Archive for the ‘Girlfriends Rock’ Category

What Self-Care Really Is

Wednesday, February 13th, 2019

A long soak in a nice, hot bath. A glass of wine. Going to the local salon for a mani-pedi. A girls night out. Reading a good book. Chatting with a friend. Scrolling through Instagram. Raiding your chocolate stash and telling your kids, “It’s spicy.”

All of these are thought of as examples of self-care when they are really only an escape. Some of them are wonderfully delicious escapes. For years, I thought these escapes defined self-care. I couldn’t have been more wrong.

Granted, we all need an escape now and then. Even if it’s just five minutes alone to pee. Each escape can provide us with the break we need to re-center ourselves and show a kinder, calmer face to our family. However, escape doesn’t even begin to cover what healthy self-care really means. 

Self-care is giving yourself what you need.

It is making sure that your spiritual, physical, emotional, relational, and mental needs are adequately met.

That’s my definition. I didn’t even google it. 

It grew inside of me through experience, reading, and counseling. It came to full blossom during the past year or so, and this is the first time I have condensed it into words. This definition grew out of a burgeoning realization that, while a mani-pedi is scrumptious, I still have to come home to everything I left. None of my load is lifted by having sparkly pink toenails. No matter how much they make me smile when I look down.

Am I saying that we shouldn’t bother with mani-pedis or chocolate? Not at all! What I am saying is that we should see those things as only a drop in the bucket of what we really need. 

Some things to think about:

What we really need is to evaluate our lives, and see where the gaps are that leave us weary, discouraged, or empty. But who has time to evaluate their whole life? Certainly not me. But I can evaluate my week. Sometimes, it has to just boil down to this very day, or even the very next hour. 

I can ask myself, “What do I need, right now?” For me, the answer is usually food. Literal, actual, nourishing food, because I’ve skipped breakfast. Again. Once I have met that need in a minute of self-care, I can re-evaluate and decide what I need next, because my blood sugar isn’t tanking, and I am no longer hangry. 

Don’t wait until you can afford a Fitbit to go for a walk.  If you are anything like me, you will give up if you cannot do everything all at once. So, pick just one area of self-care that you believe will be the easiest to implement today. Yes, today. Do not lie to yourself and tell yourself you can’t fill need X until you line up Y, Z, A2, and Q11 just right before you can start. 

And remember, something is better than nothing. Make this your mantra. Say it over and over. Tape it to your bathroom mirror. So you forgot about the cauliflower crust you intended to use for your own homemade pizza on pizza night last night, but you remembered to make a salad to go with the normal pizza. Something is better than nothing, and you managed some veggies today. Breathe. It’s okay. No throwing babies out with the bathwater. 

Here are 20 things that actually might count as self-care

They each meet a spiritual, physical, emotional, relational, or mental need. Some cover multiple areas of need:

  1. Attending religious services
  2. Taking appropriate medications for whatever reason – medical or mental health
  3. Going to the doctor
  4. Joining a 12-Step group
  5. Going for a short walk, especially in nature, or at least outside
  6. Taking 3 deep, abdominal breaths with eyes closed
  7. Going to a counselor, even once in a while
  8. Trading help with a neighbor or friend – combine your laundry and do it together, for example
  9. Combining your taco shells and fish sticks with your friend’s veggies and ramen, and doing dinner together for an end-of-the-month-we-have-no-food extravaganza
  10. Getting a massage, chiropractic adjustment, or other bodywork
  11. Signing up for a Zumba class
  12. Abstaining from processed sugar
  13. Pleasure reading at the end of the day to unwind instead of Netflix
  14. Having a good cry, alone or with an empathic friend
  15. Drink water
  16. Buy clothes that fit well, no matter your size
  17. Buy that Fitbit and post your steps every day
  18. Educate yourself about shame, and learn shame resilience (thanks, Brené Brown)
  19. Listen to podcasts that educate or uplift you
  20. Let the kids sit in front of a screen and get something done that has been bothering you

I could keep going. But I am pretty sure this is quite long enough.

