Friday, July 18, 2014

Silver Is The New Gold

     To all the young 20 something's or even some of the teen salt and pepper heads out there reading this. To fill you in, salt and pepper heads = a young person with hair of silver.
There is no denying it, you noticed your first grey hair a while ago and you have been trying to hide it ever since. You pluck that sucker out and you take a breather that it is finally over...until, BAM! Five grey hairs invite themselves to accompany the lonely grey. Perhaps, for some of you, the problem is not that there are treys coming in here and there. It is that there are large groups of silver hair bundles growing in all at once and maybe one or two people are taking notice. It is inevitable that you have received one of these reactions;
"Ummm, is that a grey hair I see?"
"You're only 20 years old, how could you have grey hair?"
"Oh my gosh, I thought you could only get grey hair until you are 35 or 40!"
My personal favorite ".... *awkward stare..."
"Glad I don't have grey hair!"

     Well, yes world. There are some of us who prematurely accumulated batches of silver hair...what is the hubbub? Well the big deal is this. When have we ever played with young, short, grey haired Barbie dolls? When do we ever see our favorite Hollywood stars without them having their hair perfectly dyed for every season (with the exception of very few of the young at heart celebrities). Why should we be looking to commercial models to find out who we should be like or to keep up with the latest trends? Well because it is EVERYWHERE. In our books, on the screens, on social media and on the billboards. We should not want to make modifications to our person just because it is unusual or seen as "unattractive." We were born this way.

     We are told how beautiful we naturally are, to never change and that every blemish and flaw is to be seen as beautiful. Does that also apply to changes we cannot control--like our hair?

     My dad is at a young and handsome 49 years and he took notice of his grey hair at around the age of 18. He shared with me how his friends made fun of him and never has he really cared what people thought of him. Even as a child, I noticed my friend's parents with black, brown or blonde hair (with no added salt....go ahead. I will take a brief pause for a chuckle). Shamefully, I always hinted that he purchase a "Just For Men" hair dye. I was not ashamed of him, I just thought that it was "unhip" and way too early for him to have grey hair. My dad would always respond, "It's because of my wisdom and beauty that I have my greys. Plus, your mom really digs it." I cannot imagine my dad ever dying his hair because he grew insecure, so why should I be?

     Is it more ok for young men to grow their grey hair out than it is for women? Is it part of a woman's duty to hide her silver locks just because it "is not her time yet?" I have a hard time understanding why it is ok to change a part of ourselves to match everyone else's look but it is looked down upon because we choose to embrace and adore all that we are. Even if that means not wearing makeup, a certain style of clothing, or dying our hair.

     Weeks before I started work, I had noticed a bundle of eight grey hairs peeking through the front edge of my hairline just above my eyebrows. I vowed that when I officially start my summer job, that I would not wear my hair up.I did not want anyone to notice and think that I "let myself go" or that I "do not care about my image." Until one morning when I woke up to an extreme heat wave, looked at myself in the mirror and decided to put my hair up in a ponytail. I made a hearty decision to not be nervous or shy if someone pointed it out or asked about it. "Be honest. Be true. Do not be afraid. I love you" are the words I repeated to myself just before I left for work. As luck would have it, I was talking with a male co worker face-to-face when I noticed he fixated his to the top of my head trying to figure out whether they were grey hairs or some dust bunnies that fell from the ceiling. He stared some more until he interrupted, "What is that on your hair? Wait, are those grey hairs?" I felt a bit humiliated that I felt unprepared for that question and as I held back some tears I answered, "yes they are. I have had them since I was eighteen and they had begun to come in bunches when I was 21, I believe." So, you have had them since you were little? I have never seen that before" he said in shock. "Yeah, my dads hair has been greying since he was eighteen. It is a family heirloom that he passed down to me. I kinda like it" was my reply. Luckily, some customers walked in asking for my attention and I walked away brushing off my tears. I was genuinely humiliated, but proud. I felt like my own loyal companion. One who appreciates and loves all of herself.

     It is time that we all do the same--daily. We owe it to ourselves. We have been living too much into pressure to be like everyone else and it is exhausting! Or perhaps you have been waiting for the day that you can look at your natural self and be one-hundred percent satisfied that nothing should be changed.

     Now, am I expecting for those of you who have figured out a new fact about me to not look at my head? No. I am expecting that when and if we cross paths, that your eyes will aim to hunt for any of my little greys so you can point out if the rumor on the mill is true (or whatever the case may be). What I am expecting is that we begin to look at our differences and quit applying these standards of beauty to one example (usually Hollywood or commercialized standards). I love who I am and if I feel uneasy about changing a part of myself, my hair in this case, then I will keep it this way until I am thoroughly confident in who I am ...grey hair and all.

