Thursday, July 31, 2008

My Thoughts vs. God's Word

Hi! Welcome to the Encouragement for Today Daily Devotion Readers! If you have stopped by this blog after reading my devotion, , I'm glad you're here.

This blog is called, "I Am Beautiful", but I can tell you that those words don't come out of my mouth easily. You see, I don't think I'm beautiful. I think I'm overweight, undisciplined, nervous, insecure, untalented, out of control, weak, unworthy, and ugly. But I know better. Those are my thoughts, not God's Word. God's Word tells a very different story. That's one of the reasons I created this blog. I struggle with negative thoughts about myself and I don't ever want to forget what God says about me. And indeed, I am Beautiful, and so are you. If I had it my way, every woman and girl in the world would view herself as God sees her, not as she sees herself or as others may tell her she is.

I'm not sure where your thoughts are today. And I don't know what or who helped to form the thoughts you have today. But I know the One Who made you. And I know that He knows best. And in order to begin transforming your thoughts to be in line with God's Word, you have to think like Him. That often takes training and being super intentional. It doesn't come natural to me, does it come natural to you? Only by filling my head with God's Word, do my thoughts begin to reflect His. So, I talk about His Word, I write about His Word, and I read His Word. I have to or I forget His Word!

I recently wrote an article on anxiety and depression for the November issue of the Proverbs 31 Woman Magazine. It was one of the hardest articles I've ever written. You see, I didn't want to admit that I was a Christian and struggled with negative thoughts. I didn't want to admit that I needed help. I tried so long to fix myself and I became exhausted to the point of practically breaking down. I don't hide those feelings anymore. And I don't try to fix myself anymore either. My life has turned around. Now when "My" thoughts enter my head, I check them as quick as I realize what I'm thinking. I say, "Now Melissa, is this what God says about you?" The answer is usually "No Way!"

I want to close with a prayer written by Sheri Rose Shepherd,

My King, You Are Words Of Life

Lord, I love You so much. I want to know You better and
walk closer with You more than ever before. So why do I struggle to sit
and read
(and believe) Your Word?

God, please grow in me a stronger passion for Your powerful
Word. Remind me that every love letter was written just for me and that each one is full of life-giving truth to live by. Don't let me look for
wisdom in this world any longer, but instead remind me by Your Holy Spirit that all I need to know about how to live can be found in my

So I ask You now to help me make time to spend with You
regularly in Your precious Word, Your love gift to me. I pray that all
You have to say to me will rest securely in my heart and mind as I gain a deeper understanding of who You are and how much You love me.

In Jesus' Name I Pray.
Your princess, who wants to know Your Word

"The voice of the Lord is powerful; the voice of the Lord is full
of majesty." Psalm 29:4

If you too struggle with believing your thoughts over God's Word, be intentional on filling yourself with something different. Subscribe to the P31 Woman, ( or call 877-731-4663), keep reading the daily devotions, ask a friend to pray for you, start a blog or begin journaling God's Word, post Scripture verses all over to remind yourself of what God says about you (I do!), join a Bible study or check out one of the Proverbs 31 resources( or call 877-731-4663), and above all else, open your Bible. If you have questions about how to have a personal relationship with Jesus, let me know. I'll help you. It's the most important thing you can do for yourself.

I pray you have been encouraged today. Believe you are amazing and beautiful and forgiven and loved and gifted and worthy and wonderfully made, because your Creator does. And fix those thoughts on God's Word. You are so worth it!

Love and Blessings,


***If you do want to place an order from Proverbs 31, the Shopping Cart online has been experiencing difficulties. Please call the office if you cannot order online. I'll be glad to assist you! (877-731-4663, toll free number).

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

10 Things...keep em coming!

I am thanking God for the 10 things you like about yourself! Including mine, that's 60 things we've collectively found to be be thankful for about us.

Keep it up. If you haven't already posted 10 things you like about yourself, share them now. (see for details).

It's not so easy to think of 10 things to like about yourself. I could think of 100 things to like about someone else, why is it so hard to do for me? Because typically we don't think the best of ourselves. We need to change that. This is a start.

10 Things you like about yourself...keep 'em coming!



Tuesday, July 29, 2008

10 Things

I hope you are sticking with your challenge of only saying nice sweet things about yourself. Stop that negative thinking before it gets the best of you.

Today, try to make a list of 10 things you like about yourself. Really, 10. Don't stop at 1, 2, 5, or 9. Write 10. If you stumble, ask someone for help. After you've made your list of 10 things you like about yourself, thank God for each one of them. Let me warn you, this is really hard.

Here are mine.

