Monday, May 5, 2014

Rooted to bloom

Ok so I changed the name of the blog..."Be Fair & Bloom" is taking a new direction that is pretty exciting and I will definitely share that with you all soon, but because of that I felt it was necessary to change the name of the blog.  I am not set on this name but I had to choose something! I chose "rooted to bloom" because right now I am focusing on my roots.  Really working on having a good foundation.  I have discovered I am trying to produce fruit without a solid foundation in Christ and that just isn't going to work.  I have to work from the bottom up.

Where I am starting, is trying to truly find satisfaction is God.  I am sure plenty can relate when I say I look for fullness in all sorts of things other than Him.  This explains why I always come up empty.  I read a Psalm this morning that really stuck out to me Psalm 16:11 "You make known to me the path of life; in your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore." I can honestly say about 90% of the time I am closed off to Him leaving no room for His presence in my life.  Not good, not good at all.  I honestly believe this is the root of all my issues and if I work on this    I will see blossoms slowly start to bloom. (cheesy, I know, but metaphor's help me)

I made a little iPhone wallpaper to have as a pretty reminder (I kind of have a floral obsession if you hadn't noticed). The photo is mine so feel free to use it as you please!

I will definitely update you soon on the new direction of Be Fair & Bloom. I can't wait to share it with everyone!

Friday, March 21, 2014

Reflections: Social Media

To reflect is to give back or exhibit as an image, likeness, or outline, or to think quietly and calmly to express a thought or opinion resulting from reflection.  Well those are two of the many definitions from the Miriam Webster dictionary.  Reflections don't always come from a mirror, glass, or looking into a body of water, at least for me they don't.  I see myself in the actions of others. I see myself in the lyrics of a song, or a scene from a movie.  I am constantly looking at things and trying to learn from them, applying them to my own situation.  When I title a post with "Reflections" it will be me talking about a situation I have come across recently whether I saw it in a movie, heard it in a song, or saw it someone else's life and talking about how it made me reflect on something going on in my own life.  I see everything as a learning experience and this will be me getting those thoughts out so I can remember the lessons I have learned go back and reflect on them. 

Social media has been a part of my life since middle school.  Oh my goodness I was all about some myspace.  I was pretty much obsessed.  Why did I care so much about myspace you ask? Well, I was an 8th grader trying to be as cool as possible and it was a way for me to be in control of something.  I could make my profile look like I had it all figured out.  Coolest music, cool editing on my photos, sweet layout, and what was it all for? It was all an effort to try and show others that I was awesome. I determined my coolness on how many comments I got on something how many fried requests I got.  I was such a dumb middle schooler....oh but wait, how am I different now? When it comes to how I use social media, I am not any different at all.  I am worse actually.  I have Facebook, twitter, instagram, you name it...I got it.  Social media can be an awesome thing.  It is a great way to keep in touch with long distance family and friends and it is an awesome marketing tool for business.  Small businesses can reach so many more people now because of the explosion of social media.  It is kind of awesome.  But Social media can be negative for sure and most of you know this.  

I was drawn to this topic because honestly, I was being very judgmental about some peoples posts. I then had to look at myself and see that I am no different.  I sometimes get involved in silly debates that I would never get involved in face to face, just because I can hide behind the computer.  I am guilty of taking the occasional selfie (gosh that word is annoying) and what is a selfie but a way to get a quick confidence boost.  But yet to get all those likes and comments you make sure it's the proper lighting and you edit any flaws so really people aren't complimenting what you really looked like when you took the picture.  It is so ridiculous. 
But what I really want to address is something directed towards Christ followers.  There are things I think we really need to be careful of.  (I want to go ahead and say that I am not trying to call any one out specifically or make anyone feel bad. I do not know the heart behind what people post and I am not claiming to I am just writing because I am reflecting on my motives and heart behind what I post) It may be really tempting to post a picture that someone took of you leading worship, or post a status that talks about a good deed you did for someone but I think there are a couple things we need to ask ourselves before we post anything....

Is this uplifting or encouraging?

