Google+ Followers

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Stardoll

<a href="http://www.stardoll.com/en/" target="_blank">games for girls</a>

Friday, April 11, 2014

Dreams are Wonderful Things

This past Saturday, I had a horrible dream. It was my wedding day and my (soon to be) husband, Kevin, told me he was having second thoughts only hours before the ceremony. It is every bride's worst nightmare! I began to follow him around trying to find out what was going on, only to discover that there was another woman. I confronted them and found out that this woman was everything I was not, which my husband once was: a smoking, rock music-listening (I gave up that kind of music after struggling with some personal matters), tattooed, pierced, drink-every-night kind of girl. Dream-Kevin wanted her instead of me because she accepted him the way he was.

Let me explain: I met my husband in college during his wild years. He smoked, drank behind the college's back, and wanted to eventually get a tattoo. I was the opposite. Although we both liked rock music and Ireland, we didn't share any other interests. We did, however, have the same friends that brought us together every so often. Kevin moved home to North Carolina after completing his coursework, and we began talking on Facebook.As our relationship grew, Kevin began to change. He gave up drinking and started the long road to quitting smoking. He still listens to rock music, but I don't fault him for it.

Months later, Kevin was back to Georgia to escort me to my Junior Formal, and to ask me to officially become his girlfriend. The night before Kevin's graduation, I met his family and loved them instantly! He and I spent the rest of the evening dancing and listening to music by Lake Hartwell. That was also the night he gave me a promise ring, the same one that his dad gave his mom. Not too long after graduation, he moved to Georgia so we could be closer. We spent every day together at my parent's house, and talked on the phone till we fell asleep. That September, he asked me to be his bride and we were married the following summer.

Kevin gave up everything to be with me - his home, his friends, his lifestyle. Until having the dream, I wasn't entirely grateful for what he has done to make our relationship work. You see, the girl in the dream wasn't a real person. She represented everything that Kevin left behind. In the dream, he wanted to go back to that lifestyle and knew our relationship wold not work well if he did so.

I began to cry, and not just tears running down my face kind of crying. I was sobbing. In the process, I woke Kevin up. He kept asking me what was wrong, but I was still halfway in the dream. I kept seeing Dream-girl and Kevin together and my heart broke. Finally, Kevin shook me fully awake and I told him about the dream. It wasn't until later that morning I realized the interpretation of it.

I am so thankful for my husband and the lengths he has gone in order to be with me. He has slain the dragons in his life so that he could be with his princess. Now, I am more appreciative than ever for what he has done.

Reader, go hug the person you love and thank them for what they have done for you.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

I'm NOT a Hanger!

Recently, I saw a picture depicting the different types of body. The first one was labeled "normal" and had non-touching legs, flat tummy, and small chest. The next one was "chubby" and depicted a not-so-flat middle, touching legs, and a larger chest. It went on and on until the person was unhumanly large. The entire post made me quite upset, naturally.

To label something normal means there has to be a norm to begin with. We would say that it is normal for someone to have all the appropriate body parts. We would consider it abnormal if someone was born without arms or legs (but we love them nonetheless). We consider it abnormal for a parent to hate their child, because parents love their children. To say that a certain body type is normal shows a narrow-minded view of the diversity of the world. It is no less insulting to say that a certain skin color is normal and all others are abnormal and should be changed. Why should we give a pass to someone who thinks everyone should be skinny?

I have come to the conclusion that the reason they use skinny models is because they are not powerful enough to take on the clothing they wear. I saw a plus size swimsuit model recently who was so beautiful that I didn't notice her swimsuit at all. I could only focus on how radiant she was. She oozed confidence! The swimsuit didn't own her, she owned the swimsuit! It was no longer about the clothing, it was about the person. On the show "Ugly Betty" one of the main characters said "Designers only want to put their clothes on skinny hangers" and it is true. Nobody noticed the hanger, they notice the clothing. I don't want to be a hanger!

Today, I was talking to my students about the importance of being happy with who you are. I told them that there is no such thing as a normal body because God made us all different. I also shared a truth that was told to me by one of the wisest men I have known: the late Preacher Burdette, the pastor who started the church I attend. When I was coming into my teen years, I tried so hard to fit in. He noticed this and said to me "When you try to change yourself or cover up who you really are, it's like you're telling God 'Thanks but I don't like what you'e created'. So be happy with yourself." Even though it was forever ago, that advice remains with me, and I was happy to pass wisdom on to my students.

