I have a huge heart for people that are hurting. Sometimes, I have more empathy than I can handle. The things I’ve seen in my life have filtered my love, though. Sadly, to the point of cynicism and mistrust in some cases.

Take last night, for example. My friend signed up to serve a meal at the Downtown Denver Rescue Mission and asked for some volunteers to go with her. Of course, given my love for people and serving others, I jumped at the chance. Concern began on the drive down there, wondering what I’d do with my purse. I couldn’t bring it with me. It’s a temptation to some of *them*. What would I do, hide it somewhere to be found or keep it on me to be stolen and traded for crack? (I mean, I should know… when I was a teenage runaway, living on the streets and smoking crack, I did the same thing with someone’s stolen purse and someone’s stolen wallet.) The other ladies I was with, were going to put their purses in the trunk. In my mind, that’s perfect for any schemers to see, plan and steal. So, I shoved mine under the driver’s seat. If someone was planning to break into the trunk and grab the purses, they’d most likely not be searching the rest of the car. (Grab and go.) So began my fear and anxiety. Walking toward the Rescue Mission, my reconnaissance mentality kicked on, making sure to have a clear head and my surroundings in check. After signing in, we walked downstairs and as soon as that door swung open and I had a view of faces, it flipped on. As if it was second nature and without a flinch, I removed my wedding ring, casually pushed it into my pocket and (knowing I was now “available”) I moved the ring from my right index finger onto my left ring finger. Not a flinch or facial expression. Dear God. That mentality was as crystal clear as if it was all yesterday. For the rest of the night, I wasn’t my usual self. No joking around, nearly no laughter. I kept eye contact to a minimum and if necessary, extremely quick and unemotional. I was in survival mode and I’m sure it showed. But I didn’t give a shit. I came there to do a job. A job I was still very determined to fulfill and very grateful being given an opportunity to help others even if I was surrounded by 80 homeless men, most likely all with mental issues and drug addictions. I wasn’t there to make any friends. The girl I came with was laughing and carrying conversations with some of the guys and I couldn’t help but look at her with sympathy. She had no idea that she was most likely a game to them. The *easiest* women were the targets, the first victims. I know this from experience. Could every single homeless man that we served last night, all 80 of them, be innocent, tame and pure in heart? Sure, it’s a possibility. But I’ve *lived* what homelessness and drugs can do to a human being. Knowing what I know, I wasn’t about to let my guard down until we were back in the car and on the way back home.

I accomplished my tasks with fervor and effectiveness. I slightly smiled and gave lots of “you’re welcome” and “thank you” responses. But last night taught me how much my past is still with me. When we left the building, there were people smoking crack about 50 feet from me. It was a very strange feeling to want to run away from them as fast and as far as possible BUT I also wanted to walk up to them and just chill out and hear their stories and show them that joy and peace was possible, without drugs.

Fear and love/passion do strange things to the human heart. I feel like I overcame something last night. Something I never knew existed. I’m hoping that the more I serve in this environment, the more trust I’ll gain to replace my fear. I’ll be back to do this again in a couple of weeks and I can’t wait.

I know I’ve written a lot of heavy posts this year. The reason behind that is… well… it’s been a heavy year for me. For the first time in my life, I’ve dealt with traumatic events against me – starting with when I was eight years old. It’s been a tough year but it’s been an extremely healthy, healing year. For that, I am grateful, sometimes overwhelmed, in knowing how blessed I am.

In honor of Thanksgiving, this is my list of thanks.