This on is a hard one for me.  First thing I want to do when I have had a bad day or if somebody really annoyed me is vent about it on Facebook or Twitter. But as Christ followers we are to be peace makers.  I mean that comes straight from Jesus on the Sermon on the Mount.

Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God" Matthew 5:9

And in Ephesians, Paul directly speaking to the church says
 "Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear." Ephesians 4:29 ESV

Yea now I am just thinking about how long it would take me to get rid of all the negative crap I have posted on the internet through the years...kinda scary. 

then the other question...

Am I posting this to bring glory to God or myself?

No I am not referring to posting pictures of your children, or of your puppy (that was for me because I do that about everyday) I understand we all have family that wants to see those pictures.  I am talking about what I referenced before like Pictures of us doing mission work or leading worship or posting a status about a good deed we did.  We could definitely argue that it is for the glory of God, "people will see me leading worship and maybe it will motivate them to come to church?" "when people see this status they will see the love of Jesus that I showed to that person"  

Sounds good in our heads but it is actually kind of dumb.  

The love of Christ should be showing through us constantly, we shouldn't feel the need to post something we did on Facebook.  If we live a life of love, situations like that should be an every day occurrence not a "oh I did something nice today, I gotta post it on fb" 

Jesus addresses this on the sermon on the mount as well.

“Beware of practicing your righteousness before other people in order to be seen by them, for then you will have no reward from your Father who is in heaven. Thus, when you give to the needy, sound no trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may be praised by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your giving may be in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you" Matthew 6: 1-4

He also addresses the same thing in Matthew 23

Christ speaks to the disciples the a crowd about the Pharisees, "They do all their deeds to be seen by others. For they make their phylacteries broad and their fringes long" (v5) 
(phylacteries and fringes are referring to religious garments).

"...the greatest among you shall be your servant. Whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and whoever humbles himself will be exalted." (v 11-12)

If we truly believe God is all-knowing and all-powerful...than why should we feel the need to share with everyone good things we do.  God sees our good works and rewards us.  If we are truly following Christ than that should be all the reward we need.  This is something I am struggling with really bad.  My whole life has been focused on pleasing people, if I can let go of that people pleasing need I have and just love them and love God I could live a life more free than I could ever imagine.  I have a feeling I am not the only one in this boat.  If this is something you are struggling with as well, let's pray for each other. Hey look, a positive thing about social media :) 

I will leave you with this...

John 16:24 
"Until now you have asked nothing in my name. Ask, and you will receive, that your joy may be full."

We can never overcome this struggle by our own strength.  We need His help. We just have to ask.

The image I used in this post is not mine. I could not find the original source but I found the photo here.

