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Fall 2012


Anna Dufresne, Winner of the Uniquely You Contest! How to Find

Real Friends

The Sweet Sounds ofGungor Being Thankful

us Truth about Your Worth &More! P lThe

Chelsea Dublin Freelance

Photography Designs for all your needs, Photography for all your occasions!

Inside this


In Ev ery Issue

3 Edit or’s Let ter 10 Fro m the M ail 11 Boo ks We L bag ove 12 Dele ctable D 17 Ou elights tdo 20 Re or Adventure al 29 Sw Girl Art eet Sou nds 39 Ask Jackie 48 Cra ft 50 He y Corner althy G irl


14 The Truth Abo ut Your Worth 18 The Silent Kill er 22 Uniquely Yo u Winner Anna Dufresne! 32 Being Thank ful 34 Bully Awar eness 5K Run 36 From Runw ay Model to Rol e Model 40 Culture Cor ner 42 Getting Rea l: Dreams 46 Real Friend s 52 Leadership 56 Secrets from Mother Russia



T O D A Y ’ S

Publisher & Editor-in-Chief Elizabeth Bennett Assistant Editors Jill Marceau Abbie Walker

Dr. David Henry, D. M. D. Dr. William L. Boteler, D. D. S.

GENERAL DENTISTRY 5935 Highway 18 West Jackson, MS 39209 Accepting new patients, Call for your appointment today!

(601) 922-7028

Contributing Writers Elizabeth Bennett Lindsay Brett Niki Carter Marie Cerio Jessica DeHart Breana Henderson Sara Jane Hope Kelli Lambert Lindsay Madison Emonne Markland Suzanne McDonough Rebecca Moore Annie Persinger Neesha Roberts Natalia Trotter McKenna Watts June Whatley Art Director Chelsea Dublin Graphic Design Intern Caroline Brock Photography Marianna Hydrick Amy Henry Real Girl Magazine P.O. Box 2267 Clinton, MS 39060 @realgirlmag


Š 2012 All Rights Reserved


I love fall! My favorite things about fall are pumpkins, the cooler weather and the changing leaves. Although I live in the South, football is not one of my favorite things. Growing up near a college town where football was life to so many gave me a huge dislike of the sport. In the fall I would rather be enjoying outdoor arts festivals (the Kentuck Festival in Northport, Alabama is one of my favorites) or biking or hiking than being indoors watching a game. However, my husband loves football so kudos if you do too! There are a plethora of reasons why magazines like this one are important. The main message we weave into every issue is that beauty is on the inside. Your character, personality, talent, etc. are more important than whether you are wearing the latest fashion or if your hair or makeup is done just so. God created you to be the wonderful, unique person that you are so you don’t need to try to be like anyone else! Speaking of being unique, about a month ago, I attended a Girls of Grace conference and met a cool girl named Annie F. Downs. She wrote an amazing book called Perfectly Unique, which is easy to read and uses “real-life examples and faith-based instruction to equip girls with the confidence, faith and moxie they'll need to face their teen and college years.” Be sure to check it out at! Another theme we try to portray in every issue is authenticity. That’s why we’re called Real Girl Magazine. Life can be tough. It’s not all fluffy pancakes, marshmallows and kittens. That’s why we talk about real life issues and point you to a REAL God who loves you unconditionally! We encourage you to be authentic and discover the joy of purity. In this issue, you’ll learn where to find your true worth and much more. Be sure and check out the article about Kayla Allen, a former model and meet Anna Dufresne, our Real Girl Magazine contest winner. Since Thanksgiving is this time of year, I’d like to thank all of our readers, writers, graphic designers, photographers, interns and advertisers. This magazine wouldn’t be possible without God orchestrating the beginning of it in September 2011 and my dear friend Candy Creighton helping jump start it. My heart is overflowing with thankfulness to all of you! Happy Fall!

Elizabeth Bennett Editor-in-Chief




Real Girl Contributors

Elizabeth Bennett

Marie Cerio

was born in Sherman, Texas, moved to Salem, Oregon with her family for a few years, and then spent most of her life in sweet home Alabama. Some of her favorite summers were spent working at camps in North Carolina and Washington. After a long five and a half year college career, which included attending three colleges she graduated in December 2007 from the University of South Alabama, where she majored in print journalism and minored in art. In 2008 she moved to Mississippi to be a news reporter and miraculously met her husband. She has lived in Clinton, Mississippi since getting married in 2010. Elizabeth has dreamed of starting a magazine to inspire teen girls since she was 14. She is currently editor-in-chief of Real Girl Magazine as well as a freelance writer for other publications. She loves to travel, talk, paint, write and dance.


Lindsay Brett

teaches theatre, character education and English as a Second Language in a public middle school. She studied Spanish, Sociology, and Communication at Mississippi State University and holds a Masters Degree in TESOL from Regent University. Lindsay has served as a youth minister for eight years and travels speaking and teaching drama workshops. Gladys, Lindsay’s alter ego, was created as a teaching tool in both church and school settings. Currently, Gladys makes character education videos for the school in which she uses her eccentric personality and idiosyncrasies to teach life lessons. Gladys feels everyday she wakes to a blank canvas to which she is able to apply the massive amount of make-up to decorate and create the masterpiece. Lindsay, on the other hand, just loves sweet tea.

