Book Review: Dirty Girls Come Clean

May 2010 at a XXXChurch conference in Las Vegas I had the opportunity to meet Crystal Renaud. With her interviews just published in Christianity Today and The New York Times and an upcoming book, The Dirty Girls Ministry was taking off like a rocket. Anxiously I awaited the opportunity to read Crystal’s story.

In Dirty Girls Come Clean, Crystal Renaud breaks new ground by coming clean about her own pornography addiction, along with 6 other girls. With stories that are touching and transparent, these women are breaking a silence that is long over due in the recovery arena. A well rounded recovery book, Crystal provides the necessary steps and resources for women to find hope, forgiveness and healing.

Pornography addiction, like other addictions, knows no religious or age boundaries. There are millions of Christian women hiding in the shame of this addiction. If you, or a woman you know, struggle with a pornography addiction please get this book. Teen girls and parents this is a MUST READ!

Embrace Yourself

As women, we often compare ourselves to other women; either to those we know or women in the media. For me this resulted in a love – hate relationship with the mirror that began at a very early age.

Growing up I was very much a tom-boy. When I was 8, my brother, Wayne, who had cerebral palsy, died of pneumonia at age 12. I thought if I was more like a boy, I could soothe my father’s heartache by taking Wayne’s place. Maybe then Daddy wouldn’t drink so much and be mad all the time.

To further complicate things, a Playboy calendar hung in our family bathroom. So for 18 years I stood on the bathroom scales comparing myself to the ‘Bunny of the Month.”  I was trying to be my daddy’s boy, but because I was a girl, I felt expected to grow up and become a magazine centerfold. That’s what daddy likes, isn’t it?

To get the love I so desperately needed and wasn’t getting from my father, I began acting out sexually with boys on the playground early in elementary. At the same time, I was sexually aroused by the calendar photos and began masturbating regularly. I was deeply conflicted and unknowingly stayed that way until I was almost 50 years old.

Don’t discount the power of pornography. The Playboy images forever changed me. In fact, I still remember many of the women, even details about the pictures. Because of this, unwanted same sex attraction has been an on going struggle for me in my 6 years of sexual sobriety. 

It sounds silly, but I’m writing this blog after deciding to grow my hair out.

Those who know me, know my hair has been extremely short most of my life. In recent days, I’ve realized that as long as my hair remains ultra short, I continue to have butch tendencies that lead to wrong thoughts, which if continue unchecked, could develop into unhealthy and unwanted behavior.

Perhaps if I grow my hair out it will help me truly embrace my femininity… then the mirror can finally become my friend.

Book Review: My Life So Far by Jane Fonda

My Life So Far by Jane Fonda
Random House 2006
What you remember about Jane Fonda may not be all that appealing or interesting. And honestly, this isn’t the type of book I normally browse, much less purchase. But after seeing Jane Fonda on a talk show recently I had to order it. At first glance My Life So Far didn’t seem to fit the theme of my ministry, but once I read her introduction I knew it was something I was supposed to read and write about.
Her story will help many women find healing! 
In My Life So Far Ms. Fonda is incredibly transparent about all aspects of her life and marriages. She talks openly about her battle with eating disorders, self image issues and sexuality. Considering she’s from my mother’s generation; I was amazed at how much my personal issues and emotional feelings mirrored hers. With her history of political controversy, who could imagine Jane Fonda had self-esteem problems?
She opens up about her deepest fears…

“I’m terrified of getting to that place right at the edge of life when there’s no time left, being filled with regrets and having no time to set things right.

I began thinking a great deal about [fears of mine] in my late fifties. I had begun to go through deep inner changes–changes that I didn’t fully understand until I began writing this book. I realized then that to avoid regrets, I would have to start, while I was still healthy and strong, to name what those might be and to do something about them. I needed to live consciously, and I knew it would mean facing things that frightened me — like intimacy.” 