Monday, March 17, 2014

The Cost of looking Cute

I have an absolute love for fashion.  I love clothes, I love fashion jewelry, I love handbags, clutches, and all kinds of accessories.  It is a horrible thing to love that stuff, because that is all it is....stuff.  It doesn't love me back and most of the time I get tired of things pretty quickly.  Since  moving 6 months ago, I have gotten rid of 6 garbage bags of stuff.  I am not talking about kitchen size garbage bags, I am talking the giant black garbage bags you rake leaves into. That is a lot of stuff.  After all of that, I still kicked my husband josh out of our master closet to make room for all my stuff.  Having a love for clothes costs a pretty penny, but  I love a bargain, so a majority of those clothes I got rid of were from forever 21 or stores similar.  This way I could buy like 5 or 6 shirts under $100.  What an awesome deal right!? Or so I thought...that awesome deal I thought I was getting for so long was not such an awesome deal for everyone involved in the making of these products.  The reason I was getting such a "good deal" on these products was because the workers making these products were not getting paid a fair wage or not getting paid at all.  Not only are they not getting paid but the working conditions are horrible.  People make cliche statements constantly about child labor and sweatshops but we really need to see the reality of it.  It happens, more than we realize even in here in the United States.  Though not everyone works under these conditions involuntarily for the most part it is because they have no other options.  They work long hours in horrible, and unsafe conditions just to make about $30 a month so they can maybe feed their family.
      I recently saw a video that argued that sweatshops are actually beneficial to the poor.  I will say that this professor did make some decent arguments, but this is a perfect example of the problem with our world.  He makes companies that outsource their manufacturing to other countries sound like heroes when they definitely aren't.  He does state that their motives are not necessarily in the right place, but just because sweatshops are providing a tad bit of income does not mean they are "beneficial." Not only are these people not paid fairly, but they are not treated fairly at all. Some of them undergo severe physical abuse and are exposed to very harsh chemicals.  These places are a safety hazard and I can only imagine that working in one of these places would be damaging to one's self esteem.  This article quotes the National Labor Committee and states "women sewing NBA jerseys make 24 cents per garment that will eventually sell for $140." I can't imagine how long it takes one of these women to sew of those jerseys and all she earns is 24 cents? That is insane!  But you can't just fight for these sweatshops to be shut down and be done with it, where would all of the workers go then? As stated in the video they would have absolutely no income and that isn't what we want for them.  So what is the solution? Yea you guessed it...fair trade. When different fair trade certified companies enter a community, it does a lot more than just provide jobs that pay a fair wage to workers.  It improves the community as a whole.  In this video you can see how one fair trade organization helps communities all around the world.  
     We may think that we can't make a difference, but as consumers we are way more powerful than we think.  Us purchasing products from companies that comply by ethical, sustainable, and fair trade standards, helps these businesses grow, allowing them to employ more people.  Yes, i know...fair trade products are a bit harder to find and a can be a bit more pricey in compared to the prices of stores like forever 21 but think about the people involved in the making of the product.   I also would like to add that "cheap" clothing stores are not the only ones guilty of using sweatshops and child labor.  In this article you will see brands such as Abercrombie & Fitch, Banana Republic, and Calvin Klein have all been involved in some sketchy situations regarding sweat shops and have found loop holes to get out of these accusations. I love a lot of these brands, and have some of their items in my closet but I found this on the blog Delightfully Tacky (which is awesome by the way) and am saving it as a great reminder...

    I love shopping, I love new clothes, I love feeling "cute" but is my love for a full closet compromising my moral and spiritual convictions? YES! That is why I have been trying to make some serious changes in the way I shop...first off shopping less, and secondly shopping with others in mind.  

P.S. You can definitely look and feel "cute" wearing fair trade and ethical items you just have to know where to look, I will post more on that later :) 

Monday, February 24, 2014

Time to shine

It has been a couple months since my last post. Not because I have been super busy or anything, I think I have just been avoiding it because I had nothing interesting going on in my life.  Quite honestly I am bored with myself.  At the moment I am unemployed and my husband works out of town, so my life consists of cooking, cleaning, playing with my dog, working out, and thinking about what my next step is.  I have tried to avoid a few social gatherings solely because I was terrified of the question "So what are you up to these days." This is the first time I have had nothing to say to that question, and it terrifies me.  I feel embarrassed and awkward any time I am asked. But this is where I am coming out and finally saying it, hoping that I can just own it.  I need to be thankful for this time, because I am able to focus on what I truly want to do.  I am so thankful for a loving and supportive husband. He could see I wasn't truly happy with my previous job and was very supportive in my decision to leave.  I am truly blessed Joshua works so hard and really wants me to be happy.  So here it time to pursue my dream.  Now to just get rid of all this fear I have built up...that is going to be the difficult part.