Niki Carter

is a book-lover and librarian originally from Elizabethtown, Kentucky but is now living in Mississippi. By day she is a student pursuing her Master of Art in Biblical Studies and a librarian and by night she is at the movie theater or playing with her pet hamster, Mr. Toast. Some of her favorite life experiences include traveling to foreign countries and sharing the love of Jesus to people of different cultures and languages. She loves being a Real Girl and meeting other Real Girls too!

grew up in Brentwood, Tennessee. She attended college at Auburn University in Auburn, Alabama. In 2006, she graduated from Auburn with a degree in Secondary Education English Language Arts. She currently lives in Auburn, Alabama and is an 8th grade Language Arts teacher at Auburn Junior High School. Her favorite things about her job are helping her students learn to love reading and encouraging them to always work to their full potential. There’s nothing she loves more than seeing her students get “lost in a good book!” In her spare time, Marie enjoys world travel, spending time with friends and family, arts and crafts and pinning things on Pinterest!

Lindsay Madison

was born and raised in Atlanta, Georgia. She married a wonderful man and together they have three teenage sons, and a lovely mutt named Hampton. In 2007, Jessica began A Brilliant Life Foundation to help people live strong lives and reach their potential. She has written curriculum for nonprofits such as Big Brothers Big Sisters and The Girl Scouts. She also enjoys teaching in wonderful schools and organizations such as Boys & Girls Clubs, The Ron Clark Academy, the Atlanta Girls’ School, Atlanta Youth Academies, The Seaside Neighborhood School, Coretta Scott King Women’s Leadership Academy and 21st Century Leaders. Check her out on the web at www. When Jessica isn’t teaching or writing, she loves being with her family and friends as well as reading and running.

Breana Henderson Sara Jane Hope

is twenty-four years old and has been traveling and singing with her family for the past eight years. She has traveled all over the US and Canada and has been on several trips to the Bahamas and Norway. She is studying Bible and Missions at Liberty University Online. She believes God has put it in her heart to be in fulltime ministry and has given her a specific passion for youth and missions. She recently got married to Joshua Henderson, the Youth Pastor at Whitestone Church in Knoxville, Tennessee and is excited to see where God leads them as they begin their life together.

Kelli Lambert

Jessica DeHart

is the owner of Positive Dimensions, LLC, and is a certified trainer, coach and human resource professional. She has been a trainer/facilitator for over thirty years and offers leadership and management training and coaching in a wide variety of topics. She has a BA from Purdue University in Social Psychology and a MS from Murray State University in Guidance and Counseling. She lives in Ridgeland, MS, with her husband Larry and her dog Allie. Watch for her book, Coached by the Captain, to be released by the end of the year.

lives in Lexington, Kentucky with her husband Josh and dog Zeke. Kelli teaches 9th grade English at Lexington Christian Academy as well as coaches the LCA cheerleading squad. Her life’s mission is to represent Christ in everything she does and challenge young ladies to be “real girls.”

is a resident and native of Northport, Alabama where she works in the restaurant business. She went to college at the University of Alabama and earned a Bachelor’s degree in Physical Education. Lindsay enjoys teaching children and working with people. She spent the past three years at McDowell Environmental Center teaching classes about environmental science, conservation and team building. She loves the outdoors and spends her free time camping, swimming and hiking. Currently she is enrolled at Shelton State Community College and plans to pursue a career in nursing. Lindsay is thrilled to be a part of a magazine that focuses on real people and real life experiences.


Emonne Markland Suzanne McDonough Rebecca Moore

Annie Persinger

is a wife, mother, speaker, writer and singer. Her passion is to redefine beauty and see young people walk in freedom through the knowledge of the Truth. She travels the country speaking at churches and with The Pink Lid girl’s conference led by her dear friend, Alyssa Shull. Emonne is a graduate of Oral Roberts University with a Bachelors degree in Mass Media Communications. She enjoys blogging as a way to encourage people throughout the world and is currently working on her first book. Emonne and her family lives in the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex.


is from Kosciusko, Mississippi. She graduated from Millsaps College with a Bachelor degree in Business Administration, from Mississippi State University with a Master of Science in Exercise Physiology and from the University of Mississippi with a PhD in Exercise Physiology and Health Promotion. She is married to Clay and has two college age children, Addie and Walker. She lives in Clinton, Mississippi and has been a professor at Mississippi College in the Kinesiology Department for five years

attended Toccoa Falls College in Georgia where she received a BS in Journalism. However, after entering the field she realized her first love was teaching. She received her education degree from Kennesaw State College. Rebecca began her teaching career at Sripatum University in Bangkok, Thailand as an ESL teacher. After returning from Thailand she accepted a position at City Day Community School. It was here that she realized students need guidance and more one on one and she received a Master from the University of Dayton in Dayton, Ohio. She spent the next four years at Hamilton City Schools teaching kindergarten while attending the University of Cincinnati in Cincinnati, Ohio and received a Masters in Administration. In 2011, she became the guidance counselor at St. Marys Middle School in St. Marys, Ohio. Rebecca resides in Minster, Ohio with her husband Nathaniel, son Eli, daughter Ella and nephew Ashford.

was born in raised in Mobile, Alabama and still calls the Gulf Coast “home.” She and her husband have two young children, Sarah Claire (2) and Luke (9 months). Annie is a stay-at-home mom. She loves running, cooking, writing and is always in the middle of a book - whether it is a novel or a bedtime story. Annie’s first ministry is to her husband and children, but she also hopes to encourage other young moms through her blog

Neesha Roberts

Natalia Trotter

was born in a village in Western Russia in 1978. In 1999, she left her hometown to transfer to a different college in Dnepropetrovsk. Natalia graduated from the Academy of Business and Law of Dnepropetrovsk, Ukraine. It was there that she met her future American husband, Wilson Trotter; who was also attending school as a teacher and student. During the spring of 1999, Natalia and Wilson were married in Ukraine and then moved to the United States. She has two children, three Australian dingo dogs and a garden. Natalia works as a personal trainer helping people with fitness training, planning and developing personalized “blue prints� for accelerated fitness success, health and life with an athletic mind.

