I’m a hypocrite

Some days… when standing before my reflection stripped of everything… motives, guilt, expectations, past images, I can honestly look at my body and speak the words of Psalm 139 with great certainty.

There are other days when I stand before the mirror and wonder whose body I’m trapped in and when the merger occurred. I look at my curves as too curvy. My hair appears dull. My laugh lines are deep and obvious. My image is distorted.

These are the times when the Father whispers my name, Chosen one. Beloved daughter. I have called you by name. You are mine.

I used to have such a hard time with the phrase, “Beauty is on the inside.” I felt like everyone I heard say it was unattractive and used it to self-soothe. (Mean and judgmental, I know.) Interesting how perspective changes when inner beauty is realized in others and strived for in oneself. It is much more difficult to acquire, maintain and increase than outward beauty. It is the great reminder that this “shell” is temporary. Appearance is fleeting. What’s on the inside will indeed show through…eventually.

I have found it fascinating how the inside begins seeping through the eyes and the smile. The mannerisms and responses. The posture and tone. I know several women over the age of 55 who have a rare beauty that a 20-year-old doesn’t even know to wish for and certainly could not understand. My perception of beauty now differs greatly from when I was 20 or even 26. I don’t think it can adequately be defined. It’s like trying to wrap ones mind around “forever.” It simply cannot be done.

Truth be told, twelve years of abuse to one’s body doesn’t just go away. I know that eating disorders in general are a phenomenon to many. For those of us walking through it, it could not be more real. Some days I wonder if I will ever have a healthy relationship with food. I wonder when I will stop wanting to bend over and vomit every time something passes my lips. I wonder when I will stop trying to force my curves into straight leg jeans. I don’t know?

What I do know is that when I stand up in front of your daughters and mothers, sisters, girlfriends, wives and friends and tell them that God made them with a purpose in mind and we should embrace the body he has created for us, I better be living what I’m speaking.

Some days I do. There are days when I have too much confidence. Those who know me well would attest to that. On the days when I’m not appreciating my laugh lines, the curve of my hips or the scar on my belly (that provided a safe delivery for our son) I remember the verse that I have given out to so many women and girls. “I thank you, High God—you’re breathtaking! Body and soul, I am marvelously made! I worship in adoration—what a creation!” Psalm 139:14

I am not the crease in my brow or the lines encompassing my eyes. I am not the stomach lacking definition or the thighs that will never fit into a size 4 again. I am not the arms that hide from sleeveless shirts or the boobs chest that is, at times, less than manageable. I am not the chin that is no longer well-defined or the insipid, brown hair on my head. The fact that more things jiggle when I walk than I would like, does not decrease my value or deflect me from my purpose. All of these things make up my physique, but they no longer define me.

I am a child of God. Made in his image. Created with great purpose and craftsmanship. I am his masterpiece. Dearly beloved. Beautiful in his sight. Purchased with his blood. Worth dying for.

And darling, so are you.


Watching the rain

“I believe that what we become depends on what our fathers teach us at odd moments, when they aren’t trying to teach us. We are formed by little scraps of wisdom.”
~ Umberto Eco

Pardon me while I compare my insides to your outsides

© Joy Cannis and Even A Girl Like Me, 2012

While shooting pictures yesterday for something unrelated to birds on a wire, I turned around and saw this site that had to be captured. It goes right along with how I have been thinking and feeling. It was as if it was placed there just for me and all I had to do was look up.

I laughed while thinking, “I wonder if this bird ever looks around and thinks, ‘Why don’t I look like they do?'” You have to admit, he kind of stands out. Do you think he sees his uniqueness as a blessing?

My temperament is one that craves relationships and interaction with many different people. I invest heavily in the lives of those I love and enjoy doing so. However, when I am experiencing inward turmoil I want to retreat and be quite. Lately, while going through certain stress I have been unable to withdraw which forces me to interact with others when I am out of sorts. This can be disconcerting.

In the past couple of weeks I have found myself looking around and thinking, “How does she do that?!

“How does she work full-time, grocery shop during the week, run her children back and forth from soccer practice, gymnastics and piano, keep her house clean, volunteer at her church, serve on the PTA and have dinner waiting when her significant other returns from work? And what about doctors appointments in between and the unexpected illness?”

So tell me ladies, are you one of these women? If so, are you really doing everything that it appears you’re doing? Do you have hidden super powers? Are you saying affirmations in the mirror multiple times throughout the day to keep up the pace?

Most days, I feel more like this chick…
I can relate to the white bird on the wire. Sometimes I feel that my uniqueness is a gift and adds to my awesomeness. Other times I see it as a hindrance and something to be overcome. Here is what I know about feelings, they are constantly changing. Feelings in and of themselves are not to be trusted. So I must rely on truth, grace and the love that I know to be unchanging.