  • For my perfect fit, Jase: He’s the most patient, loving, forgiving, gracious person I know.
  • For Malakai: My genius, loving, drumming, passionate first-born.
  • For Zoe: My happy, creative, kind and sensitive little girl.
  • For Cali: My carefree, dancing-singing, funny, precious toddler.
  • For all of my family and friends: Their support, love, listening ears, sound advice, similar struggles, and compassionate hearts have taught me so much.
  • I’m thankful, to the extent of immense disbelief and emotion, for the love and forgiveness I’ve been shown by the Creator of life. I am constantly moved to tears for the sacrifice that Jesus gave to me and the people that have harmed me. Because of Him, I know love. Because of Him, I know forgiveness and grace. Because of Jesus, I know the effects of second chances. For that chance, I breathe deep everyday and vow to show the same love that I’ve been gifted.
  • For the material possessions (house, vehicles, bed, computer, television) that allow me to relax and love myself, my family and all others while life attempts to push me into the ground, burying me with expectations and flashbacks and busyness.
  • For Jase’s job. His current job is the best he’s ever had but Jase has constantly worked his butt off to make sure that I’m able to stay home and raise our children with our values and morals.
  • For my past. I can not truthfully claim to wish change with any of it, for fear in it changing the positive aspects of my current life. Even in the midst of flashbacks (causing me to relive the pain and trauma) I know that allowing God to work through my past has made me a stronger and more loving person. Would I like to have this strength and love without having experienced the pain? Sure. But I can’t live life while drowning in “what if” scenarios. So, because of my past and with severe diligence, I will let my past refine me (for better) and use it to help me protect my children. I’ll pray they know the love, empathy and passion I have for people, WITHOUT needing to experience what I went through.
  • For the opportunity I have in being a mentor to youth. Because of my past, I have a heart/passion for youth, however, with the opportunity to reach out to them, I have a voice. Because of this opportunity, it’s become a positive reason to speak the heartache I’ve been through.
  • For the beauty of God’s creation. All of it. The intricate solar system, down to the smallest particle. I am blown away by how life has been so perfectly created. I love photographing nature and gazing at pictures of space. I notice, every day, how perplexing and perfect God’s creativity graces us with its presence.
  • For music. Music helped fuel the rage I had as a teenager but has also helped keep me afloat while drowning in sadness. Music can bring out every single emotion in me and something about singing on stage makes me feel extraordinarily close to God and people.
  • For laughter. God, in His own sense of humor, has placed in me an unusual one. My humor is self-reliant. Almost daily, something in my own imagination gives me a chuckle. I’m also surrounded by so many people that help this innate desire to laugh and make others laugh. For that, I’m sincerely grateful for wittiness, sarcasm and ignorance to idiocy. Writing that even made me giggle. 😉

When looking for opportunities of thanks, rather than opportunities to complain, your list will overwhelm you as well.

Look around. Find beauty. Somewhere. Anywhere. Cling to it.

My friend posted something on her facebook page the other day, about the Oprah show that she just watched. My friend mentioned how her heart breaks for “these women.” Since I only have preschool shows on during the day, I went to Oprah’s site and got the scoop. The topic for this particular show was on women who had been sexually abused at the hand of family members.

Growing up in with a strict, religious-focused mentality, really screwed me up. As a child and teenager, there were many things that were taboo topics in my family. The thinking was, if negative things were discussed, they’d be at the forefront of our minds and it would make us want to do those things. If we were talking about negative feelings, then we weren’t focusing on God or allowing Him to heal us. Total BS brainwashing. Especially when I had questions about sex, drugs and drinking as a pre-teen and then not knowing what to do or who to talk to after being molested by two family members and raped as a teenager. I’ve gone through HELL in my life because I’ve felt too afraid to speak up, too alone for anyone to care. Years of pain and trauma may have been avoided if I had been given the tools to deal with being molested when I was eight. Maybe I wouldn’t have turned to drugs, alcohol, stealing, running away, etc… maybe I wouldn’t have been molested, for years, by another family member. Maybe I wouldn’t have been raped.

Reading the summary of the Oprah show, the other day, reminded me that there is still SO much change that needs to happen in regard to sexual abuse survivors. In a way, I feel I’m now open to speaking about it so that must mean that everyone else is as well. I couldn’t believe the feedback I read while browsing through this particular site, as well as other sites. There are still so many women and men that are silent because they feel alone and afraid.