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

The Big Picture

We often say "what a small world" when seeing someone in an unlikely place, or discovering we have mutual friends with someone.  It makes me giggle a little every time I hear that phrase, because when I hear it I am reminded that this world isn't small at all.  It is "our" world that is small.  I don't want to speak for everyone, but I know for myself, a U.S. citizen born and raised, that seeing things about stuff happening all around the world, well it doesn't seem to matter much.  I know that sounds awful, but come on, admit it, if it isn't affecting your life directly, you don't worry yourself too much about it.  You may feel bad for a moment, but that feeling quickly goes away. How often do you hear about starving children around the world and just say "aww that's awful" as you sip your six dollar venti cappuccino or chow down on your 5 dollar cheeseburger from the local pub.  I am not trying to call anyone out, because I do the exact same thing! It is so hard to see outside of our own little worlds, but I think we need to remember that we are not just citizens of the United States. We share this planet with billions of people around the world.
Men, women, children, who are very similar to you and me, just born in different circumstances.  
I have heard many people talk down on international adoption, and it breaks my heart.  I have heard people say that it should be banned, I have heard people say "if they were born there, than that is where they belong" I have heard things like this said from people who aren't religious, but also people that are.  I think adoption is a beautiful thing whether it is domestic or international.  Every child deserves a home.  This post wasn't supposed to be about adoption so I will make this quick.  Children everywhere need to be loved, they need a safe place to be themselves, a place to call home, and an opportunity to succeed.  If you can take a child out of any place where they are at high risk for starvation, child prostitution, or human trafficking, than why not.  And Christians, I am calling you out, being a Christian and being a patriotic U.S. citizen do not mean the same thing.  Your political party doesn't mean you are a Christian either.  Let's look at one of the most popular of Bible verses, John 3:16 "For God so loved the WORLD he gave His only begotten son." If God didn't claim only one group of people why should we? Oh how about this verse? 1 John 3:17-18 "But if anyone has the world's goods and sees his brother in need, yet closes his heart against him, how does God's love abide in him? Little children, let us not love in word or talk but in deed and in truth."  When we shut out those in other parts of the world we are shutting out our brothers and sisters "closing our hearts" to them.  
This verse does not only apply to adoption.  Look at the products you purchase daily; chocolate, coffee, clothing.  We never really think about where it really comes from.  But take a look a chocolate, it all starts from a cacao tree, there has to be farmers to harvest the pods and pick the seeds, but who are the farmers?  Big companies like hershey, get their chocolate from places that use child labor to farm the chocolate, so when you purchase hershey chocolate, you are hurting the farmers that do it the right way. The typical  mindset is "Fair trade is too expensive." We say that because we are in a society that puts quantity over quality. We may know that there is child or forced labor involved, but we keep that distant, we just don't think about it.  We are more focused on what we want and getting at the best price.  We are all about more more more.  What about those clothing stores that sell super cheap but fashionable clothing? Why do you think they can sell a top for $15 and still make profit? They pay next to nothing for it, because the person who farmed the cotton, or knitted the fabric was paid nothing, or next to nothing. 

I did not intend for this to be such a long post, but there is so much that could be said.  We have to look at the big picture.  We can't shut off the rest of the world, because we need the rest of the world. We need it for our chocolate, our coffee, our fabric, our fuel.  We may have a lot to offer in this country, but we cannot do this alone.  We cannot close our hearts to those around the world, we need to build them up.  When purchasing fair trade, you are helping a mother or father  send their children to school, pay for medical treatment, put food on the table.  Purchasing fair trade does more then when you donate money.  Fair trade is job creation.  It gives people purpose, makes them realize their value.  Fair trade is even a benefit for the environment.  

But this isn't just about purchasing fair trade products.  I want us all to get better about loving people.  I for one am such a whiner, I forget how blessed I am.  I focus way to much on comfort and safety.  I think it is time for me to get out of my comfort zone and love on people.  I am way more comfortable keeping my distance and staying in my own little world.  But outside my comfort zone is where all the excitement happens. 

When I look at the big picture, I see that I am overwhelmingly blessed.  I really have nothing to complain about.  I have been lazy and complacent.  I watched this little clip and realized how selfish I am.  This girl is so excited that she has a mattress and I complain because I need new throw pillows to match my new duvet from pottery barn. 

