Friday, October 19, 2012

Saturday, July 31, 2010

Sisterhood of the traveling boutique

Recently I had a little party at my place for my beautiful single gal friends. I had a little suprize for them when they arrived that I affectionately called "Michele's Boutique". This idea was spun from a friend of mine who had lost weight and had clothes to give away that she no longer needed from sizes 4 to 14.

My friend knowing that I was on a weight loss journey myself asked if I would like the clothes she no longer needed to see if I could find some treasures to wear in them. I was excited because I had gotten into a 14 and am working on getting into a 12 and my friend has beautiful taste.

So when we were chatting we remembered my upcoming party and decided that it would be awesome to share these beautiful clothes with all our friends already coming over to the party. So we had a little women's dress up party in my room for them waiting when they arrived.

I was also inspired by my friends gift that I decided to go through my closet as well and added to the larger collection of sizes so that every woman of every size would find something to wear. My housemate also contributed and soon we had a room full of beautiful clothes from sizes 4 to 28.

I invited each women who came to come up to my room and visit "Michele's Boutique". It was amazing and felt a little like we were girls playing dress up finding treasures. There were 9 women who found something to be blessed by and then two bags left over to donate to our church.

It was a bit like the "sisterhood of the traveling pants" in that we all found something new to wear and a little magic in the moment of finding the treasures.

There was one thing though that made me a little sad as I saw the joy of my friends in treasures found. I had played a fly on the wall listening to the women as they looked in my boutique during the night.

It seemed like each of the women no matter what size they were wanted to be smaller, more petite or had some body part they felt made them imperfect or not beautiful. I couldn't believe it when I heard a size 6 friend share how she didn't want this one skirt because she felt her legs were just too chubby in the knees to show them.

"I would kill to be her size" I thought as I stared at her in disbelief. We all tried to convince this friend that she looked great in the skirt but I am not sure if we did. It made me think about what is truely beautiful. I had to ask myself the question... is my beauty defined by my dress size? If it is defined by that then at what size will I feel beautiful?

Women often take a look around and see other woman who are a few sizes smaller and think "I wish I were her size, then I would be beautiful". We all seem to think our size isn't beautiful. Seeing my friend's insecurity I found out that we all can't be right.

That size 6 gal who felt shy about showing her legs because she felt they weren't perfect in her eyes has no idea how beautiful she is in the eyes of the size 14 or 28. It seems that societys model of air brushed magazine cover women just pollutes us all into thinking we can't be beautiful right where we are at.

I have to admit in the end I do see the very petite women and wish I were that "hot" thing but really I have to see what really matters in the end. Jesus isn't going to care what dress size I wore in the end when I get to heaven. My journey of weight loss of now over 240 pounds is admirable for the discipline but God really cares about my heart.

I have to pray that my friends and I can find His eyes to see ourselves in when feeling like we will never be good enough. It's really about realizing that it is truely about who we are as confident servants of a loving God that matters most. It's not about our dress size.

So I would challenge you to have a boutique with your girlfriends and open it up to all sizes. God loves you right where your at. His grace covers us whether we are a size 4 or a size 38 which is what I was at my highest. He knows our hearts beauty is what He will see and value so work on making that part of you beautiful. I think that is what will make us shine.

Song in my head: Free to be me -Francesca Battiselli
Fruit: Love
Verse: Genesis 6:2 the sons of God saw that the daughters of men were beautiful, and they married any of them they chose.

Monday, July 5, 2010


Here is a poem I wrote in High School.

The Son shines upon me now,
I thank Him for my firey heart,
He knows I was always free to soar in the winds above,
Now I can see this as nature surrounds me,
Let's make this world home, decorating it with love we all can own,
A world without a killing spree, a world pollution free,
No more guns and catastrophe,
Love and Chaos... it's all there
Days just waiting to be written in the great white book upstairs,

Published in Impressions 1994

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Choosing to look up!

There are so many friends of mine who are discouraged lately. They have lost so many things. They lost their job, a loved one died, a heart was broken, someones sick or it's just a little summertime blues. I found myself a bit down yesterday when opening some boxes remembering some things.

I recently moved all my worldly goods down from Washington to California where I plan on living forever unless God tells me different. I opened some boxes I hadn't opened in years. They held some treasures of mine that I had forgotten and loved.

They also held some hard memories of trials I faced and loved ones I have lost. I found the necklace my beloved grandma gave me when I was a little girl. It's got an M on if for Michele. I found my Father's Vietnam yearbook and photos of him. I found an old piece of paper my Aunt Paula had written a recipe on for me that she used to make before she died.

It's been many years since my grandma passed and about a year a half since my dad's passing and my aunt Paula's but it's still hard to miss them in the moment when you see a little glimpse of them you hadn't seen in awhile.

I have found you really have to let God heal the losses in His time. It's so easy to try to put a wall around those hurts and bury them. I have found that they are never really buried very far below the surface though. If you dig just a few inches it's still there until you replace it.

