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Monday, September 30, 2013

Girl on Fire

I am getting really tired of Pinterest. It seems like there is just the same stuff day in and day out. I am tired of seeing pictures of people's food on Instagram and Facebook. I mean, come on! There has to be something more important than what you had for dinner!

But with all of the social media that has bombarded society, I am not as drawn to it as others.

I'm not a chevron and monogram kind of girl. I'm not a straight hair kind of girl. I'm not a follow the rules kind of girl. I'm not a fit and thin kind of girl. I'm not a girl who will listen to peers.

However...

I'm a girl on fire. I follow my convictions over society's standards. I make my own path. I challenge the norm and make my voice heard. I like what I like and not what is popular.

You can try to extinguish my flame, but I will only burn brighter.

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Friendship: leeches and lovers

As stated in my post yesterday, I have set forth goals for this weekend.

How are they going?

Well I am glad you asked! I have painted my nails in a beautiful shade of blue and have begun laundry, as well as cleaning out my shoe collection. Tomorrow will most likely be the big cleaning day for me. I really want to accomplish my goals!

In the midst of all of this, I got to hang out with one of my girlfriends I haven't seen in a couple of weeks. You know those people who you get along so well with but they live kinda far away? That's her. I treasure the time we spend together and look forward to the times she can come over.

Finding a kindred spirit is one of the hardest searches in my life. I know so many people who can make friends no matter where they go (my husband is a great example), but it is difficult for me.

When it comes to making friends I have more standards than a middle school girl does for her future husband. I want someone who is genuine and caring. Someone who has similar interests and beliefs as me. I found this quote that fits perfectly with what I find a great quality in friends:


We have all had at least one friend who went about friendship selfishly. They were only interested if the other person could benefit them. They seek out emotional fulfillment and never offer it back. They seek material gain and never sacrifice for the other. "Friends" like this are like leeches. They can drain you of life and resources.

I can think of my one friend. When I came to this realization, I was devastated. This was not the first time I had encountered a person who wanted to use me only to benefit themselves. The first person I knew invited me over to her house only to make fun of me at school the next week, or as a playmate they could push around.

Leeches can leave nasty scars. They can make you distrusting and lower your self-esteem. When looking for a true friend, seek someone who is more like a lover. They want to please you and make you happy. They aren't afraid to make themselves less to uplift you. Of course, when we find someone like this we should treat them the same as they treat us. We should desire to lift them up and please them just as much. Doing so will create a bond between the two of you that no amount of ail salon days or shopping trips could ever compare to.

When I think of a model friendship, I think of David and Jonathan in the Bible. If you haven't heard the story I highly suggest reading it!

How have you dealt with the leeches and lovers in your life? I would love to hear you stories.

Friday, September 27, 2013

Living for the Weekend

I absolutely cannot wait for Saturday! No particular reason except that I adore a lazy Saturday!

This weekend, I am only going to pretend to be lazy. Something my school teaches is setting goals. We have to set goals for our PACE work in order to complete the yearly curriculum. This is a great life skill to teach your children and yourself!

My goals for this weekend are as followed:

  • paint at least one picture
  • Mani/pedi
  • clean up my bedroom and bathroom
Seems simple enough, right? Let's see if I can meet my goals.

Looking for something super fun to do over the weekend? I have a few suggestions! Whether you are looking for a romantic getaway or something to fill your time, these activities are not only relaxing, but can brighten your weekend.

1. Bed and Breakfast

This is a classic weekend getaway for you and the hubby that won't break the bank. Staying at a B&B is a great way to spend some time away from the mundane. Find one in a city you have always wanted to visit, or go out into the countryside or mountains and check out the changing leaves. It is a great way to reconnect with your spouse and relax.

2. Holiday Crafts

Fall is here at last! That means the holidays are just around the corner... and I'm not just talking about Christmas. Hop on Pinterest and get your craft on! Make some festive fall decor or get ideas for Christmas gifts for your friends. Either way you do it, it will definitely get you in the mood for celebrating!

3. Cleaning

Whoever said spring was the only time to clean out? Fall is just as bountiful. Find and take all of the clothes and other unwanted household items to a local thrift or consignment store. You could also have a yard sale, or sell items online. There could be a nice payday in your future! Get your kids involved by using the money from what they sell to buy one (emphasize only one) brand new toy.

4. Local Events

Going to a local event is a great and inexpensive way to have fun and experience your community in a new light. With fall festivals, corn mazes, pumpkin patches, and haunted houses, fall is the perfect time to get out and see what your community has to offer! A few local events for my area are:

If you have an event that you would like to share, please leave a comment with the web address.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Dear Edna, Thank You.

As you may have guessed, I am a Disney freak. One of my favorite non-princess movies is "The Incredibles." Surfing through Pinterest, I came a cross this little nugget:


I would love an Edna like this in my life. Someone to hit me with a newspaper when I start to fall apart. 

The Bible refers this method of encouragement as "iron sharpening iron." A good hit to keep you sharp. Have you ever seen a sword being made? It is put through fire, then hit repeatedly until it is the way the blacksmith wants it, then into cold water to set the metal. This process is repeated and repeated until the sword is perfect. But not just any tool can be used to sharpen the iron into a sword. It has to be an iron mallet. The same material rebuffing the other to make it into something extraordinary and useful.

