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One of the topics I’m most passionate about and have enjoyed writing most on Espresso and Cream has been body image. It’s been a while since I talked about anything related to body image, mainly because I find myself in a funny place lately in terms of my body. Joe often says that the things we struggle with the most are the areas in our life that God uses in the biggest ways to help others and connect with those in a similar place. I like to think that there is a lot of truth to that.

I snapped the photo above while trying on the items in my latest Stitch Fix. When I look at that photo a wave of sadness rushes over me. The girl in that photo is absolutely beautiful. She looks healthy and fit, alive and well. But when I snapped that photo, those aren’t the thoughts I had. I examined my body in that dress and evaluated it from every angle. And, I’m sad to say, I picked it apart.

Over the years I’ve come a long way in my journey to body acceptance, but there are still days when I look in the mirror and find flaws, both real and imagined, that prevent me from living and enjoying life to the fullest. One of my prayers lately has been that God would allow me to see myself more clearly and would continue to foster in me a spirit of self confidence. How am I doing this? I don’t have it all figured out, but this is where I’ve started:

1. Seek God and Study His Word: God has a lot to say about His creation! He’s incredibly passionate about His children and the beauty in each one of us. It’s something he talks about a lot in His word. I especially love what is said in 1 Corinthians 6:19-20:
Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body.

2. Ask for Prayer: My husband is incredibly loving and supportive and a great resource for me. If I find that I’m starting to think negative thoughts about my body when getting ready for work or a date night, I ask Joe to pray with/over me, that God would protect my thoughts and allow me to live life fully. I’m not always good about doing this, but I’m working on it more and more. It’s amazing how differently I think after taking just a minute or two to bring my thoughts and emotions in front of God.

3. Just Move Forward: This probably sounds a little too simplistic, but sometimes it’s important to just get over myself and move on with my day. We all have those days when things just aren’t working, whether that is hair, makeup, the clothes we’re wearing, etc. But what’s been the most helpful to me in those moments is to say (out loud) “This is as good as it’s going to get today.” I can drive myself crazy obsessing over the imperfection I see, or move on with my day and enjoy it anyway.

There are a lot of women who are writing about a single topic this month, called the 31 Day Challenge. A whole month of posts based around a single topic. I love the idea of taking time each day to really write with thought and intention. Although I don’t have the capacity this month to participate in the full challenge, I hope to spend a little extra time and energy this month writing intentionally about body image and wellness in the spiritual, emotional, and physical sense. I welcome your thoughts, experiences and insights this month as I try my best to be a little bit more transparent and thoughtful in what I write!


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I’ve been meaning to write about this topic for a while now, but this is the first chance I’ve gotten to really put thoughts down on paper with all the craziness of our summer schedules.

As a bit of a background, I grew up in a house where we never owned a scale. Once in a while when I was visiting friends, I would step on a scale at their house. But my mom was a big proponent of not owning a scale. My mom has always been fit, healthy and active. Without saying it out loud, she was sending me an important message: the number on the scale doesn’t matter, being healthy does.

Right after college, when I was losing the weight I gained in school and finding my way back to my healthy body, I decided to buy a scale for my apartment. I’ve weighed myself almost daily ever since. The scale, which was located in my bathroom, was the first thing I stepped on each morning after waking up. I knew the general number my body had settled at comfortably, 145, and would monitor ups and downs to keep myself in check. A few pounds up, a few pounds down: As long as I was in the range all was okay.

However, in the past six months or so, I started to notice that my once normal relationship with the scale was starting to edge into unhealthy territory. It’s not uncommon for my weight to fluctuate between 140 and 148 throughout the course of a week. Suddenly, instead of taking the fluctuations with a grain of salt, I was starting to let the number on the scale dictate my day. If the scale read 148 it threw my day into a tizzy with negative body talk and a distorted view of what I looked like. If it read 140, I was elated and felt great. Instead of paying attention to how I felt, what my body was telling me and how my clothes fit, I was allowing a number on a scale to speak the loudest in my mind.