Self-care. Do it. Start today. Go fill up a glass of water and drink it. Then, pee alone. Because you’re going to have to in about five minutes. Sometimes, it can be nearly imossible. But those “sometimes” are not “all times.” Just do what you can with what you’ve been given today. It may not be enough always, but something is better than nothing.





Day 16: She’s a natural.

Saturday, February 26th, 2011

My best friend, Tiffany, inspires me, in answer to the question posed by today’s topic. I could write a history about this woman and the family surrounding her. I’ll spare her that embarrassment, however. Her humility wouldn’t allow me to wax poetic about her many virtues!

Suffice to say that Tiffany is the most natural mom I’ve ever met. She’s not perfect, but she seems to have taken up the Mantle of Motherhood with more grace and common sense and built-in wisdom than I have ever seen. She’s just plain good at it. Patient, kind, open-hearted, wise, loving, and sensible are all words that describe her. It’s hard to explain exactly why she inspires me the way she does. She’s everything I want to be as a wife and mom, but I have no envy of that in her. She just inspires me to be better than I am.

I often find myself wishing I lived next door to her, so I could be a “mom intern” or something. Since that can’t happen anytime soon, I content myself with reading her blogs, and our occasional conversations. And missing her like crazy, hoping she knows how much I appreciate her loyalty and love as my dearest and oldest friend. (You do know that I love you deeply, right, Tiff?)

As I get ready for a busy Saturday, and for a red-head’s birthday tomorrow, I pray that I radiate peace the way Tiffany does. She’s a blessed kindred spirit.

Who inspires you?


Day 6: The Real Deal

Monday, February 7th, 2011

I think if I could trade places with someone for one day, it would have to be this hottie. Meet Desirre.

She has a lot of initials after her name, heralding her hard work and education as a birth professional. She’s a labor doula, a childbirth educator (dually certified through CAPPA and Lamaze), a lactation educator, a childbirth education trainer (mine, actually), and is the president of the International Cesarean Awareness Network.

She’s a wife. A mother to four boys. FOUR BOYS. She’s my good friend, a sister to every woman she meets, a powerhouse of passion.

Most importantly, she is real. So very, very real. What you see is what you get. And I know that if I could walk in her shoes for just one day, I would come away with some serious “conquer-the-world” insight and confidence.

Don’t get me wrong – Desirre is not on some high and lofty pedestal in my mind. She would totally “Phbbbbt” at the idea. She doesn’t let that pedestal thing happen anyway. The first thing she does when I go to her for advice is to use her own mistakes and experience to teach. No illusions there.

Desirre is no pretender. She’s the real deal.

My main goal in life is to spread sunshine, but not if it means pasting on a fake smile in order to go through the motions like any robot could. And that is why I want to walk in her shoes for a day. To learn how to be more like that. To get a taste of that passionate, bold confidence only true humility* can bring.

Is there anyone YOU would trade places with for a day? This was Day 6 in the 30 Day Photo Challenge.

Be blessed! Monday School will be back eventually. That’s a hard one to keep up on when I’ve made a commitment not to post on Sundays.


*humility being defined as an accurate view of oneself, not a self-abasing view.

Double Post! Thankful Thursday + Photo Challenge Day 3

Thursday, February 3rd, 2011

First of all, I just wanted to update everyone on my dad. He had his latest MRI yesterday, and we have some mixed news to report. Three of the four tumors they killed a couple of months ago have shrunk in size. One of them stayed the same. That fourth one will be watched carefully, and Dad is still not allowed to drive. It may be incurable, but there’s still a chance of it going into remission, as a good friend reminded me.

My hope has not died. My faith has not left. Thank you so much for praying – please don’t stop! I am so uplifted, convicted, and encouraged by your prayers. Encouraged to live in repentance, and to press in closer to my Abba Father. After all:

“In his hand is the life of every creature and the breath of all mankind.” ~Job 12:10 (NIV)

What have I to really worry about? Nothing.

Today, I am thankful that my dad’s tumors are mostly shrinking. I am thankful that there are no new ones to report. I am thankful for the prayers and support of so many people, I couldn’t begin to name them all. I am thankful for people who are willing to drop everything and just pray with me over the phone. I am thankful that God the Creator will not take his hand away from those who love him.

