Hunger in Your Belly

I met a dancer once. The fittest person I’ve ever met in my life. Part of her job and livelihood meant staying fit and keeping in the best shape she possibly could. As a basic American girl who has long been exposed to the false narrative that beautiful boils down to skinnier…plain and simple, I wanted to know some of her secrets. And she gave me advice I’ll never forget.

She didn’t tell me what all the diet plans and fitness routines will tell you…move more, eat less. No, instead she told me she goes to bed every night with a hunger in her belly. I think about that advice a lot.

I don’t think she meant “don’t eat before bed” like a lot of fitness gurus will tell you, although it’s good advice. I don’t think she meant “stop eating after a certain time at night” or “no midnight snacks” which is also advice you’ll read about on fitness blogs and in health magazines. So maybe that’s all decent advice for staying fit or losing weight. But that’s not what she meant.

Even though she was talking about a biological need like “hunger” I think she meant something far more emotional and philosophical than the act of eating or not eating. Think about times when you have been well and truly fed. I mean full to the bottom of your heels.

Picture a Thanksgiving day…maybe it’s the evening and you’ve just had all the things at the holiday buffet. The turkey, the stuffing, the mashed potatoes, the brussels sprouts, the salad, the bread, the cranberry sauce, the pie…all of it. You know the feeling I’m coming to next…it’s not just being content. It’s being absolutely stuffed. You feel lethargic. You feel lazy. Maybe you lie around for the rest of the night in a state of light coma with the rest of your clan.

We’ve all been there. And it’s not even a bad experience on occasions like Thanksgiving. Holidays are meant to be treated with a little looser fist, giving yourself more grace and allowing yourself an extra helping of Granny’s apple pie, after all Granny may not be around to make it much longer. So eat that pie!

But still, it’s not even the physical act of being hungry that she was talking about. When you’re hungry, truly hungry, you have something to fight for. There is a primal instinct inside of us when we have a basic need like hunger that comes out. Some cave person imperative that we didn’t even know we had. And this is what she meant.

When this dancer friend told me she goes to bed with a hunger in her belly every night, she meant that she keeps that instinct alive. She doesn’t kill it off with complacency and comfort and a full Thanksgiving stomach. She doesn’t appease the dragon inside of her giving it what it wants till it goes to sleep and stops breathing fire. No, she keeps the dragon hungry so the dragon has something to fight for. Something to live for.

Dragon Fire Health and Fitness blog

I believe this is the best health advice I’ve ever gotten in my life. And there have been seasons in my life when I’ve followed this advice to the letter. I’ve never been as fit or as healthy as I was during the times when I actively went to bed with a hunger in my belly every single night. I had a poorly fed dragon in my belly and that was motivation to get out for a run every single morning. It was motivation to pursue dreams like starting my own blog or a side hustle or a web series. Those are times in my life that I can look back on and see that the hunger was there in my belly and it made me better.

I wish I could tap into that every single day for ever and ever. There are people who do a good job of going to bed with a hunger in their belly more nights than they go to bed with a well fed dragon in there. There are people who are paid to keep the hunger in their belly and that is a powerful motivator, for sure. There are people, like my dancer friend, who have taught themselves that there is no other way to live than to have the hunger in their belly.

This doesn’t mean that the people with a hunger in their belly are all skinny and perfectly fit and walking around with the flawless bodies on the planet or the most perfect lives. Not even my dancer friend is free of flaws. We are all human. And we all have to be ok with that!

But, for my dancer friend, her hunger translated into fitness and physical movement, which led to a very physically fit body. For others that can translate into health and fitness of a different kind. Healthy careers, healthy parenting, healthy relationships, healthy whatever. There are all kinds of ways the hungry dragon in your belly can motivate you and make you want to get up and fight for something bigger every single day.

Lately, my dragon has been overfed…he’s fat and he’s lazy and he sits around all day dreaming of things he’ll never actually do unless something changes.

Well, dragon…little buddy…I feel a change in the wind, says I and I think it’s time to stop feeding you so many times a day.

