting it all done.

Is it just me?

No. I know so many women feel as I do. Like you’re never going to “arrive” because all of these annoying things are in your way. If these speed bumps would just MOVE, you would be home free and almost there!

You can see the finish line, but you can’t…quite…make it…..

What does your finish line look like?

A spotless house? A perfect child? A perfect day? A yummy dessert to drown your sorrows in, at the end of a long, exhausting day that didn’t meet your expectations?

Oh, I am there with you. I get it. This is me.

All I do know is this: I must turn to God. Only He can bring calm and peace to me in the moments I most desperately need it. Those annoying things…they no longer matter when we have a perspective change.

My new perspective: God is in control. It will all get done. I’m going to do what I can, but I’m not going to hurry, because I need to be a patient, kind mama, and I can’t be that mama if I have unrealistic expectations.

Michelle Duggar is one of the most inspirational moms ever. I will never forget hearing her tell the story about how God brought that scripture to her memory: “A soft answer turns away wrath,” and how she had a heart-to-heart with her children about it. She told them to keep her accountable and tap her on the arm and tell her, “Mommy, you’re starting to get angry.” It would remind her of that scripture verse, and she learned to lower her voice, instead of raising it. Her children say that now they can tell she’s really upset with them, when she’s speaking really softly!

I know that my husband deserves a happy, peaceful home. It makes him so happy. I know that Olive deserves a patient and kind mama. I want to keep priorities in their proper place, and never neglect to remember how important these two (seemingly simple) things really are.

I am idealistic, if you can’t tell. I have always been. Life has definitely tried to turn me into a cynic and a pessimist, but I have flatly refused each time. So I persist in my idealism.

If I can rise above that one annoying thing…the water bottle, the egg, the toddler messes…will I find myself surrounded by more laughter and humor? I think so. I dearly love to laugh. It’s one of my favorite things. Why wouldn’t I want to laugh more?!

Here’s to laughing more at all of these annoying things. Let’s do that. It’s better than the other alternative!

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Mom’s Night Out

Have you guys seen this movie?? If you’re a mom, if you homeschool, if you plan to homeschool, if you stay at home, if you work but want to stay at home, if you work and you want to work but you can’t seem to juggle everything, if you have even one kid…you need to see this movie! The first time I planned to see this movie, it was in the theaters still. My sister and I had arranged an actual mom’s night out. We each have one child, and our husbands were watching them, after much orchestration. I even had to drive to a wedding my husband was attending to drop off my toddler, so he could take over watching her, so we wouldn’t miss the movie. I had searched online and found that it was playing at a certain theater in town. Alright! We had heard that it was hilarious, and we were excited.

We arrive at the theater. We get to the window. We ask for tickets. The bored teenager behind the counter says in a monotone voice, “That movie isn’t playing here.”

I blink.moms_night_out_xlg

“Okay…but it was listed online…”

“That must be wrong because it’s not playing here.”

My sister and I look at each other and walk away. The frustration of trying to make a night out happen settled over me. The hopes of watching a highly anticipated movie were crushed. It wasn’t playing anywhere else in town. The online website said it was playing here. At the risk of being that customer, I pulled up the website on my phone, walked back to the window and showed it to Bored Teenager. I don’t know why I did this. In hopes of them just playing the movie for us? Since we had driven all the way down there to see a specific movie? Because we had arranged childcare? Because it was highly disappointing to be told it wasn’t playing? In an effort to “win” a sort of argument?

I don’t know why I did it. I guess to show Bored Teenager that I was right and she was wrong.   At any rate, we left. After looking at all the other movies playing, we decided that nothing else was good enough. We were so disappointed. We started driving aimlessly. My sister needed gas. We stopped for gas. I was hungry, so we thought maybe we’d go eat. Then we decided to stop at Fresh Market because we’re both into organic, healthy living and going into a store like Fresh Market will always lift our spirits because we want to buy everything. Literally, everything. We moseyed around, picked out some awesome chocolate, picked out some awesome cheese, combed over the entire store for over an hour, and left feeling happy and contented. We munched on chocolate and cheese on the drive home. We were able to turn the evening around. 🙂

Little did I know the resemblance between our mom’s night out and the movie that we weren’t able to see! I finally rented it on Amazon Prime after forgetting about the movie for months. I laughed so hard! And I cried. I related to it so much. Even though the main character has three kids and I have one. What Bones said to Allyson in the police station was just what I needed to hear: “Ya’ll spend so much time beating yourselves up. It must be exhausting. I reckon the Lord knew what He was doing when He gave your kids the mama he did. So you just be you, and He’ll take care of the rest.” Wow. So simple. So profound.

To watch the movie online through Amazon Prime, click here: Mom’s Night Out

I’ve watched the movie at least five times. I needed to watch it that much, I think, if not just to memorize what Bones said. I just quoted him from memory! I want to always remember this. To stop being my own worst critic, to let go of the fear of getting it all wrong with parenting…and not just parenting! All of life. I want to remember that God is enough. That He will always provide. That even though circumstances look hopeless (with health, with finances…you name it), He is bigger than the circumstances. He is enough. All I need to do is trust Him!

I’d love to hear what you thought of the movie! Share your thoughts in the comment section below.