     Models have their thin legs, artists have their long fingers, chefs have their round noses, dancers have their wide toes and we have our silver locks. Take full ownership of your natural beauty! Even if you are the only one reminding yourself of both your inner and outer beauty, then be your own best friend. When someone compliments your hair, respond with a confident "thank you" because you know your hair rocks! I should know that your hair rocks ;) and we should not be ashamed that we are a rare kind of beauty.

                                             Remember, Silver is the New Gold!

                                                                             Your Silver Hair'd Friend,

originally published 1 July 2014

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

A Father's Love

     I am in the Early Childhood Development field where I currently work in the public preschools around the Coachella Valley. I have worked with and have been surrounded by the most wonderful of families in whom I care so much for (in and outside of the education system). Our society has had a recent uproar of torn families, it appears. I am unsure of the reason as to how and why the studies over the last 50 years has had a rise of divorces and fall of wonderful homes. According to an American owned website, "In the United States, researchers estimate that 40%-50% of all first marriages, and 60% of second marriages, will end in divorce." Let us face it, many of these broken homes have experienced the pain of an absent father, few know what it is like to appropriately give love to their family and plenty have not been introduced to Jesus Christ.

     So what is the issue here? Is it that we are lazy and fail to work out our relationships during the harshest of seasons? Could it be that since the recent decline of the American economy that we all decided to focus more on our finances instead of our homes? Or has there been a transformation of major behavioral modality to where we have handed over our morals and standards to the media and are now in charge of transforming our homes instead of it being the responsibility of the adults? I can try to make up all the excuses in the world as to why families are in the midst of a major battle, but when I ask God for His answer it is made clear that no matter how we try to rid the problems, the only way is through a Father's Love.

((The examples listed below are fictional, but inspired by true events))
     A young child's biological father never gave him or her the desired attention. In result, the child is now twenty-five and is still searching for love through the seven failed relationships they have previously experienced. Another child's father chose to start another family with a woman he has had an affair with. This leads the child to grow up having trust issues and a negatively corrupt outlook on life. The biological father of the following children has abused the mother and neglected his children. One might think the mother has finally found a man suitable to love and care for her and her children; instead, she has continued the cycle in searching for the same type of man thus leaving the mother and the children dissatisfied. Now all grown up, two have been put in jail for child abuse and the oldest has had two failed disappointing marriages. In today's frequent scenarios I developed in this paragraph, I know that this similarly happens all around the world.

     So, how do we offer help to those amidst a difficult time? In God's word, it reads that we are all born with sinful natures.

"Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity. And in sin my mother conceived me." (Psalm 51:5)

We'd all like to believe that we are born with a perfect soul and that we grow up with a pure heart. Scientifically and biblically, that is untrue. I remember watching an experiment titled, "Don't Eat The Marshmallow" lead by speaker Joachim de Posada. He placed 5 children, from what appears the ages of four to seven years old, in seperate rooms and promised that if they wait fifteen minutes that he would give them a surprise (chocolate topping, an extra marshmallow, etc). Every single one of them struggled with delayed gratification because they had the temptation right in front of them. One little girl would gently lick the marshmallow, another would smell the marshmallow profusely (quite hilarious actually), one of the boys would nibble at the marshmallow, another would just stare at it and wiggle in his chair and the last would take close examination of the marshmallow throughout the time. All were tempted and at some point could not handle the pressure. This study was developed to show that children experience delayed gratification until proper instruction (by a respectable adult) and can determine the outcome of their future successes and failures. Where do children pick up this habit? Naturally, we can all be impatient to have our needs (regardless of what they are) met at that point in time thus leading us to act upon it in a healthy or in a destructive manner. How do we show children? From experience, it is not only in what an adult says to a child ("Do as I say not as I do"), but in instruction of how the adult lives. In that same way, adults need to be taught the gift of love so they can teach their children and so on. Now, for those who are struggling in their relationships; is there any help out there that we can offer them?

     We can have more programs that can assist single parents and provide food and clothing for their families. Perhaps we can give more harsh punishments toward the abusers so that the families can be safe. We can try to bulldoze the rundown communities and rebuild the town to its previous glory (safe, natural and historical). However,  I have a hard time imagining any type machinery strong enough to rebuild the sacred walls that were torn down from the heart's of our people. From the looks of it, not any money in the world is powerful enough to heal the wounds of the abusers and their victims.
We all need proper instruction (in the similar fashion that adults teach children) on how to live abundant and plentiful lives and who better to teach us than Jesus Christ.

     May I offer a solution? A Father's Love! What is missing is not the welfare programs (although they do offer some help) or a clearance sale of the finest medicated drugs, but the lovingkindness of One that sees your internal mess and yet continues to enrapture you with His love. It is the everlasting gift of salvation through the understanding and appreciation of the gospel lived out by the ever so loving, Jesus Christ.