Now, I make a vow. I will be happy with myself and who God created me to be. Thick, thin, tall, or short, I am just who God wants me to be and I will be thankful that He created me that way.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Without Knowing

Today, I got a phone call from my dad during school. He asked for me and my sister to go somewhere private so we could talk. The last time that happened, he told me that my cousin, Caleb, had died. I was extremely nervous about what he was about to say.

When we had gotten into his office, he proceeded to tell about my grandmother who had been tested for the cancer gene that was passed down through the females of the family. If the test were to come back positive, it would be a death sentence for me. I would be a time bomb for cancer. My aunt (her daughter) had passed way from cancer in her 40's, and my grandmother was suffering through a second round of cancer. My dad was more than certain of what the test results would be.

My dad is a pastor, so he did what came naturally to him: he prayed. For two weeks, he kept this news from me while he prayed, asking God for a miracle.

The test came back negative. That's right, NEGATIVE! I do not have the gene!

Even though I was unknowing to this, I am elated! My dad was in disbelief as well. He just knew that my grandmother had the gene, and that he would have to be the bearer of such terrible news. However, I would like to bring into remembrance the following Bible verses:

 2 Chronicles 7: 14

If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.

2 Thessalonians 3:3

But the Lord is faithful. He will establish you and guard you against the evil one.

God was healing me without my knowing. My dad was praying for a miracle without my knowing. I was given grace without having to ask.

My God is still one of miracles!


Thursday, March 6, 2014

True Beauty

One of the most vague objectives in becoming Proverbs 31 is to show true beauty. I mean, seriously, how are you supposed to do that when there are so many ways to be beautiful. If you were to look at the American style of beauty (according to media) you would see stick thin women wearing flamboyant makeup, revealing a lot of skin, and having various hairstyles.

But not everyone is like that. Not even the models in the magazine look like the models in the magazine! Thanks to digital editing and makeup, you can look however you want to.

Is this fabricated standard of beauty the true beauty we should strive for? To be thin and fake? No!

We are all told that true beauty comes from within. That one's personality is more valuable that the outward appearance. This is true, but beauty shouldn't be based on your personality alone. After all, a pig can have a sweet disposition, but if it rolls in the muck, no one would want it in their house.

There has to be a balance. To take care of one's self but not become overly concerned with appearance. Also, to have a stunning personality that can win over anyone.

On Pinterest (my social media of choice), I see so many posts and debates on which is the perfect body type: skinny, curvy, or fit. I am here to say that there is no one type of body that is perfect.

DO YOU HEAR ME? THERE IS NO PERFECT BODY TYPE!!!

There are PLENTY of things that taste better than skinny OR healthy. Trust me, I have tried almost everything. The only people who are going to criticize your body type are those who are so self conscious that they resort to putting others down to help themselves feel better. So why would you change for them when they clearly don't deserve you?

My dad recently opened up to me about when he was going bald in his early 20's. He said that it bothered him at first, but them he decided to embrace to and shaved his head. Now he makes jokes and brags about his baldness. Like my dad, I am learning to take my insecurities and imperfections and embrace them, instead of change them to satisfy my critics and the narrow-minded media.

Of course, if you don't like something about yourself you can always change it, but don't change yourself and make your life miserable in the process. Do it to make YOU happy!

I had an associate to lose a lot of weight at the beginning of last year. At the same time, I was gaining due to stress. This person would make me feel miserable and put me down every time we were together. It got so bad that I quit hanging out with them and kept our relationship strictly professional. They wanted me to change to be like them, and I refused to conform to how they thought I should be. Yes, it hurt to let go of a friend, but negative influences have no place in my life.

The only person on this earth that I choose to influence me is my husband, and rightly so! After all, it is he who matters most in my life. He loves my body just the way it is. I don't want to change something that my other half sees as so wonderful.

Yesterday, I came home to find that my husband had taken every article of clothing from the bedroom or laundry room and folded them or put them on a hanger, and were ready to be put away. I was speechless! I was so thrilled that he had helped me with the housework! He even paired my cardigans with shirts he thought looked nice together. As I was putting the clothes away, I was noticing the amount of clothing I had and how beautiful they were. Then I asked myself, how much of these clothes show my worth as a woman of God? The answer: NONE.

