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A Podcast for Christians Who Love Jesus, But Not Themselves.

When you’re doing the Daniel Fast and praying to lose weight, there is something very misguided about that behavior.

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I love writing, but I really love talking people’s ear off about the things I’m passionate about. While I adore the creativity photography gives me to capture other people’s lives, a new endeavor into podcasting will give me a way to examine and share my own life with others outside of the blog.

This podcast is going to be a mixture of teaching, hanging out with other lovely people, and looking at some outside examples of how faith and fatness intersect. I respect the crap out of the body positive women I’ve found through podcasts, and I wouldn’t even think about trying this without the support of my close friends and family, however, I haven’t found what I’m looking for simply in blogging.

I don’t want to read another Christian blog post about how women are supposed to look their best for their husband, complete with the diet mentality. I don’t want to hear about a pastor doing Crossfit, again. It bothers me when all the talk from church couples revolve around how “#smokinhot” their spouse is – can you not find something more meaningful to openly adore?! I am so sad with how people I look up to in the church still call themselves “fat” as if that’s the worst thing you can be, still ponder over what diet to try next to lose weight, and still beat themselves up over “falling off the wagon”. When you’re doing the Daniel Fast and praying to lose weight, there is something very misguided about that behavior. These people run children’s ministries, lead godly households, teach Sunday School, and love Jesus. But they cannot seem to love themselves. And that, my friends, is not healthy no matter how much you weigh.

If you’d like to be a part of this, please let me know! Keep an eye out for more information coming soon!

xx
Heidi

I Don’t Care If My Butt Isn’t Small

As much as it sucks to say, when we hate our bodies it is typically because of external sources that have made us feel that how we are is less than – we are taught to hate ourselves, to sacrifice our bodies on the alter of the opinions of others.

In the effort to abstain from the self-loathing, and quitting the diet culture, I’ve had to stop caring about a lot of the really random, arbitrary body parts that people worship in weight loss. I’ve had to stop caring what other people think of my body.

We’re inundated with messages about smaller butts, perkier boobs, flatter tummies, and thinner thighs. Or we are allowed to have big butts as long as we have small waists. Or we are allowed to have large breasts as long as they have good cleavage made with expensive bras. There are all these rules about how women’s bodies are supposed to look to be acceptably ‘large’.

Sorry, folks, but I have stopped caring if my body pleases others. And as much as you don’t want to admit it, that’s where most of our “thin is in” culture comes from. As much as it sucks to say, when we hate our bodies it is typically because of external sources that have made us feel that how we are is less than – we are taught to hate ourselves, to sacrifice our bodies on the alter of the opinions of others.

And so we want to lose weight to be pleasing to others. We want to be smaller. We want to take up less space. We want thick thighs and tiny waists and big boobs, all while praying that our body shapes will magically change with just less carbs or less fat or less meat or more cardio. We completely forget that our value is not at all linked to our weight. We completely forget that you can be the thinnest woman in the world and there will still be men who like chubby women We forget we cannot control other people without manipulating ourselves and losing who we are in some small way.

Diet culture is about control. We’re praised for not eating the cake. We’re criticized for having too many cookies. The cycle never ends, either. People we don’t know write books and make workout videos and tell us what to do to become a desirable, attractive person – all under the guise of ‘healthy’. How often have we ever seen micromanaging become a healthy practice?? When was the last time you thought “Yes, I love when my boss micromanages our company. It makes me feel so good. It definitely develops a healthy relationship between the boss and their employees.”

Yeah, me either. So WHY do we think that micromanaging our body for weight loss is healthy?

[I can definitely hear the bodybuilders clamoring in from the gym, yelling at me about how their macros are important to keep their bulk or their cut. Look, if you’re in a healthy MINDSET about changing your body, I’m not talking to you. I’m talking to the people who have lived their lives with disordered relationships with their body and food, whom have fallen into eating disorders or orthorexia or over-exercising because they hate their God-given bodies so much that they’d do anything to change them.]

I can’t address all these issues in one blog post. I’d love to, I promise. But for today, I’m letting go of caring what people think about the size of my body parts. Whether or not you think my butt is big has no consequence on how good I am at my job, how smart or talented I am, or how I can be a productive member of society. It is simply a judgement of another person about my body that I have NO control over. And that, my friends, is kind of okay.

xx,
Heidi

How Body Positivity is Like A Thestral, And Other Obscure References To Weight Loss

I feel like my whole life has been spent trying to not get caught binge eating cake over the trashcan. Literally and metaphorically.

