Being The Skinny Girl: Skinny-Shaming Is Real

Being the skinny girl, the reality of skinny shamingI’ve been skinny most of my life. But a few years ago, I became even thinner due to illness. Since then, I’ve struggled to gain back the weight that I had lost. At five feet two inches, my weight hovers around 95 pounds, I usually have to get belts from the children’s section. Until this happened to me, I never realized that skinny shaming existed.

Most people don’t realize what they’re doing when they skinny shame someone (although some do, personally I experienced people spreading rumors that I had become anorexic). Phrases like ‘You’re a twig’, ‘You have no butt’, and ‘You’re so lucky to be skinny, I wish I was your size’ can actually be hurtful. Why is that you ask?

Today’s culture is plastered with phrases like ‘real women have curves’. So am I not a real woman? When there are campaigns for women to accept that their bodies are beautiful, they show pictures of women who have a little extra weight, rarely, if ever, showing an underweight woman. Do I not need encouragement to accept my body?

Not only are skinny girls excluded from ‘everyone is beautiful’ campaigns, but we are often judged for looking the way we do. People assume that we starve ourselves, or that we must exercise excessively. They assume that we don’t enjoy eating and that we look down upon those that do.

Things like this couldn’t be farther from the truth. I love eating. But my body loses weight much more easily than it gains. I don’t starve myself or excessively exercise (in fact, I rarely workout consistently). I simply have a medical problem that makes it hard for me to be at a healthy weight. Yet most people don’t bother to think there’s anything behind what meets the eye.

That’s exactly where all of these believing you’re beautiful campaigns started: trying to overcome the judgement of others. Well, I have something to say to everyone:

We are all beautiful. Thick and thin, tall and short. All of us, every single one, possesses beauty. We need so badly to stop looking to others for our validation and accept it for the truth that it is.

Now that that’s out of the way, I also need to point out that working to achieve your desired body proportions (within reason of course) doesn’t mean that you haven’t accepted yourself. It just means that you want to make something great even greater!

In my life, this means that I’m actively taking steps to get to a health weight.

I’m focusing on fueling my body.

Increasing my calories is the only weight to put on some pounds, but I’m making sure that they’re healthy calories.  Organic fruits, vegetables, and grass-fed meats all frequent my plate.

I’m exercising the right way for my body type.

Since weight gain is the goal, I make sure to stay away from cardio (unless it’s walking). Instead, I do muscle building exercises to help put on muscle weight. Things like squats and lunges are the way to go.

I make it fun.

I think we can all agree that things that aren’t fun to do, are a whole lot harder to stick with, am I right? So if I need to eat more food even though I’m stuffed, I try to make it something I like eating. If I need to make myself exercise, I do it to some awesome music or while watching my favorite shows.

I’m going to say it one more time so that you remember, okay?

We are all beautiful.

Tell me how you’re doing with believing you’re beautiful, let’s support each other in the comments below. I would love to hear your story!

If you want to know more about inner beauty, read this post. Don’t forget to pin or tweet and spread the ‘beautiful’ word!

The Imagining Jesus Challenge

Faith, Jesus, Christianity, ChallengeI’m going to share with you the one thing that has completely changed the way I view Jesus. It involves some imagination so get your thinkers ready!

What I do is imagine Jesus with me throughout my day. I have friend dates with Him, think how He would react to a situation I’m going through in the moment, and do simple tasks with Him by my side.

The reality is that He really is with us all day every day, yet we often forget about His presence.

When we realize this truth, and start living our lives with this knowledge, our views on everything will change for the better!

I mean, just knowing that Jesus is on your side, and by your side is a game-changer!

Here are a few examples so you can try for yourself:

Eat breakfast together. Some mornings I imagine Jesus sitting next to me at the table, sharing in the food I’m eating, encouraging me for the day to come (I also like to think that He likes doughnuts and coffee, but maybe that’s just me).

Dance together. Imagine jumping up and down and celebrating life with Him. Imagine spinning in circles out of joy for a recent miracle or answered prayer. Throw your hands in the air in worship. Sometimes during church worship services I’ll think of this while singing out in praise. It’s very helpful for staying focused (because let’s be real, there are times when lunch is the only thing you can think about when the music plays).

