To All the Nice Girls…

“You really should teach elementary school. Those high schoolers will eat you alive!”

“How can you be a feminist and wear polka dots?”

“You need to be more mean. If not, people will just walk all over you.”

Have you heard (or maybe thought) some of these? I know that I hear them on a weekly basis… AT LEAST.

I think when people say these comments they are intended as compliments, or maybe advice. I don’t think these people realize these words are somewhat hurtful. Maybe hurtful isn’t the right word… dampening is better. These comments tend to be a pouring of water on an excited spirit.

Girls, you know the struggle.

People have an urge to pat your head, or give you looks of surprise when you talk about politics or education reform. You have been treated with kid-gloves and feel like you have to constantly prove you are a free-thinking adult. You feel the need to prove to others that you are not a young child or a person who will faint at the mention of topics with substance. And when people say those comments to you, it’s somewhat disheartening.

Ladies, you are not alone.

 If you haven’t already noticed, I am a cutesy person. I love flowers, skirts that twirl, and glitter. I follow way too many cat Instagram’s and love decorating things according to seasons and holidays. I love tea and cupcakes; and I get really excited about arts and crafts. My favorite colors are blue, pink, and purple.

But I am also a Feminist. I believe in equality for all people. I have strong opinions about politics, foreign affairs, and economics. I have been through messes and hurts. That is who I am.

it takes guts to be gentle and kind.

There is this stigma that if you like baking cookies and drinking Cotton Candy Frappuccinos, you can’t also be a strong, intelligent, woman.

And it is obviously so wrong.

To all my nice girls out there:

So what?! You love a lot of cutesy things. You are a cutesy person.

That’s who you are.

You are strong.

You are compassionate.

You are intelligent.

Your sensitivity matters and is needed to soften the hard aspects of this world.

Happy Mother's Day!

Girls, just because you are sweet, kind, and tender does not mean you aren’t full of strength as well. It takes guts to be gentle, kind, and open. There is so much vulnerability involved and that is NOT a weakness. That is a strength. To be sensitive in this rough world takes hard work; because this world can easily make you bitter, angry, and selfish. Sweet ladies, know you aren’t alone. Just because you don’t hear from other sweet ladies does not mean they aren’t there. They are there, making the world a little softer and more understanding… and so are you.

Much love. Much grace.

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Why I Wear Black

“Why do you wear so much black?”

This is the most common statement I have been hearing in the last few months as I have transitioned from bright colors to black, grays, and other neutrals.*

Some people have found this to be a little different, but others have made the change  before me to neutral colored clothes for a variety of reasons. To help explain my transition to darker colors I have put together a list of the reasons why I have started eliminating colors from my closet.

  • I can’t match colors. Let’s be real. I have a really hard time matching my clothes. I used to be better, but as I have started having less and less time, I can’t take a whole day to plan outfits that match perfectly together. Only having colors that all match each other helps me to match outfits. I no longer have to find the perfect shirt that matches that vest or my bright patterned pants (why did I think that I would ever have success with THOSE?) because all my clothes literally already match everything else. So basically… I am now a fashionista. (jk JK) Screen Shot 2016-01-08 at 9.53.38 AM

 

  • Saves me SO much time. I am student teaching and my mentor teacher was telling me about how people try to have uniforms with their everyday clothes. (Think Dwight on The Office– Mustard shirt, olive tie, brown suit… EVERY EPISODE.) Well I looked this crazy thing up, and it turns out that there is a study about how intelligent people in society all have uniforms. Apparently, getting rid of this one decision helps these people to get ready without stress and then they can focus on more important things other than clothes. I have to say this is totally true for me. Having to dress as a professional now vs like a college student makes me have to spend more time getting ready in the mornings. With all of my clothes being neutrals and already matching, I don’t have to plan outfits or spend time picking out my clothes at all. I can just throw them on and go. (Which I LOVE.)

 

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  • I am saving money. I am an impulse buyer. I love pretty things, and I love how the stores display them. I am any retailer’s dream because I totally buy into staging and lighting and atmosphere. When I made the decision to only buy neutrals, it totally changed my shopping habits. I no longer make impulse buys because the things I would be buying wouldn’t match anything that I already own. I don’t even look at bright clothes or patterns in stores because I don’t need them. I also don’t feel the need to buy a whole outfit when I buy a new shirt anymore, because I have tons of clothes that already match it at home.

