Be Kind to Yourself

Be Kind to Yourself

Self-care posts on the internet are a dime a dozen. Each and every person has their own strategy to establish and implement self care. I even have ’em. Face masks at night, reading a good book, going on a walk, etc.

But perhaps the most important self care tip I have to reiterate to myself is kindness.

I am a bit of a perfectionist. Don’t do the white glove test at my house – because I’m not a perfectionist when it comes to cleaning. But when it comes to doing it all and being the best I can be, I leave little room for grace.

I overload my weekends with chores. I make a to-do list that is impossible to accomplish, and then on Sunday night when I’ve done nothing out of the twenty, I feel overwhelmed. It’s hard to even start when there is so much to do.

Be Kind to Yourself

Monday’s are my favorite days in the office. I go into work with my coffee and I sit down, schedule out a few things, and open up my email, and then make a to do list. Sometimes the list is incredibly long. It’s easy to get overwhelmed, but like my dad always says – you’ve gotta eat your pancakes. You eat that elephant one bite at a time. etc.

Unless of course, your body says no.

I woke up from an unexpected two hour nap at 6pm. On a Sunday night. I You know what my Sunday night plans were? To cross off all the chores on my to-do list because I hadn’t been at my house long enough to do more than sleep in a week. My pancake stack was 50 pancakes high. Clothes were everywhere (they’re mine.) Books were everywhere (also mine.) And what was one my pristine office is suddenly overflowing with STUFF. For someone who has been on a material purge lately, I turn around and stuff is still everywhere.

But instead I accidentally took a nap. I never nap. So when I fall asleep unexpectedly, I know it’s my body telling me I need more rest. Rather than be annoyed that I accomplished nothing, I have to allow myself that space. If my body says, “SLOW DOWN YOU ARE TIRED” then I have to slow down. I spent a collective 30 hours driving in a car last week, battled a sinus infection/cold, spoke on a panel and attended two fundraising dinners. Without stopping. There was a lot going on.

I just want to insert a shout out here to all my mom-friends. I don’t know how you do it. I’m so whiny when I’m tired, and I know the tired I experience is not anywhere close to the sleep deprived exhaustion you face every day. Y’all are the real MVPs.

What I’m saying is this: keep yourself healthy. Listen to your soul. Does your soul need a social media break? Does your soul need a mental health day? Listen to your body. Does your body need broccoli? Does your body need a nap? If you can’t take care of your soul and your body, you can’t be kind to yourself. You can’t be 100% there for your friends and family. You can’t 100% enjoy your life.

So be kind to yourself. Throw away the to do list and take a nap. (Or just put the to do list off to the side until later.)

Be Kind to Yourself

When You Call my Husband the N-Word

When You Call My Husband the N-Word

You could say that I invited ourselves into this situation. There was a festival a few counties down the road that I wanted to go to for the last several years, and this was the year.

It was a rural county where the KKK is rumored to meet on occasion.

But my husband is the type who doesn’t allow fear to dictate his choices. So he sweetly obliged to his wife and set out to go to the festival with me, knowing he may very well be the only black person around.

The moment we got out of our car and started to walk towards the festival, we received a few stares. Hand in hand, we walked with the confidence and love a newlywed has. We fell in step behind a lesbian couple and their kid.

The streets were crowded with white people and hispanics; I kept my eyes peeled for anyone else who may look like my husband, keeping a running tally in my head.

We stopped at a vendor to say hello to a friend when a white man approaching, muttered the n word under his breath.

My head snapped around, heat rising to my face, my heart pounding furiously. I bore a hole in the back of his head, wishing he would turn around. If looks could kill. . .

I calculated the risk in my head. He was 8 inches taller than me and looked like he worked a manual labor job. If I punched him in the face I could either get pummeled, arrested,or worse. We were in rural, open carry East TN.

If I yelled at him to turn around, what could I say? I rehearsed my vehement monologue in my head.

Sir, when you call my husband the n word, you reduce him from a human to a one dimensional victim of prejudice.

You negate his humanity with your racism.

You disregard his soul, his thoughts, his being.

When You Call My Husband the N-Word

If your family were too poor to have a Thanksgiving dinner this year, my husband would be the one to set you up through a food drive. He is a respected man in the community, both secular and within the church.

He is the type of man who sees an old lady with a cane in the grocery parking lot, and loads her cart full of groceries in the car for her.

He stops in the street when he feels Holy Spirit to compel him to pray for a stranger.

He has been known to send money to a friend he met years ago at a conference, who is still struggling to make ends meet.

