Monday, December 31, 2012

The Most Inspiring Moment I Experienced in 2012

The place: my living room
The time: just before nap time
The company: the prettiest girl I know, my 2 year old niece Grace

Gracie found some soft blankets and asked me to lay on the floor with her to take a (pretend) nap. We snuggled up in stadium blankets (featuring our favorite NFL teams) with baby burp cloths under our heads. After a few times repeating the conversation "So how was your day? So what did you do today?" Gracie jumped up and pointed at the ceiling.

"The sky is so high! I am going to jump very high and jump up there."

I laughed. "Go for it," I encouraged her anticipating the lesson I'd give her on gravity, height, and the impossibility of her tiny self jumping to touch the 7 ft ceiling. She hopped and let out a big sigh. "You missed!" I told her, "You are too small."

"No," she replied, "I can touch it. I have to jump very high."

Attempt #2 was just like the first. It won't work," I told her, "You'll need help to do it." "No," she answered me. "I can jump and touch the sky that is very high. I just have to keep trying. I can do it, Justine. I just have to try again."

I love her. Grace, here's to you and never giving up. You taught me a big lesson. I love you very much little princess. :)

"Pictures" = photoshop: one of our bonding activities :)

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Stress less in 2013

We made it! We are still alive after the infamous Mayan calendar scare and hopefully all of us survived the holiday craziness (that one's always a little more iffy... I guess I shouldn't speak too soon). As things hopefully wind down, you are getting a chance to relax. As I was spending time with my feet up, browsing Pintrest, I happened upon this pin with a list of 55 ways to relax... and I liked it! So even if you'd rather save this until jobs, papers, exams, or whatever else gets on a roll after the holiday season, this list will be here for future reference. I'l honestly be using it for the next couple of weeks... we have so much going on!

A day late and a dollar short, Merry Christmas and if I don't post before then, happy new year. :)

55 gentle ways to take care of yourself when you’re busy busy busy

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Beauty comes from within

SOOOO... because I totally overcommit myself and never get around to anything I actually WANT to do until much later, I finally spent some time reading a blog of a friend of mine... and one entry was particularly awesome. Gabe... my bad for taking so long.

However, the timing worked out stupendously! I read this great post about beauty (and princesses!!) right after I posted mine, and it is the perfect post to follow mine. Especially knowing it was written by a man, it is super duper hopeful and affirming. If y'all get the chance, check out Beauty Speaks in Stories.

Here's a teaser for the article I'm talking about... click for more!

Beauty Speaks in Stories: Fairy Stories: Tale As Old As Time (Part 1 of 2): Part 1: Belle. "Beautiful."  She represents what every woman already is: beautiful.  Most women don't believe this.  Hiding behind masks, t...

...this kinda goes with the theme too. Not really, but kinda. Enough. :)

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Ugliness can be more than skin deep.

I am on this huge health kick right now and I love it. Eating more healthy (the right foods and correct portion sizes) paired with regular exercise have got me feeling more energized, in a better mood, and has given me a significant confidence boost. There's nothing like the feeling of a morning workout followed by a cool shower, a tiny bit of makeup and a Pintrest inspired outfit (my favorites!). It feels good to feel like looking good, you know?

There is a danger though, that can easily attach itself to new motivation or inspiration to take care of one's body: vanity. We constantly see "perfect women" strutting their stuff on the Victoria's Secret fashion show runway (no, I did NOT watch it, nor do I encourage it... I have a story about that to share at a later date), or women who have clearly taken the Barbie doll physique as an ideal waaaay too far like the women on Real Housewives or Sin City Rules, etc. My Pintrest homepage and the "Popular" tab are covered with pictures of petite women with six back abs and a ridiculous booty, all with captions that say "motivation" or "goal body." For all of the women (this can apply to men too) out there who were not born with the "ideal" frame or body type, this can be more discouraging than encouraging. Even when said "goal" is reached, it never really ends, because the pursuit of perfection is like trying to catch a cloud and pin it down... you're never going to get there.

In articles, talks, inspirational CD's, retreats, and all of these wonderful places, we are commonly reminded, "you are beautiful!" And YOU ARE! But don't let it go to your head. And by that I mean, with great beauty comes great responsibility. Beauty is designed by God to draw the eye, the mind, and the heart to awe, to truth, and to love. Losing sight of the purpose of beauty means losing sight of the beauty that counts... and you can't buy that at a department store, drugstore, or sweat for it in the gym.

Taking it one step further, what does it look like when someone loses the sight of what it is supposed to mean to be beautiful? Girls who get lost in themselves, in self-centerdness, in insecurity, in what other people think... and not in a healthy way. Instead of leading hearts toward the goodness that inspires their confidence, their sense of self-worth, they earn themselves pity and companions and escorts who find it difficult to find the "real woman" behind the mask.

