Sunday, December 21, 2014

Don't Blame Barbie

With Christmas fast approaching there has been a new trend in girls toys.  There has been toys that focus on engineering and math focused at girls.  There are also toys that are generated to help girls deal with self-image.

Photo from buzzfeed.com

photo from buzzfeed.com


Recently I came across a "more realistic" doll.  This doll comes with stickers of stretchmarks and zits that you can put on her(see it here).  This is the counter-culture backlash to the unrealistically proportioned Barbie doll.  While I applaud the attempts of this company to make normal look beautiful I had one major problem.


Barbie was not the one who told me I wasn't beautiful...

People say there are a lot of factors that are influencing the way women feel about themselves--including the hyper-sexuality that the media and advertising moguls want you to think is prevalent. It is true that while I was in a store the other day I saw a Sports Illustrated magazine calendar with Kate Upton on the cover and did feel undesirable, but it made me think "when did I start to feel this way about myself?"

I had a pretty good sense of self esteem growing up. I went to a small private school where I was often the only girl in the class.  It was not until I went to high school that I started to feel bad about myself.  Was it the media that had finally started impacting me?  How about the boys catcalling me in the hallway objectifying me?  No, it was my fellow female schoolmates.  They ultimately are the ones who told me I was fat, ugly, and obviously gay because I was in 9th grade and didn't have a boyfriend.


Standing up for the little gal...

"You all have got to stop calling each other sluts and whores. It just makes it ok for guys to call you sluts and whores."--Ms Norbury, Mean Girls

There is a huge problem in this world.  Women are not sticking up for other women.  In a male dominated culture, we should be sticking up for each other, not tearing ourselves down. Make no mistake, I am not a femi-nazi, but I believe God created us Male and Female, not Male and lesser being.  

Getting back to the point though...I don't blame Barbie for making women have low self-esteem.  I blame ourselves and our daughters.  We need to stop this continual wheel of self flagellation by teaching our daughters that we are all created in God's image, that we are all beautifully and wonderfully made.  We need to create a culture of love and respect.  So next time instead of blaming Barbie for your low self-esteem, think what can I do to make my daughters (and sons) instruments of change?

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Why I won't apologize...

What are you not apologizing for?

If you are like me at some point in the day you go over to your computer, you pull up your internet browser, and open facebook.  You are browsing through all of your friends posts and you see it, the terrible, ineffable, superfluous relationship post.   It usually goes something like this,

"I am so excited that we are celebrating our 3 month anniversary!  I love you so much John Doe!!!!!  I cannot believe I have been blessed with such an amazing, wonderful, and handsome guy!  On top of all of that he took me to etc......."

You know how much I want to gag when I see these posts? I know what you are thinking, "Hang on Amber, haven't I seen you post something like that?"  The answer is yes, but let me get to that in a minute...

When I see such posts I usually have 3 main reactions

1. The "Oh Honey," this reaction is meant in the best way possible, but after being married for a couple of years I feel pretty safe in saying you are in the "honeymoon/newrelationship/delusional bubble."   This is not a bad place to be.  In  fact it was one of my favourite times of my life.  I approach this with the cynical "just you wait and see" attitude.  The just you wait until you get sick of X and he leaves out Y on the floor all the time.

The thing is, is this attitude right? The answer to that is probably not, but I discuss that later on :)

2. The "Quick Where is the Puke Bucket," sometimes this is just so nauseating I cannot help just clicking and removing the post from my feed.  The rest of this feeling is rather self explanatory.

3. The "Who Do You Think You are Fooling," we all have those friends that are constantly posting all of their relationship problems on the internet.  So if you post you hate your significant other one day, don't expect me to believe you the next day that you had a complete change of heart.


photo taken from actlikeaman.org/

Why are you telling me all of this Amber?

You know when I mentioned above about being guilty of this.  The above is to showing my previous attitude towards these posts.  There have also been several blogs this past summer written by single people that I have seen agree with my sentiments, but my attitude has changed. I occasionally still gag at a post or to, but I'll survive.  

So why am I not apologizing?  Is it to rub my married happiness in my single friends faces?

NO.

Marriage is hard work.  In fact I can say it is the hardest thing I have ever done/taken part in, but it has been far been the most rewarding.  Did you ever notice in the bible that Satan did not tempt Adam and Eve until they were together?  I do not think that is a coincidence.  So I am not going to apologize for the occasional syrupy posts I have, but I believe that everyday we stay together, as a slight symbol of the love Christ has for us, learning that love is more about giving than taking, is worth celebrating.  I will also let you in on a little secret...our significant others LOVE when we brag on them in public, so brag away! 

