What do you see?

When you look in the mirror, what do you see? When you look inside of yourself, what do you see?

You see, I don’t give shit what you look like on outside. YOU ARE INNATELY BEAUTIFUL. You know how I know that this is true? Because YOU have the fingerprint of God on you. When you were formed in your mother’s womb, God put His mark on you. You were born for a purpose. Because He made you, You are BEAUTIFUL.

I know this may be hard to take. I was programmed throughout my life to believe that I was fat, that I was lucky that I was smart. I literally had a relative SAY that to me. “Deneen, you’re lucky you’re the smart one.” I had another relative look at a picture SHE took tell me, “Wow, look at all of those rolls!”

With family like that, who needs enemies, right? 

Some of the most stunning people I know would be passed by if you were to judge them on their looks alone. They have hearts made of gold. They are kind, generous, supportive, talented. They invest in other people without expectation of a return on that investment. That is what makes someone beautiful.

One day you’re going to get old. Your boobs are going to sag. You’re going to get some wrinkles. You’re going to slow down. Yes, I know that there are things that you can do to prevent or slow down these things…but inevitably you are going to age.

You know what won’t age? Your spirit. Your kindness. Your goodness. The image of God imprinted on you.

Today, I want you to look yourself in the mirror, and I want you to compliment yourself. If you can’t figure out somethings, tell yourself that Deneen says you’re beautiful. Say it until you believe it. Got it?

you are beautiful

 

 

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Words matter

 

Do you stop and take stock of how you speak about yourself? I mean, really listened to yourself? Do you listen to how others talk about themselves? We are really mean to ourselves.

I won’t wear a bathing suit because my legs are fat.
I’ll never be successful, so I’m going to go back to (insert it here.)
I’ll never find someone great who’ll love me, so I’ll accept (insert bad behavior here.)
You’re going to think I’m crazy, but…
I know this is a dumb question,but…

STOP IT. STOP IT RIGHT NOW!!!!

You see, by saying these things, you are creating your reality. What’s worse, is you’re telling me how I should feel about you. If that means nothing to you, realize that you are insulting ME by saying those things about yourself. If I value you enough to spend time with you of my own volition, then that means that I care about you. I care enough about you to let you know that what you’re doing is hurting both of us.

Today, I challenge you to take a step back and really think about the way that you talk about yourself. Are you unhappy with your life, with your job, with your significant other? Take responsibility for the way that you talk about you and see if those things don’t change. I mean…what can it hurt, especially if you’re already unhappy.

stop it

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Charlottesville

I am a processor. I am a thinker. I rarely react emotionally. If you know me, that last statement may make you laugh.

When I’m being attacked, it takes a long time for me to get to the point wherein I will lash out or take action to defend myself. I grew up always trying to be the peacemaker. If you’ve seen my ugly side, it’s because I was pushed to that point. It is never my knee-jerk reaction. 

I’ve taken time to process what happened in Charlottesville last weekend. I’ve been really chewing on how I feel about monuments to confederate soldiers being removed. A long time. 

I do not and will never support the KKK or white supremacists. I just don’t think that there is a superior race. I know a lot of wonderful white people, black people, Asian people, Hispanic people. I also know a lot of assholes who are white, black, Asian and Hispanic. People are people. I honestly don’t know why this needs to be said, but alas, it does. 

Back in 2005, my Patriots defeated the Eagles. I went to a meeting the next day in the greater Philadelphia area, and someone said that they wished Philly were having a parade. I looked at her and said, “Parades are for winners. They’re having a parade in Boston tomorrow, if you’d like to go.” She was pissed, I was amused. 

Stick with me. I’m about to connect the dots. 

The Civil War was fought for one reason. The southern states wanted to secede from the union because the union wanted to outlaw slavery. The union won. The confederacy lost. In the simplest of terms, taking out all of the emotions, why ARE there monuments to the losers of the civil war? That is just stupid. 

If you go to Germany, Poland, anywhere in Europe, I’m fairly certain that you’re not going to find statues of Hitler and his cabinet. You know what you do find? Memorials of the people who were killed. Memorials to remind people of the atrocities that were committed during WWII. Museums filled with information for those who seek to understand WWII. 