Let Him comfort you. This is one of the imaginings that has changed me the most. When I feel like things are just wrong, I imagine Jesus putting His arms around me and reminding me that there are great things in store for my future. That He’s preparing me for my next step in life, and that He’ll be there through it all. I deal with chronic pain, and when it’s bad, thinking of a hug from our Lord is so helpful.

Another way to do this is by imagining you’re doing things for Him, just like it says in Colossians 3: 23-24 (ESV):

23 Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men, 24 knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward. You are serving the Lord Christ.

The way I like to implement this verse in my own life is by doing tasks, especially the ones that are less enjoyable, while imagining Jesus right there with me, smiling at me proudly for doing what’s right. For example, when I do chores or know that I need to hold my tongue in a certain situation, thinking of an encouraging hand on my shoulder helps do what needs doing.

 

I want to encourage  and challenge you to try some imagining this week. Remember that He’s with you in the good times and the bad. You may be surprised at how much of an impact this makes on your daily life!

I hope this is as helpful to you as it is to me.

What are some things that you’ve done that have drawn you closer to the Lord? Share in the comments below, and have a blessed week!

Turning 20 and Facing Change

Turning 20Today, I turn 20 years old (not including time in my mama’s belly of course). A new decade full of change has begun. And I’ll be honest with you, I’m pretty darn scared.

I remember when I turned 10, it occurred to me all of the changes that were going to happen in the next decade: high school, graduation, maybe my first romantic relationship. This was the decade when I would grow up.

But now that I’m 20, I’ve realized just how much change could come my way. Marriage, kids, maybe even a big move are all on the table. Those are some seriously life-altering nuggets!

Now don’t get me wrong, there’s a lot of excitement that comes with this. I mean come on, wedding dress shopping and fluffy babies? That’s totally something to love!

I still have my reservations, but this line of thinking definitely helps.

Maybe you’re facing a decade change too. And maybe, like me, you’re freaking out a little.

I’m going to let you in on the secret of how I deal with imposing change: I list all of the exciting things that could happen to me. Once I see all of the possibilities before me, I will potentially become giddy. How many adventures that could happen!

It’s a bit like trying a new food. Think about it, say you didn’t know what a marshmallow was and someone set one in front of you to try. If you ate it, it could taste absolutely horrible, or unbelievably scrumptious. Thank goodness that people were willing to try them, because I would say marshmallows are just short of a blessing to our existence. And maybe the change that’s facing you could also turn out that awesome (even though marshmallows are a tough act to follow).

I want you to try this exercise with me, whether a birthday is coming or you’re simply facing a big change. Just to give you some inspiration, here’s my list:

  1. Getting married to the guy I’m meant to be with

  2. Traveling the world

  3. Having a couple of kids

  4. Finding out my purpose and living it

  5. Changing the world for the better

  6. Reaching goals I’ve had for a long time

  7. Setting new goals to reach for

  8. Making new life-long friends

  9. Developing new talents

  10. Moving to a new area and making a home

  11. And faith (for you Christian ladies!): growing so much closer to God.

These are just a few examples of the adventures that could be coming my way, and seeing that helps me to overcome the fear that accompanied my newest chapter in life. I’m excited to find out what’s ahead!

What big change are you facing? What are some exciting things that could be coming your way? Share in the comments below!

The Discovering God Challenge

The Discovering God ChallengeShow me who You really are. Those words echoed in my head and stayed in my heart ever since I heard them years ago at a church service. A challenge had been issued, one that changed the way I thought and prayed. The challenge was this:

For one week, every day, ask God to show you who He really is.

What a question! It caused me to stop and question who I thought He was, His characteristics and core principles. To me, God was all-powerful, just, wise, and loving. But, I knew with a God this infinite, there just had to be more.

Pause for a moment and ask yourself who you think He is. Maybe write these things down so that you can look back on them later. If you’re anything like me, the list you have is full of “Sunday school” answers, the typical traits we’ve heard in church over and over.