He contributes to his family’s ministry – a ministry that provides education, food, and wells for the impoverished, widows, and orphans in his father’s village in Zimbabwe.

He loves furiously and graciously. If he heard you, he would turn the other cheek.

When You Call My Husband the N-Word

But I can’t. I can’t allow myself to turn the other cheek. Because you and I have something he doesn’t have – white privilege.

You say what you want without worrying about the consequences. The freedom of speech only applies to the privileged.

I can be outraged and heard. I have the privilege to react. Should my husband react in the slightest, the rest of the white community would respond with their own political protest.

Respect the flag. Look at what this country has given you. 

This country has given him opportunities, but made it exceedingly difficult as a Zimbabwean immigrant to do so.

This country has given him freedom, but only freedom to move within the parameters we as a white community has set for him.

This country has given him privilege, but only the privilege he has carved for himself by standing up straight, being respectful in his tone at all times, dressing near-business casual, even if he is just going to the grocery store.

When You Call My Husband the N-Word

He carries himself in a way that makes the white people say, “He’s not like the others. He wears a belt.”

He speaks in a way that makes the ignorant say, “Wow, for growing up in Africa, your English is impeccable!” (English is an official language of Zimbabwe.)

But when you call my husband the n word, you take away the blank space of knowing and opportunity and instead fill it with the graffiti of your hate.

When you call my husband the n word, you reduce yourself.

You become one dimensional.

Maybe you’re a family man. Perhaps you love fiercely and work hard, just like my husband. I’m sure you laugh in moments of joy, and you’ve cried when you’ve lost something dear.

Your heart beats like the rest of us.

But all is lost within the label you’ve created for yourself.

Racist.

When you take away the humanity of someone else, you lose a piece of your humanity as well.

 

 

Your Body Shouldn’t be Your Kryptonite

Friends! I am so pumped to share one of my all-time favorite encouraging bloggers with you. Megan writes for Apron Strings and Sticky Fingers, but she has gladly done a switcharoo with me. (After you read today’s post, head over to her page to read about Life’s Transitions!)  Today I have her on Hugs & Lattes to share an important topic that 97% of us women struggle with: Body Image.

Negative Body Image is something I started to encounter in my post-grad adult years. So I turned to my dear friend, Megan, to encourage us and speak into our lives about loving our bodies. She is a gorgeous lady with a gorgeous heart, so I am thrilled she is gracing my page with her wisdom!

Your Body Should Not Be Your Kryptonite

I was thrilled when Christina asked me to write a post on this topic because basically it’s my thing. You know how you have that one thing (or maybe multiple things if you’re a teeny bit of a hot mess) that always slip you up. That one thing that is your kryptonite, your weakness, the devil’s foothold in your life?

Yep that’s body positivity for me. Or really the lack thereof.

For those of you who know me, you know I’ve got a little bit of history with loving my body. We haven’t always been the best of friends. Back in high school I developed an eating disorder and was trapped in a terrible cycle of restrictive eating, obsessive calorie counting and not very fun amounts of exercising (although to be honest no amount of exercising is really fun.)

 

Looking at photographs of myself back then always horrifies me because I can still remember how awful I felt and how much I hated my body, when in reality there was absolutely nothing wrong with it. I was a waif. I was wasting away day by day. I was so painfully insecure and I thought changing the shape of my body would fix that.

 

Well five years on and I am happy to say that God has done a marvelous job of healing the damage I caused. I’m at a happy weight (very happy thanks to my love of chocolate.) I no longer restrict what I eat or exercise like a mad woman. And most days I can genuinely say that I love my body.

 

But this body loving stuff…it’s hard work. And nothing is more annoying than someone saying just love yourself. As if it’s as easy as flipping a switch.

 

If you are really struggling with body positivity you need more than just an airy fairy answer, you need some practical ways to make this change. So I wanna share a few things that have worked for me.

Your Body Should Not Be Your Kryptonite

 

How to love your body:

 

Be mindful with the media you consume

Your Body Should Not Be Your Kryptonite

Stop reading women’s magazines.

 

Bummer I know because it’s fun seeing what Beyonce’s mansion looks like or who Jennifer Aniston is gonna marry next but these magazines are the worst.

Not only are they airbrushed, photoshopped and touched up so that nobody is even the slightest bit real. They also promote fad diets, body shaming and food fear. Ain’t nobody got time for that.

Get rid of the fitspo

Hands up if you are guilty of having one of those fitspiration pinterest boards…because I sure was. A little bit of motivation never hurt anyone but the just do it, go hard or go home, nothing tastes as good as skinny feels (lies!) stuff is one of my pet peeves.

