Because I am Pro-Woman I Must Speak…

Pro-woman

 

**LONG, but important Post**

This blog post is not my typical material but I feel it is so very important. It all boils down to respect and ensuring that women know and understand their value and worth. I tread carefully as I write this because it is indeed a very sensitive topic but I also don’t tread carefully because way too many people do tread carefully. We need to face this problem head on, eye to eye. It really is a matter of life and death.

 The tension is very real right now. As the movie “Fifty Shades of Grey” is about to come out on Valentine’s Day this coming weekend you feel the tension between those who want to see it and those who totally oppose it. There is tons of conversation about this movie because of all the topics that it brings to the surface. There is tons of fighting going on because of this movie as well. You can even feel the activity in the Heaven-lies as the struggle is spiritual as well.

I don’t want to really get into the movie very much. I have not read the books and I do not plan to see the movie. I know I cannot speak from much knowledge of the content except from what I have researched. The movie will come and go with time. The conversations, the fights, and the whispers will fade as the next big thing comes on our radar. If anything, I can be thankful for this movie because it sure has opened the door for many conversations. It has opened up dialogue.

What I have been thinking about is the much larger issue that surrounds this movie. Honestly, the movie is just a pawn of a much bigger problem. It is problem that must be addressed. I confess I have a fear about me as I type this because I know taking a stand means stepping on a lot of toes. But, how can we even fathom change without stepping on toes? How can we even claim to live boldly when we step back because we might offend someone? I have pondered this for a long time and I knew I had to write something but I have avoided the issue for so long. I didn’t want to get involved. Sure, a post here and there on Facebook was great and all but that is so easy. Open the door, drop the post on my timeline, and close the door back up again and stay in my safe and secure condo. I am learning too much that I have reached the point where I can not stay quiet anymore. I must be willing to take a stand and be willing to suffer the consequences. (“Suffer” may be a bit harsh but, whatever).

I tread carefully here because I want to take a stand but I know I am dealing with hearts and minds. I, in no way, want to come across as “better than” or self-righteous. I am a sinner saved by grace. I am in need of Jesus the same as anyone else. But, I am also a follower of Christ who stands on His Word.

At “She is Clothed with Strength”, we stand on the Scripture that says “She is clothed with strength and dignity; she can laugh at the days to come.” (Proverbs 31:25) Originally, I chose that scripture for my business because I wanted women to know their strength in the gym and outside the gym. Since then I have come to focus more on the dignity part of that verse. I have come to realize that women need to know their worth and their value. One way I work towards that goal is through reshaping food and exercise habits and helping women to know that their worth and value has nothing to do with a number on the scale or what size of clothes she wears. I help women to break free from the dieting mentality and trying to fit in certain boxes. I know the pain because I was there. I know the pain of disordered eating because you want to feel good about yourself. You want to feel worthy because you fit in certain clothes or you look a certain way. It can be such long and hard road finding your value and worth. Trust me, I know.

I want to women to know how awesome they are. I want them to know they are LOVED. I want them to know they do indeed have immense value and they are so much more than what society wants to tell them. For that reason, I have to speak out about a problem that has been in our midst for a very long time but is coming to the surface because of a certain movie.

 Pornography.

Wow. I NEVER thought I would write anything about this topic. But, my eyes have been opened to a world that I would much rather avoid but as William Wilberforce said, “You may choose to look the other way, but you can never say again that you did not know.” Here’s the thing. I can’t look the other way anymore. I cannot look away from the complete attack on a woman’s value and worth that pornography is . I just can not. He also said, “A private faith that does not act in the face of oppression is not faith at all.” Wow! Indeed. I must act. Or Speak. Or write. Whatever.

(Note: This article is not about rights and whether or not anyone has the right to consume pornography. I support liberty and I support choices. You have the liberty to choose pornography. I also have the liberty to choose to oppose it and speak out against it.)

Of course, when you mention pornography most people think about the visual kind. I’m talking about the magazines, the images online, and the movies. But, we mustn’t forget that written word can be just as much pornographic as the images. Some people call it “Mommy Porn” and many dismiss it as not being pornography because it is “literature” and just not the same. Porn is porn. Period. I lump it all into one category of Pornography.

I love the quote “Those who oppose pornography are not anti-sex. They are simply wise enough to recognize that pornography is poison. When used as a substitute for love, it is the equivalent of giving salt water to a man dying of thirst—it will merely inflame the desire further without bringing any satisfaction.” (Source)  Indeed. I am not anti-sex. The opposite is true. I am very pro-sex.

You see, pornography cheapens sex and it cheapens women’s bodies. It takes an otherwise beautiful outward expression of deep love between two people and makes it into something to be consumed and spit out by others. And then those who want to take a stand against such a thing are called “Old-fashioned” , “prudish”, and “anti-sex.” When in reality, those of us “old-fashioned” folks are the ones who are loving and supporting sex for what it really, truly is.

