Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Okay with Me

My mom used to say “you’re going out of the house like that?!”, “where is your lipstick?”. She is old school Italian and I love her with all my heart but we are different, a lot different. She always puts on lipstick before stepping out of the house, out of the car, out of the booth at the restaurant. It’s one of those quirky, beautiful things that makes my mom who she is and stand out. However I can leave the house with my hair in a bun, with sweats on and barely any make-up and feel fine but that was not always the case.

From as long as I can remember I used to always ask for approval “do I look okay?”, “do you like my haircut”, “what do you think about this idea?"I always needed validation whether it be advice on what I was wearing or if I had what it took to write a book. I needed to have feedback to feel that I could do things. However, if the response was not what I was looking for than my heart would sink as the fire within me fizzled.  I was insecure and afraid to just be me. If I asked someone how I looked and they said the dreaded words “Oh you look fine”, I would cringe as I ran to my room to change. Fine? The definition of scrapping by and being so-so I used to hate that word with a passion. If I told someone about my dreams and they didn’t line up with their ideas than I felt that they were just not good enough or unachievable.

But then one day I went to the supermarket with my mom sans makeup, we parted ways to get different items and this young gentlemen approached my mom. He told her that I was a gorgeous girl and if he was taller that he would ask me out (I’m 5’10). My proud mom raved about me and how I was her daughter and then went on to tell me about her encounter. I will never forget that day because I seriously did not do a thing to look pretty. I had my hair up and no makeup on yet he thought I was pretty. It came as a surprise to me as I never really thought I could quite possibly be cute just as I am. Unfortunately it took a butcher at the store for me to realize that I was putting too much time wondering what other people thought of me and needed to just be me. Then as I started writing my fears, struggles, and what I really felt about faith and life I started sending my posts to my closest friends. As days would pass one of them would bring up my little post and tell me how much it meant to them and how it helped them when they were having a bad day. One friend even told me that she made a folder with my name on it where she kept all my posts when she needed inspiration. What?? My writing could really mean that much to someone? That was mind bottling to me and I felt so incredibly humbled because I was just being me.

I finally found that being my own person can bring the most blessing and is the most pleasing to the Lord. I decided to conciously stop seeking out others definition of beauty or what I should be and found confidence in the way God made me. Not everyone will think I’m pretty or like my latest hair style-and that is okay. Not everyone will like my posts or agree with me-that is okay too. As I was writing this post I felt completely full of myself for telling the story about the butcher and how he thought I was pretty however I realized I was again worrying about approval. We are made to embrace who we are, our quirky things, our tedious things, our silly things. I truly think that as long as our intentions are pure, lovely and true we can’t go wrong no matter what we look like or what dreams we want to pursue.

Blogging has exposed a lot of my insecurities all over again, until I met other girls who are embracing who they are without seeking the approval of others. They put themselves out there and are so real that it is refreshing, it’s beautiful to see other woman that can be funny, vulnerable, unpredictable, and open their lives up with transparency. It inspires me and reminds me it’s great to just be who we are.

Friday, October 26, 2012


I used to think they had to be long to be real

I used to think they had to be articulate to be understood

I used to think that I had to get on bended knee to be sincere

I used to think that I had to know the scriptures to hear him speak

I used to think that I would have to be sorry over and over again to be forgiven

But then  

I learned they could be short to be real

I learned they could be messy to be understood

I learned that I could pray wherever, whenever and he knows my heart

I learned that all I needed was to be still to hear his voice

I learned that he removed my sin as far as the east is from the west and I am forgiven

Today I am thankful that God can see the intention of my heart. He doesn’t need me to elaborate to understand the pain, the confusion, the disappointment. Even in my joys he knows my spirit is soaring. I’m thankful for the simple prayers and that he knows the depth of me. Even when I clutch my hands together and close my eyes yet the burden is too heavy and I’m exhausted of words he is still with me.