Yes, YOU ARE BEAUTIFUL, but we must not forget that beauty is written into our SOULS just because we exist. We were created with the sole purpose of loving and praising our Lord, and that joy is what turns heads and inspires contagious smiles. In our loving, in our tenderness, in our grace, in our modesty, we emulate beauty, Vanity is the ultimate enemy of the praise, and as sisters in Christ, we can together answer the call to love, to give, and to share... as cheesy as it sounds (especially in this holiday season). In turn, we can lift this culture, these images, and these hearts to a degree of perfection we will find no where else. Ladies, let us love, in truth, in goodness, and in beauty.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

‎"Always say I love you. You are made to love. Love freely. Love well."

Friday, December 14, 2012

Modesty in Action

One of the characteristics of this particular blog is that it is by women (a woman, with contributors) for women (or just single people, or interested people, or whoever wants to read it... I'm thinking of you, gentlemen readers). But I have very little input from the guys, which I loved to hear in high school and college, especially when I began my search for true femininity (see my first blog, Search for True Feminism).

I am working on a post specifically for this blog with input from the men (coming soon!), here is a fabulous article from a blog about modesty BY men to tide you over and provide some valuable input. This particular article was brought to my attention by a dear friend of mine and I would be remiss if I did not share.

As well as more articles I am working on, I also have a brand-new project I'm launching soon! Teaser: coffee, class, and the best version of yourself. More info to come!

Modesty in Action

While action, like clothing is more a sign of modesty than the thing itself, it is perhaps the most important, and often neglected and misunderstood. The variations here are probably more varied and subtle than when it comes to clothing, because action springs more directly from one’s interior disposition than clothing does.
To begin with, let me clarify that by action I mean all of a person’s actions, not just those relating to some aspect of sexuality. Not pole-dancing makes your actions as modest as not kicking beggars makes them charitable. As I said in a previous post, modesty is a positive virtue. It is something you do, not a list of things you don’t do. In terms of action, it is a way of bearing oneself, a way of interacting with others. Ultimately this is determined by how a woman sees herself on the inside. The problem today is that women have been tricked to think one of two things: that their highest goal is to be desirable to men, or that they should actually be men (or sometimes both at the same time, look at any female super-hero). This just gets messy.
To illustrate that women are not in fact men, I would like to talk about the different way men and women create influence. Men create influence through outside resources—tools. Whichever guy has the biggest stick, be it money, or strength or followers or in some cases an actual stick, has the most power. This is clear in any place with a lot of men. When the CEO or general walks in, everyone gravitates towards him, not because of who he is, but because of what he controls. Women on the other hand don’t need a stick to have authority. They just do. Imagine Sandra Bullock walking into the same room. All of a sudden everyone in the room, including the general or the CEO are at her disposal, not because of what she carries—she has no authority or material claim over them, but because who she is somehow demands respect. You don’t have to be famous to evoke that respect though, you simply have to carry yourself right.
Women know this. But they trouble is a lot of them forget why they’re owed respect, and they think they have to carry around a stick just like the guys. The thing is, women weren’t meant to operate by threat of force, and women who forget that never seem quite secure or comfortable using whatever “stick” they have, but they don’t know how to command respect in any other way so they just use it all the more in a downward spiral. In they end, men just find them ridiculous or obnoxious. Remember, you’re owed respect because God made you, not because if you don’t get it you’ll complain the loudest or get even.

Saturday, December 8, 2012

"And a happy holidays to you!"

The following letter was sent in by an anonymous reader who clearly has something to share!

Dear fellow citizens of this planet,

I am writing to wish you a pleasant holiday season, full of goodness, kindness, and sharing. My you be comforted by warmth, sparkles, and nice feelings.  Take care that your holiday does not offend anyone and remember the golden rule. I hope Santa Clause (excuse me, Mr. or Ms. Clause) brings you things that make your life more convenient. Don’t forget to buy things for the people you like so you can stay on the nice list! We can look to the good example of the historical role model Jesus who taught is how to be kind to others before he started making people feel bad. Celebrate your freedom to be happy and not offended on this day of celebration of whatever is important to you. I hope this holiday brings you tolerance, emotional security and anything else you desire.  I wish you have a good time with your family bonding around the holiday tree and topping the tree with whatever is most important to you. Maybe start a slideshow with your ipad! Make all of your holiday dreams come true… as long as they don’t offend anyone. Be yourself, just like everyone else.

Carpe diem,

P. C. Wellwisher

Saturday, December 1, 2012

A song for you!

I could never let myself get away with the previous post without adding the song :)