“I am not anti-sex, although I don’t particularly object to being called old-fashioned. I am, however, very anti-porn—and that is because pornography is rapidly turning healthy, loving, and committed relationships into something “old-fashioned.” It is robbing the current generation of their ability to enjoy life-long and happy commitments.” (Source)

I have always known about pornography, visual and written word, and I have always known it was something I should not consume. Sure, I’ve read a few pages here and there but whenever I did I did not like the desires it lit up inside me. I knew that my addictive personality could go way too far with that and I am so very happy that I knew deep down inside this was something to avoid at all costs.

I am just like anyone else when I would see the smut magazines in the convenience stores or hidden away in someone’s house. But, whenever I would see these publications I couldn’t help thinking that this woman was someone’s daughter and perhaps someone’s mother. I just couldn’t understand how such publications were evident of freedom or liberation. Sure, the women most likely made the choice to be published in this way but to my young mind I just couldn’t see how that was respectful of her, the model. Those pictures, and ultimately the model, were to be consumed, like food. Like meat. She was not seen for who she really is. A soul. A person who desires love just like the rest of us.

Long story short, I knew about pornography and I knew I did not like what it did to me or how it treated women. So, I avoided it.

Jump ahead to now and I attended a conference at my local church. The all-day conference was on the topic of Human Trafficking or Sex Slavery. Whoah! How in the world does one choose to spend all day on such a heavy topic. I don’t know, really. All I know is that God spoke into my spirit and I knew I had to attend. There is way too much information to share in one blog post but I walked out of there mentally and emotionally exhausted. And I learned how that thing I would see in the stores and would walk right on by because I didn’t like how it made me feel is the ‘entry drug’ to a much deeper and darker world. Yes, those images you glance at at the store or read in that novel are just the wading pool of an ocean of much bigger and more evil acts.

“Whoa Whoa Whoa…..why are we discussing human sex trafficking?! I don’t participate in that!” You are right. You probably don’t. But, here’s the thing. While we may not actively participate in such a heinous act we can support the industry that it comes from.

There is a distinct link between pornography and sex trafficking. There is a path set out before us that goes from casually viewing images at the convenience stores to viewing images online to viewing videos online to watching more hard core images/videos online to actually acting out the fantasies with a girl who has bought for her body. It is the nature of addiction. You keep trying more hard core things to get the high that just keeps disappearing.

Okay, we’ll leave that there. I really don’t want to spend this article writing about girls being bought and sold against their wills. (You have no IDEA how common this is…..right in your own town.). It is huge business.

This is why I stay away from any form of pornography, including “Mommy Porn.” This is why I stay away from movies such as “Fifty Shades of Grey.” I cannot and will not ever support abuse of any kind. I stay away because I believe in every woman’s value and worth. Every woman is a soul who is loved by her Creator. She is not a tool to be used. She is not a commodity to be bought and sold. She is not a piece of meat to be leered at.

I take a stand against pornography of all kinds because I love women. I love their beauty. I love their hearts. I love their souls. And since I would never want to be treated like property I stand for all other women who are treated like property or who are in fact, someone else’s property. All women matter. Period.

Yes, “Fifty Shades of Grey” is that serious. I will not be at the movie theater that night because I am very much pro-woman and I am pro-sex.

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Because I am Pro-Woman I Must Speak…

Blessed

We are so BLESSED!!!!! It is absolutely amazing to think about how blessed we are.

Around July 4th I started reading Jen Hatmaker’s book ‘7’. I had heard good things about it from friends and had perused it one day while at church. I was intrigued with the premise and decided to check it out from the library. I was warned, though, that I would be encountering some rather profound and life-shaking stuff in there. I was ready. Or was I?

The tagline of the books is “an experimental mutiny against excess.” The author took seven months to react against the excess we have here in America. Each month she intentionally decreased in seven areas: clothes, shopping, waste, food, possessions, media, and stress. All the while she writes about other parts of the world that have far less.

I could go on and on and on about this book. It has really opened my eyes more to bigger things. Wow! I am truly humbled.

But, I have also been pondering beyond the seven things mentioned in the book. What about fitness and exercise? What about being picky about eating nutritious, on-plan foods.

The very fact that I can spend my time writing a blog encouraging women to exercise more is astounding to me.

Think about it.  We have enough leisure time each day that we can choose to spend it being lazy or productive.  We don’t have to worry about whether or not we have gotten the water yet.  We don’t have to worry about standing in line for hours to get our daily rations.

Rations…..

Wow.  I am floored at how blessed we are.  I can be picky about what I eat. I have the ability to choose between junk food and healthy food.  It is not a matter of do I or do I not eat today let alone do my children eat today or not. And when we are blessed to receive food of any kind there is no opportunity to choose.  We are just thrilled to have food in our bellies for that day at least.

Then I think about how I exercise.  Most of the time I get in my fully functioning car and I drive to the gym for the sole purpose of molding my body into what I consider healthy.

There are so many points here…

My car….

Free time…

That I have excess fat on my body that I actually want to get rid of…

That I have to go to a gym to work my muscles the way I think they should be worked….

WOW!!!!

We are truly BLESSED!!!!