That 5 Talent Life

A couple weeks ago, I heard the story of the talents, from the Bible. A story I’ve heard countless times in the past. But for some reason, this time…it hit me differently than it had before. Perhaps you’ve heard this story…

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Graphic from TremendousLifeBooks.com

A master gives each of his 3 servants a number of talents. The first man is given 5 talents. The second man is given 2 talents and the third man is given 1 talent. They each take them and later on the master comes back to get an accounting from the 3 men…he comes to settle debts. The first man returns with the 5 original talents given and has doubled his talents. He took what was given and used it to the fullest. Full stop! This is where it hit me.

Every other time I’ve heard this parable, I’ve focused on the 1 talent man who brought back only the 1 talent he was originally given. He’d buried it out of fear and therefore had nothing to show for the master’s investment, but the initial 1 talent. The parable is about faith over fear. The parable is about living out the best life you can with the talents you’ve been given! But for some reason it’s this five talent man that got me trippin’. The speaker asked if we’d ever known a 5 talent person. He asked if we felt we were a 5 talent person. And I had to answer…no. I’m not a 5 talent person. This doesn’t mean that I don’t have many talents, maybe even 5 talents to speak of. It means that I often choose to watch 3 episodes of Seinfeld over pursuing my dreams. It means that I may put something in my calendar that I really want to do, but when the day comes to do it, sometimes I chicken out.

For a very sad example: One time I went to a party in New York. There were going to be “people” there. Important “people”…”people” that I could meet and network with. That party had the potential to be a banner moment. I got dressed up…took a cab to the location…paid the cab driver…walked to the door of the restaurant…looked inside at the all the “people” and turned around and went home. Hating myself every minute I didn’t turn back around and use those talents to the fullest. This is one example, but there are countless times when I’ve buried my talents.

I want to be a 5 talent person. The speaker who was telling this whole story talked about meeting Billy Graham, a 5 talent man. No matter what you think of Billy Graham…the man used what was given to him. He spent his life using his talents. And when the speaker met Billy Graham, he knew he was in the presence of a 5 talent man. That doesn’t mean that there weren’t days when Billy Graham walked to the window of the party, looked inside and turned around. Every single one of us have days like that, no matter how many talents we have or how successful we are at using them to the fullest.

But the days you let fear win cannot outweigh the days you kick fear’s ass to the curb.

I want to be a 5 talent person. I want someone to meet me one day and say…”Damn, she’s 5 talent!”

So…how do I do that? How can I become a 5 talent person?

Continue reading

Used Cows and Crumpled Flowers

Let’s talk about sex.

A very personal topic, to be sure.

And I’ll be straight with you, internet. I’ve never had it. I didn’t have it on prom night or experiment in college. I didn’t have a Bradshaw-esque one night stand in New York City or make a really bad drunken decision. (Well, that’s not true. Bad decisions were made and alcohol was involved, but still…no sex.) I didn’t have a long term boyfriend who I wanted to share that with. And through a series of events, romantic missteps and my own personal choices I have kept my V-card. Sometimes not for lack of trying to change that status, to be even more honest with you (why stop now.)

Most of the time it’s been a decisive choice I’ve made not to share that with another person. But I have to tell you…the literature out there (Bible notwithstanding) is quite poor on reasons why a man or woman may choose to not have sex before they’re ready, interested, married, old enough, smart enough…the list of reasons goes on. And the advice about having it isn’t any better!

Let’s start with the worst advice out there and work our way through it!

“If he’s tastes the milk, he won’t buy the cow.”

Let’s keep being honest here…boys aren’t being told that they are cows that have to protect their milk. The double standard surrounding sex has been around for a very long time. Women wear white on their wedding day to signal the purity coming to the marriage bed…where’s that declaration from the groom? Not only is it nowhere to be found…it’s frowned upon for a young man to be sexually pure after a “certain age.” And women? Well, we cows have to protect our milk or no respectable man will want to…buy us? Who thought this was a healthy narrative regarding sexuality? I’m not sure when this phrase was born, but I know it’s long past time for this one to die out! And yep, I’ve had had someone tell me this before!!

“If you have sex your ‘flower’ will get crumpled.”

