Value.

Have you ever noticed how when you’re closer to God, you literally see the world thru a different lens? It’s one of those things you forget both when haven’t been close to God in a while and when you’ve been faithful for a while. You’re only aware of the lenses in that twilight space.

I am in that twilight space and it’s kind of astounding me.

One of my favorite tv shows is called Community. It’s this quirky tv show that’s occasionally self aware and is constantly talking about other movies and tv shows. It also takes place at a community college that somehow gives out four year degrees… Don’t question it! It’s perfect for someone like me who enjoys consuming media. However, it’s not the cleanest show. In fact, it can be offensive and irreverent, though, always in a clever way.

I started rewatching it this week because it felt like a good ending to college.

In the first scene of the show, main character Jeff is having a conversation with Abed. It ends like this:
Jeff: “Now I see your value, Abed.”
Abed (as Jeff walks out of hearing distance):That’s the nicest thing anyone has ever said to me.

And it hit me. At our core, that’s what we’re all looking for. We look for it in every interaction and every relationship. We’re secretly, subconsciously waiting for someone, anyone, everyone to say: I see your value. You have value and I have noticed it.

But the thing is others aren’t here to give us value. If they were, we’d be in a sad state. Think about it. You’re more concerned with others affirming you than you are about affirming others. With a few exceptions, everyone else is doing the same thing. We get so wrapped up in our heads that we quit worrying about others.

As a christian, you should seek to find your value affirmed in Jesus, the one who said I value you, you so much I am going to subject myself to torment so that you can avoid it.

Your value is in Christ and nothing else. You are valuable because he loves you and saved you and gives you value.

Your value doesn’t rely on your talents or how smart or how pretty or how strong you are. Your value doesn’t lie in your ability to make friends or your relationship status. Those things are good but they do not give you value. And when we choose to find value in these things, we cheapen Christ’s sacrifice and give away some of our real value.

You have value. It is given to you by Christ. Acknowledge it. Revel in it.

And while I don’t think we should find value from others, maybe we should start acknowledging the value we see in others.

Tell her she is clever. Tell him he is passionate. Point out the good things you see in people. People are often blind to their own strengths and weaknesses, be their mirror. See value in people. See value in everyone.

March is my mother’s month

Did you know that March is colon cancer awareness month? Probably not. It’s not exactly common knowledge even though it kills more than 50,000 people every year, which makes it the second leading cause of cancer related death, behind only lung cancer. 

In fact, it’s almost the end of March, too late to be writing a colon cancer awareness month post. But I forget. Nobody reminded me. I didn’t see blue (colon cancer awareness color) everywhere. There weren’t commercials on the tv or radio. 

But there should be. It’s the second most prevalent type of cancer. I should hear so much about it, I’m sick by the end of March. 

Ok, so what? Why do you care? 

Valid question. I have a good answer. 10 years ago, my 41 year old mother was diagnosed with stage 3 colon cancer. 

For those who don’t know, Cancer has 4 stages. Stage 4 is the worst. There is no best when the word “cancer” is involved, but you have a pretty good chance with stage 1 and not much if it’s stage 4. Still, you never know if cancer is gonna be a tornado -tearing down things down it’s unpredictable but narrow path – or a tsunami -devastating everything, quickly and unexpectedly. 

Actually I don’t know if that’s true. I’m not an oncologist but it seems to me that, regardless of the diagnosis, cancer is unpredictable. 

I’m going around the world to tell a simple but emotional story. 

10 years ago, with irony befitting a book or movie, my mother was diagnosed with stage 3 colon cancer in the middle of colon cancer awareness month. She’s been in remission for I guess 9 years now which is amazing. My mother is a fighter. She’s strong. Maybe because she’s strong or because she had so much to live for or because that’s what you do when you’re attacked. I don’t know. To be truthful, I don’t remember it well. I remember staying with a family friend the day my mom had half of her colon removed. I remember all the food people sent to help take care of us. I remember the metallic smell of her breath most vividly of all. I still hate the smell of my hands after holding change. The smell envelopes me in overwhelming fear and sadness. But I don’t really remember how I felt or what I thought or even understood. 

It’s also national women’s history month. I’ve been wanting to honor the ladies that impacted me and shown me what true strength is. No one has impacted and has more strength than my mom. She showed that the most when she had no strength and fought anyway. 

