Body Image or Self Confidence…


As the ever too short summer of Minnesota is winding down, I find myself soaking in the last bits of sunshine at the pool. In my two piece swim suit. Two piece SKIRTED swim suit that acts like my armor from chest to mid thigh. Yep, I am that mom in a SKIRTED swimsuit. But strapless – cant have tan lines! All the lumpy hail damage is covered up, boobs are lifted… but I do leave a little to the imagination – no dear, those are not road maps…those are veins in my legs. I am not one of the perfect bodies of summer showing off their flat stomachs in a bikini. Do I wish I was that body? Sometimes. But then I remember I don’t LOVE working out, I love carbs and I love me some wine. As long as I have moderation with it all – I will remain my curvy self with out letting my curves get out of control. I am the average size for American women. That size is a 14. Yes, I am a 14. My size has TWO digits. I am relatively healthy. I eat crap in moderation. And you know what? I am HAPPY with who I am.

I look around the pool and the water park and see these young girls in skimpy bikinis and flat abs and think “I used to be like that”. But its the young girls in two piece bikinis that are full, curvy and maybe even overweight more than myself. And you know what?? They are walking around with their heads held up and don’t feel self conscious in the least. I admire those girls so much more than the skinny minny ones. Why can’t we all have that self esteem and confidence to rock it and be happy. Why do we have to feel bad if we don’t fit the hard to achieve size 2? My teenage daughter bought a bikini this summer. She is in that size range that is a size too big for girls XL and not quite Junior. So she picks the girls XL I knew it was going to be too small on her and worried what she would look like in it. I went to the dressing room with her all ready to say “See! told you it was too small” But she opened the door beaming “I so rock this!!” – it was too small for her belly and a tankini would have been more flattering – but she had all the confidence in the world and she was so happy. I thought to myself. What IS more important here, what I think and how will she be perceived or that SHE FEELS AWESOME…

Magazines, TV, Hollywood, all show us what we should look like. They show too skinny models showing off the newest fashions in size 0-2. While some people are naturally that thin – that is great. But for a lot of us it is ridiculous. I don’t want my ribs showing. My thighs touch – I like it. I do worry about all this media (as I am sure a lot of us do) with my daughters. Eat healthy and take care of your body- period. Don’t starve yourself. I know I am on the soap box that so many people have been on… and obesity is a problem in our nation. I get that. Do I encourage my kids to eat healthy? Or course. Do we like Doritos? Of course. do we move and get active – yes. Moderation is the key, not deprivation.

We as women need to love ourselves for who we are. If we are happy with how we are – celebrate it!


Chadwicks, NY…

elm street     Aviary Photo_130893887210969590   CHS
I grew up in Chadwicks New York. This week it has been all over the national news with a terrible story of two teens being beaten by their parents and questions surrounding their so called “church”. Their “church” that now occupies my old alma mater – Chadwicks High School.  Funny how a awful news story with the death of a young teen can bring back all sorts of wonderful memories associated with this tiny town in beautiful upstate New York. Reading all the comments and updates on Facebook brings me right back to a resident in that town….I remember when the big news there was they were tearing down the Overhead, or the Rez dried up.
I grew up in a home built in the late 1890’s. It is the same home my father and aunt grew up in. A beautiful old Victorian home that sat on Elm Street cross from the park. We spent many summers on the front wrap around porch, playing outback in our playhouse, sitting under the ginko and pine trees on hot summer days in the shade and living next door to one of the most admired men in our town. That man was Senator James H. Donovan.
Our town was small. We knew everyone. We were proud of our graduating classes that barely made up a class of 30! Our school was also the school my father and grandmother graduated from. Some of us had teachers our parents had. We were a close knit school. Everyone made the team and everyone was a cheerleader – we were small and mighty. The year we moved to Minnesota our school merged with the neighboring town. I still remember my mom and other town members making signs and having a rally to SOS – Save Our School!
Summers everyone enjoyed the Field Days with the rides, beer tent and parade that lined the main street. Us kids would sit in the back of a cheap old Ford pickup my dad bought . He was teased that he was rich because he bought a truck just so his kids could watch the parade in it! That was not the case at all – 🙂
My best friend when I lived there lived across the street from the high school…we would run across the street after school to catch General Hospital before I walked home. We would hide out there on gym days when we had to run the mile. We would walk to the Dairy for half moons. We would beg her sister for rides to the mall. We would eat Grande’s pizza for lunch or walk to the Willowvale diner.
After living in Minnesota since 1984, I still think of Chadwicks as my hometown. So much history and fond memories there. It may have fallen on hard times and made the news for a terrible trajedy,  but anyone who lived there knows the real Chadwicks New York!


