genuinely, me

April 25, 2012

“I am Me. In all the world, there is no one else exactly like me. Everything that comes out of me is authentically mine, because I alone chose it -- I own everything about me: my body, my feelings, my mouth, my voice, all my actions, whether they be to others or myself. I own my fantasies, my dreams, my hopes, my fears. I own my triumphs and successes, all my failures and mistakes. Because I own all of me, I can become intimately acquainted with me. By so doing, I can love me and be friendly with all my parts. I know there are aspects about myself that puzzle me, and other aspects that I do not know -- but as long as I am friendly and loving to myself, I can courageously and hopefully look for solutions to the puzzles and ways to find out more about me. However I look and sound, whatever I say and do, and whatever I think and feel at a given moment in time is authentically me. If later some parts of how I looked, sounded, thought, and felt turn out to be unfitting, I can discard that which is unfitting, keep the rest, and invent something new for that which I discarded. I can see, hear, feel, think, say, and do. I have the tools to survive, to be close to others, to be productive, and to make sense and order out of the world of people and things outside of me. I own me, and therefore, I can engineer me. I am me, and I am Okay."
~Virginia Satir
My life is not glamorous. I don't have a beautiful life. A perfect life. A life everyone would dream of living. My life is simple, yet complex. Plain, yet colorful. Ordinary, yet surprising. Predictable, yet always changing.
I have been learning a lot about myself lately. And one of the lessons that has been most prevalent is that my life is not my own. I am His creation. Made to serve and glorify Him. I do not control how my life ebbs and flows, or the many twists and turns it takes. And I don't need to. Taking the control from God is to welcome in failure, hopelessness, and need. His control of my life is what allows me to live and not merely exist.
To everything there is a season. And my season of life is spring. Blooming flowers and budding trees, buzzing and bustling bees and other winged creatures, tweeting and singing of blue jays and Robins on my porch, fresh earth sifting through my fingers, green grass giving way underneath my feet, sweet perfume from plum trees and juniper. A season of life. A season where creation springs forth furiously and energetically, embracing the purpose of the season-to give birth, cultivate, produce,
One of my favorite scenes from Little Women is where Marmee and Jo are in Beth's room. Jo is venting to her mother. "There's just something really wrong with me. I want to change, but I - I can't. And I just know I'll never fit in anywhere," Says Jo . Her mother, in objection to this, says something that touches my hearstrings every time I hear it: "Oh, Jo. Jo, you have so many extraordinary gifts; how can you expect to lead an ordinary life? You're ready to go out and - and find a good use for your talent. Tho' I don't know what I shall do without my Jo. Go, and embrace your liberty. And see what wonderful things come of it."
Embrace this extraordinary life you lead. This is my hearts cry- to embrace my life with fervor because I was created to live an extraordinary life. To break free from the confinements of these sterile white walls I have built around myself. Not to be confined to a jail cell watching paint dry. But like it or not, something always gets in the way of my efforts to follow God on this tremendous journey into adulthood where I experience independence, liberty, and freedom-fear. It prohibits me from experiencing the extraordinary life I want to live, telling me that hiding is better than living and dreaming. Yet, it is with God's help and supply of strength that I spread my wings. Fly. Soar. Breath life anew. See things in a different perspective. Stumble. Falter. Fail. Yet, He's always there to mend my wounds and put me back on my feet. Takes my breath away every time.


seven secrets to sexual purity (part one)

April 16, 2012

{purity is a process}

Think what you want. Say what you want. Secrets? What secrets? Keep to yourself and that it will solve the problem; easier said than done. This is a day and age when purity is becoming something that people still talk about, but you don't see acting on.

It is a pretty straight forward concept—purity. The very idea behind purity is that, well, none of were born pure, but we fight everyday to keep what "purity" we do have. And for some of us the only purity we do have left is sexual purity because, well, none of us were born one hundred percent pure. Every day girls and guys fight the “evil desires of our youth” and are bombarded by lust and sexual attraction (2 Timothy 2:22).

Things can easily enter our minds and catch us off guard through the media. Though the media is a wonderful addition to our vast collection of knowledge and fancy gismos, it can also be our downfall, thwarting our perception and pulling us farther from the sexual purity God designed for us to experience before marriage. 