To all the cancer patients: keep fighting. No matter the odds. Don’t go down without a fight. 

To all the family members: life is hard. What you’re doing is one of the hardest things to face in life. You will make it. No matter what happens you’ll get past it. 

To my mom: thank you. Thank you so much for beating the odds. Thank you for teaching me how to deal with illness, attending my high school graduation, giving wisdom during my first heartbreak, dealing with meltdowns, and everything else you’ve done in the past ten years since cancer tried to kill you. I love you.

So go get colonoscopies and honor the women who’ve made a positive impact on you. 

Happy women’s history and colon cancer awareness month. 

The Beginner’s Guide to Audrey Hepburn Movies

The Beginner's Guide to Audrey Hepburn Movies

In a recent post, I talked about how great Audrey Hepburn was, both as a person and as an actress. One of my friends read it and said she’d never seen any Audrey Hepburn movies except for the beginning of Breakfast at Tiffany’s. Since Breakfast at Tiffany’s is a bit slow and somber, my friend got bored and quit watching. While I think everyone should watch Audrey Hepburn movies, Breakfast at Tiffany’s, contrary to popular opinion, isn’t my favorite of her movies and I could have told my friend that she would get bored watching it. Having been a fan from a young age, I am going to use my knowledge to create a guide for Audrey Hepburn.

Audrey Hepburn walking down the stairs for a photo shoot in Funny Face

I want that dress!

Funny Face

The first Audrey movie you should watch is Funny Face. In this delightful, light-hearted flick, the editor and photographer of a prestigious fashion magazine scheme to get an intellectual, too good for plebeian things like a fashion magazine, funny looking girl to model in Paris for them. Hijinks ensue. People fall in love; it is Paris, after all. It even won an Oscar for best costume design. The costumes were designed by Edith Head and Hubert de Givenchy, so no surprise there. The outfits are absolutely sumptuous. It’s also a cute musical without having too many long or boring singing scenes. Bonus: It features Fred Astaire dancing and being suave. Seriously, I could fall in love with Fred’s dancing.

Sabrina

“I have learned how to live, how to be IN the world and OF the world, and not just to stand aside and watch. And I will never, never again run away from life. Or from love, either.- Sabrina Fairchild”

The next movie newbies should watch is Sabrina. However, if for people that aren’t big on musicals, an alternative is to watch Sabrina first. Sabrina is about the daughter of a chauffeur who is hopelessly in love with the David Larrabee, playboy extraordinaire and son of the family her father works for. Sabrina’s father sends her to cooking school in Paris for a twofold reason: to learn useful skills and to forget about David. However, Sabrina returns still in love with David and no longer looking like a little girl. When David notices her, nobody else besides Sabrina is happy. Things get a little complicated and crazy in the best way possible. This costars William Holden and Humphrey Bogart. It also won an Oscar for Best Costume Design so it won’t be a disappointment after the fashion world in Funny Face. Bonus: There’s a remake made in 1995 starring Julia Ormond, Harrison Ford and Greg Kinnear. It manages to stay relevant to the times and makes changes without straying from the integrity or feel of the original.

My Fair Lady

The next movie I think people should watch is My Fair Lady.  This is my personal favorite Audrey Hepburn movie and in my top 10 favorite movies overall. However, it is a little long. The plot revolves around Henry Higgins, a phonetics professor who makes a bet that he can make Eliza Doolittle, a lowly flower girl, presentable in high society by teaching her to speak with a different dialect. Of course, they fall in love despite their differences.  The above scene in the YouTube link is one of my favorite scenes in all the movies I’ve ever scene and the main focus isn’t ever on the main characters. That says a lot about how great this movie is. Every single detail is golden. There’s even one scene where Eliza imagines getting the king to chop off Henry Higgins head. This film is a great example of a movie that’s really well done, lots of fun to watch and makes people think about society and how little things like language affect the way we perceive others. It was directed by George Cukor, the original director for Gone with the Wind who secretly coached Vivien Leigh and Olivia de Havilland after he was fired. The movie got 8 Oscars including best director, best actor in a leading role (Shout out to the great Rex Harrison) and, you guessed it, best costume design by Cecil Beaton. Bonus: This movie is adapted from the book Pygmalion.

