Dear My Future Self

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 The tragic story of a little girl who passed away recently has got me thinking.  After her passing,

her parents found a letter that she

 had written to her future self.  In it she repeatedly encourages herself.

She ends with advice that we could all take.

 “It’s been 10 years since I wrote this. Stuff has happened, good and bad.

That’s just how life works, and you have to

go with it.”

It made me think…

If I wrote my future self right now, what would I say?

What about you?

What advice would you give yourself?

…encouragement?

…love?

…hope?

 Click here to read her entire inspiring story.

For Me?

Some things I would remind my future self is…

life is short,

it’s precious,

 remember to show your love ones how

much they mean to you

often.

Make sure you always reconcile your differences between your

favorite

and your un-favorite people.  Choose the right road

even if it’s less traveled.

Keep on, keeping on.

Your turn. 

Comment below your future self encouragement and advice.  It may not only inspire you, but all of us! 

 
 
Photo taken by Patty Christopher

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After the Rain

After the Rain

After the Rain

by Anonymous
 

Whatever your cross, whatever your pain,

There will always be sunshine after the rain

Perhaps you may stumble, perhaps even fall,

But God’s always ready to answer your call

He knows every heartache, sees every tear,

A word from His lips can calm every fear

    Your sorrows may linger throughout the night,

But suddenly vanish at dawn’s early light

The Savior is waiting somewhere above,

To give you His grace and send you His love

Whatever your cross, whatever your pain,

God always sends rainbows after the rain

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Appreciating An Introvert

So many misunderstandings revolve around the “introvert”. So often the introvert is regarded as shy or bashful. Maybe they are even encouraged to be more social, or not to be so shy.

 

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If you’re an introvert, you might have been mistaken for being aloof, or unfriendly. Maybe you’ve even been considered snobby! It’s time someone explained who you really are.

You see the problem is, I am completely guilty of misunderstanding the introvert…until recently. Isn’t it funny how the mistakes we make are the most valuable lessons…the ones that really stick!

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A psychologist once joked that the way you tell the difference between an introvert and an extrovert is on an elevator. An extrovert will make eye contact upon entering and maybe even exchange a word of greeting. An introvert will enter, stay silent and look anywhere but at someone.

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It’s simple really, but if it isn’t who you are, it’s complex!
Extroverted people, also known as outgoing, outspoken, gregarious, social, and talkative, draw their energy externally…from outside of themselves. That is, they need people to feel alive. I believe there are degrees of extrovertedness, and I would give myself a solid eight or a nine on a ten point scale. I’m always one of the last to leave a party or gathering of people, I love to pass my drive time with a social phone call, I’m all about arranging lunch plans with friends, and I rarely turn down a social invitation. Does this make me better than an introverted person? Absolutely not!

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An introverted person draws their energy from within. He or she is likely a deep thinker who enjoys spending time alone or in a very small group of people they know well and trust. They may be perfectly fine to do all the things that extroverted people do, but they won’t necessarily feel energized from it. In fact, they are likely to feel exhausted after a social occasion. Refueling their energy is likely to come in the form of a book, a nice chunk of time spent surfing the internet, sitting quietly doing a hobby, or nothing at all. I recognize the small part of me that possesses introverted qualities but I never stopped to appreciate them in anyone else.

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I get it now. It took me a while. I wanted to change an introvert in my life to an extrovert. It was like I was trying to force a square peg into a round hole. I couldn’t understand. I didn’t see what was fun about anything he chose to do. I thought he must be unhappy because he didn’t have what I have. It was only after speaking to another mother about her introvert that I finally got it. He draws his energy from within himself and is very content doing so.

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Do you have an introvert in your life? Are you an introvert and if so, do you feel completely misunderstood by others? One is not better than the other. Each have so much to offer and make a family, a team, a class, or a workplace balanced.

Your challenge if you choose to take it is to gain a perspective of empathy towards introverted people if you consider yourself an extrovert. Think about how being in extreme social situations such as parties depletes their internal supply of energy. Also think of the strengths they bring to your relationship. They’re likely to be so thoughtful and often have a sense of discernment you may benefit from. They may be the voice of reason in many circumstances. You may even feel they are more loyal and devoted than your extroverted friends or family.