June Whatley

is originally from Anniston, Alabama. She attended the University of Mobile, where she obtained a BA in Theology. Her time at UM was lifechanging as she engaged in academic discussion and spiritual accountability. Upon graduation, Neesha began to sense a calling to issues of human rights and social justice issues. She received a MS degree in Community Counseling at the University of South Alabama and a fellowship with International Justice Mission. She spent the past year working as an Aftercare Fellow in India where she did program development and statistics. In her spare time, Neesha enjoys journaling, running and good coffee.

McKenna Watts

is a junior at the University of West Alabama where she is studying Elementary Education. She is captain of the colorguard and a part of the UWA Scarlet Band from Tiger Land. She is a sister of the Gamma Gamma Chapter of Alpha Sigma Tau. McKenna enjoys reading, writing, hanging out with friends and playing with her puppy dog, Lily.

has been married for 41 years and is a mother and grandmother. She has a Master of Arts degree in Counseling and Education from a Christian university. She has written a book called Will My Child Fit? June and her husband Jim live in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. They love their grandchildren & love to travel.


From theMailbag Dear Real

Girl Maga zin

e, This is the b est magazin e I have ev I love it! er rea


-Jasmine, M

ill Valley, Ca


it all in d a e r resting uch I a e m t M in o l s e. e any l Gir er issu with so m e next pag  Rea m r m a u e th d D rs d you Mag is fille g to be on e y o j n irl oin ye I reall ing. Real G what  is g itt w one s never kno it real! I g things for ke epin s ma Thank Alaba , e p ho h, Fair a r a S e, gazin

Send your letters to:


Real Girl Magazine P.O. Box 2267 Clinton, MS 39060 10

Being a teenager isn’t easy. You’re at an age where you’re starting to define who you are. You have your own personality, your own style, your own friends and your own hopes and dreams. It’s easy to feel nervous or uncomfortable about being yourself. What if someone doesn’t like the same things you like, wears different clothes than you do or doesn’t have the same friends? What if they talk about you, and what if you don’t “fit in?” Will going back to school be easy for you? It might be and it might not be. That’s up to you. I encourage you to be yourself, because you’re all fabulous – just the way you are! In the novel Stargirl by Jerry Spinelli, you will meet a fabulous young lady with a strong and very unique personality. The novel, as narrated by Leo Borlock, touches on what it means to “fit in.” It talks about what being “popular” means and if being popular is even worth it if it means you lose who you are. You’ll read about first love and conformity as you laugh and maybe even cry along the way. You’ll make your own opinion about Stargirl as you read. I can tell you this - if I went to Mica High School, I’d be friends with Stargirl! Meet our girl- Stargirl Caraway. From the second she arrives at Mica High School, the halls are abuzz with news of the “new girl” at school. She explodes into the school and becomes the new mystery that all of the students want to solve. Some


Books We Love

C arie M by

Books We Love


are intrigued by her happiness and her carefree attitude while others find it annoying and strange. At Mica High School, where it’s cool to “fit in,” Stargirl Caraway certainly stands out. She doesn’t do it to be cool, and she doesn’t do it to make friends. She just simply wants to be herself! Stargirl’s carefree personality and quirky habits make her unique. She does what she wants to do whether that means singing happy birthday to every student at Mica High during lunch, or cheering for every basket made at the basketball games – including those made by the opposing team! She wears the clothes she wants to wear even if others deem them to be “unstylish.” Most importantly, she doesn’t care what others think. Why should she? When Leo, our narrator, falls in love with Stargirl, he does care what others think. He is shunned by his friends at school when they begin dating. Stargirl is different and most think she’s too different. In an effort to gain back his friends, he encourages her to change. It’s time for her to “fit in” and conform to those around her. She tries - for Leo. She wears “cool” clothes and fixes her hair just like all the other girls. The only problem is that Stargirl isn’t happy because she’s not being herself. She has to make a choice. What means more to her – fitting in or being herself? As you go throughout the school year, I encourage you to read this book. You may have more things in common with Stargirl than you realize!


Niki Carter’s

Homemade Granola

By: Niki Carter

Who doesn’t love grabbing a handful of tasty granola? With this basic recipe you will learn how to make your own... and the best part of cooking it yourself is making it just the way you like it! Let your taste buds and imagination take over!

Delectable Delights Delectable Delights

[This time around I am making my granola with oats, sliced almonds, sesame seeds, honey, raisins, dried cherries and a dash of vanilla flavoring.]

