EXALTE SPRING 2017
Your own Path STAGES of
Kymberly Soule’ Kymberly@exaltemagazine.com 251.455.0580
Associate Publisher Michael Soule’
Creative Design Kymberly Soule’
Contributing Photographer Elle Photography Katco Photography Robbie Harvey Media Vera Hogenson Wesley Henderson
Writers & Researchers Audra Warren Natalie Franklin
On the Cover
Photographer: Elle Photography Model: Desha’ Ringe Designer: The Timeless Bride
Photograpy: Vera Hogenson Designer jewelry/accessories: Kathleen Nowak Tucci www.kathleennowaktucci.com Studio-Outdoors Model: Kimberly Battista
NO ALL AGES DEAL WITH STRESS
STRESS We generally use the word "stress" when we feel that everything seems to have become too much, we are overloaded and wonder whether we really can cope with the pressures placed upon us. Anything that poses a challenge or a threat to our well-being is a form of stress many of us face. Some stresses get you going and they are good for you - without any stress at all many say our lives would be boring and would probably feel pointless. However, when the stresses undermine both our mental and physical health they can be physically damaging and lead to health problems. There is "stress" and there is "a stressor" - a stressor is an agent or stimulus that causes stress. Stress is the feeling we have when under pressure, while stressors are the things we respond to in our environment. Examples of stressors are noises, unpleasant people, a speeding car, or even going out on a first date. Generally (but not always), the more stressors we experience, the more stressed we feel. Here are a few ways to feel less stress at any age.
Photos by Elle Photography
STRESS in KIDS The key to helping kids manage stress is teaching them to problemsolve, plan and know when to say yes and no to activities and commit ments. It isn’t to make everything smooth and comfortable. If you don’t teach [your kids] how to manage stress, they will selfmedicate with food, drugs and alcohol. In other words, kids will reach for something to make them feel better right away, and usually it won’t be something healthy.
Here’s how you can help your kids manage stress successfully. Stop overscheduling Kids are expected to pay attention and perform in school for seven hours, excel at extracurricular activities, come home, finish homework, and go to bed just to do it all over again the next day. Kids need downtime to rejuvenate. Their brains and bodies need to rest.
Make time for play Play shoud not be pressured.There’s no lesson, competition or end goal. Younger kids will do this naturally. But older kids may forget how to simply play. Combine play with physical activity, which is critical for well-being. Some ideas include: riding your bikes, throwing around the baseball, wrestling and hiking.
Make sleep a priority Sleep is vital for everything from minimizing stress to boosting mood to improving school performance, If your child isn’t getting enough sleep, that’s another red flag that they’re overscheduled. Again, reducing commitments helps. Also helpful is stressing the importance of sleep, and creating an environment that facilitates it. For instance, keep TV – and other electronics – out of your child’s bedroom.
Teach your kids to listen to their bodies Teach your kids to undestand their own bodies and the physiology of stress. For instance, sit in the car with your child, and press the gas and brake, and listen to the engine revving. Explain that our body just revs and revs, and then it wears out and says ‘enough.’ Encourage them to listen to what their bodies are saying. While it’s normal for a child’s stomach to feel jumpy on the first day of school, leaving class because their stomach hurts or waking up repeatedly with a headache is a sign there’s too much going on.
Make mornings calmer A disorganized home is another stressful trigger for kids, and this is especially evident in the mornings.Make making mornings smoother, because this sets the tone for the day. Stress is really contagious. When parents are stressed out, kids are stressed out. If you’re living in an environment with one thing after another, your kid is going to pick up on that.
STRESS in TEENS Many adults think that teens don’t have stress because they don’t have to work and support a family. Teen stress comes from many different places. From parents. “Don’t disappoint me, clean up, hurry up, finish this, do your homework, go out for the team, practice your music, try out for the school play, do your best, stay out of trouble, make more friends, don’t ever try drugs.” From friends. “How’d you do on the test, try this, prove you’re not a loser, don’t hang out with them, don’t wear that.” Even from themselves. “I need to lose weight, build my muscles, wear the right clothes, get better grades, score more goals, show my parents I’m not a kid anymore.” Other stressors include: *Watching parents argue *Trying to be independent *Pessure to get good grades *Thinking about the future *Peer pressure *Worrying about how your body’s changing *Dealing with sexual feelings * Worrying about world problems *Feeling guilty Parents you can play a vital role in modeling healthy lifestyles and promoting physical activity by encouraging them to join sports teams, engaging in activities as a family such as dancing, or finding ways to exercise that don’t cost money liking walking or going to the park Get some sleep Ideally, adolescents should get nine hours a night. To maximize your chance of sleeping soundly, cut back on watching TV or engaging in a lot of screen time in the late evening hours. Don’t drink caffeine late in the day and try not to do stimulating activities too close to bedtime. Focus on your strengths Spend some time really thinking about the things you’re good at, and find ways to do more of those things. If you’re a math ace, you might tutor a younger neighbor who’s having trouble with the subject. If you are a spiritual person, you might volunteer at your church. If you’re artistic, take a photography class. Focusing on your strengths will help you keep your stresses in perspective. Do things that make you happy Besides physical activities, find other hobbies or activities that bring you joy. That might be listening to music, going to the movies or drawing. Make a point to keep doing these things even when you’re stressed and busy. Talk to someone It’s so much easier to manage stress when you let others lend a hand. Talk to a parent, teacher or other trusted adult. They may be able to help you find new ways to manage stress.
