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in pursuit of real beauty

Thursday, September 02, 2010


p.s. After watching "evolution"...I invite you to watch the short video called "onslaught". It's pretty much right in your face with the messages our young girls are getting about what it means to be a "woman." Let's teach them differently!

Check out:


I came across the link for "Dove's campaign for real beauty." I invite you to take the time to check out the link above. (It is truly eye opening about the messages we receive about womanhood) The videos sparked an avalanche of emotions and feelings...kind've like my own "revolt" against the beauty industry's targeted messages.

So, here's my soapbox sermon. ha!

Ladies, let's not forget that real beauty resides and finds its expression from the heart...

Think about those you consider "beautiful persons".....Are they necessarily "beautiful" by the world's standards on the outside? On close inspection, I think we can all agree that outward physical beauty does not necessarily directly equate with "real beauty."

For instance, We may each be able to recall someone we've met who possessed "cover girl beauty", that also possessed "real beauty".....and yet, I'm sure each of us can also recall women we've met who looked like they could have walked straight off the cover of a magazine, and yet, in their presence we felt nothing of beauty... emanating from their "essence" or "spirit" may have been glaring and unsightly qualities (for example - arrogance, selfishness, impatience, rudeness, etc.)

So, obviously being "cover girl" beautiful isn't the essence of real beauty.

On the other hand, I've met some women who by the world's standard/bias were not outwardly "beautiful"....maybe they didn't have the picture perfect smile, body size, clothing selection, or skin quality ...and yet, because of their genuine, loving, generous, spirit which brought out the best in others, and also demonstrated their own positive self regard ...I would find myself inwardly reflecting thoughts like - "Wow, I am in the presence of a truly beautiful person."

It's something about how they made you feel in their presence -- a sense of warm acceptance, and a feeling of being acknowledged and celebrated......something about their passion and enthusiasm for living and loving, just to name a few examples.

Ladies, let's take care of our bodies in honoring, sensible ways, and yes, it's great to reach for our potential...but let's never forget the most important part of ourselves we need to at least equally care for and watch over is -- our hearts!

I like to think of our hearts as a garden. Each of us has the potential to create something truly beautiful there....but our hearts need frequent tender nurture in order for them to yield theirsweet fragrance and beauty. We need to continually pluck out those inner attitudes (anger, jealously, bitterness, unforgivenes, insecurities, complaining, etc) that are like weeds that leave dark blots on the landscape of our hearts. We need hearts that are continually sprouting the flowers of peace, joy, and love; mental horizons filled with the sunshine of a positive attitudes and a "can do" spirit; we need inner heart motivations that reveal caring spirits, where in our presence others can relax, and feel the gentle, balmy breezes of acceptance and unconditional love.

Let's remember that our worth is not comprised and quantified by our outward 'packaging", i.e. our bodily "shell." Sure, others may succumb to the temptation to mentally "size us up" by our outward appearance, but "first impressions" do not encapsulate the real essence of who we ARE.

The treasure of discovering the real us is unlocked only by those who truly love, and have eyes that choose to see beyond the thin veil of outward "packaging', to look beyond "skin deep" in order to plumb the deep, shimmering treasures of the human heart.

Let's stage an inward revolt against the messages of the beauty and entertainment industry which culturally pressures women to conform to a narrow definition of external, consumerized "beauty", which largely promotes women as "objects" of arousal, and "eye candy".....We are SO MUCH MORE than that!

Let us never forget that the beauty industry advertiser's job is to market discontent....their success in sales is directly tied to the consumer's feeling that who and what they are now is inadequate and lacking. Their advertising ploys foster discontent and insecurity with ourselves...all with the underlying scheme that we will fall for the the trap of believing that there is "beauty for sale". They want us to buy the next dose of "hope in a bottle" (the next supposed youth inducing elixir) in order to feel good about ourselves.

Beauty is not found in an anti-aging serum, or in finding that right makeup, or perfect oufit, or in buying a sleek, new car.
No, beauty comes the hard developing our inner character, and expressing the real beauty of a loving heart!

Don't get me wrong. I care about my body, but I'm striving to do this in a balanced way.
I'm all for health and fitness and doing the very best with what I've got - but my personal goal is to keep things in balance by remembering that this outward body is destined to eventually fade away, but it is my spirit which is eternal.

Our outward bodies are simply the vehicles for carrying around the real "you" and "me" -- the inside part of us that can only be truly known by getting to know our hearts -- that part of us which can only be known by interacting and listening to eachother's thoughts, feelings, attitudes....and often can be observed in our actions - these are the things that make up "you" and "me". This is where we mine for treasure. This is where the persons true riches and beauty are found.

