The makeup-less “hero”…

Ladies and gentlemen, girls and boys, dogs and cats, and anyone else who reads this blog post: I want you to know that I am about to become a hero.

maekup

There. See that picture of me with my hair in a towel? That’s fresh out of the shower. I’m not wearing any makeup.

I’m waiting… are you clapping? Are you preparing my award? No?!

Lately there’s been this “movement” all about not wearing makeup. Women are going weeks or months or even an entire year without makeup to show that they are OK with themselves. They refuse to hide behind the makeup anymore! A friend of mine posted an article on Facebook about a woman who went a year without makeup. One of her other friends commented on it and said, “Bravo for this brave woman for seeing the joy in her own internal beauty!”

Since when did not wearing makeup make someone a hero? I see people putting these “non-makeup wearers” on some sort of pedestal calling them “brave” and “confident.” I read a story a few months ago about these girls in Texas who were “taking a stand” and not wearing makeup their entire senior year or something like that. Wait… what? A stand for what?  Instead of not wearing makeup for a year, why don’t these girls volunteer somewhere? Why not show the importance of inner beauty by working with young girls at a group home or something?

I found this article, “Women Goes Without Makeup for a Year”  and the very first sentence threw me off:

“One brave woman is doing perhaps what most females wish they could – forgo all make up, trips to the salon, and beauty products for an entire year.”
 
Most females would love to not wear makeup? Not go to the salon? My friends and I love going to the salon, putting on makeup, and simply being a woman! If not doing those things makes you brave, we must be a bunch of cowards.
 
Don’t get me wrong, I “get” it. We’re all to appreciate our natural beauty, what God has given us. My friend Catie pointed out that makeup actually accentuates what God has given us. So what’s wrong with that? Nothing. I’m sorry if I’m not buying into this whole, “no makeup” movement to prove to people that I’m OK with myself. I am OK with myself, whether I’m wearing makeup or not.
 
moie
I don’t wear makeup to hide who I am. I don’t wear makeup because I feel uncomfortable without it. A few weeks ago I went to see a movie with my niece, I didn’t wear any makeup, and I even posted a picture! Apparently to some people, that would make me a bit of a hero.
 
In general, I love makeup. I’m by no means a pro at putting it on. I really don’t wear a ton, and I don’t even know the proper techniques for putting on three shades of eye shadow. But I love buying makeup, putting it on, and trying new looks. It’s one of my favorite things about  being a woman.
 
And when it comes to dating and marriage, of course I want a man who will love my natural beauty, but I also want a man who sees me dressed up and wearing my favorite lipgloss and appreciates the fact that I took time to look extra special for him.
 
If there are women out there who need to go through a self-discovery phase by not wearing makeup, then that’s fine. Good for them, but I don’t think it needs to be such a huge deal. There are bigger things women can do to promote having self-confidence and a healthy self-esteem. I also don’t think women who do wear makeup, and enjoy it, should be torn down or called insecure because they are “hiding” behind the makeup.
 
I’m simply a woman who loves girly things. I thank God that I am a woman, and there’s nothing insecure about that.
 

The curse of seeing someone’s potential…

1237608_trophy“Potential has a shelf life.”
– Margaret Atwood, Cat’s Eye

It’s typically thought of as a positive thing, to see the good in everyone. I am one of those people who instantly recognizes someone’s potential. In all honesty, it’s both a blessing and a curse.

If potential were a trophy, I see almost everyone I know carrying it. The problem is, not everyone is lifting that trophy up, some aren’t even looking at it, while others are kicking it around on the ground with no plans to ever pick it up.

Seeing the potential in people can be heartbreaking when they don’t reach that potential. It’s a dangerous road to travel when you see potential in the wrong people and when you let it consume you. I’ve experienced this heartbreak as a teacher and as someone who has been in relationships with guys who have so much “potential.” Right now I’m struggling with the latter.

Seeing potential in the opposite sex

Seeing someone’s potential as a future husband or wife can be very dangerous. Seeing what someone “could” be is so intensely different from what they actually are. When it comes to dating, I have learned that you must see someone for what they are at that present time.

I’m not saying you might not meet someone who just needs a little encouragement or support. I’m talking about the jerks, the players, the non-committers, or some other type of guy or girl who has qualities that make them a poor choice for a life partner. You can’t consider their potential. You must consider the present, and if it isn’t good, move on.

