Category Archives: fashion

In spite of me

Standard

I think that I am the one making a difference by wearing a dress. But really,  the difference is being made in spite of me.
Bringing attention to myself by posting about myself, words or pictures, isn’t as helpful as I would like it to be.

I am not important.  It is not me that makes this work or go away.

Sure, I am a vessel for the cause.  But it all works in spite of me. In spite of my self-consciousness, my forgetfulness, my desire for attention, my fear, my inattention, and all my other faults!

Here’s what I mean: I am important.  My voice in the fight may be the only voice some hear.  AND despite all my faults a difference is being made.
Someone once told me that it must take courage to do this challenge. To wear dresses every day and have my own style.  Another person said I was a trend setter due to my eclectic pattern mixing. I heard someone ask, “What is she wearing?”
What’s interesting is that it takes more courage to move that conversation away from my fashion choices and to the real issue of slavery.  There is a special kind of courage to move the conversation away from ME & to the issue at hand.

I am working on having that courage.  Your choice to read this blog is helping me find my voice and courage.  I appreciate that you have chosen to read my blog.

IF you are able donate to the cause of freeing people form the bonds of slavery. Not only will you help free them, you will help to rehabilitate them by your gift.

 

 

Advertisements

Dressember in April

Standard

So I told you that you would hear about this whole “slavery” thing again and that it would likely be a recurring theme across my blog from time to time.  Well, here it is popping across your feed again.  Recently it came to my attention that IJM was doing another awareness campaign.  They have called it #stand4freedom & it is a 5 day campaign to let people know that slavery in the modern age needs to end.

I have decided to take this campaign and do a #dressemberinapril campaign since I cannot stand for the whole 5 day campaign.  I have to work. While I do stand a lot when I work I do not stand for the whole time.  So, in lieu of standing all day I will be wearing dresses and writing every day this week.

Here is my epiphany from the last two days…

Christ died.

Christ has risen.

Christ will come again.

He came for ALL of us, not just the few elect and prestigious.

But he also asks what have we done for the least of these.

What have we done for the hurt and the sick.

That what we have done for the least of these we have done for him.

I am still trying to figure out how I can really, actually make a change in the world where slavery is concerned.   I know awareness is a very tangible way to bring about change.  How can you change something if you do not know about it?  So I am making my small step toward making my little part of the world aware of slavery and it’s impact on our world.

This week my classroom of students begin to wade its way into the research project that I have decided needs to be a social justice project.  My students & co-workers will see me AGAIN wearing dresses.  They will again hear me talking about slavery.  They will hear me talk about ways to combat slavery right here in our own town.  I’ll fill you in on that as it progresses. (it will last till the end of May so bear with me).

When I was posting in December the number of slavers was estimated at 27 million.  It is now estimated at 36 million.

I have learned that one of the best and EASIEST ways to combat slavery is to buy from the thrift store.  No money goes back into the store you bought it from or subsequently to the plantation that grew the cotton. AND many thrift stores are local and help around your neighborhood.

BONUS!!

PS if you want to see my pictures from this week you have to head over to my instagram (imacurlygirl), twitter(syndlazo), or facebook profiles.

#unselfie or #selfish

Standard

Yesterday started with me thinking about what to write, yesterday.

I wrote in my journal, planned what I would talk about and then yesterday.

Yesterday I did few and many things. yesterday

So many things, yesterday

I didn’t blog yesterday.

Yesterday was day 21 of my daily writing for Dressember. Yesterday

So today I will write about what I was going to say yesterday.

School was out Friday and thus began our glorious winter break.

One of my co-workers said, “I know you’ll be glad that this is over tomorrow.”

“Why?”

“Well you won’t have to wear dresses anymore because we won’t be at school.”

“No, this is Dressember.  That means a dress a day the WHOLE month of December.”

“So you have to keep wearing dresses?”

“Yes”

“Man, I feel sorry for you.  I couldn’t do that.”

I keep running into people who are fastidious about their diet, exercise, work ethic, religion, etc and “do it” every day without fail or accolades yet never complain. However,when they hear I am wearing dresses for 31 days straight they balk at that as if it is something virtually impossible without people paying attention.