"The Lord's lovingkindnesses indeed never cease, for His compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is Your faithfulness" (Lamentations 3:22-23)

     In my experiences with Christ, I can honestly say it has been the most fulfilling and eye opening relationship I have ever been a part of. The fact that He lived such a beautiful life, was crucified for the sins of all mankind and made such a powerful entrance in resurrecting from the dead still has me chasing after Him in all the seasons of my life. I am captivated and I want more. I need more of Him: more wisdom, more humility and more love. It is the relationship I have always wanted that no one on earth can offer me. I suppose that the heart of our issues today has only one perfect recipe for a more promising life and that is through Jesus.

God Bless The World.


The Holy Bible (NASB)

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Dear 10 Year Old Me

                                                                                                                                17 January 2014
Dear 10 Year Old Me,
     I would like to take the time to address that although you are at a tender age where you are trying to figure out the world around you and why people are the way they are, please do not ever give up on your lively spirit (it is a beautiful thing to waste).

     You will have friends say they are your "bff" and they'll even declare it with a heart shaped friendship necklace then later leave you for the more popular friends, BUT I PROMISE YOU THIS-it will get better. I want you to look at someone a little differently than you do right now. At 22 years old, it has taken you once you become an adult to realize that your mom is your most loyal friend you will ever have on this earth. Not those girls who have bullied you, not those girls who have used you for your giving. Definitely not those who have abused your pure nature to get what they want. Your best friend is just two rooms away from you. You will go through so many things in life as you enter your teenage years and the one person who will never give up on you is your mother. She can be your best friend too, you know? She has so much wisdom, advice and love to give you! You just need to open up to the idea even if it is an unpopular one.

     Also, the reoccurring nightmares that have haunted you for the past 5 years, they are not what defines you. You are not a slave to what happened to you. It will be 11 more years until you finally release it, but along the way you must know that God is in control. He is guarding your mind and heart all the step of the way.

     Do not blush and get all shy, let us talk about the boy you are crushing on right now. I know I know he is your first crush. He is funny and that is all you are looking for right now. You are looking for someone who will make you laugh. To take you out of the reality of how miserable you feel. The more you laugh, the less you will remember what keeps you up late at night. Fortunately, he is not the one for you. Sorry darling, he is not what God has for you. Do not waste any more time wondering. Boys will not start liking you until well into your 9th grade year. This will be towards the end of your freshman year that your parents will allow you to wear makeup. You will want to in junior high but just know that you are beautiful without it! Seriously, do not try to fight your parents about "needing" makeup. They are teaching you that your inner beauty is what matters and it will show on the outside. (Side note: makeup ages your skin, so you will have youthful and radiant looking skin anyway!) You are now 22 and guess what, you still have not had a boyfriend. Do not sit there reading this so surprised, ok? You are special and different! Your taste will evolve and you will know what to expect! You will get several boys after you, but do not get excited! God is saving His daughter (YOU) for a faithful, God fearing and loving man (we'll see).

     You will excel academically (smarty pants) and you will work hard in all the jobs that you receive. Once you get into college, please just always seek God first. With anything and everything, always put ALL your trust in God. Everything changes from your teenage years into early adulthood. You will lose friends, but your relationship with God is much stronger and your family is nothing short of a wonderful blessing.
     You are an extraordinary young lady and I know you will be a tremendous asset to this world and all its inhabitants. Keep your head up and guard your heart with Gods holy word. I love you, Alexa-Rae. (You dislike it when people call you by your first full name, but embrace it! It is unique and is unlike any other name.)
All My Love,

Future Alexa-Rae

Note: there will be people who will steal from you, forgive them. There will be people who will say, "I love you" and turn their backs against you, love them. There will be others who will threaten you, do not be afraid.

Monday, December 30, 2013

A New (and scary) Business Adventure

Christmas is now over and I am excited to welcome a new year! I mean, we all deserve a second chance whether it is to renew our gym memberships, reapply for a job or a school, or to start something new. About a month ago, I had this dream of me starting a small business. I was so thrilled at the idea that I wrote out my dream in my notebook. It was filled with details, color and event ideas. I was invited to a friend's "Favorite Things" Party where one would bring three of the same gifts that is considered a personal favorite. It wasn't long that I figured I would combine three of my favorite things and give them away as gifts: antiquing, teacups and candles! I had the other ladies complimenting me on the thought and craftiness that went into it. Of course that set off my drive to be serious about the dream I had two weeks prior that I jumped the bandwagon of starting my own business.
I went out the next day and bought several cups from a local thrift store, bought some candle supplies from Michaels Craft Store and began a little mini adventure!

About a week ago, I had sold my first candle on the first day! I wasn't sure what would come from it but this pushed me to follow through on selling these puppies as fast as I can; make goals for myself. Here are some photos of the other cups that I have ready to sell for the new year! WOO HOOO!!