1. I am a fun mom who loves her kids to pieces!

2. I am a wife devoted to making my husband happy and I love him with all my heart.

3. I am not afraid of what people think about me. (anymore)

4. I am not a quitter.

5. I am a survivor.

6. I am an encourager and I really care about people.

7. I like that I enjoy being around people and that I'm social.

8. I like that I am a writer and that God is using that in ways I never thought possible.

9. I like that I am a Proverbs 31 Woman:)

10. I like that Jesus is in my heart and that my life is in His Hands and that because of Him I am free and forgiven!!!!! Actually, I love that about myself!

Ok, there's my list. Now I'm thanking God for making me the way He did! Please share your list too.

Focus on what there is to like, and I know you can find 10 things! I can't wait to thank God with you!

Beautiful Blessings,


Monday, July 28, 2008

Feeling Beautiful?

Well, I surely hope so, because you are! Time goes by too quickly to not recognize the beauty within.

This morning, I opened my book, Jesus Calling , to read the devotion for July 28th. As usual God was speaking to me. I listened and absorbed the truth in these words:

"Let My Love seep into the inner recesses of your being. Do not close
off any part of yourself from Me. I know you inside and out, so do not try
to present a 'cleaned-up' self to Me. Wounds that you shut away from the
Light of My Love will fester and become wormy. Secret sins that you 'hide'
from Me can split off and develop lives of their own, controlling you without
your realizing it.

Open yourself fully to My transforming Presence. Let My brilliant
Love-Light search out and destroy hidden fears. This process requires time
alone with Me, as My Love soaks into your innermost being. Enjoy My
perfect Love, which expels every trace of fear."

I love how God's perfect love is stronger than all my fears...."expels every trace of fear". But in order for that to happen, I have to open my whole self to Him. That's what the verses in Psalm 139:23-24 are all about:

"Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting."

I know for a long time, I used to ask God to fix me, but I never asked Him to search me or examine me...I guess I was afraid of what He would find! But I didn't need to be afraid, He loves me NO MATTER WHAT! And He loves you too.

And 1 John 4:18:

"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's love can quiet your fears and give you confidence.

This may sound petty, but I am feeling less than beautiful and less than confident in my body size. As I've mentioned before, I gained lots of weight over the past year! Like 30 pounds! I was healthy and in shape and now I'm not. "Failure" "Loser" (really gainer) "undisciplined"...these are all names I've called myself. Today I even called myself a cow and said "Rattle rattle here comes the cattle"..and I was referring to myself. I laughed about it, but I'm really ashamed that I would talk of myself that way. I know my Creator would NEVER say that about me.

That's one of the many reasons I need the Lord each and every moment of every day. Because I too quickly begin to ridicule myself. That's so wrong.

Here's my challenge to myself and to you this week: Only speak positively of yourself. Don't cut yourself down to yourself or anyone else. I'll agree to it, if you will? What do you say?

Let's ask God to examine us and know our thoughts and motives and remove any offensive thoughts or ways.

Feeling Beautiful? Well, not really. But I know I am. Thank You Lord that I AM NOT what my feelings are. I am Yours. I am Beautiful. And you are too:)

Love ya sweet sistas,


Friday, July 25, 2008

Fun Friday:)

Like I said yesterday, my posts have been so serious lately. But in my defense, they have been a pleasure to write. It has been therapeutic for me...I'd use another word besides therapeutic here that a good friend of mine recently taught me, but I can't remember it; it started with a "c"...anyway, whatever, I'll continue with my thoughts. (edit here: Amy and Joy informed me the word I was looking for was "cathartic". You words people...I just love you!)
The writing, reading comments, receiving emails, discovering we are not alone and that we are indeed ok and normal, well, it's been a blessing to me. If I write about the very things that bring me the most pain and that I struggle with the most, it ends up actually helping me. Only God could use what Satan meant to harm me and bring beauty out of it. I Love Him, don't you?

Today, I listened to Lindsey Kane's CD, "Move Me Aside". Oh how I love her music. When I heard her sing for the very 1st time at She Speaks this year I absolutely fell in love with her sound. It was soft, mellow, folksy, and rockin all put together. Then I met her and realized she was just as beautiful as her music....inside and out! My favorite aspect to any song is the lyrics. If a song can tell a good story, I'm hooked. I think that's why I like Brad Paisley and Jimmy Buffett so much. You can say what you want about either of them, but you can't argue with their story telling abilities. Same with Carolyn Arrends and Nicole Nordeman. Great singers, great story tellers with their music. Lindsey had that affect on me.