So, one day, I decided it was time to just put the scale away. I moved it out of my bathroom and into the hall closet. Getting it out of sight also placed it out of mind and I found that I was much happier and more balanced without being faced with a number every day. I still get my scale out every two or three weeks instead of daily, which is a much healthier way of monitoring overall weight and health rather than obsessing over minute details like water weight and daily fluctuations.

The funny thing is, weighing myself vs. not weighing myself daily has had zero impact on my weight. The scale wasn’t really helping me stay on track, it was just a tool I used to obsess over something I shouldn’t have been obsessing about.

How do you feel about the scale? Love it or hate it?


WHO: Jenny Frederick
WHAT: World-Traveling Minnesota Girl
BLOG: Traveling Chic

Hi, E&C Readers! My name is Jenny and I am delighted to be a part of Madison’s “My 5 Things.” I’m a Midwest girl from Minnesota but I’ve also lived in San Francisco, Sydney, Boulder and briefly in Rome. I’m a month away from my 30th birthday, and although it makes me feel somewhat old, I’m excited to shirt into a new decade. I am an attorney by day and the owner and blogger of Traveling Chic by night. When I’m not working, I can be found trying out new recipes (especially from E&C), digging into a good book, trying to convince my boyfriend that we need a dog, and dreaming up my next travel destination. Here are my five things!

1.Saturday Mornings: Whether I am trying a new brunch spot or taking a stroll with coffee, I love Saturday mornings. It is the one time of the week when my boyfriend and I aren’t distracted by other things and can focus on each other! I’d love to have a Saturday morning tradition, but I haven’t come up with the perfect idea yet.

2. The Secret to Happiness: I wish I had the answer! Besides my family and friends, I think that happiness often comes from the simple pleasures in life, like laughing until your belly hurts, watching a sunset, trying a DIY project, catching up with a friend over peppermint mochas, and eating dessert before dinner. All of these things put a smile on my face.

3. A Good Book: I have an insatiable love for reading. There is nothing better than getting lost in a good book. I recently received a Kindle as a gift, and love how easy it is to buy a book, but I miss earmarking pages and giving it to a friend when I’m finished. I usually like to read memoirs, especially about traveling and cooking. A personal favorite of mine is “My Life in France” about Julia Child’s adventures in cooking and living in Paris. The next book I want to dig into is “Berlin Kitchen: A Love Story (with Recipes).”

4. Wanderlust: As you can probably guess from my blog, I love to travel! I am in a permanent state of wanderlust. I worked as a flight attendant for a year, spent a semester at sea, and traveled the world from Havana to Hong Kong. I truly believe that traveling is good for the soul! It allows you to experience new things, meet new people and actually live in the moment. My enthusiasm for life is always recharged after a great trip!

5. Countdown ’til Christmas: Christmas is such a magical time of year. I am completely guilty of going over-the-top with decorating, baking and gifting. I usually keep a strict rule about not listening to Christmas music before Thanksgiving, but I had a moment of weakness the week before Thanksgiving and put on Michael Buble’s Christmas CD. Whoops! Although the holidays can be very commercial, it can be so much more than that. It’s the time of year when you can show the people you love what they truly mean to you. This year I plan to make time for the special people in my life, volunteer, go skiing and sledding (I live in a frozen tundra after all), cozy-up by the fireplace, and spread some Christmas cheer!

Thanks for sharing, Jenny! If you’re interested in sharing your 5 things, shoot me an e-mail ( for more information! -Madison



WHO: Emily Schloerb
WHAT: Marketing Coordinator
WHERE: Kansas City
BLOG: Country Roots & Cowgirl Boots

I’m a 23-year-old marketing coordinator at Westfall GMC, a trucking dealership in Kansas City. I grew up in Iowa, graduated from ISU with degree in journalism. I started blogging shortly after I got married as a way to keep family and friends in the loop. Unfortunately, I wasn’t very consistent with my posts. This past summer I decided it was time to take it more seriously or let it go so I rebranded and now blog at Country Roots and Cowgirl Boots.

