A little over a year ago on May 10, I published Entangled by the Norm–even though I was worried about how people would receive it. After I finally mustered up the courage to hit publish, I hoped and prayed that the blog’s message would be understood. I was overwhelmed by its acceptance and all of the wonderful things people had to say about the content. Here are a few of those comments that inspired me…so I could have the courage to inspire others.
At the time, I had no idea that the positive feedback from that one blog post would inspire me to start a new journey…a new journey that launched today called Sixteen & Successful. So, what exactly is Sixteen & Successful? S&S is a place to find motivation and inspiration while empowering tween and teen girls to be themselves in a world full of critics. The S&S mission is ERICA. What is ERICA? Well, I guess you will have to check out the Sixteen & Successful posthereto find out *wink*
Now, don’t freak out! VIP posts will continue as normal–S&S is just a new blog with different content. Please follow both VIP and S&S to join in all of the blogging fun :)
Now, please enjoy the remixed photo edits from Entangled by the Norm. See the full photo shoot + read the article here.
Can you believe it–VIP turned two years old today! Phew…it seems like just yesterday I was sitting at the kitchen table writing my first post…I guess time really does fly when you are having fun *wink*
When I look back at my first post,The Genesis of V.I.P., I am extremely thankful of how far VIP has come in just two short years. It all started as an outlet to show the world who I truly am because I was tired of beingEntangled by the Norm. Through the blog, I have learned that nothing is more fabulous than being who you truly are–no matter what the critics say. In the coming years, I hope that VIP will continue to inspire others to dare to be themselves. Remember, fabulouses, we are all unique, beautiful people inside and out. God made each of us different for a reason…so why not embrace it! Be Daring. Be Fabulous. Be YOU.
Seven months after I started VIP, I really stepped out of the box with my very first artistic photo shoot blogWant to Buy 97 Farms?, which was inspired by John Mellencamp’s Rain on a Scarecrow. This step was a necessary one for the growth of not only VIP, but also of myself. Honestly, I was scared to death that people might think it was weird or worse…think I was weird. After hitting that “publish” button, I realized that it felt good to be me–so right then and there, I began planning and creating more artistic blogs likeDirt Road Prayer, Entangled By the Norm, Play Date in the Rain, Welcome the Ecstatic Experience, andDaring to Be Different. It is amazing how overcoming one little fear can elevate your confidence.
These days, I feel like I am on top of the world–not because I run a successful blog, but because I am confident and happy with myself…I am confident and happy with who God made me to be.“I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.” Psalm 139:14, NIV “Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.” Romans 12:2, NIV
Now, let’s celebrate these two wonderful years of VIP (and more fabulous years to come) with a quick look back at 2012 and 2013. What will the remaining months of 2014 bring? Who knows! Perhaps, I will meet andinterview more fabulous people likeTy Pennington *wink*
I admit that I did not watch the live version. To be honest, I wasn’t really interested in it. For some reason, I watched the re-run of Nik Wallenda’s walk across the Grand Canyon on Discovery. Perhaps I was too lazy to look for the remote…or was I divinely inspired?
It was so touching to see Nik walk courageously across the canyons while praying in the name of Jesus Christ–giving Him all of the glory. He wasn’t afraid to speak His name…He wasn’t worried about what the press or the critics would say…He was focused on his mission…his dream.
Did Nik Wallenda wake up one day, make a few calls, and walk across the Grand Canyon? No. Years of training and practice prepared him to make that brave journey.
Most of us are not training to walk a high-wire across one of the world’s greatest wonders; however, we are walking the high-wire of life. One step at a time. Leaning left. Leaning right. Kneeling for a rest as we take in the sights around us.
My blog began as an outlet–a way to express myself. I confess that I did not know how to fix my hair or makeup or pose like a model…but with the help of fashion magazines, YouTube tutorials, practice, encouragement from family, friends, and fans…my look and confidence evolved.
I learned that others loved my natural curls which up until my blog had been an albatross. The more I blogged–the more I embraced those curls. I cannot tell you how many of my classmates and teachers told me to straighten my hair…that I would be prettier with straight hair…I know that deep down they all meant well…but it hurt. My hair is naturally curly. I tried many times to straighten it…damaged it severely with a flat iron…because I wanted to be accepted…I wanted to be pretty…like all the girls with straight hair.
Long story–short. I started to love myself–I started to love everything about myself–inside and out. No, the journey of becoming a confident teenager was not an easy one.
I had to go against what is deemed the “norm”–teenagers being teenagers…I have no other way to explain the norm. Sadly, there are too many teenagers out there taking pictures of themselves to get attention from anyone and everyone–not thinking about the future–not thinking about being positive examples–not thinking about WWJD (What Would Jesus Do)….They are just acting without inhibition…without care…without conscience.
After a lot of soul-searching and Bible study, I realized that I love the person God made me. I love what I am doing. I have a desire…a passion…a dream…to motivate and encourage my fellow teenagers and even adults. One does not have to follow the renowned quote of Robert Frost and take the common road or the road less traveled by–No. Work hard to create your own path.
It will not be easy. There will be successes. There will be failures. There will be joy. There will be tears. There will be struggles. It will take hard work…practice after practice. Yes, you will have to practice…just like Nik Wallenda. Will it all be worth it? Absolutely!
Prepare for the critics because they will be there…waiting for failure. Prepare for the naysayers because they will be there …waiting for a weak moment. Prepare for the meanies, prepare for the bullies, prepare for the envious…because they will all be there…waiting….Me–I am going to take a little advice from Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs–to whistle while I work–tuning them all out.
Phew…I see that I am getting long-winded–my parents say I have always been terrible about that…anyway, life is a high-wire…we must lean left, lean right, kneel for a rest, and give Jesus Christ all of the glory. I am glad that I was too lazy to look for the remote…and I am so thankful for the ways that God inspires me.