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God Doesn’t Do “Un-Pretty”

My very first blog post to Pens & Prayers was in 2017, but the message is just as important today as it was then, especially since I’ve learned new things about myself since then…

My bestie Melissa Lummis is doing amazing work discussing how we see ourselves and how we can achieve wellness too. Although she might not know it, I have been listening. Honestly, for a while I listened and threw the things she was saying right out the window, but gradually some of her words reached a place inside me… for all its simplicity, the most basic thing I needed to learn for wellness was to be kind to myself.

Mentally my body image has always been a big deal, but there are some significant health reasons for me drop pounds and get healthier. Diabetes, heart disease and cancer are all in my family history. And at 45 I’ve already developed some chronic issues. And so I’ve continued to yo-yo most of my life. For a while I jogged regularly but the truth is I despise jogging. Hate it with a passion and it always seemed like I just had to do it as a penance for my sin… the sin of being fat, the sin of being unhealthy. And I’ve done fad diets, jumping on things like Wilder Way with some friends a few years ago, trying low sugar for a while, and even joining the keto bandwagon. Again, all of that seemed like a penalty. And my soul and my body weren’t receiving it well.

Last year I thought of some of what Melissa has been saying… about how deprivation of the things I love and crave is just punishing us and how our bodies won’t respond to that. So, I threw up my hands and gave up all the fads. Instead, I focused on making better choices without restriction of the things I loved. I chose moderation instead of deprivation. If I wanted chocolate, I had chocolate. And on those occasions when I had the urge to binge eat chocolate, I took a breath and focused on why I had that urge. Can anyone say stress-eating? I can! And I still do it sometimes. The important thing for me has been patience and love. I’m not a bad person if I overeat. It doesn’t make me a failure when I have 5 Hershey nuggets instead of just 1. I don’t deserve to be flogged if I miss one of my daily walks. If I need to I can make changes later in the day, choose to take a longer lunch walk, cut back a little on another meal or sometimes just set the thought of those extra chocolates aside and get back to my day. I don’t have to beat myself up.

Over the span of about six months I’ve gradually followed that mantra. As part of that process I determined not to step on the scale. This wasn’t about numbers. This was about finding balance. And honestly, my mind and my body reached a place of contentment and peace. I feel good about where I am right now. And I’m enjoying the fruits of this process too. One kind of weird thing I like is being able to curl my legs up close to my body and hug myself… I couldn’t do that about a year ago!
I’ve learned a lot over the last several months. I learned that everything I need for that contentment and peace is provided for by my Creator. My process has been to be kind to myself and to focus on all of the beautiful blessings in life… my amazing husband… my faithful dogs… my daily bible verses… my writing… soul-satisfying music… my loving friends… all these keep me grounded in one single important thing.
God made me beautiful.

Because goals are important I did set one for myself. And since I’d reached the six-month point, it was time to make a quick assessment. And guess what… I’ve exceeded that goal.

While I’m proud of that its still important for me to remember something…

I was beautiful last year when I was 198 lbs. And I’m beautiful right now when I’m down to 167.

So the moral of this long post is this… love yourself, be kind to yourself, find your peace and contentment… and occasionally give yourself a big ol’ hug too!

Do you not know that you are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in you?

1 Corinthians 3:16 

Pens & Prayers

This is my first blog for “A Pen and A Prayer” and it isn’t the one I originally thought I was meant to write.  But something began to move on my heart and I’m going to run with it.

Last month I placed my Rawley Family Romances Collection into Netgalley, a portal for readers to request and review books.  Now many people say authors shouldn’t read their reviews, especially bad ones.  Still, I’ve often found that I can learn something from a meaningful review, even a negative one.  At the end of my month-long run on Netgalley, I received a review from a reader who didn’t finish the book.

“I got through most of the first story. I liked the characters and the premise and got vested into the story. What set me off was actually the terms the author used to describe heavy people. I didn’t really care for…

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By oliviahardinwriter

When Olivia Hardin started having movie-like dreams in her teens, she had no choice but to begin putting them to paper. Before long, the writing bug had bitten her, and she knew she wanted to be a published author. Several rejections plus a little bit of life later, she was temporarily “cured” of the urge to write. That is, until she met a group of talented and fabulous writers who gave her the direction and encouragement she needed to get lost in the words again. Olivia has attended three different universities over the years and toyed with majors in Computer Technology, English, History and Geology. Then one day she heard the term “road scholar,”' and she knew that was what she wanted to be. Now she “studies” anything and everything just for the joy of learning. She's also an insatiable crafter who only completes about 1 out of 5 projects, a jogger who hates to run, and she’s sometimes accused of being artistic. A native Texas girl, Olivia lives in the beautiful Lone Star state with her husband, Danny, their corgi Bonnie Sue, and their new rescue Heidi Ho.

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