When someone tries to sharpen us, we say they are being judgmental or even hypocritical, because they are the same as us (sinners). Guess what though? The mallet and sword are made from the same material. What would it be like if the sword told the iron to stop sharpening it because it was iron, too. That's silly, isn't it? We do the same thing when we wrongfully call someone judgmental or hypocritical when they are trying to help you become a better person.

Sharpening someone can come in many forms: a newspaper hitting you, harsh words, or even a gentile reminder. Most of the time our pride is what is struck. When someone is sharpening you, don't think the correction is mean or judgmental. Instead use it to better yourself. After all, if the iron sword resisted the iron mallet sharpening it, it would never become a useful weapon.

Today I challenge my readers to not only to let themselves be sharpened by others, but to also help sharpen someone else.

~*Beth*~

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

What Singles Need to Know About Marriage

Single friends. We all have them.

For people like me who got married right out of college, you probably have more single friends than married friends. Looking back on my single life, I can see why my mom would laugh about my unrealistic expectations of my future marriage. I now see those same ideals in my single friends. There are times where I want to roll on the floor laughing at them, but instead I just think to myself "You are in for a RUDE awakening!"

For all my single friends out there, these are my top 5 for what to expect in a normal marriage:

1. You will fight. A lot.

The first really big fight I had with my husband felt like the end of the world. I cried harder than when I had to put down my first horse. But once we had cooled down and apologized, we were just as happy as before. When I was single, I thought my husband and I would never fight because we are just ever so perfectly perfect for each other. WRONG! When you fight, never unleash your full fury. Fight in such a way that shows your Christian character. Don't stream out words that you have no business saying. Don't 

2. Whatever expectations you have of marriage... yeah, get rid of those.

Don't ever, Ever, EVER think this...

hahahaha

Your husband will do a lot of things that won't meet your expectations. Get over it! Do not under any circumstances "turn around" just because he doesn't do what you think he will. Husbands are human with free will. We cannot control their emotions and thoughts. My husband didn't cry when he saw me. Does that make him love me any less? Not at all!

3. Prince Charming is imperfect, too!

Women everywhere know that men mess up. Men know that women are just as guilty. Instead of wishing that your husband was more like a fictional character, learn to love him through his flaws. Patience is the key!

4. The Romance WILL fade, but that's OK!

It's a sad fact. The spark you have for each other will not always be there. A fire does not burn forever. Honestly, all this garb about dating to keep the flame alive is a load. If you are married, YOU'RE MARRIED, not dating. You are on a higher plane than couples who are dating. Be secure and satisfied in knowing that you have a spouse.

5. You are no longer your own.

The Bible speaks very clearly on how husbands and wives should treat each other. This includes submitting to your spouse. We often read "wives submit yourselves to your husband" and stop there. Guess what men, you also have a role: treat your wife as something valuable and precious. You should cherish her. This includes fulfilling her wishes. If she asks you to do something, treat her how you would want to be treated (also a Biblical truth). Ladies, this does not mean your husbands are your menservants! If they ask something of you, do it! This includes when they say no to that gorgeous purse you just have to have. Treating each other with respect will blossom your marriage!

Married people, use these tips to help your own marriage. Singles, you have been warned!

~*Beth*~

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Snow White Syndrome

Ok so I have already expressed my love for Snow White. I am a Disney dork. Get over it.

Throughout my life I have been picked on, exiled, and have befriended people that would be considered "beneath me" according to my morals and social class. Why is this? Because of jealous girls.

I call this Snow White Syndrome (S.W.S)

Think about it: Snow White was shunned by the queen because of her beauty (not saying that is the reason I was shunned by others) and befriended those who were outside of her regular circle.

My S.W.S. occurred because of my high moral compass. It all began in grade school. If you were to meet me back then, you would notice immediately that I was not like the other kids. I was mild mannered and wouldn't play with others in my school group. Most often, I would be off singing to myself or playing alone. Why? Because I found my classmates to be crude and annoying. I did not like the games they played or the jokes they made. I was teased for not being like them.

To combat my loneliness, I would read, draw, or pull a Disney Princess and make up songs to sing. My classmates would make fun of my innocent behavior and tried their best to corrupt me. Of course I refused to be like them and separated myself even more from them. I was actually sent to the counselor because I wouldn't socialize.

I finally decided that if I was going to make friends, I would find others who felt the same way I did. I find two lovely ladies: Anastasia and Ashley. They stuck with me through the rest of our grade school days. In middle school, I transferred schools because the bullying was so bad. I though t I was safe, but it only took one girl to undo all of my happiness. She was so jealous of me that she filled my perfume bottle with pine sol, ruining one of my favorite things. She was later dismissed from the school due to other issues.

The bullying didn't stop. High school brought on new pressures: sex, drinking, drugs, leaving my beliefs in order to be accepted, you know the drill. I was able to withstand all of this due to my high moral compass. Yet again, S.W.S was rearing it's pretty little head and labeled me as a goody-goody.

