Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Let's Talk Lent

I am not Catholic, so I wasn't raised to participate in Lent, though I had many friends that did. Growing up Lent seemed like such a hassle. Giving up something you loved for really no reason? No thanks. As I've gotten older, and hopefully wiser, after really learning about Lent from research and various Catholic friends, I've really come to love the idea of it. Jesus made the ultimate sacrifice for us. And his lasted forever, not just 40 days. Is it really too much for us to give up something minor when he gave up something so much more?

After some thinking and praying, I decided to participate in Lent this year. We attend a Presbyterian church, and I know that some Presbyterians participate in Lent, not necessarily by giving something up, but by adding something into their lives. Daily Bible study, perhaps, or daily prayer times. After some consideration, I decided to both give up something, and add something in.

Social media has always been an addiction of mine, even though it's something silly, it is a big part of my daily life. I check my phone first thing when I wake up in the morning. I'm checking it throughout the day, I'm glued to my iPad or laptop during nap time, and even when I lay down in bed at night, I'm checking Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. I'm addicted, y'all. So, I thought my social media usage would be a good sacrifice. I also decided to add daily Bible study into my life. I know I should be reading my bible every day, but I wasn't. I don't have a good excuse why, I just wasn't. I was focusing on social media other things.

I plan on picking a Lent reading plan from my Bible app (YouVersion is the one I use, I love it, and they also have an app for kids called Bible for Kids that M loves), which makes it a bit easier on me because there's actual structure versus me just fumbling around in my bible. I can also set a daily reminder to remind me to do the plan for the day.

I really didn't think giving up social media would be such a big deal, but I can honestly say that we're only 12 hours into Lent, and it's extremely hard. The first thing I did this morning was pick up my phone to check Facebook. Thankfully I deleted the app. I had no idea how many times I would mindlessly pick up my phone to check the various apps I had. (Especially Instagram, it's my biggest addiction) I am pleased to say that M is participating in Lent with me. She says she wants to read the Bible with me every day, and she's going to give up thumb sucking. That's a huge sacrifice for her, so we'll see how that does. I really want to take the next 40 days to work on my relationship with God, to make it stronger, unbreakable. Because without Him, I'm nothing.

Are you and your family participating in Lent? What are you giving up, or adding into your life? Do you have any tips for making Lent successful? Share them with me!

(Obviously I won't be around my social media accounts, but you can still follow me, and I'll be back at the end of Lent!)

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

A Letter to My Daughter

Dear M,

I know that you won't read this for many years to come, but I had to write it now. The reason I decided to write this now is because I'm mad. Scratch that, I'm pissed. Not at you, my sweet girl, but at the world. See, a few weeks ago some immature teen boys posted a video on YouTube about what they look for in a girl. And it was the most ridiculous thing I'd heard, yet their 300k+ followers had their heads filled with these boy's ideas of perfection. Then just this week, some other people behind the mask of their computer screens started an internet prank and spread the word that "bikini bridges" are the newest, greatest thing. And hundreds, thousands, millions of teen girls bought into the idea of what society sees as perfection. But let me tell you this, my darling. Society is wrong. They could not be more wrong.

Do you know why they're wrong? Because there is no such thing as absolute perfection. We are all different. Different shapes, sizes, colors. Not a single one of us is the exact same. God made each and every one of us different from the rest. So how is it that we can all fit into one perfect little mold? We can't. It's impossible. A bikini bridge will not make you beautiful. Neither will a thigh gap, perfect teeth, glossy hair, designer clothes, or sunkissed skin. Do you know what makes you beautiful? Everything about the real you. Your personality, your smile, your giggle, your ambition. You, my darling, are perfectly beautiful, just the way you are.

And I know that I'm your mother, and you're eventually going to think that I don't know what I'm talking about, but please, trust me when I say, I do. Because I have been in your shoes. I have been an impressionable little girl. An impressionable teenager. Hell, I'm 28 years old, and I'm still impressionable. At 10 years old I was made fun of for being overweight. At 16, I was called names because an untrue rumor was spread about me and a boy. At 18, I was told by my then boyfriend that I was ugly and fat, and that I would never have anyone better than him because no one wanted me. At 28, I still have body issues and don't always love myself. But I'm working on it. I'm trying to love myself because I deserve it, and because you do too. You deserve to have healthy role models in your life. And you deserve to know that you are enough. You are amazing, you are beautiful, and you are a wonderful person.

So listen to me. Don't ever let someone tell you what perfection is. Don't ever buy into the crap that you have to be a certain weight, a certain size, a certain whatever. Don't watch these stupid videos where guys tell you what they want in a girl. Because that's just what they are, stupid videos. A person should never have to change themselves to make someone else happy, and that's what society is telling us that we have to do.

I can tell you this from experience. You don't want a partner who has a checklist of things you have to meet. You want a partner who will love you for being just who you are. I know that the four year old you giggles and thinks it's cute when daddy and I show affection to each other, but eventually, when you're a teenager, you will roll your eyes and call us embarrassing. But do you know why I smooch on him all the time? Because I love him so much. Your dad is one of the great ones. One of the ones who didn't walk around with a checklist in his hand. He loves me for being me, and has never tried to change me. That's the kind of partner you want. Someone who will love you, flaws and all. We are trying, baby, trying very hard to raise you right. To make sure you never fold under the pressure of society. I pray every day that you won't have to face the bullying that I went through, but you know what? I'm sure you will. Whether another girl makes fun of you, or a boy makes you feel bad, or some stupid magazine makes you feel less than perfect, it's going to happen. But I hope when it does that you're able to remember my words. That you're able to check yourself and realize that other people's opinions of you don't matter.

Bottom line is this, no one has the right to tell you what is or isn't beautiful. No one has the right to make you feel bad about yourself. You should not have to conform to anything in order to fit in. You are an original, my darling. You are you, and no one else can be that. Never doubt that you are beautiful, and never feel like you have to change yourself. When you look in the mirror I hope you don't see imperfections. I hope you see your beautiful smile, your big blue eyes, your adorable dimple, your birthmark that looks just like mine and your grandma's, and your hips that never skip the opportunity to shake along with the beat of a drum, but most of all, past all of that, I hope you see how beautiful you are on the inside. Because that is what matters. That's the most important thing. And I hope that you have the courage to look critics in the face and smile, because you know that their opinion doesn't matter in the slightest. I love you, baby, and if you ever breakdown and feel like you're less than perfect, come see me. I'll remind you just how amazing you are.

Keep smiling, M, and hold your beautiful head up high.

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Hello, 2014

I know that today is the second of January, and we're already a whole 36+ hours into this new year, but I spent yesterday celebrating with my family, which means no blogging. Having fun comes before blogging!

Anyway, I just wanted to stop in and tell all of you happy new year, and that I hope to bring this little back this year. I've struggled for awhile now about what I wanted to do with this blog. I even considered shutting it down completely, but I'm not ready for that just yet. Maybe someday, but not right now.

Basically, I just want this little blog of mine to document my life. My growth, my failures, my struggles, my accomplishments, my loves. I like being able to look back at the end of the year and see what all we've done. I'm also going to be talking a lot about homeschooling, since we've started that this year. I'm so glad that all of you have stuck around, and I hope to share more of our life with all of you in 2014.

Cheers to a fantastic new year!
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