Tag Archives: love

13, 26, and all the years between: A letter from me to you

I’ve never been much of a “birthday” person. Very few stand out to me, but 13 did. Year 13 had an impact as the age I woke up and thought “it’s all different here on out and I’m lost.”

Well, I turned 26 a few weeks ago, and I realized that I essentially just turned 13 twice. Babies born on my 13th birthday just reached the same milestone.

I hope in the 13 years since I turned 13 that I’ve become a little wiser and that, maybe, I have my crap together.

So, to all the 13-year-olds from the lady double your age:

Welcome to 13! I’m sorry there was no parade. You really deserved a parade, but I hope at least one person made your day as special as you are. If no one did, then let me tell you how wonderful you are.

You’re on the edge of something truly phenomenal. You’re shedding your baby years and embarking on a new adventure. Thirteen may feel like the “bottom of the barrel” in terms of teenage hierarchy, but you’re starting fresh. You have seven solid years of adventure ahead of you and nothing behind you to muck it up.

Maybe I’m behind on the times, but I think one’s heart never truly breaks until you hit 13. All those failed crushes before this are child’s play compared to what you’re in for, kid. And it’s ok. Because while you’re knee-deep in heartbreak, you’ll find whose arms are loyal and steadfast, and you’ll learn a thing or two about people who drop you in a “trust fall.”

Take time for yourself. Take time to be sad and to sulk, and don’t let anyone make you feel bad for a pity party. You throw that pity party and smother your emotions in cake and ice cream because if you won’t have compassion for that dear little heart of yours, who will? But for every sad day, have three happy ones.

Don’t be so hard on yourself. I know you hate your body with your mind, but love it with your soul until your mind catches up. Maybe you’re too thin or not thin enough or your acne shows up when it should just kick rocks, but, baby, you’re beautiful. Every bump and roll and cowlick makes you perfect and lovely and worthy of hearing how you beautiful you are every single day.

You’re going to love that boy or girl who everyone tells you not to. It’s just a fact – you’re going to do it. But let me beg you, please listen to the people who love you. They understand and know more than you think. And even when you ignore that piece of advice and turn your back on everyone for this person who makes your heart race like too much coffee on Christmas morning and then tears through your soul, those people, the good ones, will still catch you. They’ll join you on the floor of Rock Bottom and hold you while you cry. Don’t give those people up.

People are going to harass you to make life decisions when you’re far too young to worry about adult things, but stick to one solid decision: be happy. If it doesn’t make you happy – don’t do it. Life was meant to be celebrated, little one. And please be little and small and child-like as long as possible. The world will wait to be saved, and in a really special way, you’re saving the world just by being in it. That’s how important you are.

Gosh, I love you. And I guess it’s creepy that some 26-year-old lady who you’ve never known loves you, but you’ll do lots of creepy things between now and when you’re 26, so call me creepy then, ok?

And when you’re 26, share what life has taught you with the new 13-year-olds. I know you’ll be incredibly wise and spunky.

Be courageous. Be rad. Be you.

rad

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His.

In the swirling, hectic busyness of my life lately, He grabbed my attention. He used three simple words to catch my heart, stop my mind, and breathe life into my spirit.

“I have you.”

He looks past my frazzled, anxious, whiny exterior and loves me to my very core. And while I weep in His presence from fatigue, confusion, frustration, and so many other emotions, I beg Him to answer why He accepts this hot mess of a woman.

It’s then that I realize He doesn’t JUST accept me. He is not a sorority and He doesn’t care anything about my “qualifications.”

HE CHOOSES ME.

He actively pursues me through every door I slam in His face. Through every ignored helping hand. Through every spiteful word or hateful thought. He chooses this woman. He chooses me.

I’m stumbling through this life in my own stubborn, independent way but He catches me every time. When I am too fatigued to walk forward, He carries me but let’s me believe I am doing it on my own because He knows how important that is to me. He looks at what I create every day and smiles.

He approaches every second with me the way a father does a child. Because I am His child. In the midst of my determination to do things right and become a successful adult, I forget I am still a child in the eyes of my Creator. He gazes at me with affection and warmth when I succeed and grieves when my spirit and heart grieve.

I can never grow up and mature beyond God.

And I realize in this moment I never, ever want to. I will never outgrow being His.

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The one where I get a little bit “ranty”

If I could petition the nerds who run the dictionary business, I would request the word “beautiful” be stricken from its pages.

