Hey Guys! I have claimed and added my blog to Bloglovin.com! You if you love using this site to read all your favorite blogs check it out!
Hey Guys! I have claimed and added my blog to Bloglovin.com! You if you love using this site to read all your favorite blogs check it out!
Its finally official–Skinny jeans are no longer a fashion trend this season, according to the experts and FLARE jeans are back in! I have been waiting for this moment since they left in the early 2000s. the great thing is I always have a pair of flare jeans in my closet and I am ready to break them back out! Now for you young ones who haven’t lived through a flare era this is what you are missing:
If you don’t love how the flare jeans look with these outfits don’t worry. Other styles are in trending right now as well such as boyfriend cut and cropped jeans. Here are a few examples of those. The first two are boyfriend jeans, cuffed, which is the style and the last pair are cropped jeans:
So there we go! Jean trends are finally cycling and the days of having to squeeze yourself into a tiny pair of skinny jeans is fading away. I will admit that skinny jeans are probably going to come back because this is the third time that I know of flares being popular. So ladies dust off those jeans you have hidden away in your closet, waiting for them to make another round.
And for all you skinny jean only people, you better go shopping.
Wednesday, the 28th of December 2011, a normal day for me, because I have flown back and forth between Indiana and Florida for the past 5 years. I sat at my gate, minding my own business, enjoying the thrills of my new Macbook Pro as I waited for that faithful call of the flight attendant to board the plane. So to help you get into my brain I have an over-driven imagination, so it shouldn’t surprise you to find out that I’ve always concocted an airport scene in my head of a dashing stranger sitting next to me on the airplane and we would talk for the whole two hours down to Florida, finding out we live near each other, and then, of course, a relationship would emerge, including drama and romance to conclude with a tearful confession of love for each other. Yeah, I know I watch way too many sappy movies, and read to much teen-lit fiction, but that is the life of a female English graduate student who grew up as a hopeless romantic.
My normal day of sitting in the airport transformed into the start a what could be called a whirlwind romance movie. Although my life isn’t a movie–it’s real life. So to call it a romance movie over excites the reader and can end up causing epic let down by the end of the tale. What to call this? A real life account of a moment in time that almost changed my life? I don’t know. Maybe you can help me by the end.
Anyways, I’m following a puppy down a winding road (yes a puppy because I don’t care for rabbits very much). As I was sitting in the waiting-area-comfy-chair-like benches, I saw a boy–tall (not saying much since I am a whopping 5’2″), dark hair, and very handsome–walking up out of the corner of my eye, I glanced over in that stalker girl kind of way, seeing he was searching the column I was sitting next to for an electric plug he could use. Lucky me there was one and he sat down a few seats from me.
You know that moment when a cute guy is near and you tense up, trying to look normal? That is what I attempted, but with my track record, I probably looked like an over-excited puppy, trying to contain myself in the presence of a new toy. Oh goodness, I just compared myself to a puppy…
Anyways, you know how chivalry died a good couple decades ago? It still does exist among the few and most of them live in the South, which begs the question of why is it so different between the South and North, when the North is the one who claimed to be more morally sound over the course of history, but they can’t even hold a door for a lady or say please and thank you. The point to that little rant is like gentlemen, the handsome one asked if it was alright if he shared the electric plug with me and just like a puppy wanting a treat I said yes on the way too much enthusiasm. I went back to whatever I was doing on my laptop, not that I even knew–distracted–and he opened up his as well.
Honestly, I thought that was it. I didn’t expect anything else from this guy, except eye candy I could enjoy in my peripheral vision. I tend to not talk to people in the airport and mostly it was because of past experiences when I started this commute over the holidays:
First time and the most scarring was my freshman year of college when I flew home for a grand total of two and a half days. I ended up sitting next to a female firefighter that loved her beer and loved her voice even more. She definitely was tipsy when she sat down next to me, but when the beverage cart came to use about 20 minutes after the plane took off, she ordered two more beers and proceeded to drink them quite quickly, which resulted in her slurring rants for the rest of the flight. She asked me about my love life and I told her about a boy whom I was in love with (and he is a whole other story entirely that I don’t know if I will ever be ready to). I remember she kept saying that she had a firefighter who I would be perfect for and each time she decided to repeat this information to me all I could smell was that stale, bitterness of the beer.