STRESS in Young Adults Millennials (these are folks aged 18-33) are the most stressed of any generation according to the American Psychological Association APA also reports that these young adults haven’t found much success in relieving their stress. Being a young adult is difficult in the best of times, what with all the major life decisions and changes that take place during this time. Add to the mix a poor economy, scarcity of good jobs, and difficulty obtaining credit, and you end up with an overly stressed group of young people. Stressors include: *Finding a job *Moving out of the family home *Saving for a deposit on a first apartment or a down payment for a first home *Finding a life partner *Determining when/if to have children *If they already have children, they are likely young and needy in terms of time, energy, financial resources, etc. *Deciding whether to pursue higher education, military service or volunteer work *College Minimize the use of unhealthy coping strategies Drinking too much, using illegal drugs, and/or smoking tobacco may work to manage stress in the short term, but in the long term they can make things a whole lot worse. Minimizing or eliminating these strategies, will help decrease stress over time. Find something that works for you Yoga works for some; it’s an irritation for others. Finding one or two reliable, accessible stress management strategies that works FOR YOU is essential. Do something relaxing, for example take a hot bath or watch a film. Do some exercise. This produces chemicals in your body called ‘endorphins’ which make you feel good! Contact your health provider Primary care physicians can be wonderful resources in terms of coping with stress. They may have strategies to provide on their own, or they may have some local mental health providers to which to refer you. Don’t suffer in silence! Feeling alone makes stress harder to deal with. Talking to somebody you trust can really help you to deal with stress and to work out how to tackle the problems that are causing it.
Stress is an inevitable aspect of parenting. It can begin in pregnancy, or even earlier for people with reproductive issues. By the time a child is born, no parent is immune from the stresses of their position. These are the facts. First, the stress you feel as a parent will continue throughout course of your life and the life of your children. The sources of that stress, and how best to deal with it, is what changes as you and your children grow.
STRESS in Parenting
Second, stress-free parenting is as much of a myth as Bigfoot. Stress is an inherent aspect of parenting; you will not eliminate it, but you can try to prevent some of it and effectively manage the rest. The following techniques can be used by any parent to reduce stress and increase their enjoyment of the wonderful gift that they have been given.
Establish support systems Establishing a support system early will lay a foundation for parents in the years to come. This is an essential step that applies to every parent or parent-to-be, regardless of marital status, employment status, or socio-economic status. Everyone needs help at some point and, like a well-stocked emergency kit, it pays to have a system in place before you need it. which make you feel good!
Corral the chaos A chaotic space contributes to a chaotic mind. An unbelievable amount of parenting stress comes from the everyday environment. If you are constantly late getting out the door in the morning because socks can’t be found or lunch hasn’t been arranged, you are starting off each day with an unnecessarily elevated stress level. Establishing systems for yourself and your children will make everyday routines run more smoothly. Whether in the morning or evening, a more orderly environment will keep you from adding stress to your day.
Take the time to do fun things One of the best parts of being a parent is getting to have fun with your kids. It is important to remember that not everything you do with your child has to be resume-worthy. Simply spending time with them, running around at a park or doing something around the house is immensely valuable. It doesn’t have to cost anything, and doesn’t require a huge time commitment. Even just 20 minutes a week can give you both a well needed rest from the stresses of everyday life. Playing catch, coloring, or dancing around to music in the living room are all great examples.
