Thursday, February 6, 2014

Sticks and Stones May Break My Bones, but Words Can Hurt The Most

My handsome Buddy
"I praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.  Wonderful are Your works; my soul knows it very well."  Psalm 139:14 (ESV)

I have become very aware of the fact that in a few months, I will officially be the mother of a tween.  I realize this, not because of how big my little Buddy is getting, but because of the struggles he is starting to go through.  (Sweetpea is only a couple of years away and Sunshine will be there faster than I want her to be). 

You see, my son is much like I was at his age~very slim and not maturing as quickly as some of his friends.  He is still shorter and skinnier than most of his friends, even those that are younger.  Until now, it really hasn't bothered him.  As I said, that was until now.  Part of growing up is becoming aware of yourself and with that comes becoming aware of others, too.  He is very aware now, that he is not as big or as strong as his friends, and it bothers him.  That bothers me. 

Buddy likes to exercise.  He does push ups, sit ups, arm curls with 2 pound weights, (because that's all we will let him have right now), and likes to run.  He is very healthy.  Sometimes, he does these things a little too often and complains of hurting.  We are trying to teach him a healthy way to exercise and take breaks.  Unfortunately, that doesn't matter to him much right now.  He wants to be as big as his friends and feels he will never get there.  The other day, he pulled his shirt over his head because he didn't want to look at himself, because he "doesn't have any abs." My husband took him in the bathroom and lifted his shirt, then explained to him that what he thought was abs was fat.  (Not to say anything bad about my handsome husband)!  He explained to our son that he was the one with abs.  That made his day.  At least for the moment.  My husband also very carefully explained to him that it's not fun to be made fun of, and that we also shouldn't make fun of others and to never talk bad about any one's body because God made us all different and that is a good thing.

Unfortunately, I know this new struggle is far from over and I pray he, and my two daughters who will no doubt be there soon enough, come through it unscathed.  I did not.  As I mentioned, I was very slim.  Down right skinny.  Let me describe how it was told to me... "You look like a toothpick, a bean pole, a {fill in the blank with any thing that had no shape or figure.}"  Even better, many relatives and other adults told me, "you would be so pretty IF you just had a little meat on your bones."  Shall I go on?  I heard these things over and over and over, even Well into my adulthood.  Did I mention over and over?  I know these were not said to bring harm, but I want to tell you something....They can be very harmful!  My parents are not to blame.  They are not the ones who said these things, but their complements got drowned out with all the other teasing and hurtful comments from everyone else.

In college and as a young adult, I joined and gym and lifted weights for a while, thinking it would help me gain weight in a healthy way~muscle over fat, but it never changed anything.  I would sit and eat jars of peanut butter, hoping it would help me 'get more meat on my bones.'  But, it didn't work.  Nothing worked.  Every time I went to see a doctor, I would ask them if there was anything I could do to gain weight.  They told me not to worry about it.  I'm pretty sure being super skinny was a major factor in having trouble conceiving a child when my husband and I started trying to grow our family.

Even when I was pregnant, I was told I looked like "a toothpick with a wad of gum stuck to it."  Okay, I know that was actually meant to be a compliment of sorts because the only place I really gained weight was in my belly, and it didn't bother me too much.  But, don't think those voices inside my head weren't trying to tear me down.  When everyone else on the face of the earth gets bigger boobs when they are pregnant, and I didn't, yeah, those comments only made my self-consciousness worse.  I used to pray as I nursed my children that God wouldn't allow nursing to make my boobs any smaller because of it, because He knows my struggle.  Thankfully, He listened and showed compassion.

I went out with a blue million guys before I met my husband.  I thought that a guy showing me attention would prove that I was pretty enough.  Or, that I owed it to this guy, or that guy, to go out with him at least once because someone actually noticed me.  It never really proved anything to me, except that I went out with too many guys.  I never wanted to be settled for.  Sure, I have a 'great personality.'  No, I'm not 'butt ugly.'  No, I really don't want to enter any beauty contests.  But, I wanted the one guy who asked me to marry him to think I was so beautiful that, even if he didn't know me, he would pick me out over all the models and 'bunnys' out there.  That he thought I was the most beautiful girl he ever saw, just the way I am.  One guy friend of mine said that some girls are like the nice cars that are good for families that you settle down with, but there are the other girls that are like the top of the line sports editions that guys actually dream of.  I just wanted that one guy I married to think I was the dream, not the nice thing good for families that you settle down with.  And although my husband has spent the last 17 years trying to convince me that he does think I'm perfect, the voices inside my head keep saying, "but you're never really pretty enough."  "You would be so pretty, IF..."  "You know he wouldn't pick you out just based on your body.  You know he would prefer something better.  It's a good thing you have a good personality."

