Category Archives: True Beauty

I Want to Look Like Her

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Earlier this week, I went along with a group of Christians in Hamilton to visit several ladies who reside in assisted living centers there. I could not take my eyes off one woman in particular. Her name is Bobbie.

photo (3)She was beautiful. Her face was wreathed in smiles. She was so happy to see each person who walked into the room. She sat smiling, with her eyes closed, listening and joining in with the songs we sang.

I don’t know any of Bobbie’s history or circumstances. From what I could see, she had few earthly possessions. She was bound to her wheelchair. Her clothes were plain and her surroundings, though comfortable, were spare.

And in the few moments that we were there, I felt my eyes sting and my heart twist.

Because some women *my age* tend to be absorbed in keeping the wrinkles at bay and washing the grey out of our hair. We examine ourselves critically in the mirror to see signs of aging and fading. We spend a lot of money on creams and sprays and potions. We rue those extra pounds. And we look at Brooke Shields and Jane Seymour and wonder how they manage to look so timeless.

But Bobbie exemplifies beauty, to me. She knows the joy of the Lord. She loves His people. His people love her. Her physical appearance may not be the world’s icon of beauty, but the Lord’s idea is different. “…The Lord sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart.” (1 Samuel 16:7)

I want to look like her when I grow up.

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Don’t Forget Your Pants

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Jordan recently received his senior ring in a ceremony commemorating his upcoming graduation (that he says can’t come soon enough) from Texas State University.

[Picture my proud mama beam here.]

The seniors who chose to participate walked single file through Strahan Coliseum, shook hands with official-looking people and dipped their hands in San Marcos River water while posing for pictures. I’m pretty sure Jordan was a reluctant participant. 🙂

Hang on, I’m getting to my point.

These young men and women were asked to wear “business attire.” For some, that meant nice blue jeans and boots. Quite a few of the men had on suits, and many of the women wore dresses. But one young woman in particular caught my eye (and quite a few others, I’m sure) because I think she forgot the bottom half of her pants suit. No kidding. She wore a buttoned suit coat and I’m not sure what else. Sorry for the mental picture, guys.

suit coat

While I’m sorry to say that my first reaction was one of distaste, I then began to wonder why this young woman chose to wear something like that. Was this (in her judgment) typical business attire? I wondered if her father was there, and if he wanted to run down the steps and throw a blanket around her. I wondered if there was someone in the audience that she was trying to impress with her beauty. I wondered if no one had ever explained to her that she was worth so much more than the skin beneath her coat.

I’ve noticed that as my size has gone down, so has the average neckline at the department stores. But not the hemline! It tends to be higher! Hmmm…I wonder why.

Here’s what I wish.

I wish girls of all ages would honestly, clearly, prayerfully, carefully, Biblically and humbly consider if the clothing they choose to wear reflects godliness (1 Tim. 2:9-10.)

I wish that our standards came from God and not fashion magazines or celebrities or best friends.

I wish that our girls would be so filled with God’s love and so content with pleasing Him that they would not want so badly to be physically admired and desired.

As far as my own attitudes are concerned – I wish that I were gentler and more patient in my attitudes towards those who are still learning and growing.

I wish that I did a better job exhibiting the amazing love of God towards ALL people, especially those who have no knowledge of Him.

Maybe some of you would agree that we all have some work to do?

Food log: Ham and one Kerbey Lane pancake for breakfast.  1 1/3 slice of grilled chicken pizza from Pizza Garden (YUM); some of Erin’s evil drizzled chocolate popcorn as a mid-afternoon snack; and soup & ½ piece of corn casserole/cornbread and one piece of dill bread at Anita’s Christmas party. And 1 little pecan pie tart and a 1X2 piece of coffee cake. NOT A GREAT EATING DAY. L

What Do You See In the Mirror?

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360_anorexia_0615Back in 1981 when the world as we knew it had only three channels, I watched a movie called “The Best Little Girl in the World.” The movie was about Casey (Jennifer Jason Leigh, remember her?) – a teenage girl who struggled with an eating disorder. I vividly remember one scene in which Casey stood alone in front of a full length mirror, wearing only a bathing suit. Her eyes saw chubby thighs, a spare tire around her middle, and a double chin when she was merely skin and bones. Casey’s mother (who had no idea the extent of the condition her daughter was in) suddenly opened the door and was horrified to see the reality of shoulder, rib, and hip bones jutting against Casey’s skin. I was a petite little girl at the time – and couldn’t imagine anyone deliberately making themselves upchuck (Mom’s word) but I remember a character in the movie saying it was “better than being fat.”

Body image is a complicated thing. When I looked in the mirror 75 pounds ago, I saw a pear shaped woman. Guess what? When I look in the mirror now, I see a pear shaped woman.

I don’t feel more worthy, more valuable, more important or more significant than I did 75 pounds ago. That’s not to say I haven’t noticed improvements in my life: among them a sense of accomplishment and increased energy. But I’m certain that to God, my value didn’t go up as my weight went down and I know this is true of every fat, skinny, high-waisted, short-legged, beautiful, not-so-beautiful, blonde, brunette, unibrowed, wrinkled, brawny, puny, “red, yellow, black or white” individual on the planet.