This is where most of us stop. We’ve been told who God is and we don’t bother to dig deeper because the answers we’ve been given are satisfactory. With this type of thinking, we’re immeasurably limiting how well we could know our Father.

But fear not, my friend! That’s where this challenge comes in. It is very possible that after this, your life will change.

For the next week, each day, take the time to ask God to show you who He really is. And then, stay on the lookout for His presence.

He will. Don’t be afraid that this prayer won’t be answered. Maybe you feel as though God never answers your prayers (I’ve been there, I think we all have at some point or another). The thing is, He always answers. Sometimes we don’t see it because we have narrowed our minds to think the answer must be something big, not subtle as is often the case.

That was my problem when I first took this challenge. I was in a tough spot in my life and I assumed Him showing me who He is was going to be giving me a miracle, showing how big and powerful He is. Deep disappointment came upon me with this mindset, but that’s when I remembered part of a powerful verse:

“Come near to God, and he will come near to you…” (James 4:8 NIV)

Not He could, but He will. From that point on, I began to look for the subtle signs of God showing me who He is.

He gave me beautiful sunsets on hard days, meals that tasted particularly good just when I needed it. Amongst terrible stories in the news, a random act of kindness by a stranger. I’d be listing to a playlist on God Gives Joy Through The Small Thingsshuffle and the perfect songs would come on to inspire me.

You see, God isn’t just all mind-boggling miracles, He’s a giver of joy through the small things. Sometimes He’s not a powerful gust of wind carrying the sound of thunder, but rather a light breeze that cools you on a hot day. He’s not just all-seeing, He’s personally interested in each and every one of us.

So, this week watch for big things, and watch for little things. He’ll come.

Once the week has passed, I invite you to share your experience in the comments below. Tell us how God showed Himself to you! I am so excited to hear what He does in your life!

BONUS CHALLENGE!

What I began to do after I prayed this for myself was to pray it for others. For example, if another believer is struggling, pray that God will show them who He really is, and that they’ll be open to see it. Another way to do this is by praying for those who aren’t believers, whether that’s a specific person in your life, or strangers, pray for God to show Himself.

Maybe you’re the person who doesn’t believe. If you are, you may be feeling a tug on your heart right now, an intrigue or curiosity that you can’t seem to push away. That’s God calling you to Him. You may not believe that, but I challenge you to try this week of prayer. What do you have to lose? Just think what you could have to gain.

Join our Facebook community and become a part of a community of lovely Lord-loving ladies! I wish you a joy-filled week full of life changing growth in your faith.

The Best (and most surprising) Natural Ingredient to Heal Acne

An all natural DIY acne treatment with basil essential oilYou know what it feels like. Waking up to a perfectly good day, and the next thing you know, the mirror reveals a new addition to your face: the infamous zit. You groan at the thought of a week of this zit staring back at you. You’ve tried  everything but nothing ever seems to work.

Because you can’t just sit by and do nothing, you smear every anti-acne product that you have on your face. Once that doesn’t work, you try Pinterest suggestions for treating acne, yet none of them work.

Does this sound like you? I know that’s what I felt like.

Maybe there’s a way to change that.

*Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. If you make a purchase through a link, I will receive a commission at no extra cost to you!

I finally found a DIY, completely natural acne remedy! And guess what? It’s just one simple ingredient. When it worked, I was so surprised. Just to make sure it wasn’t a coincidence, I tried it for a week straight.

The results were amazing. 

What is this miracle ingredient you ask? Basil essential oil. Yup, that’s right.

I had tried so many things before, but this worked best out of them all. Rubbing alcohol, apple cider vinegar, honey and cinnamon, baking soda, even toothpaste. 

I had also tried several essential oils, like lemon, peppermint, lavender, tea tree, and eucalyptus to no avail. But basil, that was different.

I would apply it to any spots I had at night, after putting on my moisturizer. The next day, the redness was almost gone, and only a small mark was left!