I think the TV show ‘Jane the Virgin’ handled this one really well. But for real…virginity is not a flower. It is not something that can be trampled or crumpled by consensual sex with another human being. There are plenty of ways that sex can go wrong. But deciding to have it is not the end of your world and you certainly shouldn’t be made to feel like a tossed gardenia after making such a choice. And what about people who didn’t make a choice to have sex…are they damaged goods too? Think about how harmful that phrase is to someone who has been raped!!

“You should wait because of the other person.”

This has always been one of my least favorite reasons to wait. Personally, I don’t want a pregnancy scare…I don’t want STD’s…and I don’t want the emotional attachment that comes with having sex (no matter what anyone says to the contrary) and all that has nothing to do with some imaginary future partner that I am definitely not waiting around to find. So the idea that a pivotal life decision should be made for anyone other than me, myself and I is just as absurd as the idea that I’m a prized cow with precious milk that needs protecting.

“Lady in the street, freak in the bed.”

Let’s not pretend that conservatives who believe in waiting for marriage are the only ones who’ve mishandled information about sex. The liberal side hasn’t done a great job either. The idea that a women should be one thing when you meet her and another thing when you sleep with her is ludicrous. And are men supposed to be gentlemen in streets, but turn into animals in the sack? This one is silly at best and dangerous at worst. If I’m a lady in the street, then you take me home and I Fatal Attraction you…is that supposed to be sexy? And what about those of us who are what you see? Yeah…I say no to this one!!

Look…sex is a messy topic. (This much we can all agree on.) And parents, pastors, teachers, politicians, news anchors, celebrities, liberals, conservatives…everyone has a hard time talking about it. I can’t blame them for that. I have a hard time talking about it too. Writing this post about sex on a blog that my friends and family read…uncomfortable. But it’s important and what I want to do is share with you what I wish had been shared with me when I was younger.

Here’s the really personal part…another reason I’ve never had sex is because it terrifies me. Can you blame me? I can’t let my flower wilt! I can’t let the milk spoil! I can’t lose my purity because that scares the “good guys” away! And even if I decided I wanted to have sex, I have to be one thing when a guy meets me and another thing when it gets intimate.

Here’s what I think…since you came all the way over here to my mind palace…Sex is good, great, exciting, WONDERFUL! I believe God made sex. I think it’s ok to want to have sex. The when, the why, the how… that changes from person to person. And if you are religious, then your beliefs may play a very important role in your decision making process (mine do!) One of the most important parts is that the people involved in the decision to have it are on the same page and should agree about having it. And above all else, we as a society should stop using phrases involving cows, flowers and freaks to describe it. Enough already!

For the love of all that is good…we have to change the way we talk about sex for future generations. We just have to!

Fitness

I don’t know about you, but when I hear the word “fitness” I immediately think of physical fitness. Working out, doing yoga, going for a run, doing planks, going to spin class, eating quinoa and kale and flax seed paste. (Ok…ok, I never ate flax seed paste!) Even when you Google fitness, it’s pictures of gyms and weights and really well-muscled human beings that show up. But what about mental, emotional and spiritual fitness.

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We, as a culture, need to adjust how we think about a person’s fitness. If someone is overweight and looking to lose a few pounds, we know just what to recommend. We share our favorite recipes and the tricks and tips that worked for us. But try and talk about mental or emotional fitness and…crickets! Not a lot of people offering their favorite prayers or the therapist that really helped them through a crisis.

What a disconnect from how the human body functions. Again, I don’t know about you, but when my mind isn’t right it throws everything else into a tailspin. And not the good kind of Tailspin!

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Let me tell you about 2016. I was the heaviest I’d ever been. Weighing in at over 200 pounds, which for my body frame and height is not the worst I could be, but it was the worst I’d ever felt physically. Guess what was going on mentally…spoiler alert, it wasn’t rainbows and puppies!! It was a difficult year and there were times when I prayed God would just release me from my life. Yeah…you read that right.

My mind was not in a good place. My emotional and mental fitness took a toll and it was very apparent in my physical fitness as well. My smile had disappeared and there was no way I could get up and care about myself enough to go for a run or cook myself a healthy, balanced meal.