 1. Jeans That Fit: I have searched high and low for that perfect pair and my current favorite pair is Big Star Hazel. When I find a pair that fits just right I feel so confident.

2. Hosting Dinner Parties: There’s something about planning and hosting dinner parties that makes me feel uber feminine. From the menu planning to the presentation, I enjoy every moment of it!

3. A Glass of Wine: I love a good craft beer, but there’s also nothing like a glass of red wine with soft, jazzy music to set the scene of a relaxing evening with friends or my husband. Sometimes my husband will light a fire in our fire pit and we’ll sit around it sipping wine and chatting about our day. It’s so serene and peaceful.

4. Journaling: I took to journaling during a rough time for me in college. I was trying to find myself and journaling helped me gather my thoughts and track that journey. I still journal several times a week. Writing is therapeutic to me. I can sort through my hopes and dreams, vent my frustrations, and pray. Most mornings, I make myself a cup of coffee and sit down at the kitchen table with my journal, a pen and my Bible before I do anything else. It’s my faith in God that has carried me through the ups and downs of life and I like to make that a priority in my day.

5. My Family: I met my husband, Ryan, in college. We met in the dorms, dated for most of my college career and married months after my graduation in 2010. We adopted Radley the following spring. He’s a lab mix, a.k.a. mutt, but the cutest mutt I’ve ever seen. We named Radley after my favorite book, To Kill a Mockingbird. It’s a classic.

Thank you so much for sharing, Emily! If you’re interested in sharing your 5 things, send me an e-mail ( for more information! – Madison

WHO: Karlie Van Soelen
WHAT: Director of Communications & Missions at Federated Fellowship Church

I grew up in small town called Pella, IA, recently graduated in May, got married in June, and am the Director of Communications & Missions at Federated Fellowship Church: I design at my job and on the side and love to sing.

1. Scripture: 1 Peter 2:9 says, “But you are a chosen people [woman], a royal priesthood [daughter], a holy nation [woman], God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.” However, when you replace the words nation with woman and people with daughter, it creates a specific message to me. To you. This scripture verse makes me feel beautiful because I know where my true identity lies. I was chosen and created for God’s glory. He delights in me & that makes me feel beautiful.

2) Those I love: my husband, my family, and my friends make me feel alive, wanted, cared for, and cherished. Being around them lights up my outlook on life as they often cause me to laugh, cry, and rejoice about things in life that matter. They also love me for who I am, my mistakes, my proudest moments, and my weakest moments – yet they are the ones who still think I’m beautiful through it all.

3) Designing: Designing something makes me feel accomplished, talented, and proud – in a good way. In ways that make me strong, confident, and like I’m using what I went to school for. When I’m passionate about making something look good, the finished product is alway so fun to go back and look at again, post online, and show others. There’s a huge difference between bragging about it vs. just being so passionate about a project you’re just excited to share it. My goal is: “Passionate and Purposeful Communication and Design.” When that phrase is accomplished, it makes me feel beautiful.

4) Singing & Leading Worship: There’s something about music, a gorgeous melody, and lyrics that can make my heart leap. There’s also something about singing with a purpose. I’ve found my purpose in the Lord, so all I want to do is sing for Him now. It’s a beautiful privilege to lead others into the presence of God with singing. Hearing those around me lifting up their voices and instruments to our God makes me feel beautiful.

5) My hair: I truly love my virgin hair. It has never been dyed (except for a purple strip at the base of my hair when I was in college), it is naturally curly, and super easy to manage. Most mornings I shower and throw some mousse in it and leave with it wet. It dries right up and stays wavy/curly all day. Randomly, my hair will also straighten nicely, curl very well, and even looks pretty darn good up in a bun, a fancy up-do, or a side pony. All my life I’ve received compliments on my hair & when compliments are given – it gives a sense of confidence. Now that I have confidence in my hair and in who I am wholly as a daughter of the King – my hair makes me feel beautiful.

Thanks for sharing, Karlie! If you’re interested in sharing your 5 things, shoot me an e-mail ( for more information! -Madison


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