Breakfast at Tiffany’s

Breakfast at Tiffany's

“I’m like cat here, a no-name slob. We belong to nobody, and nobody belongs to us. We don’t even belong to each other.”

The quintessential Audrey Hepburn movie. The movie that popularized the “Little Black Dress.” This movie, based on the book of the same name by Truman Capote, is sad and moving and deep while also managing to be fun and visually gorgeous. You feel for Holly Golightly. She breaks your heart and makes you cry. This is a movie that has to be felt rather than seen. One fun part is when she helps out the mob without even realizing it.

Bonus: you’ll want to go to Tiffany’s and eat breakfast to get over the mean reds.

How to Steal a Million

The most unknown and underrated Audrey Hepburn movie is How to Steal a Million. Also set in Paris, this fun heist flick costars, the young and ever so adorable Peter O’Toole. I can’t really go into the plot without taking away some of the fun but you should definitely check it out.

So there you have it. The first five Audrey Hepburn movies you should watch. The good news is all except for My Fair Lady are available to stream on Netflix. After you watch these, check out Roman Holiday and Charade* then go to amazon and buy What Would Audrey Do or How to Be a Hepburn in a Hilton World.

*The first time I started Charade I only watched the first 30 minutes and got bored and gave up. The next time I made it through the beginning to where it gets really good. It a great, very underrated caper movie. It will have your head spinning! Check it out.

Obviously, this is all subjective. Please share if you agree with my opinions! I’ll leave you with the words of the lovely lady.

“Nothing is impossible. The word itself says ‘I’m possible!’ “

How to Survive Valentine’s Day with Grace

Valentine’s day. Probably the most controversial and divided holiday. For couples, it’s a wonderful chance to just dwell in each other’s love and be adored. For singles, it can be a sad reminder of the fact that no one special person constantly cherishes and adores them. Or it can be a day engage in love – no matter the type of relationship.

There is no special guy who cherishes me right now and there may never be. But that’s okay. Because I have a loving group of friends who care for and show me love anyway they can. I have a mom who is my biggest and manages to have high hopes for me without pressuring me to be or do anything I don’t want. I am so grateful I have a father who showed me how a man should love a woman and support her no matter the circumstances. He has told me he loves and that I am beautiful for as long as I can remember. I have two sisters who are my best friends in the whole world and get me better than anyone else.

So yes, Valentine’s day is about love, but it’s not strictly about romantic love.

To the Couples
If you’re in a relationship, take the time to show your love for someone who’s single. But promise me this: don’t do it in a condescending, “I was worried about you because you don’t have anyone to love you like I do” way. People in relationships, I love you but it is so easy for some of you to get wrapped up in a love bubble and forget that it’s possible to live without romantic love. Don’t forget to spend some of the time adoring your creator as well.

To the Singles
Dear one, don’t dwell on the sad parts. You are beautiful and precious and unique. Don’t ever tell yourself something is wrong with you because you’re single. You are completely lovable and love worthy. I can’t make your day better but you can. Instead of saying, “woe is me,” look for someone else to love on. Maybe it’s a friend who’s struggling more than you are and needs someone to remind them that they are wonderful. Maybe it’s a stranger you know nothing about. But I challenge you to dig down deep in your heart and take a handful of you to bless someone with. Show love. Show love hard.

Last, love and adored your creator and savior. The one who loved you so much he endured excruciating mental and physical pain so that you might go free. Someone does cherish and adore you, thank him and love him back.

An Unpopular Confession: Why I don’t worship Marilyn Monroe

I love old Hollywood glamour.

A picture of Cary Grant looking attractive

Hello Gorgeous

Cary Grant is a dreamboat and I’ve loved him since I was probably 7 or 8 watching An Affair to Remember, Thanks, Mama for the introduction!

Doris Day and Rock Hudson look lovingly into each other's eye on the beach from the movie "Lover Come Back"

Doris Day and Rock Hudson had the best on screen chemistry!

Doris Day and Rock Hudson are adorable in every film they are in and Doris Day’s character in Lover Come Back is one of the reasons I considered and chose to major in public relations!

