Thursday, February 27, 2014

Success: Encourage

When a student turns the corner to my hallway, makes eye contact with me and excitedly gushes "Miss Gillikin I ...."

- made a 100 on my driving test  - got an interview - made an A for the semester - scored points in a game - got a job - beat my personal best - got  a car - got new shoes - made the video announcements

and, even the not so exciting updates ....

- we got beat for the Xth time - I am grounded - I have a punishment workout for wearing opposing team logo - failed a class and am ineligible

I remember.  It's hard to be a teenager.  I remember despite the fact it was a LONG time ago.  It's fresh to me because some days it's hard to be an adult. 

There are times you just need to know that someone is for you, cheering you on and notices the little victories and the big accomplishments. 

It's hard to be a girl.  From little girls to grown-up girls.  It is amazing to me how young and how quickly girls learn the art of comparison.  The language to best themselves over someone else.  It carries with us through to adults. 

Often I think we don't really think anyone notices our words. 
Or maybe even that anyone cares what we say. 
But, someone does.  I've noticed, having had discouraging things said to me.  And, I've noticed myself, having said discouraging things.  I just did it recently.  It has been on my mind over and over again., "just keep your mouth shut". 
Didn't we all learn, "if you don't have something nice to say, say nothing at all"? 
Why won't it stick?! 
We are human.  We fail. 
But, we can try again, and maybe one day we won't mess up 100 times, only 99 and maybe 1 person will be encouraged by our words and actions.  And, maybe another day 2 people will be.  Maybe you'll be the one that is encouraged on the day you need it most.  And, together we will celebrate the victories. 
I love teaching teenagers, I love being able to encourage them in victory and trials.  But, my heart is for my peers, we leave a legacy to the generation(s) that comes behind us. We have a responsibility to encourage each other on in this life.
Before you write this off as "just for girls" ... guys need encouragement too.  I can't say how guys encourage one another, (aside from "iron sharpens iron" - Prov 27:17)  but women, encourage the guys in your life... from the youngest to the oldest. 
Make encouragement a priority.  Most of all be encouraged by the One who loves us the most and gives us grace and mercy new every morning to get up and try all over again with a clean slate. 
But encourage one another daily, as long as it is called “Today,” so that none of you may be hardened by sin’s deceitfulness. Hebrews 3:13
So speak encouraging words to one another. Build up hope so you'll all be together in this, no one left out, no one left behind. 1 Thessalonians 5:11

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Self: Fighting to be heard

How many voices are in your head all trying to be heard, each their own agenda?  To get the last word,  to make their point?  If you're like me ... there are several that have to be reined in on a regular basis and silenced more often than we would like to admit what comes to mind to say.  This weekend I attended Women of Faith conference and laughed when a couple of my favorite Bible Teachers shared the same sentiments .... there is a war in minds on a daily basis and a fight for our filter to do it's job.  Sometimes it doesn't.  Sometimes we have to eat those words we said and it's never very fun. 

Here's a few of the fights I have, maybe you can relate ...

- Insecure vs Self Assured ... on any given day these two fight like cats and dogs and are relentless all day long.  Some days one wins, and the other gives in to defeat.  It's part of being a girl.  More than that, it is just part of being human.  Some days we wake up and are ready to conquer the world, feeling self assured and knowing we are empowered for whatever comes our way.  Some days before our feet hit the floor, we give in to insecurity and it follows us talking us down all day long. 

- Where you are vs. where you thought you'd be .... I never really had an idea on the  "10 Years from Now" assignment in High School of where I would be, but honestly I never thought it would be where I am.  That said I can honestly say I am content where I am.  But, that  doesn't mean my heart and head haven't questioned more times than I want to admit "why not?", "why me?", "when?", "how?" and on and on including more "what if" scenarios than blogger has word space available. 

- Skinny days vs. Not ... I know this is a daily struggle for women, but it is for men too.  One day you own your shape and size and no airbrushed magazine cover stares back at you with how you should change your body and within 3 minutes you can immediately write a list longer than a child's Christmas list of all the things you would change if given the chance. Don't be fooled by the one you think "has the perfect body" ... she's fighting the same conversations you are. 

-Gentle advice vs. the real opinion ... if given the right platform, it's finally our time to make our point and make it loud, proving our expert-ness in said subject.  But, really our gentle gracious self has been shut down and we are not proud after that moment.  Especially if we have to eat those words. 

I should stop here before I get all these voices riled up and 8 is enough in my head!!

The truth is our mind is a daily battlefield.  The fight is simple, the filter shouldn't always be at the outward expression and who's going to be heard for the day.  The filter starts with what goes in.  Who do you believe validates who you are?  Only ONE is worth your time. He has created YOU to be unique, flawless, perfect, individual, and for your purpose.  For no one else's. 

Consider what you watch, read and most importanly allow yourself to believe ... the lies have to be filtered before allow them in to take residence in the mind. Calm the voices, cling to the truth.  BeYOUtiful and let yourself shine.  You were created for exactly this.  Your story.  Your mistakes.  Your victories.  They are yours, no one can take them from you and grace is new every day to win the battle for your mind to believe who you were created to be.  Go boldly. 

From the inside of a pair of skinny jeans that hardly fit over my knees ... a gentle reminder.


Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Style: Transition

My wedges are almost at a scream to come out of winter hibernation and show their face for Spring!  Despite what I imagine will be a record number of days in the 30's here in Texas to start off 2014 this week Spring has given us a little teaser.  Sunshine, humidity, high 70's, windows down, sunglasses on ... and I'm begging for the season change of my closet!

I've had to overcome the desire to layer up black on black for winter warmth and break out of a rut despite the cold.  I even went on a limb and wore white jeans.  On a day the high was in the 30s.  Who cares?!  The sun hadn't shown it's face in days and I needed something bright.  The school happened to have the heat set in my computer lab hovering around 90 degrees, so it all worked out perfectly, was just like summer in there!  I wouldn't break out the linen pants just yet, but the white jeans - get them out, start getting your wear out of them for 2014!

Traveling and working on the road I met so many inspirational people with a talent and a dream that is now a reality.  One company, XOXO art & company is 3 former teachers creating shirts and jewelry, each design hand drawn and colored.  I have so many favorite T's and tanks from them.  I love to layer up my tanks as transition pieces from Summer to Fall and Winter to Spring!  This tank says "oh give me a home where the buffalo roam".  Tossed on with an old Gap cardigan, scarf and subtle stripe pants and it is a go!  Go out on a limb...mix the direction of your stripes!

Third option, the floral or light colored denim jeans you have and/or roll-up cropped pants, give them some air, let them see the light of day.  Again, pair them with a more in season shoe vs. flip flop or wedge sandal and top appropriate for the weather.   Booties are perfect transition shoe!  Side will become obvious, not only is leopard a neutral in my closet, but camo is a neutral.  I got this shirt for Christmas and I would wear it about 3 times a week if I could. 

Don't dread getting dressed in between the seasons.  Start easing in your Spring wardrobe, we'll soon be looking for the sweater weather again when the records are counting days in the 100's during August!