Blessings to you all,

Amber

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Two of the reasons my childhood was awesome!


Okay so Mom and Dad both have birthdays coming up soon, so I thought I would write a post about a few of my favourite memories growing up.


My mom's birthday is coming up first so I think she will go first.  To be honest I am pretty sure I had the most wild imagination out of anyone growing up, add in my extreme passive aggressiveness and you have a child that does things like tearing wall paper off of the wall when she is put in time out, and spending many hours dancing around the living room.  One of my favourite memories from where I was younger was our Mother-Daughter dates.  There are two in particular that I remember very well.  My mom introduced me to the world of ballet around the age of 3 or 4.  She took me to go see The Nutcracker by Tchaikovsky.  I had the book growing up and I listened to the tape endlessly.  I was so captivated by the ballerinas and I remember the sugar plumb fairy scene in particular.  It was so beautiful!  This started my journey into dance.  Another memory I had was when we went to Summer Hill Farm.  This is a wonderful place.  It is basically a farm that was turned into a restaurant and a boutique shop. My mom let me pick out one thing. I choose a bar of lavender soap, and to this day lavender is one of my favourite scents.



I also have two favourite memories with my dad.  We are both huge scifi fans.  I can remember sneaking in to watch star trek while I was supposed to be in bed.  I blame the wrinkles on my forehead from all of the hours I spent as a child trying to look like Worf. I have always had a love of space and astronomy.  I will always remember when I was in third grade my dad let me watch Star Wars.  You may be thinking "so what, what is so special about that?"  Well the best part was it was during the Perseid and the Orionid showers that I got to stay up late watching Star Wars so we could sit outside in lawn chairs later watching the meteor showers.  One of my other favourite memories is when the Lord of the Rings movies were coming out.  We always made a point of going opening night-even if we had to drive 45 minutes away to the town of Fosston to get tickets.  The night of the Two Towers release we went to the Great Wall Buffet.  For some reason they had the best crab legs there.  To this day we still call it the "Two Towers Crab."

Well Happy Birthday Mom and Dad!  I love you!



Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Singing in the storm

Sometimes you get thrown challenges out of nowhere.  It is how you deal with those challenges that makes you who you are.




I got in a car accident when I was 18 and sprained my upper and lower spine.  It usually does not cause me problems except lately my entire back is throbbing.  I think a lot of this is due to the stress in my life, but I have also been hauling boxes of books around lately so I think that is part of it too.

Anyway the point of this post was not to throw a pity party, so here is the point.  I went up in church to receive prayer for my back.  As per usual God was not content with just dealing with my physical pain.  A person told me that when I am feeling down I need to sing.  I doesn't really matter what or how I sing, just to sing.

So I thought why not, what is the harm?

There have been some tough challenges in my life this week that have been slightly overwhelming so I tried this singing this and it has greatly helped me.  One of the songs I have had stuck in my head is a song we used to sing in school so I thought I would share it:

When the storm roars,
When the storm roars,
When the storm roars all around,
HEY!

When the storm roars,
When the storm roars,
When the storm roars all around,
HEY!

I am weak,
But He is strong,
By His strength we move along.

When the storm roars,
When the storm roars,
When the storm roars all around,
HEY!


Friday, July 25, 2014

Breakfast, err... Brushing Teeth at Tiffanys?

Hello!

I wanted to share my project of the day with you all!  I did a make over of my bathroom for under $5!

This is what it looked like before:




The paint is still drying but this is what it looks like!  I am so thrilled!


I only painted the two walls and the cabinets, but I am in love with this colour!!!!  The best part was I only paid $2.94 for the paint!  It is Behr Island Oasis


I may have to do a second coat, but with the paint so cheap I do not mind!


Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Tough revalations...a long way from home

So last week was a hard week for me and I have been debating whether or not to write about it, but I think I will give it a shot.  My week did not start out great, as I had an event the previous weekend for my business that I took and absolute bath on.  So I was already down.  The topping on the cake last week though is I found out that 2 people I knew--one I knew very well--died in Minnesota.  I think the real kicker for me in cases like this when stuff happens I cannot just drop a hat and go to things like funerals (while my work schedule allows for the time it is over $200 for gas round trip back home).  So yeah it was a hard week.

