It is that time of year again!

It is that time of year again when I am planning a beach camping vacation and I need to purchase a swim suit. Last year it was a well thought out plan but one I wasn’t looking forward to. I am completely the person that will compare my body with those immediately around me and if they are slimmer then me I automatically cut myself down to the size of a grain of sand. My self worth becomes non-existence because I dump on myself for not being thin as well. (so keeping my fingers crossed for the exploration with body positivity)

I wasn’t planning to buying a swim suit yesterday but I made my way over to the rack anyways and said “why the hell not, maybe I will get lucky”.

Get Lucky

 

And I DID! Maybe it was because my goal going into the dressing room was I will be happy if they just fit, they don’t have to look good, they just have to fit. With goal one in check, I started to check out all the other angles and of course looked to play up the assets and down play the mid-section. Check points on both and I went home with 2 new bathing suits that are very comfortable. I even purchased a panty style bottom which I rarely purchase or wear, I am a skirt bottom kind of girl.

I have to confess the bathing suit I purchased last year looks good but it is like getting into a SPANX. After I wrestle with the top and figure out which way is the front and get the straps situated, I want to fall exhausted on the bed.  I didn’t wear this suit once when I was in the Bahamas this Spring. There is no last minute, “let’s go for a swim” and just toss on your swim suit. It takes time and patience and you need air conditioning blasting on you because look out if you are hot and sweating this suit is not going on easy.

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Off to the beach I go……

 

Younger Self

My oldest son turns 16 years old tomorrow. Milestones, like this one get you thinking about how much time has gone by and of course how quickly times goes by. When Nick was born I fell head over heels in love. Literally! Who knew what joy a little version of yourself, offspring could be. I don’t think my mother loved me like that but who knows. I am glad I loved like that.

Looking through some photos of him as a baby I came across this one.

(no make up, no filters, smiling 🙂 , in love)

Nick Baby

I was a bit sad to see a spark in my eye that I didn’t see in a recent selfie I had taken of myself.

15 years plus a few months later……

(Recent Selfie-no make up Monday, no filters, no smile )

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At first, I felt sad about that missing spark I perceived. Ultimately, I know I am really just being hard on myself. Then, I wondered, what would I tell this younger version of myself today and so I wrote..

You knew the moment you found out you were pregnant what a special love you had and the joy that followed was more than you imagined. While you already knew life wasn’t all rainbows and pink cotton candy. You knew the birth of a child, your child was a new beginning, a new start. An opportunity, to love and experience love, a complete unconditional love. In the moments, right after birth, you knew it wasn’t just about you anymore. Your child first and your were second and that was perfectly okay. Most things you worried about before the birth, were not nearly as important. What a relief that was. A fresh breeze. A state of happiness. Your child’s happiness, well being and upbringing was in the forefront. Your mission was to raise a child that knew he was loved and cared for, no matter what. Something, you didn’t feel you had. Your mission was to raise a child that would have no fear showing affection, crawling into bed with you, never would he be afraid or doubt your love. Your child would have know a loving, kind mother. A mother who’s  eyes brightened when you walked in the room and wouldn’t hesitate to scoop you up in open welcoming arms.

You never knew that a couple years later you would be in the fight of your life. That the shock of such news would shake you to your very core. You didn’t know that your children would be the ones that gave you purpose to rise every morning. You had a mission! Your children needed you.

Shaken to the core you were. You had no idea the long term effects socially, emotionally and physically. But you fought, fought, fought and continue to fight! Fall down seven times, get up eight.

While some of your carefree innocence and spark faded with your fight, your love for your children only grew, your life adventures multiplied, you pushed through fear after fear and you learned to be truly grateful, less self-fish and have compassion and kindness for others. The mission you set for motherhood never faulted, didn’t fail. The gratitude you have for each day with your children  makes your heart overflow. Your relationship with God and faith is solid.

Your spark maybe more cautious and more mature with riding the waves of life but I’m proud of you. Maturity, isn’t all the bad. Don’t ever let anyone take away from you your struggles, your victories, for they know not the shoes you wore. Be grateful for those who shared the road. Continue to be grateful and celebrate all occasions in style.  Continue with your Mom mission you are doing a great job!

 

Hidden Talents….Man, they are hiding really good.

Do you ever wish you could do somethings just a bit better? I understand that none can be really good at everything but just a little better at somethings would be helpful. Are you following me?

Here are some examples….

I wish I was better at make-up application. Okay, I wish I could do it like the pros. Why can’t I get that dewy, I look 10 years younger look?

