The Little Black Dress – Fight Poverty Today

Friends and family, I want to tell you about a fun and important event I’m doing called the Little Black Dress Initiative. As you may know, I’m a member of the Junior League of Moore County which is a group of hardworking, inspiring women and through the year, we do many things for our community. Some of these things include human trafficking awareness and prevention courses, helping those who are food insecure, collecting items for children in foster care, creating “life books” for them to preserve memories, and much more. 

I’d love to tell you more about what I do with the League, and why I’m wearing my LBD for the next 11 days, but what I’m asking for here is your help! I have a goal to raise $100 to help fund my League and the awesome things we do. If you have it in your heart and feel so compelled to help me help my local community, please click on the link below to donate! Thank you so much! #LBDI #JLMCNC

https://jlmcnc.org/little-black-dress-initiative.html

Four Life Lessons Taught by a Pair of Jeans

The school bell has rung, class is now in session.

Recently I put on an old pair of jeans that used to be my favorite! They were by a brand I have worn for over twenty years, and always appeared to be great quality. Changes in the brand became noticeable after they were sold to a huge department chain five years ago.

Love these jeans

A few years ago, I revisited a boutique that has had a reputation of selling quality clothing since 1947. They had a sell on their jeans and I bought some of them, and wouldn’t you know, they fit fabulously! So those all became my go to jeans. Fast forward to the present. I put on my old favorite jeans, and they were so ill-fitted. I could not believe it. The seams weren’t straight, which I vaguely remember being an issue in the past, but I would always fix them throughout the day. They were also extremely high watered. (I love anklet pants, but these were borderline “Steve Urkel-ish”.

Lookin good

I began to wonder when had these pants changed for me, and reluctantly put them in a bag to take to Goodwill. This brings me to the Four Life Lessons Taught by a Pair of Jeans.

Four Life Lessons

Lesson 1 – Great Fit

There may be a time when the friends you have, the organization(s) you belong to, the place of your employment, the products you use and the clothes you wear, are a great fit!

When you started with the friends, you all had certain things in common, and fun together. When you first joined the organization(s), it had so much meaning. When you started your position, you were full of purpose and excited about all of the potential opportunities that awaited. When you first used the products or wore the clothes, they seemed perfect.

It is totally natural to feel good about something when you first start it and even more common to keep it around if it is a good fit for you at the time.

Lesson 2 – Perception

To perceive, is to interpret things by our senses instead of at face value. Do not get me wrong, we need to be able to see if something is a good for us, but sometimes going only by what we see, can cause us to ignore minor defects that will become obvious in the long run.

A good example of this is when the Pharisees had conspired against Jesus, and planned to ask him a question in order to catch him off guard. The Bible said that Jesus “perceived their thoughts” and ended up being the one to catch them off guard with his response. If you want to read more about that it is in the Book of Luke chapter 5.

We can think something is a good fit, and it very well may be, but also be open to perception. Make sure to pay attention and not ignore what you may not see with the naked eye.

Lesson 3 – Change and Transition

You may be loyal to a certain brand, relationship, organization(s), place of employment, or location, but you must remain open to the possibility of change and transition.

Change and transition allows you to have the option of being flexible. Flexibility is the keyword. If you are open to change, then even if you are loyal to the brand, the relationship, organization(s), and position, you will be able to see things objectively and perceive whether or not it is time to transition to something different.

Transition

Lesson 4 – Making Room

Most of us are pretty good about going through our old jeans, clothing, and household goods. We end up putting what we no longer need into a bag and donating it. Why? To trim down clutter, and make more room/space. We may need to observe all areas of our lives and see if it is still a good fit for us. If it is, and you know it is where you need to be and what you need to be doing; in theory, continue wearing your old pair of jeans!

If you evaluate the areas of your life and determine it no longer fits who you are, and that you may need to be doing something else; it could be time to open the doors of change and transition.

It is my hope that the Four Life Lessons Taught by a Pair of Jeans, benefit you as much as it did me.

Jeans and Life Lessons

The school bell has rung, class dismissed.

Hypocrite Meter

The school bell has rung, class is now in session.