I’ve been hiding for my entire life.

Have you ever done the exercise where you list the things you love, and then you’re presented with the question “How long did it take you to put yourself on the list”? I have, and it was really kind of eye-opening. Not even because I thought how sad it was I never listed myself, but because I was kind of shocked I was even supposed to add myself.

Self-love has been an elusive concept that I’ve heard spoken of in whispered tones from various women on the Internet. I’m unsure if I’ve encountered any women in person who have embarked on a self-love journey, or recovered from the ingrained self-loathing cycle that our western culture expects from us. It is a wild ride to embark on this adventure by myself – I feel a little like Harry getting on the thestral-drawn carriages when he is the only one who can even see the thestrals. It is like looking through a completely different set of eyes, navigating the workplace, relationships, and friendships from a perspective where I don’t hate my body quite as much as I used to.

And sometimes it gets uncomfortable.

Being uncomfortable is what led me here though. My soul has constantly thrashed around in my body seeking something soothing. You’d think a fiancé, a dog, a safe home, a loving family, etc. would be enough to calm the tempest inside. It wasn’t. In December 2016, Dylan proposed and we went along as a happily engaged couple for a while. However, I was still searching, seeking, hoping for something more. I had put myself on the back burner, taking up the assumed responsibility of making Dylan into the man I thought he should be before we got married.

It will probably not shock you to know it didn’t work.

With multiple realizations about myself coming along all at once, compounded with the acknowledgment that I had been mothering a grown man for 16 months, I made the difficult decision to postpone my wedding merely a month before the big day.

Now how does this all relate to my journey into the world of loving myself? Well, you see, loving myself was what made me realize I needed more time before I got married. It has grown from an unknown trek into Nowhereland to a beautiful hike along a winding path of acceptance, love, and joy. I’ve been digging deep into devotionals that highlight God’s love for me. I’ve been ravenously consuming podcasts like Raise Your Hand. Say Yes. and Food Psych, both pushing me towards goals of entrepreneurial and body positive mindsets. I joined a really awesome online retreat called Stop Shoulding Everywhere that assesses how we can fight back against the overwhelming feelings of “should” in our lives. I also joined a therapy group through Rooted Recovery that meets weekly to discuss intuitive eating versus my very not-intuitive restrict/binge cycle.

All of that has completely changed my entire mindset about my body, my weight, my health, my life, and my future. Its amazing what you find when you seek out help. I cried listening to a podcast today because the guest speaker, Isabell Foxen Duke, said the name of her downloadable guide is “How To Not Eat Cake… really fast, standing up, when nobody is looking”. Which should be kind of funny but really it made me cry like a baby because I feel like my whole life has been spent trying to not get caught binge eating cake over the trashcan. Literally and metaphorically.

I’ve been hiding for my entire life.

So, here’s to recognizing that my life doesn’t begin at the end of being fat. Here’s to a new era of ending things that no longer serve me well. Here’s to an era of writing my name at the top of the “Things I Love” list. Come join me.

xx
Heidi

6 Songs That Helped Me Through Depression

When my last option was what should have been my only option, here’s 6 songs that helped me through.

When I say “depression”, you say “sucks”! Cause you KNOW it does. For everyone involved. Although it is sucktastic in all ways, my depression has brought me a lot of interesting knowledge; how to cope, how to seek out help, how to eat your weight in graham crackers and peanut butter. Okay that last one is totally true but not really as funny as I think it is.

At the end of this month, I have an anniversary coming up that I’ve never had before – I don’t have a witty name for it yet, but we will refer to it as my Mental Health Anniversary. August 27th marks one whole year since my momma came and checked me out of a psych wing in Jasper, Alabama. I spent almost three days there, and did in fact consume more graham crackers and peanut butter than I ever thought possible. It is surreal even talking about this experience. I don’t often sit around and actively try to remember those few days.