STRESS in the Middle Ages & Elderly Stress is actually a normal part of life. At times, it serves a useful purpose. Stress can motivate you to get that promotion at work, or run the last mile of a marathon. But if you don't get a handle on your stress and it becomes long-term, it can seriously interfere with your job, family life, and health. More than half of Americans say they fight with friends and loved ones because of stress, and more than 70% say they experience real physical and emotional symptoms from it. Everyone has different stress triggers. Work stress tops the list, according to surveys. Forty percent of U.S. workers admit to experiencing office stress, and one-quarter say work is the biggest source of stress in their lives. Seniors experiencing overwhelming stress often isolate themselves from others, refusing to socialize or participate in activities they used to enjoy. Causes of work stress include: *Being unhappy in your job *Having a heavy workload or too much responsibility *Working long hours *Being insecure about your chance for advancement or risk of termination *Having to give speeches in front of colleagues *Facing discrimination or harassment at work, especially if your company isn't supportive Examples of life stresses are: *The death of a loved one *Divorce *Loss of a job *Increase in financial obligations *Getting married *Moving to a new home *Chronic illness or injury *Planning Retirement *Fear of losing Independence *Emotional problems (depression, anxiety, *anger, grief, guilt, low self-esteem) *Taking care of an elderly or sick family *Traumatic event, such as a natural disaster, theft, rape, or violence against you or a loved one *Memory issues due to illness and aging
Try Handling Middle Age & Senior Stress with these Simple Stress Busting Tips Nurture yourself. A fast pace lifestyle can be stressful, especially with midlife challenges. Taking time off for yourself can make a world of difference and allow you to put events and challenges into perspective. Give yourself permission to turn off the cell phone, television and computer. Pursue fun and nurturing activities, such as visiting a state park, getting a massage or going for a bike ride.
Set up a support group. Enlist the help of family and friends to help keep you on track of your project plan. Use your support group to be a sounding board. Just discussing your feelings and goals can be a huge stress reliever and create a wellspring of ideas. Exercise. Physical activity will relieve stress and elevate your mood. even a brisk 20-30 minute walk around the neighborhood will help. Fitness after 40 activities are essential for mental and physical health as we age. Include friends or family members in your fitness activities for additional support. Eat a healthy diet. You’ll feel better. You’ll think clearer. Focus on fruits, vegetables, whole grains, fish and nuts. Get enough sleep. Make sure you’re getting enough sleep. If not, see your doctor or learn stress relaxation skills like yoga, deep breathing or meditation. Just as the right diet is important after 40, sleep is essential to keep your mental and physical capabilities functioning in top form. Fatigue can diminish your reasoning abilities and make stress events even more stressful. Accept help when it’s offered. Believe it or not, this can be one of the hardest things to do. We all want to handle issues ourselves and not feel like a failure by needing help. Accepting help does not mean you’re a failure, it shows wisdom. Say no. Accept the fact that you can’t do everything well. Now is the time to have a laser focus on what’s important in your life and what’s not. Midlife and retirement age is your time to work on you. Keep a sense of humor. Laughter can be the best stress buster on this planet. Learn to find humor as you experience challenges throughout the day. Laughter actually reduces your level of stress hormones and can increase your immune system. Make laughing an exercise.
Find Peace Within Yourself
“You’l never find peace of mind until you listen to your heart.”
Photography by Vera Hogenson Model - Taylor Prell MUA/Hair - Sam Shields
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Make your own
PATH Photography by Elle Photography Downtown Mobile, AL
We all want to live a life that we love. A life that is uniquely our own and feels right to us. But making your own path in life isn’t easy, especially if that path involves doing something different than the norm. Many people falsely believe that they have to do things a certain way. They have to go to a good school, get a good job, settle down and have a family and live their life the same way that everyone else does. But that simply is not the case. You can make your life what ever you want it to be. It can be different than what everyone else wants. When you start your journey of creating your own path in life, you may feel lost. You may not really even know what you want to create, just that you want something else.These 5 tips can help you on your journey to creating a better, more fulfilling life that you love.
1. Follow Your Intuition
Intuition is our innate inclination towards a certain behavior. Basically, it is your instincts. Have you ever felt so strongly that you knew something was right, even if the answer was unclear? That’s your intuition telling you what it wants. Generally, your intuition will guide you in the direction that you need to go. Follow your instincts on what you feel is right or wrong for you in your own life. It can be hard to hear our intuition at times, especially if you are not in the habit of listening to it. But developing a deeper relationship with yourself will help you to hear more clearly your intuition and make more informed decisions, even if they don’t seem to be based on logic. Following this intuition can lead you down a path beyond your craziest dreams. This is a practice that takes time to develop but if you keep looking for what your instincts are telling you, then you will be well on your way to creating your own life and living it your way.
2. Don’t Follow Everyone Else
You don’t have to be like all of the other fish in the sea. Just because everyone is swimming one direction doesn’t mean that you have to follow. Give yourself permission to do something different. To take a chance and do what everyone else doesn’t want to do. You never know where life will take you and that can be a wonderful thing. If you keep going with the flow like everyone else, chances are you are all going to end up in the same place, which probably isn’t where you really want to be. Don’t feel like you have to do things just because everyone else is doing them. It’s that old cliche you’ve probably heard a thousand times before, but just because your friends jump off a cliff doesn’t mean that you have to. Do your own thing and don’t care what other people think. Follow your own desires and create your own path. That’s the only way you will find out what you truly want out of life.