So, I raise my voice like a trumpet clarion call --Ladies, let's take care of our bodies, and do the best with what we've got....but let's ultimately rise up and celebrate our true beauty! It's all about the HEART!!!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

VISUALLYRICS 9/12/2011 9:40PM

    emoticonBlog I couldn't agree more with you.

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DGLRY05 1/21/2011 9:35AM

    Amen! "...for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the LORD looketh on the heart." 1 Samuel 16:7

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TKYETTER2 1/5/2011 1:08PM

    How's it go...Beauty is fleeting, but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised. I agree with you. I have met a lot of incredably gorgeous people, but I couldn't stand to be around them due to the ugliness of their heart. I have also been around some VERY beautiful girls who by the worlds standards wouldnt be considered so. But we have to rememer, this world is but temperary and so are these bodies. It is our relationship with Jesus Christ that makes the difference. People who don't have God just don't get it. And it is sad that so many so called christians let all of them go.They need God. If we are truly beautiful then we ought to be trying to be diciples like Jesus called us to be. We should be trying to use what God has gifted us with to help others to come into a right relationship with Him.
Beauty is only skin deep and it can be lost. Character is what matters.
Thank you for this great blog :)

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ANIHAKA 1/5/2011 4:44AM

    What a great blog. I agree with you to work on all parts of ourselves but that real beauty comes from the inside out.

xx emoticon

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RENVNTME 1/1/2011 8:41AM

  Thanks so much for such amazing insight! You're incredibly inspiring!

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LADYROSE 9/13/2010 1:00PM


Thanks for the reminder and for being the awesome, beautiful YOU!

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URBANMOMMY 9/8/2010 10:36AM

    I'm all over it!! Spreading the word in my own little world, too. :)

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LUNADRAGON 9/7/2010 8:51PM

    Excellent! It is so true.

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_RAMONA 9/3/2010 2:44PM

    Sue, this was a GREAT blog! AMEN! YOu are still among my favourite heroes!

May today and every day bring to you a ridiculous abundance of whatever you need. May all your concerns, struggles, anxieties and fears fall like ashes as you rise on eagle's wings, SOARING above all that would hinder you along this tremendous adventure of being and becoming all you are created to be. May the grace of God simply "overtake" you moment by moment. May the joy and victory of the risen Lord be yours in a very personal way... may you always be overwhelmed by the grace of God, rather than by the cares of life!

{{{{{{{{{ HUGS }}}}}}}}}

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Go figure?!! Less sometimes IS more!!!

Sunday, May 23, 2010

I am almost laughing...... I have literally been on a medically enforced "fast" from any exercise , for the past 6 weeks ( had hernia repair - hematoma - infection - dressing changes...etc. etc... still healing......)

The funny thing is, prior to my recent hernia repair -- for months and months on end, I had been STRIVING to lose body fat with only slight results. Surprisingly, in the 6 weeks of non exercise, I have dropped body fat down to my goal 22% and body weight down to my goal 131, while still holding onto my muscle!

I think God at times, must chuckle affectionately from heaven as He looks upon my life - ...all of my human striving had produced SSSSSSSSSSSLLLLLLLLLLLOOOOOOOOOOOWWWWWWWWW results.
Now in six weeks of non exercise, I'm right where I was shooting to be.
(Not that I'm recommending this approach of "non exercise" for anyone - it just happens to be all part of a "lesson" I believe I am supposed to learn at this juncture in my life, while I am on a medically enforced fast from exercise.)

One thing I have learned in this"time off" from exercise, is that I can rest more in God, and not DRIVE myself so hard.... I have learned to listen to my body (in terms of when I'm hungry, when I'm full - simply listening to my body, and follow my hunger/satiety heavy, obsessive, and phobic calorie counting.... I have experienced a strange "ease" in my eating approach that I can only attribute as a gift from God to show me a new way.

It's almost as if I can hear my body sighing one big "aaaaaaaaahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh".
Upon reflection, i realize that for years and years I have essentially been "driving" this body, like those cattle drives....whipping it, keeping it going, don't stop, keep striving, keep going - push, push, push.... It was the marathon, the second marathon that was sidelined by injury (always pushing my body to deliver MORE). Then the cancer diagnosis. That was my first medically forced "fast" from exercise. I learned alot about myself then. How much I rely on my outward packaging for self-worth. How life is so NOT about that, but is about LOVE and our ESSENCE that we carry around in the "shell" we call our bodies. (see earlier blogs for more detail). Don't get me wrong, I do not throw out the baby with the bathwater....but now it's not so much about an "ideal look" as it is simply about HEALTH.