My point in telling you all this is not to be a downer, or to get sympathy it is in fact to be an encouragement.  What I want people to take away from my week is that it is starting to get better.  One verse I have taken comfort in is Romans 8:18 Yet what we suffer now is nothing compared to the glory he will reveal to us later.  While was not physically suffering you bet that my emotional being was a total wreck last week.  I just have to keep thinking that the flipside of all of this is that His glory is going to be awesome.  In a bible study I am part of this week we talked about Gideon in Judges 6 and how even though he thought God was crazy he said: " “How can I rescue Israel? My clan is the weakest in the whole tribe of Manasseh, and I am the least in my entire family!” The Lord said to him, “I will be with you. And you will destroy the Midianites as if you were fighting against one man.”"  Gideon had to ask for a few signs after this, but the point is that eventually he followed.  I am thinking of all the times last week that I asked "why?" just like Gideon, and I am reminded of how God has gone before us and how impactful it is to me that Jesus had his good friend Lazarus die.  God truly has gone before us and know how to comfort you, you just have to run to him.

I am sorry for the randomness of this post, but I just thought I would just type away what ever came to mind.  Have a blessed day!
@

Owl be Back!

So I previously showed you a sneak peak of what I was working on!  Now I thought I would show you the finished product!

It is a door sign!  How cute is it!  I absolutely love it!





What am I working on next?  Time will tell!

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Whooooo's there?

So I am super excited about this project I am working on and thought I would share a sneak peak!

Crazy Owl
What could I possibly be making?  Check tomorrow to find out!

Friday, July 18, 2014

Craft bucket list

I have been looking for a baby blanket pattern to do for awhile now and I found just the one the other day!  I found it here.  It is a simple granny square stripped blanket so the work is going very fast!

I love these colours. I just wish I had a sky blue to add to it!

 I am excited to have the opportunity to make a larger scale project and it works great since I have been watching a lot of Stargate SG-1 lately and have some sit time on my hands.  Is it weird that I always get in a crafty mood when I am watching Sci-Fi?  I don't have anyone in mind yet to give this blanket to, but am excited to see what will come of it.  I like the darker colours that I am working with.  Vana's Choice yarn is used for this project as I am trying to get rid of all the excess yarn laying around.

I am going to try and finish this today.  I will post pictures later as I progress.

Monday, June 2, 2014

Movie Review: Diana

I want to start out this post by saying I know very little of the years leading up to Princess Diana's death.  I think there are very few people in this world that know the true story beyond what the paparazzi and the news outlets have shown us.  That being said the movie Diana (2013) is a thought provoking film that is well put together.


I for one could not even begin to assemble a movie about this great lady.  If you simply type Diana in to Google you will get millions of results on this wonderful woman.  The film is an interpretation of the last two or so years of Lady Diana's life.  It focuses on her relationship with Dr. Hasnat Kahn, but it also briefly shows her landmine work.  One message is entirely clear; she was a great humanitarian.

The performance by Naomi Watts is an impressive one, it can be very intimidating to take on a character so well known as Diana.  While she mimicked many of the late princesses mannerisms it find at times the way she delivered them was forced. The replication of costumes was also amazing!



Overall this was an entertaining movie that was fun to watch on a rainy afternoon.  I'd give it a 4 /5.

Sunday, June 1, 2014

Why America's Got Talent Has Gone Too Far.

Have you heard of Dustin?  Well now you will.  This gentleman was featured on the first episode of America's Got Talent season 9.  His performance was a karate exhibition called Dustin's Dojo.  It featured a young gentleman who had autistic tenancies.  This man was ridiculed by the audience for seeming simple and insipid. His halted and endearing speech pattern made this man an easy target for producers to make fun of.  Judge Howard Stearn called them a great comedy act. I on the other hand see a sincere, yet misdirected young man.

Shame on the producers for using Dustin as fodder for the masses.  Why did they not feature the struggles he had growing up rather than degrade this man.  The package that was constructed made this man look like a fool, an idiot, and just all around stupid.  I have no problem with this gentleman's performance, but I do have a problem with how the producers edited his package together.  Please join with me in writing the producers and letting them know that the treatment of individuals with slight mental handicapped impairments in such a manor is not appreciated, or tolerated.

Contact info:
http://www.nbc.com/contact/general

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Have you seen this?

An Exercise in Imagination...