The seven secrets to purity may seem to you a little strange and unrealistic. But think of them not as rules, but as a strengthening tool. These secrets will serve to strengthen our understanding and firm our wavering foundation of purity, as well as reinforce our bond with Christ. We look to Him for guidance so that when we are confronted with the desire to stray from the straight and narrow path, we will be strong and unmoved in our faith and beliefs, especially as we go out into a world that presents sexuality to the youth as a pleasurable playtime, and not as a sin.

So, if you are wondering what the seven secrets are, take a look.

Secret #1: Acknowledge that purity is a process. No, it is not instant. Yes, it does take time; we were not born pure (and the Bride Wore White, 57). I know, what a shocker! Here’s some scripture to back up the fact that we were not born pure…take a look:

“Surely I was sinful at birth, sinful from the time my mother conceived me” (Psalm 51:5).

“All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23).

“There is not a righteous man on earth who does what is right and never sins” (Ecclesiastes 7:20).
We may have been “innocent” when we were born, but scripture says we were sinful, not pure. This belief that we can “loose” our purity is baloney. It is impossible, since we were never pure to begin with. Now, understand that what I mean by “you are not pure” simply means we are sinful. We were born sinful, we will live a sinful life, and we will all die because of our sins.  This does not mean you have lost your sexual purity. Do not worry!

Now, I want you to imagine a spiral on a grape vine. Imagine the spiral has a wiggly tail at the bottom.  This wiggly tail represents us before we came to know Christ as our Lord and Savior. The minute we give our life to the Lord and accept that he dies for us in payment of our sins, we begin the exciting journey towards becoming like Christ! This is the first step to becoming pure, because Christ is pure in every way! Without Christ, it is impossible to live a life of purity. We cannot do it on our own.

RMS Titanic: The Ship of Dreams

April 15, 2012

Yesterday marked the one hundred year anniversary since the RMS Titanic struck and ice burg, and her fate was sealed. The year was 1912. The time was approximately 11:40PM. Unbeknownst to the crew and passengers, their fate had also been sealed by this unexpected blow.

Newspapers called Titanic the ship of dreams and, for some, Titanic was a dream so real, and experience of refined luxury, beauty, and magnificence. However, no one would ever have dreamed that they would be witnesses and victims of this unsinkable ships fate.

On April 10th 1912, the Titanic was the largest ship afloat. The White Star Line Company had spared no expenses in assuring her magnificence. Newspapers advertised her as the ‘largest and finest steamer in the world’—the ship of dreams. Men, women and children were living in a floating hotel, and in the lap of luxury. But no one could have predicted that the ‘unsinkable’ ship would never make it to New York, and that she would never sail again.

Four days into her journey, on April 14th at 11:40 P.M, the Titanic struck an iceberg.It was obvious that there were not enough live boats to accommodate all of the passengers. Each passenger was issued a life jacket, however, life expectancy would be short due to the below freezing waters. Many people scrambled into the life boats….women and children first. 

The sinking of the Titanic was a tragedy, 1,513 had died and only 711 lived. Throughout the voyage, the Titanic received 7 ice warnings, but Captain Smith figured that anything big enough to worry about would be seen in plenty of time to steer around it. The ship was moving at full speed about 22 knots—on a moonless night. Captain Smith tried his best to turn the ship as to avoid hitting the ice berg.

He nearly succeeded, but at the speed the ship was going, the captain’s efforts to turn the ship were in vain. This horrible circumstance could have been avoided, if Captain Smith had heeded the ice berg warnings. She was ‘unsinkable’, not even ‘God himself could sink her’.

I can only imagine what the passengers and even the captain were going through when they realized that the Titanic wasn’t ‘unsinkable'. It must have been a gut-wrenching feeling to know that there was a possibility of dying and never getting to see loved ones again. I can only guess the regret running through Captain Smith’s mind as he debated on what to do—he was playing with nature, he was taunting God’s ability and strength, and now the ship was going down. There certainly weren't enough life boats for everyone… enough for only 1,178! Sadly, that’s almost half of the people on board.