One of my favorite things is her comparison of life to a play…

Act I    Birth to 29
Act II   30-59
Act III  60…

“The big difference between life and acting… in life there’s no rehearsal… this is it; better get it right before it’s over.”

Today, I’m challenged to finish my second act with a deeper understanding of myself, life and God. I want to go into Act III with great physical health, intent to have the best ending possible.

My Life So Far is full of wonderful stories of Jane’s family and movie making with great photos throughout. It’s quite a read to tackle with 600 pages, but definitely worth the time! Whether you’re a movie buff, interested in political history or a struggling with personal issues, you’ll get caught up in her story and won’t want to put it down. Having found a sister/friend… I miss hanging out with her. Her next book Prime Time: Creating a Great Third Act is scheduled to release in September. I’ve already pre-ordered it!

Are You Living Heart Healthy?


heart health

 

Generally, women don’t talk much about heart attacks. After all, it’s a man’s disease, right? Not any more!

According to the American Heart Association: 1 in 3 women have some form of heart disease and Cardiovascular Disease is the #1 killer of women!

 

 WE MUST PROTECT OURSELVES!

5 Simple Steps To Prevent Heart Disease:

  • QUIT SMOKING
  • EXERCISE 30 MINUTES MOST DAYS OF THE WEEK
  • EAT HEART HEALTHY: More Fish-n-Veggies; Less Meat-n-Dairy
  • WAIST MANAGEMENT: Women 32.5″ Men 35″
  • GET REGULAR HEALTH SCREENINGS

Significant symptoms prior to heart attack include:

  • Unusual fatigue
  • Sleep disturbance
  • Shortness of breath
  • Indigestion
  • Anxiety, feelings of impending doom or unusual nervousness

Significant symptoms during heart attack include:

  • Shortness of breath and/or inability to catch your breath when waking up
  • Weakness
  • Unusual fatigue
  • Cold sweat, clammy sweat
  • Dizziness
  • Nausea, vomiting
  • Chest pain, could also include back pain and/or deep aching and throbbing in one or both arms
  • Fluttering or rapid heartbeats, palpitations
  • Feeling of heaviness, such as pressure-like chest pain between the breasts that may radiate to the left arm or shoulder
Let’s not allow poor health to sneak up.

What good is it to have a spiritually healthy heart if our physical heart is in poor health? We won’t be around to enjoy the abundant life Christ died to give us. It’s a sad witness to Christ, if we can’t take care of the body we’ve been given!

Let’s be proactive… together!

Some of you were my friends and/or trainees when I was a trainer at Curves in Katy, TX. Well, this week I’m going back to Curves because I know it works – I lost almost 30 lbs in 2006. So before that lost weight creeps back on, I’m getting back in the program as a trainee this time! I encourage you to find a friend and get started. It’s more fun that way!


Guard your heart above all else, 
for it determines the course of your life.
~ Proverbs 4:23 NLT

Who Do You Think You Are?


As recovering addicts we sometimes experience slips, maybe even a full relapse, falling back into our addiction. When we do, it’s easy to justify our behavior by thinking or saying, “That’s just who I am.”  
If that’s who we think we are – that’s who we will continue to be. 
We must take a hard stand, placing strong boundaries on our thoughts and the words that come out of our own mouth.
By taking a proactive approach we not only protect ourselves, but we take charge of our potential destiny.
Our thoughts and words can curse us.

Take a moment today… examine your thoughts.  
Are they thoughts that will eventually lead to your destruction?
Delete the old words from your memory by speaking new words over yourself.


Write down the negative thought. Then turn it into a positive thought and write it down.
Post it where you can see it on a regular basis and speak this over your life. 

 

It’s critical that we know who we are in God’s eyes. 
Dig into God’s Word and see who He says you are!

 

Then use the words of your mouth, with God’s help, to create a healthy life today and for the future!  
I will think only on things that are true, noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent and praiseworthy! (Philippians 4:8-9)

Walking Crutch Free

As humans, most of us depend on different things to make it through the day…

We depend on caffeine to give us energy because we stayed up watching TV and eating late night snacks instead of getting our required sleep. We find ourselves stressed out because we’re not eating right, not getting enough sleep and drinking too much caffeine.