I have laughed and joked with everyone, and even made jokes about myself to go along with them.  I certainly never wanted anyone to know how much I struggle with body image.  That's so shallow, right??  One would think that an adult wouldn't be bothered by it any more.  But sometimes, those struggles just don't go away.  I still tell myself, "you would be so pretty IF..."  I still think I look like nothing but a toothpick, something with absolutely no figure.  Except, now I have a new little flab on my belly, left over from having a 3rd child at the age of 39, that didn't go away as it did with the other two.  Great.  That's not exactly the figure I wanted to have.  Now, I'm a toothpick with a booger stuck to it?  (Sorry, it's gross.  I just can't think of anything else that can stick to a toothpick that's not quite as big as a wad of gum, haha.) 

I don't say all this to get attention for myself, or I would NEVER have said it.  So, let's not go there with me.  This is about children, and how the words of others, especially adults they look up to, affect them.  I say all this now because this is what I fear for my own children.  I know they will struggle with the way they view themselves.  I know they will have pain, because no matter how perfect they are, they won't realize it.  But, I pray and pray that they won't get stuck in this struggle.  That they will somehow become comfortable with themselves and not constantly compare themselves to others in an unrealistic, unhealthy way.  And I say this with all the love in my heart...if ANYONE says anything to them about being scrawny, or formless, or not pretty or handsome enough just the way they are....WATCH OUT!!!  I will protect them fiercely.  I will protect their feelings at the risk of hurting someone else's~no matter who you are.

I urge you to THINK about what you say to children, tween, teens, and even young adults.  We all know it's not nice to tell someone they are chubby or fat.  We know that hurts them and they often can't help it.  But, no one seems to think that teasing someone because they are super skinny is harmful.  Let me tell you from experience~That's A Lie!!!  Teasing a child about their body shape, whatever that shape is, can be harmful. And, if heard often enough, those lies will become truths to them and those beliefs are hard to overcome, even when they become adults, long after they stop looking like toothpicks.

Do tell children how beautiful they Really are.  Then, leave it at that.  Don't tell children how pretty they will be IF they gain weight or lose weight, or eat all the food on their plate, or go on a diet.  Urge them to eat healthy and exercise and take care of themselves, not because of how 'pretty' or 'handsome' it will make them, but because of how much we LOVE them!!!  STOP teasing!!  Do give sincere complements~without any Ifs, Ands, or Buts! 

God's own Word says, "I praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.  Wonderful are Your works; my soul knows it very well."  No ifs, ands, or buts.  Let's teach our children, all the children of the world, this.  They are fearfully and wonderfully made, just the way they are.

Saturday, February 1, 2014

Cherdo on the Flipside

Hey, blog friends!!  I know, I's been a while.  But, I wanted to take a quick minute to encourage you to check out a new blog called, Cherdo on the Flipside.  I started reading a post the other day and couldn't stop at just one.  I had to read them all!!  It's witty, snarky, entertaining, and honest.  The author is a personal friend of mine who has also recently started stand-up comedy, among her many other talents.  
I'll start you out with this one about cutting your own bangs.    I also liked Flip that minimum wage job and No 5K...K?  These are just to name a few.  If you're a fellow blogger, let's help her out by reading, commenting, following, and perhaps even spreading the word.  Thanks!!
I'll meet you on the Flipside.  

Cherdo on the Flipside

Friday, September 6, 2013

"Miley Cyrus & The Pharisees" Or "What About the Man?"