When you hear the word “hypocrite” many images may come to mind. A scheming actor on a soap opera, a politician, or world leader. What does not come to mind is probably the word theater. Yes, I said theater! I remember my surprise learning this information, first semester of my Freshman year in college. Would you believe my first (out of three) declared major in college was Theater? I was quite determined to be on broadway. Starting as a ten year old, I took ballet, tap, and jazz, and as a teenager acted in a few local productions. I got an agent, and I thought I was on my way, lol.

After first semester, I decided to give up on my broadway dreams, be content on the cheer and dance team in college, and change my major again, lol.

I digress, back to the topic at hand, hypocrites. The word hypocrite, simply stands for actor or stage player.

The Greek word itself is a compound noun: it’s made up of two Greek words that literally translate as “an interpreter from underneath.” That bizarre compound makes more sense when you know that the actors in ancient Greek theater wore large masks to mark which character they were playing, and so they interpreted the story from underneath their masks. (merriam-webster.com)

In the past, this word stood for pretense on the stage because ultimately actors were behaving as different characters. It did not gain a negative connotation until the early 1700s, 500 years after its’ original use. When it is heard now, we see it as a person who acts contrary to their beliefs and feelings depending on who they are around.

Anyone who says peer pressure is only a K-12 situation, needs to think again. Peer pressure still exist among adults as well.

Four Examples of Adult Peer Pressure

Friendship – You have a person who you consider a friend or decent individual, but if the group or certain person does not like that person, you feel pressured to start disliking them as well.

Praying over your meal – You have always said grace over your food, but when with certain people, you feel pressured not to do so.

Lifestyle Choices – You uphold certain values that may be perceived as primitive, but when around certain people you feel ashamed of those values and do not want to talk about them in fear of what others would think.

Hobbies – You like doing certain things, but when around certain people you clam up about it, because of being teased before.

These things actually happen in adulthood, and can produce hypocrites if not careful.

Solution

The solution to these issues is to be content.

Be Content

Be content in your choices of friendship – If you are friends with a person, it is for reasons that others may not understand and is between you and that person. If the friendship is true, do not allow other opinions to sway yours.

Be content with your values – If you have conservative values, be proud of that. The people around you will understand if they truly respect you. If made to feel uncomfortable because of your values, consider changing your surroundings.

Be content with lifestyle choices – If you have decided to live according to a certain creed, it was probably for a reason. Do not compromise that for anyone.

Be content with your hobbies – If certain activities bring you happiness, enjoy it! People may not understand why you enjoy it, but our differences are what makes things interesting.

Reflection

Where are you on the Hypocrite Meter?

We have the ability to reflect on our lives, see flaws, and change our behavior. We do not have to behave contrary to our belief system and feelings. We can become people of integrity which is the opposite of a hypocrite.

Being a person of integrity means we reflect on the outside, what is on the inside. Like an integer, we can be whole and complete. We are not perfect, but as the scripture says:

The Challenge

I would like to issue a challenge to myself and others.

Going forward, stop entertaining people that make you feel the need to wear a mask, in order to appease them.

Be yourself. If they do not like it, it is ok. God can and will place like-minded people in your life. Bad company corrupt good character. ~1 Corinthians 15:33

Do not become a hypocrite at the pressure of so-called associates or friends. If they do not like who you are without the mask, they certainly will not care for you with the mask.

Be content. Life is too short to continue worrying about how others feel about you. Spend more energy and time helping those who appreciate it. Do not cast your pearls before swine. This will be the topic of my next post.

The school bell has rung, class dismissed!

The Informational Web of He Says, She Says

The school bell has rung, class is now in session.

I find this saying a bit humorous but can remember the time when I first experienced the he says she says monster myself; it was in the 1st grade.

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It all began when I changed schools and started my new 1st grade class. I have always enjoyed school, but my joy decreased when I encountered two boys and a girl whose main objective was to pick on me each day. I will call them the bully gang. Our classroom behavior data was tracked by the color of the sticker we received at the end of each day. A green sticker was good, yellow was ok, and red was bad.

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One day I saw the bully gang over by the behavior charts messing around with a sticker. A few minutes later, they ran to the teacher, and told her I had moved someone’s sticker. I could not believe my ears; this was my first experience with a blatant lie! I truly wished at that time my teacher had a lie detector test.