 

Exercise should be about feeling good, not going until you pass out from exhaustion. I say get rid of the fitspo.

 

And while you are at it, unfollow all of those fitness models on instagram. They’re just trying to sell you gross skinny teas and that nasty chalk dust, protein powder anyway.

Your Body Should Not Be Your Kryptonite

Surround yourself with truth

First of all by reading what God says about you because obviously that’s the truest words you’ll find.

But secondly, follow body positive and encouraging people on social media. Fill up your newsfeeds and timelines with people of all different races, shapes and sizes. Broaden your definition of beautiful.

 

Stop trying to fit into your clothes

 

You know that pair of skinny jeans that are a little too tight around the thighs and make you feel awful every time you struggle to zip them up? Yeah well they’ve got to go.

 

Stop feeling guilty for not fitting your clothes. You are constantly growing and changing and so is your body…it just means an excuse to go shopping!

Your Body Should Not Be Your Kryptonite

Treat your body with respect

 

This one is kind of intuitive. You know what your body needs best. Start listening and taking cues from it.

Try to eat a vegetable every once in awhile. Make time for exercise that you love. Drink plenty of water. Sleep as much as you can. Laugh often and much.

 

You’ve only got one body so you should probably take good care of it!

 

Every time I’m having one of those days where I’m feeling especially crappy because my skin is breaking out or my hair’s a mess, I remind myself that right now I’m in my prime, this is the best I’m ever gonna look, it’s all downhill from here.

 

Right now I can get away with eating another piece of cake and not putting on foundation and sweeping my hair into a ponytail but one of these days that won’t be the case.

 

One day I’m gonna be wrinkly and need mascara to make my lashes even visible. I’m gonna be wobbly and unable to enjoy a brisk walk. And I’m gonna be on a bunch of medication that probably means I can’t eat as much cheesecake.

So I’ve decided that I’m gonna enjoy these fresh faced twenty-something years and not let a pimple or bad hair day stop me from living fully.  

 

Love your body but remember it’s simply a shell that holds all of the rest of you.

 

Megan is the sunny personality behind Apron Strings and Sticky Fingers a lifestyle blog for twenty-somethings who are learning to become the best versions of themselves. Megan is a sucker for cute shoes and paperback books and she lives all the way at the bottom of the world in New Zealand. If you wanna connect with her, you’ll find her on Twitter, Instagram and of course on her blog.  

 

4 Steps Towards Living a Full Life

4 steps towards living a full life

Last week I passed by an oak tree – branches heavy with leaves. The house behind it peeked through its fullness and I thought, I want my life to be like that, Lord. Full.

And then the thought came: Your life will be as full as you want it to be. I get the choice. I can choose to live a full life or I can choose to live a small life. What does living a full life look like?

4 Steps Towards a Full Life

Become Uncomfortable

The older I get, I find myself more cautious. I am neater, more organized, and more aware of consequences and implications. All these things are an important part of development and maturity, but sometimes overthinking and staying too rigid leaves little room for adventure and the ability to be uncomfortable. It’s amazing the little things that make me uncomfortable these days: a change in routine, a small inconvenience. I’ve turned into a persnickety 83 year old in my early-mid twenties. When I get too comfortable with my routine, who I am, and where I am at in life, I limit myself.

One reason I knew I Mr.M was the man I was going to marry was the sheer fact that I was uncomfortable. From Day 1 of our relationship, he pushed me outside my comfort zone. I was uncomfortable at the level of spiritual vulnerability. I was uncomfortable navigating the intercultural nuances. I was uncomfortable with the leadership that came with our relationship. But my life was full. Being outside of my comfort zone pushed me in ways that I could never have imagined. I experienced intense growing pains during the beginning part of our relationship, and I loved it.

What is one area you need to get uncomfortable?

4 steps towards a full life

Establish Deep Roots

The second thing that came to mind as I considered the full oak tree is the roots. A tree cannot grow into adulthood and expand its wings, so to speak, without a deep root system. Likewise, we need our roots to grow long and deep into healthy soil.

How do we get our roots to grow?

We drink deeply, feed our soul, and press into our foundation.

Drink deeply of the life you are given, and press into your foundation. My foundation is my faith. I drink deeply of the wisdom of those older than me and of the Scriptures. I notice a change in myself when I’ve isolated myself from my roots. When I neglect to take time to feed my soul – whether that is refusing to take time for a bubble bath sans Netflix, going on a walk outside, or reading my Bible at night – I feel my leaves start to wither.

How do you feed your soul?

4 Steps Towards a Full Life

Healthy Soil

For those of you who grew up in Sunday School, you likely heard the parable of the sower and the seeds.