The main suspects: l— tmea a o ( ats d) lled o stant kin o r s in 6 cup not the but

1 cup raisins or other chopped dried fruit 1/2 to 1 cup honey or maple syrup

2 cup and/o s nuts (cashe r se eds ws sunflo , almonds, wer s sesam e e se e eds, ds, etc .)

ded hred nal) s p u 1 c t (optio nu coco


You will also need: 1 dash of salt 1 pinch of cinnamon nonstick cooking spray

1 large bowl 1 large baking sheet 1 spatula


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.


In a large bowl combine the rolled oats, nuts and seeds, coconut, salt and cinnamon.

Get excited.




Note: If you are a chocolate lover, add chocolate chips AFTER the granola has cooled to room temperature, otherwise it will be a melted mess but still delicious!


Pour in the honey or syrup and any other liquid flavoring you might want to add (a dash of vanilla extract, for example). Mix well with a spatula.


Spray the baking sheet with the nonstick cooking spray and pour out the granola mixture as evenly as possible.

Pop it in the oven for 30 minutes. Every ten minutes, CAREFULLY remove from the oven and stir with the spatula. All ovens vary so you may need more or less time. You will know it’s ready to come out when it’s brown and smells divine.


Delectable Delights


While the granola is still warm, add the dried fruit and mix again. Allow to reach room temperature before you store it in an airtight container. If you can resist sneaking a taste, I applaud you for your self discipline.

your granola to AddAddyour granola to cereal, yogurt, yogurt, ice creamiceor cream, enjoy cereal, or bybythe thehandful! handful! 13

the truth about your worth By Annie Persinger

You're cheap. No really. At least that's what the world wants you to believe. If you're not convinced, consider how today's media communicates what we're worth. Have you ever seen a beauty line commercial telling you to buy their products "because you're worth it?" I have. What can I draw from that? I'm worth a bottle of mascara or lipstick or foundation. To put it in simple terms, according to this commercial, I'm worth a grand total of about twenty dollars. Or, have you ever been standing in the checkout line at the grocery store and seen a magazine cover with a tall, gorgeous blonde, sporting a Barbie body and an expensive, flattering, barelythere bikini? The caption is usually something like "How to make him want you more." One look in the mirror, and I know that if a flat stomach and well-defined arms make me desirable, I can't imagine that anyone would want me. If this is where I find my worth, I'm reduced to almost nothing- worth less than the cost of a dinner date. I’m unwanted because of a body that is imperfect. Some days, I do find my worth here. Sometimes I buy into the idea that my value correlates somehow to price tags or comes from how pretty I look. I spent years believing this, thinking that the most accurate way to know my worth was to look to the boys I dated to show me. I was so wrong. The only place to find our true worth is to look to Jesus to show us. I know, this sounds impossible sometimes. We're so used to depending on tangible ways to measure our value: the length of our friend list on Facebook, how many "likes" we got on the last picture we posted, how many heads we turn when we walk in a room, how many kisses we've received, how much money we have, how many girls envy us. But, if these factors determine our worth, do we ever stand on solid ground? Or is our worth always subject to ever-changing circumstance? Not in Jesus. Praise God, not in Jesus. Being human often means being vain- we want to know we're worth something; we want to hear we're desirable, lovable, irreplaceable. Thankfully, God tells us very clearly in His word that we are worth something. We are desirable, lovable and irreplaceable. We have been all of these things since before we even came to be. Psalm 139: 13-14 says, "For You formed my inward parts; you covered me in my mother's womb. I will praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made." Before we were ever born, God knit us together. He made us individually, carefully, specifically, lovingly. He doesn't make mistakes. We are His creation, made in His image and we can find infinite value in that alone. It doesn't end there, though.


“Charm is deceitful and beauty is passing, but a woman who fears the Lord, she shall be praised.�

Proverbs 31:30

God loves us so much that He wants us to come to Him. He was willing to purchase us, sinners though we may be, not for a dollar amount; we are worth far more than that. No, when He stamped us with a price tag, it didn't have numbers. It simply read, "The life of my own, perfect Son." Girls, THAT'S where we find our worth! We can't look to the world to find our value. If we do that, we're told that one man's financial success makes him of more value than the poor man struggling to provide for his family. And if we do that, we're told that the airbrushed model on the magazine cover is worth more than the girl reading it. That's just not true. According to our Redeemer, the one who paid an unthinkable price for us, we don't lose value if we lose our beauty. We don't even earn love by doing good things. The Bible says, "While we were yet sinners, Christ died for us." He didn't wait until we thought we were worth it. He said we were worth it, and He paid our ransom. Can we question that? Isn't our value up to our Creator? Isn't it ultimately determined by the price for which we are purchased? If we must measure our worth, if we need to know our value, there is only one place that we should be searching and that's on the cross. Jesus gave His life for us. We were worth every moment of agony, every insult hurled at Him, every thorn pressed into His head, every labored breath. Girls, how dare we think that any person on earth has any right to define us any other way? No boy we date should make us rethink whether or not we are to die for. No girl whispering about us should make us question whether or not we are valued. No one can tell us our value like Christ. Our identity must be in Him and only in Him. A wise man, inspired by the Holy Spirit, once wrote, "Charm is deceitful and beauty is passing, but a woman who fears the Lord, she shall be praised." In other words, the value of our superficial beauty doesn't last, and frankly, doesn't matter. Inner beauty, that stems from loving and serving the Lord will last - not just for the next few years or even the next few decades, but for eternity. I don't know about you, but I'd take that over a bottle of makeup any day!


