Thursday, September 18, 2014

The Day I Took My Ring Off

Lately there are a lot of articles and blog posts being written by woman my age and their thoughts on sex before marriage. Both sides have legitimate points and I want to honor each for giving their thoughts a point. I’ve had the idea of writing on the topic of purity for a while. Purity is the topic that started me writing a blog. It used to be the main thing I wrote about. My life revolved around purity.

See, I grew up in the Christian church and was told all the stories of why a girl should wait for marriage, the dangers of having sex before marriage, and the consequences that come from God. I dove into this topic and I was fully into believing what the church said. Let me preference by saying I am not in disagreement with the church. Making sure you wait to have sex until marriage can be a great path for some people to choose. I believe sex should be had with someone you care deeply for, love, and want a future with. But growing up has also showed me the hardships of living a life of purity.



For years I wore a purity ring on my wedding ring finger. I was waiting for my Mr. Right (another topic we discuss in church) and to give him the ring with my whole self. I was an advocate for purity, a speaker for many church events, and encouraged all to stay pure until marriage.

College came and I was still on that track until honest conversations with people closest to me began to be discussed. Those people I loved hadn’t waited till marriage. Some of them had been hurt by it while others felt as if they decision they made was for the best. Hearing these stories come from those closest to me began to change my mind about purity. Purity means something different to everyone. For some it means waiting till marriage and for others it means waiting for the guy they decide is worth giving themselves to.

I took off my purity ring this past year after constantly being asked if I was engaged or feeling judged when I explained what it meant. And to be honest, I felt a lot of relief when I took it off. That ring began to represent shame for me. It was the constant reminder of what I was risking when I allowed the wrong guy in my life. It reminded me to advocate for purity and in the process hurt others because I was calling them a sinner for not living a life like mine. Purity can be a good thing but I think it’s being taught to us wrong.

I feel like the church scared me of sex. If you have it before marriage, then you’re broken goods and not worth as much. Having it before marriage means you don’t get the best guy and you’re allowing yourself to go for the “ok” guys. Sex was the determinant for being a truly whole Christian.

And I believed those for so long until I realized sex is not the problem. Judgment is the problem. To say a woman is no longer worthy for losing her virginity before marriage is degrading and not something I want to teach my daughter anymore. Sex was never meant to be scary or to define your whole life. Yes, it’s a big commitment and deserves a lot of thought before encountering, but it does not determine your worth as a human being.

I want my daughter to grow up knowing that it’s a big decision to consider and the choices she makes can have good or bad consequences. I want her to decide what sex means for her and not be told she is unworthy if she commits in it before marriage. Of course as parents, you want the best for your child because we believe they deserve the world. But I don’t want my daughter or son to be ashamed for the decisions they make in life because it doesn’t line up with a biblical text or others opinions. That book we grew up reading in church is filled with compassion and forgiveness. Shouldn’t that be the actions we are engaging with as followers of God? Instead, we are sending messages of judgment and disgust because someone didn’t live out their life the way I think is best.

I am not saying I am perfect or by any means close to being a non-judgmental person, but I am changing the way I view others decisions. My life is mine, their life is theirs. We will choose our own paths and take twists and turns along the way. Sometimes we may be disappointed with ourselves for what we consider mistakes and other times we will be proud of the choice we made and not regret it. Either way I think it’s time to stop the judgment and allow the conversation to be more open. I think if we allow honest conversations free of judging glances and statements we may be able to trust the human race again to make good choices for themselves and others. Who knows I could be wrong, but I think it’s an important part as a Christian and as a human that I was missing for years.

What are your thoughts?
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Monday, September 15, 2014

Love Wins

My laptop has a sticker on it that says 
"Love Wins."
I have transferred it from computer to computer because I love that sticker.

Not only is it a sticker, but it is also a conversation starter.
People come up to me in Starbucks saying how they love that saying or that book or whatever.
But the one thing I realized today is that none of them have ever asked me what it means to me.


Originally, the sticker represented God for me. God is love and his love always wins. 
That's why the sticker was put there, but over time it has evolved for me. 

Love is the reason for living, for breathing. We spend our lives searching for someone who makes us want to take up each morning, for something that inspires us to do goof everyday, and for a life that has meaning. Love is what brought us to this earth. 

Love is why we are here. Whether you believe in it or not; it exists. 

I thought I'd have all these words to describe what Love wins to me, but I'm having trouble putting words to it.
All I can say is love always wins. When you're fighting with someone, don't forget the love you have for them and the love they have for you. When you're thinking of the best gift to give someone, remember something that screams "I love you" is always the best gift. When that girl who just drives you crazy is bothering you again, remember the grace of love and grace her out.

Love always wins. 

