Comparison

It’s been said that comparison is the thief of joy yet we all struggle with it. Read these articles for encouragement to live the comparison free life.

My Life Isn't Insta-Worthy, But I Love It All the More

My Life Isn’t Insta-Worthy, But I Love It All the More

If I could choose one phrase to perfectly sum up my stage of life, it would be “in the trenches.” I’m in the trenches of motherhood, playing carpool taxi, housemaid clean up, chief organizational officer, head referee, and principal disciplinarian every day. My life isn’t Insta-worthy. I’m in the trenches in my marriage, fighting for even a simple date night, fighting for connection in the busy, fighting to stay together through the hard stuff of parenting. I’m in the trenches in my life too, my own personal time of trying to grow my dream project from the ground up, putting in hours of blood, sweat, and tears often to little or no applause or grandeur. Yes, the trenches are where I dwell. […]

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I Did a Social Media Detox and Learned Why We're Always Reaching for Our Phones

I Did a Social Media Detox and Learned Why We’re Always Reaching for Our Phones

One day after my 8-year sober birthday, I decided to do a social media detox for a month (or as long as I could). In the beginning, there really wasn’t any end game in mind. My motivation: I realized that somewhere along the way I started caring what people think. And this started to affect how I felt about myself. Oh, and also: I was spending way too much time checking my phone. I wish someone could have taken my picture and posted it as I contemplated what it meant to erase the Facebook and Instagram apps from my phone. I held my finger on the screen and the icons did that little dance, that shaky “please don’t delete me” dance. This

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how to crush comparison with a compliment

How to Crush Comparison With a Compliment

I love games. I come from a very competitive family, so winning has always been important to me. Just ask my husband. I sometimes get super bitter if he beats me in a game (okay, scratch that, I always get bitter if he beats me). I will never forget when I was visiting him in Springdale, Arkansas early in our dating stage. We went to Cracker Barrel for breakfast, and we played the peg board game that they offer customers to play while waiting for their food. I should have known better than to suggest it because, let’s just say, I lost and breakfast wasn’t the most enjoyable after that. Some days I beat my husband, and other days I lose. But the

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Where Can I Find the Purpose of Life?

Where Can I Find the Purpose of Life?

(Listen to the audio version of this article here.) It started when I was 19: a sudden heaviness in my lungs and edginess I couldn’t shake. As soon as I left home, the weight of the world’s toughest questions began needling me like a three-year-old. The world’s pressures of womanhood becoming equally as frustrating. Suffocating. I’d lay in bed at night in angst and visualize scenes captured by the Hubble telescope: a galaxy, a multitude of galaxies, that speak to the infinite. I’d think about the world and its enormity. The endless possibilities. And then I’d ponder this strange reality, in contrast: the one where I, a woman, had a little path to find. A way. A purpose. I couldn’t help but

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This Is My New Exercise Regimen for My Faith

This Is My New Exercise Regimen for My Faith

I love new beginnings. I’m a girl who enjoys looking back, reflecting, evaluating, and dreaming for the future. For me, a new day, season or year means a new opportunity to clean out the old, purge clutter, refocus, slow down, set goals, and reflect on what God has done in my life. I’m the nerdy girl who loves to turn the calendar page to a new month. I love the newness and blank slate it brings, representing a fresh start. Recently, I felt a need to start a new exercise regime. Not a physical, let’s-get-fit exercise, but a new mental and spiritual regime I am trying to practice and embrace. I have noticed lately that I allow many of my emotions to

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Want to Change Your Life Start Building Something New

Want to Change Your Life? Start Building Something New

“The secret of change is to focus all your energy not on fighting the old, but on building the new.”—Socrates (a character in Way of the Peaceful Warrior: A Book That Changes Lives by Dan Millman) For the record, the words above weren’t penned by the philosopher Socrates, but rather by a character with the same name in a book I have not yet read. I stopped scrolling when I came across the quote on my Instagram, half-hoped it indeed was passed down by the Greek classic, but regardless, instantly liked it—yet with strings attached. The part of me that rebels against the meaning of the words is the same part of me that finds value in taking an honest inventory of

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When You Don't Feel Blessed as a Mother

When You Don’t Feel Blessed as a Mother

Have you ever had those days where you feel like everything is working out? You slept well the night before. You woke up before your kids and actually got a hot cup of coffee down. Your hair falls exactly the right way and your favorite Cracker Barrel t-shirt is wearing just right (okay, that last one might be all me). But it’s amazing, right? I know those days are few and far between but aren’t they glorious? Of course they are! Those are the type of days when people without kids start to fantasize about what it would be like, saying things like, “Wouldn’t it be nice to start a family? Let’s have one boy and one girl, exactly 18 months apart

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Advice for the Woman Who’s Not Happy in Front of the Mirror

Advice for the Woman Who’s Not Happy in Front of the Mirror

My mother had me late in life. So, by the time I was 12, she was nearing the magic age of 50. I remember sitting in her bedroom while she dressed in the mornings. We would talk about my plans for the day. And as I sat there, my mind would drift, “I wonder if I’ll look like my mom when I grow up?” She was a small-framed, almost frail, woman, with what she endearingly called her “baby belly pouch.” It hung right above her panty-line. I can remember she always tried to hide as she dressed almost like she was just a little embarrassed or uncomfortable for my 12-year-old eyes to see her nakedness. Her behavior left an impression on my

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just-because-she's-pretty-doesnt-mean-youre-not