I have resolved that for Lent, I am going to be more conscious about my clothing, from what I buy to what I wear. I want it to show that God owns me, not the opinions of others. I am not going to shop for the fun of it. I will refrain from shopping at clothing stores unless my husband or a family member is with me. That way, I am less likely to buy unnecessary things. I am also going to be thinning down on my clothes and get rid of anything that is immodest or shows self-focus. I do not want to be noticed for my killer bod (which is long past gone) or fashion sense anymore. I want to show the world that I am not owned by opinions or media anymore. I have grown past that. I am not saying I am going to be like Abnegation (for all of you Divergent fans!) and never think of my appearance or myself. I want to present myself as a woman of God. I want to place my husband before myself, and God before my husband. The best way to achieve this is to purge what I focus on the most - myself - and replace it with the tings that are more important.

Wish me luck!

Monday, March 3, 2014

Becoming Proverbs 31

All my life, I have wanted to be a wife. There was no question that I would marry a Godly man, raise Godly children, and be involved with my church. That was my vision for the future.

How did it turn out?

I am married (obviously), still waiting on the kids, and I spend every day except Saturday at church either teaching at the school, leading youth group, or attending services.

Seems great, right?

Over the past several months, I have been a very cold person. I have no close friendships, and have almost resolved to not make new ones. I don't want anyone except my family in my life right now. Why am I so bitter? Because I have experienced great pain and loss involving letting people into my life. My relationship with my husband has become stand-offish, a terrible thing to have. I keep him, and everyone for that matter, at arms length in fear of being hurt. Beginning with student teaching, my life has been a downward spiral into a pit of despair. I need healing. I need rescuing.

Lately God has been dealing quite heavily with me on my behavior. I have become isolated. I have covered myself up in order to avoid being hurt. In doing so, I have cut off the viable things of life, such as human relations. I have taken away a necessity for me to be healthy and thriving. I can feel the drought in my soul.

What am I to do?

To begin my journey of healing, I turned to the Bible. As a Christian, my desire is to align myself with God's word. But more specifically, I needed to align myself with the example God has given for a woman. In Proverbs 31, we read about the virtuous woman. She is an influential woman of God who is fully capable of handling anything that comes her way with grace and integrity.

Upon further research, I have come across these points and verses for how to be a Godly woman:

1. Put God first (Commandment number one, and Matthew 6:33-34)
2. Conduct yourself in a holy manner (Proverbs 7:18-29)
3. Speak and act truthfully and faithfully (7:18-29, 31:26)
4. Look after and care for your home (Proverbs 31:13, Titus 2:5)
5. Serve others (Proverbs 31: 15,20)
6. Be trustworthy (Proverbs 31:13)
7. Be financially responsible (Proverbs 31:16, 24)
8. Work hard (Proverbs 31:17, 19)
9. Have an honorable reputation (Proverbs 31:23)
10: Be meek and humble (Proverbs 9:13, 7:11, 31:26, 2 Timothy 2:24, 1 Peter 3:1-7)
11. Seek sound Biblical wisdom (Proverbs 31:26)
12. Serve the Lord fully (there are many verses for this, but I like Colossians 3:23 the best)
13.  Dress modestly and show true beauty (Proverbs 7:10)

These thirteen points seem like a lot, but it is what I (or any woman for that matter) should do in order to become the woman she is called to be according to the Bible. I look forward to sharing my journey with you, reader, and challenge you to align yourself with these standards with me. After all, it is better to travel together than to venture out alone.

God Bless.

It's not about being "perfect"... It's about living life with purpose! 10 Virtues of the Proverbs 31 Woman, plus a FREE PRINTABLE! @ AVirtuousWoman.org

Monday, January 27, 2014

What I Wanted to Be

Growing up, every girl has a dream of what they imagine growing up will be like. From the kind of hobbies you will have to the man you marry, a girl who dreams can create some big standards for herself.

When I was growing up, I wanted to be a cheerleader, but if you know anything about me I couldn't do that for health reasons. I was 12 and in Rec Department cheerleading when I found out about my scoliosis. The coach was my cousin and knew I wasn't going to be held back by it, so it was never an issue, even with the brace. I was just so happy to finally be a cheerleader!

Then comes age 16: the first (and only) time I tried out for cheerleading.



I made the JV squad since it was my first year and was beyond happy, however I wasn't popular and was the new fish in the sea of pom poms and hair bows. Naturally, I tried my best to smile and come out of my shell in order to fit in. I had a cousin on the squad, which made things easier as far as making friends went. I was welcome by everyone... except the captain. It wasn't anything negative about my cheering or my personality that bugged her. It was the threat of competition. It was made very apparent that she was not captain based on her cheering capability.