Given what we've been discussing over the past week, and it ain't been too pretty, this music had me feeling beautiful and so in love with my Savior. And did I mention she writes her own songs???? Here's one titled, "Measure of Beauty"

All beautiful you are My darling
There is no flaw in you
I have to look away by one look of your eyes
You ravish My heart My sister My bride

Fearfully and wonderfully made are you
Cheerfully and beautifully formed are you
I will give you eyes to see the way that I measure beauty

Jesus give me eyes to see the way that You measure beauty
You are beautiful
You are beautiful
You are beautiful

Do you hear Jesus saying that to you? And each time He tells me that "I am beautiful", I add on, "No Matter What" because I just can't believe He would think such great things about me. Me. Me. Flawed, sinful, ugly, disturbed, misread, misunderstood, lacking, far from perfect, impulsive, etc etc me. That "Me" is beautiful. He says so and He knows all, so I really must be. Yeah! And it's fun Friday, so let's celebrate!

Right now, go put on your favorite music. Dance with your kids. Dance with your main man. Dance alone. No, don't dance alone, dance with God:) Dance with your pet. Sing loud. Sing soft. And if you can't do this physically right now, just close your eyes and imagine. Bring joy into your life, it's fun Friday and the God of the universe loves you and thinks that you are mighty special. He's with you , He's always been with you. Let the par-tay begin:)

Now, to end this very Fun Friday post, I'm going to share some pictures. Earlier in the month, I shared on one of my blogs how visual I am. And that placing visual reminders around me is very helpful in me remembering who I am and Whose I am. My jewelry does this for me.

Bracelet: Silver, with the word "HOPE"...reminds me to keep hope and always believe:) I bought it for myself.

Rings: Middle finger ring says "4GVN"...reminds me that I am.
Given to me by my friend, Denise.

Pinky rings: My original wedding and engagement ring. Jeff gave me those almost 19 years ago. I will always treasure these.

Rings: Wedding ring is new. Just got it last month. A renewal of commitment from my husband. I love the simplicity of the platinum band.

Ring on pointer, has a "J" on it. For Jeff, my amazing husband.
Bracelets: Cross on one-that's obvious, points me to Jesus.

Verse on the other one- Mark 10:27, With God All Things Are Possible:)

Have a wonderful and beautiful weekend friends. Thank you for encouraging me and reminding me that I'm not alone in this life. And now let's go have fun! Bye-bye!



****One request. Please pray for my dad. He went into the hospital while on vacation this week in Myrtle Beach, SC. Thank you.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Change Can Be Good

Whether it's something that happened as long ago as your early childhood or as recently as yesterday, the past can keep you from moving into all God has for you. That's why He wants to set you free from it. And not only that, He wants to redeem and restore what has been lost or destroyed in your past and make it count for something important in your life.

Oh, how I can relate to the above!!!!!!!!!! For what seems like forever, my past did keep me from moving into all God had for me. My past plagued me, scared me, disgraced me and I was just used to calling myself unworthy. How could He use me? Oh how, that is the farthest thing EVER from what God would want for me to think!!!!

I got used to that kind of "stinkin' thinkin'" though. Pit dwelling became my hobby. Pit stops lasted more than a minute. I stayed there too long without refueling. It was natural for me. It felt like home.

Redeem me? Can God do that? Restore me? Can God do that? Make my life count for something? Can God do that? I'm so glad the answer to all these questions is a big fat "YES!"

Sometimes in order to move forward, a change is required. After all, when you've become used to being down in the dumps, it's just 2nd nature, so change is definitely necessary. And change can motivate and invigorate. It can even be exciting.

If your past is holding you back, decide to make a change. Set some goals. Do something good for yourself. Sometimes little joys bring big rewards. This week, I have been so encouraged by hearing from women who are setting goals and making changes to improve their lives. They aren't going to sit around and just take it anymore. They are moving to action. Ladies, I applaud you. You have my utmost respect. It's just beautiful:)

Just because you decide to do something good for you doesn't mean your life circumstances will change. They probably won't. At least not right away. Maybe never. But your heart can change big time.

Ask God where He wants to move you, then go there! Do you realize that God believes in you? He's your #1 fan. Don't settle, go for positive change.

Redeem me. God can do that. Restore me. God can do that. Make my life count for something. God can do that.

Are you stuck in a pit? You don't have to stay there. The climb out may be tough, but we can do it. Change can be good.

So, here's to change!

Health, Hope, and Happy Blessings,


Tuesday, July 22, 2008

We Are Really Doing This!

Yes, yes we are. What are we doing, you ask? We are reaching our goals, that's what we are doing.

We are no longer listening to the lying and negative thoughts that tell us we can't and won't or we're not worth it or qualified. Even, "well, God just made me this way" is sometimes a lie. God didn't make you to hate yourself or cast disbelief in yourself. He believes in us. If He didn't, He wouldn't have made us in the first place. He didn't have to ya know!!!!!

Since so many of you have emailed me or commented on my blog, I'm going to brag about you. I'm impressed, tickled, and inspired by your goals and commitments!