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I wish I was better at cooking.  I can cook and it taste good but I really don’t like it. Maybe I should rephrase. I wish I enjoyed cooking. I wonder what it is like to actually enjoy the cooking process. How wonderful would it be to get home from work and be excited about cooking a meal? Actually excited about it, instead of dread and hiding from the kitchen.

I wish I could decorate an amazing cupcake. I don’t need to be able to do the whole cake just one little amazing cupcake.

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Fashion. I have in my head what I want to look like I just have no idea how to do it. I mean I really have no idea. Zero, zip, none.

Painting. I envy people that can paint. Not so much draw but dip the brush and go to town on the canvas. People are incredible who have  this talent.

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Sing. I can sing and if I train my voice on a constant basis I can sound pretty good but someone always sound better, has more talent. God I hate those people.

Sewing. Again people that can sew are amazing. Make a quilt or sew a dress and I am in awe. I have made a few things in my day,  curtains and one skirt. I can hem pants, most times.

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Sure  I have talents, well….maybe not, definitely not around the arts. Honestly, what happened? For goodness sakes people put your children in some art classes.

 

Positivity Tag

Hello!!Photo on 2015-08-13 at 3.30 PM #4I am following in Katie’s footsteps today at Plus+Beauty Blog to post about all things positive. I am heading on a 10 day vacation with all my friends so I really should be feeling great and I am. However, I am also feeling a bit anxious that when I get back I will be going back to work and my new position.

Name three things in your life that make you happy and positive.

Family and friends are automatic, I am very grateful for supportive friends and family.  As much as my career can challenge me at times it is a positive in my life. I feel like I am doing what God wants me to when I am working with children. I feel like I make a difference. Music can take you on a journey of emotions. I love music and can’t sit still to a good beat. In fact, if no one wants to dance I will dance by myself. I love to sing and will sometimes spend an hour or more doing karaoke on youtube. I also love making a small space pretty it could be adding fresh flowers or an elegant towel. When I walk by the special touch it makes me smile.

What do you do to try and be more positive?

When I am not feeling positive I try to talk it out with someone. If I am not able to do that I look for inspiring quotes. Sometimes I have to remind myself how far I have come in my physical and emotional recovery as a cancer survivor. The quickest reality check into being more positive is to remind myself how much more challenging people lives are then mine. Then I am just so grateful for everything.

What do you do to relax?

For everyday relaxing I watch TV, hang out with friends, read, write my blog, go outside. If I am having anxiety I need to do activities that are distracting like cleaning the house and organizing closets and drawers or working on a specific project. These distractions help me relax.

What is your favourite positive quote?

There are so many good ones, it is hard to pick just one!

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Everyone has a part of their body that they dislike, say something positive about yours.

This can be challenging at times because when I got cancer I felt like my body failed me and I didn’t trust it anymore. I am still working on that trust relationship. For physical appearance I like my eyes, legs, bust. I recently started seeing my larger bust as an asset.

Who are your positive role models?

Mother Teresa  was selfless.

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I have so much to be positive about grateful for!

Goddess on the Beach….follow up

I did it, I went shopping for the bathing suit. It wasn’t an experience from hell Thank you GOD but here is why; I didn’t try to be something I am not. I knew if I tried on suits that looked great on the hangers and models that they would look awful on me and I would take a hit to my self esteem and body shame myself at great length. So, I decided to go to a plus clothing store because I knew they would have suits that would suit all the parts of my body I don’t like showing off and I got really lucky! I was able to find a suit that plays up my best features breast, buttocks and legs and hides my less desirable feature the belly. I dream of a flat tummy, I always have even as a teen, I just don’t have one nor will I ever.  I tried on the smallest size (yes, I had to  say that)  and I actually came out of the dressing room. Man, I would have pranced through the store if I could have. Look if the guys and gals are not checking out my rack in this suit and their eyes avert to my midsection well how do you say it?  It’s not you, it’s me. I would say it is not me, it’s you! LOL. I know now you are dying to see me in this suit! Well, I hope to get a shot when I am at the beach in our upcoming camping trip for now you will have to look at the model  picture I found.

This top with the skirt bottom and I also have the high waisted bottoms ( purchased previously) as well. The top and skirt bottom was 132.00 CAD

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Summer Reflection Part Two: Pure Loving Self Kindness

IMG_6018Who does it?

What does it?

 When does it happen?

How does it happen?

Where does it happen?

Why at some early point in our life do we begin to feel unworthy?

It is these questions that will begin the discovery to identifying the people and events that have contributed to feelings of unworthiness.

