Friday, January 3, 2014

Day 808

WOW, it has been a long time since I have written. And for that, I sincerely apologize. In my defense, there have been a lot of changes in the past few months, and now that I finally have a chance to breathe (with the exception of my allergy issues at the moment) I can fill you faithful readers in:

In 2011, I began this blog to catalog my search for the best-version-of-myself during the year I dedicated to the Lord, beginning on my birthday, August 16th. New Year's Eve that year, I had this deep, undeniable feeling that 2012 would be the year that all of my dreams came true. I was told I was ridiculous for making such an assumption, that I shouldn't set expectations too high for myself, that I would still have to do a lot of work myself, blah, blah, blah. But I was an unemployed dreamer with hopes of an incredible year.

And hope does not disappoint.

The first week of January a couple of family members and I had the wonderful idea of starting a nonprofit organization to help spread the incredible word about the sanctity of the family, beauty in marriage, honor in responsible parenting, and wonders of love and life. It turns out, starting and running a nonprofit is a ton of work, and having no business experience was not a great place to start. I found another job 5 states away, and with the move, the new transition, and my lack of organization and sufficient funds, the nonprofit took the back burner and unfortunately remained a wonderful idea.

However, the job I accepted was a dream come true. As a woman ridiculously passionate about love, healthy relationships, chastity, virtue, and femininity/masculinity, working as a Missionary/Director of Development for Missionaries of Purity was the place for me. I was given the opportunity to further the organization and mission from the front lines to behind the desk. I spoke to middle schoolers, high schoolers, and college students about LOVE! And whether or not they listened, I was stoked to be doing what I was born to do... talk about girls and boys.

My year of awesome changes did not stop there. I was tested and pushed beyond what I thought were my limits, and sometimes I was pretty damn miserable. But the Lord knew what he was doing, breaking down my pride so I knew everything I had came from him, not from me.

I made some incredible friends, one of whom being this really cute guy from Colorado that tweeted me about a blog post I had written ages ago that he liked. Score! People like my blog! We kept in touch, and doing so was one of the best decisions I had ever made. I am convinced that God used him to slap me across the face (God slapping me figuratively) to give me a rude awakening of what I was missing out on. Here is an account this incredible specimen of a man and I co-wrote on this account:
Justine: I was encouraged to start writing a blog to share my thoughts, musings, insights, etc about womanhood, relationships, and being the best version of yourself! I love to write and it was a great way to get things out of my system, especially when there wasn't anyone around at the moment to share it with. The only means I used to promote/share the site was through Facebook, Twitter, and directly asking my friends to read it.
Joel: I was an occasional Twitter user who used the social service to get news and updates on friends and interests. One day, my cousin retweeted a blog written by Justine. I decided to read one of the blog posts and I was very impressed with Justine's writing style. I sent Justine a message informing her that I was a fan and encouraged her to keep it up!
Justine: My thought: "A fan!" He was the first person I knew of that read my blog WITHOUT me knowing him or directly asking him. I saw a very tiny picture of his face (cutie!) and thanked him for the kind words, and promptly called Jackie to thank her for inadvertently providing me with my first legit reader, who happened to be her cousin. The next few times I wrote articles I made sure to post them in a place where he could see, just in case he was still reading.
Joel: I was.
Justine: But that was the extent of our contact. Two years later, I moved to Ohio, the same week Joel moved to Denver. I followed the job to Ohio, but I wanted to follow my friends, football team, and heart to Denver. I tweeted something about wishing I was there, not knowing he just moved.
Joel: One day waiting for the train to head into work downtown I happened to see Justine's message on missing Denver. I thought, Hey! She's kind of cute and I'd like to get to know her a little more so I sent a message back....it kind of just took off from there!
Justine: Messages turned to chats, chats got longer and later, and soon I'd catch myself leaving my computer online just in case he wanted to get on and say hello. We had developed a genuine friendship even though we hadn't yet met in person or seen each other outside of pictures posted online. But every time I talked to him I just kept thinking, "No way! You too? I thought I was the only one!" or "That's what I was going to say." I looked forward to his stories, advice, jokes, and the thought of being his friend in real life. I knew right off the bat he would have a big part to play in my life, but I wasn't sure how yet.
Joel: Simply enough our chatting and conversations were happening everyday and we were super into each other. Because we were talking to each other all the time!! It seemed like the next natural step was to start a relationship. We started dating and scheduled to meet soon after that....it was the longest month of waiting in our lives but was the most amazing meeting. I met my wife!!
 A couple of months after we finally met, neither of us could stand the distance so we decided to move closer to my hometown. Both of us accepted new jobs fairly quickly, and Joel surprised me with an engagement ring at the end of April. We spent the next six months planning our wedding and doing our best to take a second to smell the roses. We were married November 2nd, 2013... 808 days after I surrendered everything to Jesus.