I’m thankful for the 30 Day Photo Challenge. It’s given me something fun to do, and easy. (Nice segway, right?) I am thankful for good entertainment, that lets me laugh and enjoy someone else’s God-given creativity:

30 Day Photo Challenge, Day 3: A Picture of the Cast From Your Favorite TV Show

Levi and I haven’t watched TV regularly since the series finale of the show which shall not be named. We were turned on to this series awhile back, by I forget who. (Was it you?)

I am thankful for Firefly. The only show in history to get canceled, then have a movie made of it! Joss Whedon created something amazing here. Kind of a western-meets-Star Wars. Only, it’s way better than Star Wars. (No offense.) It’s that good, people.

And the movie? Oh! That’s called Serenity, and it ties up all the wide-open loose ends the show wasn’t able to.

If you don’t like brilliant writing, great action, plot twists, or characters with quirky depth, then don’t bother. If you do like all those things, then pop yourself some popcorn and let yourself be amazed.


This month’s host for Thankful Thursday is Iris at Grace Alone. Link up with the other participants there.

What are you thankful for this week? What’s your favorite show?

Thanks again for all your prayers. I’m truly blessed to know you.


Tag! I’m It.

Sunday, August 3rd, 2008

So, little miss Erica got tagged to do one of those “7 Random Things” memes. And I found it rather interesting. You should go take a look. There’s a high school picture and everything. I think that makes it worth clicking around a bit.

Seriously, what do you have to do that’s any better?

Besides something responsible.

Well. She tagged everyone. Which includes me. So you get “7 Random Things” about me today. Whether you like it or not. Unless, of course, you close this window before you read any farther. But that wouldn’t be very nice would it?

1. I am now wearing my wedding band on a chain around my neck. Because it hurts to wear it on my finger. Why? Because my finger is too fat. So. I am going to be embarking on the journey of weight loss. Responsibly, though. I’ll be consulting a naturopathic doctor, and Sara R. – who is my friend – will be walking me through this thing. She’s been down this road. So I can trust her.

2. I never, ever get tired of round baby eyes looking into mine.

3. I do get tired of waking in the middle of the night. Though, I have to say, Bubbers is consistently sleeping 6-8 hours at a time now! *Happy Dance of Sleepful Bliss*

4. My (current) favorite flavor of yogurt is Black Cherry Vanilla.

5. I have found another flavor of ice cream to love, honor, and obey. Black Raspberry with Chocolate Fudge Chunks. Half a gallon in about 3 days. ‘Nuf said. (Now the tight wedding band is explained. Well. There are also four children born in the span of 4 years & 2 months to blame too. None of it is my fault. I’m the victim here. Ahem.)

6. I can type 72 words per minute. It’s true. I took test thingy. I’d find it for you, but I’m not in the mood.

7. I wear brown mascara. Plain brown. The color of chocolate.

I hereby tag…My seesters. Because you never get to do these things.

Weekend Update (without Amy Poehler or Seth Meyers).

Tuesday, July 15th, 2008

I spent most of this week watching the two “Z’s” belonging to Sara, while she trained at her handy-dandy new job in the Target photo studio (which she will toally rock at). We had lots o’ fun with the girls, who behaved so well! I actually got more done with them around, because they got along with my kids fabulously, and they stayed out from underfoot. Very cool.

They had lots of fun doing headstands…

…and beating the tar out of Levi…
Can you see him underneath that tangle of ten arms, ten legs, and endless giggles?

On with the weekend!

My weekends are so weird now, what with Levi having Sunday and Monday off instead of Saturday and Sunday. I have been kind of frustrated pretty often at how I usually don’t get a “real” weekend anymore, because it’s so hard for Levi to change his sleep schedule for those two days he has off. He tries, but it usually doesn’t work.

Thus, I have decided that I have to give myself a weekend anyway. Get out of the house, do playdates, go shopping, whatever. This weekend was kind of the first one like that. Saturday morning, Erica and I went to a local resale shop for their $10-a-bag clearance sale. We showed up 15 minutes before the store opened, and the line was about 30 miles long already! Drat.

By the time we reached the front of the line, the bins they had placed outside were pretty much completely pilfered, and we left empty-handed. My kids behaved really well, though, so that was no problem.