So yeah, this conservative republican thinks that the monuments should be taken down. Don’t destroy them, though. Find out who funded them and make those people build a state of the art Civil War museum. 

Make sure that there is an actual Civil War expert consulted to work with the museum curators to truly drive home the atrocities that were committed during the trans-Atlantic slave trade. Highlight the suppliers and the buyers. Explain what it was to be a slave on a plantation. Draw comparisons between life then and life now in the inner cities of America. Really dig deep and expose what was and what is. Make it a truly educational experience. 

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Being a Christian in the US today is rough.

 Don’t get me wrong. It’s not as rough as it is in Muslim countries. I can declare my faith openly here without fear of being killed, tortured, losing property or being imprisoned. Being a Christian doesn’t mean that I’ll lose my job. Before you throw stones at me or crucify me, hear me out.

In the US, people assume that people of faith lack intelligence. I can’t really blame them for that assumption. Look at the people who supposedly represent me and my faith! They preach how we need to help the poor from their luxury cars, surrounded by body guards, flying in their personal jets and living in opulent mansions, never interacting with their parishioners let alone actually meeting or personally practicing what they preach. Don’t get me started on the gospel that’s so watered down and sweetened that most should be charged with the Philadelphia soda tax. Ugh. 

Job was disgustingly wealthy. God allowed him to lose EVERYTHING, including his sons, BECAUSE of his faith. Moses. That dude led a nation of the most ungrateful, sniveling brats through the desert for 40 years. He saw the promised land, but never ate in the land flowing with milk and honey. 

Jesus. You know. The Messiah. The Savior. Never sinned. People spit on him, reviled him, mocked him, betrayed him. He begged God to take the cup from him…but submitted to God’s will. They CRUCIFIED him. After literally beating him to a bloody pulp, they put nails through his hands and feet, propped him up on a cross in a way to make sure that he died as slowly as possible after they banged a crown of thorns into his bloody, raw skull. 

The disciples. Those guys were all KILLED, aside from John, for being associated with Jesus. Paul…you know…they guy who wrote 2/3 of the New Testament? Yeah…he had fun after he started following Jesus. In and out of prison, beaten, beheaded. 

Yet, despite this short overview, these fools who supposedly represent me as a follower of Christ tell me that if I send $10 to their cause, that I’ll live a prosperous life. So, yeah, I understand why you may think I’m stupid for being a Christian. 

Let me tell you my story. 

When I was a kid, I became a Christian at a young age. As I went through school, I was indoctrinated to question anything about God. I remember senior year being pissed that I had to read Paradise Lost. Fast forward to my early 20’s. I’m working, partying, living at home. My mom has this Bible study going on in the house. I was always on the periphery with snide comments, asking hard questions they weren’t equipped to answer. They were always gentle with me…but I was a jerk. One day, a guy at the Bible study offered to pray for me. I rolled my eyes and said okay. When he prayed for me, something happened. I can’t logically explain it…but I knew then and there that God is real.

Before you start being judgy…let me ask you a question. Have you ever been in love? I mean fallen hard for someone? Can you logically explain what made you fall in love with that person at that moment? 

Being a person of faith is not easy for someone like me. I am logical. My brain actually appreciates algebra and science. I have a shelf or two of books on theology, church history, apologetics. I can have an intelligent conversation with you on how it is actually illogical scientifically that there is NOT a creator. Yup. I’m THAT girl. 

So yeah…being a Christian in the US is hard if you are an intelligent person who has read the Bible and studied the faith…mainly because of uninformed zealots who profit from the emotions of people who don’t know better and who are so complacent that they don’t want to know better. 

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Do the hard things

Yesterday was the first true test of my new life. I was home, in my apartment, alone…alone with my own thoughts. That can be a scary place. 

I couldn’t get out of bed, for starters. I was, and frankly am, completely exhausted. From travel. From emotions. From making big decisions. From not-so-promising news. From life. 