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Thursday, September 11, 2014

Fall Goals

I used to make those monthly goal lists, but I realized I stopped trying to achieve them. So maybe if I do a seasonal goal list, I will actually accomplish them?

1.) Be engaging and make friends. 
Last year I was a "get through school" only kind of girl. 
Sure, I made some friends, but I really did not engage my fellow classmates. 
This year I hope to actually get to know some more of my classmates and be a little bit more extroverted.



2.) Wear all the clothing in my closet.
I am a character of habit. 
I buy something new and wear it non-stop for a few months. 
I started this week by putting the clothes I've already worn behind my work clothes as a marker between what I've worn and what I have not. 

3.) Stop the Starbucks. 
I know I just made some people cry out there, but I really need to stop.
$100 a month on Starbucks, sometimes more than that. That's a bad habit.
I want to be a better steward with my money and really try harder to spend money where its needed such as student loans. I'm only $2,000 away from paying off one of them which is pretty good for starting in January. 

Goodbye Deliciousness. 


4.) Relax.
Apparently I am pretty bad at this. 
I am going to do better at this by not picking up work-shifts like crazy or planning too much into one week. For example, today I typically am scheduled to work but I was not. Instead of picking up a shift, I used it as a hard-core study day with little breaks or relaxation in-between. 

What are your goals for this season?
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Monday, August 25, 2014

2nd Year of Graduate School

In two weeks, I will be engaging in my second year of graduate school. 
Originally, I was on the 3 year track, but I recently switched to the 4 year track to allow myself more space and time to intake all that I am learning.

I though ya'll may be interested in the classes I am taking this semester. So here we go:
I'm taking 8 credits which equals out to four classes. It will be the lightest load I've taken since I have taken 9 credits each semester last year.

Human Growth: The Interpersonal and Narrative Journey
-This is similar to a human growth and development class. 
"This course covers human development from an interpersonal perspective, which includes neurological, psychological, 
and faith development from conception to death. Particular emphasis is placed on the significance of attachment, and 
the roles of affect regulation and mentalization in facilitating secure development."
Excitement factor (out of 10): 5--mainly because I've taken a class similar to this and am nervous it could be repetitive. 
Learning Factor: 10--this is directly associated with my career and will be very helpful to understand in my field.

Sexual Disorders
"The student will receive an overview of the theological, physiological, psychological, and sociological perspectives on 
human sexuality and consider how these perspectives impact sexual identity, sexual behavior, and sexual disorders."
Excitement Factor: 8--I've been reading one of the assigned books for this class to get a head start and it's very interesting. Very much focused on how the mind plays a part into our sexual attractions, love, and physicality.
Learning Factor: 10--It's a brand new course to me so I am excited to learn an area I do not know much about.

Theology 1: Constructing the Theological Mosaic-God, Humanity, and Christ
"This course is the first of a two-part exploration in constructing, confessing and affirming anew the central doctrinal 
vision of the Christian faith. We refer to this as the theological mosaic because in essence this is not a monochrome 
belief system but a rich tapestry of different historical, cultural and biblical insights that show us how to integrate text, 
soul and culture. In this way we hope to appropriate the great traditions of the Christian church and construct a faith 
that is equally meaningful and resourceful to Christian vocation, ministry and discipleship in our contemporary global 
contexts."
Excitement Factor: 0--Is that bad? I just really do not like theology classes. Not my cup of tea.
Learning Factor: 3--I'm sure I'll learn a lot, but I'm not interested in learning this.

Special Topics: Marriage Counseling
-Unfortunately, there is no course description available for this course. Yes, I do not know what I am really getting myself into except for the fact this is the path of psychology I've always talked about going into. 
Excitement Factor: 10--It's an elective so it's not required for me to take it which means I really want to take it.
Learning Factor: 10--The professor taught my marriage and family therapy class and I learned a lot through that class. He has his own marriage counseling firm so he knows a lot.

My goal for the next two weeks and to actually relax before I throw myself into lots of studying and reading. Anybody have suggestions for me on how to relax because I'm apparently not good at it.
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Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Sacrifices

Thanks to my wonderful parents I had the opportunity to take an impromptu trip home for the summer. And let me tell you, I needed it badly.
The weeks following up to the trip I experienced multiple breakdowns. I would be driving in the car and a song would come on and I'd be in tears.  I couldn't tell you why Katy Perry's Birthday song made me cry, but it did. I can tell you now it was because I missed home which my boyfriend always pointed out first. How he does it I do not know.

So last week I spent 5 days at home. I went home for the grand opening of my parent's Roscoe's Taco's in Mooresville which actually did not open till today and I am currently in Washington right now. Nevertheless, the time at home was great. I spent time with my nephew and surprised my sister. I spent time with the besties adorable little girl, got to have old roommate time conversations about our future prediction's and dream about the future together. 