It has been a huge struggle keeping everything balanced, especially now that I have two jobs at the local elementary school and we're settling into our new marriage at home, but with the new year is a new start for me. I'm coming back to blogging.

As I have begun the next chapter in my life, I have decided to also turn the page in my blogging. I am starting a new blog (the big change I've been promising for ages) and letting a new adventure unfold! For those of you single ladies who are still interested in rock-solid camaraderie, articles, books, etc, I have a couple of other places you can go:

And if you're still interested, you can find me at Pearls and a Cup of Coffee.

In Christ,
Justine

Monday, August 26, 2013

After the VMA's...


A Letter To Miley Cyrus

I don't want to take credit, this is just a great way to look at a sad situation and the fall of a young role model. Definitely worth the read, even if you didn't watch the VMA performances last night.


Saturday, June 15, 2013

Married to the WRONG PERSON

I saw this posted 69483750 billion times on Facebook, but for those of you who haven't seen it yet, it's DEFINITELY worth the read. I love hearing things from the guys now and then, especially about love, marriage, sacrifice, friendship, etc... and to kick off the beginning of wedding season!



How I Know My Wife Married the “Wrong” Person

Today my wife Lindsay and I celebrate our two year anniversary. Two years ago, we tied the knot and took the plunge. Two years ago, the cutest girl in Indiana was taken off the market! Two years ago, we launched the beginning of the rest of our lives. Two years ago…
And after two years, there’s no hiding behind the dinner-and-a-movie fa├žade of dating life any longer. I can’t buy enough flowers to conceal it. I can’t open enough doors. I can’t say enough “I love you’s.” She knows (and painfully, so do I) that she married the wrong person.
Allow me to humbly explain (before she reads this). For quite some time now, there has been a myth floating around our idealistic individualistic society. A myth that claims that marriage will only work when you find your “smoking-hot, high-class, filthy rich, love-at-first-sight, sexually compatible, accept-me-as-I-am, Titanic-Notebook-Sweet-Home-Alabama-Twilight-esque, soul mate.” 
Don’t believe me? Look at the message Hollywood communicates; look at the empirical evidence pointing to later and fewer marriages; research studies suggest this is a primary factor that holds men and women back from marital commitment – they just haven’t found their soul mate. They believe in their heart of hearts that their match-made-in-heaven is still out there, somewhere.
Much could be said about where this mindset came from, but let’s just leave it at this –Singles today (and most married couples too) are searching for super-spouses that simply don’t exist. People expect far too much from their spouse in all the wrong areas.
That’s why I know beyond doubt, at least by society’s standards, that Lindsay married the wrong person.  I’ll never be quite as smart as a New York Times Best Seller. I’ll never make a six digit paycheck. I’ll never electrify the bedroom in the way our pornographic media culture broadcasts as the norm. I’ll never understand her quite as well as we both wish I would. I’ll continue to make mistakes. I’ll get angry over silly stuff. I’ll forget to do the dishes. I’ll raise my voice when I shouldn’t. I’ll let pride get the best of me. And I’ll probably think of myself far more often than I should… Oh yeah, and my younger days as a part-time body-builder, part-time male-model, full-time Matthew McConaughey stunt double are over. I retired this January. (Are you drowning in my self-pity yet? I am.)  Look, I’m not an astrophysicist. I’m not a movie star. I’m not a billionaire. I’m just Tyler. And Tyler does not meet the standards of the Real Housewives of Louisville.
So what then is the solution? What do you do when you find yourself in a relationship with the “wrong person?” Well here are a few things you could try:
(1) Every time your significant other falls short, find another. On to the next one. Then when they fall short, and they will, do it again. And again. And then again. Forgiveness is futile. Reconciliation, pointless. If they were your soul mate they’d never make those kind of mistakes. If they really loved you, they would’ve thought before they acted. Of course, there will be significant emotional baggage to carry with each new sexual partner. Or there will be financial fallout from dividing your wealth over and over. Or your kids may grow up with a distorted view of parenting or marriage. But sooner or later you’re bound to find Mr. or Mrs. Right, right? And they’ll be perfect, right?
(2) Try it before you buy it. Test drive it. See if the chemistry is there and the sparks fly. Cohabitate. Allow someone into your life at the highest degree of vulnerability, and give them this priceless delicate gift without asking them to commit to you past tomorrow morning. Maybe in the process you’ll find your soul mate. Let’s just hope they agree.
(3) Avoid it all. Make it girls’ night out every weekend. Feed your appetite for sex when it’s hungry, for community with drinking buddies, but don’t let anyone too close. Marriage is old news anyways. Commitment is so Generation X. No strings attached. Lock your heart up in an “iron-clad dungeon” where no one can reach it, and allow it to grow “motionless, unbreakable, and impenetrable.” Then no one will ever break it… or capture it.
(4) Or, whether you buy the biblical view of marriage or not, realize that love takes hard work. And that, as long as you limit the field to human beings, you’ll never marry the “right person.” Because there are no 100% “right people.” Sin’s presence in the world guarantees it. There are only wrong people who pretend to be right and wrong people who are becoming right, through Jesus. That’s why I like the biblical image of marriage. The fairy-tale image of two soul mates finding love at last is just that, a fairy tale. But the biblical image of marriage provides something so much more beautifully realistic.
It paints a portrait of two sinners, committing to the task of one another, for the sake of one another, until death do them part. It’s two imperfect people, committing to the sanctifying work of expressing Jesus’ self-sacrificial love, to their lover, so that they might see him or her become the person God has always intended them to be, knowing full well that neither of them have yet to reach this goal.
When you both commit to this, not only will you experience the perks of marital intimacy like you never could imagine, but you both will change. You both will become more forgiving, more sensitive, more loving, and more truthful, together.
Or even if just one of you commits to this, I think you’ll be surprised how much, still, youboth will change. Your forgiveness, your sensitivity, your love, and your truthfulness will enable and compel your spouse to show the same kind of transforming character back. And what could be more satisfying than that?
Not much. Trust me. I know. Because I’ve been married, two years now, to a girl who has relentlessly committed to this task with me. And because of that, I’m a better person. And so is she, I think. Love you Lindsay. Here’s to fifty more. Can’t wait to see the person God is making you to be. And can’t believe I get the honor of being a part of it.