Why? Because I don’t appreciate anyone or anything trying to trap “beautiful” within any kind of boundaries. How can we so easily define a word that encompasses more than outward appearance but also a mindset and lifestyle?

Perhaps I’m deflecting my anger. The dictionary people aren’t the problem – society as a whole is. And while a definition for “beautiful” has been crammed alphabetically, in an impossibly tiny serif font for longer than I have been alive, the concept or standard for beauty has been trapped and crammed within every piece of pop culture for even longer.

And it’s all disgustingly surface level.

Romantic comedies portray beauty in the form of a thin, athletic woman with no split ends.

Rap music portrays beauty as curvy, buxom women with no inhibitions.

Books portray beauty in whatever is the object of the heartthrob’s affection. (Because that’s all that makes her worthy, of course!)

I could sit here for hours and list every piece of crap we have subconsciously consumed and let define our own personal definition for beauty, but that would just make me mad – mad at media and at myself.

It’s not that I don’t think Gwyneth is beautiful – I do. And I hate to disparage her or her beauty, but she’s a little nuts. (If you’ve never perused her site, GOOP, then you’ve been spared the torture that is rich elitism.)

But her extravagant “Spring must-have” list is not what bothers me, it’s her extreme diet I have an issue with. Truthfully, I don’t trust anyone who doesn’t have a pint of ice cream stashed at the back of their freezer for emergencies, but I especially don’t trust anyone whose sole treat is one cigarette a week simply because it has no calories.

Gwyneth’s slender physique is not a crime. Being skinny is not a crime any more or less than being fat is. It’s the method we should all be concerned with because it’s setting a standard that THIS is what the world should find universally beautiful and THIS is what it takes to achieve it.

Ok, I’m just going to say it. Gwyneth is annoying. She is probably the most narcissistic celebrity around, and I would never have lunch with her. I don’t agree with Gwyneth, but I don’t hate her. In fact, I feel sorry for her. I’m saddened by the overwhelming sense of worthlessness a person must be struggling with to survive off kale juice and hummus almost solely. But because she is outwardly beautiful – she gets to set the standard.

She is a rich woman who has made her eating disorder and extreme dysmorphia into a lifestyle brand and is marketing it worldwide. That is a serious problem.  And it is a serious problem for media to support it.

I’m not unaware of my own hypocrisy. I am a hypocrite for belittling Gwyneth’s accomplishment because she doesn’t fit MY definition for beauty. And I am a hypocrite because I’m against “The Most Beautiful Woman Alive” but I’m all for “The Most Beautiful Man Alive.”

But men and women are not the same. Things are not equal despite our best efforts. If a man suffers an eating disorder, it is serious news. Eating disorders for women are called “dieting.” There is a gross standard in this country for women. It only matters what you look like on the outside, and whatever lengths you must go through to achieve that appearance are justified by compliments about your hair or makeup rather than about your soul.

My heart aches for the women in this country, myself included, who will look at Gwyneth on that cover and wonder why we can’t be that. My heart aches for the women who will drag themselves through a grueling workout tonight for the sake of a number on a scale rather than for health. My heart aches for the little girls who are watching us every single day and believing the lies we think they can’t hear or see.

We can do better than this. We can care more than this. We can love better than this.

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A letter to America

Dear Friend,

Before I begin, please let me say that you are looking quite darling today, and I love you very much.

Now, let’s get down to business. This is a letter to you from me… about the election.

NO! WAIT! Please don’t leave. I really have something to say.

I want to tell you that no matter what happens in November, I am still going to love you. I want to tell you that no matter what family is living in the White House, I am still going to love you.

I am still going to place my hand over my heart and pledge allegiance to you. I am still going to support my brothers and sisters that fight for you. I am still going to wear an inordinate amount of red and blue, but mostly because I look really great in those colors, and it’s pretty awesome how that worked out.

I am sorry that we’ve forgotten about you. I am sorry that we have put certain people on TV that like to throw around completely inappropriate and derogatory terms for ratings and without a care for what’s in your best interest.

I am sorry that all you’ve ever wanted was unity, and we’ve thrown that away for silly hats shaped like elephants and donkeys. I am sorry that we’ve spent millions of dollars for political slander ads that only hurt and destroy. I am sorry that we’ve used social media to post terrible pictures of candidates instead of reaching out to old friends and asking how their day was and congratulating them on a new success.

