Tuesday, July 13, 2010

You are Beautiful, No Matter What They Say.

"You are beautiful no matter what they say
Words can't bring you down
You are beautiful in every single way
Yes, words can't bring you down
Don't you bring me down today..."

Although since my life has changed and I don't listen to Christina Aguilera anymore, she does have a good message within the lyrics of her song "Beautiful". I've been wanting to write a entry about this topic for a long while now, but I just haven't gotten around to it. This subject is very dear to my heart, and really changed my outlook on several things, one of those being how I feel about myself.

Our generation is probably the most superficial generation that has ever lived, and many people suffer because of this.

"You need this to be beautiful, you have to look like this to be attractive, this is the ideal image and if you don't fit it, you're not good enough."

You know what I mean.
Odds are that you've even experienced the feeling of not being good enough.

& You've probably even read a million things about this subject, and it's most likely old news. But please continue reading. This entry is so much more than just telling you that you're beautiful just the way you are and expecting you to believe it.

If you're like me and every other self-critical woman on the face of this planet, you know that you have several aspects of yourself that you don't like, or "could be better."

These imperfections are what we call our "flaws".

The things we see as flaws could be anything: Thin hair, curly hair, big nose, thin lips, crooked teeth, ears that stick out, too tall, too short, short eyelashes, fuzzy eyebrows, freckles, blond hair, brown hair, red hair, small hands, big hands, long toes, you name it. I have several of my own that I complain about. It's so easy to see what's wrong with you when you compare yourself to somebody else. (Which is a dangerous thing, because comparison can cause jealousy to rear its ugly head and allow sin in.)

Now, listen this:
As you may or may not know, God, the maker of the entire universe, also took the time to make you and Me. (*And in His very own image!) He designed every single aspect of us, right down to the number of hairs on our heads and the number of cells that make up our bodies.

Now these "flaws" that we have?

If you know anything about God, you must know that He doesn't make mistakes.

He does everything according to exactly how he wants it, and everything he does, he does perfectly.
What does this mean?
You are beautiful.
You are perfect.
There isn't anyone else that can make you any better than God can, so you're the best of the best!
& The only thing that will tell you that you're not, are the people of this world; who make mistakes, who mess up, who aren't perfect.
And this world fades away into nothing.
Everything this world tells us about beauty is all lies.

You don't need to be thin to be beautiful, you don't need straight hair, or blue eyes, or long legs, or arched eyebrows, or small feet, or anything.

Originality is beauty. Natural is beautiful. You are beautiful. Because God personally designed you.

Try avoiding all of those awful things like magazines and TV shows that tell you that you're not good enough, or that guys will only think you're beautiful if you fit a certain standard.
The truth is, the good guys will like you for what you are.
I promise.

Although I sometimes still find myself criticizing the aspects of me that I don't like, the thought of being perfect in actuality always brings me back to feeling happy. It keeps me grounded, and also keeps me from spending money and wasting my time. We're all pretty for free! :D

Love you, you beauties!

Yours Truly

Monday, July 5, 2010

"Stupid is as Stupid does." - Forrest Gump

I haven't had such a good day today.

Maybe that's an understatement.

Today was a bad day.
Well, up until 2:30pm, anyway.

I made a series of very dumb choices today, which is the reason for this not-so-grand day of mine.

Last night, as you all know, was July 4th, and it was a good night full of food and fiery fun.
I didn't go to bed until late in the night--er, early in the morning, & then had to get up today at 8:30am for a photo shoot with a girl that I went to high school with two years ago.

Getting up? Not easy. But besides the fact, I dragged myself out of bed, said a quick prayer, and got dressed. Then I received a text message from my, (I guess you'd say) "Client," letting me know that she and her friend were going to be about 15 minutes late--which was completely fine with me, because I had wasted about 15 minutes sleepily staring at my dresser earlier on before forcing myself to get up and going, and so now I could really use the extra time.

I arrived at Starbucks at 10:15am, and sat at an empty table at the side of the crowded cafe. After a few minutes of anxiously staring at the Starbucks entrance anticipating their arrival, I received another text message telling me that they were there, but had to get gas at the gas station. Happy that they at least were keeping me updated, I waited patiently.

I bet you're thinking that I got stood up.
If not, several of the Starbucks regulars thought so.

But the girls arrived 15-20 minutes later, which was an agonizingly long time to be sitting there by yourself while people gazed in your direction with apologetic looks.

Anyway, the three of us decided that we were going to go to take photos in the country side of our town, at a place that my friends and I had discovered on Friday while aimlessly driving around looking for good photographing spots. The thing is, when my friends and I went on this little road trip, I wasn't driving. Nor was I paying full attention to how to get there. I thought I was, but  apparently I wasn't.

Taking people that hired you to a place that you only have half of the directions for? Dumb choice.