Prayer is taking on a new meaning for me and so different than the complexity I once made of it. It’s becoming sweeter, deeper, and stronger as I find its more about the condition of my heart than fancy words, memorized scripture verses, and elaborate apologies.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Celebrities that won't change their flaws

That was the headline that popped up when I was logging into my computer the other day. An article praising and bringing attention to those celebrities that embrace their imperfections. In a day and age of wanting to achieve perfection and being the next best thing it was kind of nice to see the headline but also kind of sad that we have to point out the few people who embrace who they are. I have a lot of these so called “flaws” or at least I used to think so. I’m half Italian so I have one of those Roman Italian noses, my brother sometimes uses it as a ski slope with his finger making fun of the mogul in the middle of my face. I have untamable hair, it naturally curls up into a coiled mess when I go all natural. I have a little jiggle around my waist that won’t seem to go away, I could blame my son but he is now seven. Day after day I would obsess about my flaws looking in the mirror unsatisfied, not that I thought I was ugly but I just felt so discontent with certain attributes that God had given me.

I started to wonder if it was even possible to be content with my flaws and what that would look like. Then I started to think about other woman and what I find beautiful in them. That is when I looked to my closest friends and the woman that I don’t know personally but admire. I don’t know if its coincidence or just the mere fact that God knows what he is doing but the thing I find most beautiful about other woman is their uniqueness. What sets them apart from the rest, they all have their little flaws or imperfections (because we all do) but it’s the whole package that makes the person shine. Time and time again the heart of the person outshines the appearance of the person.

Beauty is a twisted, complicated, draining, wonderful thing. Flaws are a twisted, complicated, draining wonderful thing. Beauty can bring out the best and worse in us but so can our flaws. Over the years as I have tried to be content with the woman God made me to be and what  I have found is that the imperfections make me beautiful because they are humbling. The mirror is  more than a reflection of our insecurities instead it can be a window to see that even though we may not always like what we see there is more to us than meets the eye. Over time I embraced my Roman Italian nose because its different, I began to love my hair because I had more options…curly or straight.  I even started to like the little jiggle around my waaaiss……okay not quite there yet.

I want to say I may not know you but I know that YOU ARE BEAUTIFUL. Look in the mirror and see past what you want to change and look at the full picture. The person you are, the things that make you stand out from the rest (we all have something), and find yourself humbly content that you are loved by a Savior who created you with YOU in mind.


Friday, October 19, 2012


Some people call it naïve to think the best of people, to want to pursue dreams. Some people call it unrealistic to actually believe people can change and that people become better. Naïve-the definition of inexperienced and immature, and that was me.  I was always hoping for the best and waiting for the good to come around the corner. I chose to see the best in people and believed they would always follow-through with the things they would say. I was always dreaming up all the things I would be when I grew up, thinking I could be super woman. That naïve little girl in me lived in what some call the lollipop land of rainbows and butterflies.

Then as time went on  little naïve me became “experienced” and “mature”.  Reality set in as I was met with disappointment time and time again only to become disenchanted. Bitterness sprouted its mean little head when I realized that a lot of people don’t change or keep their word. Chasing dreams was defeated with exhaustion because nothing ever seemed to come into fruition. Over time I found that I instantly judged, expected the worse in people and assumed no one would dare commit to anything more than two hours in advance (that would be a crime!).  As you can see my matured self needed a little attitude adjustment.

I think I like the land of rainbows and lollipops better, I think we all need that side of us to get through the tough days. I think seeing through the eyes of our youth can shed a lot of light on the condition of our heart. As time goes on we get worn down by hurts, failures, and brokenness but when we hope for the best even when it seems unrealistic and pray for good to come around the corner something comes alive inside. I need to peel of the layers of sludge that has blurred my vision to the good, lovely and true in people. It’s still there because God is alive and we are each are his and that gives me hope. We can still become all we ever hoped for it just may look a little different than we planned-it may even be better!—sound Naïve? I hope so.

Friday, October 12, 2012


Yesterday I forgot my purse, yes my purse. The masterpiece of woman, the bottomless pit of stuff, the crammed nook and crannies that lead to the abyss of things we HAVE to carry with us everywhere, and the things we don't really need yet find comfort in hauling around with us. So basically I began the day armed with nothing but a set of car keys and the clothes on my back. Naked much? I felt stripped of my very LIFE. No license, no money, no lipstick, no phone…..oh the dilemma.  How did I leave the extension of myself behind you ask? Unfortunately that is the typical life of running late ruby (that’s me) my blood pressure through the roof, time ticking by, a million thoughts of what is on my to do lists swirling through my mind as I forget the things I need (like my purse) and rush off to work.