I confess, I did not watch the music award ceremony that Miley Cyrus performed in and caused such a ruckus.  I've never seen one of those ceremonies yet, in which someone did not try to 'push the envelope' either in their performance or their attire.  I've seen enough of those award shows to know that I really don't want to watch any more of them.  We complain every year about someone's 'shockingly crude act', yet we don't bother turning the t.v. off, and we keep watching it year after year and wonder why they don't stop?  But, that's not what this is about.

What I have seen is Facebook status after Facebook status posting pictures and comments of the performance.  I think I get the idea without having to watch the actual video.  It was lewd, crude, vulgar, trashy, I forgetting a word?  Using words I would tell my children, it was inappropriate and unacceptable.  How could the Disney created image of Hannah Montana do something this low?  Wait...what?  Hannah Montana was a Disney created image, not who the actual person was?  You mean we've trained our daughters to idolize a fictional character that just so happened to make concert appearances?  And she didn't stay in that character forever?  SHOCKER!!!  Perhaps we ought not to put such fictional personifications on real life pedestals.  But, that's not what this is about.

This whole situation has brought to my mind the story of the adulterous woman who was brought Jesus writes on the paving of the Temple while the woman hides her facebefore Jesus.  You can find it in the Holy Bible in the book of John, chapter 8, verses 1-11.  Jesus had gone to the temple to teach, when the Pharisees brought to Him a woman caught in adultery.  They reminded Jesus, (as if He needs a reminder), that the law states that a woman caught in adultery is to be stoned and tested His reaction, trying to find a reason to incriminate Him.  Jesus bent down and started drawing in the sand, then said, "Let him who is without sin among you be the first to throw a stone at her," then continued to write in the sand.  One by one, the Pharisees left.  And Jesus looked at the woman and asked where her accusers were, then said, "Neither do I condemn you; go, and from now on sin no more."  (Quotes taken from the English Standard Version.)

When the Pharisees quoted the law about a woman being caught in adultery and the consequential stoning, they forgot something.  According to the laws of the time, both the woman AND the man were to be stoned.  Why did they not bring the man participating in this act of adultery to be stoned, as well as the woman?  Why did they ignore the man's participation and not the woman's?  Why did they incorrectly misquote the law that they knew all too well?

Getting back to Miley...everyone has been so quick to condemn her behavior, but NOT ONE status that I saw said ANYTHING about the man that was on stage performing with her.  From the pictures I've seen, he wasn't trying to get away from her, but he was actively participating in the crass behavior and encouraging Miley to continue.  He was just as guilty!!  Why are we ignoring that?

I know we want to protect our daughters.  We want them to act and dress respectably and tastefully.  We are quick to point out how Miley failed and use her as a bad example.  Should we not be teaching our sons how to act respectfully?  Should we not be pointing out that the man that was with Miley failed, also?  That a gentleman would not, should not encourage that kind of behavior of their female friends?

Dear Daughter, Let Miley Cyrus Be a Lesson to You – The Amazing Open Letter From Mom Set to Go Viral
The man is Robin Thicke, but it gets lost in all the talk about Miley.
Thousands of years later, we are still acting like a bunch of Pharisees.  We are still holding the girl accountable but not the boy.  We hold our daughters to a standard that we don't expect our sons to rise up to.  "Oh, but we do expect our sons to behave!"  Then WHY did I not see ONE facebook status about HIS crude and trashy behavior?  Thousands of teenagers have learned from our reaction that, yes, girls should not behave that way.  But, I hope and pray that somewhere out there a parent was telling their children that boys should not behave that way, either.  Otherwise, we have learned nothing in all these thousands of years.

I pray that Miley and her male counterpart will seek the Lord's forgiveness and find a more respectable way to represent themselves.  And I ask the Lord to forgive us for continuing to hold double standards when Christ set the standards equally for us all.  I pray that He forgives us for our part in encouraging these young stars to act in such sad ways and then condemn them when they do.  I pray that we find ways to love them and encourage what is acceptable in His sight.

As always, tasteful and respectable comments are always welcome.