I am sorry that we’ve forgotten that you are a big fan of religious freedom. I am sorry that we’ve turned our backs on one another for differing religious views rather than inviting someone over for coffee to discuss.

I am sorry that we’ve forgotten what great people have done in pursuit to make you the best you can be. And that many died in the process. Would Martin Luther King, Jr. be proud of what we’ve become? What about Ronald Reagan? I shudder to think what Lucille Ball would think of us. Because we all know I care a great deal about what Lucy thinks, and I stand by that, thank you very much.

I’ve failed you, friend. I’ve let my own political agendas get in the way of loving my brothers and sisters. I’ve let elections and debates stir in me hatred toward others and disgust for people who I normally love on non-election years.

Thank you for who you are. Thank you for letting me speak my mind and for allowing me to have this blog! Thank you for never judging me for the God I serve. Thank you for being organic and changing with the times. Thank you for having an awesome color scheme. Thank you for your cities and your country. Thank you for buying Alaska a long time ago. I’ve never been, but I know that we all really appreciate it. Thank you for being close to Canada because they gave us Ryan Gosling, and that makes them really awesome.

And thank you for changing your ways so many years ago so that I can vote for your future. I hope I don’t let you down. But I know that no matter who I vote for, that won’t be what lets you down. Forgetting that I am an American will be what breaks your heart.

I promise to never forget you, America.

I love you always.

Your friend and Texan,

Samantha Jo

“Look at the nations and watch—
and be utterly amazed.
For I am going to do something in your days
that you would not believe,
even if you were told.” Habbakuk 1:5

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Never Forget.

Today, we remember.

We remember a day that none will forget, even if we were able to.

As an educator, I have the task to educate a group of teenagers about a day that most of them have no recollection of, and the ones that do actually only have the memories their parents have imparted on them. I show them documentaries. Some cry feeling the weight of the towers when they crash and most giggle occasionally over the fashion choices of the early 2000s. This doesn’t make them heartless.

So what do I tell them? How do I tell them about the day we were all forever changed?

I tell them about what life was like as an 8th grader in 2001. They realize that I wasn’t much different from them. Then I tell them about sitting in a cold auditorium, confused and slightly annoyed. I looked around, played with my ponytail, and wondered why all of the teachers were crying. The principal asked if we knew what a “terrorist” was. A senior raised his hand and gave a definition he was proud of. He shouldn’t have been. He still hadn’t told me what that word meant.

The principal took a breath in and told us that our country was under attack. To cement his point, he turned on the television that had been rolled into the auditorium. Before our young, naive eyes, we watched buildings burn. We watched people jump from burning buildings. We watched journalists sit in silence watching the same footage and, for once in their careers, have nothing to say.

We were in shock.

I turned to my best friend and asked her if all of this was real. She shrugged. Nothing in our 13 years of life had prepared us for what had happened, what continued to happen, and what was yet to come.

I went home that afternoon and hugged my family tight. I’ve hugged them tighter since. Because that’s one thing the terrorists never planned on. They never planned that their heinous, evil attack would actually build a stronger country.

What I saw on September 11 shocked and saddened me. What I witnessed from Americans post-tragedy changed me forever.

Americans came together in the face of great terror and sadness. They donated blood, clothes, money, and time to each other in a sign of love and solidarity. We saluted the flag and held our country near to our hearts.

We became a stronger America. In the face of an election year, may we never forget that, regardless of political affiliation, we are all Americans. And united we stand.

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Friiii-ends.

I’m blessed with just flat-out amazing friends. They’re all so good at knowing when to lie to my face because sometimes I just need to hear that my gray hairs aren’t noticeable and that it’s OK if my clothes don’t really match at all. By the way, my clothes usually don’t match because I’m a four-year-old and am convinced that I make my own damn rules. But I digress; they’re also exponentially good at calling me out on my crap. You see, I have a selfish, entitled, bossy streak that runs a mile long. I’m used to making the decisions and if I allow someone else to make the decision then they had better choose what I wanted in the first place. It’s a twisted web. I’m honestly lucky to even have friends.