3. It’s OK to Be Scared
Fear is a natural human emotion we all feel once in a while. Some people may seem more fearless than others, but deep down they feel the fear too. It’s OK to be afraid of creating your own path. No one said you had to be the bravest person in the world in order to live your dream life. You do have to be willing to face your fears and go for it anyways. The reality is, the fear will always be there. Even as you grow and adapt to new situations, there will always be some thing new or different that scares you. You can’t let those fears hold you back from going after what you want. If you do, you are going to have a really hard time finding the life that you want. So don’t let those fears stop you. Be scared for a moment and recognize the fear, and then take a risk and take some action. That’s the only way you will move forward.
4. Have a Safety Net
If you are just starting out on finding your own path in life, it is a good idea to have a safety net to fall back on in times of struggle. It’s going to be hard to create a life that is all your own. So you need a safety net in case things get really bad. Before you start working on finding your own path, whatever that may look like, make sure that you have the support you need on your journey. This could be financial support, a place to live, friends and family to rely on, or just a plan of action so that you don’t get lost. Preparing for these things in advance may take some time, and it can be hard if you want to just jump into your journey right away. Taking the time up front to develop your safety net will only be beneficial in the end. Having a plan to fall back on can make creating your own path in life a little less stressful.
5. Don’t Give Up
If you truly want to make your own way in this world, the one thing you need to remember is to never give up. Even when things get hard and seem too difficult to bear, don’t give up. Pursuing anything that you want in life is a noble quest, but keep in mind that there will be struggles. There will be times where you fall and don’t want to keep going. Remember the rewards on the journey are far greater than any stumbling blocks you may come across. So whatever you do, don’t give up. Keep working towards your dreams and keep creating a life that is uniquely yours. You will be so glad you did. Life is Yours for the Making. Don’t let fears, insecurity or what others want hold you back from making life on your own terms. Follow these simple tips and start implementing them into your daily life. Then decide what you want your life to look like and start slowly working towards creating that. You can make your life into whatever you want it to be, you have the power to create your own path and be different. It won’t be easy, but hopefully, these tips will help you along the way.
Photography by Elle Photography Fashion from The Timeless Bride in Mobile, AL
Vintage Glamour The Next Big Bridal Accessory Trend What's old is new again with a wedding that captures the glamour of the '20s, the rock 'n roll energy of the '50s, or the free spirited vibe of the '70s. From retro-inspired gowns to decorating with antiques you will be sure to have fun with your vintage accessories..According to multiple online sites like http://theknot.com and http://bridalguide.com, “Vintage Glamour” remains an overwhelming favorite of brides when it comes to the style they want to convey. Classic with a few funky details is the trend of the moment and is reflected in everything from the invites to the exit.
Vintage Bouquet The ultimate in vintage alternative wedding bouquets has to be the brooch bouquet with pearls. Gorgeous, glamorous and (if you’re lucky) bursting with sentimental meaning, brooch bouquets make beautiful gifts for your bridesmaids to remember your big day and the important part they played. These are understandably quite expensive to buy. However, if you’re a prolific collector of vintage treasure and are feeling crafty, you might want to have a go at making them yourself. Leave plenty of time, especially if you’re having to search for additional baubles.
Vintage Gloves If you’re a vintage bride, retro-inspired gloves would be a simple yet elegant addition to your wedding look. Gloves have been around for decades as a statement accessory: such fashion icons as Audrey Hepburn, Elizabeth Taylor and Grace Kelly used to love wearing them. We love this trend that may effortlessly add vintage style to your gorgeous wedding look. Whether classic white or lace and crochet, they’re sure to add a charming twist to your look.
Vintage Jewelry There is a huge current trend for vintage bridal jewelry or vintage inspired bridal jewelry. Looking for unique and one of a kind pieces to accompany your wedding gown can be fun. You can dive deep into grandma's jewelry box to seek out an antique treasure to use as your "something old" or "something borrowed". Check out vintage boutique’s and jewelry designers. Bridal jewelry designers are always on the lookout for magnificent vintage jewels to transform into statement bridal tiaras, bridal combs and bridal headbands. For instance a beautiful diamante vintage brooch can be customised into creating a unique headband by adding modern gems and pearls to form an exclusive piece for you on your wedding day!