It is as if (without putting words in their mouths) they are expecting me to stop wearing dresses because “people” aren’t around to notice.  This journey, while it hasn’t been about others noticing ergo #unselfie, it has been rather selfish.  It has been about my learning about myself without the necessity of others attention.  No-one really needs to notice my growth for it to happen.  I have grown.  I have changed.

It has been a scant 22 days since Is started this but I am already planning next year, already thinking of what to write in my blog in January that will keep my new 40+ subscribers interested, & how else I can work to end slavery around the world in the next 334 days.

I know that despite the presumed attention I have received from friends and followers, “no-one” knows what I am doing. Oh, there are those in my inner circle, those who are participating in Dressember, & a small minority who are curious, but on the whole (out of the several hundred (700+) friends I have on facebook they have NO idea!)…

That doesn’t matter because I am not doing it for them.  I want them to know, yes.  But it is not for their praise or attention that I am wearing a dress.  I do not have a need for attention or praise (although most of us, me included, need that and we lie to ourselves if we say we do not). I do have the need to change.  Don’t we all?

I do not consider myself a selfish person (most of the time). I feel I am fairly giving in many ways.  This exercise of spending the month of December focused on slavery has made me feel…. well…. selfish.  I have several dresses that I have rotated through. I do not have 31 dresses.  I have worn several of them several times over. I am able to wash them when every I want.  I am taking photos of myself everyday (except yesterday when I forgot). OF MYSELF!

I am then aggrandizing myself

1. to widen in scope; increase in size or intensity; enlarge; extend. 2. to make great or greater in power, wealth, rank, or honor. 3. to make (something) appear greater.

by promoting my instagram, blog, twitter, & facebook accounts to tell what I am doing.

I have to constantly remind myself; Mother Teresa didn’t set out to aggrandize herself.  In fact, her aggrandizement only meant that the impoverished were finally seen as humans who needed love and care.

I am by no means Mother Teresa.

I cannot even hold a candle to her kind, humble spirit.

But what I am is one human who had no intention to make much of myself, just like Mother Teresa.  My only goal here is to let as many people who will listen know that human slavery still exist and in a grander proportion than we believe.

If you have read any of my blogs and have learned that you can help by seeing what IJM is doing, by donating to my campaign supporting IJM this Dressember, or by spending some time in prayer for the enslaved,those who would set the free, & the slavers then I have done my job.

My job is to reach one.  To help one person see that this is wrong and we should be doing something about it.

Fotor_14193021270544

The holiday dichotomy

Standard

This is the season that causes people to feel a pull toward joy. A joy that for some is contrived and painful. There, in this season of supposed joy, is a deep grief that loss brings.

A loss of a person you love or hate, an animal that was dear to you, a job, etc. It could also be the loss of a relationship that was deemed important at one point. Now looking back with fondness on the better days you sorely miss it.

The songs in the stores and on the radio. The decorations on the streets, on the houses, & seemingly everywhere. They are a constant reminder of what you have lost and the pain you are feeling.

It is strange that in the most wonderful season of all walking around hearing that it is the hap-happiest time of the year and many are not really “feeling” it.

But that makes it so trite. Not “feeling” it? No, they are grieving and life has taken a turn in a direction they did not expect.
The hard thing is that this feeling is hidden as far down as the person who is experiencing it wants it to be hidden. No one ever has to know about the pain if the griever doesn’t want anyone to know.

Joy is an easy thing to fake. Show up to a party, laugh, engage in lively banter, meet new people, eat and drink too much. No-one needs to know that the pain you feel this to me of year is real and harmful to you and the people around you.

It is interesting that people in grief are expected to cover their pain so that others can “enjoy” the season and not have to worry about the “downers”.

I feel like this months conversation about slavery is like this grief joy dichotomy. Isn’t it something that December is the month that was chosen to raise awareness to this cause?

The month where we buy mounds of stuff for people who may already have loads of stuff.

The month where we have parties celebrating different holiday times.

The month where we cherish time spent with family and friends.

The month where we pull our hair out in stress due to financial issues or lack of ability to please others.

It is the month that was chosen to shed light on the people who are bought and sold on a daily basis.

It is a month where every morning I put on a dress and think about why I am wearing a dress.

We don’t want to see the slavery. We want to have the whole world at peace and in happiness for this one month during the year.  But that is the dichotomy.  That is what makes this month sometimes a farce.  It is why this HAD to be the month to raise awareness for this cause.

