Friday Gratitude List

Every time you turn on the TV or scroll through social media, the top stories are the ones that are most tragic. The year 2020 has been full of bad news and it’s easy to get bogged down with so much negativity and sorrow. There will always be bad news that will try to capture our attention. It is looking for the good in life that can be a challenge but nothing is more important in a time of struggle and unrest. We need those little glimmers of goodness to hold us up and give us the strength to meet hardship head on and squash it.

This morning I woke up and tried to focus my thoughts on all that I am blessed with so here is my Friday Gratitude List:

  • I am thankful for a husband who supports me, loves me, encourages me and who always knows how to make me laugh.
  • I am blessed with a sweet daughter who’s strong, brave, smart, kind, empathetic, independent and beautiful. It doesn’t get any better than her and I am so proud to be her Mom.
  • I am joyful that I have a beautiful and loving family and friend support system.
  • I am at peace with a roof over my head, clothing on my back and food in my belly.
  • I rejoice that I am a daughter of God who created me uniquely beautiful.
  • I am happy that it’s a beautiful Fall day with a shining sun, cool sweater weather temperature and the beginning of colour changes in nature.
  • I am thankful for a loving and loyal companion in our dog Maggie.

Be Pretty, Plus and Proud and try to count your blessings instead of world disasters, even just for today.

I am…

What words describe you? Your assignment for today is to fill in the blank. Think of positive words to describe who you are and what you do. Get help from loved ones if you’re having trouble seeing the truth in the mirror.

This is me! I am…

  • beautiful
  • smart
  • a good mother
  • a LGBTQ+ supporter
  • a loving wife
  • a loyal friend
  • strong
  • persistant
  • caring
  • kind
  • a good writer
  • an advocate
  • a survivor
  • a victor
  • a homemaker
  • a teacher
  • a reader
  • a thinker
  • talented
  • courageous
  • a fighter
  • a protector
  • body positive
  • full of self-love
  • a believer
  • a fashion lover
  • a shopping addict
  • a bargain hunter
  • a makeup lover
  • trendy
  • talented
  • a traveller
  • a mermaid (currently missing my ocean)
  • an Acadian (google that one)
  • a dreamer

It took me almost 50 years to see the value in myself. It’s always easier to see your faults and shortcomings. Challenge yourself to see what your loved ones see. You are an amazing person and very little of that wonder comes from what you look like. Your most important and attractive assests come from within you. Be Pretty, Plus and Proud and describe yourself as you would describe your best friend, positively and with love.

How Do You Rise After Bad Things Happen?

Recently in my city a very bad and disturbing thing happened. Over the greed and jealousy of not receiving what he thought he deserved after the dispersement of his father’s will, a man drove a truck all the way from Winnipeg, Manitoba to Ontario and killed his sister’s husband and three of her children and then killed himself. He shot his sister but she survived and she is left with one son who was away at university and thankfully was not home when the shooting took place.

While my family and I weren’t intimate friends with the deceased, we did know the family. The husband was a high school teacher with the same school board my husband is a teacher for, as well as the surviving wife. The son who was at university danced with my daughter when they both belonged to the same Ukranian dance group. The family were members of our church. What happened to them was a shock and an absolute horrific tragedy.

Now a wife/mother/sister is left to grieve the loss of three of her children, her husband and even the brother who brought this loss onto her. Her surviving son/brother/nephew is left to mourn the loss of his father, brothers, sister and uncle. How do you even begin to move on after such a terrible blow?

What happened to them has haunted my thoughts since it occurred. It saddens me deeply that a brother could do such a terrible act of violence over money, greed and jealousy. By taking the coward’s way out and killing himself, he can’t even be made to face the results of his brutality. Obviously he was a man tortured by his own mind and it is not up to man but it is now God he must face for his sins.

The world is full of so much heartache right now. We’ve been thrown a lot of bad blows this year; Covid that has killed so many people leaving families broken and grieving, devastating fires that have destroyed homes and wiped out entire communities, floods, famine, hurricanes, tornadoes and the list could go on. Why do these things happen and what are we supposed to do when bad things keep knocking at our door?

Why they happen, I do not have an answer for. I am not God so I can’t even begin to understand his plans. What are we supposed to do? That’s easier to answer, we must have faith. When you feel like giving up, you must keep going. When you feel overwhelmed with despair, you must seek a place of refuge. When you feel weak from the onslaught of negativity, you must remember to gain strength from your blessings and be grateful. In the days of darkness there is always a ray of sunshine that is waiting to be found.

I pray that this family and anyone else going through really difficult stuff will take comfort in knowing they have people who will love and support them and help them rise up from the ashes even if it means carrying them until they can stand on their own.