Fireworks By Audra Warren
Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Romans 12:2
Photography by Elle Photography
A Spiritual Awakening is a shift in consciousness, when one becomes aware of the reality that had previously gone unrealized. Have you ever wished you could hit the reset button on the clock of life? What if I told you that to a certain extent you totally could? No, you cannot bring back the dead, re-do that awful pitch to the boss or even relive the best days of your life, but what if you could ensure that better days are in the future? Often times, people reach a point in their lives where they suddenly feel stuck. Stuck in a rut, stuck in a career, stuck in a relationship, stuck in confusion…just stuck! When you feel stuck, you feel completely lost and disconnected from the world around you. Things that worked for you before are now a thing of the past. You may start to question things and people you have in your life, that you once thought were best for you. Certain things that made you feel very happy and fulfilled before, no longer do. There is an emptiness you can’t quite put your finger on, and every area of your life is off kilter because of it. What you probably do not realize is that these symptoms may very well be the signs of a spiritual awakening developing within your soul. When you start to experience a deep desire to know your divine purpose in life, when your intuition seems stronger than it’s ever been before, it may be time for a change. This is because who you are, what you wanted, and what you once believed is not in alignment with who you really want to be. Your true self is longing to come out, if only you knew how to make that happen. There may have been times when you believed you were on the right path to self discovery, but certain life events, and other unexpected circumstances came about causing your perspective to shift. It’s not unusual for these things to over shadow your true self, leaving you to feel of nothing more than a stranger to who you use to be. Nevertheless, most people at some point or another have seen tiny bits of their true selves during major turning points in life. You can’t change the past, but you can revisit these times and learn something new to incorporate into who you want to become. Doing so involves time… time to reconnect with yourself, time to truly acknowledge your heart’s deepest desires. You need to be able to spend enough time alone that you know what brings you the most joy. When you become fully aware of who you want to be, and how you want to live your life, peace will begin to set in. The newfound peace that surrounds you will be the confidence you need to take active steps towards a change. It may feel like a light bulb being turned on in your brain, but bigger…more like a firework show. It’s a gravitational pull that you will not be able to ignore until you follow the force. This force is the push you need to live your most authentic life. When you reach the point where you are able to shed the weight that no longer serves you, you will experience the beauty of a light show unlike any other… like
Spiritual Fireworks going off in your head.
“Awakening is possible only for those who seek it and want it, for those who are ready to struggle with themselves and work on themselves for a very long time and very persistently in order to attain it.” – G.I. Gurdjeff
Symptoms of a Spiritual Awakening -You feel disconnected from others, like you no longer know your place -You have the strong feeling that there is more to life than the present -You question everything you once thought to be true -You have a deep desire to spend more time alone with your thoughts -You realize that you are not living your most authentic life
Signs of a Spiritual Growth Spurt -You no longer feel the need to be involved in drama or chaos -You enjoy the little things in life, and no longer feel the need to be high-maintenance -You truly seek to empathize and understand others from their perspective -You start to understand and eliminate dysfunctional relationships -You start to actively invest in your health -Your desire to know more and use what you’ve learned from experience is stronger than ever -You look for the bright side in every dark situation -You understand the significance of life and place value on true happiness -You have set aside worry and fear based decision making -You are living by your own belief system
“Awakening is not changing who you are but discarding who you are not.”
– Deepak Chopra
Photography by Elle Photography Classic Car provided by Mike Souleâ€™ On Location Downtown Mobile, AL
A funny thing happens when a guy dons certain garments. Slip a black leather jacket on him, and watch the milquetoast gather a bit of tough-guy swagger. Put a prep-school product into a pair of overalls, and watch him start dropping his “g’s” and saying “howdy.” Put either one of them in a tuxedo, and watch his inner gentleman — whether of the James Bond or Jimmy Stewart school — emerge. That’s the effect of a tux. In the end, when a man puts on a tuxedo, he feels special. He feels dressed up. I don’t think there’s a man alive who puts on a tux and doesn’t think he looks great. Putting it on sends confidence through the roof and always leads to a fun-filled night. The look puts even the average guy into a mindset of, “Hey, there were a lot of iconic gents who have sported this same look.” Those ranks include Cary Grant, Frank Sinatra, Sean Connery and in more recent years figures such as Sean Combs, George Clooney, Denzel Washington, Daniel Craig and Jay Z. The tuxedo’s history is rooted in the dinner-jacket tradition that emerged in Great Britain and the United States in the late 1880s, in the wake of the Prince of Wales popularizing a tailless smoking jacket. The name is derived from Tuxedo Park, a rural enclave in upstate New York that was a playground for Manhattan swells It is the look that men who survived high-school proms in the 1970s wish their fathers had forced them to wear, rather than the powder-blue and frilled-shirts recorded in photographs long hidden in the depths of closets.