The teacher came to me, and asked why I had touched the stickers? I noted she did not ask me if I did it, but why had I done it? This bothered me, but I told her that I had not touched the stickers. She went on with her accusations saying that three students had seen me, and because of that, I had a choice between a paddling or moving my own sticker to yellow. I knew that if I chose to move my sticker to yellow, I would not be able to get a special prize on Friday out of the treasurer box. Instead, like a martyr, I chose the paddle.

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While receiving a paddle in the hallway, my neighbor’s class was walking by. My neighbor and friend, Louie, saw me about to get a paddle. I knew that was not good, but just wanted it to be over with. Later that evening, Louie told my parents that he saw me about to receive the paddle in the hallway. I wanted to disappear!

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My parents ended up having a conference with the teacher. I thought they would give her a piece of their minds, but I was wrong. They simply let her know that in the future, she needed to call them before paddling me. Afterwards I was punished for receiving the paddle.

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Finally, my day of redemption came. The bully gang was about to move a sticker again, and blame me for it, but the teacher was watching them. In case you did not know, teachers really have eyes in the back of their heads.

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The bully gang moved a sticker and ran to the teacher to tell that I had moved it, but she stopped them in their tracks. She told them she had seen them and did not appreciate what they had done. I felt good because she had finally caught them red-handed!

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After that experience, I experienced more he says she says (and even some she says she says) situations throughout my life, but I would like to share four reminders that help me cope when tangled in the information web.

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  1. Ask the tale bearer, “what were they saying at the time?”  – If someone approaches you with information that another person has said about you, do not let your immediate reaction be anger. Evaluate what was said and ask the person who shared the negativity, what were they saying when the conversation took place? You should inquire about this, because the person telling you the information, was [probably/most likely] talking about you as well.
  2. Find out the information from the source – When you hear something about yourself or someone else, do not take it at face value, go to the source! I have cleared up so many petty situations that could have ended terribly, by choosing to go straight to the person in question. When I took the time to do this, I would always find out that the story was embellished or misconstrued. If you say nothing at all and just believe what you have heard; you could end up losing a good friend/co-worker/relationship. So, it is beneficial to go to the source. The only time you do not need to do this, is if you choose to not believe or react to the information in question.
  3. Do not continue to pass the information to others – He says she says situations usually end up being blown out of proportion because instead of going to the source, the person continues to share the story. Do not do this, you may or may not be passing along untruths that could create irrefutable damage to a professional or personal reputation.
  4. You were not there – Remind yourself, when hearing a tale about someone, or something they have said, you-were-not-there. Meaning, you did not witness it with your own eyes or hear it with your own ears. You honestly only know what you were being told. Evaluate the why behind the talebearer, they may be trying to make that person look bad in your eyes. Ask yourself could they be jealous, upset or just not like the other person? What is their motive in sharing the negativity with you about that person? Once you gather the answer to these questions, you will have your reason behind this mode of gossip.

When it comes to, he says she says, I would like to leave you with these last three lines:

  1. Do unto others, as you would have them do unto you. ~Matthew 7:12
  2. Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap. ~Galatians 6:7
  3. ToForgive is to set a prisoner free and discover that the prisoner was you. ~ Lewis B. Smedes

Wellness Tip: Turn off devices before heading to bed. Leaving it on has been linked to trouble falling asleep.

“Teachers are expected to reach unattainable goals with inadequate tools. The miracle is that at ties they accomplish this impossible task.” ~Haim Ginott

The school bell has rung, class dismissed. 

Energy Level Check: Is There an Emotional Vampire in Your Life?

The school bell has rung and class is now in session,

When you hear the word “vampire” the images that may come to mind is Barnabas Collins from “Dark Shadows” or

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Edward Cullen from “Twilight”

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I have come to inform you that vampires are quite real, maybe not in the sense of these characters, but when it comes to certain individuals we have in our lives, they could very well be Emotional Vampires and if they are, you need to run the other way, fast!

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Now in order to run from the Emotional Vampires, you will need to be able to recognize them. So, I will list six ways to identify these horrible creatures.

