Breakups stink.

Let’s just expose the elephant in the room for what it is: I broke up with my boyfriend a week ago.

No, I’m not okay. Yes, that is why I haven’t blogged in two weeks.

I know that I’m not obligated to share with the world-wide web why we broke up, but I’m willing to give you the cliff-notes. He was a great guy with morals and character who was a passionate Christian and who loved to love me, but in the end we simply weren’t right for each other. And if I can’t see myself marrying someone, I will not put them through a relationship that exists merely for my own entertainment.

It was probably one of the hardest decisions I’ve ever had to make. It is difficult to look at myself with any kind of respect when I knowingly gave back a heart of gold and said “I want more in life.” But my mom is pretty wise, and as I blubbered in her arms she reminded me that God has given us desires for a reason, and we are to pray for the desires of our hearts.

I want SO MUCH for my life. I want to go, do, see, and be! And here’s a secret:

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That’s right, I am a young, lively 21 year old with my whole life ahead of me and I want so desperately to share it with someone else. I don’t want to live my life alone and then get married, settle down and raise a family! If my husband is going to be my best friend, my leader, my protecter, provider, and pursuer, my soundboard, my comforter, my mentor, my guide, and my love, then I sure hope he finds me soon cause he is going to be AH-MAY-ZING.

However, there is one point on which I will stand resolute: I will not go looking for him.

I am horrible at being content in singleness, but as a dear friend pointed out, I can be content in Christ in my singleness. I have no need to try to hook an amazing guy and convince him I’m an amazing girl. I know who I am in Christ, and it’s his job to find out.

So… where to go from here? I’m single, and I’m not okay right now. I will be, in time. I’m not desperate, I’m not alone, and I’m not hopeless. There may be pain in the night, but joy comes in the morning.

And it will be a beautiful morning.

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I’m a size 16 and I’m not happy about it.

A rising trending topic is the subject of Beauty.

As any woman on Instagram or Pintrest will admit, we see images of women we deem more “beautiful” than us, perhaps due to a thinner waistline, a prettier pout, or more luxurious locks. And on the other side of the spectrum, there are warriors out there (Beauty Redefined) trying to help womankind by flooding media with messages that translate “You are beautiful the way you are. Don’t compare yourself. Magazine models are not real women.”

I’m in the middle of an inner conflict.

It’s not that I don’t understand or even disagree with the message of self-acceptance, or that I can’t believe that I’m beautiful, no matter what the size tag says. I know that I am beautifully and wonderfully made by a Creator who knit the world together – and He doesn’t make junk.

So why is it so hard to not cringe when someone tags me in a picture on Facebook when I wasn’t aware that my lower abdomen was pouching out? Why do I have to take 327 selfies to get just the right angle where my double-chin is minimized, my legs look longer, my belly seems flatter, and my hands don’t look like sausages? Basically, in my head, I see myself as this:

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I’ll admit it: I am a size 16, and I hate it. I hate clothes shopping and passing the sizes that fit me 4 years ago. Mirrors and cameras (in someone else’s hands) scare me.

And I’ll be double-honest, I think I’m prettier on the other side of my face. I generally like who I am and I believe that I’m good at things and that I’m intelligent. I just don’t like to look at myself.

So I took a reality check last night as I stared in the mirror. I was tempted to criticize my sagging curls, the circles under my eyes, and the little red spots that clutter my complexion, but I tried to look past all of that and see myself with love.

Here’s what I saw:

1. I have sincere and honest eyes (that change color! hey hey!).

2. My teeth are naturally white and straight, and my smile helps others be themselves.

3. My dimples (yes… the unfortunate adorable dimples) prove genuine joy.

4. My arms are a great length for hugs.

5. You will never catch my hair looking the same way twice – and I don’t have to do a thing to it.

6. I inherited my mother’s fabulous fingernails. (Seriously, they’re like my favorite. Not too short, not too skinny!)

7. The stretch marks… well. Let’s just say every stripe represents a delicious meal. And I rarely regret good food.

I’m still a size 16. I’m still not happy about it. But I do know that I am talented, intelligent, and resourceful with more to offer this world than an attractive profile picture. And as I hit the gym and the salad bar I will remember that my goal is not to achieve a standard set by the media and my peers but to be the best, healthiest version of myself I can be.

It’s the camera’s fault.

I was sweating bullets.

Yes, it was nearing “Melting” on the heat index, but that’s not why I had a sudden perspiration problem. It was finally time to take Brooklinn’s senior photos.

Convinced of my impending failure, I talked my boyfriend into doing some test shots with me so I could cram some last second practicing in. Looking back, this was a mistake. I love him, but he just can’t get the hair-flip, hand-on-hip, glamorous-grin pose down. 

Thankfully, Brooklinn can’t get the hair-flip, hand-on-hip, glamorous-grin pose down either as she hiked through a field in a sundress and cowboy boots with a pocket knife hooked on the left boot. And double thankfully, she is extremely photogenic (when she’s not distracted by squirrels or the wind blowing or rambunctious brothers). 

As it turns out, we had a great time. Here are the best of the best. 

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And just because he was such a doll for helping me out, here’s one of my boyfriend. 🙂

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Family is like granola….

We’re just a bunch of nuts, fruits and flakes.

This weekend I’m spending time in southern Pennsylvania with my mothers family.

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Since I haven’t been up here in about 6 years, this trip was bound to be interesting. 3 of my cousins had gotten married and there are now 3 little cousins and one on the way. My grandma has had Alzheimer’s for 2 7 years, and my grandpa has dementia. My aunt and mom tend to dress alike. Since I’ve been here, my mom has started calling me by my aunt’s name, Nancy.

Sigh.

I had pretty high hopes on the flight up, but I’ve got to admit, it was weird seeing my cousins again for the first time in so long. It was like I know you, but I don’t know you, should I hug you? Oh, high five. Okay, I can handle that. Whoa, that’s your 4 year old kid….

My mom was getting on to me for not using my people skills and getting my cousins to talk to me, but how do you say, “hey, I’ve creeped you on Facebook for the last 6 years, so I have a general idea of who you are/what you do, but do you mind filling in the gaps for me?”

The best part of being here so far is meeting Addie. She is the smartest almost-four-year-old I have ever met, and stinking hilarious. I was playing with her for nearly an hour the day she got here, and every time her princess horse got into a catastrophe, she would say, “oh, that’s too bad.”

I’ll be here until Tuesday, so stay tuned. For now, I’m going to go surprise my grandma (again) that I’m here in Pennsylvania to see her.