We may be going through family circumstances that are less than pleasant. To help us cope, we numb our feelings to slide through it easily. Television, itself, numbs us so we don’t have to deal with our real world. But many depend on other substances to make it through tough life situations… smoking, drinking or drugging to calm nerves in times of stress.

Even if we can recognize them, we’re unable to stand in our own feelings without crumbling. Our emotions are crippled, usually due to some kind of trauma. 
Like someone with a broken leg, we depend on ‘crutches’ to walk through life when we should be trusting God to carry us.

As a recovering addict, I understand this all too well. Honestly, I still struggle. There are days I find myself picking up an old crutch. When I do, I have to stop and recognize it for what it is, immediately repent and ask for God’s forgiveness. 

There’s nothing inherently wrong with watching television or even having a glass of wine for that matter. But when we are using these things instead of allowing God to help us, it becomes a problem that will stunt our spiritual growth and maybe even our physical health. 

Are you walking with crutches today? 

Ask God to reveal things that are out of balance. He will honor your request and give you the needed strength to change. 

Let God Carry You…

God is my strength and power, He makes my way perfect. ~ 2 Samuel 22:33

Book Review: Searching For God Knows What by Donald Miller

Searching For God Knows What
by Donald Miller
Thomas Nelson Publishers 2004/2010
$14.99
249pp

True to form, Donald Miller, in his unmistakable story-telling style, tackles important subjects like faith and theology. Seriously, yet humorously, shedding light on them so that you will never read the Bible the same way again.

As the title suggests, this is a personal journey of faith. Faith renounced then found; but not just found, rediscovered with a clearer understanding of God’s Word and what it means for mankind.

Having read only two of his books, I am a huge fan of Donald Miller’s writing. I especially like the way he includes the reader in his personal struggles with life, God and faith.

I highly recommend this book. It’s an easy, entertaining read, but at the same time will make you think long and hard about what you really believe about God and Scripture.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Thomas Nelson Publishers as part of their www.BookSneeze.com book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 <http://www.access.gpo.gov/nara/cfr/waisidx_03/16cfr255_03.html> : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Where Have You Come From?

While reading a devotional recently God reminded me not to forget where I’ve come from; to remember all He has graciously brought me through.
I’m not talking about the horrible life of sin and self-destruction from years past, although that’s definitely something I never want to forget. I’m talking about the fresh, even seemingly small victories.   
I believe it’s critical not only to our future successes, but the successes we are currently walking in, that we remember what God brought us out of and remain grateful at all times.
Today I’m struggling with, what may seem like a silly problem, but I’m grateful even for the struggle because it is visible evidence of God’s blessing on our lives…
After living in a hotel room for the last year and a half with basically nothing to maintain, I’m having trouble transitioning back to the real world and the daily routines of running a home. Our new house is easily 10 times bigger than our little hotel room, and honestly a bit overwhelming.
I pushed through October’s move in, buried with boxes to unpack. Then came the holiday hustle… shopping, decorating, entertaining and house guests. I was running a marathon and literally lost 15 lbs!
Now that all the celebrating is over and the new year brings normality of life, I find myself hibernating in my bedroom, not living in this beautiful house God has given us.
In fact, when my best girlfriend from New Orleans was visiting in December, I told her I wanted to decorate our master bedroom like a hotel suite; with a beautiful TV console/dresser, a love seat sofa and a small table with chairs next to the fireplace. Laughingly, Whitney said, You can take the girl out of the hotel but you can’t take the hotel out of the girl. So true.
Some friends in one of my small groups prayed for me last week, so today I am doing better. 
I’m determined:
When I start to feel like everything is too much to handle…
I will stop and praise God for all He has done for me and my family.
When I beat myself up for not having the projects planned 2 years ago completed right away…
I will thank God for the resources to do them and trust His perfect timing for each project.
When overwhelmed with organizing drawers and cabinets…
I will thank God for the opportunity to give items away that can be a blessing to others.
I will take everything one day at a time.
He led them straight to safety, to a city where they could live. Let them praise the Lord for his great love and for all his wonderful deeds to them. -Psalm 107:7-8

Dream On!

The holidays are behind us and we’re finally getting settled in our new home in McKinney, TX.

It’s been quite a transition experience after living in a hotel in California for 16 months with all our worldly possessions in storage.

While unpacking I’ve found all kinds of things I’d forgotten about…

Recently I discovered Our Family Dream Board; a bulletin board I’d put together when we lived in Colleyville,TX in 2008 just before we moved to California. The board had cut out magazine photos of things we wanted along with a Bible scripture to cement our belief:

A spacious backyard swimming pool/spa, white wicker patio furniture, a beautiful garden and frog pond, a work space with built in shelves and desks, an outdoor grill, and a media room.

Now you must remember this board has been boxed up and in storage for almost 2 years. So I’d completely forgotten about the board and the things we were dreaming for. While looking at the photos, I began to realize almost everything on the board was here in our new house. Not only that, but the things in our home look almost exactly like the photos on the board!

I was stunned, amazed and humbled at the goodness and faithfulness of God.

Even though I’d forgotten the things I had dared to dream for over 2 years ago, God has been at work, behind the scenes, bringing them to pass for our family! Another thing that’s interesting about this situation… The previous family moved out 2 years ago and the house has been vacant this whole time as if waiting for us to return from California. 

Now that’s God!
  
Do you have something you’re dreaming for?

Gather some pictures and with God’s help… Create your dreams!

Delight yourself in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart. – Psalm 37:4

Measuring Up

Starting our new company has required many formal dinners with investors and friends with their significant others. Last Friday afternoon was no exception with last minute dinner reservations made for 9:15 pm near downtown Dallas…

I’d been up since 4 am, after not sleeping well in the hotel bed. Spent the day running errands with Linda and Anna preparing for the grand baby due any day… a doctor appointment, hospital registration and, of course, shopping.

With the sun quickly setting, I found a few minutes to power nap, showered and began the beautification process to make a good first impression with Bill’s business associate.

Because most of our belongings are still in storage, I have only a few dress items with me for these dinner occasions.

Not too stressed out, but still on schedule, I suddenly discovered my black bra and only pair of evening shoes were missing… apparently lost somewhere between recent hotel moves.

At 8:30 I made a mad dash around the corner to Target. With no time to spare for fitting rooms, I quickly found two bras and the only pair of black evening shoes left on the shelves. The shoes were tied together so I couldn’t walk in them to be sure of the fit, but took them anyway hoping they’d make do.

Back at the hotel I finished my make-up and dressed.

Aghast! My black pant suit, after traveling and eating out all summer, is now a size too tight, the bras I just bought too small and the shoes too big.

Our dinner reservations are pushed back to ten o’clock, so Bill suggests we run by Wal-Mart on the way to find me another pair of shoes.

By now I’m frazzled and nearly in tears with the hungry headache creeping in.

Hobbling to the Wal-Mart shoe department in my tight pants with newly purchased Target shoes flopping on my feet, I searched frantically to find evening shoes. I settled for the only ones that fit – conservative black pumps with 1 inch heels.

Bill and I sped down the tollway and made our way to the restaurant.

The couple was waiting for us at the restaurant bar just as we entered…  a normal middle aged man and at his side a tall, drop dead gorgeous, busty brunette with waist length auburn hair, wearing the perfect aqua blue, strapless cocktail dress with 6 inch heels to match. Did I mention she owns a modeling agency?!

Outside I was cordial and polite but inside I felt old, fat, short and mortified.

Why are we always trying to measure up to others? 

…when they measure themselves with themselves and compare themselves with one another, they are without understanding and behave unwisely. — II Corinthians 10:12