Motherhood and Faith…


“I have learned that faith means trusting in advance what will only makes sense in reverse”

This is a quote by Philip Yancey, and when I read it, it really stuck with me and had me thinking. It is one of those “If I knew then what I know now” type thoughts. As young children and even through adolescence our naïve and innocent selves have an idea of how our life will go. “When I grow up…” or “When I have kids…” or “Someday I’m going to…” are the way most of our sentences start. We are worry free and confident that all will go as planned and we trust that. We have an immature faith that hasn’t been tested or grown.

As we grow and mature and learn life’s lessons we are tested in our faith. Our pastor this week said it is ok to have a struggle between faith and doubt. I believe that is a natural thing to experience especially when your life plan doesn’t go as you had it planned in your young mind.

I look back on my journey to becoming a mother and my faith. They parallel one another. As a young girl I knew someday I would be married and have kids. I also went to church every Sunday. We went to confession and made our first communion…all the traditional Catholic practices. When we went to church it was the whole family, no wearing jeans, no standing in the back with our friends…we sat in the first or second row and we were forced to pay attention. Back then I didn’t feel like it was anything more than a mundane routine that was expected of us. I felt as tho the sermon was a boring lecture. As I got older and went off to college I didn’t go to church. I drifted away from any faith, religion or prayer. It was also the time I was 18 and a scared pregnant teen. I chose adoption, but that changed when the birth father changed his mind and fought to have custody. I was hurt angry and saddened my baby wouldn’t have the life I had envisioned and planned for him.

Years would go by and I didn’t give church much thought. Mike and I got married in a hotel by our wonderful neighbor friend who was a pastor. Once we decided we were ready to start a family we thought finding a church might be a good idea. We weren’t sure where tho. We both grew up catholic and we didn’t care so much about a specific religion, but finding a church that felt right to us. We tried a few – nothing felt like home. At this time we were struggling with infertility and receiving the punch to the gut news that I could not conceive. I was convinced God was punishing me for choosing adoption years earlier. I was loosing faith in him. I was angry at God and the world.

As we switched ironically switched our focus on adoption and being blessed with two beautiful daughters, I had the moment. The moment that maybe, just maybe God knew what he was doing. I sat in the yard one summer afternoon with the warmth of the sun on my face when it hit me….God was showing me how beautiful it was to be on the receiving end of adoption. Not punishing me for choosing adoption with my son, but blessing me with the beauty of it all. It really was an amazing feeling. This was also around the time we found a church that felt like home as soon as we walked through the doors. We went every week – loved every sermon – went home after feeling like I had the strength and good vibes to get through another week!

As I was happy and fulfilled in a church that I loved I started to believe more and more that God does know and we need to just trust. This is when I found my birth son. I knew his name because of the circumstances and his father raising him. I believe God knew it was the right time in my life for us to meet. Finding him, meeting him and having our relationship grow in a positive way without resentment or anger was a gift, from God. What I find ironic now is that my son’s father had a strong belief and trust in God back then and continues today. Him and his wife gave Joshua all the things I had wanted for him when I had my adoption plan. wow.

I have learned that doubting is part of a process we go through when we need answers to the hard stuff. We might not get those answers until we have gone through it and can reflect back. I look back on my journey to becoming a mom and feel full of love and amazement. It wasn’t an easy road to journey on, but looking back on it as a whole…it makes sense now. I have learned you need to let go of the control and trust that someone bigger and greater leads your journey. You need to trust in God and your faith.