God bless,

Saturday, May 4, 2013

Run for the Roses

Today is the 1st Saturday of May.  It's a national holiday~if you are from Louisville, KY, that is.  It's Derby Day.  The day it feels like the whole world comes to my town.  I used to say that I didn't go to the Derby, it came to me.  Growing up, we lived so close to Churchill Downs that we could sit on our back porch and hear the start of the races...the music, the horns, the callers.  Because of the enormous amount of traffic due to Oaks Day and everyone coming in for Derby Day, the school system always schedules school off for the Friday before.  It was such an exciting time. 

Mom and Dad would allow us to park cars in our backyard that Friday and Saturday to make a little spending money for ourselves.  As a family, we would always go to my grandmother's house, who lived even closer.  Aunts, Uncles, cousins...everyone showed up with all kinds of food.  We would walk to Central Avenue, crowded with people, cars, and limousines filled with movie stars and mysterious people inside the black tinted windows. With our spending money burning a hole in our pockets, we just had to check out all the vendors selling their sunglasses, t-shirts, and feathered roach clips that we wore in our hair.  (Had NO idea what they were really for, lol!)  We all made sure to be back in time to gather around the t.v. to watch the Run for the Roses, then immediately head out to sit on the grassy spot across from the Downs and watch all the people leaving.  You could always tell who won, who didn't, and who was too drunk to care.  People watching at its finest hour.  We never actually went to the Derby.  My parents didn't really think it was a place for children.  (They were right!!)  My dad did sneak take my brother and I once, to see a race or two after the Run for the Roses was over.  By then, most of the crowds were dissipating. 

I will always look back on those days with the fondest of memories.  Until I grew up and moved away, I just assumed everyone around the world stopped to celebrate Derby Day.  It was exciting.  It was electric.  It was, (and still is to those of us from there,) a national holiday. 

So wherever you are...Happy Derby Day!!!!! 

Monday, January 21, 2013

Easy Peasy Ruffle Scarf

Gasp!  It's a new blog post!  After a 4 month hiatus, I am back!!  When my life gets crazy busy, (or I'm just busy going crazy), my blogging will go to the wayside.  Just being honest.  It is what it is.  But, I'm happy to be able to post something new and I hope I won't be gone so long next time.  I did miss you all.

That being said, I found this how-to craft on Pinterest from one of my favorite blog sites, HOBBIES on a budget.  The scarf she made is so colorful and super cute, that I took notice.  (You'll have to check it out!)  I watched the video she posted and thought to myself, "Wow, I could do that!!"  

This is the color I'm doing next!
I just happened to be near a JoAnn's Fabric last night and ran in to see if they had any of the specific yarn for this craft.  To my wonderful surprise, not only did they have a whole display of them, JoAnn's had just started a 3 day 25% off sale for Teacher Appreciation!!  Woohoo! and thanks, JoAnn, for recognizing homeschool teachers as real teachers.  I chose two different bundles of yarn at $4.99 a piece, but I walked out of there for a total of  $6.81 (or somewhere around there.)  

See how thin and delicate it is?
 I used the Red Heart Sashay yarn and my scarf is the Ballet color pattern.  It took me about 2 1/2 hours, but it might not take you that long. This particular yarn is very thin and I kept missing loops when pulling the hook through and would have to start that particular part all over.  Not to mention the fact that it was 10:30pm before I was able to get started, so I was a little tired, but determined.  Now that I'm more familiar with the way the yarn is, I should be able to get the next one done even faster.  I'm also going to experiment with different sized crochet needles.  I used a 5.0 or 'H' size, this time.   I chose to do 10 holes at a time, instead of 8.  The video instructor said it would use up basically the whole package of yarn, but I did not find that to be the case.  My scarf is quite long and I still have plenty left over to make another one, or at least a small one for Sweet Pea, (almost 7yo now), who said she wanted one just like it.

My finished scarf!!  
This scarf is so easy to make, that it is a great project for beginners.  Just watch the video posted here, at HOBBIES on a budget and get started.  That's what I did.  I wore it to church tonight and got lots of complements and several "where did you get that?" questions.   
I loved telling them I just made it last night!  In fact, I'm taking my yarn with me next time so I can show them how easy it really is.  (The ladies that asked are much more talented than I am, so I'm excited to share something with them!)

What are you waiting for?  Go to the store and get started!!  When you're done, make sure you share pictures of your creation with me or tell me about it!  

God bless!!