I know this sounds like bragging, but I am just speaking truth. All my friends and family told me that I was definitely one of the best on the squad, even the varsity coach said so.

Why is this such a big deal? Isn't this a bit juvenile for you?

Maybe... but that isn't the end of this story.

As time went on, her jealousy turned me against cheerleading and ultimately led me to quitting the squad, a decision I will regret forever.

I did try to reconnect with my inner-cheerleader during college. There were a group of girls who resurrected the Emmanuel cheerleading squad. I had befriended them at the gym, and, after some impressive dance and cheering exercises, they wanted me to join the squad. The unfortunate part was I could never be a cheerleader again. The summer the squad was to debut at camp, I would be having my spine surgery. This was a devastating blow to my mantra of not letting anything hold you back.

Reminiscing on what I wanted to be, life isn't how I expected it to be. At age 13, I wrote down a list of goals I wanted to accomplish in life. Somewhere along the line, I lost the list. To this day I don't have much to show for it. As hard as one may try, there are always limitations that will cause your goals to go unmet. The limitations can be physical, mental, or even spiritual. Whatever the limitations, one should never give up simply because a goal was unmet, or a dream ended. Limitations are not the end of the world. They are a chance to back up and start over.

Maybe now is a good time to reassess my life goals and start a new list, a more mature list. Maybe one with more depth than my 13 year old self had.

Monday, January 20, 2014

Captivating Women

Going through some old documents, I found something that you, my readers, will find inspiring. Today I would like to share a book review I wrote in college.
Captivating, written by John and Stasi Eldredge in 2005, has been an inspiration to women around the world. In the book, the authors discuss a variety of issues women face through the course of their lives, bringing to light how these issues have drug us down and made us feel devalued. They have brought us away from how God originally created women to be … captivating. For example, a little girl twirling in a poufy skirt is showing the world she can be captivating and wishes for her father, who is sitting in his favorite chair, to notice her. Through this small action, she feels lovely and wants her father to notice her. But does he? Women often ask others if they are worthy of love and truly beautiful, whether with words or actions. Sometimes these answers are yes. Other times they are no, and the girl in the example is left disappointed and possibly scarred, thinking that she is not worthy.
In the chapter “What Eve Alone Can Tell,” it mentions that by looking at the story of creation, women can understand how they are supposed to be. As segments of Genesis chapters one and two are dissected for us by the authors, we see the progression of creation. From the beginning of the book, I was enchanted at the truths the authors were revealing. According to the feminist movement, women are not some fragile, kitchen-dwelling creature, they are equal with men. Although a woman can hold any position a man can, there is something the creation story reveals that shows why woman is called the "weaker vessel". Adam was created n the wilds, not the softness and beauty of the garden. 
Within every man is a desire for "roughing it," as well as leading and providing for his family. Adam was a man's man. He gathered and provided, he was given the daunting task of naming all the animals. Eve was blessed to be created within the garden where she never had to gather and provide. She just had to walk up to the nearest tree and eat the fruit. God wanted Adam to keep her safe and protected to fulfill his roles as a man.Women are not supposed to carry the weight of responsibility that men do. The Bible is very clear on the roles of men and women. Man is the head of the house, in which he will face consequences if he leads his family astray. Women are supposed to be caretakers, but not simple housewives that are only supposed to cook, clean, and have babies. That role isn't for everyone. For a further example of women's roles, see Proverbs 31.