Potential… according to who?

There are two specific guys from my past that I have always believed have all the potential in the world, but they refuse to grow up. I see they have the potential to be two of the greatest guys in all of Fort Wayne, quite possibly all of Indiana or even the entire country, but both of them refuse to live up to this potential I see in them. They are nowhere near reaching their full potential as professional, beautiful, outstanding men on this planet!

They might not ever reach their full potential. But “potential” according to who?

According to me.

 If their potential is just my opinion, the only one they’re really disappointing is me. Why am I so concerned about them reaching what I think their potential is, especially when it’s only disappointing me? Probably because I love them both way too much. It’s not a situation of being “in” love or wanting to be with either of them, I just plain love these two guys with all my heart. When you love someone, you want them to succeed and be the best version of them they can possibly be.

Letting go of potential

If you’re like me and you see the great potential for someone who isn’t interested in reaching it, maybe it’s time to let it go. Pray for that person, but stop letting it tear you up inside that they aren’t what YOU think they should be. If someone doesn’t want to be a better person, that’s their choice. You can’t force them.

It’s a beautiful thing to be able to see people’s true potential, but I guess I need to just see that potential and then let it go. Otherwise, I’ll continue to fall for guys and their awesome potential, not who they really are.

What about your own potential?IMG_20130504_232645

I think people like me get so caught up in other people’s potential that we forget about our own. I’m sure if I asked God if I was living up to my potential, He would say I’m not. I imagine He would say no one is. Who knows, maybe there’s a guy out there who wishes I would live up to my potential.

If seeing someone’s potential is tearing you up inside, let it go. Spend more time worrying about your own potential. There’s a good chance you’re not reaching yours either.

We may not care, but I’m glad someone does…

Since I was a little girl, I’ve wanted to help. God gave me a heart for the poor, especially theIMG_3029 poor in other countries. When I see poor people, my heart breaks. I don’t question why they are poor or accuse them of being lazy. The things I’ve seen in Niger and Nicaragua are so heartbreaking that it makes me want to do all I can to help.

“What about the homeless in America? Don’t we have enough people to help here?”

That’s a common statement from many people here in the U.S. Honestly, it holds no weight with me when it comes from people who aren’t doing anything about the people in the U.S. that they claim to be so concerned about. Who are they to judge my passion and tell me I should be more concerned about something else?

1403438_jacky_-_our_young_jack_russel_dogYears ago, I remember getting frustrated at a commercial for the SPCA. Dogs? People were concerned about animals when we had people dying in the world! How ridiculous is that? But then I realized, what if no one cared about the animals? What if no one was their advocate?

God gave everyone a heart for something or someone different. If we all cared only about the homeless in America, we’d be in some major trouble.

Who would help those in countries where their own governments won’t help?

Who would look out for the animals and their safety?

Who would work at nursing homes to take care of the elderly?

Who would stand up for our planet and work at keeping it clean and beautiful?

While someone else’s passion might not be the same as yours, it’s important to realize that EVERY passion for humanity, animals and the planet is necessary for our world to survive.

Some people don’t understand my passion for Africa. I don’t know where it comes from, other than it’s the heart God gave me. I look at my friend Kim who works with special ed kids all day long, and I don’t understand her heart. It’s a heart I don’t have. While I hurt for those kids, I don’t have the desire to work with them.

Everyone is entitled to his or her opinion, but I wish some people would be more sensitive to the different passions we all have. We think the world is falling apart right now, just imagine what it would be like if NO ONE cared about the kids in Africa, the animals, or taking care of our planet.

I don’t have a burning passion for animals or making sure the planet is taken care of, but I’m glad that someone does.

High-quality H2O? Today is World Water Day

bobbleI’ve always found it hard to truly enjoy water unless I was completely, 100% parched. That is, until I got a Bobble. Maybe it’s because it’s cute. It has a red top and filter. It’s design is fun and the bottle is squeezable. The name alone – Bobble- is fun to say. And, of course, the water is delicious.

Since I got my Bobble, my water intake has drastically increased. Nearly every hour I’m heading to the water fountain to fill my Bobble with filtered water, which will then pass through an additional filter before reaching my mouth and making me happy. That’s some seriously “high quality H2O” that Water Boy’s Bobby Boucher would be proud of.