A sower threw his seeds into four different areas. The seeds fell onto the path, where they were eaten up by birds – they were denied the chance to grow. Other seeds fell into rocky soil. The plants quickly took root and shot up, but the roots were shallow and the plants were scorched by the heat. Some seeds fell among the thorns, where they were choked up, and the seeds that fell on good soil grew strong and healthy and produced a large crop.

Our soil is our community. Who are we surrounded by? Who do we have to lift us up? Who do we have to nourish us, encourage us, and give us the space to grow?

There were times when I felt as if I was on rocky soil. I feared that if one more thing happens, I would give up. During these times, I wasn’t surrounded by a strong community. I had isolated myself. And even worse, I allowed people who didn’t have my best interest to speak into my life.

There are growing pains that come with a full life. We go through various seasons, and if we are not rooted in a strong community, we will wither and die. What does a strong community look like for you?

For me, a strong community looks like peers who are ambitious. They are pursuing their dreams, their calling, and most importantly, the Lord. A strong community also consists of allowing people who are older and wiser to speak into my life – to call me out when I’m being crazy and to encourage me when I’m weak. In a strong community, there are also people who may be different than me – whether it be younger, or living with a different (but holy) perspective from whom I can learn.

What does a strong community look like for you?

4 Steps Towards a Full Life

Duration

When I think about how long it takes for an oak to grow, it’s exhausting. Oak trees can take up to 100 years to grow to their full potential. Some days it may feel like we see little to no growth at all in our lives. We wonder when we will reach our destiny and fulfill our potential. But we remember, growth comes little by little. We may not see it in the moment, but we get to look back and see how far we have come.

Living a full life takes patience. We must weather through various seasons, year by year, in order to grow. Like the oak tree, we experience high winds, torrential downpours, snow, the hot sun year after year after year. But one day, thirty years from now, when we look back, we will see how much we have grown.

4 Steps to Living a Full Life

10 Verses for When You Feel Afraid

 

do not fearThe news has been crazy lately. My heart goes out to the victims of Irma, Harvey, the earthquake in Mexico, those in fear because of DACA ending – my list could go on. There is so much pain and hurt in the world.

It is so easy to overwhelm ourselves with anxieties about the world that we cannot control. Yesterday at church, my pastor shared a convicting message about fear that inspired me and revealed 3 important truths:

1 – Terrible things have been happening in the world since day one. Think: crusades, the Civil War, World War II – the list could go on. Nowadays we know about all the terrible things happening in the world. With an overload of information, it’s understandable that we get overwhelmed with anxieties and fear.

2 – In a world that broadcasts chaos daily, we are called to be peacemakers.

3 – Peace is not a reaction of our external circumstances, but a presence from within.

For the past couple of years, I’ve been intentionally overcoming fear. Two years ago, I declared to become a prisoner of hope. After listening to a sermon from Pastor Bill Johnson (Bethel Church, Redding, California), I declared that to be the year that I would become not a prisoner of fear, but a prisoner of hope.

Someone who had time and the energy looked up the word “Fear” in the Bible and noticed that it says “Do Not Fear” 365 times. That is one time for each day of the year!

When we are afraid, we must declare who we are, and whose we are. We are strong. We fight from victory. We are children of God. And our God will fight for us.

I don’t say these things because I pulled them out of the air. I say them because they are full of light and truth from the word of God.

10 Verses For When You Feel Afraid

God cares for us 

1 Peter 5:7 

Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.

God is our Salvation

Isaiah 12:2 

Surely God is my salvation; I will trust and not be afraid. The Lord, the Lord himself, is my strength and my defense; he has become my salvation.

God is our Father

Romans 8:15

 The Spirit you received does not make you slaves, so that you live in fear again; rather, the Spirit you received brought about your adoption to sonship. And by him we cry, “Abba, Father.

God is with us

Joshua 1:9 

Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.

God will fight for us 

Exodus 14:13 – 14

Do not be afraid. Stand firm and you will see the deliverance the Lord will bring you today. . . The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still.

God gives us peace 

John 14:27

Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.

There is no fear in love 

1 John 4:17 – 18 

This is how love is made complete among us so that we will have confidence on the day of judgment: In this world we are like Jesus. There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.

God does not give us a spirit of fear 

2 Timothy 1:7

For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power,love and self-discipline.

God brings us joy in the midst of anxiety 

Psalm 94:19

When anxiety was great within me, your consolation brought me joy.

Don’t worry about tomorrow. 

Matthew 6:34

Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.


What are your favorite verses on fear?

What is your fear coping mechanism?