Self-Care

Accepting the Season

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Photo Credit: “Matthew” via Compfight cc

After the last year of feeling like I was finally getting a handle on life again, my husband and I decided to have another baby. When we made that decision, I knew I’d be giving up a lot of what I had done to build a life for myself, in addition to my primary role as mom and wife. I’d worked hard to build my blog, even building a small affiliate income that had become a semi-necessary stop-gap against unexpected expenses in a stretched tight budget. I was finally finding a rhythm in homeschooling my daughter and we had even joined a homeschool co-op. When we found out we were pregnant, I was ecstatic and then the morning sickness hit.

Strike that, it came like a tsunami and tore up my life and expectations. This is my fourth pregnancy and I thought I knew what to expect. Yes, I’d be tired. I would need to make sure I got plenty of rest. Eat every few hours to avoid nausea, balance my proteins and carbs to help prevent another round of gestational diabetes. But that wasn’t what happened. After spotting, bleeding and an emergency ultrasound, baby was Ok, but I most definitely was not. I squeaked through my last week or two of free -lancing for my old job, including two very long days putting our biggest event of the year together and then I collapsed, both physically and emotionally. I was so sick I could barely eat. I rarely showered or got out of my pajamas. My kids made due with cold cereal, PBJ and fruit. I lived on goldfish crackers and after a while, not even those. After two weeks, and a positive ultrasound, I decided I needed help, so my doctor prescribed medication. I felt defeated, but I was desperate. At least now I could eat, though I was still living primarily on Ensure and pretzels, but at least I was eating a regular meal or two each day.

All my grand goals of a fit pregnancy where I would be active, eat healthy and continue to move along at my usual rate, was gone. Right now I just want to survive the first trimester and hope for an easing of symptoms in the second. I want to get back onto a more diabetes friendly diet (all the sugar in those Ensures makes me cringe every time) but I also know that EATING period is my priority right now. I’ll have to deal with the rest later.

It’s been very hard to set aside ongoing projects. My blog has been quiet with me not even having enough energy to type most of the time. My thoughts come in hazy bursts between exhaustion and nausea.

But this is the season I’m in. It won’t last forever. Lamenting it and blaming myself doesn’t make it any easier to cope. I have no control over how my body is handling the rush of hormones this time around (or the fact that I was in maternity clothes at 10 weeks because none of my normal pants would close). This is just where I’m at and I need to accept it. It does not make me weak or a failure. Accepting that has actually made all of this easier. Yes, the guilt is still there. When my overworked husband comes home exhausted and then makes dinner, cleans up the house and puts in the kids to bed. When my kids watch more TV in a week than they usually do in a month. But I just keep telling myself, this will pass.

Categories: Parenting, SAHM, Self-Care | Tags: , , | 1 Comment

Frumps to Pumps Final Week: Dressed in Strength and Dignity

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Proverbs 31:25
She is clothed with strength and dignity; she can laugh at the days to come
(New International Version, courtesy of Bible Gateway.com)

I love that this challenge ends with the focus off of me. How am I dressing in light of the one who made me beautiful? I am beautiful because of him, do I reflect that in my attitude, my face and my speech? This challenge wasn’t easy for me. I know that I need to be clothed in strength and dignity in addition to any else I might put on.

Inspiration I’ve Imbibed

I am a child of the king and this means that my dignity is innate, but I can decide whether I want to appropriate it for myself. How I dress is part of this. Whether I respect myself enough to be conscious of what I wear, but not allow it to diminish me. But also that I realize that how I speak and act also dress me in dignifty.

Strength is a hard one for me. I’ve never felt like a very strong person. But yet I’ve gone through much and I’m still here. I think the hard part for me to accept about being clothed in strength as that it too is part of me. I just need to pray for the insight to tap into that strength, to become more aware of it in times of difficulty.

Challenges I’ve Accepted

I hope that you’ve enjoyed this challenge. I know that it has changed me in ways that I certainly didn’t expect.

I will keep getting dressed, in ways that benefit the daughter of the king; with dignity and modesty. I will try to go through my days reminded of the strength I have and to keep my eyes of Jesus. I want to sparkle or be humble when appropriate. I want to encourage others rather than impress them.  I hope this journey has helped you find out more about yourself as well. Keep dressing yourself, both in clothes appropriate to the day, but also in strength and dignity.