At this point in my life, I was young and never had a drop of alcohol unless you count the gallons of cough syrup that I consumed over the many years of my youth because for some reason I was always sick. I wanted to gag each time she spoke, so I tried to keep talking as much as possible just to make sure she didn’t open that foul smelling hole on her face. That agonizing ride finally ended and I bolted away from her sight before she could introduce me to the said firefighter that I was “perfect” for, who apparently was on the same flight just a few seats up. As I’m writing this I can’t help but laugh at her recklessness of putting a thirty-some-year-old firefighter with an eighteen-year-old girl.
The second time wasn’t so bad because it ended up being a grandmother who just wanted to talk my ear off. Thankfully thought she had snacks and gum in her huge grandma purse, which were two things that I forgot, so she provided me with deliciousness as I heard stories of her grandchildren and children.
Anyway, the very cute boy sat down next to me and I just went about minding my own business, but, of course, stealing sideways glances. I honestly don’t remember the first thing he asked me and it might have been about my Mac, but really what he asked me isn’t important; it is the fact that he started talking to me at all. Oh no, it was about where I am traveling, and when he said he was going to Orlando (and I was traveling to Tampa) I lost all hope inside for my hopeless romantic scene that has been living in my head for years. After that initial question, I tried going back to what I was doing, but he kept asking me questions, trying to keep up the conversation. Oddly enough we figured out both of our grandparents live within thirty minutes of each other and he went to a high school about two hours away from me, but he never heard of the town I grew up in, then again not many people have heard of the amazing small town of Churubusco! Oh, how do you pronounce that? Think of it this way: Chair-a-bus-co…yeah we think it’s funny too. To make matters worse for my little town our nickname is…wait for it…Turtle Town U.S.A. I am not even going to explain that one…
The random conversation stayed light and fun as he made fun of my “thick” book I had pulled out of my bag at some point in the conversation when it slowed down. He glanced over at me with those adorable eyes and crinkled his face for a second, then said, “Oh that is right. You’re an English teacher.”
I laughed and responded with some ill-fitting retort. Like all great things, our meeting had to come to an end. The flight attendant at the gate called for my flight to board, we said our goodbyes and went our separate ways. Now you might think that is the end of the story and any other time I would say that it was, but I just couldn’t let it go. Knowing that you don’t know me very well I will tell you that I don’t take action when it comes to random events in my life. I will let them go and never touch them again. This event should have been one of them, but on Thursday morning, I couldn’t help but look him up online. He told me he was a soccer coach at a university in Indiana, so it wasn’t hard to find his last name because he provided me with his first. Then I proceeded to find him on the made-to-be-able-to-stalk-more-easily Facebook and before I could talk myself out of it I added him as a friend.
I never thought in a million years he would return the request, but I have been known to be wrong in these situations–he actually confirmed my friend request. I then debated for about all of thirty seconds to send him a message and my risky side finally won. Now here is where my nerves start tingling because I am taking what I call a run across the fiery coals of crazy death. The message consisted of me saying it was nice meeting you at the airport, hoped his four-hour wait for his flight wasn’t too bad, and that his business trip was successful. To my surprise again he messaged me back within minutes telling me that he was actually at the wrong gate. He was supposed to be on the other side of the airport! This is where I scream the word serendipity! I agreed that I thought we were supposed to meet. Then he asked if he wanted to come and visit me would I object. I am sorry what girl would say no?
Now, let me tell you I might be writing this like it was a nonchalant thing that occurs often, but it wasn’t and you can believe I was freaking out in my apartment. Imagine jumping up and down with excitement, a lot of disbelief giggling and a slur of mild curse words were swarming around in my empty apartment. You see I hadn’t had a guy take an interest in me enough to drive an hour to take me out. Heck, I haven’t been out on a date in four years!
I know that I am being personal with writing this story out for you, but I’m not going to go into our whole conversation, but because of some things said and me not understanding because sometimes you just don’t know what a person means over an electronic message, I called my best friend. We talked about what was being said, she accused him of being a male and all he wanted to do was sleep with me. I told her she is assuming way to much and that wasn’t his intentions at all. I ignored her concerns and decided everything was going to be okay.
Sadly, circumstances arose and he wasn’t able to come over to take me out. I was crushed. To add to my distress, there were a few people in my life that continued to tell me how he was bad news. They hadn’t even met him! I was only going to go out for dinner! It is not like I went to some bar or club and picked up a guy to take back to my house and have my way with him. Yes, I will agree, sex is always on the mind of males, but come on there are guys out there who might have more respect for a girl then only want a one night stand with her.