To me, it means that the voices of us survivors aren’t loud enough.

I want to be a loud advocate for victims/survivors but given the lack of confidence I have in myself and feeling like the help I have to offer has already been fulfilled by someone else and my story has already been told, it’s no wonder I’ve been dormant on this topic.

The reminder that there are still people too afraid to speak up or feeling like they are alone in their pain/abuse helps propel me, recharge me, to speak louder.

Why is sexual abuse such a taboo topic?!?

I’m sick of the muzzle, especially when it’s placed on by religion.

This year, I’ve finally found help: My church and their love for hurting, broken and weak people. My help has also come from finally tearing down the pride that had been fused to my DNA and talking to a counselor who showed me the depth of my PTSD and a variety of healing processes. So far, I’ve come across one book, Wounded Heart, that has been the most amazing help of all in getting me over my silenced shame and in understanding I’m not alone.

  • 1 in 6 women and 1 in 33 men will be a victim of sexual assault in their lifetime.
  • College age women are 4 times more likely to be sexually assaulted.

It’s more than likely that if you aren’t a victim/survivor yourself, then you know of someone that has been sexually abused.

Our silence is deafening.

I have had severe writer’s block, for weeks, with this idea/post. I’m tired of it swimming around in my head. So, although it might be incomplete or disjointed, I’m publishing it now.

I had an epiphany last night. Oooo, I love those. I realized that if I would stop having expectations with other people, then they wouldn’t let me down. If I stopped expecting things from people or for them to act a certain way, then I wouldn’t be disappointed in them.

I realized that that must be what defines unconditional love. Then I realized that that is how I needed to start viewing myself. I judge myself quite severely.

For most of my life I’ve felt defined as a singer. Not as a person who loved to sing but as, just a singer. If I messed up in singing a song, I failed in who I was. It was a horrible place to put myself. If I wasn’t singing, I wasn’t fulfilling who I was meant to be. If I wasn’t at the top of my list of accomplishing “all things I want to do and places I want to go” with singing, then I wasn’t complete.

I feel closest to God when I’m singing on stage at church and most complete when I’m singing, anywhere. However, I was getting to the point, before and after singing, of being unnerved with how I did because it wasn’t the best.

Being ONLY a singer was killing the value that I should have placed within myself. Having unrealistic expectations was killing the unconditional love that I should have had for those around me.

Once I realized that my problem resided in the expectations I had on myself and others, I quickly learned how to dissolve the issue.

In this seemingly simple act of change, I’ve lifted another incredible burden off of my shoulders. The difference I feel, in singing (whether it’s at home for an hour or at church), is tremendous. I’m not held captive to the feeling of being a failure if I make a mistake because I’m not just a singer. I’m a person that loves to sing. I’m a wife, a mom, a daughter, a sister, a friend, a mentor… that just loves to sing. This change has also lifted a burden off of people around me, whether they knew they were carrying this burden or not. If my family and friends failed in my expectations for them, then they were failing me. Now that I’ve dissolved those expectations, I feel I’m now free to love unconditionally.

No expectations = Unconditional love.

For the first twenty-six years of my life, I grew to love my westward view of the Pacific Ocean as, not only something I respected, but, something I feared. The ocean is peaceful, serene and melodic but is also a very powerful force, not to be reckoned with. The waves that seemed so kind and beautiful from the sandy beach would knock me off of my feet and send me tumbling through the salty turbulence as I fought to find the way that would bring me to the surface. The abuse was relentless as wave after wave would cause me to crumble or grow stronger in fighting back. It was powerful and overwhelming. My dad brought me scuba diving once and I thought I would love it. It was beautiful underwater, a completely different world, but the atmosphere was suffocating. The claustrophobia I felt, terrified me. The world underwater seems like it would be a freeing place but I felt imprisoned, in bondage.