Dark days will pass, we will recover and go on to fight another day. We are a strong and resilient species. Hopefully bad stuff will make us more empathetic, sympathetic, loving, kind, patient and nurturing to those in need. Bad stuff has the power to make us better if we choose to embrace the positive and turn away from the devil or the bad stuff that is knocking at our door.

Be Pretty, Plus and Proud and join me in honouring all those who have suffered this year by being a little bit nicer to each other. Let love rule your world, not hate, fear, greed or jealousy.

#Kindness For Crew

A little baby boy was born to the Leach family in September of 2019. In December that little boy was found unresponsive in his crib after being put down for his usual afternoon nap. In the end he could not be saved and his parents, Jeff Leach and Brittani Boren-Leach made the agonizing decision to let their precious child go and donate his organs to others in desperate need.

Brittani is a familiar Mama on YouTube talking about home decor, shopping deals, life with young children, recipes, cleaning tips, do it yourself projects, hair and makeup tips. Her loss was a shock and heart wrenching tragedy for her family, friends and devoted followers. I can’t even begin to know how the loss of her child must feel but I do admire what she has done in his name to make sure he is never forgotten and perhaps that was his purpose for coming to earth and then so quickly departing us. No one knows God’s plans or reasons for the way things happen in our lives. It’s hard to accept why a little baby isn’t given the chance to grow and live. However, God’s plans are so beyond our scope of understanding that we must simply have faith that the reason is good and necessary.

His death has truly been remembered in the acts of kindness people have done to help ease the pain just a little bit since his passing but also in this month to commemorate his first birthday. His family have requested that people do acts of kindness, donate blood or become an organ donor to honour the life and legacy of Crew Turner Leach. When posting what you’ve done or in explaining to others why, label your actions #kindnessforcrew so the family can be comforted by the knowledge that their little one did not die in vain.

So I encourage you to think of what this family has had to endure and do something nice for someone today while thinking of a special little boy celebrating his first birthday in heaven. Happy 1st Birthday little Crew and may God give your Mom, Dad, brothers, sister and all who knew you, the strength and faith to bare the burden of losing you here on earth. May they be comforted by the knowledge that they will be with you again one day.

Be Pretty, Plus and Proud, hold your loved ones close and be grateful for all your blessings. We are here for only a short time and we never know when our journey on earth will end. Live each day with purpose and spread positivity like confetti. The world needs a lot of that these days.

Life Is Messy

Life can get pretty messy and unsettling. Rarely are we able to just coast through without a few mishaps, unlucky breaks, a little bad luck or very unfortunate occurrences. Sometimes it all feels a little overwhelming and unfair and we despair and cry out for a break. We can get mentally, emotionally and physically exhausted at the constant onslaught of bad news and chaos.

The year 2020 has certainly been a time of unsettling and disturbing moments. I think it’s safe to say, we’ll all be happy to let this year fade into the past with the hope the next year will be less challenging.

It’s easy to turn to anything that will ease our frayed nerves; overeating, alcohol, gambling, too much shopping or recreational drug use. We must, however, remain strong. We must keep ourselves together because this time will pass and we have to be ready for the good days ahead. The light at the end of the tunnel may seem far off but if we continue to put one foot in front of the other we will get there.

Not only must you hold yourself upright for your own sake but also for the sake of the people who love you and depend on you. You are important and wanted. Don’t give up or give in.

So, put on your big girl panties and face whatever onslaught of negativity that may be heading your way. Like all the times in the past, you can and will get through life’s messy moments because you are Pretty, Plus and Proud. You are tough. You are strong. You are resilient. You are smart. You are important. You are needed. You are wanted. You are a fighter who will come out on top!

Now go slay the day!

I Love Fall Best Of All!

I love Fall! I love the cooler weather! I love the colours! I love the scents! I love wearing sweaters! It is by far my favourite season!

I consider Fall to be the beginning of my year. I guess being a school teacher and being married to a teacher, the beginning of the school year is a natural fresh start for us rather than January 1st.

I’ve been away from my career for quite some time because of my MS but old habits die hard and I still think of Autumn as my time to do new things, freshen up the house with new decor or change things around. It’s a time to start a project that’s been neglected over the summer holidays but should get done before the snow flies. It’s a time to pull out the crockpot and do some comfort food cooking. It’s a time to reconnect with friends and family that we haven’t seen as everyone enjoyed their summer vacations. Out come my favourite cozy sweaters and cinnamon scented candles. I am raptured by nature’s beautiful colour as the leaves change from green to red, orange, yellow and brown. I get excited to see the pumpkin patches filled with pumpkins ready to pick and carve for Halloween. Most of all I enjoy seeing the temperature lower on the thermometer. I do not do well in the heat and humidity of summer.