We all have a little bit of both personalities in us. Let’s celebrate both!!

˜

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{More Beautiful You}

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Confidence Workshop :: Real Beauty, Part 1

Confidence Workshop :: Real Beauty, Part 1

 

Two weeks ago, we held our first confidence workshop for 9 to 11 year old girls.  I brought my 15 year old daughter,

Kayla to help me.  As I was setting up, a bunch of giggly girls were peeking in, excited to see what was going on.  Some of

the girls had attended the day before and had shared their excitement with the other girls. Boy, they were curious

about what was next on the agenda.  Real beauty was the subject {yikes} and spa activities were in store {yea}.  Fifteen girls

poured into the room and we pushed the classroom tables out of the way so we could sit in a more comfortable fashion

(on the floor in a big oval).  They were so warm hearted, open and smiling {sure made my heart happy}.  After

introducing ourselves to each other, we dug into what self esteem was.

What is self-esteem?

  • It’s part of you
  • It’s a feeling {in your head and your heart about how you like yourself}
  • It’s that little voice {your opinion of yourself}

Confidence Workshop :: Real Beauty, Part 1

What does self-esteem look like?

  • It can be seen through your body language
  • high self esteem looks confident, shoulders back, head up, smiles, stands straight. and makes eye contact
  • low self-esteem looks drawn in, shoulders rolled forward, head down, sometimes hiding themselves with crossed arms, and eyes gazed downward making little eye contact

Where does self-esteem come from?

  • comes from your experiences in life as you grow, through family, friends, and others
  • how you take care of yourself
  • the choices you make
  • goals you set

Confidence Workshop :: Real Beauty, Part 1

We talked about  real beauty and the media.  I thought it was important to expose the lies out there about what the beauty industry

says real beauty is.  Because, even at 9, they may be already molding their self-esteem by comparing themselves

with the images on commercials, billboards, and the check out aisle magazines.  I shared the video from Marla’s

previous post on PFG to expose them to the world of photo-shop. Yep, most of the girls didn’t realize that the images

they are exposed to are altered.  I shared before and after pics of their favorite celebrities.  Mouths dropped.  Body

language became more relaxed, realizing we all are imperfectly beautiful and we can each relate to that.

But,…

There is one thing that kinda disturbed me in showing this video….

….and I realized that…

Girls

Mothers,

Sisters, Friends, Etc….

TEACH the girls in your lives about the truths of real beauty before the beauty industry does.

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Most girls had already been taught that the before pic was “ugly”

{gasp!}

After explaining a very influential group of 9 to 11 year olds that the before pics are still beautiful…they agreed.

{shew!}

It was just a brief moment that really showed me how important the message of real beauty is.

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We also talked about those “voices” that molds our self-esteem

{Self Talk :: Positive and Negative}.

They were really good at negative self talk and open to tell all what they didn’t like about themselves

{and I didn’t even ask!}.

So, we explored ways to retrain our brain from distorted views of our self-image

and I showed them the video Dawn had posted previously on PFG.  Again, the room got quiet, mouths dropped, and one

little girl said that it “made her feel weird”.  The “weirdness” was her eyes being opened and she could relate.

***

It’s so important for little girls to understand what self-esteem, self-image, and self-concept is.  To teach this

huge “part” of them that has incredible power of molding

who they are.

{Knowledge is powerful, pass it along}

***

Coming up :: Real Beauty, Part 2 {Spa Day Activities}

See what we did and create your own spa day

with the girls in your life.

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What does it mean to be considered a mean girl?

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Their heart is most likely in the right place and everything they have ever been taught –“Girls are sugar and spice and everything nice!’  “If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all!”  That’s just it.  Sometimes when we don’t have the heart to say to someone that we’d rather not do what they’ve invited us to do, we resort to doing things that borderline lean toward “mean girl behavior”. 

Sometimes, when we have learned that someone has said ugly things about us behind our back, we lack the confrontation skills needed to resolve the matter properly, so we resort to passive-aggressive behavior that lets the other party know something has changed between us without having to actually tell them.  Sometimes, we want to speak the truth to someone even though the truth is unpleasant so we actually do speak the truth but we do so in the form of a joke!  End anything with the words “just kidding” and it makes it okay to say whatever you want to someone.  That’s not to say that there aren’t times when we can truly joke around with our friends and know that there is no malevolence from either side.  I suspect we all know when we have crossed that invisible boundary.