Some mornings, the spot wouldn’t be entirely gone, but at the very least it would be less red than the night before. I have to say, whenever I use it, the next morning I will excitedly go to the nearest mirror to gaze upon the wonderful lack of zit. Three cheers for basil!

Personally, I currently get my essential oils from a company cabasi; essential oil from Eden's Gardenlled Eden’s Garden. I have never been disappointed with the quality of their products. They have very high standards, but are not an MLM company which makes them more affordable!

Organic, 100% therapeutic grade, natively sourced, and third-party tested for quality. The only thing that Eden’s Garden doesn’t have that brands like Young Living and DoTerra have is the “edible” label. However, Eden’s Garden actually says that you can take their oils internally under the direction of a licensed aromatherapist or physician. I have personally used a few of their oils in cooking with no negative side effects!

I’m excited for you to try this out for yourself. If you find that it does work for you (I really believe it will!) make sure to spread the word and help other people be acne free!

What natural acne treatments have you tried? Which worked and which didn’t? Let me know in the comments below! And don’t forget to subscribe for more natural living tips!

Waist Training For Posture

Waist Training For Posture***Disclaimer: I am not a doctor, I am only giving my personal experience. For health problems, seek professional medical advice.**

Yes, I wear a corset. No, it’s not because I’m trying to get a smaller waist *say what?!* I wear one to correct my posture. In fact, I’m wearing one as I write this.

You see, I have scoliosis and it’s difficult for me to remember to sit up straight all the time. So, I decided to try out a corset, because there was no way I was going to start wearing a big ‘ole back brace. To my pleasant surprise, it actually did a fantastic job of helping my back!

I only wear it for a few hours, but I’ve noticed changes when I’m not wearing it, like I’ve started unintentionally sitting up straight. While I am wearing the corset, it helps me in several other ways.

When walking, my upper back no longer hurts like it did; I also have less neck pain and can breathe more easily. The scoliosis has put a damper on my digestive system and I often get pain in my side because of it. But when I wear the corset, I can tell I digest better, the pain doesn’t come after eating like it usually does. And, if it does come, it’s minor comparatively.

When I got mine, I made sure not to get one that was really tight, just tight enough to keep me from slouching. It doesn’t impede my breathing at all and I don’t feel like it’s squeezing me. If it does feel that way, you may want to try on a different size.

Personally, I highly recommend getting one if you have posture issues (I’m not a doctor and this is only an opinion, if you’re directed to take other measures for your back, please do so). In fact, I found out recently that my grandpa wore a male corset for his back problems! I find that too many people write them off as waist-shrinking devices. There is so much more potential than that!

I’m so glad that I discovered this alternative use for ‘waist trainers’. It has really straightened me out *pun intended*. It just goes to show you, don’t judge a book by its cover! Plus, I have the bonus of feeling kind of like some sort of refined princess so, ya know, that’s cool too *smiles daintily*.

If you’re considering giving this a try, I suggest starting out with an inexpensive corset, just to see what you think. Why invest in something that you may not want to continue using? The one I started out with cost about $20, not too bad of a price for something that gets the job done. I do, however, intend to purchase a higher quality corset soon.

Do any of you wear a corset for posture? What has been your experience with them? Tell me all about it in the comments below!

Open Letter to Christ-Centered Ladies

Open Letter to Christ Centered LadiesShout out to you, ladies with Christ in their hearts. The ones who’ve taken the narrow path, and the ones who wandered then returned. Pressures have come from all sides, yet you’ve let Christ reign within you, leading the way.

To the ones who have chosen to be a light in this dark world. Being kind when it’s difficult, a determined encourager when everyone else has deemed something, or someone, a lost cause. Living selflessly even when society screams at you to do the opposite. Take care of you first, it’s your duty to yourself to be happy before anyone else, they say. You gently reply, I already have Someone taking care of me, my duty now is to spread the joy I’ve been given.

To the ones who were raised in the church and those that took that first nervous step in. Your classmates, peers, culture, friends, colleagues, and sometimes even family pushing you to walk away from what you know in your heart to be true. And yet, you remained steadfast.