I could go on and on about how much I love old movies and old actors and actresses. I fell in love with Fred Astaire in Swing Time, Gene Kelly in Singing in the Rain, Frank Sinatra anytime he sings. I want to be Lauren Bacall as Schatze Page in How to Marry a Millionaire, Grace Kelley was classy, beautiful, a great actress, and a literal princess.

Audrey Hepburn

The Fairest of Them All

But let’s not forget the greatest of them all, Audrey Hepburn. If you can find someone who loves Audrey more than I do (and by love I mean has seen more than just Breakfast at Tiffany’s and understands that she was also a huge humanitarian) send them my way so we can fangirl together.

There are so many people famous in the 30s, 40s, and 50s who I absolutely adore that I could go on forever and should probably write a seperate post about my favorite leading men and ladies or favorite movies from before 1980s sometime (if you’d read that, tell me!) but that’s not what I am saying here.

So many girls idolize, obsess over, and quote Marilyn Monroe. I can’t. I refuse to worship her.

She was a beautiful lady and I am so sorry about her rough life that led to her suicide. It is heartbreaking; I wish I could go back in time and hug her and save her from the bad people but I can’t.

So while I feel great pity for her life, I do not go around quoting her and I don’t buy things with her image on them.

Audrey Hepburn played roles that varied and had character and grew. Side note, she was a hipster 50 years from before it was cool in Funny Face. Katherine Hepburn plays strong, dynamic women who are in charge of their own destiny. Marilyn Monroe played promiscuous, dumb blondes who was on the prowl for wealthy men.

She is not a role model. I repeat, Marilyn Monroe is not a role model.

If you want a beautiful actress from Old Hollywood to adorn your walls with, buy some Grace Kelly merchandise. If you want to quote a gorgeous actress from the glamour days, look up the words of wisdom from Audrey Hepburn (or ask me). If you want a tenacious role model from then, look at Katherine Hepburn or Lauren Bacall.

Y’all, I’m a passionate person. I am passionate about dumb things sometimes. I care way too much about grammar and how Coke always beats Pepsi and Sprite is a million times better than Sierra Mist. On this issue, however, I don’t think I’m being silly. I look up to strong women who have made things better for me. I read a biography about Susan B. Anthony when I was 10. It’s possible that not all the women I endorsed made things better for me. I don’t know a ton about Lauren Bacall or Katherine Hepburn but I do know that neither of them played roles that objectified. The studio system was really intense and crazy back in the day and actors didn’t have the freedom to pick and choose as they do now, so it may not have been Marilyn Monroe’s fault that she played parts that objectified her. Nonetheless, she didn’t contribute to making Hollywood view women as people rather than sex objects. Honestly, I view her life as more of a sad “what not to do” than a life to be admired. Please, watch one of the movies I listed or research some of the ladies and find a more worthy rolemodel!

Agree? Disagree? Let me know!

To leave you on a positive note, go fall in love with Ole Blue Eyes gem of a voice, here

Mirror, Mirror on the Wall

Delight yourself in The Lord and he will give you the desires of your heart. Psalm 37:4

Recently, my grandfather texted me saying that prayed that God would give me the desires of my heart. First, I’d like to point out that getting a message saying you’re precious and that someone is praying that God gives you the desires of your heart is one of the best ways to start your day.

Initially it put a smile on my face. And I am I very thankful to have someone who prays that prayer for me. But then the message changed from an encouragement to a mirror. What are my desires anyway? Are they the ones God wants me to have? Hmmm, I don’t desire inherently bad things like ultimate power or taking over the world. But let’s be honest, I wouldn’t mind some shallow things. Like a wardrobe containing everything I’ve lusted over on Modcloth. Or to be graduating college debt free. Or to be in shape without working out. Although id settle for being in shape because I love working out and being outdoorsy.

Of course, not all my desires are shallow. I want to use words to show love and change the world or at a few people. I want to be healthy. I want to get a fabulous job where I can help make the world a better place. I want to marry a man who will romance me like my dad does my mom and Jesus does the church and who helps me show the gospel to a lost and hurting world. I want to have children who love history and knowledge and reading. I want to live in a place with arts.

But ultimately, I want my desires to be God’s desires for me. Because that’s what Psalm 37:4 is about. When you are delighting in The Lord, your desires will be his desires. So for now, my ultimate desire is to delight in The Lord more. I know I’m not where I need to be.