As I was beating myself for forgetting my purse, I realized I must have hit rock BOTTOM. My life was becoming this glob of days and things to do. I was becoming a steam roller on the path to destroying the much needed peace that is way more important than my bottomless pit of “stuff”. It was then I reminded myself in the chaos that I need to pause. I need to breath in deeply and look heavenly. Doesn’t that sound lovely? Heavenly- that word exudes peace of body, mind and spirit. If I don’t pause to listen for the small still voice of discernment than how do I know I’m steam rolling towards the right things? What if God has a new direction he wants me to take but I’m too busy frantically checking off my list to notice that he is not even on the page.

Forgetting the “extension” of myself was good for me because I felt vulnerable for a change. I felt that a disconnect from the world somehow- (and reckless without having my ID), but it was then that the shackles of life fell off my soul and I could breathe again. I paused and let his presence fill up my lungs bringing me a rejuvenated spirit. I let go of the chaos, the responsibility and let God be in control for a change and it was nice. We all need to slow down sometimes, especially when we are running around like crazies to let the steam roller pass by and embrace the peace that our Savior brings when we take a sweet moment to pause.

Friday, October 5, 2012

Guilt Ridden or God Driven?

I have found the absolute number one thing that keeps me from God is guilt, which is also goes hand in hand with shame. If I know that what I’m doing is not pleasing to God I shut him out of that part of my life. I dismiss the spirit that stirs within me that is trying to get me to hold my tongue, take a different path, or just plain walk away from  temptation. Even as a thirty year old I become like a child pretending he won’t see or know what I do. But unlike a parent God knows even before I speak, make a move and delve into my flesh.  I can’t tell you how many times I have asked God to open a door to escape certain temptations and every single time he did. Except I wasn’t a willing participant, I didn’t do my part and honor what he wanted.  Then the aftermath of my self-absorbed ways slowly  brewed up thoughts of guilt and I slowly began to tip-toe away hoping that I could escape his disappointment. I hate letting God down, especially when it’s the same sin that repeats itself.

The guilt ridden life is a life that shrinks back and hides because we believe that God only wants the part of us that gets it right. In the moments of failure (sometimes epic moments of failure) we don’t believe we have what it takes to be worthy of his love or to be a witness to others.  Sometimes we even try to go “above and beyond” scrambling for his love trying to prove we are really “good” and that we really do have good intentions.  A majority of the time for me I stopped praying, getting in the word and having a relationship with God  due to feeling ashamed.

I began to realize that I was repeating unhealthy cycles because I kept tip-toeing away from my sins instead of working through them with God. I was so tired of hiding out during my bad seasons and then returning to my relationship with God when I felt good enough. After years of living a guilt-ridden life I started to realize that part of being a believer is wrestling with our hearts instead of slinking away when we get it wrong. I always knew that God knows everything about me but I never could grasp that a God so perfect could relate to my struggles and wants to see me overcome them. The most important lesson I’ve learned is that we are only as close to God as we let ourselves be. God is always there, his love for us is not dependent on the good side of us or the bad side of us. Its dependent on a relationship with us and our willingness to wrestle the through the hard stuff with him.

I think of my own son and I know that if he was experiencing shame or guilt over his mistakes I would not want him to hide out or be afraid to talk to me. I would want him to come to me and tell me everything and know I still loved him. I would want him to know that he is courageous for sharing his struggles with me and that I will do whatever I can to help. If I love my son that much, how much more does our father in heaven love us? The Guilt Ridden life puts up boundaries in our hearts that say “you are not good enough”, “you need to feel bad for a little while longer”, “you can’t reach others because your own life is a mess”. The God Driven Life takes down the boundaries in your heart and whispers “You are forgiven”, “I am with you” ,“I know everything about you and still love you”, “I have good for you” ,“come as you are”.

When we start to live a God driven life it helps us to overcome what we never thought we could because we are seeking God in our weakness. We become braver, stronger, and realize that guilt is a scheme used to keep us from the power of God’s love that is truly unfathomable yet always available to those who seek it.