Even with my cancer diagnosis, within 6 weeks of my final reconstructive surgery for double mastectomy, I was back at the weights, continually pushing for more and more......I have been driving this body ever since overcoming cancer - within six months of double mastectomy - training for the 1/2 marathon, completeing that and then moving onto to asking my body for MORE and MORE in the vigorous weight training.

I think God has used this hernia "problem" to actually give me some "breathing space" to actually evaluate again my balance of exercise intensity, my priorities, and my overall life.

I have been "forced" once more to look at my life, and see that I have been on that feverish treadmill again.......push, push, push.

Yes, I want to remain fit, but I think when I am medically cleared to go back to fitness, I am going to think "less is more". Sometimes streamlining, giving the body more rest, catapults it to new levels. Treating my body with some gentleness and sanity.

I'm going to be "kind" to my body......give it movement, healthy, invigorating exercise, feed it right, but also love it tenderly, and give it room to breathe, to rest, to recover.

I also want to turn my fitness endeavors really into a can I use what I have learned and am learning to help others with developing a healthy body image, becoming their own best cheerleader, incorporating a healthy lifestyle that is maintainable and balanced with their total life.

I have two more weeks of non exercise by medical order....I pray to God that He continues to teach me what I need to learn on this "time off", and that I can come back to my fitness lifestyle with more wisdom, balance, and holistic nurture.


  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

REDHEADMOM2U 1/1/2011 10:54AM

    good lessons to learn and share! Balance always seems to win out, doesn't it?

WTG on reaching your fitness goal btw!

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TIME2BLOOM4ME 1/1/2011 6:07AM


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SHAKENBAKE 6/8/2010 12:16AM

    Thanks for sharing your story. Glad to hear you have such an awesome attitude. YOU are a very strong girl and I know that God is using you. You have already motivated and inspired me. Keep up the good work and pray God's will for your life.

Big hugs, Wanda

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DREMARGRL 5/27/2010 7:27AM

    Ahhhhhh haaaaa!!! This is exactly how I have felt before and pushed my body to the limit when I was younger. 'm so happy that you have traveled the road and taken a positive attitude about it!!!! Amazing....that's YOU! After years of working out hard, I found that balance is the ultimate key. Working out about 45 minutes to an hr. 4 or 5 days a week is enough for me, but what is right for you? Your body will TELL YOU! My rule is, if it hurts, don't do it! I don't sweat much anymore, but work hard in the 45 minutes I allow myself. By using better form and using the equipment I have here at home, I have relaxed and am maintaining a certain level of good health and fitness. You are so strong and with God in your life, I'm sure that you are teaching and that the people who know you are better for it! Keep on growing and learning....Blessings to you! Always,,,,,,, Mary Ann

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LUNADRAGON 5/26/2010 1:04AM

    Reminds me of my favorite verse that I have to relearn over and over again when my back acts up. "Be still and know that I am God." Psalm 139:10

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VENISEW1 5/23/2010 5:52PM

    emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

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KBCBRETIRE 5/23/2010 5:46PM

  Amazing story with such a wonderful happy ending. Happy to know you're healing well and on the road to being healthy again. sometimes I think we are so focused on being fit we do border on being unkind to our bodies. More is not always better.

Good luck on your new goals.

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Really LIVE today, cherish THIS moment.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

I saw this on Gucci-Momma's page. It is so good, and I didn't want to forget it, that I wanted to post here as well


THE Robert J. Hastings

TUCKED AWAY in our subconscious minds in an idyllic vision in which we see ourselves on a long journey that spans an entire continent. We're travelling by train and, from the windows, we drink in the passing scenes of cars on nearby highways, of children waving at crossings, of cattle grazing in distant pastures, of smoke pouring from power plants, of row upon row upon row of cotton and corn and wheat, of flatlands and valleys, of city skylines and village halls.

But uppermost in our conscious minds is our final destination...for at a certain hour and on a given day, our train will finally pull into the Station with bells ringing, flags waving, and bands playing. And once that day comes, so many wonderful dreams will come true. So restlessly, we pace the aisles and count the miles, peering ahead, waiting waiting, waiting for the Station.

"Yes, when we reach the Station, that will be it!: we promise ourselves. "When we're that promotion...put the last kid through that 450SL Mercedes Benz...have a nest egg for retirement!"

From that day on we will all live happily ever after.