College was the one place where relentless bullying was nonexistent. I was at a Christian school that accepted me just as I was... sort of. Even there I was labeled as a goody-goody with too rigid and narrow-minded beliefs. I guess when they said liberal arts college, they meant it! I wasn't bullied in college, but the label still held me back.

So here I am, a teacher at a private school that accepts my Snow White Syndrome and sees it as valuable. If you suffer from S.W.S in any way, shape, or form, do no try to change your wonderful ways. There is nothing wrong with the way you think, it is the world that has the problem.

Take just a moment to think of the Fruits of the Spirit: love, joy, peace, patience, and all the others. Galatians 5:22-23 lists these nine character traits as something all Christians should posses. I see all of those traits in Snow White. I admire this Disney Princess because she shows the perfect personality of a Christian (minus the constant singing and overly dramatic gestures. That's just Disney). Even through the hardest of times, she never once displayed a disrespectful attitude, nor did she dwell on the fact that the queen wanted her dead. She lived her life with a positive attitude and was grateful for everything, even while being treated like a slave girl and and outcast.

To all of those who have S.W.S of any degree, please do not change. Continue to do good deeds, to have a positive attitude, to see the good in others. Be trusting, be kind, be friendly. Bring joy into the lives of others. Make up songs to sing. Be a Snow White!

~*Beth*~


Monday, September 23, 2013

No Small Snakes

***Before reading this, please keep an open mind. Remember that our Christian battle is not fought in teh physical realm, but in the spiritual.***

Yesterday was possibly the most revealing service I have ever heard. My pastor read from Acts where a soothsayer girl was following Paul and Silas around proclaiming how they were from God and bring salvation. Paul became so annoyed that he cast out the demon and the girl lost her ability to see the future.

What's the big deal, right?

Looking closer at the scripture, there is a word used to describe the spirit: it was a spirit of divination, meaning soothsaying. (Haven't you already told us this?) Looking even closer at that word "divination" it is translated in the Greek to the word "pythos" which is where we get the word python. What do pythons do best? They squeeze, choke, and smother. Paul was annoyed at her because the spirit inside her was smothering him. (Read the Greek myth of the Oracle at Delphi to see the link between this spirit and the python.)

I honestly believe that this same spirit is running rampant today.

Think of the last time you felt joy, peace, and life in your everyday living. I can't. I have been so absorbed with my marriage, my job, and issues facing Christianity that I cannot breathe at times. It literally feels like the life is being squeezed out of me.

Sound like your life? This is evidence that this spirit is running a muck. Humanism is becoming the core of most doctrine today. It is all about how God can serve us and what God can do for us, not what we can do for God. If this is the doctrine of your church I encourage you to find a new church that preaches that "ole' time religion" where sin is sin and God owes us nothing.

 Being in a church that preaches sound doctrine (beliefs that line up with the Bible) is the most beneficial thing you can do for your walk with Christ. It makes the same difference as eating junk food v.s. eating healthy food. It may not always taste good, but you eat it because it is good for you.

Well, even if there is some "python spirit" what can we do about it?

In Isaiah 59, it gives a clear description about what sins this spirit brings. It also states that the Lord saw that thee was nothing that could be done about this because there was no intercessor. No one that was concerned about the well-being of others. They were too busy with what was going on in their own lives.

Have you heard the term strength in numbers? Surprisingly, this saying is quite Biblical. If Christians would ban together and unselfishly pray for others, this spirit will leave. We will one again feel peace and joy in our lives.

My challenge for you this week: pray for anyone and everyone instead of praying for yourself. Pray for God to lead your husband instead of complaining to your friends about him. Pray that your children will overcome anything that is thrown at them instead of focusing on why they can't do better in school. Pray for your Facebook friends when they post about the trouble of their lives instead of gossiping about them. Even pray for the people that drive by you in the road. They have just as much on their plate as you do.

When this happens, Isaiah says that God will raise up a standard (translated to be a wall of defense) and our enemy will vanish. When we focus on others we tend to forget about what was troubling us in the first place, almost like it disappears.

Take a moment to pray for someone else or listen to a troubled friend. The spiritual rewards will be greater than you can imagine.

~*Beth*~

Friday, September 20, 2013

Mirrors

While I was out shopping with a friend I noticed how each mirror made me look different.

One mirror at store A was the same way I looked at home. This one was placed flat against a wall so you were looking directly at yourself.

Another mirror at store B made me look like a whale! This mirror was angled on a wall at the end of a hallway.

This of course made me very upset.

The mirror that made me look normal was at a store where primarily adults shop. The tilted mirror was at a teen store.

Teens, who are just developing body consciousness are more vulnerable and concerned with appearance. I see it as an injustice that store B have mirrors that improperly portray the customer. Especially those who are bombarded by size 0 models and the pressure to be thin.

When the thigh gap first emerged it disgusted me. Who would want to be so thin that they looked sickly? Not long after that it seemed like every photograph displayed women with thigh gaps. I mean what is the deal?! I understand if you are just a naturally thin person and have the frame befitting such, but I have also seen women strive to be that thin at any cost.

Why?

Because thin is beautiful.

Thin sells.

Guess what? It's a lie.

If you are not thin, or even close to it, you are still beautiful. I tell my middle school ladies all the time that they should not desire to be anything different than what they are.