So I get in my car, the girls get in their car, and they follow me out into the boonies. I am all confident and excited about the photos that we are about to take, patting myself on the back for having such a spectacular idea. But then my confidence fades into panic as I begin realize that things no longer look familiar, and I suddenly have no idea where I'm going.
"It's got to be around here somewhere," I thought. So I keep driving. Next thing I know, I'm turning right onto some highway and I have no idea where it leads to, or if there's even an exit that I'll be able to find my way back from.

& as luck may have it, there wasn't an exit for about two or three miles.

And this whole time these poor girls in back of me think that I know what I'm doing, or where I'm going. Some photographer, hm?

Eventually we come to this two way looking exit which I pull off on to, open my window, and yell to the girls with a very embarrassed and apologetic undertone that I am really, really, really sorry, but we have to go back because I can't find the place I was looking for. They were very nice about it, and told me that it was okay (but I'm convinced that they think I am insane). Then we flip a U-ey.
On the Highway.

But I prayed this morning.

So we drive back the way that we came, and we arrive to the place that I recognize as where I first turned onto the highway. Only, it looks like you can't turn off the highway onto that street. But last minute I realize that I actually CAN turn onto it, so I make the sharpest left turn in the history of left turns. ---Which was almost another U-ey.

Another dumb choice.

& Because of this rash decision, the girls behind me are forced to make the same extreme left turn, which made me feel awful and embarrassed, and like they might think that I actually brought them all the way out to the boonies just to murder them where no one could hear, because I don't seem professional at all and I'm probably not even a real photographer. Which was not my intent, I promise.

Once we made the turn, we drove all the way back down the street that we were formerly driving on and I  began to pray that there would be a nice place to stop off at, that way I didn't waste these people's time and (all of their) gas. Then I remembered: earlier on, on the way up, I had seen a slope with patches of grass and pretty flowers and a two small swampy ponds that almost looked pretty, so I settled with stopping there. Once the lush grassland appearred, we pulled over and parked on the sloped side of the two-way street.
Dangerous? Probably.

But like I said, I prayed this morning.

We got out, ran across the street, and took several hundreds of photos amongst the pretty flowers and near the swampy water. Then it got really hot. I mean, really hot, & we spotted some shade a few hundred yards away near two rickety looking houses. As we were approaching this little nestle of trees, we saw in the doorway of one of the rickety looking houses, two middle-aged Mexican men, who were whistling and catcalling at us. (Disgusting.) But we quickly walked further down, avoiding them, and took several photos around the trees.  Suddenly we heard the sound of rustling gravel directly behind us, and a old car slowly drove by, then stopped, and began to reverse.
My stomach felt like it was doing some sort of crazy gymnastics routine inside my abodomen.
The car was some sort of faded red Cadillac that was apparent to have had owners who weren't too kind to it, and inside was an older Mexican man with a cowboy hat, and a passenger whose face I couldn't see. The driver had a greasy aura to him, in manner and appearance, and was softly (creepily) saying "Come on baby, get in. Come on." I got my cell phone out just in case in the next few seconds I would need to make an emergency call, and the girls told him "No" and to leave, but he was stagnant and continued to stare at us like he was contemplating about what he should do next.
All the possibilities about what could happen to us in the next few minutes flashed through my mind and I started to feel afraid, but relied on God to keep us safe. Then I told the guy, "WE SAID NO. GOODBYE." And with that, he gave us a frustrated look, and slowly drove away.
The gymnastics routine came to an end.

But, because we were feeling scared, and also because we saw a van driving our way and it stopped to talk to the guys in the red Cadillac, we decided to forget all of this countryside-photos business and just finish taking pictures at the park by my house. So we hurriedly walked towards the car when we realized how far we had actually strayed from it. Our two cars looked like tiny little beetles on the side of the road, and I was really regretting this whole idea. Three girls alone in the boonies? Dumb. Dumb. Dumb choice. What was I thinking?!

To make the walk just a little big shorter, I suggested that we walk across the tiny dirt path that separated the two swampy lagoons.

Yet, as you may speculate, was another dumb decision.

Me and my white strappy wedge sandals went first, and everything seemed dandy. The dirt wasn't too muddy, and we'd be at the cars just a little bit quicker.
But then my next step: SQUISH.
Right into pure, manure-textured swamp mud.
All the way up to my ankles and so much more.

And why did I decide to wear strappy white wedges to a countryside photo shoot?

Dumb choice # 342.

& As you may have guessed it, we ended up having to go all the way around anyway.

Three girls walking down a country road, two that look like models, and one whose short and looks to have two horse hooves for feet.

50 honks, 23 rubber-neckers and 400 hormone-enraged teen aged boy gawks later, we arrived at our cars and drove to the park where we finished our shoot. Muddy feet and all.

& all of that fuel they bought before our meeting? Scattered about the Californian country side, along with my dignity.