Sooner or later, however, we must realize there is no Station in this life, no one earthly place to arrive at once and for all. The journey is the joy. The Station is an constantly outdistances us. Yesterday's a memory, tomorrow's a dream. Yesterday belongs to a history, tomorrow belongs to God. Yesterday's fading sunset, tomorrow's faint sunrise. Only today is there light enough to love and live.

So, gently close the door on yesterday and throw the key away. It isn't the burdens of today that drive men mad, but rather regret over yesterday and the fear of tomorrow. Regret and fear are twin thieves who would rob us of today. "Relish the moment" is a good motto.

So stop pacing the aisles and counting the miles. Instead, swim more rivers, climb more mountains, kiss more babies, count more stars. Laugh more and cry less. Go barefoot oftener. Eat more ice cream. Ride more merry-go-rounds. Watch more sunsets. Life must be lived as we go along. The Station will come soon enough.

So let's make the most of every minute of everyday. Today is what we make the most of it my friends.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

LADYROSE 5/23/2010 12:04PM

    Wow... ya know, when the Big Guy has a message for me, he doesn't let up till I really, really get it. :)

After the past week, and then last night watching "Peaceful Warrior" - it's all been about this: Life isn't about waiting till you reach that one singular goal, it's about the moments that make up the journey.

Thank you for being one of the beautiful messengers!


d sending you prayers for a quick recovery from your surgery. :)

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Scale - you are "god" no longer!

Thursday, April 01, 2010

To those who have never struggled with an eating disorder, the below words may be hard to fully understand or relate to. Irregardless, I think in today's world, the temptation to get unduly focused on externals, to the exclusion of a person's total being, is a widespread temptation.

I was responding to another's post about being "liberated" from the scale, when I wrote the below words. As a person who had struggled in my twenties with an eating disorder, writing the below words is truly an affirmation and a celebration of how far I've come, and a statement that there is no going back to previous "stinking thinking."! I celebrate health in its highest and noblest sense!


I used to weigh myself morning and night. My moods and how I felt about myself would be dictated by the numbers on the scale.

I refuse to be a SLAVE, bound to a silly metal box. Instead of focusing on a number, I'm choosing to focus on all the positive things about me as a total person, and choosing gratitude for all the things this body Can do and DOES...these things cannot be quantified by a scale!

I'm learning to unconditionally love myself, to be nurturing and kind to myself (versus a harsh critic and slavedriver - trying to "whip" this body into what society deems as an acceptable shape)

"Dethroning" the scale does not mean negating personal responsibility to be a good steward of my health. On the contrary, it means that I am actively choosing to holistically love myself toward optimum health:

*** prioritizing time to nurture healthy, loving relationships (aren't loving relationships what life is really all about?)

***providing myself with healthy foods in healthy proportions (so I am fueled and energized to enjoy the gift of living...loving myself means I don't treat myself disrespectfully, by consistently eating low quality foods which from experience only leave me sluggish, zoned out, guilty, regretful, or don't "fit" my vision of the kind of life I truly desire).

***making time for a healthy level of exercise (taking care of my heart and body, keeping myself fit for activities of daily life)

***providing myself with adequate rest (a worn out body, a frazzled brain doesn't serve anyone well),

A goal of being healthy is one thing.....but it becomes another thing entirely when we think we can measure "success" or "failure" as a total person by a numerical readout from a box that sits on our bathroom floor!

The world's standard of beauty defined by weight is a hoax! Can a person's inherent worth be raised or diminished according to a number on the scale? NO!

I'm realizing the absurdity that I had previously defined myself by such a narrow and superficial yardstick!
Can the scale measure the "weight in gold" of a generous, kind, compassionate heart? Can the scale measure an individuals unique giftings and talents? Can the scale measure time spent loving and nurturing others? Can a scale measure a person's integrity or character?...and yet, in the past, I would let a number be the all encompassing "measurement".

The scale does not measure worth!!!

I'm staging a revolt against the craziness of the world's ways of limiting, pigeon holing, boxing in, and confining women.

Women are beautiful because of our UNIQUENESS! Who decided to define what's acceptable in such narrow terms?!!! The world's standards are forever changing. We went from idolizing Marilyn Monroe's shapely size 14, to now idolizing wafer thin models. The chinese used to bind their women's feet to resemble a lotus petal, with the preferred size 4 -- crippling their women to the point they couldn't walk, dance, or run! The African women had crafted an ability, using neck rings, to unnaturally lengthen their women's necks to resemble a giraffe's. Women throughout the ages have contorted their bodies to fit some external, culturally biased, ever-changing standard.

