Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Ugly Ducklings, Swans & "Real Beauty"

I am lucky enough to get to volunteer with the young women in my church and we were recently talking about "Who We Are & Who We Can Become."  Being teenagers and living in today's world, of course we had to talk about "beauty."  It's so sad to me that in this world our physical appearance has become such an important standard for comparison that people literally spend MILLIONS of dollars a year trying to change the way God made them.  And "looks" aren't even REAL BEAUTY...

Real beauty is moral character.
Real beauty is charity.
Real beauty shows through the light in your eyes because you are truly happy, because you know you are trying your best, and that IS good enough.(I didn't always believe that.)
Real beauty is compassion in all circumstances.
Real beauty is honesty and humility in any situation.
Real beauty cannot be bought, tucked, or implanted.
Real beauty is someone who walks with their head held high because they know who they are, who they can become, and they conciously work on becoming that person. 
Real beauty is trying again even when you mess up.
Real beauty is courage.
Real beaty is love, even for YOURSELF, the way you are RIGHT NOW.

I mentioned the Dove Evolution Commercial to comment on how every image we see in magazines has been edited- every one!  I know this because I edit every picture in my albums, at least for color.  In fact, Julia Roberts will not let a magazine publish a picture of her unless it has been edited enough which is why a European country wouldn't publish a spread of advertisements with her in them- they actually have laws against publishing pictures that have been edited too much in other countries!!! But, I digress.

I thought everyone had seen this ad, but I guess when it came out these girls had just learned to ride their bikes, so I had to explain it and email it to them.  Here it is for your viewing...

Crazy.  Too contrast how you might feel after watching this, check out these other two videos.  The first is a beautiful song about the value of women- we have "SO MUCH TO OFFER."  I'm so glad some sweet person made a slideshow to go with it too. 
Finally, (I love this video clip) in "Our True Identity" there's a short re-telling of The Ugly Duckling.  Just as the ugly duckling learns he is really a swan, WE ARE ALL SWANS. :)  I kmow that because our Heavenly Father made us and He doesn't make ugly ducklings.
Don't ever forget who you are, how important you are, how valuable you are.  You matter.  Luv, Eva

Monday, January 7, 2013

A New Year, A New Look...On Life! :)

As you may have noticed (or may not have- I tend to obsess about details...), my blog has a new look and a new name.  Usually I go with bright colors for my design but I loved this image of a bird flying out of it's cage and being FREE!  Even though the textures were distressed and the colors were dark, that really made the beauty of the little bird's freedom even greater.  (Yes, I really do read this deeply into the symbolism of blog templates LOL)

I really felt like that little birdy represented me.  I am very open about the fact that my life has put me in some very dark places.  God challenges and tests all of us to our most fragile extremeties.  If you haven't been there yet, you will.  If you have or are there right now, you are not alone.  I went from happy-Homecoming-Queen-full-ride-scolarship-3.98-GPA-cheerleader-girl to...anorexic-bullemic-on foodstamps-sobbing-and-calling-her-husband-everyday-at-work-suicidal-mother-of-3.  Crazy, huh?  Especially when alcohol and drugs WEREN'T EVEN INVOLVED!!!  And I have an incredibly supportive family!!  But it can happen to anyone.

This life is meant to be a test, a challenge to stretch us farther than we thought possible or even wanted to go.  And I can honestly say now, being on the other side of things, I AM SO GRATEFUL for those experiences.  I know it sounds cliche, but it's true.  I do feel like I can love others more deeply now.  I more empathetic.  I appreciate what I have mroe.  I have greater patience and charity for others, especially those in similar cirumstances.  And I freely express that I think I got off easy, so many people endure daily much more than I had to.

My new outlook on life this year it this- don't expect everything to be perfect before you do what matters most to you.  If  I had waited till I felt this depression-free to really kiss and express love to my husband, he would have been waiting 8 years!  He probably wouldn't have still been around, I don't think I would have.  But through it all, we still were loving and enjoyed the good days as fully as we could, even if that just meant watching a show together on our lumpy couch. :)

I'm so glad I apologized each time I yelled at my kids and read them stories and tucked them in when I felt well enough too.  There were nights mommy put herself on time-out and couldn't last till bedtime with a smile on her face, but I didn't wallow.  Ten minutes later were a new ten minutes that could still hold an I-Love-You for my kids that we all needed.  Things weren't perfect, but they didn't need to be to share love.

"When Life Gets Dark I Look For Stars" is a title I wanted to use for a self-help book with all my stories.  I DO NOT have time energy to be trying to write a book right now (not with 2 home business in the works!) but I am not waiting for that "some day" anymore to share what's helped me physically and emotionally.  I'm not waiting for so-called "perfect" scenarios in which to exercise, cook, clean, write books, write symphonies or anything else!  I'm just going for it now and living now the best way I can, with no regrets, free

I may never write a full book, but at least I'll have kept a blog.  I may never perform in a musical again, but at least I'll perform for my kids (BTW if you want to videos of us dancing LOL make sure you are my friend on facebook!) I may never run a marathon, but all the miles I've walked in my living room while watching My Fair Wedding have been great.  I may never have a CD for sale on itunes, but my songs can be on YouTube and that can still help others and be a fun, creative outlet for me.  In other words STOP waiting, and START LIVING!

The only person that can cage you up is you.  But you are also the one that has the key to set you free.