I know this is rambling on and on.  Can you tell that I am absolutely amazed and humbled right now?  Do I feel guilty for pursuing fitness as a hobby and career?  NO!  Should you feel guilty about being choosy about how healthy your food is?  No!

We live in a blessed country.

But, I think we should also enjoy the benefits of the USA with our eyes wide open to the rest of the world.  We are not an island.  There are people out there who don’t even know what fitness is because they are just struggling to stay alive.  There are people out there who are so thankful for the one bowl of rice and beans  (if that) they got that day that the idea of eating one thing and not the other is beyond their imagination.

(Side note:  I remember watching the Oprah show years ago and she was interviewing immigrants and their perception of America.  One person was from Ireland and grew up there during an especially bad famine.  This person mentioned how he could not wrap his brain around the odd concept of a ‘diet’ or eating disorder.  I was humbled then too.)

I guess I am just trying to get my thoughts on paper.  It is therapeutic to write. I really could go on and on but I believe you got the idea.  You have gotten a peak into my heart. Thank you for listening.

My take away point?

I ask that we ALL (me included) keep a global perspective.  No guilt for being blessed enough to live here. Just eyes wide open to what is going on elsewhere.  Perhaps we can help those people somehow.  I don’t know.  But, I know my head has come out of the sand and it is not gong back in.

Blessed

Childhood Cancer, St. Baldrick’s Day, and Why My Hair is so Short

Hey!!  I guess it is time for you to get a picture of the person behind the website.  I did this quickly with my phone so please excuse the quality. 😉

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HELLO!! Nice to meet you!!  I am Sarah of “That Annoying Fit Girl” and I have very short hair.   No, having short hair does not define me or make me special.

I wanted to share with you why I have such short hair.

I confess I started the process of getting this short hair when I was having a really bad hair day.  HaHa!!  I was not happy and while perusing Facebook I saw a friend posted some information about St. Baldrick’s Day.  I was intrigued to say the least.  What started as a rather vain mood turned into something awesome and life changing for me.

What is St. Baldrick’s Day?

It is all about funding research in the battle against childhood cancer.  Here are some interesting facts from the St. Baldrick’s Foundation website.

    • More children are lost to childhood cancer in the US than any other disease–more than any other childhood diseases combined.
    • Before they turn 20, 1 in 300 boys and 1 in 333 girls will be diagnosed with cancer.
    • And, Worldwide a child is diagnosed with cancer every three minutes.

Here is a video I came upon while researching and it impacted me deeply.

Scary, huh?

As I learned about the severity of childhood cancer I looked at my HEALTHY child and I knew I had to do something. I thanked the sweet Lord above for protecting my child from this horrible disease. He is healthy or at least he is for now. I know he is not immune.

I know that if Little Bodybuilder were to be diagnosed with cancer I want state-of-the-art research in place. I want the absolute BEST care for him. And for that to happen this amazing research must be funded.

That is where organizations like the St. Baldricks Foundation come into play. This is a way that private citizens can truly make a differnce by fundraising.

You have heard of organizations like Locks of Love and Pantene Beautiful Lengths where you grow your hair out and then have it cut off so wigs can be made for cancer patients who can’t afford a wig. They are all awesome causes. I have grown my hair out super long and cut for these causes twice now.

I wanted to do something new and different.

What makes St. Baldrick’s unique? You shave your head. 🙂 Yes, SHAVE it. There is no snipping of the ponytail and then styling a cute bob. You sit in a chair and a volunteer with barber clippers shaves down to the scalp.

YES!!! I love it.

I signed up to be a shavee this year back in March. I raised a total of $330 and I figure that is pretty darn good for a first timer. 🙂 Then on March 23rd I had my head shaved.

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In the process of it all coming off. My heart rate was so high. I couldn’t believe I was actually doing it.

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Freshly shaven. 😉

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Post shave Starbucks wearing the beanie I crocheted for the event. It was COLD outside. I had no idea how much heat hair holds in.

It was an amazing experience. I was scared but thrilled to lose all my hair. Just by darn luck I ended up in the lady’s chair who had a small guard on her clippers. So, I wasn’t shaved quite to the skin. But, it was just as dramatic.

I do want to make a special shout-out to my ever loving and supportive husband. He was so supportive through all of this even though he said he loves my hair. Thank you so much, Honey.

With my hair the way it is I have had tons of opportunities to share why with people. It is amazing how many people have asked me why my hair is so short or even if I have cancer. No, I praise the Lord I am healthy but I chose to stand in solidarity with those who aren’t so lucky and bravely lose their hair as they fight Cancer. I have had people who are in the midst of he battle tell mewhat it meant to them that I did this.

I am humbled by it all. I had no idea where one bad hair day would take me. I shaved my head and raised $330 for childhood cancer. THAT, folks, is amazing.

Would you consider helping to make a difference? My fundraising account stays active even after the event. Feel free to visit my profile and donate whatever you feel is appropriate. And who knows, I just might have to do it again. I have been told that participating in St. Baldrick’s Day can be addictive.

Childhood Cancer, St. Baldrick’s Day, and Why My Hair is so Short