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By: Kelli Lambert


he summer has ended and the dreaded school year has begun. To many of us this seems like a prison sentence as we watch the sunny, care-free days go on without us from classroom desks. The outdoor adventures of summer are now a distant memory. However, Real Girl, do not give up hope. There are more outdoor adventures for you and this time I want to encourage you to explore the outdoors in your own neighborhood. Between homework, practice, and family activities, it might seem impossible to find time to get outdoors and enjoy the beautiful fall weather. However, I want to encourage you to jump on your bike and take a spin through your neighborhood! Bike riding is a year-around sport. Even in the cold, you can bundle up and take a spin around the block to get your blood flowing. But it’s not cold yet! So take advantage of the next few months of sunshine, brisk evenings, and a gorgeous fall landscape to improve your bicycling skills. There are so many options to enjoying a good bike ride. You can easily go alone to get some quick exercise or go in groups with family and friends. There are also a variety of places to bike ride:

whether it’s around your neighborhood, at a local park, or even in a race! Biking can be a personal relaxation experience or it can be used as training to get in shape. Setting a goal for yourself to practice your bike riding can even lead to fun challenges like a marathon, race, or even triathlon! Keeping a healthy focus on your mind and body is important as school tends to persuade us to stay indoors and study. Bicycling is an easy fix for stress and requires little preparation. Getting your bike out of the garage or backyard and getting on the road takes minutes and can lead to a refreshing attitude and sense of joy. You can also make a day out of it. In my neighborhood there is a local cafe, bookstore, and grocery. Attaching a basket to your bike and carrying books, groceries, and study materials is a fun way to break up the monotony of the afternoon and remind you that life exists not just inside, but in the daily little outdoor adventures. So, have no fear, outdoor adventures are not gone for good. Life is all about Jesus and enjoying a relationship with Him. Get outside and find joy in the beautiful landscape our Savior has created for us to enjoy!



Silent Killer

By: Lindsay Madison

We all know the signs, symptoms and dangers of a heart attack, but many Americans will come face to face with another “silent killer” during their lives and not even recognize it. This disease I speak of goes by many names…Anorexia, Bulimia, or Compulsive Overeating, but I just call them: The Eating Disorder. I put them all under one title because when left untreated, one type just bleeds into another and a person can experience more than one during his or her life. I am a 28 year old woman who has been in recovery from an Eating Disorder for about three years. If you had told me when I was 15, that I would spend the next TEN years of my life battling something that would nearly take my life, I would have laughed at you. As a teenager, I didn’t recognize the signs or feelings within myself enough to realize that I was developing a dangerous problem. It began as many Eating Disorders begin, slow and elusive. I was struggling to manage and accept all the situations in my life at this young age, and the one thing that I could control was what I ate… or didn’t eat. Sometimes I felt as if that was the ONLY thing over which I had control. At home, I was stuck in the middle of my family’s arguments, and at school I was trying to be the perfect student. Sometimes I found it so difficult to fit in; I didn’t know how to just “be myself”. So like many habits become learned responses, I began to restrict certain foods from my diet, and quantities of others. That little bit of control comforted me enough in the moment, to want to continue the pattern. (I am not even sure that I was fully aware I was doing it at first.) I

have since learned about many chemical and biological factors that explain why deprivation could possibly create a happy feeling. At the time, all I knew was that how I looked and felt in my own body was MINE, and no one could change that about me. What began as a poor coping mechanism for my problems in life quickly took hold and started to control me. Some factors in my environment likely contributed to the development of my disorder. When I first began eating “healthier” (which is how I pulled off the restricting), I received many compliments on my body and my athleticism. This helped to confirm in my teenaged brain that what I was doing was fine and all this was normal. But I, in-fact was using my disordered eating habits to escape other issues in my life that I did not want to face. By the time my friends and family saw any significant danger in my preoccupation with diet and exercise, my Eating Disorder had developed a full stronghold in my life. The nature of this disorder is to feed you lies about yourself, about others who may try to help you, and about the fact that you have a problem at all. I still felt like I was in control. From the time I finished high school, my life was a roller coaster for the next seven years. When family would pressure me to gain weight, I would gain just enough to appease… and then find a way to lose it again, hiding it with baggy clothes. In college I discovered the world of diet pills, laxatives, and…one of the most deadly tricks yet. Bulimia. There were days when I physically felt so bad

Symptoms of an Eating Disorder Facts about Eating Disorders

• In the United States, as many as 10

million females and 1 million males have anorexia or bulimia. Millions more are struggling with binge eating disorder.

• Anorexia has the highest mortality rate of any mental illness.

• An estimated 1,000 women die each year from anorexia nervosa.