What are your thoughts? Am I way off base or do you know exactly where I am coming from on this?

Releasing me


© Joy Cannis and Even A Girl Like Me, 2012.

Fear doesn’t have to be a bad thing. It can be a great motivator for change. It’s when we stop moving that the fear catches up and attempts to overtake us.

It’s when we lose faith that all hope appears lost as well.

When our shadow becomes bigger than our God, we are headed for certain doom.

What is the solution?

For me, it’s about surrender. Relinquishing control on a daily, sometimes hourly basis. Opening my hands as a sign of my willingness to release what I am holding, in an effort to accept the blessings that await me.

They don’t always appear as expected, sometimes arriving in the form of pain. However, as I have seen time and time again, blessings are often the reward of difficulties endured.

So keep going. If you’re in the middle of hell, don’t stop. Just put one foot in front of the other while breathing in the divine strength of the moment and exhaling the toxic fumes of discouragement and doubt.

You were created for so much more.


What will tomorrow’s yesterday reveal about me?

After saying, “Happy Birthday!” A friend asked me, “Do you feel another year younger?”

“No.” I replied. “After the stress of the past few weeks I actually feel older.”

His question got me thinking. “Is one incredibly challenging week capable of aging me a year?!” Am I going to look at this birthday as another year gone or as 365 days of endless possibilities before me?

The happenings within 48 hours were powerful enough to change my warped perception of my circumstances and future. This year I found answers in the gifts. Maybe not how you would think? Allow me to explain.

The night before my actual birthday, we had dinner in with two of our close friends.

That is an actual lippy beside it on the left for scale.

Jill‘s gift is one that I will forever keep in a place where I can look at it frequently as it makes me laugh out loud while reminding me that it’s okay to need a little sparkle in your life. It’s okay that I’m known for my love of lippy.

And since I know you’re wondering, the answer is “Yes.” It lights up!

This will forever serve as affirmation that no matter who comes down on me for who I am, my job is to be a light in the world…with a splash of color.

I woke up on the morning of the 18th with no plans for the day. I went to check voice mail and there was my beautiful Bella’s voice at 12:01 a.m. leaving a message to say that she wanted to be the first one to wish me happy birthday. She was! The thing that struck me most about this is
1.) She is 14 yrs. old and stereotyped as completely self-absorbed.
2.) She was intentional about letting me know she cared.
3.) It is a great reminder to me that kindness does not have to cost money.
I will be saving that message until my phone kicks it out.

Early afternoon the doorbell rang. When I opened the door there was an enormous arrangement. I tried to pick it up but it was too heavy. After Chris carried it inside and placed it at eye level, I stared, enamored with its beauty. It is absolutely breathtaking, releasing sweet aromas better than fine perfume. Sent from my sisters, mom and niece, it is a reminder that there is so much beauty around me on a daily basis. At times, it is too heavy for me to hold.  If only I could freeze it just as it is so that when the world issues its criticisms I am reminded that beauty outweighs malice every time.

Late afternoon one of my favorite people in the world came over. Tara knows me well. I asked if I could open the bag in her hand as soon as she walked in. “Of course!” she said. It was stuffed with tissue, just the way I love and as I began throwing the tissue and reaching into the bag, I was reminded of the things that were stifled only days before. Creativity, Learning and Growing. The bag held in it, a photography book for the student I have become, a journal for the writer that I am, a set of 4 different colored pens of glitter gel for the absolute delight that I find when the glitter falls from the page ending up on my hands, face and clothes. A water bottle, representing sustained energy, dark chocolate for the happy endorphins that are sure to follow shortly after consumption and a beautifully colored scarf complete with sparkles, of course.

By the end of the day I had seen 3 sky crosses. They are Elliot’s favorite and I search the sky continually in hopes of seeing one. I don’t think this was a coincidence. The sky was literally filled with them. I had to smile when looking up and thinking of my friend and her love of these acknowledgements from the Creator. It was a beautiful birthday wish.

Those who sent cards, gift cards and…well…cash (thanks dad!) know me just as well. They know that for me having the freedom to buy something with money that someone else has given me has a thrill all its own.

And how could I not mention my Christopher? Without whom I would have gone off the deep-end long ago. He swoops in at a moments notice and turns my catastrophe into a manageable task. He has saved me from myself time and time again, but most recently from the words of defeat that I am so quick to tell myself. The spiritual, emotional and mental gifts that he lavishes on me are far greater and worth so much more than any possession he purchases. (Though I do love my camera gear.) A man who will fight for your mental, spiritual and emotional well-being as well as physical, is one you cannot put a price on. His value is far greater than any measurable standard.

