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You Are Enough Part 2. An earnest resolution for today, not just 2017.

My New Years’ Resolution is not so much a resolution by the popular standards of work out more, lose X amount of weight or quit some habit like sugar or smoking. My resolution is to continue to recognize that I am enough. I am enough as I am, not skinnier or leaner, not stronger or more fit, not any different from who I am. I am choosing to love. Love me just as I am, love me like my earnest hubby loves me, love me like my children love me – unconditionally. I am by no means perfect or the smartest person I know, nor am I the thinnest or thickest person I know but those standards no longer matter to me. If I want to feel good in my jeans or tank top, then it is a state of mind and not a number on the scale. I cannot wait to be different than who I am to love me and be happy, I am enough. The best part of this resolution is that anyone can do it, anyone can decide TODAY (not January One every year) to love themselves for who they are.

When I look in the mirror I can focus on my lumps and bumps, my size and features or anything that does not look like what I see in magazines or on the television, I choose no. When I see my chubby cheeks, I see how when I smile my eyes smile too and they cause small wrinkles around my eyes, wrinkles that I will not focus on trying to prevent or change because when I smile, I am happy. Wrinkles around my eyes and the “smile lines” that are popping up around my mouth are proof of my happiness, I do not want to conceal them. My hips, wider than they were when I fit into my little white dress 8 years ago, but they are hips that have carried two amazing little miracles that keep me on my toes and fill my heart with more love than I have ever known, could they be smaller?! Sure, they could but with that reminder every time I look in the mirror I do not feel pressure to change them at all.

I do not want to be hard on myself for my body at all, this body I have is the home of my heart. This heart that loves her family and friends, this heart that loves to love and tries to see the good in everyone and everything. This heart that is cherished by her loving and kind husband who is beyond supportive and caring, who lifts her up when she feels low and loves her more than she knew she could be. This heart that has only recently be able to see herself the way that her husband does and loves him for loving her so much. My body is also hard-working, keeping her home in order, raising her children to the best of her ability every single day and holds the weight of responsibilities that all mamas have. Instead of judging or disliking this body, I want to celebrate it the way it deserves.

Society today tells us women that we must be superwoman. Take care of all things at home, with children and hold full-time careers. We must grow humans inside of us and if we are not whittled back down to “pre-pregnancy” size or weight within a few months then we should diet and work out harder on top of all the other things that we do. And as if that pressure was not enough, we have magazines blaring in our faces which celebrities have lost the baby weight and have not – celebrities that have personal trainers, chefs, nannies and pressures beyond this regular girl could ever know to fit into some unrealistic mold that they are photo shopped into. Well, I REFUSE to tell myself that I need to be “pre” anything in my life. Life happens every day and life changes us constantly, with those changes this mama (AND EVERY WOMAN OUT THERE) deserves just as much love and to feel beautiful at any stage of their life. The things in life that have changed me (inside and out) are proof that I am living, grey hairs because I am aging (a privilege denied to many); extra weight after babies because I have birthed children from my body; a little squidgy around the edges because I have replaced dieting and strenuous work outs with time spent on things like time with my children or with the man I love; I say YES, to all of those. Now, do not get me wrong if one feels happy to work out and diet and change the way they look, then do so and feel wonderful about it because I want all women to find their own happiness; what I want to change for me is feeling not good enough if those changes are not my focus or constantly on the forefront of my mind.

This has not been an easy journey, I was really mean to myself. When I would see pictures or videos of myself I was quick to say to myself, “how fat, how awful.” I would see my chubby smile and sneer at my cheeks and my gap in my front teeth, I would see my calves in my skirt and tell myself that they needed to be thinner. I was hurtful to the one person that should mean the most to me, the one person that makes me the person that I am. I would judge my looks on every other woman I saw and convince myself that was how everyone else saw me too. I would see magazines and judge me. This is what impossible standards had done to my esteem, and it took 32 years before I could realize that I was enough.

My hope is that through sharing my journey, other woman will realize how enough they are too. Just as God made us, perfect in his image. I feel this responsibility even more having my own daughter, I want her to know she is enough. Regardless of size or “hot mom” status, she is enough. One of my favorite quotes, which is true for all is by Roald Dahl: “A person who has good thoughts cannot ever be ugly. You can have a wonky nose and a crooked mouth and a double chin and stick-out teeth, but if you have good thoughts they will shine out of your face like sunbeams and you will always look lovely.” Beauty is not what society has made it, not at all, it truly is a state of mind. Just as J.K. Rowling stated: “Fat is usually the first insult a girl throws at another girl. I mean, is ‘fat’ really the worst thing a human can be? Is fat worse than vindictive, jealous, shallow, vain, boring or cruel? Not to me.” I used to be cruel to myself because of my size, but now I love me for all that I am and on the days that awful girl voice in my head tries to pop back up, I kill it with being kind to myself. Ladies, our looks will only dictate how we feel about ourselves as much as we let them and I am ready for a change. Not a “New Year” change but a right now change. No more waiting to be happy, I am happy as I am. So come on earnest friends, let’s be lovely, let’s get happy!

x. earnest mom.

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Hospitality, an Earnest Art.

The holiday season earnestly makes me nervous when I think of having friends and family to my busy, crazy and sometimes messy home!  Any one else feel this way??

Hospitality can be an art – from matching guest towels to catering meals designed to guests likes and dislikes.  Hospitality, by definition means the friendly and generous reception and entertainment of guests, visitors, or strangers.  Sometimes as a mom I feel like I barely have things together with two kids running about, a crazy darling puppy, a blog and a home business I run with my husband.  When it comes to having guests for a meal, the weekend or family that come far to stay several weeks, I earnestly want them to feel welcome but the task may seem unattainable.

When earnest dad and I were newly married, I remember the very first time we hosted dinner for our friends and I was a nervous wreck.  Was the apartment clean enough, will dinner be ready on time, will there be enough food, what if I make something they hate?  These things ran through my mind over and over the week preceding this dinner.  Naturally on whim, my husband and I looked up some fancy recipe and decided we must make it for them.  I remember the recipe vividly, and I remember that our guests absolutely loved the meal and were thankful for our effort but were happier to spend time and fellowship with us.  That night I realized, I want my guests to feel welcomed and comfortable in my home but I cannot do this effort at a cost to my own sanity (which was tested by THAT recipe).

Eight years, a dog and 2 earnest children later, I still get nervous that I may mess things up when I have company but I have learned to take it easy and go with the flow.  I know that with any effort at all my guests will notice, whether my nerves allow me to go all out and make all homemade meals or do half take out, they feel loved when they walk in my door because I have learned to relax.  When I get frantic, which I must admit I still fall into that old habit, I get flush, bossy and I rush – none of which help set a calm and warm atmosphere.  Sometimes there are still some dishes in the sink, there may be unfolded laundry on the bed or the windows may need some extra cleaning attention but my home is always open to friends and family who want to visit.  We are a mess at times but we are always welcoming.

I find the more I go out of my comfort zone, the more I have people over (planned or unannounced) the more I can let go of the things that I cannot control and enjoy the loving faces that walk through my door.  If you ever find yourself worried that something may not be good enough or anything enough, remember you are enough in all that you can do.  And when you open your home, welcoming people into your family’s life and time it is always special regardless of the menu or softness of sheets.  The more you host, the easier it gets and the easier gets, the more hospitable you become!

x. em.