I understand losing weight to be healthy but when you are of an aberage height and a size 5, then drop to a size 2 in a few months... you cannot convince me that is healthy.

Social media sites are all the time posting images with quotes about "nothing tastes as good as being thin feels." I get so angry at the brainwashing these sites are doing! LADIES DON'T LISTEN TO THE LIES! Be healthy and be a size 8 or higher! Heck I am a size 12 and my husband tells me he wouldn't change my bod for anything in the world.

Find those who support you a d won't tear you down just to make themselves feel better. I have had enough of people like that in my life. They do nothing but drag you down. Get rid of them. Hold fast to the people who will still see you as captivating and glorious no matter what your size.

To all of my thin readers out there, never look down on anyone because try aren't a size 2. Be kind to everyone because we are commanded to. Speak words of encouragement to your friends, don't ask them to change unless it is a matter of their wellbeing.

To all of my readers, stay happy and stay YOU!

Laughing at Circumstances

I love Christmas for every reason there could possibly be! I love the closeness of my friends, family, and church. I love the sights, smells, and sensations. I love celebrating the birth of Jesus. That is also the time I begin looking forward to my birthday.

This year, Christmas is going to be quite different for me because I am unsure of what is to come. I am unsure of my physical abilities and limitations. I am unsure of the level of pain/discomfort I will be in. I am even unsure of how the Youth Christmas play will go because this is the first year I will not be fully directing it.

Yesterday the announcement was made that the moment we (my husband and I) get back from Thanksgiving holiday the Christmas decorations are going up. That includes at the school. I want everything this Christmas season to be full of joy and peace, not sympathy for me.

As I get older, I am falling more in love with winter. The smells associated with winter are so enchanting. Peppermint, vanilla, cedar and pine, not to mention all the yummy spices and baking! I was smelling my way through a Yankee Candle Co. catalog and I was wanting everything they sold associated with winter.

One terribly amusing scent was "Whiskers on Kittens" which is a part of the My Favorite Things collection, inspired by The Sound of Music. The reason why I was so tickled by the scent is what it said underneath the fragrance title: with pure, natural extracts. I laughed way too hard at that saying!



Learning to laugh no matter the situation is a talent. A very inconvenient talent. I often make jokes about my spine and people will look at me like "Oh my gosh are you twisted?" to which I reply "You should see my x-rays!" My husband and sister get to see my dark humor in action the most.

At the same time, learning to laugh at yourself is very beneficial. It makes the issues you face a little easier, and it helps your stress level. The Bible says that laughter is like a good medicine. Research shows that when you laugh, your entire body benefits! Your muscles relax, breathing is easier, your blood pressure is lowered, and it is healthy for your heart. With benefits like that, why wouldn't you want to laugh more?!

We remember this quote from the Lion King:


Well, what about laughing in the face of our circumstances? Most women I know, including myself, like to bottle everything up. We don't want our problems to be known because we would become vulnerable. We want to put up this front that we have it all together, we are Suzy Homemaker with a perfect home, family, and life. Guess what compadres, we are FAR from it! Even that girl who you are envious of is just as imperfect and ill put together as you are. She just has a prettier mask than you.

Today I have a challenge for my readers: burn the mask! Quit putting up a front that you have it all together and be honest with the people you encounter. 

If you have a weak area in your life, ask God to help you overcome it through Him. After all, God has told us that in our weakness, He is made strong.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

The Source of True Confidence

Please read this post IN IT'S ENTIRETY before navigating away. Do not become angry, but try to see where I am going with this.

Confidence. We all want it and only a few possess it. But how do we obtain something so illusive? As humans, our confidence can be shattered with only a few harsh words. That's all it takes.

As a Christian, I feel it necessary to let my viewers know where I stand on this thing called  religion. I gave my heart to Jesus at a very young age and have never wavered. As you make have deduced, I am a very outspoken person and that goes double for the issues facing Christianity today and what the Bible says.

Last night the Wednesday service was about how worldly psychology has leaked in to the teaching behind the pulpit and into Christian counseling. This includes how man is not responsible for his actions, that man is in essence born "good" and is corrupted by society, and how we war with our conscience in order for us to decide what is right and wrong.

I would like to make the following points:

1. No man is born "good." We are corrupt because we are born into sin.

When we are born, we are born into a world of sin. No one is truly innocent. If that were the case then we could choose to never do bad and have no need for Jesus

2. We ARE responsible for our actions.
We were given something that no other creature was given: free will. We are the ones that make decisions. we are not controlled by God like a puppet. He chose to let us make decisions, so when we make the decision to follow him it is more meaningful. Think of it like choosing where you lived, what you were allowed to wear, and what food you could eat. If someone else made that decision for you then you wouldn't be as happy. I for one would be miserable! You cannot force love, it just happens. So does our love for Christ.

3. We war against our desire to do wrong and our knowledge of what is right.
Paul put it best when he said "The things I know not to do, I do, and the things I know to do, I do not do." We battle not for the balance between Id and the Superego, we as Christians balance our desire to sin and to please God.

Another tidbit that was in the sermon was about self-confidence. I found this particularly intriguing because of this blog. The number one thing women do is hate on ourselves. We are over critical of our body and how we behave. 