 

Week 1 : Join the Challenge

Week 2: Know Your Why

Week 3: Dress Differently, Act Differently

Week 4: Prophesy Hope Through Accountability

Week 5: Make the Decision

Week 6: Find Your “Earrings”

Week 7: Focus Your Eyes

Week 8: A Moment of Silence for Showers

Week 9: Roll Up Your Sleeves

Week 10: Discipline

Week 11: Too Tired to Get Dressed

Week 12: Dressing in Freedom

Week 13: Is Being “Cute” Biblical?

Week 14: Imperishable Beauty

Week 15: For the Fun of It

Week 16: Fighting the Lure of Cozy

Week 17: A Quiet Spirit

Week 18: Modesty, It’s Not What You Think

Week 19; Beautiful, Artful, You

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Categories: Frumps to Pumps, Self-Care | Tags: , , | Leave a comment

Frumps to Pumps: Beautiful, Artful, You

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We all have personal style. I never thought I had style. I’m still not sure I do. I’ve spent a lot of time trying to figure out what I like and what looks good on me. But the truth is, I am an original. We all are. It may not come out in the way we dress, but in the way we speak or write. We each of have something special that we add to the world, and it is all beautiful.

Inspiration I’ve Imbibed

I think I don’t really want to be stylish anymore. I just want to like the way I look. As Madeline L’Engle suggests, I need to stop seeing myself in the wrong mirrors. I’m glad we are almost finished with this challenge because I think I’m just about done thinking so much about how I look. I’ve built some healthy habits, like trying to get dressed each day. But I’ve also made my own compromises. Sometimes on Monday’s I wear yoga pants all day. I try to work out in the morning, but I also have dance rehearsals at my church on Monday night. What is the point of changing my clothes just to get back into workout wear later? I choose my nicer things, the kind that can be worn to the store or seen by the UPS man. They won’t be my pajamas. But I’ll compromise because it fits my life right now.

Challenges I’ve accepted

I’ve decided to stop looking at me and start look at Him. I want to know who I am to my creator, how I matter to my Savior. I’m honestly not entirely sure. After being raised in this faith, and spending my adult years finding how I fit into it, I’m still a little lost. But I think I’ve decided that’s OK. Maybe if I stand still, He’ll find me.

Next- Frumps to Pumps:  Dressed in Strength and Dignity

Week 1 : Join the Challenge

Week 2: Know Your Why

Week 3: Dress Differently, Act Differently

Week 4: Prophesy Hope Through Accountability

Week 5: Make the Decision

Week 6: Find Your “Earrings”

Week 7: Focus Your Eyes

Week 8: A Moment of Silence for Showers

Week 9: Roll Up Your Sleeves

Week 10: Discipline

Week 11: Too Tired to Get Dressed

Week 12: Dressing in Freedom

Week 13: Is Being “Cute” Biblical?

Week 14: Imperishable Beauty

Week 15: For the Fun of It

Week 16: Fighting the Lure of Cozy

Week 17: A Quiet Spirit

Week 18: Modesty, It’s Not What You Think

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Categories: Frumps to Pumps, Self-Care | Tags: , , , | 3 Comments

Frumps to Pumps: Modesty, It’s Not What You Think

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This is a loaded topic, yet I have to compliment the author for handling this beautifully. She points out that in Greek modesty means being properly and orderly dressed as well as discretion or having a sense of shame. Basically, we are called to look nice, not frumpy but not disgraceful. I appreciate that the author leaves it to the reader to decide what this means. For me, this means I don’t feel uncomfortably exposed, but neither do I feel like I’m wearing so much clothing that I can’t function. Even in winter, when I layer for warmth, I try to keep it thin layers. Thick, bulky clothing just keeps me lying on the coach.

Inspiration I’ve Imbibed

Being modest is not just about what I cover up, but also being orderly and making an effort in my dress. To paraphrase the author, I shouldn’t feel proud or frumpy. I have often felt frumpy in the past but I need to be careful that I don’t combat that by becoming proud of NOT being frumpy. That isn’t the point.

Challenges I’ve Pursued

The author challenges us to re-examine our wardrobes and the motivations behind the various items of clothing. Why do we wear these things? Are our reasons honorable? We should make changes accordingly. I need to ask myself, does the way I dress line up with my personal values?

So we’re almost done with this challenge. Are you still getting dressed each day? Are you finding the joy that comes with it?

Next- Frumps to Pumps:  Beautiful, Artful, You

Week 1 : Join the Challenge

Week 2: Know Your Why

Week 3: Dress Differently, Act Differently

Week 4: Prophesy Hope Through Accountability

Week 5: Make the Decision

Week 6: Find Your “Earrings”

Week 7: Focus Your Eyes

Week 8: A Moment of Silence for Showers

Week 9: Roll Up Your Sleeves

Week 10: Discipline

Week 11: Too Tired to Get Dressed

Week 12: Dressing in Freedom

Week 13: Is Being “Cute” Biblical?