 

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  • I like black. I really do. When I was in high school and middle school, my favorite outfits were the dark colors with black and white patterns. I love the overall style of dark clothes like skinny jeans, cat-eye makeup, and dark nails. When I got older I tried to experiment with more color, but now I am circling back to black because it just feels more like me. All the options that come with black clothing are amazing. An outfit could be classy, grungy, cutesy, vintage, etc. with just wearing black and other neutrals. Wearing black allows me to experiment with different outfits.

 

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I love this new lifestyle and I have to say, the transition was pretty simple for me. (But that is a post for the future!) What about you? Do you only wear certain colors or do you go all in? Be sure to let me know what you think!

Much love. Much grace.

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*One of the first blog posts I wrote about a year ago talked about why I wear flower crowns and cat tees. Let me just say that I still do, but I only wear them if it matches my “new” wardrobe.

 

 

A Year In Review: 2015-2016

I cannot believe it… Go Giver has been around for a full year! This past year has been full of so many exciting, scary, and fun things; and I am so thankful.

From March 2015 to March 2016, so many changes and opportunities have happened through or because of this blog and I am excited to share some of these things with you today. I just wanted to take the time to let you have an idea of how much has been accomplished and for future goals in the upcoming year.

I created this blog a year ago for the personal reason of expanding my writing practice and the public reason of sharing encouragement and love on social media. My goals were clear and simple: I would write once every two weeks, my posts must be truthful or encouraging, and I will try this for a full year before giving up. A year later, and I am proud to say not only these goals were completed but also exceeded my own expectations! The blog grew to a post every Saturday (some weeks even had two posts) and each post I wrote had purpose (even the silly/fun ones). I did not think I could make it a full year year of writing, but here I am with new ideas and even a domain name… All thanks to you guys!

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This past year:

This past year I saw several different things take shape:

Thank YOU! Without all of your views, shares, and likes this blog would be completely unseen. These numbers are incredible to me! Thank you so much for your dedication to encouragement and your willingness to share positive words with others in your life. THANK YOU.

Future plans:

I have similar goals as this previous year of being consistent and honest with writing, but I am also working on some projects for this year. I am hoping to be able to share more often, work on better photography for the blog, and sharpen my writing skills.

  • Write every week
  • Present a message of truth and encouragement to be a light to others
  • Connect with a community of bloggers to challenge and encourage each other’s writing.
  • Write consistent book reviews for an online book review company
  • Authenticity

I hope that this year will bring more love, light, and encouragement to social media and the internet in general. This being said, Go Giver is going to work more towards using Instagram and Twitter for more than just promoting blog posts. Along with promotion and notification it will also double up on encouraging quotes and spotlights on what people are doing to love others in the community (internet and local- so if you know of any people you would love to see be encouraged/noticed let me know!)

Much love. Much grace.

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What is the War You Want to Fight?

The recent events, in our country and around the globe, have caused me to want to know more about people’s lives.

It is always easy to make rash judgements about a person based on his or her religion, clothes, culture, or needs without actually seeing that person for who he or she actually is. While no one can truly know a person, we can come pretty close by reading about how that person feels, thinks, and makes decisions. Reading autobiographies can give us a glimpse into that person’s world and emotions.

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With the events of terror, death, and refugees needing homes; I find it has become a needed practice in my life to put faces and personal lives with the events and struggles. I refuse to take third person’s word about how another group of people is feeling without first seeking out the view of people from that people group.

If you seek to understand others in this way, have a desire for girls to be educated, or are curious about the Middle East as a region, I Am Malala is a great place to start.

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Nobel Peace Prize winner, Malala, tells her story of strength and determination to not only be educated as a girl in Swat, but also speaking out against those taking away education from girls. She tells of her life as a Muslim and how radicalism changed her beloved homeland and her life.

Reading this perspective of the change in the Middle East and the dangers of her choices really spoke to me. I struggle often with allowing myself to be carried away with apathy rather than compassion. Her story not only reminded me of the plights of others but also that I need to take these stories and issues to heart. There is so much danger, hate, and fear throughout her story and it is so heartbreaking to know people are forced to live in this everyday. We, as American’s, complain about our individual freedoms being compromised, when in reality we have so much freedom and so many rights.

“I know the importance of education because my pens and books were taken from me by force, but the girls of Swat are not afraid of anyone.”

Malala’s story is not just important because of her plights, but because she chose to fight this war. Her family, peers, and community showed her that there are certain things that are worth the fight.

Reading this book is not just an eye opening experience about what goes on in other culture’s eyes, but also calls readers to answer many questions. The most urgent question being, What is something worth fighting for? What is something that no matter what people say or do, you refuse to back down?