I know…many of you are probably smacking your head at how naive I was. Trust me I am doing that now. As I look back over the whole thing I looked at a situation with the hope of meeting a boy of my dreams, when in reality some of the conversational clues I should have picked up on tend to lean toward my friends who told me it was a bad idea.
That is why the movies are just movies, the books are just words on a page, and the imagined daydreams need to stay in the imagination because the reality is harsh. There are no Prince Charmings, fairy godmothers, or damsels in distress. There are just people in a world full of sin and even though I still cling to the hope that our ‘meet cute’ was completely innocent and romantic, but I know in the back of my mind it could have gone either way.
Moral of the story? Don’t assume that a nice guy is exactly that. Also, don’t stop thinking dreams can’t come to light. Yes, I might have been a little reckless and thankfully my guardian angel kept me safe, but don’t be afraid of a little risk, just be smart about it.
Everyone has their different ways of finding the right photo spot. Here are three of my major items that I go over with myself or my clients when choosing location:
Many other great photographers have strong ideas for choosing your location. Want more resources check them out:
Have a location picked out, but need a photographer and live in the northeast corner of Indiana? contact me at: Stories & Memories by Ashley Danielle. I would love to have a consultation with you and set up a session to capture your memories!
One of the biggest trends for the spring and summer this year is ROSE GOLD! Rose gold has wiggled its way into the hearts of women everywhere and the great thing is it looks good on EVERYONE! Jewelry designer Ariel Gordon told Huffington Post:
“Rose gold is amazing — it pulls out the blushy undertones in so many different skin colors.”
The biggest debate in the world of Jewelry, much like in the world of sports, is Gold or Silver. In comparison to where I live it is like choosing between IU or Purdue–you just can’t choose both. Well Rose Gold has come along to break the time old debate by practically combining the two together in a beautiful hue of color that both sides of the war can appreciate.
In honor of Rose Gold, Premier Designs is heading full force into this new era of color, contending with some of the top designers out there. We are really excited about our new Spring 2016 line and the beautiful Rose Gold jewelry we have available:
The earring are called Julia, the necklace is called Sun-Kissed, the bracelets are Rosie, and the rings are called Sienna. (The rings we have had since summer 2015). The crown jewel of the collection is our new watch called Rose Factor. What is amazing about our jewelry is that the most expensive piece doesn’t go over $105.
But like I said we aren’t the only ones taking advantage of this amazing new metal that goes with everyone. Many other designers are making pieces for it as well, but like I said before, we have amazing prices for such quality work. Check this out below:
How can you beat that?!? Its time to take advantage of what we have to offer. Now, some of you are skeptical. “Well, the quality must be cheap as the price.” WRONG! We take pride in our product and I personally have had many of my pieces from Premier for almost a year and they look close to brand new still! To put your mind at ease we do have what we call our Golden Guarantee:
So put your mind at ease, we will take care of you! You can get this watch or any of our great jewelry by contacting your local Premier Jeweler. In the Fort Wayne area? Comment below with your email and I will get in touch with you. Live elsewhere? Still comment with your email and I will help you find someone near you!
Keep Sparkling Ladies!
Ashley K Jewels
Sex. One three letter word and I guarantee you I captured your attention. You probably didn’t even read the rest of the title or notice that Sex is the sixth word! This right here is why our generation swoons over songs about grinding, shooting up, and humping instead of words of compassion or small thoughtful, romantic gestures. Our society has pushed sex so much that we think it should be an acceptable part of who we are.
Trust me it isn’t who we are. Sex is a beautiful and powerful act given to us by our almighty Creator, intended for marriage. Yes, I am one of those people who believe sex is a sin outside the context of marriage. Don’t like it? Too bad. Want to move on? Go right ahead, because your opinions are not going to change 28 years of living the way that I have. How have I lived? A virgin—clean and clear and under control.
It’s not like I really wanted to be a virgin this long in my life. I had plans, just like any other girl. I wanted to be married by 22 or 23 and pregnant with my first one by 25 or 26. Well, I am six years late on the marriage and three years late on the whole baby train.