(Sources: Nicole Siegfried, Director of Magnolia Creek, National Institute of Mental Health)


By: Caroline Sasser, MSW LCSW

ꔷ Intense fear of gaining weight or becoming fat, even though normal weight Loss ꔷ of substantial amount of weight in past two or three months ꔷ Absence of period for more than three months ꔷ Restricting daily food intake to little or none ꔷ Calorie counting/label reading ꔷ Eating large amounts of food at one time followed by self- induced vomiting Excessive exercise or laxative use to compensate for food eaten ꔷ If an individual is struggling with any of the above, it does not mean she has an eating disorder. It may be important for the individual to reach out to someone such as a parent, friend, teacher or mentor and schedule an appointment with her doctor.

that I really wanted to die. I lied about everything, all with the justification that it was just a sacrifice I had to make in order to keep my one and only life comfort. I thought that I would literally fall apart with out it. I knew logically that I was in over my head and I had no idea how to fix my life. I didn’t want to be a liar, or sick or weak, or incapable. But all of a sudden, my method of controlling my own life had unmistakably taken over every aspect of it. And there is no logic when you are controlled by an Eating Disorder. Every decision I made revolved around food or exercise. My friends struggled to remain my friends, and my family could only cry for my pain and ask, WHY? Why did this happen? HOW did we not see it before? WHAT can we do?

I didn’t know how badly I had deteriorated my body until I spent the next three months at Magnolia Creek Treatment Center for Eating Disorders. Here, I worked with therapists everyday to help my body recover, but also to help my spirit recover. An Eating Disorder is such a clever enemy because it attacks your mind first, feeding you lies that will prompt you then to mistreat your body. Once the disorder has a hold on your thoughts, it will attempt to destroy everything that you are. The physical symptoms are ONLY THE TIP OF THE ICEBERG. At Magnolia Creek, I found people who understood that I wanted out, that I wanted peace. With their help, and a whole lot of support from my friends and family, I have been able to walk on The first time I went to an in-patient treatment center, I a road of recovery for the last three years. Recovery is a went voluntarily, but quickly decided that I did not want process, and it isn’t perfect, but it becomes easier as time to be there. I also decided that the whole center didn’t passes. It’s almost like the voice of the disease becomes know what they were talking about and that they couldn’t quieter and quieter with every healthy decision I make. help me. My mind was so severely handicapped by my I have met many people who want to say that people disorder at this point that I decided to run away from create their own Eating Disorder because they want home at 22 years old and live out of my car. That was my to “look like a model”. There are unfortunately many grand solution. Thankfully, that idea didn’t last long, and misconceptions about Eating Disorders because for so I made it through another three years before my disease long, the problem just wasn’t talked about. Now, we are caused my weight to spiral downwards, and I soon had to beginning to learn about this disorder and many other be hospitalized. Although I was 5’6” tall and weighed only mental diseases through science and research. Many 81 lbs, I couldn’t see that this was dangerous, and still went young people may feel shameful for having the problem for a 23 mile bike ride the day before I checked into the and so they hesitate to talk about it. Some are even told hospital. I didn’t collapse, or have some kind of seizure or that it is their fault. The truth is that a person develops episode, instead I went in for a checkup and my potassium an Eating Disorder when certain biological, chemical, level was at a measly 1.9. A doctor that I didn’t even and environmental factors combine, setting in place a know called me repeatedly insisting that I come to the recipe for disaster. Fortunately, there IS help available. It emergency room as soon as I could be taken there. I later is SO important to tell someone you trust how you feel, learned that with a potassium level this low, your heart and to seek help when you can. It’s never too late to get can stop at any moment without warning. healthy and to live your life free of an Eating Disorder.

“At Mercy, three things “Atstand Mercy, stand out three to me things that I have out to me that I have learned: learned: Freedom is a choice, Freedom is a choice, I am I am a woman of God anda woman of God and He loves He loves me SO much just me SO much just the way that the way that I am! I now I am! I now know who I am know who I am in Christ and in Christ and I am a mature I am a mature daughter and daughter and woman of God woman of God and that I and that I will be used by Him be the usedpurpose by Him toI fulfill to will fulfill was the purpose I was created created for. I know that He for. I know that He loves Ime loves me unconditionally. no unconditionally. I no longer longer base my beauty on my base my weight or my my beauty size, butoninstead weight myinsize, on who or I am Him!”but instead on who I am2012 in Him!” -Leigh Ann,

-Leigh Ann, 2012 Graduate of Mercy Graduate of Ministries Mercy Ministries

Help is Available: Mercy Ministries 615-831-6987 Magnolia Creek Treatment Center 888-762-4665 Selah House 888-641-0022 Finding Balance


Creative Cats

Meighan, 8th Grade

Dorian, 8th Grade

Amanda, 8th Grade


Jennifer, 8th Grade

Hello, you whispered, and new lights of fresh days flamed from the sky. My heart pulses, outlined beats rush between us, shaping our story with their paths. Then time gasps as our glances align, my future’s ever-fixed mark. The glimmer of possibility focuses my mind, and dares me to word: A resolution for change, and a need to be afire. So I asked your name.

Real Girl Poetry


—Sara McGahan, 17


Congratulatio to Anna Dufresne !






Makeup by Stephanie Skelton at Aqua the Day Spa Clothes provided by Altar’d State


eet Anna Dufresne, the winner of the Uniquely You Contest. She won a gift basket, a photo shoot with clothes provided by Altar’d State and her essay featured in this issue. Anna blew us away with her amazing essay and sweet spirit. She is a real girl all around. Anna is a senior in high school and lives in Kosciusko, Mississippi with her family. Her friends describe her as being very outgoing, loud and loving to laugh. Anna likes to travel and would love to visit London, England and Ireland. She thinks seeing the countryside would be amazing. Anna loves to sing in the shower, watch “The Voice” and enjoys singing in the choir at church. She has two half brothers and two sisters. She also has two dogs- a dachshund named B.B. and a lab named Daisy. According to Anna, some issues that teens face are: not trusting each other, gossip, jealousy and pride. She urges fellow real girls to trust one good friend with your secrets instead of telling all your friends your secrets. Anna has plans of studying something in the medical field in college and hopes to work with kids. In the meantime, Anna has a desire to take missions trips to Haiti. Her favorite verses that keep her going are Luke 1:37 and Jeremiah 29:11. Keep reading to find out more about this real girl!