"Looking good isn't self-importance; it's self-respect." â€”Charles Hix, Author
Here are some basic guidelines for wearing a tux, whether it is one you rent or own. You want it to fit and reflect your personality. If you’re more conservative, say, a 60-year-old man, let’s not put you in a zoot-suit-style tux. But if you’re a 17-year-old going to prom, maybe you want to have a little fun.”A tuxedo has an interesting effect, not only on the individual wearing it but in most cases the whole event to which it’s worn. It speaks volumes about the importance of a gathering. It raises the level of how people present themselves. It raises the level of expectations for the event, and generally makes it more enjoyable. Buying a tuxedo involves a number of options but you can’t go wrong with the classic tux, and leave the flair to your choice of pocket square or a fun set of cuff links. These areas offer two of the best ways to express some individuality while staying within the bounds of conservative taste. If it’s a festive holiday party, you can consider having some fun with a contrasting vest or a splash of color in the bow tie. Most men buy suits and tuxedos as an investment. So take that in consideration when you’re eyeing a tux style that’s of the moment. Will you still like the style next year? Five years from now? That’s an important thing to weigh. In some areas like Mobile a Mardi Gras Tux is a staple so have some fun!
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Next Generation Dance Center
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Model & Philanthropist
Timothy Richardson Up and coming model, aspiring actor and philanthropist Timothy Richardson is quickly moving up the modeling industry rankings. Establishing himself as a house hold name on social media. Timothy is becoming a leading force for male models alike. Signed to Modeling Agency BMG Florida and Naturally Fit Agency he has accomplished a lot in his professional career in a short amount of time. With features in Ulihoumism Magazine, Alpha Black Men, UK Top Black Models, QG Model of the Week and September 2016 "Healthy Man of the Month" on Healthy Black Men he continues to rack up accolades for his work. Beyond his work in modeling Timothy is a devoted philanthropist which motivated him to start his own non-profit organization called "Ties for Change". The purpose of this program is to educate young men and help them become a positive light in the community. TFC serves to enhance the professional skills of young men searching to gain invaluable interpersonal skills that will assist them with acquiring a job in their respected field of interest. With the motto â€œEducation Ties Us Togetherâ€? the program is a leading force in changing the statistics of adolescents being incarcerated. Timothy funds "Ties For Change" with donations and giving a 100% of his proceeds from the workouts you can purchase on his website timothyrichardson.org.
Photography by Wesley Henderson Instagram @wesleyphotos.
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Beauty in Life
You are altogether beautiful, my darling; there is no flaw in you. Song of Solomon 4:7
Photography by Robbie Harvey
Finding the Beauty in Life Sometimes the ugly and bad parts of the world seem so overwhelming. There are so many sad and depressing things going on in the news and in your everyday walk of life. It’s hard not to look at them and feel as if the world is an uncaring, ruthless place. It makes it hard to see the beauty going on around you. But even among all this negative input, you can still manage to find something beautiful to focus on every day. In fact, there is a lot of beauty around you if you just look closely enough.
Seeing the Beauty in Life
Life isn’t entirely an ugly place. But we are conditioned to take more notice of the awful and negative things first. Negative imagery stands out; it’s memorable. Think of all those horrible things you see in the news. There are so many images of war, terror and violence. They leave a lingering impression. In contrast, the beautiful things around us don’t stand out as much. It’s easy to miss them if you’re not looking for them. But there really is a lot of beauty going on all around you. It’s the rather humbling idea that beauty surrounds us. It’s here every day, only it’s hidden in the seemingly insignificant parts of our daily routine. Try to see the beauty in your morning cup of coffee. It may sound strange, but if you pour your cup of coffee in the morning the right way, the contents swirl together into whitish foam that floats to the surface. If you do it just right, it looks beautiful.
Noticing the Beauty Around You
A lot of everyday beautiful things surround us – only most people never take the time to see them. They’re all too focused on the tasks ahead of them or the routines in their life to take time out and look for them. It’s as if we sometimes have blinders on and can only see what is directly in front of us. Try to develop a simple habit. Every once in a while, stop what your doing and take five minutes to just look around you. Shift your focus away from your daily routine and check out your surroundings. It’s crazy what beautiful things you’ll discover. There is a big difference between the negative images happening around us and the beautiful ones. Negative and ugly imagery gets in your face and forces you to pay attention to them. The beautiful things in life require you to seek them out. And when you do take the time to search for them, you can find there’s a lot more everyday beauty around you than you realize. It’s just one way to bring a little more brightness into a world that can often be too gray.