Slavery is a hidden ill in society.  It is something that is hidden so deep that we don’t have to see it if we don’t want to.  We can easily go on enjoying our parties and fun this month.

It’s like the sadness that is so pervasive this holiday; “a downer”.

If we don’t face it now it’s not like it is going away.  We need to look at it and take a stand, do something, help others that are outside our safe zone.  We have to look at it square in the face.  IJM helps us do that.  They tell us that they have freed and helped in after care 18,000 people.  They have convicted 770+ people who were slave owners.  They are making a difference and shining a light on the problem even in this month.

You can help too.  Look at what IJM is doing and see what you can do with them.  You can donate to my Dressember site where all the proceeds are going to help IJM and their mission.  You can also pray for those enslaved, their owners, and the people who are working to free them.

Yes, I said pray for their owners.  We can talk about that next time.

Fotor_141912768869124

This sweet little face is that of the daughter of one of mah honks. I love this girl to the moon and back!

Just blessed

Standard

Fotor_14188686746619

So cliche.

At Christmas we say such cliche things.

You can look at and say, “Man, I am so over that!”

Or you can say, “Oh tradition!  So wonderful to have the same things said at this time of year.”

Some may even choose to just go against the whole idea of anything anyone has ever done and say, “Festivus for the rest of us!” (HA! Seinfeld, gotta love some old school sit coms.  They just don’t make them like they used to.)

Anyway, all I have to say today is that I am just blessed.

Blessed to live in the US

Blessed to work for the public school system

Blessed to worship how I like

Blessed to have friends over for dinner in the middle of the week

Blessed to go see movies with my son

Blessed to have 3 beautiful children

Blessed to have an amazing husband

I am just blessed

As cliche as it sounds, I am.  I am blessed! Part of my family just had a fantastic dinner with a family we have gone to small group with for the last (almost) 4 years (in Feb.). Lauren and I have shared so much and our boys are such good friends.  It is nice to have a closeness with a family, share a meal, & a faith.  So blessed.

The thing about being blessed is that many of us have no idea how blessed we are.  We take advantage that things will always be the way they have been. We shouldn’t, we should savor every moment.

I try to remember how blessed I am without being arrogant about it.  I try to look at the gift of life, liberty, & pursuit of happiness I have been given and remember that not everyone has those blessings.

This month I am reminded of that as I talk to people about IJM and my Dressember event.  I ask if they are reading my blog and tell them they should.  I ask if they know that there are 29.8 million slaves in the world today.  When they say no and get that far aways look in their eye, I just encourage them to come here and read about my self discovery.  I hope that they are and that it is ok to not realize.  It is ok to still be learning about the world.  No-one is expected to know everything about everything.  But once you are exposed to it you can no longer feign ignorance.  I am trying to learn and do.  I am trying to teach so others can help too. I am not perfect.  Never will be.  I am not better than others, that’s not my thing.  But I do want to be better than I was last year.  I want to share what I have with others.  I want others to be blessed.

A new dress

Standard

I woke up late again.

Seriously, is this a Dressember thing?

Maybe it’s because I am staying up late blogging after my family goes to bed.

They are so distracting during the day.  Wanting this and that.  A girl can’t get a break to write. 😉

But maybe it is just the writer in me that wants to stay up late when inspiration strikes best then the sleep deprived teacher gets up late for work.

Due to waking up late I wore a dress you haven’t seen yet.  I know the dress I wore on 12.13.14 was new but you knew that was coming ;).

Anyway, the dress today wasn’t a new dress it was just one I hadn’t planned on wearing this Dressember.  It is to summery. You know the dress that has the amazing color and is sleeveless? The maxi that wants gold sandals and makes you feel like a Grecian princess? Yeah, that’s the one I wore today.

Fotor_141869459422250

Ok so maybe the sitting, the cat, and the c cardigan don’t really show off the princess BUT what you can’t see is the polka dotted leggings OR the polka dotted pink and green fuzzy socks.

Really this isn’t about the dress but I am having fun owning my own quirky style of clothing (or is it I need to have clothes on, quick, what’s clean?)

Today one of the assistant principals said, “I heard you were doing a dress thing?”