There is something about being known. I don’t mean when someone with a great deal of influence remembers my name and acknowledges my existence. I’m talking about lamps shaped like lipstick and bags filled with the things that would tell much of my story without me ever saying a word.

So, here’s to the next 365 days of endless possibilities before me. No matter what they bring may I see them as blessings. Some blatant while others disguised, blessings nonetheless.

This Day


“I will live this day as if it is my last.
…I will waste not a moment mourning yesterday’s misfortunes,
Yesterday’s defeats, yesterday’s aches of the heart,
for why should I throw good after bad?”
I will live this day as if it is my last.
This day is all I have and these hours are now my eternity.
I greet this sunrise with cries of joy as a prisoner who is reprieved from death.
I lift mine arms with thanks for this priceless gift of a new day.
So too, I will beat upon my heart with gratitude
as I consider all who greeted yesterday’s sunrise
who are no longer with the living today.
I am indeed a fortunate man and today’s hours are but a bonus, undeserved.
Why have I been allowed to live this extra day when others,
far better than I, have departed?
Is it that they have accomplished their purpose
while mine is yet to be achieved?
Is this another opportunity for me to become the man I know I can be?”
Og Mandino (The Greatest Salesman In The World)

Do those come in elastic waist?

Here she is, the legend, the one that daisy dukes were named for. Daisy herself. How did she get those on I wonder?

I don’t often reminisce about my short shorts days, but today I allowed myself a stroll down memory lane when a beautiful blond with no more than 6 inches of denim covering her booty walked past our table at lunch.

My first thought was, “I wonder how it feels to, not only be able to fit in a pair of shorts found in the toddler section, but still have range of motion while doing so?”

Was I jealous? I think maybe I was…a little…for a second. Don’t get me wrong, I stand by my mantra, “Love the body you’re in.” I love my body. It serves me well. I just wish sometimes that there wasn’t so much of it.

This got me thinking, “Do other women feel this way when a cute little booty adorned in stretched denim passes by?” Are there women who don’t even notice? How is that possible?

Okay, if we are being painfully honest here I will say that the next thought through my mind was, “Why did that skinny little be-otch have to walk passed me on a day like today when I reluctantly stuffed myself into shorts that I haven’t worn in… oh… 3 years, just to show me what I don’t look like? The one time I put my pride aside and my less than tan legs on display I’m sharing a room with the inspiration for the song, “I’m sexy and I know it.” I wanted to cover myself with the vinyl tablecloth. Pathetic, I know.

I wish I could tell you that the next thing that came to mind was Psalm 139 and thoughts of how beautiful I am to my Creator and to my man who treats me like a goddess. It wasn’t. The next thing to surface was justification. “Well, Marilyn Monroe was a size 16 and she was smokin’.” “I rock my curves!” “I’ve had 3 children. T h r e e!” “Thin isn’t the biggest deal and neither is a tan! I want to be healthy and white! After all, vampires are the latest craze and they are paler than I am.” “Yeah. That’s right. I’m hot.”

Now enjoy the part where my rationalization comes crumbling down around me.
~ By today’s sizes it is believed that Marilyn would have been a 6/8. (There goes that theory)
~ I have grown accustomed to and even fond of my curves. However, a muffin top or shelf butt are not technically the curves that one likes to “rock.”
~ True, I have had 3 kiddos and with each one worked out less afterwards. It’s difficult to maintain the excuse that it’s baby weight when my baby is 4!
~ Thin is just as big a deal as it has been for as long as I can remember. Everything looks better tan, especially fat and while being healthy is important, thin is more times than not, healthier than pudge.
~ Just for the record, most days I do feel hot. I mean, it’s been over 100 degrees here for the last month!

Seriously, I’m not lacking in self-esteem and for someone who struggled for so many years with self-loathing behavior, I’d say that’s a pretty huge statement. I just wish that I could tell you that having a healthy marriage, beautiful children, everything I have ever dreamed of in this life, would keep me from looking at “little miss tight buns” and being envious. But alas, I can not. I would be lying.

It’s interesting what topics have come up in the last week for me. Words like “enough.” When it comes to size, attitude and fiestiness, I’m more than enough. When it comes to viewing myself as the Beloved through the eyes of my Master, I could use some work.

So today, right now, here in this moment, Daisy can keep her dukes and Marilyn her 24″ waist. I’m good. Now, what’s for dinner?!

To download a PDF version of the Psalm click on one of the links below
Psalm 139
Psalm 139 text version

* Media was taken from google