Recently, my best friend since we were five years old, inquired about this blog. To paraphrase the conversation, she simply asked if I ever got tired of all of it – doing the blog and being this person 24/7. I can’t deny that I was pretty offended at first. It’s a good thing the conversation was via text message because I would hate for anyone to have witnessed my grown-ass woman tantrum. There was some foot stomping and some huffing and puffing. I may have a pretty cry-face, but my angry-face resembles what I would imagine Harrison Ford’s ass looks like these days.

But she was right.

The truth is, I do get tired of “performing” all of the time. I adore making people laugh and writing posts that I think people will enjoy because that’s when I truly feel talented and special. But sometimes I’m not funny. Sometimes I’m boring. Sometimes I’m pissy (OK, that actually happens a lot). Sometimes I’m just tired, and nothing exciting or funny has happened in a long time.

I started this new blog to leave the old one behind and start fresh. I left the old one because I had started feel burdened by it. I felt so much pressure to make every post hilarious or, otherwise, people would stop reading. I was seeking approval from my blog stats. How sad is that?

What’s even more sad is that I switched to this new blog, and it became the same old song and dance.

I vowed that I would be completely transparent this time around and write about what my heart and mind are feeling and what pleases me rather than what I though would boost my blog stats. Now, I still love to see how many views I get in a day and such. And it’s not like I’m turning over a new leaf and becoming a new Sam or something because I still want worldwide recognition. Like Rachel Berry said: “I’m like Tinker Bell; I need applause to live.”

I’m so blessed to have had a friend call me out on the carpet and push me to be the best version of myself. Aren’t friends great like that? True friends love us not for our blog stats or careers or social status, but for our hearts and in tribute to the relationship that God has nurtured and built.

Friends are a mirror of what God is doing in each of our lives. When we are in a pit, our friends can see that. When we’ve gone a little bat-crap crazy, they can see that too. It is through their eyes that we can see the things that God wants to tell us. We can see the hurt, joy, anger, and love our actions cause simply by looking into the heart of a best friend.

Great friends are there when we need an “I love you” or a “You’re really being a brat right now.” For the record, most of my friends have to say both of those things to me daily. I guess that makes me a lovable brat.

Friendship is a topic that is talked about a lot, but rarely do we include the tough stories. The Biggity Blog will feature some of those stories. Tune in soon for some great stories from beautiful people about how friendship has impacted who they are.

This was sappy.

But they’re doing a remake of “Steel Magnolias” and I’m in a really dark, emotional place right now.

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Kony 2012: It’s not about you. It’s not about me. It’s about Uganda.

Invisible Children debuted their new social media movement titled Kony 2012 by posting an approximately 30 minute video on Tuesday. This video has caused a surge of support from all over the world of the mission to capture Joseph Kony for his crimes against humanity.

This post is not in response to the movement per say, but this is in reaction to the behavior I’ve seen exhibited by people in the wake of this cause sweeping the world.

I can’t say how disappointing it is to see people bicker over “jumping on the bandwagon” when it comes to things like this. Actually, it’s not just disappointing; it’s hateful, sad, pathetic, and terrible all wrapped up.

Truthfully, that 30 minute video did inspire more people to support the cause to stop Kony than anything Invisible Children has done in the last 10 years. But isn’t that the point? Isn’t the point to spread the word as far and as wide as humanly possible?

If that’s the case, then why are so many people upset about the overwhelming response to this movement? Why are so many people arguing over who has been a supporter of Invisible Children the longest? Why is how WE feel or OUR annoyance even a part of this discussion?!

Why? Why? Why?

Here’s where I have to be completely honest without being concerned about hurting feelings. If anyone is upset, hurt or angry about “bandwaggoners” and the sudden uprising of Invisible Children support, then they don’t support this organization for any of the right reasons.

Plain and simple.

It shouldn’t matter one iota if someone has been on board with this issue for 10 years or 10 minutes. What matters is that they are. I can tell you with 100 percent certainty that the founders of Invisible Children are THRILLED with the increase of support because they truly care about the situation in Uganda. If anyone is not thrilled, then they care about THEIR situation and how supporting Invisible Children makes them look to others.

Supporting a charity or a movement should come from one place and that’s love. And love comes from one place and that’s God.

My good friend, Jessica Pittman, spoke in her most recent devotional video about 1 Corinthians 13:4-7. One of the most profound things she said was that we should never assume that verse to be nothing more than a “coffee cup quote” because of its abundant use. That verse is a part of the Gospel and perfectly sums up what love is and looks like and what love isn’t and shouldn’t look like.