The last few times I’ve traveled through the Rocky Mountains I’ve realized something about myself. I love the ocean but have fallen in a deeper love with these mountains. The ocean is beautiful but it seems like an endless sea of fluid sameness. In this time of my life, the strong, stable beauty of these majestic formations is a necessity to me in feeling safe and loved. These mountains are bigger than my problems. They are more beautiful than any material possession. Even when venturing into them, the comfort of my surroundings is amplified. The trees seem to envelope me in a reassuring embrace. The wind in the trees is a calming song. The gorgeous life and wide openness of the sky is vast and never ending. The most important fact about these mountains is that they won’t attack me. They won’t pummel me, causing me to fight for my life. They are just a strong presence. My safe place.

After three and a half years of living here, the view to the west still takes my breath away. Like hands reaching toward their Creator and longing for me to join in praise, adoration and welcoming me to peace and protection.

Boudler, Colorado, June 2009

Zoe has always been very sweet and tender. She’s very gentle and when she gets hurt, whether it’s physical or emotional, she is visibly crushed. When she gets physically hurt, she will scream the most shrilly cry imaginable. It’s extremely piercing to the ears. Taking her to get her immunizations usually leaves me wondering where I can find a woman’s medium-sized straight jacket. Zoe will literally back herself into a corner of the exam room, screaming as if her life depended on it, kicking at anyone that dared compromise her personal space. The most “wonderful” time was when this happened when Cali was still a newborn. I was holding and trying to console an infant, that didn’t know what the screaming was all about, as well as trying to hold down and console a five year old who thought she was about to be murdered by a woman in scrubs who was approaching her with a 10 foot long needle filled with unknown chemicals. It wasn’t as easy as it sounds.

When Zoe was born, I was very accustomed to a rambunctious three year old boy who didn’t care how high he was when he jumped off the play set. The only thing Malakai really cried about was when he had to go to sleep. Other than that, he was ALWAYS going and never paid much attention to bumps or scrapes along the way.

Growing up with three brothers, I was prepared for Malakai. Growing up without sisters, I was not prepared for Zoe. It isn’t natural for me to feel sympathy when Zoe starts crying inconsolably after bumping her toe. I would like to say, “Get over it. You aren’t bleeding, nothing’s broken. I didn’t cry when I pushed your 8 lb. 4 oz. body from my womb, you can handle this.” but I don’t. I force myself to hug her and reassure her that she is ok. Then she’s fine and runs off to play again. Sometimes, depending on the injury, she may cry for several minutes and may even give up what she was doing when she got hurt. It’s just not my natural reaction to console her injuries. I want her to be mostly tough and sometimes fragile. Like me.

Zoe wanted to ride her scooter to school today. I am usually over-prepared whenever we go places. I’ve got snacks and changes of clothes and tons of extra diapers and wipes in case the vehicle breaks down on the side of the road. But I decided to leave everything behind, including my phone (?!), as I followed Zoe on her scooter, while pushing Cali in the stroller. Sure enough. As sure as Murphy’s Law loves to prove me wrong, Zoe fell. Hard. She ate it bad. She was screaming loud. I could tell her skinned knees were going to be the cause of torture for her for the next two weeks. She had scraped off a chunk of skin on BOTH knees. She’s wearing shorts, I don’t have band-aids, I don’t even have water and a napkin to wipe off the blood that is now rising to the surface. She wants me to hold her, she’s wearing a backpack, I’m pushing a stroller, a scooter is now laying in the street. I was confused. We were halfway to school. Should we go to the nurse’s office? She’s saying she can’t walk. Should we go back home? Should she stay home from school? Do I carry her on my back? Damn, I should have brought the van. I should have at least brought my bike, with Cali in the trailer, so I could ambulate Zoe back home in that. I don’t even know how to get the scooter onto the stroller without it hitting Cali in the head. Then Zoe says something that instantly made me stop moving, spin around and say, “What?”. She repeats, “I’ll just ride my scooter.” What?!? Wow! “Ok, home? You’ll ride it home?” “No.” she says, “I’ll ride it to school.” In shock I mumble, “Ok, well, we’ll just go to the nurse’s office then when we get to school. So we can clean that and get some bandaids on it.” “Three?” She says, as she wipes the tears from her face. “No, I think you’ll need four. Two on each knee.” I say. For the rest of the way to school, I can’t stop telling her how proud I am that she got back on her scooter and praising her about how brave she was to still head to school and even on her scooter. I was so proud of her.