What is your favourite season? What makes it special to you? Whatever season you enjoy most I hope you keep the Pretty, Plus and Proud mantra in your mind. Dress like you love your body. Move like you love your body. Eat like you love your body. Enjoy life and live your best life no matter what your body may look like.

Happy Fall Y’all!

Blogging Anniversary

Five years ago I was looking for something to do to occupy my time as my daughter headed off to high school, not in need of her mother quite as much. I wanted to do something that would help me grow as a person but would also be helpful to others. I had recently become more aware of the body positive movement and it intrigued me. What was this whole thing about loving yourself just as you are? No diets or workout regimes? Sign me up! Thus began my self-love and blogging journey. I always enjoyed writing so what better way to share my struggles with body image and hopefully find some like minded people who were also tired of the yo-yo dieting, counting calories and paying for programs that ultimately didn’t work for the long haul. I wanted to inspire people to see that their scars, cellulite, moles, lumps and bumps were only a small part of who they are and certainly not the most important parts.

That brings us to today, five years later, 700+ followers and lots of self-love. I have been blessed with so many wonderful followers whose comments and support have sustained me and motivated me to keep writing and keep spreading the word that we don’t have to look like runway models and movie stars to live a happy and successful life. We can buck society’s ideals of what’s attractive and just be ourselves. We’ll all get old the same way. We’ll all have wrinkles and grey hair. The outer image of ourselves will change with age but our true self inside will always be the thing that people will remember long after we’re gone from this earth.

Thank you to all my followers, whether you’ve been with me from the start or you’re just joining the journey now, for your support, kindness and encouragement. You hold me up through difficult days and inspire me to continue my writing. Whether there are 700 of you, 1000 or just one, my message will always be the same, Be Pretty, Plus and Proud!

YOU ARE AMAZING! YOU ARE WORTHY. YOU ARE ENOUGH! YOU ARE BEAUTIFUL!

Ways to Stay Strong On Your Self-Love Journey!

If you are about to embark on or have already begun your own personal self-love journey, I will be honest and say it is not an easy task. You will face obstacles within yourself, from loved ones, from co-workers and even strangers. There will be those that say you’re only declaring you love yourself just as you are to avoid the hard work of a diet or workout routine. They will tell you it’s a cop-out and that you’re lazy. You will hear people say that a self-love journey is only for fat people who can’t be bothered to “get healthy”.

None of that is true of course. First, being fat doesn’t mean you are unhealthy. I know lots of slim people with health issues. Being fat doesn’t mean you are lazy or unmotivated. It doesn’t mean you eat chips all day or spend most of your time on the couch. It, above all else, doesn’t mean you are less deserving of opportunities, relationships or adventures.

If your lack of self-love stems from other aspects of your outer appearance like scars, stretch marks, moles, birthmarks or cellulite, that too can be a difficult pill to swallow.

Wherever your low self-esteem comes from, it’s important to know that you are worth love, both from yourself and from others. There is nothing about your outside self that makes you unworthy. I commend you on your efforts to find your way towards self-love. You are brave and strong and you got this!

Below are some tips to keep you on track, motivated and inspired to love the skin you’re in:

  1. Avoid comparing yourself to others. People may appear to be full of confidence but you have no idea what’s going on behind the outward facade. We all have challenges and things about ourselves we seek to change or wish were different. No one is perfect but we are all uniquely and wonderfully made.
  2. Keep your faith larger than your fears. Keep your eye on the prize and believe you can do this.
  3. Stay away from or unfollow anyone who drains you of positive energy or who doesn’t support your journey.
  4. Learn to tune out or ignore any thoughts or opinions that don’t enhance your life.
  5. Self-care is a big part of any self-love journey. Spend time on grooming and treating yourself. Wear the nicest clothing you can afford. Get regular hair cuts, maybe even splurge on a manicure. When you show yourself care, you will feel better about yourself and people will notice you in a positive way.
  6. Speak nicely to yourself about yourself. Your brain will believe what comes out of your mouth.
  7. Don’t be afraid to put yourself and your needs first. Fill your cup before sharing it with others.
  8. Self-care is not being selfish. It is feeding your mental, emotional, spiritual and physical plate so you are able to have happier relationships with others and live your best life.
  9. Spend time with yourself. Be comfortable in your own company. It will help you be more self-aware and knowledgeable about what makes you truly happy.
  10. And last but not least, Be Pretty, Plus and Proud. You deserve to love who you are. There’s no one else on this earth like you and that’s a great thing. It makes you interesting and worth getting to know.

Good luck on your journey! It may take awhile but you’re worth the investment!