The great ship slowly slid beneath the waters two hours and forty minutes after the collision. Some of her passengers were asleep during the commotion, some third class passengers were trapped with no way to get out and others, who had jumped into the freezing water, were dragged under by the steamer’s strong suction.

Titanic was a marvel to a time where there were engineering advancements, but no one could have ever constructed a large enough or strong enough ship to withstand the ruthless, undaunted power of nature. I suppose the sinking of Titanic was a way to get people’s minds back into reality and back on God. The fate of the Titanic was in God’s hands, it obviously was his plan, but it’s just sad to think over half Titanic’s passengers had to suffer her fate as well.


April 14, 2012

Q. Who are your favorite bloggers?
Here's a list. I was going to just write them all here, but knowing me, I had a hard time keeping it short...

Q. Are all the pictures on your blog taken by you?

No. Most of them, if not watermarked, are from Pinterest (an amazing photo sharing site!). 

Q. What do you use to take pictures?
I shoot with a Canon EOS 450-D, a Canon AE-1 35mm film camera, and am currently learning to edit all my photos in Photoshop CS5. I hope to be using most of my own photos in the near future! In my camera bag(s) are the Canon 50mm lens, the Canon 50-75mm lens; and for my film camera (my real baby!) I have a Vivitar 200mm lens and a Canon 50mm lens, along with other assorted goodies.

Q. Why Canon?

It came with really good reviews. Plus, I found the Canon to be easier to navigate than, say, Nikon. 

Q. What's your favorite color?
Neon green.

Q. Why did you start a blog?
I love to write. That's it. Period.

Q. How old are you? Are you in high school?
I'm nineteen and a sophomore in college. I was home-schooled from K-12 and absolutely loved every second of it! Even now, I'm not quite ready to leave...but it's time to start thinking about other things!

Q. I love your blog design! Who did it?

I did! Although it's simple and no where near as impressive as others I've seen. If you want some design advice, my #1 idea was to use the original Minima template - check out Geek Chic for tutorials galore.

Q. What advice would you give to new bloggers?

It's always a good idea to start off with a clean layout. I find that blogs that have a clean look with soft colors often capture my attention and leave me wanting more. Make sure you stay with a text that's easy to read - stay away from unreadable, fancy, small, or curly fonts. And don't post too often - once or twice a week works out nicely for me - but don't neglect your blog either! Also, comment, comment, comment! Leaving a comment on another blog is a surefire way for you to get people's attention - just please don't leave comments asking people to follow your blog (that's so annoying!).

Q. How do you spend your free time?

I'm in college. I don't have time for that luxury. I'm kidding! Writing is a big contender...I do that all the time. I also enjoy photography, taking walks around the neighborhood (look at me, I'm starting to sound like a E-harmony commercial!), Gluten Free baking adventures, reading, blogging, P90x, photography, embroiderycrochet, writing, photography, writing, sleeping, and admiring the sunsets.

Q. Will you guest post on my blog?

Probably - if I have time, and I'm feeling inspired! :) Feel free to email me and ask away.

Q. Do you like Etsy? What are your favorite stores?
I have many. I like the stores that cater to the fine arts photographer in me, those that offer amazingly modern crochet patterns, organic jewelry, journals, and head coverings. 

Have a question? Ask away! New answers are always being added.

want to sponsor?

Interested in sponsoring a giveaway, or doing a product review with captivatingly:ME?

All sponsors get one month of free advertizing on my sidebar.

If you want to do a product review, here's how that will work...
-You email me, and decide on the details. :)
-You send me your product.
-I will do a whole post about it (reviewing it, etc.) on my blog.

If you simply want some advertizement on my sidebar, I charge $5 for a 200x100px button, and $10 for a 200x200px button. (worth 1 month of sponsoring) If you want me to design a button for you, I only charge $1 more. :) Payments are made through PayPal.