When I got home, I immediately ran inside, tossed the shoes, washed my feet, grabbed some baby carrots and was on my way to work, to which I was running late. (It takes about 45 minutes to get there, 30 if you speed). On my way out, my mom says "Are you sure you have to work today? Sometimes schools give the day after the 4th of July off." But I dismiss this, and tell her that they don't give luxuries like that to junior college students. So I get in my car and as I'm driving, I'm nervously munching on my carrots praying that I get to work on time. And I do, praise God.
But something looks off. Where are all the cars? I shrug my shoulders and park with the small cluster of cars that are there, and I head down the steps to the building that I work in.
Doors locked, all lights are off.
Are you kidding me?
No work today.
Even now, five hours later, I still don't know what the deal is. Really? They don't give us a spring break, which is a NORMAL vacation to have, sometimes they don't even give us certain holidays off, but they give us the day after 4th of July off? This is craziness.

Anyway, frustrated and upset, I call my boyfriend and hope that by some miracle he hasn't gone to work yet (it was 2pm and he usually goes to work at 7 or 8am) because I would have felt even worse if I had to turn around and just drive that long way back home.
And guess what? He's actually home!!!
So I went over to see him, thrilled that this trip hasn't been a complete waste of time and gas. Yay.

Funny thing is, he's always there like this when I need him. Whether he knows it or not. Every time my class has been cancelled or something like this happens, when he's typically not supposed to be home, he is. Whether he's running late, or he just decided not to go to work that day. It just always seems to work out, lucky for me.

This is the part of the day that puts my bad day streak to an end. Thankfully.

Thank you Lord for keeping us safe through it all!

After telling him my horrific story, we had tea together, and then he went off to work and I went home.
I love that about our relationship, sometimes it's so simple.
I'm having a bad day, I go see him, he makes me laugh, we have tea, and I go home feeling completely happy.
It's nice. :)
But I won't bore you with this mushy gushy stuff.

I better go tend to those shoes.

Hope you all are having happy days of good choices.

Yours Truly

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Children of a King

This past week has been a roller coaster of a ride for me, with steep, inspirational and encouraging climbs to the top of the incline, and ominous, discouraging, descents to the bottom. All attributed to me, of course. I find it amazing how much control we actually have over how we feel and what we think, yet, we still allow ourselves to feel down at times, and so easily, too. When I begin to think about this control that we have over ourselves, it's like a little light bulb goes on over the top of my head and I think, "well geeze, I'm going to feel happy all of the time! It seems so easy!" Yet, I still find myself making choices or letting situations get to me that cause the discouragement and downhill plummet. Funny how that works. It seems so easy to change.

This Sunday was an extreme "up" day for me, one of those which I've been so thankful for all week. At a prayer God had a personal message for me, which he spoke through someone (I hope with all of my heart that He uses me like that one day). This message did not encompass the exact subject I was hoping for an answer for, however, it was a message that I really, I mean really, needed to hear. It was just the right encouragement to help me get through these difficult times, and even overflow into encouragement for other situations as well. Not only that, He even gave me several incredible promises for my future. -- Promises I didn't feel that I deserved.

Our God boggles my mind sometimes. I don't think I'll ever understand how He has so much patience and love for one person, even if they keep making mistakes time after time. He always welcomes us back with open arms and an open heart, no matter what we may do against him. This is unfathomable for me to imagine. If I were Him, I'd probably be done with me by now.

I guess that's why He's God, and not me.
(Thank God for that!)

This week He has just blessed my heart time and time again, allowing me to feel His love at the most random moments, and unexpected times and places. In the car, at home, at work... You name it. And I still can not get over the fact that the one and only God, the maker of the entire Universe, the King of all kings, (need I emphasis further?) took the time to show me how much he loves me and on top of all that, promise me blessings for my life that were everything I could hope for? Even after all I've done? This alone will give me joy for the rest of my life. His love is there, and it's all around us. Even during those days that I make mistakes, once I ask for that forgiveness and help, I feel His love right there all over again. "for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee." - Hebrews 13:5. A God of His word.

If you haven't seen the film "How Great is Our God" with Louie Giglio, wriggle out of those pajamas, put down the coffee, go put something decent on, and go get it (Assuming that you're like me, and enjoy lounging around in your sleeping gear after work). This movie will give you an all new perspective of God's love for you, and it'll help you understand a glimpse of how great It actually is. We are just tiny specks in an enormous universe filled with gigantic planets, stars, suns, and solar systems, yet, God's love for us is so large that it is unfathomable. All that love for just one little speck in universe. (I won't say any more, I don't want to ruin the movie! But really, watch it.)

We are children of the most high King, the creator of all that ever was, is, and ever will be.

Things just don't get any better than that.

Now it's time for me to get back to work and disinfect those tables.
Love you all!

Sincerely, Yours Truly

P.S. I found a link to watch it on YouTube, that way you don't have to ditch the PJs and bunny slippers.
 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RKMw1ndl-EY (Part 1)

You're welcome!