Monday, June 10, 2013

Swimsuit Season!


544839_473848922686478_529333198_nPhoto Credit: Rey Swimwear 
By Rachel Clark
Summer is rolling around, and our time at the beach or pool just skyrocketed! I think we can all agree that the majority of girls wear bikinis at any place involving water. However, I don’t. Most of my friends think I shy away from bikinis for the wrong reasons. They either think I am insecure, am forced away from bikinis like the plague, or have some weird hatred for skimpy swimwear. All of those reasons are wrong.
First off, I’m not insecure about my body. Secondly, no one is forcing me to do anything, I am independent in my swimwear choices. Lastly, I don’t hate 2-piece swimsuits. I think some of them are really cute. I really like the vintage bikinis in style now, so retro! And I’ll share a dirty secret, I really like the nautical inspired, strapless bikinis. If there is one style I love, it’s nautical.
But wait, you say, I thought you don’t wear bikinis? You’re absolutely right, I don’t. Then why am I telling you all of this? Because I want girls to know that dressing modestly is a SACRIFICE.  It’s not always fun or easy. Sometimes you’d rather wear something else. I would like to wear a bikini at the beach, I think they’re cute. I also find all the extra fabric of tankinis annoying when trying to swim. And lastly, more material on swimwear = more $$$.
So why don’t you just wear a bikini, you ask? Why? Because I am making a sacrifice for the guys around me. I’ve heard the excuse, Guys just have an imagination, it’s not a girl’s problem. Frankly, I think that’s stupid. Part of it is our problem. The way we dress impacts those around us, especially guys. I don’t really want a guy to look at me and notice me for my butt, upper thighs, or chest. I’d rather him notice my smile or God-loving personality. Well sure, you say, that’s all fine and good, but guys should be able to control their imagination and look beyond our bodies. That’s true, they should control it. But it’s important for girls tohelp them as they try and do so.
Let’s try and put ourselves in a guy’s shoes. I think we can all agree that as girls, exercise is important to us. We want to stay healthy and are often working on getting fit. We work out and stay away from carbs or sweets. We use all of our willpower to not eat the chocolate cake on the counter! Now, let’s pretend that someone picked up that chocolate cake and followed us around all the time, 24/7. We can never get away from the chocolate, it’s always right there, tempting us and even smelling all ooey gooey and chocolate-y. Most of us, myself included, would find it easy to break down and eat the cake. And we would probably continue to break down and eat cake, because it would always be there. Our exercise goals would be long gone in no time.
This is how I imagine it is for guys. Girls are walking around all the time with barely any clothes on at the beach or pool! Guys can never get a break from it, even if they’re trying to see past all the bodies to find the smiles and personalities within the girls.
So really, how hard is it to not wear a bikini? If you’re like me, it might be a little disappointing.  You also might have to save a little more babysitting money to buy a cute (yes, cute ones do exist) tankini or one piece. But honestly, a little disappointment and a little extra cash aren’t that hard to swallow. Especially when such things are to fulfill a God given responsibility. In his Theology of the Body, soon to be Saint John Paul II said, God has assigned as a duty to every man the dignity of every woman. He also assigns to every woman the dignity of every man. Let’s make a commitment this summer to ditch the skimpy swimsuits, earn self respect, and help our brothers in Christ.
P.S. You are enough.