Just Because She’s Pretty, Doesn’t Mean You’re Not

(Listen to the audio version of this article here.) Do you have a friend who’s so beautiful that sometimes you find yourself staring, admiring? How about one who lives off of donuts and never lifts more than her purse but somehow maintains the body of a supermodel? Maybe you have a friend who always gets what she wants, and everything seems to go her way. Or what about your funny, charismatic friend who lights up a room and makes even strangers feel like they’ve been life-long friends? Have you ever noticed your friend’s beauty, talents, opportunities, or life as a whole and then suddenly felt like you got the short end of the stick? It’s not a fun place to be, and

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Can We Just Admit We Judge Other Women? - 203

Can We Just Admit We Judge Other Women? – 203

Subscribe: Apple Podcasts | Google Podcasts | Spotify | Amazon Music | Android | Email | TuneIn | RSS | MoreHumanity has a natural tendency to judge others—and often, it seems, women are the worst offenders. Why do we do it? How do we stop? These are the questions that Darlene and Julie unpack in this week’s podcast episode on judgment. They discuss the different areas of life in which women are prone to judge others, the reasons we do it, and why we should think twice before casting off any opinions or unwarranted labels. It’s easy to fall into the trap of pointing fingers at the way others fall short, but it ends up revealing a battle with our pride and

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Don't Be Afraid to Be a Different Kind of Mom! with Helen Smallbone - 191

Don’t Be Afraid to Be a Different Kind of Mom! with Helen Smallbone – 191

Subscribe: Apple Podcasts | Google Podcasts | Spotify | Amazon Music | Android | Email | TuneIn | RSS | MoreAs a mom, it’s hard to filter out the opinions and recommendations from other people on how to raise your kids. Perfect social media mom influencers, coworkers, church friends, and even your own mother might have a formula for you to follow, and you may feel that if you’re not playing by the rules, well, then your kids won’t be alright.  Guest Helen Smallbone (mom of Rebecca St. James and for KING & COUNTRY’s Joel and Luke) joins Darlene and Julie this week to share the good news: It’s okay to be a different kind of mom! Take it from Helen, who

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For Everything There is a Season: Reflections on Turning 40

For Everything There Is a Season: Reflections on Turning 40

(Listen to the audio version of this article here.) Almost to the day of me turning 40, I began receiving emails from my dermatologist with deals for $10 shots of Botox. Along with some other strange things like: silver hair appearing around my temples, thinning skin on my forearms, random jutting veins like tributaries on an old map on skin only visible when I wear shorts (which is rarely), under eyes like crinkle paper, new ridges etching into my forehead (what my daughter calls: “squigglies”), groaning when I bend down to pick something up, creaking when I wake up the morning after a workout, calling college students “kids,” and needing that overhead light to do the dishes… I also started recognizing a

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Social Media Is Impacting My Child—What Can I Do About It?

Social Media Is Impacting My Child—What Can I Do About It?

One morning as I sat sipping my coffee for the glorious 10 minutes before my little ones wobble out of their rooms, I opened my phone to an article about school closings. There was going to be a return to virtual classes in many areas of the country because of threats of school violence on the social media platform Tik Tok (the one where kids do dancing that they’ve rehearsed for hours in front of a mirror) and other social media. I read about how social media threats were causing many teachers and students to fear for their lives. I turned to my husband and shared the headline. “How can this be?” I asked incredulous. “School shootings being talked about on social

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are you abandoning your beliefs to fit in board

Are You Abandoning Your Beliefs to Fit In?

What a curious thing, how life circumstances teach us about the hidden aspects of our souls. Those inconsistent behaviors we can easily see in others but remain a mystery as we assess our lives. Recently, the inconsistencies of my character were revealed. My husband and I received a call from our lawyer’s office. He wanted to let us know our documents were ready to sign. We made an appointment and headed to his office. The signing process took less than 20 minutes, and we were back in the car headed home. A few days later, my husband received a very formal email from the law firm. It informed us that during our brief stay in the office, we had “potentially been exposed

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women get better with age and this is why

Women Get Better With Age, and This Is Why

We stood in a little, clustered semi-circle. Three women, not quite yet friends, but acquaintances testing the waters of friendship with tentative toes. Asking ourselves silently, “Will this work? Will she accept me for me? Could we possibly become friends?” We were waiting for our daughters to get out of gymnastics, a captive time frame, one where there is no easy escape if the conversation turns south or gets awkward. At least not until practice is over. So caution was taken, nothing overly controversial was broached, nothing daring or too revealing. We were still feeling each other out, waiting to see if our weirdness matched up with one another. It’s dangerous waters when you’re making new friends as an adult. Somehow, though,

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do you ever feel like you're behind in life

Do You Ever Feel Like You’re Behind in Life?

A couple of months ago, I was in a pit full of stress and anxiety. I was finishing up my last semester of college and on the search for a job related to my field. Usually, there is an overwhelming amount of emotions when your life is going through impactful changes. Rather than focusing on myself and what was bothering me, I turned to social media. I have a bad habit of spending hours on Instagram or Facebook without realizing it. My phone consumes me with funny cat videos, satisfying slime, and catching up on my friends whom I have not talked to in a while. Social media can be both helpful and harmful. Although seeing my friend’s new baby brings me

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daring to go filterless how social media is impacting women and what we can do about it

Daring to Go Filterless: How Social Media Is Impacting Women and What We Can Do About It

Scrolling social media, I see women who are painted like porcelain dolls with tiny waists and thick-alicious hips. I see images of perfection that are totally disproportionate and unattainable. And what is worse: this dangerous trend now compels me. I find myself searching frantically for the perfect filter before I post a pic, the one that looks “natural” or like I’m just the right age (younger than I am). If I can’t find it, then I spend way too much time adjusting the lighting and color saturation; maybe I’ll even add one of those funky (and slightly creepy) filters that make me look like an extraterrestrial, flower child, or naughty pirate. I do this, I play along, even though most days all

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