Unique By: Anna Dufresne

What makes me unique? Well, for starters, I’m really tall. 5’10 to be exact. I am not the tiniest thing in the world, but I guess my height gives me an advantage. But believe me, I am not afraid of wearing high heels. I will look like the “jolly green giant” all day if I want to. I wear a 9 ½ size shoe, sometimes 10, depending on the shoe. I am very different to most girls my age, I can tell you that. Some of them are at least 130 to 150 pounds at the least. They wear a seven or eight shoe and are five feet and five and a half. Most have no problem finding clothes. I know I do! Honestly, I feel like Shaquille O’neal going into a store to find jeans long enough for me. And shirts to fit my “not so petite” body. I am happy with big t-shirts and blue jeans sometime. Comfort is key! I love scarves. I will wear them with t-shirts even. I love to mix and match clothes. There is actually one of my favorite stores in town called Dirt Cheap. And the price fits the name. I love finding clothes that I can buy on a dime! To me, you don’t have to spend hundreds of dollars to look good!


Toms Desert Wedge in chestnut suede, $89, Black Dress mocha cami, $10, NOI necklace, $22, Zenana Outfitters, mocha $18, Blue Pepper orange dress, $49.50

Asiana Bamboo boot, $69.50, !it Ultra skinny jeans, $84, Ya Los Angeles taupe shirt, $44.50, Altar’d State scarf, $19.50

What Makes Me Unique

I am probably the clumsiest person you will ever meet. I can practically trip over air! I can be really silly sometimes. I love to laugh and have a good time. I just all in all am a very happy person. It kills me to be in a bad mood. I guess that is why I was born on National Smiles Day! I love to sing! I may not be good at it, but I sure will try. When I’m trying to be funny, I will sing at the top of my lungs and sing off pitch. But I can be serious too. I sing in church sometimes, but that’s for God. I love to paint. I love to paint colors. Like just simple things. Again, not that great, but I don’t do it to be famous. I also love to play the piano. I just started learning and I want to continue. What really makes me unique, most of all, is God made me that way. I know I’m not Carrie Underwood, Beethoven or Van Gogh. But I am happy with that. I am unique because it’s all a part of God’s master plan. He made us all unique because if we were all the same, I guess we would just get plain sick of each other. He makes us different because He designs our relationships with Him to be different. God is my all; He is my everything. I really don’t need anything except Him. He has made me unique so I can stand out! I love to stand out and be myself. I feel material possessions are just one thing I can do without. Money has always been an issue in my family, even as a child. But that does not mean I have absolutely nothing. Yes, I have nice things, but none to brag about. I thank God for the things He has blessed me with. My parents make sacrifices for me and my sisters each and every day. Though we may not have diamonds or furs, we have a roof over our heads, food on our table and clothes on our backs. I may not get everything I want, but I don’t wish I had more. I love being without a car, a lot of money or being the most popular girl in school, because if I had those things, I wouldn’t see God as #1. I would rather throw all of that away to spend eternity in Heaven. I want to share the love of Christ and have someone see good in my heart rather than the material possessions that I have. This is why I am unique.


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By: Breana Henderson

Sweet Sounds

Gungor G

ungor, (formerly known as the Michael Gungor Band), is a band that truly understands the power that music holds. In their 2010 album, Beautiful Things, Gungor takes you on a journey of emotions using a wide variety of instruments, from banjo to trumpet to toy piano. However, as impressive as their musical style is, what is even more impressive is the lyrics that accompany the There is notes. So often in Christian music it is nearly impossible to find the biblical something message of a song beneath the ambiguity of the lyrics. You will have no trouble discovering the message within the songs found on Beautiful powerful about Things, as most of the lyrics come straight out of scripture.

the way music can he album begins with a song called “Dry Bones” taken evoke deep emotion from the passage in Ezekiel 37. What starts out as a that no other force on simple, quiet song driven by Spanish guitar quickly grows earth can awaken. It’s the into a powerful rock song crying out to God. With the end of the song you are brought back down to the acoustic way the sound of a minor sound of the title song “Beautiful Things”. As the album progresses through 13 songs there is not one chord can easily bring about moment when you will want to hit the skip button. feelings of sadness or the One of my favorite songs found on this CD is called sense of nostalgia that can “You Have Me”. This beautiful love ballad, driven by the cheerful sounds of the banjo, makes a simple statement to come from hearing the God from His child: “You have my heart completely.” graceful tones of a he band Gungor is comprised of Michael Gungor (lead violin that give music vocals and acoustic guitar), his wife Lisa Gungor (vocals and keyboards), Brad Waller (guitar) and Josh Harvey (bass). If you a dynamic unlike haven’t listened to this band you need to get on iTunes and download anything else. this album. Since the release of Beautiful Things, Gungor has put out one



other CD called Ghosts Upon the Earth and will be releasing their new live album A Creation Liturgy on October 9. For more information about Gungor visit their website at


“My family.” -Ashanti, 14

“I am thankful for my friends and family.” -Madeline, 14

What are


“Friends, family and the freedom to speak about Christ.” – Abbie, 19


“My mom.” –Hannah, 13

ace ’s gr d r o L r.” “The d powe , 16 ly n a -Emi

“I’m th ankfu my fam l for ily.” -Emma , 13

thankful for? 31

Being Thankful

Thankfully, That Is Over! Have you ever had a problem arise between yourself and a friend, a teacher, or a parent?