Joy is going to exercise 5 times a week! You go girl! I bet there are some hills "up north" for you to climb! I'm going to be checking the accountability section of your you still do that? You are such an encourager to me, I want to encourage you too. Way to go:)

Jillian is starting to run and is training for a 5k in 5 weeks! Rock on! I know you can do it and I can't wait to hear about your progress and success. Whooo-Hoooo!

Michelle is actually the one who inspired me to post my picture in the sidebar. I haven't even told her that yet. She has been doing great and is recommitting to her good healthy habits and exercise. She's a walker walking her way to good health. Michelle, you are doing great!

Deb joined Weight Watchers this week. Yeah Deb!!!!! That's wonderful. You can help me count points! Let us know if you find any scrumptious low point treats! (like the Skinny cow ice cream sandwiches for 2 points!)

Marilyn in Mississsippi is walking. Now Marilyn, I just want to tell you that I think you are an incredibly beautiful woman and I want you to refer to yourself that way. Inside and out! You keep up that walking. Keep getting up early to avoid that awful Mississippi heat!

Diane-Now I'm not sure what Diane is doing for exercise, bless her sweet heart, last time I saw her she could barely walk. But, she did say she'd post a picture of her backside to make me feel better. Diane, I'm still waiting...........

Bernadette is getting up and doing at least 10 minutes of exercise! Awesome Bernadette. You keep doing this and I bet you'll be up to 15 minutes before you know it. She also is committing to read her Bible this week. Bernadette, this is the best thing you can do for yourself. Fill yourself up with God's Word. Your goals are great! Way to go!

Renee Swope (don't kill me for posting this, but I want to make sure you really do it!) is most probably and very likely going to begin training for a 1/2 marathon. We are going to do our long runs on Saturdays together (beginning in about a month) and run the race in Kiawah in December. Her hubby is doing the full marathon! Isn't that great! Renee has already been attending gymnastic classes and walking. You can so do it Renee! You can do it! We can do it together!

And Kelly, you commented on Mandisa's song, True Beauty. I had the awesome pleasure of meeting Mandisa 2 years ago when she was on the American Idol tour. (Here she is with Lisa) She was so beautiful, so kind, so genuine, and we hugged over our shared love of the Lord. I love her song True Beauty. The whole CD is so good. And isn't music just good for the soul? I don't know if I could make it through a workout without it!

Ladies, Congratulations to all of us for setting a goal and sharing it with others. We have to set a goal before we can reach a goal. Please keep me posted on how you are doing. You inspire me and give me courage to keep going. Also, even if you are struggling, share that too. Let others learn from your strengths and weaknesses, your successes and failures. We all have them. It's fun to share the good. It's hard to share the not so good. But, it's okay.

Many of us who battle the feeling good about ourselves thing, often question if we are normal or what's wrong with us. I am taking questions that I've received over the past week and posting about them on my other blog. I talked about being normal and how our feelings shouldn't dictate what we think about ourselves. Hop over there if you want to read about it., July 21st, "you Are normal".

Before I close, I'll share a little joy. I've lost 6 pounds since beginning WW a little over a week ago! Now of course that won't happen every week. If you have started a healthy living program before, you know the first week is when the most weight is lost, USUALLY NOT ALWAYS! I also FINALLY exercised for the first time since my vacation. I walked about 3 1/2 miles early this morning (5:30 am). I'm hitting my neighborhood gym tomorrow morning to do some cardio and weights. Wish me luck. I mean pray for me to keep getting up early. Once I'm up, I love it, but it sure is hard to get up. All of your comments really have me motivated right now though.

I'm so glad we can encourage each other to reach our goals. Now, go look in the mirror and look deep into your own eyes. Say, "You my dear are beautiful!" Because you are!

Love and Beautiful Blessings,

6 Pounds Lighter, Melissa:)

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Gonna lighten it up a little today:)

Wow. Yesterday's post was a toughy, so I'm going to lighten it up a little for the weekend.

Last night. Smile :) Last night, my husband took me on a date. Usually our dates consist of dinner, music, and home for a little lovin'. This week, we had 1 out of 3 and it was sooooooooo good! MUSIC :)

During our relationship, which dates all the way back to August 1981, one of our favorite things to do together is to go to concerts. Over the years, we've seen a lot. We both love music. I love lyrics (no surprise....words would be my love language) and he loves guitar. The show we attended yesterday, gave us both. We went to see Brad Paisley, here in Charlotte.

(Brad pictured here giving my son, Blake, an autograph at the Cars Movie World Premier a few years ago.)