Let's stop closing our hearts to our brothers and sisters around the world.  Let's start looking at the big picture

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

My Definition

I have been pretty busy lately.  I recently got a new job, my online classes started, and this whole home ownership thing is a lot of goodness! It really makes me appreciate my parents a lot more.  Throughout all of this I have had a lot of time to myself.  Though I may be busy cleaning, cooking, doing homework, or doing yard work, my mind wanders.  It has kept taking me to the place of reflection.  I have constantly been asking myself the question, "what defines Kelly?"  I am the kind of person who worries way, WAY too much about what other people think of me.  I do things not for myself, but so others will see me doing them.  I am always scared to share my true passions, my true desires, and do exactly what I want because I want people to think I am doing something great with my life.  Well this mindset has gotten me nowhere.  Because I am constantly trying to prove myself to others, I get involved in things I don't really enjoy or volunteer to do things that I don't really have the time for.  I am sick of living this way.  The only choice that I have made, that was not based on making others happy, or focused around what others thought, was the decision to start dating Joshua, and that was the best decision I have ever made in my life.  That right there tells me that when I stop thinking about what other people think,  I am completely capable of doing what I want and being happy.  So that brings me to the questions, what do I want? what will make me happy?  What defines me?  It is actually really difficult to answer these questions.  When answering these questions I tried to look back on moments in my life when I was really happy.  Morning coffee dates with my mom,  boat outings with my dad, Christmas Eve at my grandaddy's,  and weekends spent with Joshua when he would come to visit me when I was away at college.  All of these things always made me really happy. I was always content in these moments.   I think one of the happiest times in my life was my time spent in Brazil on a missions trip.  Everyday working with hundreds of children, sharing the gospel, having fun with them and showing them love, seeing huge smiles on all their faces just took me to another place.  I worked my butt of while I was there and by the end of every day I was completely pooped but every morning I woke up and was so excited for what was to come.  Looking at all of these things, I can say what really, truly makes me happy is helping people, building relationships, and spending time with family.  So simple, but really that is all I need to make me happy.  I now know why recently I have not been very content with myself. I have been really selfish.  I am so worried about making myself look good, that I forget about helping others.  Seems twisted right?  I need to not focus on the worlds definition of success, but focus on how want to be defined.  I want to be honest.  If I am honest, let see here we go....This is Kelly.... I am a disorganized, insecure, mess, who just wants to help people, love Jesus, and someday be a mom.  Society may see that as unsuccessful because I may not make a ton of money,  have my masters degree or doctorate, but you know what? I don't care anymore.  I want to be defined by what I want.  Not what this so called "society" wants.  Who are these people anyway? So here's to moving forward.  I will do what I want and not be scared to do so (at least try not to be).  I will not let the world define me, I will define myself.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Sunday Thoughts

As I sit here on my parents back porch on this beautiful Sunday afternoon enjoying a soda and potato chips, all I can think about is how toxic both of these things are for my body and brain.  I have seen so many health documentaries about detoxing, juicing, and all natural diets, but for some reason, as hard as I try, I cannot break these horrible eating habits.  Not too long ago I went about three months of eating really clean.  During that time I had much more energy, shed quite a few pounds, and just felt better all around.  So why did I come back to eating junk?  Quite honestly, because it was cheap and easy.  I never had to prepare anything, and could eat a lot of food for a lot less money.  I don't like making assumptions but I am going to go out on the limb and say many others share this same mentality.  But as I sit here and think back when I went through my few months of eating clean, all I can think about is how I want to feel that way again.  I think if I start back on the right track I need to not just change my eating habits, but change my thought process as well.  Before I was doing it mostly to lose weight, once I lost some weight I went back to being lazy again.  Definitely not the way to do it.  Also, I kind of went full force right from the beginning and maybe I should take things a bit slower.  Maybe even create a game plan.  As I do this, I may share some things with you along the way.  This will not be one of those weight loss journey/diet blogs,  but I may share some methods here and there that make healthy living a bit easier and maybe even share some recipes that I try out and love.  Bottom line is I want to enjoy life,  and being healthy is a huge part of that.  So there, I guess this means I am turning over a new leaf.  Yes I confess I did finish the soda, but now I blogged about this whole eating healthy thing so now I have to do it.  Here we go!