We get to school and as she’s heading to her class, I ask her if she’d like to go to the Nurse’s office. She nods but then says, “Well Ms. Staff has some bandaids.” So I let her know that we need to wash her knees off and then put the bandaids on. Just like many other times before, I knew I’d be her nurse and take care of her injuries and make her feel better. However, Zoe walked straight into her class and nonchalantly shared with her teacher about the injuries she just received on the way to school. Then she hung up her backpack and took out her supplies to get settled into class. With both of us standing near the doorway, I ask if she still wanted me to take her to the Nurse’s office. She smiled and shook her head “no” and headed to where she needed to be seated. I didn’t know what to do. This was new terrain. My little girl being brave, especially in light of the “horrific” injuries to her knees (there was blood!), was not normal. Even the slightest scrape gets pampered and a bandaid or two. Noticing what was going on, another mom mentions that I looked like I was going to cry. Maybe!! My daughter just took a gigantic leap into something I wasn’t prepared for. Independence. She didn’t even need me to put a bandaid on her wound. Not just any wound. There were TWO and there was A LOT of blood coagulating on BOTH of her knees!

I walked the rest of the way home switching emotions from joy to sadness. I didn’t know if I wanted to shower Zoe with hugs and kisses and an award or just sit in a corner and cry for an hour.

I know this is a huge turning point for her and truthfully, I hope it lasts. At least, I hope it lasts for every immunization visit from now on.

Does your past bury you or carry you?

In my life, for the most part, I’ve let my past carry me. I’ve let it be the fuel for my passion for life and people. I’ve let situations that would normally smother someone, breathe life into me. Since 1996, when I gave my life to following God, I’ve seemed a champion, a conqueror, of my unpleasant (sometimes horrendous) past. If I felt memories starting to drown me, I’d just absorb myself into something new.

Lately, something is changing in me. I’m realizing that I’m not so much a champion as much as I am a survivor. I’m still learning how to survive my past and not let it bury me. There have been times that my past has been a hazard, a hurdle, that has seemed too difficult to leap over, too tough a task to overcome. Guilt over a friend killing himself and another being murdered, the trauma of having been taken advantage of time and time again can sometimes reduce me to nothing but a shell of a person.

Would I change anything from the history that now seems to define the passionate, loving person I am today? I don’t know. There is so much that is ingrained into the foundation of who I am. So much of what I consider trauma allows me to empathize and understand people that others would walk on and ignore. So much of what disgusts me from my past allows me to protect my children in ways I never would have originally dreamed of needing protection. So much of the guilt from my past pushes me to never give in, never give up, never surrender in the fight for my own life and the fight for the lives around me.

Would I sacrifice the momentary pain, that sometimes still lingers, and the extraordinary love and compassion I have for people by changing my past? I think not.

I choose to allow my past to pave a path for my future and in the legacy I leave behind in the generations of life to come.

It’s amazing to me how music can cause so much emotion. Whether sadness, anger, joy or love, music can entice a slew of memories and can encourage action on so many levels.

As we are cleaning up all the Christmas paraphernalia in our house, Jase had his iPod playing random songs from the last several years of our lives and it filled the house with so many memories.

One song caused me to stop what I was doing and open my laptop to write this.

Brand New Colony, from The Postal Service, came on and, I swear, four years of memories overwhelmed my entire brain. I’m so curious as to how this one song could bring back so much.