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 I wish this post was meant only for the “girls” that read this blog, but unfortunately it is a problem that plagues us women as well.  My own mother who is 63 years old told me today that one of her friends called another one of her friends to find out if they had been doing things together without her.  Can you believe that? She wanted to be sure she wasn’t feeling left out.  And of course, she formed the whole conversation into a light-hearted joking tone so as not to be too abrasive! Cattiness unfortunately only begets more cattiness. 

Here are a few examples of subtle, mean girl behavior.

Ashley has had long hair for three years and one day decides to get it cut short.  She loves her new look and can hardly wait to show her best friend, Beth.  Beth takes one look at it and says, “Oh, Ashley your hair looks so much better short! Never let it grow long again!”

***

Leah was already angry at Sophie for breaking her trust and sharing a secret she had asked her to keep.  At the ballgame later in the week, Leah purposely bumped into Sophie who was holding a large drink causing her to spill it all over herself.  Then Leah explained that it was an accident. 

***

Hannah, Ann and Erica are all roommates.  Erica has a huge final tomorrow in statistics and is feeling stressed about her grade in that class.  Hannah and Ann have been agitated at Erica lately because she hasn’t done her fair share of chores so rather than let Erica know that they need her to help out more around the apartment, they blast their stereo during Erica’s study time as a means of retaliation.

***

We can’t forget the power of social media! (the ever-increasing weapon of choice when it comes to social warfare)

Elizabeth lied to Julie when Julie asked her to hang out for the afternoon saying that she was grounded and not allowed to go anywhere.  Two hours later she posts a picture from the swimming pool on Instagram with one of her other friends.  The caption reads…”Great day at the pool with my best friend!”

 

Most of these examples can be taken a step further if the “victim” in any of the circumstances calls it to the others’ attention and explains “Wow, that hurt my feelings when you said I should never grow my hair long again, are you saying that my hair has looked awful the whole time it was long?”

 OR

“Did you spill that drink on me because you’re mad at me?”

OR

“You guys are playing your music loud so I can’t study!”

OR

“I thought you were grounded yesterday, but you posted a picture on your instagram from the pool?”

Then the other participant in the conversation can simply deny/lie away any wrong doing and leave the “victim” feeling even more confused.  They may make you feel as if  you’re being overly sensitive.  Over time, these episodes can really chip away at your confidence and cause you to question your every social move.

Surely, we’ve all felt that confusing, somewhat hurt feeling of having been the victim of behavior that didn’t seem like it was coming from someone we call “friend”  Most likely, we’ve been the guilty one as well.  What is the solution? What can we do about it?

We seem to be ill-equipped with the communication skills we need to convey to someone know in a non-aggressive way that we are disappointed in what just happened and work to resolve it so that it doesn’t happen again… 

This post needs your help! Help me finish it by contributing.  Let’s keep the conversation going!! 

Comment below on a time you have felt like a victim by a subtle mean girl and what you did to rectify the situation.  I know there are countless examples.  Also more importantly, please comment your ideas on how we can better equip our girls with the right words to speak the truth and prevent hurting friends.  Comment too on how we should receive the truth if someone is brave enough to employ a new way!  Additionally, comment on how we older “girls” can model this type of behavior so that girls will learn by our example.  Don’t stop there! Please go one step further and keep this conversation going on facebook.  Share this post and maybe if we simply build awareness, we can make a difference!

:)

 

 

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Frienemies

 

 

From the beginning of time there have been mean girls. I think the politically correct word now is frienemy. Anyway, as a girl growing up I tried to steer clear of the mean girls. Today raising my girls I am astounded and the level of mean! Wow, these girls are loaded with arsenal that we never dreamed. With cell phones and social media venom can be spread in a matter of minutes. I read a book by Vicky Courtney called “Your Girl, Raising a Godly daughter in an Ungodly World”. Great book! She talks about cliques and their dynamics. Here’s her description of a mean girl:

 

PFG frenemy

 

Mean Girls

1. Base their worth on being in control and exerting power on others.

2. Use manipulation and or scare tactics on their friends.

3. They ridicule or make fun of others whenever possible.

4. Constantly on the lookout for supporters who will assist them.

5. Pick on others in order to deflect negative treatment away from themselves.

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I posted Monday on what a real friend looks like. Are you the mean girl or the true friend?  One of the best ways to deal with a mean girl situation is to be aware of what’s going on with your friends. If you identify it you can deal with it. In her book, Vicky Courtney says that deep down these girls cannot imagine that anyone would ever love or accept them for who they are, so instead, they create a tough exterior that portrays a false sense of self-confidence.