Imagine a case of domestic violence.  Who is the aggressor in this case? Is it a man or a woman? I am willing to bet that for most of you you imagined a man assaulting a women.  This post is in no way intended to make light of, or belittle, the abuse that thousands of women go through everyday, but rather to shed some light on another area of domestic violence.  

In the video below there are two cases of domestic violence (warning foul language). 

Notices how people just smiled when the man was the abusee? I am just imagine the thoughts going through the observer's heads "Wow that man is whipped," "Don't let your women walk all over you like that man, grow a pair." etc.  

Society of Shame

It really isn't that big of a deal, right? Men are usually stronger than women and can get away if they really wanted to, right?

Wrong.

Abuse is so intertwined into the psyche of a person.  No one can really know how they will react till they experience it.  There are several factors that can play into it as well.  If they were abused as a child they may feel trapped in a cycle of hopelessness. There really is no way to tell.

So why don't men speak up?

In a society that values manliness and being the though guy is it so hard to imagine how shameful it would be?  For a man to admit that he is being abused is a lot harder than we think. First he has to admit that "he is not the manly man that everyone thinks he is."  While this assumption is false most people will treat him much differently than a women. For some reason our society places the value that men can "help it" while we say that a woman has no choice in the matter.  The wake up call?  Both sides cannot help it.  

The Challenge

What can I do to help?  You can start by changing your view of men's roles.  If you see an incident take place like it did in the video speak up rather than thinking he can handle it.  Second is to remove the phrase "Man up!" from your vocabulary.  There are two reasons for this.  First is that we are telling our young sons that you are not a man unless you suppress your emotions and never share your pain (I will write more on this in a later blog).  Second if a victim is trying to reach out and get help you saying this--even jokingly--will silence them and hinder rather than help the situation.  Am I saying you should emasculate men and treat them like you would a woman?  Definitely not.  What I am saying is that you should speak up, speak out, and spread the word.  The more it is talked about in a "positive"--meaning not shaming--light. the less shameful it will be, the easier it will be for men to get help, ask for help, and receive help.

Prayers:
--Pray for a change in society to stop "shaming men of abuse"
--Pray and see if there are any instances where you should have spoken up.  If something is brought to mind maybe talk to that person. Be prepared to just listen--don't preach.
--Pray to end domestic violence for men and women.


I hope you are all having a great day!
@mber 

Monday, May 26, 2014

My decision to leave Facebook for 365 Days

So it begins...

Since I joined in early 2005 I have spent approximately 20-60 minutes a day on Facebook.  This has added up to approximately 107 days, 19 hours, and 32 minutes since I joined (This was calculated at spending 60 mins a day on Facebook).  I started to wonder what I could do with all of that time I have wasted.  The answer: a whole lot more than I could staring at a screen.

What happens next?

I will be sharing many photos on my blog. I am excited to see what will happen in this new adventure without Facebook.  I am sure I will go through a lot of FB withdrawal, but I really wish I could get those 107 days back. 

What happens after a year is up?

Who knows, but it would be my guess that I won't be reactivating my account.

June 1, 2014

This is the day I go without Facebook for a year.  We will see what happens.

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Why I Loved Noah and You Should Too!


Where I am coming from...

Let me start this post by letting you know where I am coming from.  I believe to story of Noah to be true hook line and sinker.  I believe that Noah built the ark, and I believe God flooded the earth and destroyed everything not in the ark.

Why you should love it!

Put all of the bad theology aside--more on that later--and just go to watch it.  It is a beautifully constructed movie with wonderful CGI scenes.  Beyond the visual appearance I love this movie because it made me think.  I was constantly examining what I knew to be true and what I believed about the issue. This would be a great movie to bring people to to witness to.  Take them out for dessert later and discuss the differences between the Bible and the movie.

What about the mixed up theology?

I am not going to touch this as there are tons of articles on it.

My thoughts from the movie...

The following are my questions and thoughts from the movie, take from it what you will.
  • The only thing that separates Noah's family from the "Men" is that they do not eat meat. This leads me to think that the director/writer is a vegetarian.  He is an active animal rights activist.
  • The "rock people" are fallen angels.  Wouldn't that make them demons?
  • It broke my heart to see the characters begging God to hear from him.  It makes me realize that I take the availability of the Holy Spirit that came through Christ's death for granted.  The people of the OT hear audibly form God time to time, but they do not have the assurance that I have.
  • Methuselah was really old.  I have heard that he probably did die in the flood, but I cannot back this up.
  • God created the earth for Humans to enjoy.  He did not create the earth just for animals with us as care takers.
  • There is no such thing as magic snakeskin. 
  • I have no idea what those magic rocks are for...
  • I am not sure if they would have had that capability for metal works.
  • So many more thoughts but not enough time to type them.