Source: http://madeinhisimage.org/the-bikini-question/

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Self-Defense 101 for Women who watch too much Law & Order SVU

...namely me. It's a terrible addiction. If there's a marathon on, I can't turn it off! Or turning an episode off halfway through the episode? I won't sleep for oh so many reasons.

One of my dear guy friends posted this on Facebook and I have no idea if the source is legit, but coming from a woman who lived by herself in a somewhat sketchy small town with questionable characters in her large apartment building and no street light on the back side of the building between my door and the dumpster... it would have been comforting to have this along with my rosary and cell phone in hand when I was late-night cleaning. And it's much cheaper than a self defense class (I have no idea if those cost money, but if they don't and anyone knows of any in my area and someone is willing to be my buddy so I don't look like a crazy cat lady, let me know).

So here's this:

It seems that a lot of attackers use some tactic to get away with violence. Not many people know how to take care of themselves when faced with such a situation. Everyone should read this especially each and every girl in this world.

THOUGHT THIS WAS GOOD INFO TO PASS ALONG...

Through a rapist's eyes! A group of rapists and date rapists in prison were interviewed on what they look for in a potential victim and here are some interesting facts:

1] The first thing men look for in a potential victim is hairstyle. They are most likely to go after a woman with a ponytail, bun! , braid or other hairstyle that can easily be grabbed. They are also likely to go after a woman with long hair. Women with short hair are not common targets.

2] The second thing men look for is clothing. They will look for women whose clothing is easy to remove quickly. Many of them carry scissors around to cut clothing.

3] They also look for women using their cell phone, searching through their purse or doing other activities while walking because they are off guard and can be easily overpowered.

4] The number one place women are abducted from / attacked at is grocery store parking lots.

5] Number two is office parking lots/garages.

6] Number three is public restrooms.

7] The thing about these men is that they are looking to grab a woman and quickly move her to a second location where they don't have to worry about getting caught.

8] If you put up any kind of a fight at all, they get discouraged because it only takes a minute or two for them to realize that going after you isn't worth it because it will be time-consuming.

9] These men said they would not pick on women who have umbrellas, or other similar objects that can be used from a distance, in their hands.

10] Keys are not a deterrent because you have to get really close to the attacker to use them as a weapon. So, the idea is to convince these guys you're not worth it.

POINTS THAT WE SHOULD REMEMBER:

1] If someone is following behind you on a street or in a garage or with you in an elevator or stairwell, look them in the face and ask them a question, like what time is it, or make general small talk: can't believe it is so cold out here, we're in for a bad winter. Now that you've seen their faces and could identify them in a line- up, you lose appeal as a target.

2] If someone is coming toward you, hold out your hands in front of you and yell Stop or Stay back! Most of the rapists this man talked to said they'd leave a woman alone if she yelled or showed that she would not be afraid to fight back. Again, they are looking for an EASY target.

3] If you carry pepper spray (this instructor was a huge advocate of it and carries it with him wherever he goes,) yelling I HAVE PEPPER SPRAY and holding it out will be a deterrent.