Today is World Water Day. How often do we, in America, really even think about water? It’s such a huge part of our everyday lives that we don’t even notice it. Water isn’t only readily available, but clean, fresh, cold and hot water is readily available to almost everyone. Some people even spend a couple bucks on a bottle of water, one of which they picked out of dozens of choices.

Such is not the case in most places in the world, and I have seen this with my own two eyes. The photo at the top is a stream of water in the village of Terencio in Nicaragua. I took this photo when I was there on a mission trip in 2011. Can you even imagine bathing in that water, let alone drinking it? In some places, they have no choice. That is 480633_10151287503896573_1606328051_nthe only source of water available to them. That picture isn’t of a puddle, it’s of a stream. Often their only source of water.

The picture on the right is one I took in Niger, Africa, where most of their water supply comes from the Niger River, an obviously unclean river. With half the country being covered by the Sahara Desert, water isn’t easy to come by.

According to the World Water Day website, 783 million people do not have access to clean water and almost 2.5 billion do not have access to adequate sanitation. Six to 8 million people die annually from the consequences of disasters and water-related diseases.

It breaks my heart when I think of Mayrober, my sponsor child in Nicaragua, having to live with filthy, disease-infested water, as well as all the beautiful children and adults I met while in Niger. I’m thankful that Food for the Hungry and other organizations are doing all they can to bring clean water to these communities.

Take a moment to visit the World Water Day website to learn more about “focusing attention on the importance of freshwater and advocating for the sustainable management of freshwater resources”. Be thankful today as you drink a glass of water. Not everyone on this planet can get a cool glass of water whenever they please.

World Water Facts and Figures

 

“Some of your friends are… terrible!”

I’ve heard that phrase quite a few times from my out-of-town friends since I’ve moved to Fort Wayne.

“Isn’t she supposed to be a good friend of yours?”

“None of my best friends would ever do that to me.”

“What’s with these people you know in Fort Wayne? Some of your friends are… terrible!”

Becca, me and Heather - these two girls are two of my true best friends. They know the meaning of the word "friendship."
Becca, me and Heather – these two girls are two of my true best friends. They know the meaning of the word “friendship.”

Of course at first you don’t want to see it. It’s hard to believe that you have “friends” who are actually the people in your life pulling you down, holding you back, and stabbing you in the back while they’re at it.

I think about some of my female “friends” here in Fort Wayne, and I kind of see what my out-of-town friends mean.

More than a year ago I was the best of friends with someone here in town. She was very manipulative and took advantage of me and my kindness on many occasions. She didn’t know the meaning of the word “loyal” by any means. This girl was a liar to me and to the people around me, and she destroyed relationships I had with other people because of her lies. She also tried to hook up my ex (who I was still in love with at the time) with his ex-girlfriend (who she barely knew). Wow. Some best friend. When I told an out-of-town friend this, she was shocked. Not one of my best friends from IU would ever, EVER do something like that. I believe my friend’s words were, “Why do so many of your friends suck?!”

Well, I ended that friendship more than a year ago, but it appears I’ve still got some snakes in my life. This weekend I was telling a friend of mine in Texas about a conversation I had with a “friend” this weekend. She was like, “Are you serious? Isn’t she supposed to be your friend? Why on earth would she say those things to you?” And she was right. Those things shouldn’t have been said to me, and they wouldn’t have been said to me by anyone who was a real friend.

It’s very sad to me that so many of my out-of-town friends have pointed out that some of my female friends here in Fort Wayne are pretty terrible friends. (There are other times it’s come up with other people, more than the two I mentioned here.) I know there will always be selfish people with ulterior motives in the world, but how did I become “friends” with so many of them? And forget trying to explain to a guy that another woman is a bad friend. That’s just a waste of everyone’s time – especially if the girl is “hot”.

Sure I’ve been burned in relationships with guys before, who hasn’t? But in the past couple of years I’ve really, REALLY been burned in female friendships, and it has me putting my guard up with any woman I meet who could be a potential “good friend.” But maybe that’s a good thing. Maybe guarding myself a little more when it comes to friendships is exactly what I need to do.