The Bible says that no man truly hates himself, and the more I thought about it the more I saw how true it is. We seek to please ourselves We want to be petted, told we are better than anyone else, and put in the spotlight (I am just as guilty as anyone else in the world). When this is unfulfilled, we call it lacking confidence.
 
Now, with all this said I would like to tell you what direction my blog will be taking form now on.

Instead of satisfying  the desire we have to feel better, I want us to focus on who we are in Christ. We should keep Him first and not focus on the World. Be satisfied in the fact that He made you a wonderful and beautiful creature, no matter what you weight or how you look. He loves you and wants you to love Him back.

Another point I would like to make is that this post is on no way to bash anyone or Christian counselors. The Bible even says that we are too seek good counsel and to lift each other up. I know how it feels to be torn down and made a fool of. I know what it is like to feel worthless and judged because of appearance. It hurts. IT also feels good to know I am not alone and that those things people tell me are in no way true.

I am here to encourage you, dear reader, and to keep you focused on what is truly important. Everyone needs a pick-me-up when they aren't feeling their best. I love encouraging others and helping them find their worth in Christ.

The fashion is also going to focus on modesty. Modest dress (not showing off your assets) is something this world has drifted away from. It hurts me that teen girls are told that to be fashionable, you MUST show off as much skin as you can. Not true! You are even more beautiful if you cover yourself appropriately.

I hope this post will not deter my readers. Please spread the word about this blog. If you wish to contact me on Facebook, I have the information listed on a previous post.

~*Beth*~

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

100 views!

Thank you to all my readers! I have reached the 100 mark milestone for blog views. Keep sharing, keep reading! Let's see if we can get to 1,000!

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Realizing something important

I was looking through Facebook at some of my old college buds and crushes thinking how I wished things would have worked out differently in my life. Then it hit me... I shouldn't think such a thing!

I am married to a man that loves me for me. He loves my body, my fiery spirit, and my habitual mess-making (I am severely right brained and cannot keep a clean house to save my life). Any other person I could have been with would not love those characteristics. One, in fact, said he could never marry someone who wasn't perfectly thin. Who knows how our relationship would have turned out since I've gained weight. Another boy found me difficult because I wasn't some womanly statue that sits back and doesn't have an opinion. If you couldn't tell already, I'm a bit of a fireball and should have been born with red hair.

Ladies, don't ever wonder "what if" because if it didn't work out it was to save you from a life of hardships.

Dress to Impress!

When it comes to fashion, I have a very intriguing past. I was never a beauty queen or an ugly Betty. I was just me. I dressed how I felt and that was good enough. When I was in college, I began caring how I dressed. I no longer wanted to be a wallflower. With a size 5 bod, I could wear whatever I wanted and it looked good. That all changed after I got married (as stated in my first post).

Dressing myself no w is much different than when I was in college. I have more curves and I desire to look more like an adult instead of a teenager. It was difficult for me to accept this because I thought adult clothing would be boring. How wrong I was!

Here are some of my rules to rock your body and still look mature.

Rule 1: Learn your body type!

Knowing what body type you have will help you learn how to flatter your figure. Here is a link to a fabulous website that will get you started:
http://www.channel4.com/4beauty/style-me/bodyshapefinder

Rule 2: Skinny jeans are acceptable. Period.

When I wear skinny jeans, I always wear something fuller on top to balance my curves. Also, do not buy skinny jeans from teen stores. They are not cut for fuller legs and are uncomfortable. My favorite skinnies are from Gap Outlet. That is the store I get almost all of my jeans from! Their style is cut more for grown up bods than teens. However, do not limit yourself to stores like that. Aeropostale surprises me with some of their pants. I do not buy denim from their but I found a pair of red trouser skinnies that I could live in!


This is a perfect example of having balance. The top is loose around the belly so it will not cling to our less flattering parts. The boots in the picture are great for fall and winter, but can be switched to cute sandals in the spring and summer or pumps to dress up the look.

Another kind of shirt that goes great with skinny jeans is the peplum style shirts. It nips your waste and covers your hips. They also have skirts and dresses in this style. All of them are wonderful for curves and gives slender figures a bit of a curvy allure. 


Rule 3: Never be afraid of color.

typically when women are fuller figured, they use dark colors to make them look slimmer. While this has an appealing effect, no woman's wardrobe should lack color. If you like darker colors on you, try using bright accents to liven up your look. A colored scarf or beaded necklace can brighten up any outfit!


The bright pop of the yellow shirt makes this outfit a wonderful example! Even though the jacket and pants are darker, the shirt gives it a little something extra. The scarf and bag add in more color.


Rule 4: When wearing short dresses or skirts, tights/leggings are your best friends

You know that dress you didn't buy because it came above you knees? Well, you still could have rocked it! Most people categorize tights in with their itchy cousins, pantyhose. NO! Tights, when bought in the correct size and material, are a basic no female should live without! Tights come in various length, colors, and opacity. I like to buy leggings, the slightly heavier cotton blend cousin of tights.


Because of the length of this dress I would have passed it by in a store. Now that I see it paired with tights I want to find it and make it mine!

