Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Week 32: Know you’re valuable

Who can find a virtuous woman? For her price is far above rubies. – Proverbs 31:10, KJV

I saw her around the same time almost every day. Each time I hoped to make eye contact, if only for a moment. I wanted to offer her my best smile and my friendliest, “Hi! How are you?” My ears and heart were on high alert, ready to listen for her response. But it never happened. She never lifted her face long enough to be seen, let alone to be acknowledged. It was as if she didn’t want or expect anyone to notice her. I spoke anyway.

It pierces my heart to see a woman walk with her eyes glued to the ground. I was that woman not so very long ago. After years of vehement verbal and emotional battery in an unhealthy relationship, my self-esteem plunged to an all-time low. Even after the relationship ended, my continued pattern of unhealthy relationships was the fruit of my tattered, shameful, guilt-ridden soul.

I walked around with my head hung low. My posture wasn’t intentional. Heck, for a long time I didn’t even notice it. It was the subconscious side effect of a deeply-rooted internal lie that said I wasn’t worthy and that I wasn’t as valuable as those around me. A lie, indeed.

Some time after that season of my life, I hosted a small group women’s bible study. I studied and wrote the lessons myself. The first lesson was entitled Wisdom, Virtue and Rubies – inspired by and based on the biblical scripture above. To prepare the lesson, I dissected the word wisdom and studied the many biblical scriptures that instruct us on the value of wisdom. I studied what it means to be virtuous, a woman of strong moral character. Then I came upon the word “rubies.” The analogy is meant to describe the extreme value of a woman.

The more I studied the more I realized we, as women, often don’t know just how valuable we truly are. That lack of personal value may be displayed through something as simple as our posture or something more notable as unhealthy relationships (including toxic friendships with other women). The more I studied the more delighted I became with the reassurance that God created me, you, us to be valuable. And His intent for us superseded anyone else’s thoughts, feelings or opinions that may fall opposite of His. It even overrides the shame, guilt and brokenness of days gone by.

I still see that woman from time to time. Recently, we shared an elevator ride at the end of a work day. As my co-worker and I chirped away with excitement about the weekend, I barely heard her voice chime in in agreement. Her whisper made my heart leap. I quickly turned to face her, to acknowledge her in that brief conversation. Why? Because I wanted her to feel noticed. Because she’s important. Because she’s valuable.

What about you? Do you know your worth? Do your posture, your countenance, your relationships confirm your value?

P.S. Please share this post with another woman to reminder her how valuable she is.

P.S.S. October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month. Please join me here for posts related to domestic violence/abuse and healthy relationships. Because authenticity plays an important role in healthy relationships.

Until next time,

Be Completely You!

Monday, September 22, 2014

Week 31: Summer Vacation in Colorado

“Vacation all I ever wanted. Vacation, had to get away. Vacation meant to be spent alone.” – Vacation, performed by The Go Gos

I love this 80s tune. However, I disagree on one point. Vacation is certainly NOT meant to be spent alone. Recently, my husband and I returned from vacation in Denver, Colorado. We had a blast. Neither of us had ever visited Denver or the state of Colorado for that matter. I absolutely LOVE going to places I’ve never been before, and it’s even more fun to explore a new city with the one you love.


Ok, ok so I want to share a few highlights from our trip just in case:

A.     You’re from Denver and enjoy seeing others shout out your city.

B.     You’ve never been to Denver and may want to add it to your list of places to visit one day.

Here are my top 9 things we did in Denver, Colorado on summer vacation:

9.     16th Street Mall – Whether it’s or any number of “things to do in Denver” websites, they all list the 16th Street Mall as a place to visit in the city. So visit we did – a couple of times. According to The Mall Blog (which sadly hasn’t been updated since 2012), “The 16th Street Mall in Denver is a pedestrian and transit mall … It is two kilometers long and runs along the 16th street in Denver. It houses more than three hundred chain stores…the Denver pavilions and more than fifty eating joints.” A few of other really cool things about the 16th Street Mall are:

a. The Paramount Cafe: We ate our first meal in Denver on the Paramount Café’s fabulous patio, overlooking the 16th Street Mall. We people-watched over a skillet of nachos

Skillet nachos

Skillet nachos

and listened to a vocalist cover 80’s tunes by Air Supply, complete with piano accompaniment. It was so cool.

b. The FREE mall bus: Yes, I said “free.” Just finished eating at the Paramount Café and need to go a few blocks up to TJ Maxx? No problem. Just make your way to the nearest intersection and hop on the next Free Mall ride to come along. Get off wherever you want and start all over again whenever you need.

c. Street musicians – If the food, shopping and free rides aren’t enough, the 16th Street Mall offers a host of street musicians (maybe not on purpose, but they’re there) – from pianists and vocalists, to horn players and guitar players. There was even a dude playing a ukulele. I think I was so excited I forgot to take pictures. But I did get a picture of this super cool piano – one of at least two I saw while in the mall area.