To the ones that have achieved great victories, some privately in your heart, and others out in the open for the whole world to see. Though pride tries to creep in, you bow down low and give all the glory to God. Through you, He does wondrous things.

To the ones that have chosen to raise up the women around her instead of trying to rise above them. When you learn, you share your knowledge. When a friend achieves a goal, you don’t envy her, you throw her the biggest party you know how. And when a friend suffers a hardship, you’re the first to come and offer what comfort you can give.

To the prayer warriors, the ones who have done battle for so many. Your prayers have helped more people than you’ll probably ever know. Relentlessly, you offer your words and heart up to the Lord, knowing He will do something great, even if you never see it. Your faith will inspire generations.

To the ones who never give up hope. Your loved ones have all leaned on you for support at some time or another, and you rekindled the flame in their burned-out souls. Speaking words of truth and wisdom, feeding them Life.

To the fighters for what’s right. Fighting the wars inside with prayer and scripture. Fighting wars in the world with love and grace. And fighting to help others come to know the peace and joy that fills your entire being.

Thank you, for being an inspiration and role model for your sisters in Christ.

I want to be one of these women, we all do. Though some of us may not have achieved this yet, just the fact that we are striving to get there means that we are well on our way. When we offer our all up to God, He’ll do the rest.

Join our Facebook community and be a part of a group of ladies striving along with you to become one of these women. I hope to see you there!

Christ-Like Beauty

Living with Christ-like BeautyBeauty is a hot topic in the world of Christian women nowadays. This has stirred up lots of talk (and sometimes strong debate) about modesty. Pants vs. skirts, how much makeup is too much, and shirt necklines are all part of the conversation. But today, I want to set all of that aside and talk about what really makes a woman beautiful.

As I’m sure you’ve heard before, true beauty stems from the heart. We all know that to be true to some extent. Think about those girls you know that everyone thinks are gorgeous but have the worst attitudes. Their bodies may be beautiful, but their hearts sure aren’t.

At some point in your life, you may have met a woman who has so much Jesus in her that she seems to glow with joy. There’s a certain magnetism that she has, people can’t help but want to spend time with her. No matter her looks, she’s seen as beautiful.

What is our obsession with beauty? If you think about it, at the very center of this desire is the want to be liked and loved. We want people to notice us, and then like us enough to want to get closer. We want to be admired and remembered. Sure, being beautiful may get us to that first step, but if your heart isn’t beautiful, the second step will never happen.

So, do you want to be beautiful? Start with the inside. Here are a few qualities that will emanate real beauty:

  1. Kindness. When you treat people kindly (sometimes that’s a rare quality in today’s world) they notice that you’re different in a good way. The trick to being truly kind is maintaining that loving-kindness even when someone doesn’t deserve it. A stranger is being rude? Do something nice for them to make their day easier. Sure, it may be super hard to do, but that person and anyone who was watching will remember you.

  2. Courage. A woman who is not ruled by fear is beautiful indeed. Courageous women often become role models. This isn’t to say that Quote bout true beautyyou’re not beautiful if you become scared. It’s what you do with that fear that makes the difference. The Bible tells us over and over not to be afraid. God has our backs! When we believe that, we become what I like to call warrior women.

  3. Humility. A humble woman gives the glory to God. She knows she doesn’t have great achievements in her own power. Have you ever met a prideful person that you admired? It’s very hard to enjoy someone’s presence when they think they’re the greatest thing since sliced bread. Humble people are like finding an oasis in the desert.

Living out these qualities can be so difficult in today’s culture. We’re encouraged to think of ourselves before anyone else, boast about what we can do, and constantly have scary news thrown in our faces. Being kind, courageous, and humble will take a lot of work. With God’s help, we can most certainly achieve it.

As a woman in my early 20’s, this all goes against everything society tells me to be. But I’ve decided I want to be truly beautiful.

I encourage you to pursue true beauty as well! Encourage all of the women in your life to focus on beauty of the heart. Comment below other qualities that make the daughters of God beautiful!

P.S.  If you want to do some reading in the Bible about the subject, read Proverbs 31 for sure!