C. S. Lewis once said, “I pray because I need God. The need flows out of me, waking and sleeping. Prayer doesn’t change God. It changes me.”

I’ve been praying a lot this past week about the future and my vision of what I want it to be. I committed to praying about this issue everyday for a week. At first my prayer was, “God I really want this.” Then my prayers changed to: “I really want this but I understand if it’s not your will. But I really want this.” Then the prayed changed to: “God, right now I want this. But I don’t want you to give it to me because I keep asking. I want your best for me. I want this to be the best but I understand it might not be. And that’s ok because I want your will in this.”

My prayers don’t need to change God. They needed to change me. My heart needed to be calibrated back to God’s best. Maybe after a few more dad of praying, I’ll be ok with saying completely “Thy will be done Lord.” When I delight in The Lord, my desires change to his and during the process while I still have my selfish desires, I begin to become aware that they aren’t God’s best for me. Psalm 37:4 is so much more than God giving you want you want. It’s about reading on to Psalm 37:5: “commit your way to The Lord and do good; trust in him and he will do this.”

I am so thankful for a God who will give me what I want when I begin to want the best for me. Just like your parents wouldn’t let you play with matches as a kid, God won’t give you things you want that will burn you (uselessly). I am so thankful for grandparents who are prayer warriors committed to my future and inspiring me to examine my inner self… Never a fun thing.

I hope you read this and begin to let the self examination slowly begin. Stand in front of the mirror and honestly examine yourself. Be brave enough to admit the truth if you aren’t delighting in The Lord and his best for you. Then go out and do something about it.

For Such a Time as This: 21st Century Edition

To preface, I wrote this aimed at bloggers. However at the end, I realized that these issues also apply to the people who sit in the pews, discontent with the state of the church and either do nothing or, worse, complain. It’s time for the Church to be doers of the Word and not merely seers.

I have a bone to pick. I am so sick and tired of blogs about how the Church is doing this or that wrong and they need to change and step up their game.

To clarify, I am not saying that the Church is without fault or even that some of the issues brought aren’t completely valid issues that need to be addressed. Additionally, it’s completely possible that some of the bloggers are called by God to be catalysts by using their words. But I feel like words can also easily turn into a copout.

I have at times been distraught with the current state of the church and unable to reconcile this issue in my heart. My (albeit horrible) decision has been to not go as much because I felt hypocritical to go somewhere I saw flaws in. However, as I’ve grown up, matured, and become a bit wiser, I’ve realized the futility in avoiding church because I was not happy with some of it’s practices.

In my opinion, all these call to action type posts are doing the same thing. The authors of these posts are aware of an inadequacy in the church. Since the church is full of people, we are constantly facing mistakes and flaws and scandals. That’s just how it is. However, I wonder if maybe God is showing these authors the inadequacy in the church for a different reason than writing about it. If you see an issue that needs addressing, don’t address it to the internet. Go to the leadership at your church and say, “Hey, this isn’t right. We need to change this.” Pray about it. Find out if others agree with you. If they do, get them to help you change things.

THEN write about it. Tell the world how you were dissatisfied with the way certain things weren’t glorifying God the way they should. Tell the world how things changed and whether you think it’s an improvement. Tell the world even if it’s a failure. God doesn’t call you to be successful. He calls you to be faithful. And I know that’s a cliché but it’s a cliché I couldn’t be a Christian without. A ruler who cares about your obedience more than your talents and lists of successes is so much more beautiful and accessible than one who requires you to get it right.

This makes me think about what Mordecai says to Esther when the Jewish people are in mortal danger. I’m paraphrasing here… He says, “Don’t think that if you stay silent you will escape. Deliverance will come from somewhere if not you. Maybe the reason you here at this moment is to save the Jews.”

If God shows you an issue in the church, I fully believe it is for a reason. I also believe that we have a God of action not inaction. A few years ago, my former youth minister, Joseph Bird, made the comment that the church is spiritually obese. We eat and eat God’s word but we don’t go out and do.

The irony in my post calling out those who call out others is not lost on me. However God laid it on my heart and I had to share. I apologize for any hypocrisy. I give my promise that from now on when I am discontent with issues in the church, I will try to change things rather than complaining. I challenge you to do the same.