Week 14: Imperishable Beauty

Week 15: For the Fun of It

Week 16: Fighting the Lure of Cozy

Week 17: A Quiet Spirit

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Categories: Frumps to Pumps, Self-Care | Tags: , , | 3 Comments

Frump to Pumps: A Quiet Spirit

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Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as elaborate hairstyles and the wearing of gold jewelry or fine clothes. Rather, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight.
1 Peter 4; 3-4 (NIV courtesy of Bible Gateway)

When I first read the title of this chapter I kind of cringed inside. I am not a generally quiet person. I’m not really loud, but I do like to talk. I also tend to get louder when I feel passionate about a topic. Fortunately this chapter immediately deals with that concern by highlighting the fact that the Greek word in 1 peter mentioned hear doesn’t mean quiet in the sense of volume or personality. But rather to do with inner calmness and being at peace with God. Well, truth be told, that stung a little too.

Calmness has not always been easy for me. In some areas I’m learning it. I try not to worry about little things when it comes to my kids. I don’t sweat falls, bloody lips, colds or low grade fevers. I try to give my kids as much developmentally appropriate freedom as possible. This has two reasons, one, so that I don’t lose my mind trying to control and protect them, and two, so that they can develop the confidence they’ll need to do things for themselves later in life. But in other areas of my life, I still struggle with feeling at peace. It seems like I’m constantly trying to make everything just right so I can actually relax and enjoy my life. Except that hardly ever is this the  case, which means I almost never really relax and take the time to enjoy the current stage of my life.

I thought the big transition was going to be turning 30. But it felt OK for the first six months or so, until I realized that I’m going to be 31 in March and my husband will be 35 in just a few days. Suddenly I felt like I had no idea who I was, or what I was doing with my life. I had the sudden feeling that my life was passing me by while I was changing diapers and doing laundry. I worried that I was wasting the best years of my life. Certainly, not a calm, quiet spirit.

This author’s interpretation of the passage from 1 Peter 3 is that we shouldn’t find our identity in how we look or what we wear, but rather from knowing who we are in Christ. We should be at peace knowing who we are in him. My husband and I recently discussed how appearance focused I’ve become over the last year. Not all of this is bad. It helps me feel better about myself when I take care of myself. But it’s become something I think about far too much. Some how, I’m struggling to figure out who I am, again, and a side affect of this is me becoming incredibly self-conscious about how I look and dress.

I never used to care about such things much at all. I was very comfortable with myself. But at some point I felt like to be accepted by other women I had to be more stylish. In some ways it worked, I got noticed, but I also felt like I had to constantly be on my guard. Years ago a friend made a comment about how I never wear makeup. I don’t think it was meant cruelly, but it made me realize that some women see me negatively because this is not something that has ever been a priority for me. Even before kids, I rather get extra sleep then spend a half hour on makeup before work. Now, I still don’t wear makeup every day, and when I do my version is much lighter than most. But I am aware of the need to be taken seriously, by both men and women, and that making extra effort with my appearance is a way to do that.

There is nothing wrong with looking nice. But I think and worry about it way too much. It boils down to my lack of a quiet spirit. I don’t feel at peace within myself about who I am. This is a kind of a downer post for this series but I don’t have the answer yet.  I know I need to further explore what it means to have my identity in Christ, but I also need to give myself grace. Yes, I will continue to get dressed to honor my body, my husband and children and the God who gave me this amazing body (flawed as it seems to me at times), but I need to get over myself a little and stop focusing so much on my outward appearance. Being at peace with God and having a quiet spirit within my heart is far more important.

Next- Frumps to Pumps:  Modesty

Week 1 : Join the Challenge

Week 2: Know Your Why

Week 3: Dress Differently, Act Differently

Week 4: Prophesy Hope Through Accountability

Week 5: Make the Decision

Week 6: Find Your “Earrings”

Week 7: Focus Your Eyes

Week 8: A Moment of Silence for Showers

Week 9: Roll Up Your Sleeves

Week 10: Discipline

Week 11: Too Tired to Get Dressed

Week 12: Dressing in Freedom

Week 13: Is Being “Cute” Biblical?

Week 14: Imperishable Beauty

Week 15: For the Fun of It

Week 16: Fighting the Lure of Cozy

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Categories: Frumps to Pumps, Self-Care | Tags: , , | 4 Comments

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