When Skin Tells a Story

I was rubbing my sun burnt legs down with lotion and noticed not only the hot feeling of a surface burn, but also felt an itch with a cluster of mosquito bites on my left calf. Scratching only irritated the burn, but if I didn’t scratch the bites were impossible to handle. Then, I noticed the nick where I had cut myself with a razor blade down near my ankle; blood was starting to trickle down my foot. I had rushed my shower, obviously, to have not noticed my beat-up legs and allowed myself to be so careless in cutting myself. Cuts, burns, and bites made my leg looked like it had been to battle.

I studied my other leg taking in an old scar down by my ankle. Fewer bites, but still uncomfortably burnt and a giant bruise on my shin.

All of a sudden, I felt a wave of being proud of my legs. I think typically my mind would rumble through thoughts of frustration having to dress a certain way to cover up the mess that was my legs in that moment. But not this time.

“Look at that.” I thought. “My skin. Taking the heat literally for all I go through and put it through.” My skin protects me from all kinds of elements just by walking the daily ins and outs of life. And look at all it can handle. The sun. Insects. Scrapes. Scratches. Bruises. Cuts that lead to scars. Though imperfect, my skin was beautiful to me in that moment. Is beautiful. And I don’t give it enough credit.

Skin is the biggest organ of our bodies and gets treated the harshest. Do we thank our skin for all it protects us from? Do we take care of it as we should? Do we drink enough water or eat high nutrient foods that hydrate and feed it properly? I try to. But besides the physical necessity that skin is by providing our bodies protection, there is so much more depth to understand.

My skin told the story of a woman who loves the outdoors— bug bites and sunburns. The bruises point to someone who is active, jostling around, and bumping into things. The scar on my ankle showed something of adventure or an experience that might have been rough in the moment, but ended with me being more resilient and now it’s healed. The razor cut by my ankle points to a personality of getting things done quickly, maybe too quickly and even rushing at times.

And what about you? What does your skin say to the world? What stories can people gather beyond the surface from that tough outer layer?

Some people have tattoos. (I love asking people about their tattoos! Sometimes the stories of a person’s tattoos are deep and meaningful. Others say they got a tattoo on a whim because of a bet or a preference. “I just like stars!” someone responded when I asked what the array of stars on their shoulder stood for.)

Some people have unique birth marks.

Some people have freckles.

Some people have stretch marks or wrinkles.

Some people have callouses built up from work and play.

Some people have more or less melanin, making them “black” or “white” or somewhere in between.

Think of the individual fingerprints you specifically were born with.

It’s pliable and soft. Growing with you. Stretching with you. Unique to ONLY you.

You can get skin wet and dry it off in a matter of seconds. Sometimes when it’s rainy and I need to run outside to the mailbox or take the trash out, I would rather go in my bare feet knowing that shoes will take forever to dry compared to wiping my feet off.

Skin gets dirty and it’s never a problem knowing you can then get it clean in the next shower.

Whatever your skin says on the outside about you, your life, your story—know it is absolutely beautiful and deserves appreciation and care.

Be proud of your skin. Be proud of what it says about you. Be proud of the first cover people see to the story and book that makes your life. And live your best life knowing your skin is beautiful even if it’s imperfect.

Candy vs Soul Food Relationships

Anyone who knows me well, also knows the value I put on health, wellness, and disease prevention. I do this through whole food, high nutrition eating and a balanced weekly workout routine. These things are fundamental to who I am and how I function on a day-to-day basis.

A prime example of how seriously I take my physical health and wellness lifestyle is this: In 2018-2019 I lived in Madrid, Spain for almost a year. I would drag a small suitcase through the Metro and city streets, EVERY SING DAY, to and from class, the gym, and home… filled with healthy snacks, my gym clothes and shoes, and my laptop. I didn’t have a car to haul it all in, and working out and eating right are just that important. When I moved back to the US from Spain, I ditched the suitcase, but continued my daily walks, working out at 6 AM without fail, plus gravel and road biking on the weekends. I’ve kept up with this lifestyle from the time I was in middle school and high school, active in sports and learning to appreciate salads and vegetables as a meal, not just a side every once in a while.

For as much as I pursue and put time, energy, and effort into my physical health and wellbeing, I can’t say I have always done the same when it came to pursing romantic relationships.

I had written this post for a group of women, The Higher View, about a month ago, just before getting married, and felt compelled to turn it into a personal blog post, which I am finally doing today… three weeks after getting married.