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Photographed by Katco Photography One of the most common terms used by young people to describe others is "loser." That’s not a description, it’s a label. Some examples of the countless other labels we freely use to ‘describe’ others include fundamentalist, delusional, perfectionist, idealist, realist, extremist, terrorist, Catholic, Jew, Muslim, pessimist, pacifist, narcissistic, optimist, racist, liberal, homophobe, jerk, stupid, pro-life, pro-choice, two-bit punk, and loud-mouth. The problem with labels is they are merely shells that contain assumptions. When we are taken in by a label, we are taken in by opinions and beliefs. That is, we willingly accept statements without evidence of their validity. The assumptions become stereotypes, which soon become put-downs. Before you know it, we are engaged in name-calling or verbal abuse. People are complex, multifaceted, and multidimensional. When we apply labels to them, we put on blinders and see only a narrow view of an expansive and complicated human being. When speaking about others, there’s nothing wrong with using descriptions. Novelists do it all the time, but there is a big difference between descriptions and labels. The use of labels is more than unfair, it is hurtful as well. Despite the nursery rhyme about sticks and stones, words can be painful. Once we understand the power of words, we will want to do more than avoid using them to diminish others. We will want to use them to encourage and inspire them. If we don’t remain vigilant, we can inadvertently slip into using labels. Why do we resort to or accept the labelling of others? Here are some reasons. a) It is easier and requires less effort to assume something is true than to look up the facts. b) If we’re uncertain of the facts, we’d rather go along with others than admit our ignorance. c) It may be a hollow attempt to raise our stature by trivializing, ridiculing, and demonizing others. d) It may be due to carelessness and bad habits. e) We may fear and be suspicious of others. f) We may lack critical thinking skills. g) We may have been brought up with prejudice. h) We may use labels to control others. i) Whether we agree with them or not, we may accept labels to remain part of the ‘in’ crowd. j) We may not be assertive enough to come to the defence of others. Once we understand why we do so, we can work on eliminating the habit of labelling others. We can overcome it by cultivating unconditional acceptance, compassion, and understanding. We can learn to observe and experience the world without judgement. We can remain detached from expectations and demands. We can learn to accept what is and people as they are. We can grow in humility.
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All blondes are dumb. Men can’t wear pink. Girls are bad at sports. Models are all skinny. These are just a few stereotypes that poison our society. You stereotype a person when you automatically assume their character based on their appearance. This can be dangerous to all parties involved. You may miss the change to meet someone great because you assume who they are, without trying to get to know them first. As a society, we must work to break stereotypes. The blonde woman that you saw in the mall has her Master’s Degree in Physics. The girl you met at that party was the MVP of her all-state soccer team. The short guy playing basketball in the park plays college ball. Placing stereotypes on individuals is a cruel practice that takes away from their true identity. By breaking stereotypes, we can get to know new people and create a better society. Here are some ways to avoid stereotyping. •Don’t make assumptions: “Don’t judge a book by its cover.” The age old adage is true. Just because a person looks a certain way does not necessarily mean he or she will act a certain way. Instead of assuming who a person is, go up and talk to them.
By Natalie Franklin
•Get to know people: Have a conversation with someone. They may surprise you with what they know, and you may find that you two have more in common then you thought. •Keep an open mind: Be open to learning new things or meeting new people. Go outside you regular social bubble. Breaking stereotypes starts when you make the decision to stop judging people and start connecting with people. Then there are times when you find yourself being stereotyped. Perhaps people believe that your full figure prevents you from modeling. Don’t fall into the stereotype people place on you. If you want to model, then go model! Your character has nothing to do with how others perceive you. Never be afraid to show who you really are just because you think you might not fit or belong. Various forms of stereotypes exist in today’s society. Whether it be racial, gender or economic class, stereotyping is dangerous. We can begin break stereotypes when we •decide to live up to our full potential, and •stop judging others based on appearances. Only then will we be able to create a happier society.
Stand tall and be proud of what you are. Never back down from what you believe in and never be ashamed of who you are. -Nishan Panwar
Photographed by Elle Photography
g n i d n a St
by Natalie Franklin
At some point in our lives, maybe even at multiple points, we will face adversity. Death of a loved one, the loss of a job, the ending of a relationship, even the destruction from a natural disaster can forever change our lives. There is no question that adversity will rear its ugly head and affect us in some way. The journey lies in how we choose to deal with it. Will you give up and let life’s pressures crush you or will you choose to stand tall in the face of adversity and overcome your hardships? Overcoming adversity happens when you decide to move forward. Focusing on the past, wondering what you could have done differently, won’t change what has happened. Instead, look towards the future. Take the negative and transform it into a positive. There are many approaches you can take to begin to move forward and overcome adversity. •Take action: “When life hands you lemons, make lemonade.” Don’t waste your time questioning what happened. The fact of the matter is that it did happen. Now all you can do is try to turn the negative around. You must ask yourself, “What can I do to turn this around?” When you take action, you begin to make progress in your life. •Surround yourself with positive people: It can be hard to move forward and improve your situation when you have people tearing you down. Make sure that the people you keep in your life are supportive and encouraging. Having a helpful person on hand can really help you turn your life around. •Create new goals: Write down what you want to accomplish. Seeing it on paper makes it real. Once you have your goals set, you can begin to work on them without losing focus. •Avoid negativity: When we are down and out, we have a tendency to wallow in sadness. We listen to sad music, watch sad movies, and constantly think about sad things. In order to overcome your adversity, you have to get out of that sad mood. You need to be lifted up, not put down. Listen to uplifting music. Watch a funny movie. Do everything you can to make yourself happy.
