Thursday, July 2, 2015

To bikini or not to bikini, that is the question...

So yesterday I posted a question on Facebook in regards to bikinis. A lot of women responded with some really great points. I was worried people would just completely dis me and de-friend me, but everyone that commented kept it classy and I respect them all the more! So I am going to post below both the question and my response. Feel free to comment and remember to keep it classy. I am not in a war with you, I am simply starting a discussion! 

Here was what I put on Facebook: 

Let me ask you ladies a question: Would you take your children to a bra and panty fashion show?
If your answer is no, why then do you feel it appropriate to wear a bikini, which covers just as much, sometimes less than bra and panties?
I'm sure I'm going to get an ear full or get deleted from your friend list, but it's something that has been on my mind lately.

After reading so many good points from so many ladies, here is my response to why I wish most swim suits covered more skin:

1. Here is a little back story on me...Growing up, my dad was a pastor. He cheated on my mom at least twice that he admitted to. I wouldn't be surprised if it was more. Needless to say, I have trust issues. So one time when a lady at my husband's work asked him for a ride home, I was hacked! I never liked her much after that. Which was stupid, because these are my issues and not hers. My husband made me aware that he was taking her home, so it's not like he hid it from me. But I think you can see from my past why I would have issues. 

I also struggle with being afraid that I will be the one to cheat. There was this time that my husband and I had only been married for about two years or so and I had gone to church to work at the bookstore. Justin had stayed home with our son. I think I was mad at Justin for some reason, probably a stupid reason to be honest with you! So I'm sitting at the book store at church and one of our single guy friends came up and said "Hey Jessica, you look nice tonight". Now to him and to anyone else, this wasn't a big deal. However, to me it was! I was already feeling down because of whatever reason I was mad at Justin for and now this very nice man came up to me and told me I looked nice! I tell you what, by the time I got home my thoughts had taken me from being mad at Justin, feeling nice, thinking about the single guy friend, feeling horrible, and then pretty much feeling like I had just cheated on Justin! When I got home it took me a little while, but I finally told Justin about what was going on. Of course, he is so wonderful that he just sat there and comforted me and told me that it was going to be okay. 

Now, why do I tell you all this and what does it have to do with women wearing bikinis? First of all I don't want Justin to be tempted to look at another woman and I don't want to be tempting another man to look at me! Now, I can only control myself and what I wear and what I think about. So when I swim, I personally wear athletic shorts, because that is what I'm comfortable in, and a tank top swim top (a tankini). I do my best to limit the amount of cleavage I show. However, being larger in that area makes it hard to find things that limit it.  Let's face it, I'm not going to swim in a turtleneck! Now, on the end of Justin not being tempted, I too can do what I can to keep him from being tempted. What do I mean by that? Well I mean that I can make sure and please him in the bedroom so that if a beautiful woman comes by, his thoughts go to me instead of her! 

2. Comfort is an issue. Some ladies brought up that for them they are comfortable with their body and they aren't wearing the bikini to get others attention, they are comfortable in their own skin. I think this is great! However, men are very visual creatures! Women are very emotional creatures. Why do you think so many men struggle with pornography? I personally believe that my body is for my husband only. To be honest with you, I wouldn't feel comfortable with anyone else seeing my body anyway (well except doctors and even then I feel weird). I firmly believe that there are tankinis and even some bikinis that are okay to wear. If you chose to wear them, wear them tastefully if you are going to be around other men. Be confident in your skin, but be respectful of others at the same time!

Some ladies brought up the fact that a bikini just fits them better than anything else. I had never thought about this being an issue. But like I mentioned above I have issues with my top part, so I can for sure understand this. Again, I think it all goes back to wearing one that isn't a itty bitty barely covers your privates kind of thing. 

3. The kid issue! This is a HUGE issue for me. I have little boys, so I thankfully don't have to worry about buying little girl swim suits. But what I get frustrated about is when I see little girls in super skimpy bikinis. There are creepy people out there (both men and women) who for some reason or another like to prey on little kids. I HATE that we have to watch out for things like this. But the truth of the matter is we do. Cover your young girls up. Yes, teach them to love their body, but don't teach them to just show it off. 

I am for reals so thankful to the person who invented the tankini. Because seriously there is nothing worse than to have to go to the bathroom when you have a wet one piece on or to have to help your daughter (so I've heard) get her one piece off to use the bathroom!

WOW! I'm not going to lie, some of the ladies response to my question changed my thinking a little bit. One of my friends made a good point, that is that some one pieces are more revealing than some bikinis are! This is so true. I hadn't even considered that when I put this question up. Regardless of what we all think, I still respect them and I actually respect them even more for being willing to discuss this issue in a calm manner. 