1 Corinthians 13:4-7 “Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not
self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.”

It doesn’t matter who has supported this organization the longest. It doesn’t matter who is going to hang up the most posters. It doesn’t matter. What matters is supporting this cause and supporting justice, truth and love.

Kony 2012 is not about “out-supporting” each other; it’s about loving our brothers and sisters in Uganda and helping them to live a better life. Applaud those around you for supporting this cause and encourage them to do so! Because if any part of supporting them is self-serving, then it’s not an act of love.

Let’s all lay down our envy and our pride and carry the true torches of love – patience, kindness, hope, trust, protection, joy and perseverance.

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The Ideal Husband List

I know I’m not alone when I say that, as a single woman, I dread opening the mailbox. For one reason alone – wedding invitations.

Not that I don’t love a good wedding because I so do. It combines most of my favorite things: love, dresses and cake. But a girl can only go to so many parties not focused on her before she begins to get the itch. Imagine years of big elaborate birthday parties for all of your friends and family but none for you. And I LOVE presents, y’all. This situation just doesn’t work for me. And being the terrible person I am, I’m at the point that I think I only want a husband for the sake of a wedding rather than a marriage. Yes, I am all that is wrong with America.

But it isn’t like fantasizing about my future husband is a new development. I am no different from the majority of girls on this planet. Imagining your hubs is as common as hating that girl in the third grade for having the same Lisa Frank binder as you. And every girl knows that a crucial part of husband-hunting is the “Ideal Husband List.”

When a girl is young, her “ideal husband list” (or IHL, for our purposes) is pretty simple. She chooses her favorite Disney prince, and that’s about the extent of it (I loved Eric from “The Little Mermaid” despite my lifelong fear of anything ocean-related). When she becomes a teenager, she lists all of the qualities that will piss her parents off royally plus a few angst-filled ones (sparkly vampire). When she graduates from high school, she either chooses ones aligned with a future lawyer or a frat boy based on her chosen social life. As college graduation draws near, things get tricky. Her IHL is no longer a game that can shift with her current flavor of the month. The thought of marriage is beginning to knock at her door, and no one wants to end up with a guido, mmmkay?

The hope in a young 20-year-old’s eyes should be indication enough about how long her list will be. She’s not a teenager anymore! Surely, marriage is just on the horizon, or at least a stable live-in boyfriend like Jennifer Aniston and Ben Affleck in “He’s Just Not That In To You.” Her list is loooooooooooooooong. And strangely specific.

Her list will include the gamut of possibilities. He should be smart, but not too smart. More street smart, but still very well read, ya know? He should be athletic, but not a meathead. Funny, but still soulful. Makes a butt-ton of money, but not materialistic.

You get the picture?

Essentially, her 20-year-old mind has created a superhuman man. Her mind has created an IHL with only one candidate – Ryan Gosling. And let’s face it – we can’t all be Eva Mendes. Eva says the same thing about me, by the way. She’s deeply jealous of my life.

As she progresses farther into her early 20s with no obvious suitors, it becomes imperative to triage her list. How important is it for him to run marathons? Eh – scratch it. Do I really need him to be able to craft a splint from materials he can find in the Antarctic? I never liked the cold anyway. What if he has a receding hairline? Bald is hot; look at Bruce Willis. Must love “The Notebook?” No way, not budging on that one.

Essentially, where I’m going with this is to tell you that eventually her list will consist of three things:

  • Breathing
  • Male
  • Job (willing to negotiate)

When she reaches this point will be entirely up to her. I know girls that hit that point around 21 and some that are close to 30 and happy as a clam with their singleness.

My list isn’t much longer, but it does contain “Celebrity”, and that adds a significant level of difficulty. In my defense, I’m not demanding an A-list Academy Award nominee; a good old-fashioned reality star will work.

The point is that girls have a lot of expectations for their future prince. Those expectations will dwindle with time (and desperation), but your standards never should. People will mock you when you say your standard is “Celebrity”, but you don’t lose those Tinseltown dreams, girl. Unless Ryan Gosling or John Krasinski or Adam Brody is your dream, and then you need to back the hell up.

Don’t triage too much of your list too quickly. It’s great to look for certain qualities in a mate, but perhaps requiring him to be able to list every John Hughes movie in order by theatrical release is a tad nuts. Wait, no, that’s perfectly acceptable. Carry on.

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