I was hungry…and had no food in the house, so I had to venture out for food. Despite my hunger level, I made good food purchases. I had plans with friends, so I followed through. 

In the empty space, I freaked out! “What the hell did you do?!” “Who just quits her job with no solid plan?!” “What if (insert any bad thought you can here)?!?!” I was so mean to myself. If I heard you say those things to yourself, I would’ve given you a stern lecture. You know what? That freak out was a good thing. I mean…I’d have to be a robot to quit a job and NOT be a little scared. 

Today, however, I had a to-do list. I checked things off my list. I have some really exciting things brewing that I’ll share later, I promise. 

Today, I re-learned that you only move forward by taking steps forward. Progress is not made in stasis. Do the workout. Start the business. Have the conversation. Encourage other people. 

I know that someone reading this blog has a major life decision to make. It’s scary as shit. Do. It. Life is too short to be unhappy. This is NOT a dress rehearsal. DO THE SCARY THING. If I can do it, then SO CAN YOU!!!! 

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Five years already?

Today is five years since we lost my grandmother. I’ve been so emotional…just raw. 

Elsie and I had an enigmatic relationship. She wasn’t ready to be a grandmother. She had a daughter who was nearly five when I was born. I didn’t know these things. I just failed to understand why she held me at an arms length. 

As I grew older, things didn’t improve until a few years before she passed when I moved into my first apartment. I’ll never forget her using the bathroom in my apartment, and coming out telling me that I put the toilet paper on the right way. I mean…I tried for 35 years to please her and get her love. Had I known all it took was the proper placement of a toilet paper roll, I would’ve been in her good graces decades ago! 

The last two years were when we really got close. She saw me in her…a strength that she never knew I possessed. Honestly, I didn’t know just how strong she was until she started to lose her independence as I was truly gaining mine. On July 16, 2012, we got the news that she only had a little time left. Something in me broke that day…I had just started a new job, and I learned that I was losing my grandmother. I can take you to the exact spot where I received the news. Parts of my heart are still on the pavement there. 

I could regale you with stories of my grandmother…telling me that if she knew my mom were bringing me to dinner that she would’ve told her to stay home; of her not talking to me because I couldn’t watch her dog; of her telling me that she wanted to die because all of her family was dead. Those things no longer sting. What pierces my heart now is hearing her voice tell me that I had to take care of her girls; of her telling me that she loved me for the last time. 

There is one thing that I have to do to honor her. I’m not ready just yet…but I know it will happen soon. 

Until then…Elsie…please give my love to everyone that I love who is with you on the other side. I hope that I’m making you proud…although you’d be PISSED at me if you saw me typing this through tears. I wish I could just watch one more Phillies game with you…here’s a picture of your favorite Phillie 😊😘😍

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Alles Gute zum Geburtstag

Growing up, I was a blessed kid. I was surrounded by so much love that I didn’t know any differently. My parents, as crazy as they can be, loved my sister and me unconditionally. Were there moments in which I disappointed them? Of course. However, to this moment, I know that if I need anything, they are a phone call away. I’ve never known anything else. 

My father’s parents were also the epitome of unconditional love for me. My Opa would send us hearts on Valentine’s Day. My Oma made our Barbies clothes. When we came up to Syracuse, my sister and I were smothered in my Oma’s love. I mean…we literally almost suffocated when she hugged us…no joke. We would travel through the night, and my Oma and Opa would be up waiting for us, bologna sandwiches at the ready. 

My Oma was one of the strongest women I’ve ever met. She met my Opa during WWII in Germany, fell in love, left her country and raised 4 children here in the US. She learned English. She worked in the school cafeteria. She was an excellent cook, could calculate recipes in a way that puts Bobby Flay to shame. I have never met a person who didn’t meet my Oma and fall immediately in love with her. 

Today, my Oma would’ve been 90 years old. She went home to be with my Opa in February. Not a day goes by that I don’t miss her. Losing her was one of the hardest things I’ve experienced. I know I’ve still it fully processed her loss…and from my experience with the loss of my other grandmother, it will occur in waves…sometimes gentle waves, sometimes a tidal wave that threatens to overwhelm. 