Someone brought up the fact that we probably won't be having a swim party play date (a lot of the ladies commenting are part of a local mom's group). I didn't mean to make it to where we can't do a swim party play dates. Listen, here is the deal: I want to teach my boys to look at women with respect. When they get to the point that their hormones start kicking in, I want them to be able to talk to me and if it becomes an issue for them and it causes sexual sin, then yes, I may ask you to put a shirt on if you swim at my house in a revealing swim suit. But as long as things are good and they are respecting you and you respect us by not being in a skimpy one then we are good.  The same goes for my husband. If it becomes a problem, then we will simply ask you to cover up with a shirt or tank top. If you aren't willing to do that, then that is fine, but that is when we will no longer invite you over to swim. 

Special note to the ladies who commented on my FB page: Thanks ladies for the great conversation! I know I keep saying this, but I am just so thrilled with how you all responded! You are all beautiful women who I enjoy hanging out with. Just because we feel differently on some things doesn't mean we can't hang out and be friends!

Saturday, June 27, 2015

I am a Christian and I love you...

Yesterday a big decision was made through the Supreme Court of The United States of America. They legalized the marriage between same gender couples. 

I am a Christian.

I believe what the Bible says is truth.

I believe that as a Christian we are called to love everyone.

I believe that homosexual relationships are a sin. 

I know that I sin. 

So what is the difference between my sins and someone who practices homosexuality? When I sin I ask for God's forgiveness and then I do my best to stop doing that sin. But when you are in a relationship with a member of the same gender and you claim to be a Christian, you are choosing sin over repentance. Everyday you make a choice to continue living in a way that the Bible says you are not to be living. 

So here is what is bothering me. I am frustrated with the decision that was made, but what frustrates me more is when I see people, who claim to be Bible believing, Christ following people that are saying they are happy that "love won". I'm saddened that they have been blinded by Satan about what the Bible clearly states. I'm upset that these are the people that are teaching our kids in school, in church, in camps.

I'm also frustrated that as Christians we are being told to be quiet about what we believe. It seems to me that if we don't believe what the main stream media believes then we are wrong. And yet, they say, be open to all beliefs...well all but those that are 100% what the Bible says.

In the Bible, John 10:10 Jesus says this:
10 The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.
I firmly believe that what is going on in our world today is Satan. He is destroying our world. I don't know about you, but today I am going to stand up for what I believe to be true. I am going to choose the life that God has come to give to us. I am going to accept that his truth is what will set me free.

Get behind me Satan!

Friday, May 29, 2015

Depression is real...

I'm having a rough week. Today I honestly just want to crawl under a blanket and go back to bed. Closing my eyes sounds so wonderful right now. And yet, here I am, awake and finding myself with much responsibility.

I suffer with depression. Do you? As a wife and mother of 2 boys, it's hard to suffer with depression. Because you're already feeling down and then the kids expect so much from you that you then beat yourself up for not being able to meet the needs of your kids. Then your husband comes home and you realize you have also let him down. It spirals deeper and deeper until all you want to do is close your eyes and dream. Dream about the thinner you, the more productive you, the active you. You can fill in the blank.

This usually lasts a few days. Then for some reason my hormones decide to change up and I find myself feeling better. Feeling like it doesn't matter that I'm over weight or that my house is a mess. But able to enjoy life. Able to enjoy my kids and my husband.

If you deal with depression I want to encourage you today to talk to someone about it. Don't let your thoughts stay inside your mind. Let someone else know what you are thinking. It can be your husband, although I recommend telling him in advance that you are just needing to get words out, that you don't really need his answer to your problems, just a listening ear. It can be a counselor. I highly recommend this! Find someone who believes the same as you do about God. I also recommend going to someone who is the same sex as you. You could find a trusted friend who is willing to listen and not judge. Most importantly, find someone to talk to. Maybe even start a blog or a journal to write your thoughts on.

I hope that you know that you aren't alone (I'm speaking to myself as much as I am to you).

Deuteronomy 31:8 (ESV)

It is the Lord who goes before you. He will be with you; he will not leave you or forsake you. Do not fear or be dismayed.”

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

It's more than just fostering kids...

I love it when fostering reaches the next level. You may be thinking I mean adoption. But I don't. Not for our family anyway. For me, the next level of fostering is having a relationship with at least one of the parents of our foster kid. This is something that has really surprised me about fostering. I never in a million years would have thought that this would be one of my favorite parts of it, but it really is!

It would be so easy for us to judge the parents. To think badly of them. I'll admit that I'm human and there are times where my thoughts aren't great towards them. But then I'm reminded of just that...I'm human! Just because my sins don't get my kids taken away, doesn't mean I am any better than they are. The bible says "all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God."  It doesn't say "all have sinned, but only those who do something that gets them in jail fall short of the glory of God." NO! It says ALL sinned and we ALL fall short of his glory! 