Can you tell I'm on a soap box?

I guess I'm remembering how long I had been chained to LIES about worth. I refuse to participate in that warped thinking anymore. I will strive for holistic health within my God-given potential, but I will look to HIM to define what's reasonable for me, and refuse the world's photoshopped, airbrushed, and clipped false images
as my standard.

I choose to celebrate the totality of who I am - personality, gifts, temperament, extra pounds or not, quirks and all.

Girls - Let's throw these chains off!

Let's together declare: Scale, you are "god" no longer. We're setting ourselves free!

"The Lord does not look at things that man looks at. Man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart." 1 Sam. 16:7

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

VERITY50 12/29/2010 2:08PM

    Great blog!

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LUNADRAGON 5/15/2010 9:50PM

    Thank you. Shackles loosened.

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LADYROSE 4/6/2010 2:07PM

    Amen Sistah!!!!

Yeah, that pretty much sums it up. Thow off the chains, stop focusing on the silly little plastic box and know that YOU are worth it!

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WOOBIE0902 4/1/2010 9:02PM

    What an inspiration you are!!!! I still weigh myself once a day and unfortunately, it still effects my mood and confidence.

I want to so much to stop being a slave to a number, but when I dont weigh myself, I tend to undereat because of a poor appetite and lose weight and the whole anorexic cycle starts again. Kind of stuck between a rock and a hard place.

I just looked at your photos and girl, you look like a personal trainer already!!! Iam really focusing on strength training, and love it!!!!

Have a wonderful Easter and thank you for such a wonderfully inspirational blog!!!

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BREEZEBEE 4/1/2010 7:28PM

    'The scale does not measure worth!!!' still working on this, so found this post inspiring!

Take good care lovely,
Bee xx

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LIFE_IS_SO_GOOD 4/1/2010 5:30PM

    I'm with you! Awesome blog!!!

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_RAMONA 4/1/2010 5:04PM

    GOOD FOR YOU, Sue!!!!

"The hidden well-spring of your soul
must needs rise and run murmuring to the sea;
And the treasure of your infinite depths
would be revealed to your eyes.
But let there be no scales to weigh your own treasure;
And seek not the depths of your knowledge
with staff or sounding line.
For self is a sea boundless and measureless."

Have a blessed and JOYOUS Easter!

{{{{{{{{{ HUGS }}}}}}}}}

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the heart of a champion

Thursday, September 24, 2009

I recently wrote this post on a runner's forum, but I realized that I want to bring myself back to some of the thoughts expressed in the words - to encourage myself and others when the going gets tough. Though the below thoughts were originally written in terms of training for a race, they really speak to any goal that we hold dear to our hearts - whether it be a race, a fitness/health goal, or to become a better wife or parent... you name it. The essence is NOT GIVING UP!


Yes, the risks of training - when you put your heart and soul into training and striving after a goal - are real.

I love a quote I recently read:
"When you get hurt and all your sacrifice adds up to nothing....are you willing to put it all on the line again?" -- Conrad Sholtz.

To me, that's the point where real champions and athletes are made. Not when you have the perfect performance, or necessarily meet your goal, but it's when dissappointment strikes, and instead of crumbling in a heap of despair and throwing your hands up and quitting - you resolve that quitting is not an option. You refuse to give up or give in when you face obstacles, whatever they may be - whether it's an injury, not running your best time, an unforseen circumstance or illness that sidelines your race....

it's about maintaining heart and passion and continuing to press on, to keep striving, to learn from failure, to allow it to restructure and reframe your plan - becoming a stronger and more resilient individual in the process - to get back up and try all over again - to work, to press in and press on -- to me, that's what the heart of a real champion, a real athlete, is all about.

This quote was in an advertisement in a fitness mag, and I love it:
"You're no wimp. You got what it takes"!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

LADYROSE 9/24/2009 7:07PM

    AMEN sistah!!!

Considering I just signed up for my first 5K EVER this week, I'm taking all of this in.

I've worked hard to keep the mindset that this is for fun, not for first place. It's to prove I can to myself, not to someone else. It's to be in the company of other champions who are willing to stick their necks out just a little further than the last time.

Thank you!


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MELBELL41 9/24/2009 4:36PM

    I have never read that quote before but I love it! You are exactly many times have the great athletes of the world failed but continued to persevere. We only see their successes but their failures I'm sure are much more. It's like a saying that I love:

To know a person is to see how they act when nobody is watching!

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RAINRUN 9/24/2009 4:15PM


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