Rule 5: LAYER, LAYER, LAYER!!!

One of my obsessions is cardigans. I own a cardigan in almost every color. Why? Because they hide my arms and slim me. Plus it is a fun way to add color to my outfits.

Books I Adore!

One of the most simple pleasures for me is opening a new book. There has always been something so promising about it. The sensation is similar to going on a first date. I am filled with excitement about the possibility of falling in love, and even though there is an end (with books anyways) I will enjoy every moment of the ride.

Books are one of the greatest inventions of all time. They are full of entertainment and can take you to places you would have never ordinarily been, especially if that world is filled with fantasy. Books are also one of the most Eco-friendly devices out there. They use absolutely no energy and are biodegradable and recyclable. Plus they are completely portable and you don't have to worry about having WiFi or a power cord. That is way better than a Kindle or a TV can say!

Ever since I was a child, books have had a special place in my heart. I was always read to by my parents and grandmother. Even before I could read fluently I would carry a book around almost like a security blanket. I have always identified with the character Belle from Disney's Beauty and the Beast because she was never without a book.

As I got older I was known as the bookworm because I was always reading. My husband met a former classmate of mine at the gym not too long ago. The classmate lived in my childhood community and proceeded to tell my husband that everyone classified me with the "smart people" because I was always reading and never had much interest in anything else. Yep, I was that girl.

Over the years I have acquired enough books to fill over half of our school library while still keeping my favorites at home. My favorite genre is YA Fiction, but as a teacher I have also collected quite a few picture books for children. The following lists are by far the best books and authors I have encountered:

Children's picture books and Authors:

  • Eric Carl (i.e. The Hungry Caterpillar; Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See?)
  • David Weisner (i.e. The Loathsome Dragon, Flotsam, Art and Max)
  • The Princess and the Kiss
  • Pete the Cat books
  • Stellaluna


Children's chapter books:

  • The Tale of Desperaux
  • The Chronicles of Narnia
  • The BFG


YA novels:

  • The Giver by Lois Lowry (author of Number the Stars)
  • The 5th Wave
  • The Hunger Games trilogy
  • Maggie Stiefvater books (i.e. Lament, Ballad, The Scorpio Races)

These are the most recommended titles and authors by me. If you have a favorite book or author, please leave a comment. I love hearing from my readers!

Monday, September 16, 2013

Some of my favorite thigns

To start off, all images and videos on this post belong to me. Please do not pirate these images or videos.

As I am just now finding my way in the world of adulthood, I was searching for a hobby. In my teen years I was a avid horse rider. I still have my beautiful black Thoroughbred and love him dearly, but my health will not allow me to ride him like I want to. These pictures are compiled from our years together:

 
  

Cobalt will be 13 this October. I have owned him since he was five and I see him as my child because I have taught him everything. I have owned two horses before him: Judd, an Appaloosa who was the best horse a young rider could ask for, and Robin (my first), a pinto/paint who I owned for four months before he had to be put down due to a broken leg.

After my first surgery I couldn't ride for a year. It killed me to watch him stand at the gate and look for me. When I was able to walk again I would pet him and bring him treats. He knew something was wrong with me since I didn't ride him and I wouldn't come in the pasture. One time after a visit he began running along the fence and didn't stop till I came back to him. At my family's farm we have an old bell by the gate, and Cobalt evidently knew how to ring it. He once rang it while I walked by as a way of saying "Um excuse me, you need to pet me!" I laughed so hard at this!

The greatest memory I have with Cobalt is the summer I was seventeen. I had ridden him to my grandparents (the next farm over) and had let him loose in their goat pasture. He immediately rolled in the soft grass. I stood by and watched him enjoying himself. He knew I was there and didn't get back up so I decided to do something a little dangerous. I walked over and sat down beside him near his head. I started petting him and he laid his head in my lap. Those few moments were the highlight of my horseback riding career.

Now that I am married and out of my parent's house I do not get to ride Cobalt like I wish. However, I am very thankful for my neighbors that allow me to ride their Quarter horses on the days that I feel well enough. God has blessed me to continue the Southern lifestyle even though I no longer live on a farm.

As stated in my previous post I cannot exercise like normal, therefore I have to find an alternative for stress relief. During my first semester of student teaching this attributed to a lot of my weight gain and depression. I had no free time to do anything because of the bidding of my teacher and my college assignments. My second semester was much better and I could enjoy life because of the angel of a teacher I had, even though the workload was about the same.

Over the summer, I realized that I could paint. A friend of mine who owns a secondhand store gave me a copious amount of acrylic paint and brushes since no one had purchased them. They had belonged to her son, who worked for a designer in New York last year (so jealous, Blake!). They had sat in my closet for months and I decided to give them a try.

Walmart is my store of choice for anything because they have everything! I purchased a set of canvas and went to work. My first piece was a gift to my sister for her bedroom... that was once my room. Next, I did a painting for my dad to hang in his office. In addition to owning a goat farm and being a county commissioner, he is a pastor. He has pastored the same church for over 14 years. It is the church I got married in and is now the church whose school I work at. I wanted to do something to remind him to always stay strong and to never lose heart.