SO, here goes with the initial post!


I think in light of getting married this week, this post shared by a friend stood out to me and I wanted to pass along the concept. Hoping it brings encouragement to single ladies, or anyone struggling with friendships or other relationships in general!


Candy vs Soul Food in Relationships.

Are we entertaining relationships and people that are producing FRUIT? The good, life producing, healthy and wholesome food that we need to survive? Or are we entertaining the sweet looking, tantalizing, fake candy “food” that does no good for us? The latter may cause more harm in the long run as it brings a sugar rush and high, and then leaves us worn out and burnt out with the drop in levels when it’s all over.

The same friend that posted this [quote] graphic told me something years ago that helped get me where I am today in not chasing fake relationships with guys, but instead to go after the life giving kind.

We were at some restaurant, having our fill of chips, guac, and margaritas. I was bemoaning some guy and she encouraged me to look at his fruit, checking in with God about it. When I did that, it turns out he wasn’t producing any fruit despite me wanting and wishing it.

NOW, years later, I’m about to get married to a man with a generous heart and kind soul. He’s pursing God. He treats strangers with love and looks out for his friends and family. I think of my friend’s wisdom often. And the change happened in myself first in what kind of men I was willing to feed my soul with.

Real “Soul Food” relationships will be filled with Fruit that satisfies as they are connected to the One who gives true life. They won’t leave you crashing and burning. Just like we choose what eat and what we put in our bodies daily- junk or whole foods- which determines the health of our physical bodies, we can choose who to put ourselves around, talk to, and entertain on a daily basis. Are they connected to the Vine and producing fruit? If not, you may want to let them go and pursue healthier people who do.

Don’t neglect your soul and what you are feeding it with via the relationships you have!


Jesus’ says in Mathew 7: 15-20 about knowing a person by their fruits.

Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves. By their fruit you will recognize them. Do people pick grapes from thorn bushes, or figs from thistles? Likewise, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, and a bad tree cannot bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. Thus, by their fruit you will recognize them.

The fruit of a person is life building or soul crushing. Let’s be wise and as much we pursue bodily health, let’s take care of our souls by what and who we are feeding them with.

Balanced Triathlete

Balaned-Triathlete

Go. Go on days you don’t want to. Push yourself in training. Don’t be afraid of speed or injury. Fear will hold you back from most everything in life. Fear kills. Even fear of taking a break, a day off to recoup. After all, your body recovers during those breaks and reaches its max potential at rest! The R&R is what builds and strengthens for the next workout, which tears muscles and pushes heart and body to health.

But still.

If you want to rest well and work out well you have to know, it’s gauging what you want in your fitness goals with what you need to get there. It’s all about balance.

Training With Others & Knowing my Limits

I learned that I’m not the best –that I need others encouragement, motivation, and advice to become a better triathlete. But in that, not everyone knows what my body feels. If I skip a morning workout because I worked my body too hard the previous two days, that’s okay. I know that the best way for me to grow as an athlete is by sharpening and honing my fitness from others around me –but as I ask questions and learn from others, I judge what’s best for more. It’s a balance.

I’m in Control of my Body & Sometimes my Body Needs Grace

I learned that I’m in control of my body. But my body is also in control too. I need to treat it well for it to do what I want. I need to drink more water, take in more plants- fruits and veggies, and protein, and I need to train my body in the moment, to work with my mind. Breathing, posture, and burning in my muscles all matter to keep pushing and not give up. I am in control. But as I have that control, I guide and train my body with gentleness and patience when it doesn’t do what I want on a “bad workout day.” I cannot let those days get me down. It’s a balance.

Saying “No” to People & Spending Time With People

I learned that I need to be okay with saying “no” to people, to events, to even family when it is important that I sleep and take care of myself as I push. I feel like I’ve learned that “no” word a few seasons in my life, and once more it matters as I drive through the distractions in life. So often I feel I don’t want to be left out of an event, or miss a hilarious “you had to be there” moment. But that just means that I prioritize the fear of missing out, over the reality that I need to take down time to perform at my highest potential. Saying “no” is a way to get that down time, so I can get to that early morning work out, feeling rested and good about it, instead of grouchy and upset all day.

But I don’t want to be one track minded –that the ultimate, most important thing is going to bed and working out early, with work and even second trainings in between. People matter. Events matter. Life outside of training matters. It’s a balance.