God’s love on a receipt? Not even close…

I am continuously shocked at the Christians in this world who don’t understand the concept of God’s love and how we are to display it for EVERYONE just as Christ did.receiptgrab

For example, a pastor and a large group of people recently dined somewhere together and were charged an automatic gratuity. This happens a lot with groups larger than 8 or so. Apparently the service was fine, nothing terrible happened during the meal, but the pastor felt the need to leave the message, “I give God 10%, why do you get 18%?” You can read the entire article here.

Wow.

I can only imagine, if the server wasn’t a Christian, what he now thinks about Christianity.

Does a server deserve more than God? Of course not. This pastor gives 10% regularly in his tithes to the Lord. Giving 18% on a ONE-TIME meal really isn’t that big of a deal. To compare it to what he gives to God is simply absurd.

This pastor clearly missed a rather important part of the Bible, and some of the greatest words Christ ever spoke:

“…just as I have loved you, you are also to love one another. By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” John 13:34-35

It’s one thing for this pastor to not leave the server an extra tip since the 18% was already added on. It’s quite another to make a connection between a tip at a restaurant and what God deserves from us, and to then write it on the receipt. What kind of love does that show?

Do we really need to give the world more ammunition against Christians? Will we ever learn that Christ wasn’t kidding when He said we were to love one another and show God’s love to everyone? I can just imagine an atheist reading this article and thinking, “That’s why I don’t believe- self-righteous Christians, who show no love, prove that there is no God.”

One of my favorite quotes comes from Brennan Manning:

“The single greatest cause of atheism in the world today is Christians, who acknowledge Jesus with their lips, then walk out the door, and deny Him by their lifestyle. That is what an unbelieving world simply finds unbelievable.”

It gives me chills every time I think about it, because it holds so much truth. Is it true? Are Christians the reason so many people DON’T believe in Christ? I think it’s highly possible.

I’m not saying this pastor is a terrible person. I’m not saying he doesn’t deserve to be a pastor or that the rest of us don’t sometimes have poor judgment. But I do believe that the biggest step towards being a true disciple of Christ is showing His love… to EVERYONE.

Why every man should watch a season of The Bachelor…

Every guy on the planet should be forced to watch at least one season of The Bachelor, but not for the reason you probably think I’m going to mention.

I don’t think this because guys could learn some tips about romance (although they could), but instead they can learn some things about women. There’s one huge thing in particular.

Took Ben awhile to learn that Courtney was the devil in the flesh.(Source: www.usmagazine.com)
Took Ben awhile to learn that Courtney was the devil in the flesh.
(Source: http://www.usmagazine.com)

Every single season of The Bachelor there is some sort of villain, some evil b*tch who all the girls hate and the guy totally falls for. This girl always thinks everyone is just jealous of her. And the guy believes it. How could this charming woman be so evil?! Clearly ALL the other women are wrong about her.

Eventually, even if it’s after the entire season is over, the guy finds out the truth- all the women were right- she really is an evil b*tch.

This is one place where reality television really is REAL, because I see this in real life all the time. Open your eyes guys, if there is a female you know that almost every other female you know can’t stand, hates, or strongly dislikes, THERE IS SOMETHING TO IT. The other girls are not jealous, they are not being catty… there is something to it.

“Oh she’s sweet,” they will say. “She means well,” guys will think. “She is just misunderstood. She doesn’t get along well with girls because they don’t understand her.” Um, no, she doesn’t get along well with females because she’s a complete jerk to other women. She would never, EVER reveal her true colors to any of the men in her life.

Learn a lesson here, guys. Open your eyes. Don’t fall for the line, “They are just jealous of me.” Take into consideration that if a lot of people don’t care for her, she’s clearly done some awful things to make people feel that way. No you don’t have to dismiss her from your life, but be careful. Whether it’s a friendship or a relationship with someone, if the majority of the other females in your life see something bad that you don’t, hear them out. They are probably right, and you are being fooled.

A few “money lies” need to stop…

Being financially responsible isn’t what I’ve been known for in my life. It’s probably the area I struggle with most. I’ve grown a lot in the past couple of years and have come a long way, so I guess I just have to keep improving in that area. OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Today I read an article on Yahoo! called “13 Money Lies You Should Stop Telling Yourself by Age 30.” It really made me realize how far I have come, because most of these lies, I don’t tell myself!