The verse is taken from Jeremiah 20:9

I was beyond proud of this and I still consider it my crowning achievement! It is visible from the hallway of the church as you are exiting the building. I smile every time I see it.

My next work was an ocean scene for my living room and a landscape for my bedroom. I will have pictures soon. Afterwards, a friend of mine asked for a beach scene. Here was her painting:


The chair was the best part because I had never done one before. I love creating landscapes. The majority of my pictures are of landscapes taken around my parent's farm and from our vacations. 

In high school I drew fairies. I have always loved them and as an artist, I am obsessed with their wings!


This is a drawing from when I was in middle school. One unique fact about my art is that I have never taken a lesson. Like many of the things I do it comes naturally. Piano is another one of those God given talents. Here is a video recording of an impromptu piece via Youtube:




One thing I love about impromptu piano playing is that it is completely me. There is no sheet music to reproduce on the piano. It is simply me bearing my soul in musical form. I encourage all of my readers to find a talent they can share with others, as I have done with my art and music. Whether your talent is dancing, crafting, baking, or simply being a good friend I hope that you will use your gift to uplift others.

~*Beth*~

Friday, September 13, 2013

Close to Midnight

While I am still figuring out how to set the correct time on my Blogger account to the correct time, I cannot stop thinking about how wonderful it is that this blog is slowly growing. I do not know who is reading this or how long this will keep going but makes me smile to know that the +50 people who have read my blog have (hopefully) been encouraged through this.

If anyone would like to add me on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/elizabethyates6912

For those who are Pinterest addicts (like me): http://www.pinterest.com/bethyates6912/boards/

I would love to hear form my readers and get to know them.

One of my greatest loves has always been books. They were my first real friends. Book characters never cared what you looked like or what the kids at school said about you. Book characters always had the most wonderful adventures and never minded if you came along.

I was bullied terribly as a child, so bad in fact that I had to switch schools. I was always thin (as stated in my first post), had curly hair, and an imagination bigger than the sky. Why did other kids not like me? Because I wasn't like them. I wouldn't make the kind of jokes they did. I never was mean to other people for being different. How could I do such a thing? I knew what it felt like and I didn't want anyone else to feel that way.

Empathy was something my grandmother taught me through the strangest, most ingenious way I have ever witnessed. She would always watch me while my parents worked so  learned a lot from her. While we were reading or watching TV, she would always help me to connect to the emotions of the character. If one got hurt she would say "Oh no! How sad" and I would always feel sad because I didn't like the feeling of being hurt and I didn't want the character to get hurt. If the character did something great she would always cheer. It may seem silly but I encourage parents and caregivers to try this. Interact with your child's TV or book characters like they are real people and show your child how they should feel when something (good or bad) happens to them.

As a teacher to middle school kids I am getting to see everything from the other side of the desk. I am fortunate that we only have three girls in our three classes that are old enough to have drama. The best part is that they are all friends, and I mean true friends. There are no squabbles, no drama, just drawing hearts all over each others paper. I know this will not last forever but I am savoring it for as long as I can.

Being in a private school I have more freedom to impress morals and values than I would in public school. I use this the most with my girls. I teach them that beauty is not how thin you are, the clothes you wear, or the way you present yourself. Beauty comes form a soul that is pure, kind, and honest. One of my girls had to write a sentence with the word beauty. She wrote "Pain is beauty." I instantly pulled her aside and told her that beauty should never be painful and f it is then it isn't true beauty. I have thought a lot about that sentence and how it is a travesty that our youth have to believe such nonsense in order to feel worth something.

With my middle school boys (all six of them) I get to witness an evolution that is so remarkable I am constantly in awe. When I first met these boys three years ago, I would have never expected them to bond the way they have. They are all like brothers and I could not be more proud of the gentlemen they are turning in to.

Yesterday there was a monsoon that greatly inconvenienced us during dismissal. The youngest boy in the class got out of his dad's car and removed a huge tree branch that had fallen across the driveway, consequently blocking us in. He never asked for help because he didn't want anyone else to have to get wet and be uncomfortable till they got home. I was so impressed with his act of chivalry that I gave him bonus classroom bucks (our class currency in order to buy items in our class store) even though school was over.

Children are such a blessing. When I see a child that isn't being given what they need to succeed my heart just breaks. I told my husband that if we ever got rich I was going to adopt as many foster children as I could and homeschool them. If you have children I encourage you to enrich your child's life as much as you can. I once heard that adults should fill their child's basket so full of self-confidence that the world couldn't poke enough holes in the basket to effect it. Take some time out of your day to encourage a child. Give them a hug and let them know that they are wonderfully loved.

~*Beth*~

Why don't you just exercise?!

By now, people are wondering why I don't just go to the gym and work out like everybody else. There's just one problem with that and it looks like this....


Yep, that's my spine in all of its metallic glory. I have scoliosis - a condition where your spine curves and is weakened. I had the surgery three years ago and I have had a great deal of complications from it, including temporary loss of feeling and use of my right leg. See the bottom right screw in the picture? Well that little beauty cut part of my major nerves and had to be removed. I also have a fracturing vertebrae that will be operated on this December to prevent more damage.