CONTACT ME for more details.

captivating femininity {part 2}: to be romanced

April 4, 2012

I will find you.
No matter how long, no matter how far--I will find you.
Nathaniel to Cora in The Last of The Mohicans
A woman's wounds leave her feeling vulnerable. Moreover, they leave her feeling as if she's failed life. Wounds create pain, and the pain inadvertently creates tall, impenetrable walls that even a Knight-in-Shinning-Armor wouldn't dare climb. Fact is, when a woman's heart is so closed off from further hurt and the possibility that she might actually be captivating, the only one who's brave enough to tackle the rock solid contours of her delicate-as-lace heart, is the King of Kings.

My wounds, I can honestly say, have hindered me in a great many ways; one of those areas happens to be my life in the romance department. That part of my life is, well, nonexistent. While I am not in a hurry to find a man, there is a longing deep down in my heart that wants a man (a hero) to fight for and rescue me. In my heart of hearts I desire greatly to be what Cora Munro is to Nathaniel Bumpo or, what Maid Marian is to Robin Hood or, what Eleanor Dashwood is to Edward Ferris. Although I have never felt this way myself, I love the feeling I get when these women are safe in their lovers' arms, being wanted and loved.  The truth is, I simply love the feeling of being "wanted and fought for" (Captivating 9).

The desire to be wanted and fought for is deeply rooted within the very soul of a woman. It's in the core of her existence, and part of what makes were captivatingly feminine. However, like most, we are ashamed of this intricate part of what makes us unique. To many of us, these desires are a sign of weakness—a defect. After all, we're 21th Century women, aren't we? Weakness isn't in our vocabulary; women today are "strong, independent, and capable, thank you very much," exclaims Stasi, "Uh-huh...and who is buying all those romance novels?" (Captivating 9). To put it this way, stiffing our natural desires for romance--to be rescued by an irresistibly handsome man who is captivated by our physical and inward beauty--only makes it harder for us to ignore the natural tenancies of our femininity. It's not something we can shake off, or wake up one morning and say "I am no longer going to desire romance. I'm going to be as cold as stone; an unfeeling, cruel, miserable spinster."  Yeah right; like that'll ever happen!

Come on, girls. Let’s be real here. I know from my own experiences, however small they may be (in comparison to other ladies out there who have been dragged through the mud), that it's easier to close one's self off from the rest of the world and to erect an impenetrable facade, than it is to accept what's happened, move on, and embrace the very essence of our womanhood. Now, I am not saying that we should base our existence on "whether or not [we are] being or [have] been romanced by a man", but don't you see that it is a natural part of who we are as women to desire this—to want this (Captivating 10)?

I can imagine Cora Munro felt very special knowing that Hawkeye cared wholeheartedly for her, and would die for her. In the midst of danger, he promised Cora that no matter where the Huron took her, no matter how far they went he would find her, because he was committed to keeping her safe and defending her to death. In essence, Cora got exactly what every girl dreams of-a man in pursuit, romancing her, loving her for who she is, and willing to risk his life for hers. She is worth fighting for, and that is something every girl wants to feel. 

It's something I greatly desire. Something I dream about and am mesmerized with when I watch movies with the hero saving the damsels in distress. When I watched Snow White or Cinderella or Sleeping Beauty, I was in love with the Prince. I knew that one day I was going to find myself a prince that would fight for me the same way Sleeping Beauty's prince did when slaying the wicked dragon queen. 

Not only was it exciting to watch the damsel be rescued by the handsome prince, but the real kicker was the happily-ever-after kiss in Cinderella, or the dream-come-true kiss in Snow White. As their lips collide, it's like fireworks go off in my heart, and my unrestrained desire to have a prince of my own to kiss grows exceedingly more difficult to control, even as a little girl!

I still enjoy a good romance movie now and then. I love comedic and cheesy romance movies, such as When In Rome, Letters to Juliet, My Big Fat Greek Wedding, Sweet Home Alabama, How To Loose A Guy In 10 Days, 27 Dresses, Ever After, and Pretty In Pink, because they tickle my fancy and are lighthearted; and even with that, I am still allowed to get lost in the bond being formed. Although I am older now, the love that sparks between two lovers still ignites the feminine desire within my heart to be captivating, romanced, perused, and fought for. Like Staci Eldredge says, "every woman wants to be seen, wanted, and perused. We want to be romanced" (pg 10).