I say all this not to discourage anyone from losing extra weight, but as encouragement to focus more on health and less on appearance. (Oh, I’m not going to lie – of COURSE looking better is a bonus!) But what is important to God should be reflected in our lives: “For the Lord sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart.” (1 Samuel 16:7)

Food log for today is early because I’m going to a Christmas party catered by Carino’s  tonight and I may or may not want anyone to know what I eat later. 🙂 I got crazy and switched things up at breakfast, and had an omelette with one egg and about 1/4 cup shredded potato and some salsa, plus about 10 cocoa almonds. Lunch was a cup of beef vegetable soup and some pita chips & hummus.

Hefty.

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Hefty. According to Webster: “quite heavy. Marked by bigness, bulk, and unusual strength. Impressively large.” Not particularly the way I wished to be seen. As tempting as it sounds, I never had the desire to be impressively large. But two years ago, a dear old man, in a passing comment, referred to me as HEFTY. 

It wasn’t one of those “a-HA!” moments, where I jumped out of my chair and yelled “That’s IT! I’ve had it with being fat!” Instead, I let it roll off, knowing he didn’t mean to be unkind, knowing that it was what it was: truth.

I wasted nearly 25 years being hefty. My size never really went up and down, I just went up and stayed up. I love to cook, love to bake, love to create, love to feed my family, love to make them happy with food, love to eat with them. So after John and I married, I began fixing all of our favorite things: mainly pasta, bread, potatoes – all that good stuff! The first thirty pounds piled on during our first year, and the next 60 happily jumped on the bandwagon.

Let me just say here that I did not dislike myself. John never made me feel unattractive or unworthy or unloved. I knew and trusted in the fact that my Heavenly Father saw my heart. But I just did not have any self-respect. And I don’t think that was all tied up in how much I weighed, but the lack of self-respect came from knowing what I needed to do, but refusing to do it.

I couldn’t cross my legs. I couldn’t get clothes out of the dryer without losing my breath. My footsteps sounded like an elephant’s on our wooden deck. Airplane seat belts barely fit. I had to get a rolling start to get out of bed. Standing at the sink hurt my back. I was afraid to sit in folding chairs. I hated pictures of myself. I never felt dainty.  I skipped the magazine articles talking about diabetes and heart disease. Walking past a glass storefront, I was horrified to realize that the “hefty” person walking past was ME.  I weighed 231 pounds. On a 5’3″ frame. TWO. HUNDRED. THIRTY. ONE. POUNDS. It still hurts for me to admit that.

Almost two years ago I purchased a 90 day trial app on my phone for Weight Watchers. As I sat at the kitchen table learning to use the app, Micah walked in the door with a Double Dave’s pizza roll. I ate it, savoring each bite, and then the following day, January 16, 2011, I began keeping track of what I ate. The first few weeks I lost four, five, or even six pounds at a time. By June I had lost 40 pounds. The next 35 came off over the next 9 months. Each week that I lost was motivating to me. But I have slammed into the wall of reality: my fat is not really gone, it’s just hovering nearby, waiting to come home.

Have you played the Angry Birds Star Wars game yet? There is a force field in space, and Darth Pig is holding the little piggies floating paralyzed in his death grip. If you break the force field, gravity returns and the piggies come rushing back to the planet. And that’s how I feel about me and my fat – every day finds me struggling to maintain the force field and keep the fat away.

Which brings me to today. My initial goal was to weigh 150 pounds. I thought I’d just get that far, and see if I still wanted to continue. Supposedly, my ideal weight is somewhere between 107 and 135. I weighed more than 107 pounds in MIDDLE school, for crying out loud. I’m not aiming to be skeletal, just healthy. So….I haven’t made it to my original goal yet. I’ve danced around it, hovered above it, flirted with it, but that 1-5-0 remains elusive. Depending on which scale I use, I seesaw between 153 and 157 pounds. Hey, let’s just be honest. The scale at the gym says I weigh 159. But that’s with my tennis shoes on, so I get to subtract four pounds for those, right?

I’ve decided to try my hand at blogging about my determination (or lack thereof) and struggle. Maybe if I commit to publicly confessing what I eat, I’ll be more diligent about making better choices. Which is why I didn’t start this blog a couple of days ago: I would’ve had to confess to eating one of Jordan & Erin’s fried cheese sticks, and a nice, hot, buttery roll from Logan’s Roadhouse (among a few other things.)

I know the majority of you out there may be groaning – even those of you who have made it this far through my ramblings – don’t really CARE that much. Feel free to laugh at me and never read another word. I’m really writing this for me. And the truth is, there are other things in life that are so much more important than numbers on a scale. Our souls may have no earthly weight, but they are eternally weighty, and THAT is my main focus in life.

So, while I may still be considered pleasingly plump or a little bit tubby, that’s okay. I’m just aiming for a little bit less, and no “moore” of me, please.