He played a guitar (alternated between about 5 of them) during every single song. Each song told a story. There was a variety of music styles, ranging from good ole twang country to good ole southern gospel. I thought we were going to be on the 8th row. I was wrong. We were on the 7th:) It was just fun. We had so much fun. We sang. We hugged. (me and Jeff, not me and Brad) For 2 hours we forgot about real life. What a great night. (Thank you Jeff! It was one of my favorite concerts of all time. It takes a secure man to take his wife to see Brad Paisley and not mind that she thinks he's cute! But not as cute as you!)

Enough of BP. I added a new element to my blog today. On the right side I added some new pictures. I'll update them each week. It is REALLY time to get back on track with my health. Do you know that 9 months ago, I was 25 pounds lighter than I am today? I will write more on why I think that happened on Monday, but it is just a fact. Even though I hated to do it, I posted full body shots, front and back in the sidebar. Do you have any idea how hard that was for me to do????? I cannot believe how I've gone from size 8 to size 14 in just a little time. But, I'm not getting down, I'm just keepin' on. I've gotten a decent start with some minor exercising over the past few months. I started Weight Watchers last week (down 3 pounds thank you very much) and I've committed to run a half marathon in December. I am not a stranger to running. I used to LOVE IT! Less than a year ago, I was up to 9 miles. When I went back to work in October, my schedule was so different, I just quit. Plus I work with the world's greatest treat bakers and they love to share. How can I say 'no' to Barb's muffins, Wendy's pound cake, Samantha's apple thingies, Teri's chicken and dumplings, and LeAnn's full meal catering? Plus there's always chocolate! Well, up to now I haven't said 'no' and that's one of my problems. Melissa, repeat after me. "NO THANK YOU". I've got to learn to say that!

So, take a look. There I am at my starting point in my back yard. Each Saturday I'll take a new picture and post it. I think this will greatly motivate me as I work towards my goals. And I'm really excited to see the difference over the weeks!

Before I close, I want to say, that I fully know that no matter what our size, we are beautiful. I don't think beauty comes from looks, appearance, or size. For me, it's more a matter of what I turn to for comfort and what I think I'm worth. I will touch more on this in my Monday post. I've used food. I haven't been healthy. That needs to change.

My oh my, I can't believe I've posted my backside on my "I Am Beautiful" blog!

Love and Sweet Blessings,


Friday, July 18, 2008

Little Girl, Are You Okay?

Today has been an extremely hard day for me. I've cried more tears today than I have in a while. I think I'm emotionally and mentally exhausted.

Over the past 3 days, I have read hundreds of stories. Many of them mirrored my own life in numerous ways. I could feel the pain coming from the writers' hearts, because I understood their pain. Attack came in the night.

I went to bed feeling alone, rejected, and worthless. Not so beautiful, huh? Doesn't sound like that woman who posted of hope on her other blog yesterday now does it? (see, "Don't You Dare Lose Hope" July 17, 2008)

Now, if you think hearing about my childhood sexual abuse could disturb you or bring up too much pain, I give you warning here. That's what I'm going to talk about today. It is not beautiful.

I woke up this morning and I heard him in my head. "You turn me on." I felt his touch inside of me. I felt him lead my hand to touch him. I heard his heavy breathing and panting. "GO AWAY!", I screamed. It was as though it happened just a few minutes ago. That's how fresh and familiar it was. Yet it happened 34 years ago. I was only 7 years old. How dare he rob me of my innocense. How dare he introduce dirt and shame into my life and get away with it. Is it terrible for me to hope he's rotting in hell right now. I guess I should hope he repented and found the Lord or got help for his obvious illness. He was very old. Was he just senile or was he really the devil? I don't think I've forgiven him, but I'll think about that later.

I could not shake the memory. It haunted me on my way to work. It haunted me as I continued to get more emails today from women with painful pasts looking for hope and peace and happiness. Then something occurred to me. I bet my devotion, "Love Me" brought up some of the same feelings I was having today in my readers. I heard the cries of despair. The reaching and grasping for help. All because of a past sexual experience...abuse....rape....molestation.

I'm so sorry if that's how some of you reacted. There is hope for us though. It is painful. We do carry it. My husband, as hard as he may try---bless his heart---just doesn't understand why I can't leave it in the past and move on. It doesn't rule my life, however it is something I will carry with me for the rest of my life. I ache for that little girl (me) who was helpless, yet felt guilty from that day forward.

It happened more than once although I don't know how many times. I think I've blocked some of it out of my mind. If there's more, I pray it stays locked up. I desired protection. Protection I found in the shape of a mask. I wore one pretty much from that day forward.

The mask is off. My life is good. But I share all this with you because I want you to know that every day is not a good one for me. I struggle with anxiety and depression. If it weren't for the Lord, I'd been gone a long time ago.

Friends, we can get through this. Let's take the Lord at His Word, He can work it all for good. (Romans 8:28). It was horrible. Unmentionable. Shameful. We don't want anyone to find out the things we've done as a result.