Luv <3 eva="eva" p="p">

Friday, January 4, 2013

Footprints In The Snow

I was looking outside my kitchen window yesterday and feeling a little down.  On Wednesday, the 2nd!, I had already had my official first meltdown of the year.  Ugh.  It felt like no matter how much I tried or how much I taught, demonstrated, lectured, laughed patiently, or explained "punching isn't nice" in a variety of tones, my children were just not learning ANYTHING!

The bedrooms were a mess and any mere suggestion at picking up a dirty sock was met with whines of protest.  The living room looked like it had been hit by a hurricane only there would be no rescue team to help clean up the disaster because they weren't "done finishing their game."  Homework?!  But they just endured 20 minutes of that torture yesterday!  I was starting to feel like a failure as a mother...

And of course all of this was as I ws trying to leave and enjoy my first evening as a Young Women's leader in our church.  I finally got in the car, saying a mental prayer and hoping I could change my mental attitude in the 2 minute drive over...

I must be a terrible mother and teacher because they are not learning anything.

I corrected my thought a little.

I must be a bad teacher because they are not learning very fast.

I corrected it a little more.

I'm teaching them but they are just not learning as fast as I want them to.
But they are only 6 and 5...

And even more.

They are learning little by little and you are doing the best you can.  It's going to be ok.

Fastforward to yesterday.  Looking outside my window I could see little footprints in the snow. 

Most likely they are from our two kittens that must of been tigers in another life.  I had no idea they had bolted and ran in so many places!  Our yard is over an acre and I could see these cute little pairs of prints tracked in loops, zig-zagging through and under play-equipment all over the yard.

I started thinking.  If I could really see my "emotional footprints" or the "developmental footprints" of my kids, I would be AMAZED at the journey we've made so far. 

It's hard to keep track of that progress visually.  Like with our kittens, I don't usually know how much ground those little cats cover.  But with the fresh fallen snow to make prints in their path was clear.  And as I whispered a little prayer of love to my Heavenly Father it was clear to me that my family and I have come along way too.  I felt an overwhelming warmth in my soul, and I knew I could be proud of the efforts I was making as a mother.  I fel calmed, grateful and happy, oh so very happy to be at this place in my life.

A few minutes later snowflakes began to fall again, covering any evidence of footprints with a blanket of white.  And just as quckly, that swell of love in my heart dwindled down to embers again, still burning but just a memory of what they had been. 

Still, I am grateful for that memory and witness that the work I am doing is worth it.  And someday, maybe not in this life but definitely in the next, we will see or own "footprints in the snow."

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Make New Friends, But Keep The Old...My Non-New Year's Resolutions

I remember singing that song at Girl Scouts when I was in the 5th grade.

Make new friends, but keep the old
One is silve and the other's gold

As this new year starts and many of us are making our new year's resolutions or avoiding them :), I've been kind of caught up with the opposite thought.  I want to make sure that I keep doing the things that have worked well for me and helped me this past year. 

Here's my Top Ten, I mean Top Five List (you will see why when you get to #5) that I hope can help you too!

1.  Go to bed earlier!  Seriously- some nights my hubby and I were happy to crash and fall sound asleep as early as 9:30.  9:30!!!  We're such old people. LOL  Even if you can't do this every night, every little bit of extra sleep has helped me and my moods A LOT!  Try it.

2.  Get the kids to bed earlier!  I read a great article by a doctor that was approached by a friend.  The friend's child was 7 and was still having EXTREME tantrums.  The family thought the child could be ADHD or bipolar.  Instead, the doctor said to get the child to bed no later than 6:30 for 2 weeks, and to send them to their room whenever a tantrum was developing.  I'm not saying there's no such thing as a chemical imbalance (trust me, I take 90 mgs a day of meds) but a lack of sleep can throw off your balance too.  We've been getting Sophia to bed closer to 6:30 and are happy her tantrums have been fewer and less intense.

3. Get enough fiber.  I take 3 yummy gummies a day, along with a diet of vegetables and whole grains.  When I get blocked up (lovely, I know- but I HAVE to share what's helping...) OK, so when you get blocked up toxins get released into the body which really messes with all sorts of stuff.  For me it's my mood and how I feel overall.  I missed my fiber gummies 3 days in a row and was already starting to get super depressed again.  I wasn't absorbing nutrients anymore; I was getting the toxins and it was affecting me for the worse.  Fiber has helped me & I'm definitely going to keep it up!

4. Walk EVERYDAY!  A simple 30 minute walk is almost always do-able.  Even if you don't sweat a drip it will do wonders for you.  Again, I don't know completely why, but the days I have my walk, even in my living room :) watching a fun or suspenseful show on Netflix, I just feel better. Some days I don't feel like walking but I still do it.  I know I will regret it if I don't! :)  Plus if there's one thing every counselor I ever saw said it was this, so I'm doing it and loving it (most days. LOL)

5. Commit to less.  Like this blog, it felt daunting to write it because I wanted it to be brilliant.  Than I told myself, it doesn't have to be brilliant.  It just has to be something.  Get your hands wet.  Jump in and get the fun started.  And it doesn't have to be a Top Ten list.  It could be a list of 4 things or 2!  Do less, Eva! :)

So see if some of these simple ideas help you and do less this year!  You might find it does more for you.  :)  Happy 2013!  Please follow me and Like my post!  I would love to have more reader-friends to share stories & helpful tips with.

Luv, Eva