After that, we went back to her house to hang out, eat lunch, and keep her hubby awake. (That last part was just the unfortunate side effect of 5 kids under age 5 rampaging about – even though we kept them herded downstairs. Sorry, Steve!) After lunch, we drove to a spray park about 2 minutes from my house, to let the kids splash around.

Turbo dove right in, after a good slathering of sunscreen. He promptly slipped and fell, scratching up his ankle pretty well. After that, his natural caution kicked in a little more, and he decided to join Mister and the Miss in a puddle. A puddle. My kids played in a puddle, when they could have been romping freely through this:

Needless to say, Erica and I were rather amused at this sight:

After a few minutes, though, they did head back into the park, and enjoyed the toys. Cuteness, surprisingly, was far more adventurous than I thought she would be. Sunshine got a kick out of coming within about 3 feet of any given spray, feeling the mist, and run away squealing! It was so cute to see her reaching waaaaay out in front of her, though the tips of her fingers were still a good three feet away from the spouts!

Later that evening, Sara watched our short people so Levi & I could go out on a date. We saw “Get Smart“. And laughed our butts off! It was so much better than we thought it would be! I thought for sure that Steve Carrell’s character would be a bumbling idiot, but he’s not! Plus, there are some very quotable lines. We enjoyed ourselves immensely! Afterwards, we met some friends at an Italian place for dinner, which was amazingly tasty. Why does food make one so very, very happy sometimes?

Sigh. Now, it’s Levi’s “weekend”, and it’s going to be a weird one. He has a class tomorrow, during the day, so he’ll be all befuddled and possibly curmudgeonly, what with the messed-up sleep and all. Oh well…I’m going clothes shopping today, with my wonderful gift card! I probably will not spend it all today, but I’m going to get a start. Yay!

Well, that was my week. How was yours?

I Totally Had a Girl Date Last Night

Wednesday, July 9th, 2008

Yeah. I did. With Erica & Sara. Miss Erica got herself a new job – full-time, from home, virtual assistant TO the regional manager…uhhh…wait. I meant virtual assistant to those 5MinutesforMom chicks. This means that she no longer has to walk out the door the minute her hubby gets home half the week. This means that her hubby no longer has to play Mr. Mom – though I hear he’s very good at it. This means less stress, more fun, and Erica gets to do something that tickles her fancy!


So, Sara & I decided to kidnap her last night and take her out for chocolate fonduuuuuue! Yum. We got to her house, worried ever-so-slightly that she knew…and found out that she did not. Boy! She did NOT!!! Her hubby was so good at hiding it that he even took a nap when he got home from work, gave her no word of warning, nothing.

Thus, she was in a nightgown, waiting for “real” clothes to dry. Her evening had been hectic – not bad, just hectic – and she would have been mad at her honey had she not had a girl date involving chocolate and no kids to look forward too!

Oh! And we got her a present too. We got her a portable bobbin-winder (you’re jealous, I know), because her sewing machine doesn’t like her, and she needs one.

So, we gave her a few minutes to ready herself, and then we were off in my Cherry Red Ford Mustang with the top down, hair billowing in the wind silver mini-van, complete with crumbs and a drink-holder from Wendy’s, but whatever.

We went to the Melting Pot, and had this:

This, ladies & gentlemen, is a Flaming Turtle. Milk chocolate & caramel – set on fire first, then generously dolloped with Pecans. My heart did flips. I actually started drooling while the waiter was doing the flambe thing. Not kidding.

And this is our plate of dippers about two seconds after the waiter set it down. It came complete with marshmallows, pound cake, brownies, strawberries, bananas, rice krispy treats, and cheesecake. Cheeeeesecaaaaake…mmmmmmm.

Time then proceeded to fly. Ridiculously fast, and before we knew it, it was after 10 o’clock. And none of us had to wipe faces other than our own. Bliss.

We forgot to take a picture in the restaurant, so we took one of ourselves on the street corner.

It took awhile to get it right, and I think we all were trying to lick the chocolate off our faces. But, once we finally got it together, and stopped laughing our heads off, we turned out pretty hot, if I do say so myself. And I do.