We were in the bathroom and I proceeded to tell her all about IJM and their mission in life and the fact that after they rescue the enslaved people they give them after care and make sure they are reasonably safe.  She seemed impressed by that part.  I don’t think many of us give a thought to what happens after.  Are they given a safe place to go or do they just get released to fend for themselves and we all rejoice? Let’s be honest, most of us don’t think about people who are living in slavery every day.  We don’t consider that our clothing may have been made by slaves.  The dress I am wearing in this picture may have been made by slaves.  I am coming to an awareness that most of us to not want to face because it is a hard pill to swallow.  Where did my clothes come from? I don’t like to shop for clothes much anyway but now when I look for clothing I am questioning their origin.

I, like most Americans, buy my clothes on the cheap or at sale prices.  I don’t “have” money to spend on expensive clothes.  But do I have money to spend? The answer to that is yes. Yes I do! Could I work towards trying to spend my  money with more conscience? Yes I can.  It is a choice like every other one we make in the day.

Will you join me in making a choice this month?  Instead of buying something you may not need will you help out my donation campaign?  That is what dressember is all about for me.  It isn’t about all the pictures of me wearing dresses.  It isn’t about my quirky sense of style.  It is about helping to free slaves from around the world.  It is about justice for those enslaved and about helping those who cannot help themselves. Will you help?

The busiest season of all…

Standard

Fotor_141859586895669

…Is the holiday season.  It doesn’t matter what you celebrate.  I happen to celebrate Christmas in all it’s glory.  We enjoy time worshiping and fellowshipping with family, friends, eating delicious meals together, and of course the giving and receiving of gifts.  My children are old enough to know exactly what they want and usually pick it out.  We have always had a very limited budget on their gifts and have made that clear to them.  We started this when we couldn’t afford much but continued the tradition because we didn’t want Christmas to become a “want” fest or a “pout because I didn’t get it ALL” fest.

This limit means that they sometimes can choose to have grandma and mom collaborate on a gift that may be more expensive than my budget allows. It also means that they can connect money from birthday past or future to get a larger gift.  The limit also makes them very aware of the cost of their toys and the power of thinking about how you spend your money.

Our family has always been a giving family.  We have family in El Salvador that we help on a regular basis.  It is nice to know that they benefit from what we are able to give.  Recently we have also been helping out a family from our community with some basic needs and building relationships. I believe that our frugality in giving to our children (during holidays) has allowed us to save and be able to give to others more generously.

The hardest part of the holiday’s is BUSY-ness.  I hate that we are so busy during this season of the year.  So busy that we wake up tired, go to bed tired, don’t get done what we want to (see boxes of Christmas ornaments STILL in boxes in my living room), and then end up feeling incredibly stressed out and cranky.

I want that to stop.  I want to have an afternoon like I did today.  I went to visit a friend because our boys had a sleep over.  I kept looking at the clock thinking that I had to rush but time nearly stood still for 2 hours. We chatted and laughed.  We listened to each other and chatted with our children.  It was a wonderful rest in an otherwise incredibly busy time of year.

Tomorrow I go back to the grind.  We have 5 more class days left until “winter break” AKA Christmas break for 2 weeks.  That will be filled with busy too.  (I know I will eventually write about that so you’ll have to wait and see what that busyness looks like.)

The best part of all this busyness is that I can control my busy.  My friend at work had nothing planned for the weekend, on purpose.  She decided that she needed to control the busy in her holiday season.  I admire that ability to control the busy.

What if you couldn’t control the busy? What if there were someone telling you when to wake up, when and what to eat, if you could sit or stand to work, and you had no choice but to listen? That sort of busy you couldn’t control.  I know I have said this statistic before but the number kept rolling around in my head, according to IJM there are 29.8 billion people in slavery.  They are kept busy without controlling why or how they are busy.  It isn’t because they are taking children places or making fun gifts for family and friends.  It isn’t because they are working at a job they love.  It is because they are in bondage.  I am trying to help make a difference for people in bondage.  I am asking that people who read my blog this month learn more about modern human slavery, say a prayer for those who are fighting slavery and those who are in bondage, or donate to my giving campaign. I am wearing dresses all month.  This is way out of my character but it is my choice.  I am able to choose to wear a dress.