The people in my life tried the best they could. But I was embarrassed and thought I should be more “grown up” and able to handle the stress that seemed to be piling up on me. Guess what…I couldn’t. And no amount of “suck it up, kid” mentality could fix it! I was sinking and the world had little to offer in the way of help.

Ultimately, I am a woman of faith, so my reliance on God and His plan for me is what brought me back to who I truly am. Not everyone has that. And not everyone can see clearly in those moments. How are we working to make things easier for people struggling with the darker corners of their mind? How are we showing that we care just as much about mental health as we do about the physical?

I gotta say, I think we’re getting better as a society at “allowing” mental illness to be something important and something to not be ashamed of. But don’t get me wrong…we still have a long way to go!

If you feel like the stress of the world is piling up and the hope you have seems to be waning, reach out!! Reach out to me, your local church, a mentor or someone you trust or call this hotline: 1‑877‑SAMHSA7 to figure out some next steps you can take toward mental fitness! It’s important! And someone cares!!

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On the Subject of…

NO Dating blog post single girl blogger

Dating!

To say that I’ve put a moratorium on dating, would be a bit of an understatement. I’ve downright boycotted the concept, the institution, the application, the very existence of dating in my life.

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I’m not talking about the sweet, meet cute kind you find in rom coms. You know the kind…

“Oops, I spilled my coffee on you in line at Starbucks…let me make it up to you by taking you to dinner, where we will promptly begin falling in love.”

“Sure, while playing football on the beach with my buddies, I accidentally threw the pass that hit you square in the head, but allow me to share a beer with you as recompense and while we’re at it, wanna fall in love?”

Or one of my favorites…”I know I kidnapped your father and forced you to take his place, but I am a tortured soul who is desperate to make it up to you. So allow my ginormous library and surprisingly killer dance skills woo your heart and let’s live happily ever after.”

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Ok, that last one is a bit extreme, and I’m not suggesting men go around kidnapping fathers to meet cute girls. I’m just saying, the art of the meet cute is dying/ might already be dead.

The kind of dating I have been actively avoiding lately is the more sterilized, online variety. The kind of dating that requires you to take up the art of profile translation and possibly martial arts if you hope to survive. The kind that makes you question whether it’s worth the effort at all. If you have the time to scour profiles, decipher messages, schedule meet-ups and fend off unwanted suitors, then online dating is exactly what you’re looking for. And better you than me, because I’m just not made to date that way. Not for lack of trying…Match.com dating blog postBumble dating app nerd bloggerTinder dating app blog posteharmony dating blog postCoffee Meets Bagel dating app blog postZoosk dating app blog postChristian Mingle.com dating blog postSee that insane list up there…I’ve tried them all. Some more than once. Now, I’ve never tried Farmers Only. Maybe that’s where I’ve gone wrong. Perhaps Mr. Cowboy is just waiting for me to don my Stetson and give it a go. But I kinda think…nuh-uh!

It’s no wonder why people don’t meet the cute way anymore. We’re all too busy interacting online, which is what made online dating boom the way it did in the first place. I’m not saying it doesn’t make sense, I’m just saying…I HATE IT!

Look…I want to have my cake and eat it too. I’m online as much as, if not more than, most people. I have instapeople and tweeple and whatever we’re calling people on Snapchat (sneeple…snapple) to interact with and I love doing that. But when it comes to dating, the joy I find in online interaction instantly dies. I wish there was an app that matched you based on a few key, unbreakable standards and then set up a way for you to meet your match…the cute way! Maybe it wouldn’t work the way my brain thinks it might.

I just know that I met this cute pilot at the airport last week. We were both in line for tea and he was in a hurry, so I let him go ahead of me. It sparked a conversation…a real one. And if he wasn’t bound for Santa Domingo and wasn’t…oh yeah…married, it might have been a “meet adorable!!” Weirdly, that tiny interaction gave me hope that there are unmarried, tea drinking pilots and such out there ripe for an adorable interaction with adorable me.

This is a 180 from the down on love Lizzie that you’re been encountering lately, I know. But I’m really trying to lock down the things I believe in and I do believe in love, despite plenty of evidence to the contrary. I’m trying to find the best way to live by the things I believe in. So love…it’s back on the table. But I won’t do it the way other people do it. I’ve gotta find my own way and I’m still working on what that even means. In the meantime,  stick around and see what happens. At the least, it could make for another web series and wouldn’t that be fun!