1. “So long as my job pays well, it’s OK if I hate it.”
If I was following that, I would still be teaching. People think teachers don’t make good money. Well when you’ve been teaching for five years and have a Master’s degree, it actually pays pretty good. And it pays a heck of a lot more than being a marketing assistant. I took a HUGE paycut when I changed careers. While my new job isn’t perfect (far from it), I’m much happier than I was when I was teaching.

2. “If I turn a blind eye, somehow my finances will figure themselves out.”
That was my mindset in college, absolutely. I thought credit cards were awesome. It was like free money! (dumb dumb dumb) And I kept spending and spending thinking everything would eventually work itself out on its own. Not at all. I’ve had to cut things out of my life to pay things off. That’s just how it is.

3. “I should get married because it’s the ‘next step’.”
Um, clearly I don’t believe that. Would I love to be married? Sure, but only to a great guy who makes me happy. I would never get married just to get married. I want to be in love more than I want to be married. People who get married just because they think it’s “the next step” typically don’t last long.

4. “Banks and bill collectors will get their way no matter what I do.”
This is one I need to work on. People say you can talk creditors into lower interest rates, etc. etc. I have never even tried. I should do that.

5. “I should buy a home because that’s what grown-ups do.”
I do feel this way sometimes. I hate that I’m 32 and don’t have my own house. They say renting is such a waste of money, but I don’t make enough money to make a house payment and all the other payments that come with owning a house. It’s one of the reasons I’m living in my parents’ house while they are in Florida. Trying to SAVE SAVE SAVE!

6. “If I start dipping into my savings now, I’ll have plenty of time to make up for it later.”
Savings? What’s that?! Just kidding. I try to stay away from my savings except for emergencies.

7. “I’m too inexperienced to start investing.”
Investing to me is scary. So maybe I do need to get with someone about investing.

8. “I’m a failure because I’m not making as much as other people my age.”
This one is why I’m really glad I read this article. For the first time in my life, I’m hating the fact that I’m not making a lot of money. Heck, I’m not even making decent money to be honest. It’s killing me and hurts my pride that I’m 32, with a graduate degree, and practically living paycheck to paycheck. According to the article though, “It’s been proven that the average person doesn’t get any happier after they earn $75,000 per year.” Good to know!

9. “I can still afford to eat like I’m 16.”
I know I can’t do that! That’s why I joined the YMCA. And I’ve definitely been eating healthier in the past four months. Snacks now consist of carrots, yogurt, and apple slices! I also eat at home more, and less eating out saves A LOT of money.

10. “I can still pull of the outfits I wore in college.”
There’s no way on earth I would wear some of the stuff I wore in college! I definitely dress more appropriately now that I’m a professional. I will continue to do so, even though it appears that most guys in Fort Wayne are looking for a trashy slut.

11. “If I get approved for new credit, obviously I can handle it.”
Oh heck I know for a fact I can’t handle it!

12. “I should have kids now because I want them.”
HA! I can barely afford myself right now, let alone kids. Those can come after I’m married and have a working husband to help out.

13. “I’m pretty much invincible.”
Haven’t felt that way since my early 20’s. I think I have a few friends though that think this about themselves!

So there you have it! To those of you older than 30, what do you think about this list? Do you agree? Why or why not?

The “Bully” and the “Bullied”

I’ve written about this before on my Facebook page (weird- I just noticed it was exactly one year ago to the day), but I’ve updated it and would like to share it again, as it is something that really gets me worked up. It’s not the typical “anti-bullying” post:

There once was a girl growing up in small-town Ohio. She was teased a lot for multiple reasons. Nowadays you would say she was “bullied.”

There was an instance in fourth grade where after the school play she couldn’t get out of her cheerleading costume and got back to class late. The entire class laughed at her because one of the mean girls told everyone that the girl was so fat that she was stuck in her costume. She went home and cried.

This girl did not feel very good about herself. She wasn’t pretty and popular. The popular girls actually made fun of her a lot. One time she decorated a t-shirt with puffy paint and wrote “GUESS” on it, convinced that the cool girls would think it was a real GUESS shirt (GUESS was THE brand in the late 80’s, early 90’s). The mean girls made fun of her and ridiculed her for wearing it.