I was born and raised in San Diego and Jase was born in Anaheim but raised in San Diego. When we moved to Alabama in September of 2003, we were searching for something new and the opportunity to finally be able to buy our first house was very persuasive as we were living in our seventh rental. Within one month of moving to Alabama, we were the proud owners of our first home in Madison. The decision to move was such an amazing step of faith for me and Jase. It was exciting but also an incredibly frightening decision. However, we always felt like outcasts in The South and the nearest big cities were one to two hours away. Even then, the cities never felt like the big city of San Diego we once knew. The differences between the city of San Diego and the entire South were so vast that Jase and I soon realized we’d never live there for very long.

Brand New Colony became our anthem, over three years ago. The song clarified, for me, that the deep problem in our marriage wasn’t necessarily with each other but the longing we separately had to be back to a place that connected us much more closely to our roots. Hearing that song just now, brought a smile to my face. Life is so good now. Today marks the three year anniversary of getting into our car / moving van and leaving a place we were so unfamiliar with for over two years. We’ve made a complete one hundred and eighty degree turn from the negative path we were on, four years ago, and this song was the anthem to that imperative decision.

Brand New Colony
I’ll be the grapes fermented
Bottled and served with the table set in my finest suit
Like a perfect gentlemen
I’ll be the fire escape that’s bolted to the ancient brick
Where you will sit and contemplate your day

I’ll be the water wings that save you if you start drowning
In an open tab when your judgment’s on the brink
I’ll be the phonograph that plays your favorite
Albums back as you’re lying there drifting off to sleep
I’ll be the platform shoes, undo what heredity’s done to you
You won’t have to strain to look into my eyes
I’ll be your winter coat buttoned, zipped straight to the throat
With the collar up so you won’t catch a cold

I want to take you far from the cynics in this town
And kiss you on the mouth
We’ll cut our bodies free from the tethers of this scene
Start a brand new colony
Where everything will change
We’ll give ourselves new names
Identities erased
The sun will heat the grounds
Under our bare feet
In this brand new colony

Everything will change…

In the 1970’s my dad hitchhiked here from Chicago and stayed with some people he barely knew in some cabin in Nederland. A few years later, my mom was sent here from Chicago by her parents, as an 18 year old, to stay with a family in South Denver for several months. Once my parents got married and had me and my brothers, we made many trips out here to visit with the family my mom stayed with. They became our family and the roots of Colorado quickly became entwined through all of our lives. My dad has always wanted to live here and although my mom has painful memories due to reasons why she first arrived in Colorado, spending years in Chicago, San Diego and Florence, Alabama has not deterred her heart’s desire to come back for good.

Before Jase and I met, he drove out here in 1995, from San Diego, with a friend with the intention of moving here. He’s very much in love with snow and has always wanted to live here.

In 2005, I stopped working for a radio station in Alabama to stay home with Kai and Zoe and a few weeks later we were sent a job opening from a former co-worker for an open web designer position, for Jase, at the Corporate Office of this radio station in Colorado Springs. We were tired of living in Alabama, so Jase flew out and interviewed in December and on January 1st, 2006, we were on our way out here with a moving truck, jammed-packed, with our life.

In the beginning of 2007, my brother fulfilled his life-long goal of moving out here with his wife and their four kids. They moved to Colorado Springs from Oklahoma.

After my parents married, my mom promised my dad that if we kids were all raised in San Diego, then she’d move with him one day to Colorado. After decades of hoping and waiting, my parents finally made the move here in July of this year.

Only as a result of Jase and I moving out here, in 2006, have we learned the details of the connection we all share with this state. It’s so strange that five different paths, stretched over three decades, could intertwine so tightly within our family.

Although it didn’t snow and my brother, Ben, and his wife, Rebekah, couldn’t make it out here this year for Christmas, this is the first year, in a LONG time, that I was completely content on Christmas. There was something that just felt right about all of us finally living out here and the satisfaction that we all had the opportunity to share in such a beautiful holiday with each other, in a state we all love so dearly.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year everyone!