I think it's about a choice to choose to feel the pain for a time but let Joy reign supreme in the end. I let myself feel the pain of it but made a choice not to stay there to long. I have to look up and see the beautiful blue sky God gave me today and feel His Sonshine on my face.

He takes care of those little wildflowers that can grow from any old crack in the ground so surely He can take care of me. His grace covers us and showers us with peace if we can just look around and see How very much He loves us and has given us.

He gave us the blue sky, white puffy clouds, flowers, and beautiful day. He also let a little rain fall sometimes. I think it helps me always remember how very much we need Him. I choose to look up and see how very much He has given and see the rainbow of His promises ahead.

I would challenge you to find a little joy in something today. Look around right where your at in the middle of your crisis and find an eye to the middle of your storm. Sometimes it's when you stop and look around that you see your really not in such a tough place after all.

Fruit: Peace
Song in my head: Peets never ending classical song
Verse: 2 Thessalonians 3:3 “But the Lord is faithful, and he will strengthen and protect you...”

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Lost Fish; Reward if found

Have you ever felt like you were just stuck? There's a decision you need to make and a million possibilities to consider and you just can get out of this maze of a fish bowl your in.

I felt like this little lost fish a few days ago. I was swimming as fast as I could around in circles trying in my little glass bowl to make sense of things and not able to go up to the surface for air.

I felt like I just had to figure it all out on my own. I know my decision will impact my future and it scared me. It scared me to think I could make the wrong decision. It scared me so much that I had trouble seeing my way to the surface where I wouldn't be looking through water, trying to read the signs.

I needed to get out of the water for a bit and just breathe some air. I decided I needed to get away from it so I could get some perspective so I went to the gym. After working out I felt a little better but that decision and resolution to it was still there and I was still stuck.

That's when a friend called and asked me for a big favor. It was one that called me to pack within the hour and run off to help her on an overnight road trip. I decided this escape was just what I needed and so I went for it.

I needed the escape to find a bit of perspective and get my head wrapped around all I was considering. I didn't come up with my answer right after my trip but I think it unstuck me to think of someone else instead of swimming in my bowl aimlessly getting more and more lost.

I think it's easy to get lost and feel like you don't have a direction. Today God really showed me as I went to church that I have to reach out and ask for directions. I can't do this alone. I have to have some arrow pointers helping to guide me.

A friend was an arrow pointer to me today when she looked at my tear filled fish bowl I was swimming in and showed me how I could break down the issue and take a breath of fresh air. She made it simple and told me to stop swimming and float.

God made us so we can float in the water if I just let go. Sometimes we have to relax let God have our anxiety and only then can we see clearly. It can happen in a moment, a twinkling of an eye, a soft blink if we let it. It is really a choice.

So I decided to stop swimming and come up the surface. Even though I don't have a completely clear direction quite yet, I know I can see it up here floating.

It's amazing to me how God always takes care of me. I can feel so very lost but He always has a reward out for me. He wants the best for me and loves me even when I'm swimming so fast I take my eyes off of Him and on me.

Jesus loves me and loves you too. So let go and float.

Fruit: Patience
Song in my head: All I need - Bethany Dillon
Verse: Phil 4:13 I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Heart of Worship

When I am at a church service I can sometimes get preoccupied walking in with all those little everyday things running through my head. I'm thinking about the laundry I need to do, the lunch I am going to after service or so many other things.

I can get distracted and feel a bit like its not a worshipful time if I am not careful to stop, close my eyes and look up. I had a friend challenge me to blog about my worship experience when I shared it with her. So in taking on that challenge... here it is.

What I do when I'm in that intimate room we all call our sanctuary (which could really be anyplace) is simple yet helps me focus and close out that world that wants to creep into my worship time.

I close my eyes and imagine I am standing in the middle of this huge open outdoor theatre in the middle of the night. It's pitch dark and there's a million stars above me. I'm completely alone in this huge place and yet suddenly I can hear the sounds of worship music starting all around me.

My worries and my world start fading away and I look up. It's then that I have the courage to raise my hands and surrender knowing it's just me and my God above in this place. We are alone together and there is nothing else to separate us.

I imagine a beam light with love from me coming from my hands surrendered. I feel free and just know that Jesus is up there looking down at me smiling, letting me know He loves me.

Fruit: JOY
Song in my head: Heart of Worship
Verse: Romans 12:12 “Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.”

Thursday, April 29, 2010

The Wedding Ring Scar

My pastor shared a story last weekend about a scar he had that reminded him of an answered prayer and I was inspired to rethink my scar. I decided I needed to love my scar and not be ashamed of it and see it for what it is. Its an outward sign of a inward change still on my finger to remind me of how very far I have come. It's a sign of how powerful God is.

I was divorced 3 years ago and when I took off my wedding ring about 3 1/2 years ago I had a severe wound underneath my ring. Let me tell you how it got there.