So women were created to be emotional, soft, and strong? Yes, they are! Women are actually created to be the most delicate, beautiful, and captivating part of creation. If one were to look at the elevation of intricacy within creation, one would discover that as time goes on, the creature becomes more intricate, more beautiful, and at the pinnacle of it all was woman. All my life I had been put down by other people, both male and female. As a result I had acquired the idea that I am ugly, unaccepted, and worthless, but when I began reading this book I started seeing myself in a different light. Could I really be beautiful, loved, and pricelessAt first I couldn't grasp these ideas, but as the book went on I began to see myself differently. I was noticing all the scars life had given meStill there was something that still ached inside of me. I wanted to know that I am beautiful. To heal that ache I would have to look at the oldest story known: the story of creation. 
The scene begins with the Holy Spirit hovering over the waters in darkness. According to the Bible, the earth was without form. It was the perfect blank canvas, a new lump of clay waiting to be molded. It was the breathless moment before the first line of a play is presented. Then God spoke and created light. Next he made land, a great divide to separate the waters, and he brought the water into one place. The first brush strokes have been made. God next adds detail, designs, and color. Grass, flowers, plants, and trees appear in every direction. God then creates the heavens. Numerous stars began to appear in the void above, and so did the sun and the moon. 
Next are the animals both small and large – land, sea, and air alike. In everything, creation is ascending in its beauty and complexity. It seems like God is becoming more creative as he goes along. Each creature is more intricate than the one before it. All led up to the moment where God places his own image on earth. God created man. Still something was missing. God couldn't fit all his personality into one human being. There had to be a balance to man’s rough and rugged nature. There needed to be woman. 
Imagine the first time Adam saw Eve. I could imagine it resembling the painting of the birth of Venus. Eve’s hair gently caressing her soft skin as all nature stops to watch her. She is the most beautiful of all God’s creation. Eve is the pinnacle of God’s masterpiece, the one thing that completes the world. She holds the loving heart of God in her chest.
As the book continues, it speaks about God being harsh and loving, rugged and delicate at the same time. God’s heart is so big that he had to divide these emotions and needs into two different human beingsThe emotions and needs of the genders are separated so that, when brought together, they complete each other. An example of this is how a husband and wife are said to balance each other. Women were created as the more delicate vessel, and the Bible states that it is the man’s job to protect woman. Think about the games kids play. The boys are tackling each other, or fighting with stick-swords to show they are worthy of whatever they are fighting for, while girls are playing princess or some other game that involves them being rescued. They want a knight in shining armor to rescue them from their predicament, whether it is a dragon or, as women grow up, their own broken heart. 
There is a purpose for everything God creates. As Psalms states God knew us from the time we were in our mother’s womb. He created us with a purpose. He created us with needs and wants, as well as the need and desire to be loved. God made woman to be loving, compassionate, emotional, and beautiful. He saved woman for last so she could be the final touch of creation. Without her, creation isn't complete. Eve was God’s piece de resistance. She was the last brushstroke that completed God’s work of artShe saw everything it its entirety, because after her creation God saw that it was good, and he rested.

Thursday, January 9, 2014

I'm Back!

After a long three weeks, I am back and better than ever... almost. My back surgery went well and I have had a very minor complication. Apparently I am allergic to certain pain medications. The only thing I am dealing with now is the damaged nerves coming back to life, which will heal in time. After all, my body has three years of damage to fix.

During this time, I had to use aids for walking and getting around. I was issued a walker for at home, and a wheelchair for going out in public. At home, I would sit in the wheelchair because it was the only thing that I was comfortable in. Outside the house, I would use it in stores, restaurants, and other places to keep myself from exhausting and overworking my already tired body.

I have a dear friend who has gone through similar health issues and uses a wheelchair all the time. Even though I only used mine for a few weeks, it gave me a glimpse into her life that I never had before.

What bothered me the most from the experience was the response from society. Never in my life have I gotten looks like I did. It was all pity and fake smiles because someone as "young" as myself was in a wheelchair. I also realized that most stores are NOT friendly to people in my situation. There were some stores I couldn't even get into because of the closeness of the racks. The height of the clothing on the shelves also made it difficult to shop. I was constantly bypassing items because I couldn't get a clear view of them. Store staff were not the least bit helpful, even in stores that I frequent, the clerks were passing me by.

If stores wanted to improve, I would suggest starting with the layout and considering those who cannot reach high to pull down a sweater, or even get through the store. I would also say to train the staff to be more willing to help when they see a need.

In other news, my staples came out Tuesday and I am more like myself than ever. I am no longer relying on my walking aids and am back at school teaching. One great benefit to this surgery was weight loss. I have gone from 183 lbs to 169 lbs in a month! I am very happy for this news. Now I have to lose at least four more pounds and I will be within my BMI. As soon as the doctor clears me for exercise, I am going to begin kettleball and resistance band exercises to help strengthen and tone my body. I do not want to lose too much weight, but I do want to be at a healthy weight and still have killer curves! Also, my family invited Kevin and I on vacation with them, and I definitely want to be able to wear a bikini and look as good as a Kardashian or model Katie Green!

As I go through this transition, I will be posting scoliosis and joint friendly exercises to help those (like me) who want low impact exercises.