Thus ends the best girls night out I have ever had since I became a mommy.

My next mission? To get all my girlfriends together to go shopping. Rock. On.

My Amazing, So Good, Very Great Day! ~OR~ How My Girlfriends Blessed My Socks Off!

Friday, June 20th, 2008

I know I have shared my struggles in housecleaning and organizing a few weeks ago, lamenting my combination of overwhelmed quitter’s attitude and dang pride. It was sheer “I-don’t-need-no-charity” pride that kept me from asking for help and accountability. The accountability will come, I’m sure, as my girlfriends ask me about my house.

I’m getting ahead of myself.

The very day I finally broke down and asked for help getting my house in some semblance of order, they pulled out their pocket calendars and scheduled a day to come over and get it done. That day was yesterday.

Up until yesterday, and since January, I have just barely kept up on dishes, laundry, and basic cleanliness. I have been telling myself that I could do those big spring-cleaning, organizing, and de-cluttering jobs little by little. Ha! Not going to happen for a few reasons. The first being that I literally didn’t have a designated place for everything – especially in my office/crafty area. The second, and probably most important – I had given up trying to get it all done. There just didn’t seem to be a point, because it is so hard to finish any task once I begin right now.

Though I have four kids between the ages of 5 and 1, and I need to realize I can’t keep a perfect house, I was also taking that one step further and using that fact as an excuse to give up. God forgive me!

Since I asked my girlfriends for help, I have almost called the whole thing off a few times, because I was ashamed to let them see the mess I call a home. Granted, my house was not dirty, but it was very messy and disorganized. However, the Lord kept convicting me that I needed to stick to it, and learn from the ladies who were going to come over and help me get it together.

So, I did.

In short, I want to show you what we did yesterday. Before they came over, this is what the worst room in my house looked like:
And after they left, it looked like this:
And, that table you can see to the left of both pictures? Here’s what it looks like now:Now, I can scrapbook, sew, and craft without having to clear a path to the table, and without having to shove a bunch of stuff out of the way! And those containers? They hold my fabric, organized by color and type!!! I am so stinkin’ happy with this arrangement! If you’ve been to my house, this probably amazes you.

On top of all this, they did windows, organized toys, vacuumed, cleaned behind my stove & refrigerator, and threw out a bunch o’ trash! All they left for me to do was some detail stuff. We hired babysitters to watch the kids, we had a great lunch together – including some AMAZING desserts! We laughed, we teased each other, we mounted the shelves you see in the picture, and we even prayed together.

The crowning glory of my day was the least expected part. We celebrated two of our birthdays yesterday too. I half-expected my friend, Nichole, to bring a cake, because that’s just how she rolls, yo. And she did. Here’s Lisa and I cutting our cake together….ain’t we cute? Except for the haircut I’m learning to style anyway!

And…here’s the actual cake – yellow cake with chocolate frosting!!! Tastiness!
However, I did not expect or desire a gift – they were cleaning my house, and that was more than plenty! But what did they do? They got me a gift! I opened a card, which they had all signed, and what did I find?

A gift card for JCPenney that I’m only allowed to spend on myself! Nichole told me that they had taken a love-offering for me, used some of it to buy the cool containers you see in the “after” picture above, and the rest was put on the gift card for me. And I cried. I couldn’t help it. There’s enough on that card to buy me a few really cute outfits!!!

I felt so overwhelmed by the love these girls have for me. They were happy to do this for me. It wasn’t too much for them. They had fun doing this for me. When the Bible says that God loves a cheerful giver, I know He was talking about acts of kindness like my girlfriends did yesterday. There was no sense of obligation, no begrudging willingness, no expectation of repayment. It was all open-hearted, joyful, fruit-of-the-Spirit, gift.

For me.

From God.

In short, I have seen the love of Christ at work in a more vivid way than I could ever dream, and nothing can match my thankfulness at the willingness of my friends to be used by God in such a way. And I am humbled – almost to the point of humiliation – that God would do something so great for me. And all the glory is His…without Him, this love between such different women could not exist.

My only wish is that the Lord would allow me to do for others the way others have done for me – to glorify His name.