Bonus: I saw this online and I just have to say, if a man ever attempted this with me, I’d be tempted to marry him right on the spot…just putting that out in the universe!

Dating book store advice nerd blogger
Image found on Pinterest

 

Something Magical Happened, But I Can’t Show You

Magical Moments Lizzie blog nerd solo adventure no phone Disney Star Wars fireworks

Last week can only be described as amazing, soul-refreshing and down right exciting. You already saw my solo adventures at not one, but all four of Disney World’s theme parks. But here’s the part I didn’t show you.

I actually can’t show you. See…my phone died right after I ate what looked like a delicious Mickey Mouse shaped pretzel, but really was old tire rubber that had been sitting in the sun since 7am.

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Pretzel notwithstanding, there was magic in the air as I returned to Hollywood Studios, where I’d started my grand adventure.

There has been one other time in recent Disney history that I’ve stayed for the fireworks at the park. And it’s because 2 equally minded, childlike spirits knew as I do just how much magic a fireworks show can hold. I may be overselling this. But the majority of the time when I go to a theme park, at the end of the night, my party is worn out, tired and just wants to beat the traffic. The best way to do that is to skip the fireworks and high tail it out at about 7:30pm. That’s the formula for skipping as much Disney traffic as you can.

But this time it was just me. And traffic, when I have nowhere to go, doesn’t bother me in the least. Especially if I have open windows and a good radio station. Bring on the tail lights!

So I stayed for the fireworks. Specifically the new Star Wars Spectacular at Hollywood Studios cause…well, duh! It’s me! It was always going to be the Star Wars Fireworks show!! I wish I could show it to you, but I’m sorta glad my phone died. I love to share my photos and bring people into my adventures as much as I can. But this was just for me (and the thousands of other people that stayed late too.) You can probably Google the show, find clips on the internet and pictures on Instagram, but I beg you…don’t! Make a plan, if you can, to get to the park and see them live. Let your phone die and live in the magical moment that it absolutely is. I was nearly in tears…it felt that magical. The way the lights and music perfectly complimented my favorite story in the whole wide galaxy…there is really no other word to describe how it felt…it was magic. And I haven’t felt magic like that in a while.

Without a doubt this has been a challenging year. And I have felt, at times lost, at times angry and at times like it wasn’t worth it at all. It’s not true…it’s worth it. It has been worth it the whole time. And not just because of magical fireworks on a balmy Thursday night. I seem to be most attuned to God and myself when I am acting like a kid. I tap into a part of myself that I seem to abandon more often than not these days. She and I used to be much more in sync, but the older I get the farther away she feels.

That magic isn’t lost! In fact I found that magic the very next day when I decided, on a whim, to go paddle boarding off Merritt Island. Another instance of a magic moment that I will just have to keep in my brain because I didn’t bring my phone with me. So this is the only picture I took of the whole adventure:

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It was 11am on a Friday morning. The breeze off the water was perfect and the sun was shining down just enough to give me a nice sun tan/burn glow. I was paddling along by myself, trying to remember how to do it, since it had been a while, when I saw a fin. My heart froze…and I thought “OH SHIT!” Then, I saw another and another. I took a deep breath and the time to notice the shape of the fin and was delighted to see a pod of dolphins headed straight for me. Four adult dolphins and a baby just happily swimming towards the channel and passing me by on their route. I stood in wonder at the sight of them just five or six feet off my starboard bough. It was nothing less than magical!

I followed the pod and watched as they interacted with one another. Squeaking and jumping in the air. I wish I could show you, but again, I’m kinda glad I can’t! It was a moment made just for me. There was no one else on the water right then and by the time other people came into view, the dolphins were gone.

These are extraordinary moments. And they don’t happen everyday. After all “if life were made of moments, even now and then a bad one! But if life were only moments then you’d never know you had one.”

I guess what I’m saying is that when magic comes along don’t spend all your time trying to take a picture of it. Let your phone die or leave it back on shore and keep that magic for yourself. There will be plenty of other things to share with people. Magic is something special. And since it’s rare, take care who you share it with.

