Choice. That's what life is about. We always have a choice in life - no matter the circumstance (even if we are only left with a choice to forgive). All choices have consequences. Some good - some not. And what we learn from these consequences creates who we are. Return to www.choicesthatchangeyou.com

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Choosing Beauty

Several years ago as I was healing from depression I learned a valuable lesson.

One particular day, I was having a really tough time. I felt ugly and unloved and I wanted to just crawl into a hole and never come out. I didn't want the world to see me. Well, I went into the bathroom and saw myself in the mirror. This was at a time that I was learning how to talk to myself nicely - so I stopped mid-self-deprecating-thought and tried to tell myself how beautiful I was.

Here is the tricky part - I WAS not beautiful at that moment!! So telling myself these things was really hard to do. I was still in my sweat pants, my hair was a mess, yesterday's make-up was smeared under my eyes, my shirt was tight around my unflattering mid-section (it was shortly after having a baby - so it was even worse than normal), and I didn't have much to go on for the 'you are beautiful' comments.

I started to think about all of God's creations. He makes them beautiful. In fact, in the Bible I remember reading that he wanted Adam and Eve to care for all the earth. God wanted them (and us) to care for things on the Earth and BEAUTIFY them. This brings God joy.

It reminded me of a rose bush. Roses are already beautiful, just like God designed. However, if they are left uncared for they can get a little out of hand and the thorny branches start growing in every direction. If the branches are pruned and shaped - then even more beautiful roses grow and the bush reaches a potential that it wasn't able to without the grooming process.

I relate this to us. We are already beautiful. However, if we do not care for ourselves and take a moment to beautify ourselves we will not live up to our truly beautiful potential.

Now I am not saying that we should all go get plastic surgery and wear 2 tons of makeup to try to make us perfect... But what I am trying to say is that IF YOU LOVE SOMETHING - YOU TAKE GOOD CARE OF IT. I love my children so I do not neglect their needs. I love my home so I do not let it take care of itself. I love my husband so I serve him where I can.

So here is what I have discovered about making this promise to myself and I have been suprised at the effect it has had on my life

- It has helped with my self confidence. When I do not feel embarrassed or self conscience, it helps to hold my head up high

- It has helped my feelings of self worth. When I view myself as a beautiful creation of God and by taking care of this gift God has given me, I can't help but love myself more.

- It has helped me with depression! In fact, I noticed that on the days where I am really busy or just don't feel like getting ready for the day (because I occassionally still do that), I have a tendency to feel a little more stressed or hopeless than on the other days. I have found that on these days, it helps to stop what I'm doing and
Go to my room.
Get dressed.
Do my hair. (even if it is just brushed into a nicer pony tail)
Brush my teeth.
Apply makeup or add lipstick.
Put on some good smelling lotion and deodorant.
And I feel like a 'new' lady!!

I did not truly realize the effect this had on my life until a couple of weeks ago while I was at a book retreat with 5 other ladies. It was afternoon and we were about to eat lunch. I had gone upstairs to get ready (basically what I described above) and when I came down all of them said "Wow! Where are you going?" I replied by saying "Sorry, but I didn't do this for you... I did it for myself." I had been having kind of a bummer of a day and couldn't shake my negativity and it wasn't UNTIL I beautified my outsides that I was able to lift my spirits.

I am a firm believer that our physical and spiritual bodies are intricately combined. We must take care of BOTH of them. I am very grateful for this understanding... it has greatly blessed my life.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Choices That Change You

I have decided to title my adoption book 'Choices That Change You' to match my website and blog. As I have been writing it, I have been thinking about the choices we make and what truly changes us in the direction we WANT our life to go.

During my pregnancy and the adoption process I was on a spiritual high. In fact, I think God was literally carrying me during that time in my life. I felt so hopeful about my future. I knew what it felt like to be on the wrong path and I was so determined to choose differently. I was excited to get back to life and make good choices... find my true love... find new friends... get an college education... and do whatever else.

When I went to college I was excited to shed my old reputation and start over. Unfortunately, this wasn't the way it happened. I felt completely lost... I didn't want to fit in with the old crowd... I didn't fit in with the 'goody-goody' kids... I didn't care about the small and trivial things most 18 year olds worry about because I was dealing with something much greater. I didn't feel like anyone could understand me. I found myself drawn to people like me... people who had experienced pain in life but had a desire to do better. Needless to say, most of those people brought me further down and farther away from my goals and dreams.

At this time, I met my husband. He had also placed a child for adoption less than a year before and I felt completely connected to him. We married a short 4 months after meeting. I thought getting married and out of the single, dating, horrible college life was the answer to me living a better life.

For the next 8 years I found myself still struggling with meeting my goals. I went inactive in my church for a few years, I struggled with self worth and depression, and my marriage had some ups and downs. He also struggled with some of the same issues and it eventually ruined the marriage. Two unhappy people do not equal happiness.

After that point, life reached an all-time low. One time as I sat reflecting on the life I wanted to live I wrote a list of things that I wanted to improve in life. The list included things like:
- Pray every day
- Daily Scripture study
- Stop swearing
- Go to Church
- Talk nice to myself
- Pay Tithing
... and the list goes on

I then put the list in my journal and forgot about it for a few years. Then about 3 years ago I found the paper and opened it up. I was SHOCKED to see that I was now easily doing almost everything on the list.

It wasn't one BIG decision to change me into a better person that worked... it was the little choices that I made minute by minute, day by day, month by month, that eventually added up to the GREAT change in my life.

This is why I have decided to name my book 'Choices That Change You'. So often I see birthmothers feel lost after they are trying to get back into life. They have felt the spirit so strong... they have made huge wonderful goals... but then reality kicks in and they don't know how to achieve the life they want. My book will focus on life after placement and the healing journey to happiness.