Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Do You Believe in Magic?

So I've mentioned a few times that I'm turning 40. Ahem. Tomorrow. Well, the awesome folks over at SheSpeaks heard too and sent me this awesome L'Oreal Paris Magic BB Cream to try and blog about.

If you pay attention to skin care, facial products, beauty products--I've told you all a million times how much I absolutely LOVE my Birchbox--then you have probably heard of BB cream. It is  "Beauty Balm" and supposedly comprises serum, moisturizer, foundation, and sunblock and a bunch of other stuff in one super-product. I tried another brand when it first came out, and my reaction I used it. It was good for putting on to go to the gym so I didn't look like a corpse, and daily but with reinforcements such as foundation and powder.

Based on that experience, I didn't have high hopes for L'Oreal's version, but I am always up for trying new things.

It comes in a cute little tube and directs you to dot on your face and then blend in. When I squeezed a few drops out, I was less than confident, as it was kind of a whitish color. Anyway, I dabbed and blended and didn't notice much difference. However, I washed my hands, looked back in the mirror, and my face was FLAWLESS. I flawless as my face gets, I am 24 hours away from being 40. My skin tone looked even with a hint of color. My blemishes and pores had vanished. And overall, my face looked smooth and shine-free. One of my issues with the other BB Cream was it gave your skin a "dewy" finish. If you all ready tend to be oily, like me, dewy is not an adjective you look for in your skin care. But with this cream even after a workout, my face still looked pretty even and smooth. Magic is right!

I'm really excited about this product! I'd show you before and after pictures, but I'm a generation too late for "selfies," so my mirror pictures are pretty sad. Still, I'll try to give you something. Later.

*This is a sponsored post, but I really really do love this product and will buy it when my sample runs out!

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Food Revelations

Last week I read Women Food and God. Have you read? Seriously, it changed my life. I LOVE Geneen Roth as if she were one of my people. After the first few chapters, when I sat down to graze in front of the kids' snack cupboard as is my habit, I literally stopped and thought, "Wait, am I hungry?" It was revolutionary.

For those of you who are wondering, it's a lot about Women and Food, but not a lot about God. The God part is more light spirituality and less Bible-based eating plan, but it forced me to sit down and have a long overdue discussion with myself about why and how I eat.

If you ever saw my mom and sister, you'd understand some of my food issues. They are tiny little waifs. So is my daughter. I am not a particularly big person, but they are really, really small. My mom always told me that I was big-boned and didn't "have the eating habits of a thin person," and I have always held a pretty distorted image of my 5' 2" 125 pound self. Yep, I just said my weight out loud to the whole internet. The absolute true weight I saw on that dang-blasted scale this morning. Have I mentioned how much this book helped me?

So one of my biggest food issues is that when I was growing up, food was my mom's main expression of love. Whatever was going on, good or bad, could be remedied with food. Sick? Chicken soup. Sad? Cookies. Celebrating? Cake. And since that was pretty much my mom's only expression of love, when she cooked for you, you ate. And the more you ate, the more you were loved. To this day, her favorite people in life are the people she can control with cookies. I'm kidding. A little.

Additionally, I realized that my happiest memories were wrapped up with food. Thanksgiving, Christmas, birthdays, milestones celebrated by going out to dinner, goals met and rewarded with food. In many ways, I had grown to equate food with happiness. Unfortunately, in many other ways, I also equated skinniness with happiness. That crazy combination cannot possibly add up to happiness. I mean maybe when I was 20 and had a pretty fast metabolism, but now it is kind of a problem.

So for the past few weeks, I've had a lot of conversations with myself about food, why I'm eating, when I'm eating, what I'm eating and so forth. Turns out it's not particularly healthy to sit on the floor and eat from the snack cupboard at 10:30 p.m. Huh. Also turns out that eating an m&m every time you walk past the m&m jar until it's empty is not a great habit. Go figure. And one of the most important lessons I learned is that I really didn't even know how hungry felt anymore.

In all this dialoguing about why I'm really eating and what I really want, I haven't lost one pound--in case you wondered. But, I've been eating much healthier foods and much less and I haven't really had any junk. While I have a long way to go, I have been able to pinpoint some serious issues I have to come to terms with:
  • I am almost 40, not 20, so my 20-year-old weight probably shouldn't be my goal weight. 
  • Being skinny doesn't necessarily make you happy or signify you're happy.
  • Not being skinny doesn't necessarily make you unhappy or signify that you're unhappy.
  • I have a bread addiction, similar to my nicotine addiction. I cannot eat just one piece of bread.
  • Just like my husband is as hot to me today as he was 20 years ago, he looks at me and sees the girl he fell in love with (who was skinny, btw). He literally judges my weight by the size of my boobs, so you can probably guess when he's happiest.
  • Food is an idol, and when I give it this much power in my life, I am putting it before God; that is unacceptable.
  • My mom lives with me. I don't eat her cookies. She still loves me.
 So, if you have a messed up relationship with food, I highly recommend this book. If not? Well, you are a rare breed of fabulosity, and I admire you greatly.

Thursday, January 10, 2013


Two days ago, my itty bitty girl came home from school and said, "Mommy, would it hurt your feelings if someone said that one person was their 'best' friend and you were just their regular friend?" Having experienced more than my share of my own and my oldest daughter's mean girl interactions over the years, I confirmed that it would hurt my feelings. Especially at 6. We talked about it a lot and decided it wasn't kind, and we would try not to single people out in some sort of importance hierarchy.