God is good. He is good all the time. We are survivors. We are here. And there's a purpose for that.
These are my feelings and thoughts today.
As I close, I know I need to inhale a great big breath of love and peace from my very protective heavenly Father. (Inhale..........................) And now I'm exhaling all of the pain for the moment (exhale........................).

My husband just got home. We have a date planned and I am praying the Lord's blessing over the entire night. We are going to a concert. Brad Paisley is in town. :) We have 8th row seats. :) That makes me smile.

Praying beauty to fill your souls at this very moment. Because, you are so way beautiful. And so am I. Let's keep telling ourselves that, Ok?

Much Love,


Thursday, July 17, 2008

You Can Be My Friend

Hey. Do you need a friend? Do make friends easily? Do you want a friend?

Friends have been very important to me over the course of my life. Maybe because I love to be around people or maybe because I'm pretty good at making friends. I don't say that to brag at all, but for some reason people usually feel comfortable around me. I can meet someone and within 5 minutes they are sharing things with me they've never told anyone. I don't know why that is.

Friendships come in all forms: church, co-workers, neighbors, high school, college, long-distant, BFF's, casual, deep, No Matter What (those are my favorite), aquaintances, face to face, e-mail and blogging buddies, family, mentors, and I could go on and on. Often it is friends who remind you the most that you are beautiful when you don't feel like it or forget. Often it is a friend who understands you when no one else does. Often it is a friend who will tell you the truth even when it hurts, but they still love you anyway. And often it is friend who breaks your heart.

I have noticed that women seem to thrive on friendships. Of course we are all different, but it just seems like the women I meet and hear from are looking for good friends. They desire closeness with other women. They desire community and a safe place to fall. They want to have someone or better yet a group of people who are there for them to laugh with, cry with, get crazy with, sing with, pray with, and love....

A really really really good friend...a NO MATTER WHAT friend (that means they are there for you and love you NMW...hard to find I might add)..anyway, a NMW friend has these qualities:

1-They love you unconditionally and unfailingly.
2-They forgive you.
3-They encourage you.
4-They serve you.
5-They hold you accountable.
6-They pray for you.

I have many good friends, but very few NMW friends. Those are rare and precious. I have asked myself recently, am I that kind of friend? I confess, I've failed miserably in this area over the past year. Maybe it's because my life was in shambles, but that's not a good excuse really, although it is true. Maybe it's because I went back to work full time for the first time in 13 years, again, no excuse. Or maybe it's because I just didn't feel like making the effort......

The truth is, my heart desires to do the right thing. My heart loves way big. Mercy often consumes me and becomes a weakness. I want so badly to be your best friend, but I'm not real good at it. I end up making so many friends that there is just no way to give them what they deserve. Recently I was called on this. And I have not known how to respond because it just broke my heart that this friend was so disappointed in me. Oh how I love friends. I would never want to intentionally hurt anyone.

I received over 200 blog comments ( and over 100 emails over the past 2 days. Now this is not the norm I promise you that, but my heart desires to personally respond to each one of them, especially those who poured out their hearts to me. But I just can't do it all. That makes me feel crummy.

More often than not, I have great plans of something I'm going to do for a friend, like: buy them something special, send them a thank you note, send them an email, give them a phone call, etc. I will wake up in the morning intending to do that. Well you what they say the road to hell is paved with don't you? Yep, good intentions. (that's just a saying, don't blast me for it please) Do my good intentions make me fake? I'll mean to follow through, but then the day takes over and before you know it the day is gone. I hate that!!!!! I promise you, I do not mean to be a bad friend. Am I? Look at my heart, it's really good, it really loves you...oh my actions need to be quicker and better in this area though.

All this to say, I don't feel like a very beautiful friend lately. Do you want to be my friend now?

Hey seriously, friendship is a gift from God. And speaking of that, one of my NMW just walked in the door. And she brought dinner! I guess I should get off the computer and spend some time with her. Her name is Donna:) She rocks.

I'll be your friend if you like. And you can be mine too, that is if you still want to.

Blessings Beautiful Friends,


Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Overjoyed and Overwhelmed

Yep, that would describe me today. I'm overjoyed that I've been on Weight Watchers for 2 days and I'm enjoying life:) I received so much encouragement from other WW ladies. Thanks y'all! It really has helped doing it with others here at the office and hearing from people who it's working for. I am a firm believer that what program you do isn't really the issue, it's can you stick with it and is it healthy. So, WW or whatever (I've been on them all), cheers! Here we go again. I can already see the 30 pounds leaving my body:)

Overjoyed...oh yes. I'm also overjoyed by the response to my 2 devotions that ran yesterday and today. Overjoyed because I had no idea how my story would impact so many people. And not just impact, but open the gates to be real, among Christian women. Open the gates to take the masks off and deal with who we are and why we are this way. If you'd like to read them, visit to read the first one titled, Love Me and click to read the part 2 titled, I Love You. Both of these deal with inner beauty and believing in yourself because of who you are in Christ, not your past, circumstances, appearance, performance, etc.