It’s funny, because the first question I get a lot from friends and acquaintances that don’t have the same beliefs about sex that I do is this: How? How do I do it? Great question and it might not be the answer you think I am going to give you. Most of you reading this probably think I am going to give you some holier than thou speech about self-control and how God is keeping me celibate by divine order…blah blah blah. NO. It has been a combination of the way I was raised, my relationship with God, my college education, and the fact I wanted to keep this treasure hidden until somebody worthy earned it.
If you have read my self-image journey you know I have been a Christian since I was twelve, so the mere fact God says don’t have sex until married is kind of a big reason. So yes I am going to throw some biblical truths at you, but I didn’t have the response you thought I might have. Trust me.
Hebrews 13:4 says “Marriage should be honors by all, and the marriage bed kept pure, for God will judge the adulterers and all the sexually immoral.”
Where does the marriage bed come from?
Genesis 2:24 “That is why a man leaves his father and mother and is united to his wife, and they become one flesh.”
I can tell you right now when I learned about when you have sex you become “one flesh” with that person I freaked out and signed the no premarital sex card given to us at youth group right away. Growing up I never really understood the meaning or complexity of sex, but what teenager does? My youth group didn’t help the matter either. I loved the youth group I grew up in, but they had a tendency of making me feel like the slut of the group. The sad part is the most I ever did with a boy as a teen was kiss (no, not making out, just normal kisses) and holding hands. Oh no! Call an exorcist! The girl’s got a devil in her! … … …Sike! You know how to completely destroy a girl’s self-esteem in the church? Tell her that if you had kissed (or anything else “immorally wrong”) another boy, judge them and tell them they should have saved it for their future spouse, who probably is waiting for you (Okay, let’s be honest finding a person who has waited do to anything physical with their future spouse is a one in a billion chance.) I know to some girls this wouldn’t affect them, but as the only girl in my youth group at the time who had kissed a boy I felt attacked by it.
I am sorry, but they went a little above and beyond crazy. You guys want to not kiss until marriage–great, but don’t force it on a bunch of teens who don’t even fully understand the world of sex and sexuality yet. Maybe start by talking to them on how great and powerful it is and not just that we shouldn’t do it. You know telling us we shouldn’t do it will result in one of two things: 1) we run to sex, securing our rebellious nature or 2) we run from sex even in our marriages. Adults think before you speak! (And I am saying this to myself as well, seeing that in the youth group I volunteer at we are…wait for it…talking about SEX in the coming weeks…oh boy).
Another result of not understanding the full complexity of sex is why we have so much hurt and broken families. And I am not talking about understanding it from a religious aspect (which is the best way to), but understanding it from an emotional and physical standpoint. From what I have gathered over my years is sex is more than just satisfying urges, but a union of two people who trust each other with themselves emotionally and physically. I am sorry I don’t want a little black book full of guys who I have given myself to emotionally and physically. I can barely handle my own emotional situations and adding a dead beat guy who only wanted one thing isn’t going to help me out. Society has moved to making it just something we can do for fun with our significant other or even random strangers, which honestly has been going on since bible times and I promise you God has addressed it. Don’t believe me? Well I am just going to put these right here:
Ephesians 5:3 says, “But among you there must not be even a hint of sexual immorality, or of any kind of impurity, or of greed, because these are improper for God’s holy people.”
Matthew 5:28 says “But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart.“
Yeah, notice the red text? That means Jesus said it personally and to him sexual immorality isn’t just doing the act, but think it as well. Yup, our society is in so much trouble…
1 Corinthians 6:18 says “Flee from sexual immorality. All other sins a person commits are outside the body, but whoever sins sexually, sins against their own body.”
Trust me there is more where those came from, but in light that many people like to oppose the Old Testament I just gave you the New Testament. Want to find more? Open the bible app, go to the search bar, type in sex, and you will find many verses addressing God’s viewpoint.
Again, looking at this for a moment away from religion, consequences couldn’t be a factor of why I have stayed away from a life of sex, right? Wrong. Possible unwanted pregnancy, health issues (seriously STDs are no laughing matter), emotional trauma, and so much more. Those consequences are the reasons I haven’t given into the social craze even after three boyfriends/boy interests breaking up with me because I said no. Yeah I said no before Tebow made it cool.
Do you know that 71% of teens that were 19 and younger said yes they had sex in 2014? it has been two years, where do you think those numbers are now?