((one left))

The name of my business...

                                                                                                         Tasse Éclaire.

Thursday, December 19, 2013

A Day To Remember

How I've missed writing on my blog it's been too long!
Well let me begin to describe one of my most favorite days of this year; Thursday, 5 December 2013. 
I woke up around 5 am to happy birds singing songs of great joy (that's to show you how excited I was). 
I had made plans to travel to the beautiful San Marino, California and spend half the day at The Huntington Library and Botanical Gardens. I was not able to visit the museums or the libraries, but I did; however, spent a lot of time drooling and making little lakes of my own inside the botanical paradise.
Here are some photos I took (iPhone only) from my day there with Sisila Piring, her family and several of her friends!

Afterwards, a group of friends and I headed to Riverside's annual Festival of Lights. I look forward to spending time up there and every time I go, I always take a new friend. During our stay, there was an Art Festival on the corner of Mission Inn and Lime Street. I always buy something from them (even if it's at an insane price) because I love supporting their art and let them know that their hard work goes unnoticed. This photo was taken of my friend Alexia near the hot chocolate stand. 

Monday, November 25, 2013

Turkey Bacon Cups

Want something easy, fresh, healthy and ready to go breakfast?
Well I've got just the thing for you! (haha how cheesy!)

Let me introduce to you, Turkey Bacon Cups!
Cups? What madness is this?
Well, let me explain!
Start by heating the oven at 375 degrees and you will bake them for 25 minutes on a cupcake tray.

Turkey Bacon
Egg whites
Yellow and red bell pepper
Salt Pepper Paprika
Homemade salsa

They should come out like this!

You can take them to work, school or on the couch and eat 'em all up! Happy Eating Everyone :)

You Are Rich

 You ARE Rich. Don't believe me?
     You've heard the story about the man who Jesus asked to drop everything, sell his possessions and follow him? ((Matthew 19:16-30))
     How many of us thought, "Well good for him! He has a family back home. He's rich, he doesn't need anything less" or "Why would he give up everything? How insensitive of Jesus to ask!"
Or how many of us thought, "Foolish man! You had an opportunity to follow the Teacher, the Messiah" or "what a materialistic and selfish man. Tsk tsk"
It doesn't matter so much which one we thought, but think of the last time you had to give something up. How hard was it to let it go? Why was it so hard? Did it hold special significance in your life? Did you invest a lot of time into it? Was it an expensive item?
     This is part of the reason why there are more problems of strife, brokenness and anger (especially in America). Our phone breaks and there goes our joy. Our belongings gets stolen and our hearts rage! We call ourselves ugly because the hairstylist messes up our hair and we pay for it. (All these are my experiences..haha)
     Think of a child. Her dolly breaks and she cries and throws a fit. The adult comforts her and says, "it's only a toy. It's not the end of the world. You just have to take better care of your things." We, as adults, don't like the idea of applying that to our lives.
     Why do we hold so much significance in things like automobiles, electronics and our know, material things! Why do they matter? If Jesus asked us to give up our comfort and move away or stay where we are, how would most of us react?
If we didn't have the money to keep up with our stylish appearances, would we give it up or give it up easily? "If you wish to be complete, go and
sell your possessions and give to the poor, you will have treasure in Heaven; and come, follow me." ((Matt. 19:21)
     Am I saying, sell your house so you and your family can live in a shelter? No. What I am saying is that we shouldn't hold so much value in material things! That shouldn't break us if we don't have the latest technology. We worry about saving up to watch that one book turned movie when what should we be focusing on? Giving to others less fortunate than ourselves!

     We can keep using the same excuse, "Well I'm only human" but at some point, we have to look in the mirror and reflect on our image in according to God. "Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come." (2 Corinth. 5:17)
Half of the things we own should be given away willingly (for the joy of others) and for our own good (because those belongings, be it materials or relationships, are not healthy nor do they produce joy).
     I'm going to say it now, unless you are living in poverty in a third world country (because let's face it, I RARELY see posts like, "well I haven't showered or eaten in 2 weeks" posted on Facebook) then you are part of the fortunate ones...material-wise.

For those who personally know Christ as your Lord and Savior, you are rich in blessings of your salvation! Yes, even if you are living off of food stamps. You, my friend have the riches because of your Heavenly Father. SHARE the wealth of salvation, joy and little nifty gifts!
     I encourage you to find your identity in the One who loves you eternally and deeply so that when you have nothing left, you can proclaim your riches of your Father ! "But to all who did receive Him, who believed in His name, He gave the right to become children of God." (John 1:12)
See, YOU are His child!

it's never too late or too early.
Ask God in a simple prayer, no matter who you are, for a well of refreshment to your confused, poor, or hardened heart who longs to know the love of God so you can share that same joy in love with others. He loves you, dear friend!