On the outside, after I left, it was really weird to cope with having to tell people about it. I didn’t tell many people because we know the stigma that surrounds ‘those’ people who are in hospital psych wards. Now, I know someone will identify with that and we can connect, so I’m more open about it. One of the biggest triggers for me when I got out was music – I didn’t realize SO many songs referred to broken relationships… My best bet was worship music of any kind. Here are 6 of the songs that got me through the ‘after’ part of my Mental Health Anniversary.

Your Love Is Mine – I Am They. I still cry during this song. The words spoke right into my very lonely, broken heart. I was so lost, I was in agony that I didn’t know how to soothe, I had just lost the whole life I had been promised for almost a year. I had no idea how to go up. This verse is what won me immediately.

I walked alone, trying to find my way
On winding roads and paths that I had made
Wandering so far from grace
I’d given up on things that I believed
My hopes and dreams were buried in the sea
But You were there calling out to me

Over & Over Again – I Am They – Yep, they make the list at least twice. I honestly credit these folks for helping save me. I felt like I was just SO far away from Jesus. I pursued that affair knowing full well it was wrong, and I had no idea how I could ever even be useful for the Kingdom after such an act.

In my suffering and in my weakness
And when from You I ran
In the dark of sin, when I’m there again
Over and over again
Your love and Your mercy begin
No matter how far
You find me where I am
Over and over

No Longer Slaves – Bethel Music – I know this song is super hipster Jesus church music, but oh man that bridge… I want to scream it until my throat is raw. After I got out of the hospital, there was a lot of fear surrounding me. Being reminded that we are not slaves to fear, and that God will part the seas just to love us, was paramount.

You split the sea so I could walk right through it
You drowned my fears in perfect love
You rescued me so I can stand and sing
I am a child of God

In Over My Head – Jenn Johnson (Bethel Music) – I was at a point where I had absolutely no control of anything. I was giving it up to Jesus because I literally had no other choice. I can to a point where I was thinking “well, nothing else has worked, let’s just give this whole ‘living for Jesus’ thing a real college try”. Yeah, I’ll admit I was at that point where my last option should have been my only option all along.

Whether I sink, whether I swim
It makes no difference
When I’m beautifully in over my head

It Is Well With My Soul + It Is Well + It Is Well (Oh My Soul) – The original version has always been a favorite of mine. I sang the hymn at my aunt’s funeral with my cousin. It gives me goosebumps whenever I hear it, in any version. I decided not to include the version by Joey+Rory, you’re welcome. Bethel Music did a rendition that puts me on my knees, and the last one is a bonus because you can never have enough versions of this song!

Swim – Jack’s Mannequin – This isn’t a Christian song, but I NEED you to hear it. If you’re struggling through anything, this song is absolutely perfect. I’ve loved this song since I was in high school. Teen angst Heidi was a sight to behold, but some things never change. This will be one of my favorites forever.

You’ve gotta swim
Don’t let yourself sink
Just find the horizon
I promise you
Its not as far as you think

Music has always provided catharsis for me, and it proved no different through my depressive periods! I still love these songs! Let me know some of your favorite songs to listen to when things get rough, and maybe we can make a Spotify playlist!

xoxo
Heidi

To The Couples Who Don’t Have An Easy Relationship

The other day as I was driving to Dylan’s, I heard a radio segment about ‘volume dating’ – the concept is dating as many people as you can simultaneously, hopefully broadening your horizons for meeting ‘the One’ without wasting your time. I immediately texted Dylan to ask him if I could write a post about our relationship, because that radio segment spoke right into my heart.

See, we want things in a relationship to be good and happy and social media worthy. I see so many social media posts about one side or the other; either people are single and embracing that, or they are over-the-moon in love. Now there is absolutely nothing wrong with either of those lifestyles! I have been in both parties before. Currently, I am embracing the girlfriend life with enjoyment… But not always.

See, when Dylan and I started dating, we talked. And talked. And talked some more. We laid out our junk really early on; I’m pretty certain he told me his entire life story on our pre-date. We weren’t even ‘official’ yet when I cried into his chest at 2am in high high school parking lot, going over the details of the last 18 months of my life. We laid it ALL out, simply because we wanted to pursue a relationship that was intentional. Our intention being marriage, obviously. Intentional doesn’t equal easy, however. All that baggage that we laid out needed to be unpacked at some point.