Let’s go a bit deeper here. I have confidence. I am successful. I am a great mother. I am funny. I am strong. I set goals and achieve them but something deep down says I am not worthy. It happens when I don’t even realize it. If you were to ask me if I was worthy I would say “ Your damn right I am.”  I believe this to be true. I am worthy. But my actions more so my internal dialogue doesn’t think so. Your internal dialogue is that voice in your head that tells you all kinds of things about yourself. Sometimes you have the same tape that plays over and over again with the same message. If this internal dialogue was saying “ your awesome”, “ you look fantastic”, “your the best thing since sliced bread” there would be no problem. But most times it tells us all about the things we don’t like about ourselves and it is relentless. If you haven’t heard you internal dialogue just try to stop and listen to what you tell yourself. Here are some examples. This dress makes me look fat. I am fat, I will never be skinny. That person is skinny, They look good. I don’t look good. I am fat. I don’t look good. I am fat and ugly. Now, how do you feel after all that negative self talk?  You feel fat and ugly. You feel like you are not good enough. You feel very badly about yourself. Stopping this internal dialogue can be very challenging. It can be so automatic you don’t even know really know what is it saying,  you just know you feel really bad about yourself.  Awareness of this internal dialogue is the first step to changing the tape.

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If we begin to practice self-kindness we can begin to change how we feel about ourself. Basically, self-kindness is being your own best friend. When your friend is having a difficult time or is feeling down what do you say to your friend to help her feel better and get her back on track? Most likely, you tell her how wonderful she is, comfort her and let her know that you there for her. You show empathy, understanding, compassion, kindness. Now, how do you treat yourself during a challenge? Do you show understanding or tell yourself to get over it already? Do you show self-empathy? Self-compassion? Self-kindness?

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I have an invisible disability.

I am not understanding of myself in regards to this disability. I lack compassion for myself. I am not my own best friend, in fact I wouldn’t treat anyone the way I treat myself  in regards to this disability.  I was asked if I was not worthy of this compassion and understanding. Once again my first thought is “of course I am” but knowing I am and treating myself as if I am is in conflict. My internal dialogue is being mean, really mean, nasty.

So here is my project to practice pure loving self kindness. This really is not easy for someone that tends to be very hard on herself. Being hard on yourself can have its perks in getting things done and accomplishing goals but not so much when you need understanding. Changing your negative internal dialogue is major work. Listening to and identifying the negative thoughts is a good beginning.

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Summer Reflection Part One: Challenges, Strength, Courage

eb3c280249f1f9f208091fc5195639caWe don’t walk this world and live on planet earth with out each of us having a set of challenges and obstacles. I have learned over time that each persons perception of challenge is different and that we are on a continuum of personal growth.  For instance, one college student may feel that not getting a 90% on her final is pretty much the end of her life. While another college student just wants her boyfriend to stop beating her before he ends her life.

Life experiences

perceptions

personal growth

and life lessons. 

We will never understand in this life why one person’s challenges are so much greater than another. And we should never assume that someone’s public appearance is his/her inward reflection. It is timeless but true; never judge a book by its cover.

BUT

Where does the personal strength come from to overcome our challenges and get to the other side a little wiser, having learned something about ourselves?

There was a interesting conversation going on the other day in our staffroom about each person having a spirit animal. I thought it was so ridiculous I didn’t engage in the conversation at all. However, my co-workers where having a hoot researching each other’s spiritual animals.

This week I also happen to be watching Vevo and watched Katy Pery’s ROAR video. I have listened to this song many times before but this time her words reminded me about my personal strength and COURAGE is a word I have used often and people have used often about me to describe how I have taken on some challenges.

You held me down, but I got up (HEY!)
Already brushing off the dust
You hear my voice, you hear that sound
Like thunder gonna shake the ground
You held me down, but I got up (HEY!)
Get ready ’cause I’ve had enough
I see it all, I see it now

[Chorus:]
I got the eye of the tiger, a fighter, dancing through the fire
‘Cause I am a champion and you’re gonna hear me roar
Louder, louder than a lion
‘Cause I am a champion and you’re gonna hear me roar

When I am feeling strong and victorious I feel like a lion. Courage and strength has helped me over come some of my most difficult challenges.

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What is courage and How do you get it?

Courage is moving forward when everything tells you to run the other way.

Courage is picking yourself up again and again and again.

Courage is making a goal and planning the steps to achieve it.

Courage is facing your fears head on even when you are so very scared.

Courage is loving kindness to self at all times.

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What is strength and How do you get it?

Strength is what gives you the power to be courageous.

Strength is knowing and understanding the alternative.

Strength is choosing the best option.

Strength is derived from those who depend on you.

Strength is self created. ( comes from the creator)

Strength rises from the soul, it is choosing and building your foundation on life, love and faith.

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What is courage to you? Where do you get your strength?