I'm also overwhelmed. I've received over 200 responses if you count my blogs and email combined. Most of them are from women who share similar circumstances or have experienced similar struggles. Most of them just desire love unconditionally. They desire a complete marriage with a happily ever after appeal. I relate.

So today I stand in complete awe of what God is doing in my life and in using my life. It is so not me and all Him. Lord, thank you for providing me with strength and courage to dive into the ugly. Most of all thank you for revealing beauty there. I pray each struggling, insecure, fearful, haunted, abused, abandoned, sad, lonely, unfeeling woman would be touched by You and refined into a steady, secure, trusting, peaceful, loved, found, happy, content, and full of God woman. I heard so many say, "I know God loves me, but it's just hard to believe and feel." I pray we all become "feeling" women. In Jesus' Name!

Do you feel beautiful today? You are whether you feel it or not.
You are beautiful...

No Matter What,


Monday, July 14, 2008

I Can Eat 21 Points:)

So I did! Yes, it's true, I did begin Weight Watcher's today. I am allowed 21 points a day and 21 points I ate. I still need to incorporate exercise more consistently...why do I love to sleep so much????? Really, let's examine that question. Why is it that I have such a hard time getting up in the morning? Are my dreams that pleasant? Am I really tired? Do I not go to bed early enough the night before? Or am I just lazy? Honestly, I think the last question may be the truth. I just love to lay in bed. Ahhhhhhhhhh, I just love it.

I can eat 21 points up until I lose the first 15 pounds, then I'll have to cut back to 18 points for the remainder of my weight loss.

So, here I go.......again. And before I forget, those of you who commented or emailed me (and you know who you are), I love you. Your encouragement means the world to me. I wonder if sometimes I put too much of myself out there. But when you share back with me and let me know you understand because you've been there or you are there, it's so helpful.

I wrote a devotion that is featured on the Proverbs 31 Ministries website today. If you haven't read it, please take the time to visit,

Beautiful Blessings,


Sunday, July 13, 2008

Come Monday

Tomorrow is Monday. A new week. A fresh start. Hope for a new beginning.

On Monday, I start Weight Watchers with my co-worker and good friend, Samantha. I am the queen of weight loss programs, I know WW is healthy. I am leaving my comfort zone of LA Weight Loss, which is also healthy and I did lose weight there, and starting something new. I would rather do a plan with someone I'm with every day than to continue on my own. Plus, I'm ready for something new. I'm good at following a program and losing weight. In fact, I've probably lost 1000 pounds in my life time. If I'd just quit gaining it back!

Now I know that the root of my problem is NOT food. It's deeper than that. I've been through counseling this year. I've prayed. I've examined my life and asked the Lord to examine my life. My problem is that I abandon ship when the going gets tough. I don't deserve true happiness and health, I'm not good enough. (I realize that's not true....) I will not bail on life anymore. I deserve happiness. I am good enough. I am a princess....a daughter of the King!

So, again, I'm here, to break the cycle. I have hope that this time, I'll lose weight, gain good health, and keep it off this time. I have to believe that. I have faith. I'm confident. And I am beautiful:)

Come Monday, it will be, Good Night.

Beautiful Blessings,


Continuing to

Thursday, July 10, 2008


***I'd like to say I wrote this myself, but I didn't. My quiet time devotion was so sweet this morning I wanted to share it with you. So, I am copying it exactly as it is written in the book, Jesus Calling by Sarah Young.

July 10

RELAX IN MY PEACEFUL PRESENCE. Do not bring performance pressures into our sacred space of communion. When you are with someone you trust completely, you feel free to be yourself. This is one of the joys of true friendship. Though I am 'Lord of lords and King of kings', I also desire to be your intimate Friend. When you are tense or pretentious in our relationship, I feel hurt. I know the worst about you, but I also see the best in you. I long for you to trust Me enough to be fully yourself with Me. When you are real with Me, I am able to bring out the best in you: the very gifts that I have planted in your soul. Relax, and enjoy our friendship.

Revelation 17:14, "They will make war against the Lamb, but the Lamb will overcome them because he is Lord of lords and King of kings---and with him will be his called, chosen and faithful followers."

John 15:13-15, "Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends. You are my friends if you do what I command. I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master's business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you."