Here’s where it gets tricky – you don’t want to lay out your junk onto social media, but only ever posting the sappy stuff paints this unrealistic portrait of how things really are when the cameras go off. Sure, I 100% want to plaster my Facebook with photos of us, with nauseating captions about how good he is, how sweet his heart is, how hilarious he can be. However, my heart desires to present authenticity to the world in every aspect, including my relationship with Dylan. Which means I cannot always post barf-worthy Instagram snaps because we very well could have spent the last week fighting. And who wants to read about that??

Being intentional is HARD. Like ‘scratch the middle of your back’ hard. Like ‘not eating the entire ice cream cake in your freezer’ hard. Not because I don’t love the man that Dylan is or will become, but because he is still just a man with his own baggage that needs to be unpacked. And Lord knows I have baggage that still needs to be sorted through. I definitely need to bring some of that to the Goodwill… Anyway, you get my point. Loving on someone is tough!

I had to get to a place where I could see the man that Dylan is verses the baggage that he brings to the table. There are struggles that he is going through that I have already dealt with, which seems like a good thing until my humanness kicks in and I want to be a big selfish baby about helping him learn to do things like budget money.  I get to a point where I see other couples looking carefree, taking vacations, posting smoochy images and writing sappy stuff, and that is all I want. Literally I just want that 100% of the time, 24/7, no breaks. All fun and no work make Heidi a very soft girl.

That isn’t feasible though! No couple can always be Mushfest 2016! Life is hard, and when we only talk about the good stuff, we’re making it difficult for those around us to see past the facade of social media posts. Do I want you to start posting your fights on Snapchat? Maybe not. But I do want us to start being honest about our feelings, our baggage, and the hard parts of our relationships.

I lived for a long, long time thinking that marriages are supposed to be perfect, because all I was ever allowed to see were my parents getting along. (Hi mom!) I understand why my parents didn’t fight around me, but I formed this unrealistic expectation of perfection that can never ever be attained. I thought that all couples did everything together, enjoyed all the same things, believed all the same ways, etc. And when I began dating, I didn’t understand that things just don’t work like that. I never want to give anyone a false impression that relationships are carefree, joyous, lovey-dovey weekends of adventure all the time. They just aren’t. And that is perfectly okay.

To be honest, I love when Dylan and I disagree – we learn so much about each other and about our relationship when we do. It has instilled a sense of trust in me about him and his character, and about the staying power of our relationship. So for the couples who don’t have an easy, carefree relationship, for the couples who struggle to help with the baggage, just know that it is okay. You’re not at all alone. Being intentional with your dating life will always be better than dating so many people you need a planner just to keep track.

xoxo
Heidi

Short Stack Series: Perfection 


P E R F E C T I O N // Sweet sister, you know nothing is ever perfect. No time will ever be ‘just the right time’. We must embrace the right now imperfection. Today could look amazing, with perfect clouds and bright blue skies, and it still wouldn’t be perfect because the sun is blazing hot and the air is damp with humidity. That’s okay. Live today out as if it was perfect.
Perfection comes through Jesus, pretty lady. Live in His perfection and no day will ever go wasted on waiting for your own perfection. The days will be full of mistakes and mess ups and slip ups and crooked photos and humidity and too-tight clothing and too-loose screws. Embrace today’s imperfections as the perfect way to encounter Jesus. 

I Don’t Know About You, But I’m Feelin’… Twenty Six?!

Y’all I turned TWENTY SIX on Sunday. How?! I’m not quite sure. I don’t feel that old? But yet I kind of do. It’s strange, which works well with everything else in my life these days. 

My birthday weekend was spent mostly with my mom and Dylan and Ella Joan (my dog, if you forgot). Saturday was Beautifully Broken Ministries’ Cherished Conference! I shared part of my testimony for the first time to a group of strangers and it was amazing. My mom came down to be there as well! It was just a beautiful experience overall. 

Sunday, my actual arrival date, was spent at church, then shopping at an outdoor mall, then dinner with some of my closest friends here in Alabama. We went to the best Chinese buffet ever and stuffed our faces and talked about Pokemon. Literally nothing better could have happened, unless my three best friends from Massachusetts, and my dad, had showed up. They didn’t but that’s all that would have made it better. 

There was a lot I realized over the weekend but I don’t feel like adding it to this post. I’ll write later about it! I hope you all have had a great weekend and a kickin’ summer and I love you!

xoxo, Heidi