Rejoicing in the Triumphs & Continuing to Push

Lastly, I learned that I need to rejoice in the gains I have made, while determining where I still want to go. I swim fast and bike hard, but run slowly that my feet feel like they are dragging, THAT’S OKAY. Rejoice in the swimming and biking, and look forward to tomorrow when I can run again on a new day. Rejoicing in today, while looking forward to and planning tomorrow’s workout. It’s a balance.

{October} Breast Cancer Awareness Month

Paula Biggs for Frog Prince Paperie

Photo Cred: Paula Biggs for Frog Prince Paperie

*I originally wrote this post for Wonderfully Made’s blog “Know Your Value” in October.

Have you ever been sick? Have you ever dealt with pain in your body or mind? Have you ever seen a loved one suffer, or maybe even die?

This might sound heavy, but take a deep breath and hang in there with me, because sometimes it is important to talk about heavy things.

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Around the nation, people raise awareness about breast cancer, helping to erase stigma for the disease, and encourage early detection of the disease for treatment.

A study and article posted on the American Cancer Society website says that “an estimated 60,290 new cases” of breast cancer in women will be detected in 2015.

As we move through the year and find ourselves in October, it is important that we at Wonderfully Made address the pain and fear that women (and men too) find themselves in when diagnosed with cancer, disease, and illness.

Taking a step back, I want to shift your attention from our world today to go back in time about 2,000 years. Let’s look at one woman who struggled with disease for 12 years before finally finding healing through faith in one Man…

“A woman in the crowd had suffered for twelve years with constant bleeding. She had suffered a great deal from many doctors, and over the years she had spent everything she had to pay them, but she had gotten no better. In fact, she had gotten worse. She had heard about Jesus, so she came up behind him through the crowd and touched his robe. For she thought to herself, ‘if I can just touch his robe, I will be healed.’” (Mark 5: 25-28)

Now I want to take a moment to explain a bit about the culture of Bible times. Women were not considered equal to men, but deferred to them in the patriarchal society that fathers ruled their households, including their wives.

This woman was single, which already puts her in a vulnerable place, and on top of that, for 12 years she sought medical help for a blood hemorrhage. That meant that she spent her entire wealth on doctors to try to get healing, which left her in a worse spot. When this woman met Jesus, she was penniless, sick, and no one was on her side.

She didn’t have medical insurance. She didn’t have a husband to support her. She didn’t have people raising awareness for her. No one started a campaign to helping with the stigma of bleeding for 12 years. She didn’t have specialists she could travel to all over the world, when the doctors she consulted didn’t have an answer.

She was destitute and desperate. And when it came to meeting the most important, popular, and reputable Rabbi of her time, she couldn’t even approach him to tell her story.

She only had one thing, and that was her faith to just touch him. And now, her story is not forgotten.

“Immediately the bleeding stopped, and she could feel in her body that she had been healed of her terrible condition. Jesus realized at once that healing power had gone out from him, so he turned around in the crowd and asked, ‘Who touched my robe?’ His disciples said to him, ‘Look at this crowd pressing around you. How can you ask, “Who touched me?” ’ But he kept on looking around to see who had done it. Then the frightened woman, trembling at the realization of what had happened to her, came and fell to her knees in front of him and told him what she had done. And he said to her, ‘Daughter, your faith has made you well. Go in peace. Your suffering is over.’” (Mark 5: 29- 34)

Jesus never changes, and to this day He wants to heal our bodies, minds, and souls. He wants us to know Him as our Savior and Healer. He wants to call us daughters and for us to seek Him when we need help, medical or otherwise.

As you think about Breast Cancer Awareness this month, and the many who have suffered breast cancer, are seeking help now, or might be diagnosed later, know that their stories matter. Their stories are important to the Father who sees and knows suffering to the point of healing a penniless, unnamed woman of the Bible so long ago. He calls these women His daughters, and He is ready and able to grant peace and healing.

So have hope, my friends, like this sick woman from the Bible. Keep the faith to look up and out. To not give up getting help. To just grasp on the fringe of His robes that He will save.

Jesus turned, and seeing her he said, “Take heart, daughter; your faith has made you well.” And instantly the woman was made well. ~Mathew 9:22~

If you want to learn more about Breast Cancer Awareness Month, or get involved in a deeper way, Komen is a national non-profit, with other great resources, centered on breast cancer.