“I would do everything in my power to help educate girls… This was the war I was going to fight.”

These are questions that may seem easy to answer at first, but after reading this book the answers now seem petty.  Looking at the media today with elections and American beliefs in question, what are the things that you feel are worth not just a Tweet or a Facebook rant, but your potential death and wrath of your own country?

How do you answer these questions?

I am still working out many of these for myself as I process this book. Honestly, this will take me time to work through, although I hope to write about this in the future. The one thing I know as of now is that my faith in God is what is unwavering, no matter the circumstances.

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The way Malala writes is very smooth and clear, making her writing very easy to understand. She also does a great job of explaining how her country changed over time into the society it is today. Malala talks about her family, how she was raised a bit differently, and loved her life in her beautiful home of Swat.

I Am Malala is such a wonderful story. It is so full of information, sadness, but also a great hope for the future; as well as important questions for people to answer.

What is the war you are going to fight?

Much love. Much grace.

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Are you interested in helping Malala?

The Malala Fund helps make education a reality for girls in the Middle East. Malala is fighting for education rights of women and supporting her fund is the easiest way to join the fight.

Schoola is supporting the Malala Foundation with certain pieces that are sold from their website.

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For The Girl Who Is Hurting

Such pain. Such agony.

The shame, the betrayal, the overwhelming sadness.

You feel like happiness is so far away. Too far. How could you be normal again… let alone happy?

I know you. You feel that your trust has been misplaced; your feel stupid and naive. You vow to never give such a gift like that again. Whether that gift was: trust, love, friendship, or loyalty, it doesn’t matter. You won’t repeat your disastrous mistake.

You think, “How could I be so foolish to think that I was worth anything better than what happened to me? What made me think that I, of all people, was worth any effort, love, or time?

You smile just to get by when you see people in the street or when you meet with others for coffee. They ask, “How are you doing?” and you reply with a simple “Just fine!”… Even though you know it’s a lie.

You can’t remember what feeling fine even means… You are hurt, broken, and emotionally devestated.

I know you. Because I was you.

The girl who is so broken she feels far beyond repair. The girl who is so full of sadness she feels a weight when she tries to breathe. The girl who is fearful of people, of opening up her heart and soul to another person… and vows to never let herself feel this pain again.

It took me a long time of suffering and hurt but eventually I found something that changed my life. Something that turned my fear and sadness into life.

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I found hope.

Not a boyfriend. Not a husband. Not a best friend. Not a degree. Not a life of success.

HOPE.

Hope that eventually I would love again. Hope in a bright future where I could help people. Hope in a day when I was finally healed. Hope that in one day soon… I would remember what “fine” actually is.

This hope does not come from my inner-light. It does not come from graduating from college or being successful. It does not come from meditating, or from  being a “good person”. This hope is different.

This hope comes from my faith in Jesus Christ. That He died for me, for all of my hurts, mistrusts, and wrongdoings. He died a death that He did not deserve, one that was intended for me. Jesus not only died for me… but He was resurrected and actually loves me. He loves me. He loves the hurt high school girl who endured an abusive relationship. He loves the broken girl who was once full of fire and passion that was then trampled by others. He loves the bitter, angry, sad girl who longed to be pulled from apathy and loneliness. Christ loves her. And He loves you too.

He loves you in a way that no one else will, not even yourself. He loves you more than the universe can show you in “light” or “beauty”. He loves you more than you can ever comprehend… no matter how often you meditate or work to help others. Nothing you can do could make Him love you, because He already does.

To the GirlHurting.

At times I still feel like that broken girl. At times I feel the pain, and can’t explain why. At times I am beaten down with feelings of worthlessness. But during those times, I know I have that hope in Christ, and that I am not worthless… but loved.

So to the girl who is hurting… you are not alone. You are loved. So deeply. You can know this love by accepting it. You can choose to accept this hope, just by believing in Jesus and all he has done. He desires to know you, and to be known by you.

Much love. Much grace.

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John 3:16 – For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.

Romans 8:37-39 – No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Ephesians 2:4-5 – But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, evenwhen we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ— by grace you have been saved …

Romans 5:8 – but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

Zephaniah 3:17 – The LORD your God is in your midst, a mighty one who will save; he will rejoice over you with gladness; he will quiet you by his love; he will exult over you with loud singing.

1 Peter 5:6-7 – Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you, casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you.

Psalm 86:15 – But you, O Lord, are a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness.