October Dress Project: Halfway there

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By the time I post this I will be over the halfway  hump. October is going by super-crazy-fast and I am so happy that decided to participate in the ODP. There’s only been about 3-4 days that I haven’t worn The Dress for at least part of the day and all but one of those days were spent in my jammies cuddled up with a heating pad. (Boo!) A few of my friends view it as their personal entertainment and question me about my look everyday to make sure The Dress is still there. So here’s another list of things I have learned thus far:

1. I have WAY too many clothes. I have only repeated one or two looks in almost 3 weeks. I think it’s time to downsize my wardrobe. Also, why do I have so many pieces of clothing that I don’t like and/or are unattractive?  Less clothing means less money and less laundry. It’s a win win! Part of the ODP is to become aware of consumerism in your life and I have  realized that I’m buying into the consumer worldview. It pains me to admit that I have bought  2 or 3 pieces to go with my dress this month, but I’ve bought things that I love and that I can use in multiple ways. However, it speaks to my shopper mindset that my first reaction is buy new things and not try to shop my closet. This is something I definitely want to work on.

2. Sneaking creativity into the daily grind brings me great joy. So often I feel like my days are just a giant to-do list and I come home to sleep and then begin again. It’s a small thing, but putting together a new outfit each day  has given me something creative to do. Before Piper was born I prided myself on being able to pull together inventive outfits with the things I had in my closet. Somewhere along the way, I stopped taking the time to do this. It’s been fun to get back in the groove.

3. I’m making peace with my body. For about 75% of my life, I’ve hated my body. This is something that I still struggle with and hope to overcome eventually… but the going is slow and often painful. Seeing other women post their not-perfect ODP pictures has been encouraging to me and I’ve been enjoying the positive feedback I’ve gotten on social media and in person.  Many times I feel there is a disconnect between my brain and my body. Subconsciously I think ,  “Brain is good, body is bad.” Choosing to focus on the parts of my body that I do like has been helping. Also, I’ve decided that I don’t need to wait until I am thinner or tanner or taller or younger to have fun with my appearance. I keep repeating to myself “Perfection is the enemy of good.”

4. How I feel (and therefore act) towards my body affects Piper. For better or worse, our daughter’s body images can be shaped at home. As the self-appointed queen of girliness, Piper often focuses on how pretty she looks and what other girls are wearing. I want to be an example to her and I’ve made it my goal for her to never hear me say anything negative about my body or criticize anyone else’s bodies.

I’m enjoying the project so much and I am surprised how quickly the time has gone by. I’m gearing up to get in some more creative outfits before the month is done and I’m thinking about a project for next month. Any suggestions?

October Dress Project Update

DSC_0254My ODP has been going well. I skipped a few days when I was working outside and when I was doing a service project at Friendly Chapel, so I worn the dress about 9 days total. My only issue I’ve run in to that since my dress is black and has a flared skirt, it looks a bit formal at times. I’m planning on trying to tuck it into jeans tomorrow for casual Friday, so maybe that will give me some new options. Even though I’m only on day 9, I’ve had lots of opportunities for self-reflection and evaluation. Here’s a few things that I’ve discovered.

1. It’s fun to break out of my (non)fashion rut. Outfits that seemed a little out of my comfort zone got lot lots of compliments and I found I enjoyed mixing it up a bit. After the first couple of days when I felt self conscious, I’ve really enjoyed wearing fun things and feeling put together at work.DSC_0272

2. No one notices that I am wearing the same thing. I’m going to get rid of some clothes that I don’t really like and repeat my outfits that I do like more often.

3. Being plus-sized doesn’t mean you have to be matronly or unattractive. Instead of waiting until I lose weight to wear fun clothes, I am doing it now and loving it. In fact showing a bit of leg and wearing simpler pieces that flatter parts of my body that I like has made me feel more attractive and confident.DSC_0243

4. It’s worth spending a small amount of time to look good. I feel like since I had Piper (5 years ago!), I’ve felt like everything else is more important than me. I don’t think I will ever go back to spending two hours getting primping like I did when I was a teenager, but if I take the time to pull an outfit together or throw on a few accessories I feel better all day.

Finding Joy everyday

Cow Shoals on the Little Red RiverMost of the time I don’t think about being joyful. I think about making it through the work day or getting the kitchen cleaned and my daughter tucked in. The daily grind can really wear me down. That’s the thing about the daily grind- it’s daily and it’s grinding! I realized that joy is something that I have to actively seek; it doesn’t just happen. I have many happy moments during the day, but true joy from the Lord is hard to grasp and even harder to keep, at least for me.

In my life, happiness or enjoyment is more of a surface level feeling, fleeting and usually based on circumstances. But joy is deeper and much longer lasting. I imagine it to be like a deep well within me. Because the Lord dwells in my heart I have a limitless supply of joy that I can always draw from. Even in times of heartache or difficulty, I can have the joy of the Lord at my core.  The mental image of a deep well of joy reminds of the old song, “I’ve got a river of life”

Spring up, oh well
Within my soul
Spring up, oh well
And make me whole
Spring up, oh well
And give to me
That life abundantly!

I want to be whole, full of joy, and plugged into the joy of the Lord. Jesus said that is why he came, that I may have life and have it more abundantly (John 10:10). Sounds great- who doesn’t want to live a better life, right? But how do I get from the daily grind to joyful, abundant life? I prayed for an answer and the Lord brought a clear thought to my mind. “Seek my face.” For long lasting joy I need to take pleasure in what the Lord provides, not what our world offers. I need to let the things that make Him happy make me happy.

“For you, O Lord, have made me glad by your work;
at the works of your hands I sing for joy.” Psalm 92:4 (ESV)

My prayer for today:

Dear Lord, help me to be mindful of what you have created for my joy here on earth. Guide my focus to what you have said is good and away from the pleasures the world provides. Give me peace and fill my spirit with joy when I get caught up in the busyness of life. Thank you for giving me desires that cause me to seek out joy and the ability to be satisfied in you. Let your joy fill me and pour out to others as I interact with them today. Amen.