Truth is, even this blog can’t effectively convey the rejuvenating magic that happened to me somewhere between Disney and the water. But I feel like myself again. I feel the ideas and the excitement of my life again. Ideas and excitement that never left me. God doesn’t take away your creativity. It’s you who walks away. And if you’re lucky you come back and remember who you are. Take the magic when it comes! Seek it out if you have to.

“Just remembering you’ve had an ‘and’ when you’re back to ‘or’ makes the ‘or’ mean more than it did before.”

I hope you find magic today. And I hope I never get to see pictures of it!

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Quality over Quantity

Pick your friend's nose E Cards friendship blog post

Think back to when you were in the 2nd grade. How many friends did you have? If you’re a social butterfly like me, then you had lots of friends. I knew practically everyone in the 2nd grade at my little, country elementary school and they all knew me. I was the one who was always on the play ground holding court and making sure everyone had room on the jungle gym. If you can’t get along on the jungle gym then there’s no hope for you in the halls of a school. I tried very hard to make people feel welcome and accepted, which lead to my bevy of friends.

Jungle Gym Unsplash photos by Daniel Ruyter blog post friendship
Photo: Unsplash.com by Daniel Ruyter

Flash forward to high school and gym time was an entirely different story. Not only do jungle gyms disappear in 6th grade (sadly) but so did my popularity. In 6th grade I began to show signs of becoming awkwardly tall and awkward in personality. The quirks that set you apart and make you cool when you’re little, immediately are seen as weird when you hit middle school. It’s all about homogeny and I wasn’t good at that game. So, I had a couple friends that were my besties, but that was really it. All the awkwardness of middle school was only exacerbated by age and my entrance into high school. And to some degree it continued into college.

The older I got the smaller my pool of friends became. In my head, I still had this picture of me on the jungle gym surrounded by all kinds of people, all kinds of friends. The friends that will get your back in a fight. The friends that will tell you it’s stupid to fight. The friends that started the fight. The friends who are fighting you. The friends on the sidelines cheering you on. I’m the kind of girl that cherishes all the friends. The more the merry.

So, to have a handful still throws me sometimes. I feel like I’m doing something wrong if I invite my friends to my party and 4 people show up. It doesn’t diminish the importance of those 4 friends, it’s just that sometimes my head doesn’t reconcile itself to my present reality. It may sound juvenile or silly, but what it really is, is completely honest. I have a hard time with reality. Especially when I paint really gorgeous thoughts and ideas in my head. Why wouldn’t I want to spend more time up there?

Friendship blog post Unsplash photos by Brooke Cagle
Photo: Unsplash.com by Brooke Cagle

See, in my head, it’s easy to be friends with people, but in reality it is difficult to be a friend and have friends sometimes. Especially when most of my besties are far, far away. There are times when I think that I’d make a better cave person than a friend. I want so desperately to do life with people that I care about, that I forget that there are people who don’t want to do life with me back. It’s still a new concept for me, hopeless optimist that I am. But it has become part of my present reality. A decidedly painful reality.

I get it. We all have one life to live and we have to make choices about who gets our time. Time is very important to me, so I understand spending it well. I guess the thought that I would be someone undeserving of a person’s time and energy is just so baffling, because I find myself occasionally delightful at best and moderately tolerable at worst. I hope that doesn’t sound narcissistic. It’s just that I spent all those awkward teen and college years trying to be anyone else. And I’ve finally accepted that I’m a pretty neat person. So I don’t apologize for liking myself after all this time. Liking yourself is a gift!

With that in mind, I want to give the time that is allotted to me to those individuals who enhance my life’s journey. And what I’ve learned is that quantity does not matter. Who cares how many friends you have? What matters is who will show up when you need them the most. The quality of friendship far outweighs the latter.

I am blessed to count on my hands a number of people who would drop everything to take my call. And who I would do the same for. I hate to make it sound harsh and I truly hate adulting. While cutting out the chaff may be difficult, it is a vitally important step in the process of growing up.