1. Emotionally Draining – The first thing you will noticed about this type of individual is
how emotionally and physically drained you feel after being in their company. I am not talking about the occasional time when a particular family member or friend share their issues with you, and you feel slightly tired after listening to them. I am talking about the individual who does it the emotional vampire way. Instead of sharing a small problem, they constantly bombard you with a plethora of them, while sucking you dry of advice and emotional responses ALL-THE-TIME.

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You may ask, “What is wrong with doing this? Plenty of people do this, even I do this!” That is not what I am referring to. I am talking about feeling like your head is literally spinning after you have finished a conversation with them. #abnormalfeeling

  1. Negativity Overload – After the conversation is long over with the emotional vampire in your life, you still experience this nagging negativity hangover. It is like taking a Benadryl too late before bed and waking up feeling a groggy brain-fog, after-affect. You probably did not realize until now, but that cloud of negativity was not coming from you; it was actually coming from the words of that emotional vampire you have been surrounding yourself with.
  2. You feel much better when they are not around – Picture yourself listening to the individual, while listening to them you feel bad, after listening to them you still feel gloomy. It isn’t until you have gone a few days, weeks or months, without talking/listening to this individual that you start to feel somewhat normal again. This is because while conversing with them, they not only unload a lot of negativity on you; they also tend to not actively listen to anything you have to say. So, going on a detox from this individual may show you just how good life could be without them. Go ahead and press the “Reset” button, for lighter and happier times ahead. #letitgo #frozenstyle
  3. Simplicity goes out the Window – Another sign of an emotional vampire is when having, what you believe to be, a simple conversation with them, ends up leaving you in a ball of confusion.                                                                                                8EB71179-F9AB-4CDB-AD8C-05A6757D8F51_4_5005_cWhat starts out as a simple statement, ends with the emotional vampire taking things completely out of context; leaving you disoriented and wondering what in the Sam Hill went wrong. Communication gaps happen, yes, but in the case of the emotional vampire, they are inevitable because the vampire is usually busy being negative, playing mind games, refusing to give straight answers or being overly defensive of their “uncalled for” behavior. This is definitely a trait that you should be on the lookout for because simplicity is certainly a thing of the past with them. #byebyesimplicity
  1. They make you feel deflated – These emotional vampires tend to deflate everyone around them. They cannot stand to see anyone thriving in anything because they are debbie-downers and want to make others feel that way too. A true friend would like for you to be happy and celebrate with you when things are good, and comfort you when things are bad. An emotional vampire does the complete opposite, covertly; they do not bring comfort; nor do they celebrate you. They only do it if it serves themselves in some form or fashion. Most of the time they appear to only “tolerate” you being in their lives. They are really not into you or what you have going on but keep you around for their own purposes. So, ask yourself again, why do you entertain such a person? Inquiring minds would like to know.
  2. You have a sneaky suspicion the friendship isn’t quite real – With emotional vampires, they only put up with you because a) they need a sounding-board b) they need someone to put down so that they can feel better about themselves c) they need emotional responses to what they are saying [in these cases they will have multiple people they run to for this because your response alone will not be enough] d) they need your energy to empower themselves. Notice how all of these reasons are about them and not the friendship? This is normally the case with these creatures, I mean, emotional vampires. Once they get the energy and attention they crave, you will be out of sight and out of their narrow minds, until they need another energy fix again.

What to do if you have been bitten by an emotional vampire:

1. Establish the no contact rule, this is important because they are sly creatures and can usually lure you back into the friendship before you have time to think about it. Cutting ties will allow you to get back to emotional freedom sooner than later.

2. Do not try to reason with emotional vampires, it will not work. You will just become tangled up again in their web of deceit.

3. If you work with the person in a common organization, separate yourself and only deal with them professionally. Do not meet up for dinner or talk on the phone. Keep everything strictly work related, and at work only.

4. Develop a support system of people who care about you, and who are willing to talk and actively listen. This marks a healthy relationship. Now go forth and be a Vampire Slayer!

 

Wellness Tip: Clear conscious. Do not be afraid to say you are sorry and to forgive.

“The mediocre teacher tells. The good teacher explains. The superior teacher demonstrates. The great teacher inspires.” ~William A. Ward

The school bell has rung, class dismissed!

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