Standing tall in the face of adversity will make you a stronger person. You will become a positive example to those around you, and you will love yourself because of it.
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Chasady Ministry can take many shapes and forms. While I’ve always had a passion for helping people, my calling wasn't exactly conventional. God has placed me on a path suited perfectly for me, one where I can minister to people while helping them get healthy and achieve their fitness goals. As a young woman, I was dealt a crushing blow when both of my parents passed away due to poor health before I was 24 years old. Losing both of them so young created a passion in me to help others, because I did not want anyone else to have to go through the same heartache. Armed with this dream and faith, my husband, John, and I began to pour ourselves into the fitness industry. Ten years after God lit this fire in my heart, Daphne Fitness became a reality. In other facilities, the main concern is often the bottom line. I decided early on that I would run things differently. My focus isn't just reshaping my members physically, but also to build healthier mindsets. My staff at Daphne Fitness does this by going above and beyond what a traditional gym does to help our clients get healthier. We have created an environment that welcomes all levels of fitness. It is my hope that everyone feels comfortable when they walk through the doors. We offer comprehensive personal training using state of the art equipment and techniques, along with personalized nutrition counseling that are designed to complement each other for maximized results. Our phenomenal group exercise schedule includes classes that are sure to please everyone, including Beachbody’s live versions of their incredibly popular programs such as Insanity©, P90x©, and PiYo©, led by a Beachbody certified Master Trainer. For me, Daphne Fitness isn't simply a workout facility. It's a place where strangers become friends and friends become family. And in the midst of this process, I have the opportunity to love on my members the way God loves me.
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I N D I A
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Culture on the
Gulf Coast By Omar Mulla
Culture is an expression. It is a medium through which our collective beliefs and passions are illustrated. Although “culture” can be an array of various concurrent behaviors, amidst the chaos of the way people interact with each other, the languages we speak, how we share food, the clothes we choose to dress ourselves in, the way we find meaning in our lives – harmony is created. India is a very loud culture in this sense. Not only literally, with its sleepless city streets and exuberant theatrical displays of music and dance, but also in its desperate passion for art as it reveals itself in boldly flavorful cuisine, stunningly bright colors, a plethora of languages and dialects, an elevated spiritual reverence of many paths, and heavily enamored jewelry and dress. Subtlety seems to fall by the wayside, allowing the true essence of the country’s rich heritage to be received. These vibrant facets of culture give volume to the plea for unbound human expression. This desire for expression can be easily observed in the elaborate style inherent in traditional Indian clothing. Although some variations of Indian dress may hold a certain significance to specific occasions or religious ceremonies, the vivid orchestra of color used in synchronicity with intricately detailed designs is consistent throughout the various forms, once again revealing the dynamic free-flowing nature of Indian artistry. Even though we may be oceans apart from many other countries, being receptive to the fragments of other cultures that surround us in our daily lives can inspire us to live more freely, unrepressed, with more passion for what makes us who we are.
“Every great dream begins with a dreamer. Always remember, you have within you the strength, the patience, and the passion to reach for the stars to change the world.” – Harriet Tubman
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Do you BL Do you ever feel like you’re invisible?
In a room full of people, do you feel overlooked or unnoticed? It isn’t uncommon to sometimes feel as if you’re just blending in with the background. This happens to many people at some point in their lives. Whether you’re feeling ignored by your significant other, or no one seems to be listening to your ideas at work, feeling invisible can be upsetting. There is good news though.
You aren’t invisible! Feeling invisible is a negative mindset that can be changed. You must determine why you feel the way you feel, and make steps to change your situation. If you feel as if your friendship has faded, make an effort to contact that friend. Sometimes life pulls us in different directions from the people we were once close to. If you feel your friendship is slipping, try calling your friend and make plans to hang out. Your friend may even be feeling the same way you feel. Spending time together will rekindle the friendship, and it’ll be as if you two never strayed apart. If you’re feeling invisible at parties or social gatherings, it may just be that you’re uncomfortable in your setting. Try going to a gathering with someone you are comfortable with so you won’t spend the entire night by yourself. Also try preparing conversation topics beforehand so you won’t be stumped for conversation when you’re mingling. Go to events that interest you. In that way, you’ll know that the people there share common interests so you’ll have more to talk about. Remember, you are not really invisible. You just have to put yourself out there. It can be scary at times, but the outcome will be worth it.
LEND in? By Natalie Franklin
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The most beautiful thing a woman can wear is
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