It amazes me to see those type of numbers in our society, because if you ask them why they had sex already I bet it is one of these answers: 1) I wanted to feel loved, 2)he/she would have broken up with me if I didn’t, 3) My parents told me not too, or 4) because everyone else is doing it and it feels good.
In response to the first excuse, it all starts at home. If you don’t have a loving family, who expresses love in a healthy manner kids are going to search for love where they can find it. Thankfully, I was blessed to have a loving family, who are still together after 33 years. A family who sat me down and talked to me about sex and how it was good, but something I needed to wait for. Honestly, having a loving family covers the second excuse as well. If a loving family is supporting their kids and actually talking to them (not just lecturing them) kids are going to see if a boy/girl is making you do something it isn’t healthy.
So I have covered how my relationship with God and my loving family has helped me make this decision on my own, but how could my college education help? I did go to a Christian college and in the midst of homework, sporting events, and hanging out with friends, I was able to start understanding my beliefs more on my own. Middle and high school told me what to believe, but in college I was able to hash out all my questions and concerns about what I believed. In the end some things changed and matured, but one thing that didn’t change was my decision to save sex for marriage. I saw what premarital sex could do to a relationship. I knew a couple who was waiting to have sex until after they were married, but one of the members of the couple had a past before she/he decided to change their life. Watching them grow as a couple I saw heartache and tough times as they hashed out the past. That was something I never had to go through, at least on my end. College, like it should for any student christian or not, opened my eyes to many experiences and knowledge I would have never gleamed if I stayed in the small cornfield infested town of Busco.
I know I am an abnormality and as I continue to age the 40 Year Old Virgin jokes are starting to surface, but nothing is going to change my mind. I see what this society does to the idea of sex and in my opinion it is much more than a upbeat song played in the clubs or the scandalous pictures littering magazine covers and internet sites. That part of who I am is something I want to share with only one other person. I realize my future husband might not have done the same thing I have, but I won’t judge him and I will love him no matter what.
To any girls out there reading this who have lost their virginity or wanting to lose it, it is not too late to make a decision to safeguard yourself. It is a decision you can make everyday and no one can say any different to you. If you are reading this and you are just like me, trying to survive in this sex-driven world, you are not alone. Stay strong and know waiting can be done.
Hey everyone! I want to give you a little background on myself before diving into this blog, because some parents might not like what you read about conducting photo sessions with you younger ones (about 5 and under).
I have been doing photography since 2008 and from those years I have been working with little ones since 2012, so coming up on 4 years now. During three of those four years I worked for JCP Portraits and learned much about photographing little ones in a high demand and high speed environment. Some of you probably have great or bad things to say about JCP Portraits, but for a retail chain studio I absolutely love them! They play no games and there prices are amazing! Now, being separate from them I run my own outdoor photography business where I photography little ones up through adults.
Now with my credentials out of the way, let’s dive in. Over my years as a photographer I have had parents who come in knowing if I get just one photo it is a miracle, but I have also had parents who think their kids pictures are going to be perfect. Let me tell you right now photographing little ones is a hit or miss type of session. Sometimes you walk in and your session goes like this:
Everything went perfectly! The little one smiled, the background looks perfect, and nothing is out of order. Trust me that doesn’t always happen. Some times you will get this here—->
I can’t tell you how many times I had little ones looking away from the camera or running toward mommy and daddy behind me crying, because they are scared or just don’t want to do it. Trust me this is a natural process.
Yes, as photographers we have tricks up our shelves to get your little bundle of joys attention, but the tricks only last for so long. That is why I am all for shorter sessions with little ones, because of attention span. No, I am not going to say all little ones have ADD or ADHD. That is a subject for a licensed psychologist. I am talking about how in the first four or five years of a child’s life they are learning how to focus on anything for a long period of time.
I did some research on the matter and here is what I found from Day 2 Day Parenting website:
8 – 15 months
Any new activity or event will distract your child, but they can usually attend for one minute or a little longer to a single toy or activity.
16 – 19 months
Your child might be restless, but is able to sustain attention to one structured activity for 2-3 minutes. Your child might not be able to tolerate verbal or visual interference.
20 – 24 months
Your child is still easily distracted by sounds, but can stay attentive to an activity either with or without an adult for 3-6 minutes.
25 – 36 months
Your child can generally pay attention to a toy or other activity for 5-8 minutes. In addition, he/she can shift attention from an adult speaking to him/her and then back to what he/she was doing if he/she is prompted to focus her attention.