When I got married I was hurting from childhood abuse and fear. I was always overweight growing up and was still very heavy at the time my ex husband and I got married.

Because food was my choice for coping with life I gained over 150 pounds during my 10 year marriage while dealing with a husband who had an addiction and who worked as a missionary and for the church during our marriage.

Even though my ex husband was an addict I was willing to fight for our marriage and never ever wanted to give up. My ex-husband decided that he wanted something different than what he had promised on our wedding day. He didn’t want God or me anymore and so our divorce became final 3 years ago this month.

I gained so much weight during the marriage and since my ring had never been sized up it was literally wounding me. I was so determined during the marriage to never ever take my ring off that it had dung into my skin and created a deep scar where the ring had been. When I finally had gotten it off 3 1/2 years ago it had bled and blistered leaving a deep indentation and scar.

It seemed like this scar would never heal as I waited for it to. The first year after my divorce I went to God and repented of my food addiction and lost over 100 pounds and then over the last two years I have lost over 100 more.

Still this whole time the scar from my ring hasn’t disappeared completely. It’s very faded and probably only I know it is there but I kept praying. God take away my scar so I’m not scarred forever as a woman divorced.

Then this last weekend when I heard my pastor sharing of how he was proud of his scar I really felt God whisper to me not to be ashamed of my scar. It’s a huge testimony of the healing He has done in me. He has healed me but left some of my scar for just awhile longer than I had wanted to help me remember how very far I have come.

By His stripes we are healed and I know my scar will go away completely someday or I will get another ring to cover it but I realized I need to think differently of it. I think from now on when I look down I am going to smile and remember how Gods love has healed me and not about the place I came from because that is just history. I want to dance in the freedom I know now. Dance with me and love your scars because they are just a testimony of the power of an awesome God who loves us right where we are at.

Fruit: Peace

Song in my head: History; Matthew West

Verse: Psalm 30:2 O LORD my God, I called to you for help and you healed me.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

How to make a left turn

Have you ever just realized you have grown up a bit and been a little happy inside for that new sprout of life growing from you? I felt like this today.

Have you ever been driving someplace new and had to make a u turn because you were going the wrong way? For me since moving to another state I have had to make a lot of u turns.

There is one place in perticular that I go often and the first time I went there I passed by it and had to make a u turn. For some reason after that first u turn in passing this place I would go to often, I kept repeating it like the uturn was the way I got to this place.

Everytime I would be heading to this place I would think on the way that I need to remember to look for it. Yet again and again I would have to pass by it, see it and realize that yet again I had to make a u turn.

This was the definition of insanity. I was doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result. So today when I didn't have to make the u turn and realized it as I was making the left turn instead I smiled.

God is good and faithful to teach me to stop the insanity and just grow. I can grow in the pot where I am planted. I only need the Son of Gods love in my pot and some rain to soak in my roots.

So every time I find that u turn coming up again I can remember now that its just Gods way of teaching me that I can find His favor in my life if I only reach out to stop, listen and love the pot He has planted me in. When I am content with where I am in my journey I can grow and stop making so many u turns. Focus and make the left turns.

Fruit: JoY
Song in my head: The classical stuff Peets plays while I am writing
Verse: Someplace: This surpassing power is not from us but from God

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Doing the Ipod shuffle

Sounds like the start of a bad joke...

So this sweaty, chubby, confused looking girl walks up to this superfit, gym worker, body builder guy who is hyperventilating over each tight thing walking by and says "can you please help me with my Ipod?".

The gym guy probably thought it was a line and so he must have had some mercy for me when he smiled and said "I can help." I am of course the only one on the planet who has never owned an Ipod before or so I was feeling pretty jazzed to join the ranks of the Ipod savvy.

However when I tried to figure out how to use it I was a bit lost because it was working but then my music started coming out the speakers and my earphones at the same time.

I to humbly go where the unfashionable girls don't typically go and walked up to the counter to ask someone. He took my Ipod and fiddled and played around with it a bit and really I don't know what he did but it started coming in my ears and not out the speakers so I was in business. I still will have ask someone from the Apple store that one.

So after I got it coming in my ears I turned it to shuffle and hit play. It seemed like every song out of my new 31 was exactly what I needed to hear in my work out today. I wondered if God doesn't have control of my Ipods shuffle. He has everything else in His hands so why not my little Ipod.

Music gives me life and inspires me to go for it when I'm scared to dream. I had to ask the question. What is my dream and does God have control of it. Is He in charge of my shuffle? I decided that I have to fill my Ipod with the things that can give Him room to shuffle me in the right direction. I am listening to hear His song.

Fruit: JoY
Song in my head: Only Grace - Matthew West
Verse: Proverbs 4: 7 Wisdom is supreme; therefore get wisdom. Though it cost all you have, get understanding. 8 Esteem her, and she will exalt you; embrace her, and she will honor you.9 She will set a garland of grace on your head and present you with a crown of splendor."