I have a love/hate relationship with media and marketing. I see their ploys and sometimes laugh at the stupidity that, sadly, most consumers of the product end up purchasing. Sometimes I am amazed at the brilliance of the corporate schemes. My “favorite” is mascara commercials. The idea that mascara can actually “lengthen” your lashes, almost a centimeter(!), in the minute it takes to apply, is a RIDICULOUS claim. My jaw dropped while watching one of these imbecilic commercials because the model had FAKE EYELASHES ON!! How stupid do these people think we are?

I have always struggled with image issues and have spent a couple of decades convincing and reminding myself that some corporate man in a suit will not cajole me into believing that I need their product to be beautiful. It’s very hard to be a girl in this world and be ok with what’s reflected in the mirror. I’ve struggled with self-image issues since elementary school. The pain, anger and sadness I still feel can sometimes paralyze me. Marketing tells us that if we cut this, buy that, drink this, shake that, wear this, drive that, then we’ll be happy and successful in life. It’s a very weary process for us to wake up happy, every day, and still be happy when our heads hit the pillow.

I knew this day would come but I had no idea it would come so soon. As usual, my five year old daughter was dressing up in her Princess costumes when she told me and Jase that she is holding in her breath to make her tummy skinny. My heart sank, broke and cried all in the same moment. I’ve never shared my low self-image with my children so I thought they were safe, at least for a few more years, from this issue. So as not to alarm her and shut her down, I calmly asked why she was doing that and she said “to be like a Princess because all Princesses have skinny stomachs.” Now, along with my heart getting run over with a steamroller, I felt like I was going to vomit. I wanted to immediately run upstairs and collect all the Princess movies we had and toss them outside for a farewell bonfire. Obviously I don’t really “hate” the Disney Princesses, I’ve never met them so I don’t know them personally… Seriously though, their fake (not to mention provocative) image irritates me and is now making my five year old wish she had a smaller stomach. To witness my tiny, young daughter ALREADY feel like she wasn’t beautiful enough made everything in me want to scream and cry at the same time. We spent a long time encouraging her that she is gorgeous just the way she is and the way God intended her to be and that most REAL Princesses actually don’t have skinny stomachs. We pointed out that there would be something wrong with a real human being if they looked like the Princesses in the movies, they’d have to be missing guts and a heart (Hm… there’s a real good story in there somewhere). However, I still get nauseated and inflamed when thinking about how those movies have already negatively influenced her mind.

Out of all the things in this world that I am passionate about, the number one message that I want to spread is to ‘find beauty within yourself and everyone else.’ Outer beauty is what gives us false perceptions of good character, love and happiness. I’ve seen the most beautiful people, in the world, give a list of flaws they feel they have and share how unhappy they are. I’ve seen men and women transform their faces and bodies into unrecognizable beings, for the sake of “beauty”. Once the cutting and tucking begins, when (and why) will it stop? Once you see a flaw that needs to be surgical enhanced and you “fix” it, your body will continue to decay and sag and the surgeries continue until you become like Michael Jackson and doctors start refusing to work on you and you have to wear a surgical mask on your face because you look like Frankenstein now. Yeah, I’m ranting. I’m pissed at the culture of “beauty”. I’m angry that feelings of failure to attain beauty have cost the lives of so many young kids and adults. I’m angry that most Americans will reject people or accept them SOLELY based on looks and then reject those they initially accepted when they find that the “perfect” people really do have flaws. I’m angry that we feel we know someone based on their outer appearance. We feel that maybe the beautiful ones have it all together and have perfect lives and since we only see flaws in our own reflections, we feel we’ll never measure up. We end up living our lives as unhappy people because “the grass is always greener on the other side” and we’ll never be good enough.

“Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the LORD is to be praised.”

-Proverbs 31:30

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