And while soothing my tiny girl's heart, I realized that I talk about my "best" friend all the time. It never crossed my mind that it would hurt anyone's feelings. Especially since one of my "best" friends never sullies her beautiful mind with computers and social media and such. However, when I used the term in a blog, one of my closest friends was unsure if I meant her or someone else.

Like many women, I've gone through plenty of friendship evolutions. I have known lots of reason and season people. I have walked away from friendships, had people walk away from me, and had God call people before I was ready to let them go. At this point, I am much better able to see why people are in my life or why I am in theirs.

I have not always had very many real friends, which is why I clung so tightly to my "best" friends. In the past few years, God has blessed me and opened my eyes to see the amazing group of women surrounding me. Women who teach me so much. Women who listen, support, hug, pray for and pray with me. Women who reach out to offer a kind word or just to remind you that you're not alone in your journey.

To my girlfriends, whether we interact on Facebook, Twitter, at church, work, or a baseball game, I cherish you. Whether I have known you since we were little girls or I just met you, you are important to me, and I'm blessed God allowed our paths to cross. Whether we share DNA, a common relative, or simply an affinity for cats, we are connected, and I'm grateful to share this journey with you.

Monday, January 7, 2013

Serve God not people

Sunday, I did not feel like going to church. I have been sick for a week. I cried all day Saturday because Chloe was going back to school Sunday. I really wanted to crawl into my turtle shell and hide. But, the Holy Spirit whispered, "go..." that's it. No big earth shattering signs. No hawk flying at my head. Did I tell you about that? Seriously a hawk flew right past my head. I still don't know what that meant. Chloe gets dreams, and I get crop dusted by a bird of prey. Awesome. But I digress, the Holy Spirit whispered, "go."

So, even though I felt crappy and sad and stuffy, and I stomped and pouted a little about it, I went. We had a guest speaker, which really didn't make me happy: "Great, a 20-something-hipster without a lick of life experience to help me in my walk with God. woo hoo." I didn't feel good so my inner critic was even nastier than her usual nasty self. The Holy Spirit whispered, "Shhh." That's it. Just, "shhh."

So, I went and listened to the hipster guest speaker. Sometimes. I studied his bow tie. I wondered about his dialect, "Where is he from again? Phoenix? I bet it's warm there..." I wondered how old he was, he looked like a young kid, but he mentioned his wife. And why aren't the bible verses up on the screens? Of course today I wouldn't get a message map. Today, when my OCD is out of control, and he kept saying, "You might want to write this down." All right, dude, I would but I can't.

But then he interrupted my nonsensical thoughts by saying, "Serve God not people." Wait. Say that again. "Serve God Not People." Now that made sense to me. We tell our Impact team, "You're not serving us; you're serving God." That's what made me go to church Sunday, that little whispered, "go," that reminded me that it's not about me. It's not about my family. It's not about The Movement. It's about God. It's Him that I serve. And how do I serve Him? By loving His people. Boom. Darn little hipster in his bow tie.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Less of Me

Last weekend at church, my pastor/brother-in-law brought the entire congregation to tears. He shared some really personal struggles. He was human and vulnerable. I cried so hard that I had a headache for the rest of the day. He is many things to me: Bible teacher, Christian mentor and my brother here, since my brothers are all there, and I value his words.

In his sermon, he mentioned my blog, which so touched my heart--I cannot even explain how much. Although many friends, acquaintances, and even strangers comment about my blog, none of my family does. My family doesn't read it. My husband's family doesn't read it. My brother reads it. My husband reads it. My best friend reads it. But most people who are close--literally and figuratively a relative term--to me don't.

That hurts my heart when I let myself think about it, which I usually don't. But that is why my brother in law mentioning it made such an impact. I try really hard to encourage everyone around me. Probably because of my dad. My dad believed in me. It's pretty amazing to have a person around who believes so much in you. It also sucks particularly bad when one day that person is gone, and you realize that no one really thinks you're awesome anymore. Fortunately, without my having to say it out loud, because I am pretty bad at saying things out loud, my husband realized that I needed someone to make me feel awesome; he stepped in.

I try to be that person too. Not in a fake way. I really do believe in people. My son is 72 pounds soaking wet, but I wholeheartedly believe that if he wants to be a professional athlete, he can be. I believe that we are all capable of greatness through God. But I think we all need someone to make us feel awesome.

I don't have a whole lot to offer to this world: mercy, faith, kindness, a willing ear to listen, and a heart full of encouragement for every person that crosses my path. Sharing my journey here is therapy for me but is also my way of offering empathy. Many times I have felt saved by reading how others deal with parenting, losing loved ones, turning 40, whatever it is I am struggling with at the time.

This year, I made a lot of goals, and in the past year I made a lot of progress toward letting things and people go. I realized that I need to stop taking people's issues personally. It still hurts though. It still hurts when people who are supposed to cheer for you secretly rejoice when you fall. It still hurts when people who should support your kids make snide remarks about them. It still hurts when people think that because of the way you look on the outside your life is a certain way. Life isn't fair, and it never will be. This year begins my fourth decade, and I will strive harder than ever to walk with Jesus and make less of me so that there may be more of Him.