Perhaps your sin is that you cheated on a test at school. Maybe you and your spouse got in a fight and when the nice man at the store said you looked nice, your thoughts were no longer pure. Perhaps you made a mistake on a report at work and decided not to tell anyone it was you. Keep these things in mind when you see someone who's kids have been placed in foster care. They need God just as much as you and I do. They need someone to show them love and encourage them to make the right choices. 

I love getting to build a relationship with the mom's (I have yet to build one with a dad, but probably would let the hubs build that relationship anyway). It is great to be able to text them a picture of their child before bed and tell them goodnight. It is great to receive a text from them afterwards that says thanks. 

So let me ask you this question: What is God calling you to do? I know we aren't all called to be foster parents, although I wish we were. But we are all called to help in some way. Do you know a foster family? Do you know someone who's kids are in foster care? Love on both of them! Encourage them! Listen to what God has for you to do today.

Friday, March 20, 2015

Aren't you afraid you will get attached...

As most of you know, our family has been fostering kids for the last 10 months or so. We have had three little ones come and join our family for a short time. The question I get asked the most is: Aren't you afraid you will get attached? My answer to this question has changed over the months. I'm learning to be nicer in how I respond. 

One of the first times someone asked me that question, we were at the park and my response was this: "Well I would rather get attached then see a story on the news with them dead." Okay, I realized pretty quick that this was not the best way to respond. I have since made my response not so harsh. When people ask me now, I simply say " yes, you will probably get attached, but if you go into it knowing that the main goal is to reunite the child with his/her parents, then it makes it much easier when it is time for them to leave." 

Today, I saw a story on the local news's facebook page, about a man who barricaded him and his 5 year old son in his apartment.  They finally were able to get the guy out of his apartment, but when they went in they found his 5 year old son dead. This story brought me back to when I basically told off the lady in the park! I don't know this guys story. I don't know if the child had been in foster care before. But what I do know is that if we can get more houses available, then maybe, just maybe we can save the lives of these children. 

I got to hear a panel of former foster kids talk, a few weeks ago. It was really neat! They all still had contact with their former foster families! I found this to be so encouraging. So if you are afraid of being attached, if that is the only thing holding you back, then please...PLEASE...I beg you to let go of that fear and become part of a life changing ministry. You are needed. That extra room in your house, it's needed. The opportunity for you to give love, hope and strength to a child is here for the taking. All you have to do is answer the call. 


Monday, January 26, 2015

Due date...

I was thinking this morning about how I probably would have been celebrating our sweet child's birthday around this time. I was due on February 5th, which means I probably would have delivered a week early via c-section. I love you sweet one. 

I saw this picture on facebook this morning and wanted to share it with you all. May all of you who have lost a child find comfort in knowing they are with Jesus today. 

Thursday, January 22, 2015

How you can help...

I realize I haven't posted since summer of 2014, however it is for good reason. You see we have become a foster family! There are so many limits as to what we can and cannot post to social media that I have pretty much just not posted on here. 

Right now, we are taking a break. Time to grieve. As I was laying in bed one night it occurred to me that many people out there may want to help, but just don't know how. Here is my list of things anyone can do to help out families with foster children.

1. Offer to babysit. This was truly one of our biggest needs. Whether it is during the day so they can go to doctor appointments alone or during the night so they can go on a date night. Make sure they have your phone number, email or facebook so that they can get a hold of you! (there are some limitations as to who can watch the foster kids, but from my understanding as long as it isn't more than 6 hours anyone can watch them)

2. Become a respite care provider! This is such a huge need. Probably second to becoming a full time foster parent! The best thing you could give a the parents in a foster home is a weekend away! Time to recoup and rest and communicate with out little ones interrupting them! Ask your foster family friends who to talk to about becoming one and I'm sure they will get you hooked up ASAP. :) 

3. Offer to bring meals! Especially to those who may get a new born. Just because they didn't go into labor and have a stay at the hospital doesn't mean they don't still need meals provided like they did when they came home with their biological children. 

4. Talk to them about fostering. Don't be afraid to ask questions, but understand that they probably won't be able to answer many of them. Also, know that when a child goes home or is moved to another placement, for whatever reason, it is like a piece of your heart goes away too. Be sure to talk to your foster friends about this. It is good to talk about how we are feeling that way we don't keep it all inside.

5. If you have clothes or toys or diapers, basically anything age appropriate for their foster child feel free to donate it to them. As a foster family, we send all of the things home (or to the next placement) with the child that we provided for them. So we may have things for a 6 month old baby right now, but once he/she leaves our home we will send that with him/her, causing us to no longer have the items if we get the same age child again. I hope that makes sense. It did in my head. :) 

So there you go! 5 things you can do to help out foster families. I hope it helps give you an idea and if you have any more ideas, feel free to leave it in the comments!