And then Thursday came and I had to get back on a plane in order to go on a camping trip on Friday. My mom took me to the airport, I got teary eyed, and then I went through security for the fourth time this year saying when I would see her next. I thought I was done getting teary-eyed after I made it through security, but apparently I was wrong. As my plane took off and began to become airborne I felt the tears come back. What in heavens name was wrong with me? 

But as I spent that six hour flight thinking, I realized that every time I get back on a plane to Washington I am reminded of all the I sacrifice to live my dream. Now I feel like the word "sacrifice" has a bad connotation with it so I want you all to know that my sacrifices are not bad things, but just things I choose to miss out on to live my dream. 

I am sacrificing being apart of many family events such as the grand opening of Roscoe's, being at the hospital for my new nephews birth, and missing multiple birthday celebrations.

I am sacrificing country drives that you take just to feel the breeze with your windows down driving past corn field after corn field.

I am sacrificing comfort and familiarity.

I'm sure the list could go on and on, but those are the things that are clear to me of what I am sacrificing. On the plane I also thought about how large the heart is. How is it possible for my heart to hold two places as home? When I am in Indiana, I cannot wait to return back to Washington. And then in Washington, I count down the days to be reunited with family. It astounds me how the heart can hold so much, love so much. 

I am grateful to have two places of home, but boy do I miss the other when I am living in one place.  Congratulations mom and dad as you start your new adventure today and I cannot wait to come and celebrate in October!
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Thursday, July 17, 2014

#FAVTOTALSOCIAL


Helene in Between

Who doesn't like sharing their favorite things in life?

So let's begin!

Favorite Pictures (Because I just cannot choose one):
I will always love this picture. Candid and shows how infatuated we are with each other.

The besties with their mommas. These ladies supported us all throughout college and each momma loved us like we were their own. We have so many pictures like these and they make me smile each time.

I don't know what it is about this picture, but this  was just us as roommates. It was one of the best life choices I ever made to room with this girl!

Favorite Song's:



Favorite Places to Eat:
Chick-fil-a: always and forever. Only the best fast food to ever exist. 

Piper's Cafe: Where else can you get the most delicious chicken james?

Favorite Animal:
Seriously, these creatures are just too adorable and do things like that!

Favorite Drink:
Iced Mocha's from Starbucks. I'm addicted.

I think that's a good start into some of my favorite things.
What's your favorites?
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Thursday, July 10, 2014

Leadership

I was driving yesterday and I was angry. 
Not at any of the drivers, but angry about a situation that happened a few weeks ago.
A leader who was in my life in high school had made a visit to Seattle and did not tell me they were coming or try to see me. 

Silly to be angry about, right?
But, never the less, I was angry.
Is it really that difficult to make time to have an hour chat with someone?

 I have had many leaders in my life over the years. Growing up in church means having someone around who is stepping up to lead. Those middle school and high school years are filled with influential individuals. As I was driving, I found myself angry at all those leaders who stepped into my life and then stopped contacting me.

I started to think I was the problem. Some of those leaders are still close with the people of my age group. They still keep in contact with them, but not me. Maybe I wasn't popular enough for their attention. Or maybe I was not the one with the most problems so they did not have to spend as much time with me. I began to feel overlooked.

And then I began to think of my roles as a leader. I started to think of the small group girls I led in high school and how I have not contacted them in a few years. But of course, I had an excuse. I was asked not to return back to that church where we built a relationship so of course I could not continue a relationship with them.
But really, that excuse is not valid. 

Thinking about all this made me realize that leadership has a beginning and an end. Some leadership roles last for decades and you continue relationships for a lifetime. Other leadership roles last for a few years and the relationships end after a while. It's common and should not be looked down upon. 

While I still wish I had relationships with those leaders that had an impact in my life, I also know that I am fine without them. I still think highly of them and cherish the memories shared with them. I guess I finally understand the pressure that comes from trying to continue on those relationships. If you try to continue them all, you cannot truly impact. Eventually you have to trust your instincts and lead those you feel need it the most. 

I realize I should not be insulted that those leaders do not contact me anymore or make time for me. They have lives, I have a life; we are all doing our best to be good people. It's that simple. If I had more time in the world, I am sure I would build more relationships with people, but the truth of the matter is that time is limited sometimes.

I am reminded of a quote my friends sent me a while ago about people being apart of our lives for different times.
Some people are in our lives for a short time and others for forever. 
Either way we should cherish the time we have or have had with them.

So thank you to all those people who have had an impact in my life. Thank you for taking time away from your families and partners to pour into mine and guide me along the way. Thank you for the advice, kind words, and heartfelt messages when I needed them most. Thank you for being you and for being apart of my life for a short time or for forever.
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