Please consider stepping out of your comfort zone this month and learning about this human tragedy that is a very real and pressing issue.

What a wonderful Saturday!

Standard

Fotor_141852195032856

Today began with an alarm that was set for 6:22 PM.  I had a meeting to be at at 7:30 am and a friend who needed a ride to the meeting coming at 7:00 am. ACK!

Still wore a dress though.  Didn’t feel like it and it would have been so easy to just wear some sweats and a tshirt.  It was 29 degrees when I went out this morning.  Not my kind of dress weather.

Got home from my meeting and went to a wedding for a very dear pair of friends.  Such a beautiful celebration of love. I made a point of taking a picture with the bride so you could see how beautiful she was today.

On the way home I had to stop and get gas from the “cheap” gas station.

For some reason, we are always in need of entertainment at every moment of our days.  There is a TV on the gas pump that shows news and other clips of interest.  The first time I saw this I was a little ticked that I couldn’t have the outside noise while I pumped gas, have a few minutes away from the constant bombardment.

Tonight, when I stopped for gas I heard an interesting article about instagram.  Apparently they have a lot of people who use instagram. Try 300 million!

What if all those users took a stand for something they believed in as opposed to making it all about themselves?

I have to say I post pictures of food, my cats, kids, and random tchotchkes.  Every once in a while (when it isn’t Dressember) I post pictures of myself but usually there are other people in the pictures.

I had an immediate thought while I was at the gas station: what if all 300 million people posted about freeing slaves once an hour, a day, a week, or even a month?  What if?  People I talk to are surprised that I am doing this project.  Maybe because it is me or the dresses.  I think it is more because of the slaves.  It is something we teach our children is history.  It is the now story though and needs to be addressed.

I know I cannot save everyone who is enslaved but with your help I can help to rescue one. Go to my Dressember donation site, say a fervent prayer for those enslaved, or go and check out the IJM website to see what else you can do to make a difference.

I know today’s blog wasn’t really moving or an epiphany like past posts but seriously, if we are on social media’s we shouldn’t just play the PC line and “not step on toes” but try to show people how much we can love others and use it to help as many as we can.

I am working on it and trying to be brave by stepping out. You should join me.

Exhausted on day 12

Standard

I am exhausted. Like take a nap at work exhausted (I didn’t BTW). There is no reason for me to be exhausted. None at all, but I am exhausted. I started my day planning my nap.

I woke up this morning so tired. I was also cold.  I stumbled out of bed and to the shower.  Turned it on so the water, warm in the basement, could travel up the pipes, cold from disuse for the past 24 hours, and be moderately warm when it hit my back as I washed myself for the day ahead.  The water covered me with warmth like bed sheets keeping me from the cold December morning. I don’t remember most of my shower. My eyes were burning like I hadn’t slept in days. I felt like the morning after being up all night for finals, a baby who wouldn’t sleep, or any number of other reasons people don’t sleep and feel tired in the morning.

I thought about that nap all day. I left work on time and went to my mom’s to take a nap but instead ended up doing other things. When I left to go get my son at school I napped(-ish) while I waited for him to come to the car. Then headed to target for milk (I have teenage boys,  need I say more?). Finally. I get home and to my bed. A nap!

But that was to be put off so I could help get something from the carport and into the basement. Finally, after wanting a nap since 545 this morning….at 455 this evening I get a nap. A laying down, under covers, pillow under head nap. But I could only rest for 20 minutes because I had a wedding rehearsal to go to.

Normally this sort of day would be one to complain about due to having to cram so much into one day. But reflecting on my purpose this month I have no reason to complain.

I get to choose all of those things. I have the luxury of napping. I have the luxury of buying milk for my children. I have the luxury of attending weddings and celebrating beautiful things.

All of this because of a nap.  I wanted to just nap.  I had the blessing of working with students all day at a job I enjoy.  I could quit if I wanted to do so.  No-one would track me down if I quit.  I would be able to find another job with reasonable ease.  I may even make more money at the new job.  I am truly blessed.

In case you haven’t noticed I am raising money for IJM to free people from bondage.  People who do not have the luxury of showers, warm comfy beds, jobs they want to go to in the morning, weddings to attend, and so many things I often take for granted.