Fast forward to Junior High, where things were the worst. The poor girl developed a chest earlier than some of her classmates. While a large chest might make you popular in high school and the rest of life, it is not a good thing in Junior High. Boys called the girl “Puffs,” because they thought she stuffed her bra. They would approach her and say their noses were running and they knew she had tissues. Also, in 7th grade, this girl was madly in love with a super popular boy in her class. To make a long story short, this boy said she was fat. She was nowhere near fat, but felt that way because of what he said. She was destroyed.

Fast forward again and the girl is in high school. It was freshman year and her family had just moved. She started a new school, and on the first day, someone put a tack on her chair. She sat on it, felt a stinging in her butt, stood up, and pulled out a tack. She was even bleeding a little bit. Such humiliation.

This girl didn’t tell anyone about the bullying. She didn’t tell her parents, her teachers, anyone! Why? Because she KNEW HOW TO DEAL WITH IT. How do I know? All of the above things happened to me. Never once did I consider myself “bullied.” It’s called kids being jerks, and that’s just life. I remember one of the worst “bullying” incidents I suffered was on the bus ride home from school. Some of the mean girls said I wasn’t cool enough to even know the words to “Ice Ice Baby.” I thought I did- but I completely messed them up. They laughed at me. Their laughing echoes in my head to this day when I hear Ice Ice Baby. (kidding)

Now, I will say this, physical violence is a different story. If a child/teenager is being physically harassed, it is definitely bullying and unacceptable. I know words can hurt just as much, if not worse than physical violence, but with today’s definition of “bullying,” I think almost all of us could claim we were “bullied” at one time or another, and we all got through it.

So what’s the solution to all this “bullying” and kids killing themselves over it? Yes, it’s a tragedy. But it’s not just a tragedy that kids are so mean and can say such hurtful things, but it’s a tragedy that kids aren’t taught the proper way to deal with those situations.  Self-image is not on any state test, so it’s something teachers and guidance counselors can’t spend time on, no matter how much they want to.

Kids (which includes teens), also need to learn about the finality of suicide and what it does to the people around them. Killing yourself doesn’t make a statement. It’s final. There’s no “last laugh” when you kill yourself. If parents aren’t teaching their kids this, and the school isn’t allowed to take time to teach this, clearly a kid might think suicide is a natural solution to being made fun of, and the media only make it worse. It’s almost like kids think they are being a martyr for bullying and that their gesture is a good thing.

Are kids really getting that much worse, or are our kids becoming too sensitive, too babied, too sheltered? They are being raised in this society to always point the finger- change other people, but not yourself. You HAVE to change yourself if you’re being “bullied” and you can’t take it anymore. The number one thing you can do is learn to love yourself, to know that everyone, EVERYONE has been “bullied” in some way or another in their lifetime, and that the tough times pass. There’s not always something you can do about other people, but there’s always something you can do about your reactions to how people treat you.

What happens to these kids who are “bullied”, once they leave school? Do “bullies” not exist in the adult world? Of course they do! And if you’re overly sensitive and can’t handle it, you still won’t be able to deal with it as an adult. Problem is, you can’t run to mommy and daddy and expect them to do anything about it. Someone in your life will always be a jerk. That’s just life.

Again, don’t get me wrong, I think it’s terrible that kids are killing themselves over “bullying.” I think it’s tragic, and I think something DOES have to be done, but not JUST with the bullies, but with those who are being bullied. There are two problems in the whole “bullying” situation in this country- the bullies and bullied. Both need examined and fixed, if that’s even possible. Bullies may never stop bullying, but we can teach our kids that suicide is NOT an option, that they ARE loved, and that life DOES get better.

Never once in any of the above situations did I feel like I was being “bullied.” To me, bullying was only in movies when kids beat up other kids for their lunch money. I felt like being teased was just a part of life. And it was, and I have turned out just fine. Now that the media is on this “bullying” frenzy, EVERYONE thinks they’re being “bullied.” And given how society is now defining “bullying”… I’m pretty sure ALL kids could say they are being bullied right now in one way or another. We’ve got to teach them how to deal with it before we lose anymore lives.

Note: All photographs are from from stock.xchng.