Have a beautifully blessed day. Make some time to relax in the peaceful presence of your Best Friend!,


Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Beautiful People Make Mistakes

I talk a lot about outer beauty vs. inner beauty on this blog. Today I want to talk about something different. It still is about beauty...well, at least with a stretch it is. Actions and Words.

Beautiful people speak with beautiful words. Beautiful people behave and their actions reflect their beauty. But not all the time.

Beautiful people speak beautiful words.

In my devotion last week, I wrote about how words about Dylan's scar hurt him so badly. I also wrote about how I hid my toes for 10 years because of words someone used. Sticks, stones, and words hurt. The examples I used were specific to physical beauty...outward and visible scars. God made us in His image and He knew of the physical flaws when He designed us. Scripture is plenty about how we are made and He loves us and thinks we are just precious regardless of what the world may see or think of us. I can begin to feel better about my toes and my being overweight because I know God sees beauty in me. Many beautiful people have spoken words to affirm this and I'm so grateful for them. They are speaking the truth. To believe anything different would be a lie.

Beautiful people behave and their actions reflect their beauty.

Stop. Pause. Think about this. I think I'd need to add "most of the time" to this statement. Confession time. My behavior is not beautiful all the time. Some of the time it is and I'd like to say that most of the time it is. Am I beautiful if:

I yelled at my kids

I told a lie

I betrayed someone

I was a bad friend

I hurt someone with my actions/lack of actions/words

I was rude on the phone

I was selfish

I didn't follow the rules

I didn't tame my tongue

I disrespected my husband

____________________ (fill in the blank with whatever you think of)

How can people be beautiful if they behave this way? Enter Jesus. :) The answer is "YES" we can and we are...NO MATTER WHAT (my favorite phrase)! Everyone makes mistakes. Everyone fails sometime. (some more than me:) Everyone falls short of perfection, daily. Everyone has regrets, at least the beautiful people do because they recognize that their behavior could have or should have been better or different. I've found with myself, I usually do not intend to mess up. My heart doesn't want to hurt anyone, but sometimes my behavior unintentionally does. Not only does it hurt the other person, but then when realized it comes back and bites me too. And it hurts so badly. And I don't feel so beautiful then.

What can we do when our behavior does not reflect the beauty we behold within? We talk to God. We say we are sorry. We ask God to reveal how we should change if change is indeed needed. And we ask for His help.

James 1:5-8 (The Message)

5-8If you don't know what you're doing, pray to the Father. He loves to help. You'll get his help, and won't be condescended to when you ask for it. Ask boldly, believingly, without a second thought. People who "worry their prayers" are like wind-whipped waves. Don't think you're going to get anything from the Master that way, adrift at sea, keeping all your options open.

Jesus died for the ugly people like me. And because of that death on the cross, which was so ugly, beauty was born at the resurrection and beauty was born in us who confess and repent. Forgiveness brings beauty. We are beautiful not because of what we say or what we do, but because of what Christ did for us.

Now that gets a shout of joy from me!!!!!!!!!

I must say though, that knowing this is all true and feeling it are 2 different things. Words are my love language. They build me up and they tear me at my core. Whether they are true or not isn't always the issue. Lies hurt. Often truth does too. To allow the beauty within to shine and not fade away when words, behavior, regret take place, I have to keep my guard up, get people to pray for me and continuously look up to my Father. My eyes come off of Him and I sink just like Peter did when he attempted to walk on water but took his eyes off Christ.

In case you can't tell, I think I've messed up recently. And I'm hurting. And I'm trying to tell myself that it's not what others think it's what God thinks, and He knows my heart. He also knows I make mistakes and there is much room for improvement in this body of mine...physically and behaviorally.

Beautiful people make mistakes. Beautiful people improve and strive to get better with each passing experience.

Am I Beautiful?

I Am least that's what I'll keep telling myself!


Monday, July 7, 2008

Beautiful People

If I could reach out and hug all of the people who poured out their stories and shared their faith, encouragement, and love with me and Dylan I would do it right now!!!! The response to the devotion (see previous blog post right before this one) was so confirming for me. I am often relunctant to share my flaws and even wonder if anyone really cares, but what I learn is that even though the circumstances are different, many of us, especially women, struggle with similar issues. The response was also used to strengthen Dylan. He felt encouraged, unashamed of his scar, and grateful that God could use his story of pain to help bring healing to others. As a mother, I am so thankful that so many people wrote to tell him that. I can tell him all day long how special he is, but to hear it from people he's never even met, well, that really hit home with him.

Beautiful people are not perfect. They don't have perfectly manicured nails. Their hair is not any one color. Their weight does not matter. Their life circumstances don't even matter. Beautiful people have a beautiful heart. They come in all shapes and sizes. Many have visible scars and many have unseen scars. Beautiful people radiate Light.

Thank you for being beautiful.

Much Love,