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Lessons From My Dog

We got a puppy in October.  Little did we know that this 4 pound bundle of snuggles and licks would teach us a lot about life and love.

Reagan--Which means "Little King" in Gaelic has become our baby.  He truly is the little king of our house and gets away with too much!  We didn't plan on getting a dog until this summer, but I was an online college student stuck at home by myself 5 days a week. He has truly adapted to this life style and even as I am typing this he is sleeping next to me on our bed.

Lesson 1: Shake it Off.

This is a lesson I wish I could take in whole-heartily. I love Reagan to death, but he is the biggest klutz in the world.  I remember when we were teaching him how to use the stairs he got all of the way down to the bottom and fell the last few steps.  He got up looked at the stairs and came running to me for a treat because he thought he had done so well. This is an attitude that all humans should adopt. Instead of acting like Reagan did and thinking "I failed, but I did so well."  We think "I failed, I did terrible." We ignore the other ten steps that we successfully were able to climb down before taking a spill on the last two.  We need to adopt the healthier attitude on our failures and instead of obsessing on what went wrong we need to evaluate and then celebrate what we did right.

Lesson 2: Other Dogs are Not Going to Always Like You.

It is so humorous to watch Reagan "make friends."  I have been observing his social behaviours for one of my classes for school and he has a three strikes and I move on policy.  He will first approach another dog, if not accepted on face value he will try and play, if that does not work he resorts to sniffing in area us humans find strange.  If this doesn't work he just goes and finds another dog to play with. I think on all of the times I tried to force a friendship.  A lesson to learn here is it is okay if not everyone is your friend.  I think of a post on Facebook I saw the other day that said "I'd rather have 4 quarters than 100 pennies," most of us would prefer 4 really good friends over 100 people we just know.

Lesson 3: Toys are Fun, But Family is Better

Reagan and his "Daddy"

One thing I love about our dog is that when ever we come into the room he immediately drops whatever toy he is playing with and comes over for a cuddle. In an electronic age it is too often that I see people in a restaurant on their phone playing candy crush and texting instead of engaging in one another.  If this happens in a restaurant where we are supposed to be on our best behaviour, what happens at home?  Put down the phone and embrace the "Better."

More Lessons to be learned

There are many more lessons to be learned form our dog and I will continue to share them from time to time.  Today I think these three might be the most important.  Have a great day.

Monday, April 28, 2014

The Plague of Photoshop

So you have all seen the videos on facebook and youtube on how they manipulate photos of women. To see one follow this link here.  So what I thought is you have to be a pro to do stuff like that.  Little did I know that it was so easy.  One day I was curious to the process and I went on youtube to find out how long it would take to photoshop someone like that.  I was shocked. I could make someone lose 10+ lbs and gain 3 cup sizes in under 3 mins. So I set my timer and went at it.  This was my first attempt:
Before                                       After
What madness is this that I can do this in 3 mins on Photoshop?! This is literally my first try! Imagine what someone can do if they have been doing this for years! On average the cover photos you see on stands spend over 50 hours in Photoshop.

How to Stop the Plague

So first of all you need to realize that everything you see is false.  In the above picture I took a naturally beautiful young woman and turned her into a "monster"--you know the women we see in ads and secretly all hate because we will never look like them, even though you have never met her.

Second step after realizing everything is false is to learn to see why.  If you look in the area around her rear you will see that the posts are a little warped.  A pro will know how to cover these but it is a start.  This is also why magazine ads are all plain coloured backgrounds--it doesn't matter if they warp.

Third is to stop playing the comparison game. We all do it. We all walk by other women and go "wow her arms are skinnier than mine, but at least I don't have that problem area on my stomach."  We are all beautiful in our own way.  As far as weight goes the best look on you is healthy.

The Best Look is Healthy

This is scary.  What is healthy?  I wish I could say "Healthy is 127 lbs, or 157 lbs." The truth of the matter is that is depends on almost everything except your weight.  Throw those nasty numbers out the window.  It all depends on what activities you are doing and your body type.  This is something you need to talk to a well qualified nutritionist about.

All said and done this is the photo I like the best:

My Beautiful Sister with no Photoshop!