3 – 4 years
Your child can usually attend to an activity for 8-10 minutes, and then alternate his/her total attention between the adult talking to him/her and the activity he/she is doing independently. (Toddler).
This information also applies to when they are in a photo session! So here are some tips and advice on your session(s) for your little ones:
Last thing. This is for toddlers through about 5 years old. This advice does NOT apply to newborns. That is a whole other ball game we will hit on in a different post. Good luck!
Have a great day and enjoy the sessions below I found via Pinterest that show more than just smiling little ones!
Fashion is everywhere. You are either hot or not in this society. Now, personally I think everyone looks great in their own style! The problem is society has pulled women’s self-esteem down so far that we think not taking pride in ourselves is rebelling against the masses. Yes, technically you are, but there is nothing wrong with being presentable and still maintaining your style and your standards. Premier designs has this great formula that has saved my life multiple times when putting together my outfits. Here it is for you in a visual:
The first step in the formula is to choose your base: black, denim, white, or khaki. Yes, many of these colors can be combined and if you want to combine them great! Even today I am wearing black pants and a white shirt as my base. That is okay.
Second step is the flare of fashion. Yes, I know I spelled flare differently than the stylish “flair,” but I like it better because of the definition “a sudden bright flame or light.” That is what this step is–a bright addition to your wardrobe. This was always the step that I skipped. This could be a colorful blazer or a patterned shirt. It can even be a favorite, fun scarf for the winter months or some bold shoes. Either way make sure your flare is the only bold piece. Mixing many bold pieces together can get tricky and if you are a pro at it great, but if not I would just start at one. For example today my flare of fashion is my favorite red and gold threaded scarf my roommate got me.
The third step is to Frost Yourself! If you are my age or older you might remember that line from “How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days” with Matthew MccConaughy and Kate Hudson. I love that idea of Jewelry frosting us. It is the topping we need to round out our outfit, just like frosting rounds out a cake. So make sure you don’t forget to add some jewelry. You can go as simple or as extravagant as you want. Arm parties of many bracelets are one of my favorite extravagant ways to wear my jewelry, but you can’t go wrong with a favorite pair of earrings, a fun ring, and a couple bracelets to accent my outfit. My suggestion is if you are wearing a scarf I would count that as a necklace most times. This way you don’t hide a beautiful piece of jewelry and you don’t snag it on the scarf.
So now that you have the formula down (and yes I give you permission to steal and use the formula as much as you want) let me show you some great examples of pieces that utilize this formula I found on pinterest.
This great piece on the left is put together by:J’s Everyday Fashion. She has a great black base, a fun top for the second step and some simple pieces of jewelry to round it out. The example on the right is from the same website and she uses khaki as her base. She uses the same polka dot shirt and that is okay, because the outfit has a totally different vibe and color scheme with the pink highlights.
Below are two more examples for Denim and White. The denim base on the left comes from Style Estate Blog. She even rounds out her outfit in step three with an arm party and yes watches can be involved in that! The outfit on the right is from Aurora Trend. I love what she does! She uses a white shirt as her base and her flare of fashion is her red pants! Love it! Don’t be scared to try something bold like this!
Let me know what you think of the formula and let me see your outfits! Just comment or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org!
Have a Blessed Day!
I have always loved the idea of a masquerade ball: gorgeous dresses, fancy masks, hidden identity, dancing with a complete stranger only to have them take off their mask at midnight to find either a friend you have known your whole life or a complete, handsome stranger whom you fall in love with instantly. It is a romantic fairytale vision that many little girls dream about and single women long for. Although if I really think about it, that fantasy can never come true. It is mythical, but the idea of a mask is not. As I transferred from college age fantasies to a young woman many ideas have evolved and one of them is the thought of a mask. See I grew up as a Christian and I do not want to say I am religious, because that is a whole other negative annotation to get into, but what I will say I am is a strong follower of Jesus. So a little over two years ago I decided that God wanted me to start leading a small group of middle school aged girls at my church’s youth group on Wednesday nights. As my journey has progressed and matured through the couple years I have been with them I have discovered something about pre-teen age I never really thought about before—they were a mask.