Fotor_141843950234384

Today’s dress is a repeat.  I am already deciding what next year’s campaign will look like.  I don’t know if in a year I will finally be brave enough to wear the same dress 31 days in a row.  That is a big commitment with all the holiday festivities and teaching high school.  Making the commitment this year to participate in the adventure has been eye opening and refreshing for me.  I am so glad I am not even half way done and more is yet to come. The writing every day is helping me stay focused to my purpose.  If even one person can be freed during the campaign then that one starfish has been saved. I don’t want to take things for granted any more.

That being said, I am still exhausted and I have another long day ahead tomorrow.  I am going to bed.

 

 

 

Throwback Thursday the 11th day of dresses

Standard

Fotor_141834775501118

If today’s dress looks familiar, that’s because it is.  I wore it on Saturday.  I have had people comment on how they don’t have 31 dresses or how they just could’t do this because they would be uncomfortable.

Last year, I thought the same thing and that is what kept me from participating in Dressember last year.  Quite frankly, if this Dressember event was only about fashion or a dress I wouldn’t be participating in it.  I am not one for being fashionable (enjoying fashion is another story!  I love seeing amazing designers work come down a runway).  I am typically a “is it clean? I’m wearing it” kinda girl.  It really doesn’t even matter to me if I match, Because matching is, well, overrated IMHO.

I also don’t like to do things because the crowd does them.  This however, is very different.  I am wearing dresses because other people in the world are disenfranchised and need a voice.  I have a voice and it has an audience.  It may be a small audience of 10-15 per day but it may grow it ways I couldn’t imagine.

Here’s where I tell the starfish story.

Each year in my sophomore class I have my student’s do a county required research paper.  Topics have included but are not limited to: what college do you want to go to, what do you want to be when you grow up, where do you come from, how to buy a bed (or other furniture), etc.

Anyway, last year I began to hear more and more about people around the world who were hurting.  Why hadn’t I heard about them prior to this or maybe it just didn’t register with me (self-centered often?)? In January of 2014 I got the book The Locust Effect and I have to be honest, I have yet to read past page 20 it is a raw and tough book to read.  All the sorrow and suffering contained in those first few pages was enough for me at this point (I will try to finish it because it is important information).

I shared a few statistics from the book with my students because last year I decided the random research paper needed to be something of worth and my students wrote papers about social change.  They were in awe with the statistics and the paper idea.

To encourage their teen abilities (because they are larger than we give them credit) I told them the starfish story:

A couple was walking down the beach in the coming darkness of evening.  Every few minutes the man bent over to pick something up and throw it in the water.  This happened 5 or 6 times before the woman asked, “What are you throwing in the water? Shouldn’t you put that in the trash?” The man didn’t immediately answer but continued walking and leaned over again shortly to pick something up and showed it to the woman. “See, it’s a starfish.” And with that he threw the starfish back in the water.  The couple continued walking along the shore line and again the man bent over to pick up a starfish.  The lady asked, “Why are you wasting your time?  It is likely that the starfish is already dead.” The man took the flash light that they had been using to help them see a few feet in front of them and show the beam out farther down the surf.  “See all the other starfish that are out there? What if they aren’t dead yet and just need help getting back in the water? They all need help. While I may not be able to save all of them, if I try and save one or two or as many as I am able, I have made a difference for those starfish.”  With that the lady bent over and picked up a starfish and threw it in the water too.  “Now there will be twice as many starfish that will be saved” she said as they continued to walk along the beach picking up starfish and throwing them in the ocean as they went.

You may have heard that story before. My students hadn’t. I embellish it and change it a little bit every time I tell it but the basic story stays the same: you only need to rescue what you can and that will be enough. My students took away the biggest part, they can be world changers even if they only reach one person with their desire to make change in the world.  You never know what will happen with that one person, how far their reach will go.

IJM does what it can but it can only do so much without the help of people like you and me.  We are the other person and IJM is the man throwing the starfish.  We think he is crazy for a few minutes and then realize his work is important to the greater good of the world.

What greater good will you do today?  Will you learn more about IJM’s purpose?  Will you pray about the people that IJM helps free from suffering and slavery?  Will you donate to the cause through my giving site on dressember? Will you find and read The Locust Effect? (link to my daughters bookstore website is HERE) What will you do?  Please help in some way. There are people out there who need a voice.  Be their voice.