Currently the only exercise I can do is to bike on a stationary bike, use an elliptical, or swim. All of these are great, but not if you want to tone your body. I am very limited in my mobility and endurance. It is sad to say but there isn't a day that goes by without pain. I regret having the surgery and wish the rods can be removed, but that would mean at least three months in bed with six months to a year before I am fully recovered.

The number one thing that drives me crazy is my hollow back. If you have hollow back (or swayback), your spine curves towards your stomach and causes an awful pooch that no exercise can get rid of. My December surgery will hopefully remedy this. My spine is breaking because of the pressure brought on by my hollow back. I cannot stand up straight without feeling a great deal of pain. My surgeon is going to shrink my breaking vertebrae in order to allow for more room and movement in my spine that isn't surrounded by the rods and fused together. After this, I will have much less of a belly pooch and should be able to finally exercise without pain.

For all those dealing with scoliosis, just know that you are never alone. For those who have chronic pain, it isn't in your head (like so many would say). For those who are blessed with a healthy body and can swim face down, consider yourself eternally blessed. I would never wish this life on anyone, but God made me strong enough to live it.


A bonus to my scoliosis is I can say I have more curves than I know what to do with and laugh about it.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Pet Peeves

My list of pet peeves are quite to the point.

  • Slow drivers when I'm late
  • Wonderfully entertaining book series that are longer than four books (because of pricing)
  • People who think I am of less value because of my weight
When people criticize me for gaining weight like I did, I just smile and think to myself





When someone tells me I need to lose weight so I would look more appealing, it makes my blood boil. Plain and simple, my beauty is not for anyone to judge except those I love the most. My husband reminds me constantly that just because I don't look like I used to his love for me is not lessened. He finds me appealing in every way imaginable.

Finding confidence in yourself means letting go of the opinions around you. They may hurt and you may not be able to let them slide off as easily, but know that is because you are a human being with real feelings. I am a prime example of not being able to let go easily, but as soon as I do I always feel better.

Like most women, I want to please people. When I started gaining weight, I faced rebuff from all corners of my social circles, except my husband. I would ask him if he still thought I was beautiful. He would look at me with the sweetest face and say "Yes, you are still beautiful and always will be." For my readers who have been married for several years, you may be gagging at this point but think about this: how much have you longed to hear that from someone? To give you affirmation that you are beautiful despite society's size zero mentality. But I have news for you...

Imagine a beautiful work of art, a picturesque sunset, or a moving scene from your favorite film. Why do those stand out? Because they are different, unique. We are all different and unique, with bodies of all shapes and sizes. Does not having a certain body shape make us any less valuable or beautiful? No. It makes us extraordinary. The next time you are feeling down, remember that you are beautiful for being anything but ordinary.

~*Beth*~

My story: I got married... and I got fat.

Marriage was the single greatest thing (other than salvation) that has ever happened to me. I had found the one person that God created just for me, and I for him. All my life I had dreamed of this milestone. The only problem: I had one more semester of college left.

This semester was going to be the hardest one of my college career. I would be an unpaid student teacher working at a school that will remain nameless under a teacher who will also remain nameless. This teacher was by far the most abusive (verbally and psychologically) person I have ever encountered. I sunk into a depression that lasted well past my time at this dreadful school and I began to put on the pounds. Because of her, I had to repeat student teaching, resulting in another semester of being unpaid.

Over Christmas break I was a ball of anxiety because of bills, an unknown school, and my increasing weight. My new school was heaven on earth! I was working with a teacher that I will forever admire and at a school I wish every child could attend. Before this school I had a terrible flavor in my mouth for public education, but when I left I knew that not all public schools were bad.

During all of this I gained 4 dress sizes and for the first time in my life I was in double digit sizes. this took a huge toll on my self-esteem. I became self-loathing and contributed to my depression. Also, my husband and I were eating a terribly unhealthy diet and were always on the go. I wanted to change. I wanted to fight my genetics and be skinny, but no amount of wishing could change the fact that I was a size 12.

One day while searching Pinterest, I was looking at how frail the girls were in the fashion pins. Thigh gaps, no curves, and sunken faces were in every picture. I was once that thin. I once looked good in everything I put on. I once could eat anything I wanted and not gain an ounce. My mother warned me of this day.

Then I began asking myself why. Why was this the standard of beauty? Why am I supposed to desire to be those thin little girls? Why can't my size be acceptable in the fashion world without being labeled "plus size"? Enough was enough! I snapped out of my self-loathing and started an inspiration board full of pin-up girls and quotes about loving your body. I AM beautiful, no matter what designers say!

This blog is dedicated to all of those (like me) who are accepting of their body, no matter what size they are. Women today are too self conscious about their bodies and need to be happy with the way God created them. This blog is meant to build up women and not tell them to gain/lose weight. I do encourage my readers to make sure they are healthy in their weight and lifestyle. Health is more important than being skinny or curvy.

In this blog, I will be sharing fashion, food, healthy living tips, as well as my own progress to live a healthier lifestyle. I am an advocate for curvy women so the fashion will be more focused on how to dress your curves appropriately, as well as trends and my fashion outlook. I will also be sharing some of my artistic talents and teaching tips. I hope you enjoy this blog.

~*Beth*~