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Welcome to my website, where it's okay if you stink a little

My fifth grade Language Arts teacher constantly dealt with the stench of pubescent girls and boys. It's only natural that we discussed deodorant. I can still hear her correcting us when we mentioned sweating. "Only pigs sweat. Men perspire. And women glow." I generally remember raising my eyebrow at this in respectful disagreement. Glowing was what my face did. My armpits? They sweated. Profusely.

Yesterday I was ironing some clothes for only the second time in the past year. Covid has certainly casualized life. Not that my life as a stay-at-home-mom before coronavirus captivity included much ironing. (I’m that person whose kids go to church in play clothes.) But I realized this weekend that if I wanted to look presentable in my photos on this website, I probably needed to iron the things I would wear during the shoot. As I was pressing my white, linen shirt that had been machine-washed and hung to dry, I began to smell the stench. Sometimes, when ironing the armpit area of my shirts, even after washing, they emit my, um, personal body odor.

Am I the only one this happens to?

While I stood with nose scrunched, running the iron over this top and then another one that did the same thing, it seemed like the perfect metaphor for my life. I am a Christian who has been washed clean and forgiven of my sin. And yet, I still stink. I am far from perfect and I still get a lot of things wrong. We all do things we wish we could take back, and we all have weaknesses.

These struggles hold so many of us back from living in freedom to be who God made us to be. I am terrified of putting myself out to the world in this way. But I’m facing that fear head-on. Ever since I was little, I've been drawn to people and bold with them. When I took the Myers-Briggs personality test, I answered every single extrovert/introvert question with the extroverted answer. And yet, with all the strength and boldness to meet people and be energized by them, I also struggle with an internal desire to be liked, adored, and admired. I have grown to care less and less about what others think of me, but especially in today's world of social media, this idea that we are always performing, always putting our best foot forward, is not only reinforced, but rewarded with likes and popularity. This false perception of what our real lives are like is hurting us, especially our girls. It’s why I’ve written and am trying to publish The Beautiful List, so we can uplift our girls after their confidence dips around age eight, reassuring them they are beautiful and worthy exactly the way they are.

My purpose for this site, for writing, for sharing my life and making myself vulnerable to strangers, is to help you face your fears, too. I want your feedback. If you disagree with me, I want to hear that as well – as long as it is respectful. (And if it’s not, I’ll delete it.) Our country in particular seems to be struggling to know how to disagree respectfully at the moment, and maybe we can be a part of changing that together. I aim to inspire you to share your life with others, pursue your passions, and trust the God of the Universe. And in the process, I hope that girls, teens and women will find freedom to do the same. We might sweat a lot in the process, but by golly, with God's grace, we will also glow.

P.S. I spent all that time ironing, and in the end, liked the photos with the clothes that didn't require pressing. It figures. *eyeroll


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