Today, Oma, I wish you a happy birthday! Give Opa and everyone else a huge hug for me…and eat ALL THE CAKE! 

Ich liebe dich always. 

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Endings and beginnings

Well…today was my last day. I’m not gonna lie…it was tough. I was okay until my boss came up and talked to me. You see…the reason I stayed so long was because of him. And our patients. Even as I write this, I’m crying. On a train. 

I’ve worked for and with a bunch of dentists. Not everyone has a heart for people like my boss. I worked for one other guy who loved people as much as he does. And, for the record, I cried when I left my first office too. With both doctors, we just knew one another well enough that, when we locked eyes, we just knew. And cried. And neither of them are/were emotional men. 

Tomorrow, when I wake up, my life will be different. I don’t have to wake up on Monday at 0400 to workout and grab a train. I don’t have to check a schedule, anticipating what my day will look like according to the way patients are scheduled. I don’t have to worry about my hygiensists or EFDAs getting lunch. All I have to worry about is creating a future in which my heart can truly sing, in which I can impact as many people as possible and get my father retired so he can enjoy a few years of his life. 

I am truly grateful for the opportunity I’ve had for the past five years. And I am truly excited about the future. For tonight, though, I will have puffy eyes, because I made a decision to leave the dysfunctional family…who on occasion put the fun in dysfunctional…I have known for the past half a decade. 

I’ll also miss the beautiful gardens 😊

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What the fluff?!?!

This morning, I may have freaked out a little bit. I am leaving my job 😳 Yea, I made a rational decision based on evidence that it is time for me to leave. Yes, I know that I know that it’s the right decision for me, and this is the time that it needs to happen. But…I’M LEAVING MY JOB! What’s next? What’s the game plan? 

In the past, I have been a chronic over-thinker and worrier. I say in the past because I refuse to wear the badge of a worrier. I’m in recovery for overthinking. 

As I was melting down, I sent my friend a message that said that skydiving seems like a great idea until you’re standing at the OPEN door of a SAFE airplane waiting to JUMP, hoping your parachute opens. She laughed, said this was WAY safer than skydiving and reminded me that God is in control. 

For way too long, I’ve forgotten that GOD IS IN CONTROL. Not me. I’ve forced things to happen. I’ve walked through doors with huge danger signs because I couldn’t wait. I made huge life decisions rashly because I didn’t want to make other people uncomfortable. 

Well…Friday at 3PM, I’m jumping out of the proverbial plane. Will there be tears? Yea. Will there be regret? No. You see…I made some good friends over the last 5 years. My life has been touched so deeply by so many people in the past 5 years. I hope that I’ve deeply affected a few people positively over the past five years. Friday st 3:01 PM, a new chapter begins. Please pray for me…and come along on the journey in which I discover what God has created me to do!!

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New beginnings

This week is going to be a week of lasts for me. It is bittersweet. 

After 10 years, I am retiring from the dental industry…specifically from working in a dental office. I know more about periodontal disease, brushing, flossing, crowns and implants than anyone who is not a doctor or hygienist should know. I’m met countless wonderful people…people I never would have in other settings. 

This decision was one of the most difficult that I’ve made. Leaving only one other job was this difficult. When you are somewhere for half a decade, you get to know your patients. Some of them become more than a cleaning and exam. You dry their tears when their husband passes away. You watch vibrant women become a shell of who they were due to Alzheimer’s. You watch children grow up, graduate high school, graduate high school and travel the world, discover who God created them to be. 

You see, I’m not leaving a job. I’m leaving people for whom I care deeply. 

There comes a time, however, when you have to realize that you’ve reached your max potential. You’ve become root bound in the pot in which you’re planted. The pot isn’t going to grow…yet you keep growing. 

This week is a week of lasts for me. Last Septa pass I have to buy for a while. Last 0400 wake up call for a while. Last time I have to wear scrubs. Last time I see many people I care for. 

For the first time in a very long time, I am excited for the future. However, this week I have to systematically say goodbye to what I’ve known for so long. 

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