 

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Luke 6:27-28 says “love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you”.  By being the true friend you can help both situations. The mean girl will see true friendship and hopefully learn from it and you’ll let a friend who is mistreated know that they have someone to count on.

 

Thanks so much to Erica, Maggie, Megan and my Haylea for the pictures. A little cheesy but gets the point across!

 

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Rules for Friendship

 

This one is for the girls…..
I took my 10 year old to the doctor last week for her yearly physical. As the doctor was asking her a battery of questions about her health & well being, one of the questions grabbed my attention. She asked ” Do you have a best friend?”. I was a little surprised at it because the category of questions she was asking seemed critical to her health, then the best friend question. At that moment I realized  just how important it is to have a good friend. Raising two daughters I also know friendship can come with lots of DRAMA so I asked a few girls what having a “BFF” means to them and came up with a few  rules for friendship

1. Be loyal. One of the most common answers I got from girls is that a best friend is someone you can count on, in good and bad times.

2. Keep your promises. Do what you say you’ll do.


 

 

3. Be trustworthy. If a friend asks you to keep a secret, then keep it. You could lose a friend in a hurry by sharing something she meant to be private.* If the secret is something you believe is something that is dangerous or harmful to her you need to talk to your mom or another important adult to help keep her safe.

4. Don’t criticize .

 

5. Don’t gossip. Nothing hurts worse than to find out someone you trust is talking behind your back.

 

 

6. Share your friends. Your friend has other friends and so do you. It’s ok to spend time away from each other from time to time.

 

7. Don’t try to change your friend. Everyone is different and have different interests. You became friends because you liked her for who she was to start with, Learn to appreciate each others differences.

8. Be grateful for your friends.

 

 

 

Special thanks to Haylea for her technical support ;), Abrianna, Alexis, Rachel, Michaela, SaraKate & Hannah!

 

 

 

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Getting to know yourself

Who am I

by Sara Guilliam

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She’s an artist of sorts, 

with brushes and paints. 

But she doesn’t use canvas, 

It’s opinion she taints

Around certain “friends”

She paints on a grin,

So she can be popular,

So she can fit in.

With other friends, 

She’s loud and obscene.

It’s the aim of the game, 

to be rowdy and mean.

Close to her family,

She’s quiet and shy.

They hardly take notice

If she is nearby.

When she’s with the guys,

She’s a tease and a flirt. 

She gives and she gives,

Ignoring the hurt.

The people nearby her, 

They hope and they pray

That they could be popular, 

Like her one day.

But when she’s alone,

She breaks down and cries

For there is no answer, 

When she asks, “Who am I?”

When we truly know ourselves, we realize that we are all unique in many ways and also very much alike. It is important to take the time to get to know all of you.  Look at your physical, emotional, intellectual, and spiritual attributes. Figure out what is important to you and what makes you happy. Examine every aspect of your life, what you love and what you hate. Find out what is most important to you. Realize how unique you are and embrace it, that is what makes you different from everyone else and makes you the best possible you!

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The Power of “I am…”

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 I am…                   strong.

261608_238480249515366_2023448_n    I am…           beautiful.

                     269581_238473279516063_4381624_n  I am…          brave.

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I am…               funny.

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 I am…             passionate.

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I am…                a loyal friend.

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 I am…              smart.

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I am…           a good leader.

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I am…             unique.

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I am…            fearless. 

***

The list could go on and on, because deep inside each of you are all these things and more.  It’s so easy to criticize

ourselves, and yet it can be hard to believe in ourselves. Stop listening to those negative voices. Start adopting the

“power of I am” and fill in those blanks with positive words.  The more you tell those voices you are good enough, it will

empower you to be…

you.

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