4] If someone grabs you, you can't beat them with strength but you can do it by outsmarting them. If you are grabbed around the waist from behind, pinch the attacker either under the arm between the elbow and
armpit or in the upper inner thigh - HARD. One woman in a class this guy taught told him she used the underarm pinch on a guy who was trying to date rape her and was so upset she broke through the skin and tore out muscle strands the guy needed stitches. Try pinching yourself in those places as hard as you can stand it; it really hurts.

5] After the initial hit, always go for the groin. I know from a particularly unfortunate experience that if you slap a guy's parts it is extremely painful. You might think that you'll anger the guy and make him want to hurt you more, but the thing these rapists told our instructor is that they want a woman who will not cause him a lot of
trouble. Start causing trouble, and he's out of there.

6] When the guy puts his hands up to you, grab his first two fingers and bend them back as far as possible with as much pressure pushing down on them as possible. The instructor did it to me without using much pressure, and I ended up on my knees and both knuckles cracked
audibly.

7] Of course the things we always hear still apply. Always be aware of your surroundings, take someone with you if you can and if you see any odd behavior, don't dismiss it, and go with your instincts. You may feel little silly at the time, but you'd feel much worse if the guy really was trouble.

FINALLY, PLEASE REMEMBER THESE AS WELL....

I know you are smart enough to know these pointers but there will be some, where you will go "hmm I must remember that" After reading, forward it to someone you care about, never hurts to be careful in
this crazy world we live in.

1. Tip from Tae Kwon Do: The elbow is the strongest point on your body. If you are close enough to use it, do it.

2. Learned this from a tourist guide to New Orleans: if a robber asks for your wallet and/or purse, DO NOT HAND IT TO HIM. Toss it away from you.... chances are that he is more interested in your wallet and/or purse than you and he will go for the wallet/purse. RUN LIKE MAD IN THE OTHER DIRECTION!

3. If you are ever thrown into the trunk of a car: Kick out the back tail lights and stick your arm out the hole and start waving like crazy. The driver won't see you but everybody else will. This has saved lives.

4. Women have a tendency to get into their cars after shopping, eating, working, etc., and just sit
(doing their checkbook, or making a list, etc. DON'T DO THIS! The predator will be watching you, and this is the perfect opportunity for him to get in on the passenger side, put a gun to your head, and tell you where to go. AS SOON AS YOU CLOSE the DOORS, LEAVE!

5. A few notes about getting into your car in a parking lot, or parking garage:

a. Be aware: look around your car as someone may be hiding at the passenger side, peek into your car, inside the passenger side floor, and in the back seat. (DO THIS TOO BEFORE RIDING A TAXI CAB).

b. If you are parked next to a big van, enter your car from the passenger door. Most serial killers attack their victims by pulling them into their vans while the women are attempting to get into their cars.

c. Look at the car parked on the driver's side of your vehicle, and the passenger side. If a male is sitting alone in the seat nearest your car, you may want to walk back into the mall, or work, and get a guard /policeman to walk you back out. IT IS ALWAYS BETTER TO BE SAFE THAN SORRY. (And better paranoid than dead.)

6. ALWAYS take the elevator instead of the stairs. (Stairwells are horrible places to be alone and the perfect crime spot).

7. If the predator has a gun and you are not under his control, ALWAYS RUN! The predator will only hit you (a running target) 4 in 100 times; and even then, it most likely WILL NOT be a vital organ. RUN!

8. As women, we are always trying to be sympathetic: STOP IT! It may get you raped, or killed. Ted Bundy, the serial killer, was a good-looking, well educated man, who ALWAYS played on the sympathies of unsuspecting women. He walked with a cane, or a limp, and often asked "for help" into his vehicle or with his vehicle, which is when he abducted his next victim.

I'd like you to forward this to all the women you know. It may save a life. A candle is not dimmed by lighting another candle. I was going to send this to the ladies only, but guys, if you love your mothers, wives, sisters, daughters, etc., you may want to pass it onto them, as well.



Tuesday, May 21, 2013

For The Guys... who aren't afraid to get schooled by a kid

Men: watch... IF YOU DARE! Just know that once the information in this video is in your brain, you cannot UNSEE it! You have been exposed to a calling, one that you are obligated to answer... the fate of the world depends on you now.