The fantastical mask I once fantasized wearing as I danced with a dashing stranger is something middle school students, especially females, tie on every single day. This is not something we voluntarily do; we are trained to do this everyday of our lives. Just look at the different magazines that float from stand to stand. We want to be skinny or blond or blue eyed or tanner or taller or anything other than what is staring back at us in the mirror hanging in our bedroom. Do you realize that we are so obsessed with our image that we have a mirror hanging in almost every room? Take my old house for example. When I would walk in from the garage there was a mirror in our entryway to the left of me, then walking past my kitchen into my dining room there was a mirror hanging on the far wall. Of course we also had two and a half baths which had a huge mirror in each one and all three bedrooms had full length mirrors in them, adding to the vain lies that our world thrusts in our faces. If you weren’t counting that is eight mirrors–EIGHT! Who needs eight mirrors in their home of four people! Wow.
Mirrors aren’t the only negative entity in our weak and feeble minds. We allow songs, TV shows, movies, even pictures out of magazines influence who we become, but it doesn’t mean that is who we are supposed to be. It doesn’t help when a fashion designer or magazine editor says that you have to be this size, with this color of hair and eyes, and that height to be considered beautiful.
Our appearance is not the only thing that could be considered a mask—our attitudes as well. What people see us as is just another fancy dress we lace up and parade around for the world to see. As teens, stereotypical masks such as: Jock, Popular, Nerd, Goth, Hippie, Ghetto, etc., are all we think about when we are in school. Kids try and fit into one of those labels or they are accused of being it and can never scrub away the invisible tattoo their peers has inked on their foreheads.
As soon as you walk through the doors into the public eye, whether we realize it or not, we cloth ourselves in “who” we want to be. But is that really you? That is a question we need to consistently ask ourselves: “Underneath it all is this who I really am?” What if it is not who we are? What if we decorate our masks with frivolous feathers, beads, and sequins just to impress the friends and people around us? Is that really how it should work?
These are all questions that even as I grow older I still can not answer without a small hint of skepticism. The world of fashion and entertainment outline our clothes and what is ‘hot’ or ‘uncool,’ so are the answers we come up with on who we are truly real and from ourselves? We live in such a world full of technology that any answer of any question can be found by pressing a button and asking Siri, but even the internet can be full of lies for us. Where is the one place you can go and get the truth? I think for each person it is different, but I do not mean your best friend or boyfriend or your parents or even your husband or wife, because they do not know everything about you and your heart. They are not always privileged to see under the mask but in my opinion only one is: God.
We forget that, don’t we? God can see us. I believe God already knows everything about us. He designed who we are. Last year in our youth group we talked about the mask we wear everyday and how we can strip that mask away. Its funny because every time I hear about ‘taking off the mask’ I feel like they are telling me to let everyone around me know everything about me; from my superficial interests to my deep dark secrets. I do not think that is what we should do. I know as a Christian I must present myself as a believer and follow the laws and commandments of my God, but I do not think we must show the world our hurts. There is a fine line between lying about yourself and being yourself. We can have a mask on and still be ourselves—our true mask. The thing about the mask is we need to allow our imperfections to show. It is what makes us unique in a time when everybody wants to be the same. I like being unique. It means I was created for something special. Right now I could become depressed because I am college graduate, whom was let go from her supposedly ‘dream’ job, clawing at a graduate degree, hoping it will help me find my true career path, and, barely making ends meat because I don’t have a full time job yet, but I don’t. Why? Well, because God has a plan in this and He is preparing me for whatever is next.
It is the same for everyone, young and old alike. You might be at the low end of the totem pole or the bell of the ball; it doesn’t matter because God has a plan for what you are going through. I know it is difficult to see and to be honest only God sees His puzzle that He is constructing, the book He is writing, or the timeline He is plotting, but it is there, you have to trust him! I have to trust Him. I have to trust that there are going to be days when I will have to have my true mask tied around my head and ready for battle against our cruel world with God by my side and there are days I will have to trust He is holding my hand as I pull the mask down a little and display some of my deeper pain as I lead these girls down the rocky road of middle school and the masquerade issues of life.
Ladies! One of the big trends for the Spring 2016 season is stack-able rings! Everywhere you look women are wearing rings on top of rings! Well look no further, Premier Designs has you covered! On the left are five ring selections we have available for purchase!
We have a variety as well! We have your gold, your rose gold, your silver, your black and white, and your pops of color!
Whatever color scheme works for you we can help you find the perfect fit! So step out of your comfort zone this season and start stacking more fun than your bills!