Now that's one cool upright

Now that’s one cool upright

8. Sports Authority Field at Mile High stadium

Sports Authority Field at Mile High Stadium - home of the Denver Broncos

Sports Authority Field at Mile High Stadium – home of the Denver Broncos

My husband is a big, no I mean a HUGE, fan of the Denver Broncos football team. So, when planning the trip I reserved us a spot on one of the official stadium tours. We saw places like the United Airlines Suite, the club level amenities and the Writing Press room (my personal favorite). We even walked out to the field through one of the stadium tunnels. SWEET!

7. Downtown Aquarium – Did you know the Denver Downtown Aquarium is also home to tigers? Uh, yeah it is. There may have been more than one, but this is the only one we saw. The aquarium was fabulous, but it was kinda weird seeing a tiger in it. photo 1It got even weirder when he (or she, I forget which) started staring at me.

Creepy, right?

Creepy, right?

“Ok baby, time to go,” I said, and we skedaddled pronto. But the tiger was quite striking to behold.

6. Garden of the Gods

One of the trails through the Garden of the Gods park

One of the trails through the Garden of the Gods park

A little "rock climbing..."

A little “rock climbing…”

I have no words to describe the beautiful rock formations in this tourist attraction in Colorado Springs, CO. Click here to learn more about the park, nature and visitors center and to even watch a movie that tells the story of “How Did These Red Rocks Get There.”

5. Outlets at Castle Rock – What’s a vacation without just a little shopping, right?

4. Dressy dinner downtown – No matter the city, the state, the day or the time, there’s just nothing like getting dressed up and having a wonderful dinner out on the town. It seems doing all of the above out on somebody else’s town is somehow just a little more magical. I went all out, makeup (courtesy of a sweet makeup artist at the Nordstrom M.A.C counter) and all. Don’t we look nice?

A night out on the town

A night out on the town

Oh and peep the purse. You can’t see it well, but I snagged this sweet leather cutie on our trip to the outlet, and at a fraction of its original price.  Umm hmm, what’s a vacation without just a little shopping? 🙂

3. Denver Broncos Sunday night football game

Game day! Denver Broncos vs. Indianapolis Colts

Game day! Denver Broncos vs. Indianapolis Colts

Like I said, my husband is a huge Denver Broncos fan. Attending their season opener was icing on the cake, for sure. We arrived almost 6 hours before game time. I thought I’d be stir crazy by kickoff, but time flew by and I had a great time. Seeing my husband surrounded by fellow fans of his favorite football team and stomping my feet in the stands alongside him, making that “rocky mountain thunder” sound they’re so proud of – well that was just priceless.

2. NBC Sunday Night Football bus – Prior to the game we toured the NBC Sunday Night Football bus.

NBC Sunday Night Football bus

NBC Sunday Night Football bus

NBC is the television home to Sunday night football games. The bus travels from coast to coast making stops at stadiums hosting Sunday night football games. The Broncos vs. Colts game was the first stop of the season. Yay us! And yes, this is a picture of the official 2015 Super Bowl trophy. Cool, huh?

2015 Vince Lombardi Super Bowl trophy

2015 Vince Lombardi Super Bowl trophy

1. Spend time away from the rat race, together – Like I said in the beginning, vacation is certainly not meant to be spent alone. At least not for me. The absolute best part of our vacation was spending time together – away from work schedules, meeting schedules, class schedules, school books, volunteer hours, errands, house cleaning, meal making, schedule coordinating, etc. No friends, no family, no schedules, no stress – just the two of us navigating the unfamiliar territory of Denver, Colorado, some 1,400 miles away from home base.

2014 summer vacation

2014 summer vacation

We had a wonderful time in the mile high city, and I’m already looking forward to our next adventure. I hope you had a great summer as well.

Did you take a summer vacation this year? If so, where did you go? Share in the comments. Who knows you may just help me find my summer vacation destination for next year.

Until next time….

Be completely you!

Monday, August 18, 2014

Week 28: How’s it going?

Hello there lovelies,

It’s mid-August. Children across the country are returning to school or have returned already. Summer’s swan song is just a few days over a month away, and we are on the down hill side of another year.

With this writing, I’ve published 28 posts in the 52 Weeks to Be Completely You series, this year. Besides being a little behind schedule, I feel pretty good about the series. My goal with this series is to encourage and inspire you and me to embrace the beautiful complexity of being our unique selves with confidence. A cake walk for some, muscle building exercise for others.

At the end of the day, embracing your true self is a rewarding process, because after all, no one can do a better job at being you than you can. And you certainly won’t do nearly as great a job at being someone other than just yourself.

So, this week I’d love to hear from you.

What do you think about the series thus far?

Have you read anything helpful?

What’s been your favorite post(s)?

Which post could you most/least identify with?

Is there a topic you’d like to read about that I haven’t addressed? Or one you’d like to discuss some more?

What does being completely you mean in your life?

So far, this has been quite a fun journey for me, and I’m so glad you’ve been here to share it with me. Whether I’m sharing tips and lessons learned or just sharing a bit about myself, I’m loving every minute of it.

See you next week.