That’s not to say that I don’t still sometimes wish I was back on the jungle gym where things were easy and you became friends with someone simply because you were both wearing the same color…it’s just not physically true anymore. And I don’t have time for the fair-weather friends of the world. What happens when the storm comes? Who’s holding the umbrella with you? That’s the friend I want in my corner. It’s the kind of friend I hope that I am to my quality handful.

Friendship blog post  Unsplash photos by Pavel Badrtdinov
Photo: Unsplash.com by Pavel Badrtdinov

You’d think that social media would help immensely with this friendship problem, but it only muddies the waters. It only creates a false sense  of closeness with people who let go of you a long time ago and you just forgot to delete from your contact list. So, gentle reader, choose quality over quantity. You can pick your friends and you can pick your nose, but you can’t pick your friend’s nose…unless they’re a quality friend, then they’ll probably pick your nose right back!

Pick your friend's nose E Cards friendship blog post
Photo: SomeEcards.com

Tips from a 9 Yr Old Fashionista

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Meet H. She is 9 years old. A New York transplant to California’s sunny, beachy Santa Monica.
She is an incredibly creative kid who loves fashion, writing and skateboarding down Wilshire.

She’s been begging me to let her have a post on my blog. So here she is with a few style tips and her favorite outfits.

“I call this The Fashion Girl.”

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“When picking an outfit, it’s important to make sure your jeans aren’t wrinkled and also to roll up your sleeves because it makes you look like you always know what you’re doing.”

“This is Fashion Einstein.”

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“Stripes show intelligence. Wear stripes to school!”

“This is called School Farmer.”

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“Overalls show that you have talent. Make sure to leave one side unbuckled. It makes it seem like you’ve done this stuff before.”

“I call this Fun on the Stairs.”

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“Put pep in your step and people will be able to see your fashion style.”

“Snooze Till You Never Lose.”

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“Just because you’re going to bed doesn’t mean you can’t be fashionable.”

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There you have it folks. How to rock your style from a 9 year old!

What I Feel vs. What I Know

I’ve been reading Jamie Tworkowski’s, founder of To Write Love on Her Arms, book called If You Feel Too Much. And I’ve been taking my time with it. Every page I read, I feel like I need to savor it because there are gorgeous profound truths in the pages of this book. Things that Jamie went through that speak to my heart, especially as I go through this transition. And so it’s taking me months to read a book that would normally take days. But I don’t want to rush the words.
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And in one of the chapters Jamie pits What He Feels against What He Knows. So the title of this blog post is pilfered from his book. Borrowed, really. So, thank you Jamie! Thank you for your words. For the difficult things you experienced so God would give you the words that you are now giving to me.

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Here’s What I Feel versus What I Know at any given moment in any given day…

I feel sad. I know that it’s temporary.

I feel happy. I know that’s temporary too.

I feel like I’m bad at everything. I know that I’m not.

I feel like I don’t have a whole lot to offer this world. I know that I do.

I feel fat. I know that I’m not and that there are people who actually struggle with obesity or eating disorders and I am not one of those people. So I know that my insecurities stem from a place that is not worth validating.

I feel like I’m not enough. I know that I am just enough or else there would be a whole lot more of me to go around and there isn’t. So I must be enough.

I feel like I’ll never fall in love. Or worse…no one will ever be able to fall in love with me. I know that I am the only thing standing in the way of that happening.

I feel like God made a mistake when he mixed the ingredients that make up my brain and the very essence of who I am. I know that He didn’t, because God doesn’t make mistakes and for some beautiful, unknown reason He chose to make me.

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What we feel and what we know are constantly at war. We are not meant to move with the emotions that come and go. Ebbing and flowing like the tides on the shore. They are as inconstant as the wind. And in Florida, the only thing you can count on is that the wind is there, but never which way it will be blowing,

We are meant to move with the knowledge and discernment that only Christ can offer. Even when we don’t feel Him there…He is. Even when we don’t feel strong…we are. Even if we think we can’t carry on…we will.

If we allow what we feel to dictate our actions we will always be ruled by the flaky, unpredictable self. And God asks…no He demands more from us.

So I feel like I don’t know what’s coming next. But I know that if I’m listening, I won’t need to.
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