By June Whatley

There may be a way to handle the problem that Approach the meeting calmly and humbly. Check will bring understanding and resolution. Wouldn’t your attitude at the door. This may be hard to do, it be nice to get the problem resolved without but it is in your best interest. losing the respect or trust of your friend, teacher If it is parents that are angry with you or refusing or parent? Do you think it is worth a shot? to let you do something that you want to do and Now it is true that this verse you don’t think it is fair, this is talking about coming into should still apply. When There is a scripture that might help. the presence of God, but you enter the meeting, Check out Psalm 100:4, NIV. His truth is truth. Think about graciously thank your this, maybe you are having parent or parent for what Enter his gates with thanksgiving a dispute with a friend and they have provided for and his courts with praise; you want to fix it. Regardless you. If you have a home give thanks to him and praise of the situation, try applying or apartment, thank them his name. this scripture. for that. Thank them for the food they supply and for trying to do their Go to your friend and humbly ask if you can best as a parent. Add things that you have that talk. Start out by telling your friend that she (or he) others less fortunate don’t have and thank them. has been a good friend and you treasure the friendship. Ask if you can discuss the problem. Let Ask them to tell you their side of the issue. your friend go first (without defending yourself). Listen carefully without interrupting. Ask them if Wait patiently while she airs her side. you can tell them your view. Give them your side After she has finished, if she was wrong, ask in logical, calm terms. Ask them to take time to her if you can give her the details that she lacked. consider your side and ask them for a meeting This should defuse the hostility. At this point, calmly later, but before you step away, thank them for give the information that she needs. If she needs the opportunity to share your view. Be sincere! Tell to think it over or check out your details, tell her them how important parents are and you know you don’t mind and give her time to do that, also that they love you. Give them time to consider give thanks to her and remind her how important the facts. When you meet with them again about the friendship is to you. (If she was right, humbly the matter; be willing to accept their decision. This apologize and ask for her forgiveness and tell method doesn’t always get you your way, but it does build a relationship that you will one day her how important the friendship is to you.) I’ve used an example of a friend, but the same really be thankful for. Expressing thanks is a good approach should be appropriate to use with way to show your friends and family how much an upset teacher or parent. With the adults, ask they mean to you. Not to mention, it can help for a time to sit down and talk quietly with them. solve disagreements. What have you got to lose?


Crop Connection January 24-26, 2013

Crop Connection is your premier source for a weekend scrapbooking getaway. Escape the everyday demands of life!

Register today!


By Rebecca Moore


What: 5K Bully Awareness Run/Walk When: Friday October 14, 2012 2:00 p.m. Where: St. Marys Football Field 2250 St. Rt. 66 St. Marys, Ohio 2250 Contact: 419-394-2112 or





ave you ever wondered what it would be like to be a model? What do you think of when you see the models in magazines, on commercials and billboards plastered throughout your city? What images come in mind when you think of a model? The model lifestyle may seem like a glamorous lifestyle for the rich and famous, but for 20 year old Kayla Allen, it was a reality. She not only saw the models in the media, she lived that life.


ay Model to RoleModel

New York City. She modeled for catalogues such as Belk and a prom dress store.

At first it was exciting for all eyes to be on her as a model, but then it began to not to feel so natural. Before modeling, Kayla knew what things she would and would not do. But, “Somewhere along the way, your morals get watered down and you start to justify things,” says Kayla.

Kayla Allen grew up in Meridian, Mississippi living the small town life. It was “pretty average” according to her, and consisted of attending a small high school, hanging out with friends and family and being involved in a few sports. When Kayla was 15 years old, she went on a family vacation to Destin, Florida. As she was shopping one day, she saw some people who worked at a modeling scouting agency and they approached her. They asked her if she was interested in modeling. Kayla thought it was a crazy idea, but she said, “Sure, why not!” A few week later, she had an interview with agents.

Modeling seems like a very exciting and luxurious lifestyle for those of us outside the modeling world. According to Kayla, Kayla built a portfolio in Destin modeling is very self-focused. and through the agency she “I was addicted to thinking landed her first modeling job in about myself all the time, Los Angeles. She modeled the wondering if I looked better than summers before her sophomore, the girls standing next to me.” junior, and senior year of high My senior year, I was 18 and school in Los Angeles and in in Los Angeles. I was a nominal


By Elizabeth Bennett

Christian. I grew up in church, but I never thought about God that much. He was just out there somewhere. I started feeling empty and depressed. I didn’t have a reason to live anymore. I felt unsatisfied and was without peace. I wanted to pursue modeling instead of college. I had everything but at the same time I had nothing. I was surprised that I was feeling that way because I had a good job, and material things. I was struggling with my image and it was never enough. My mom sent me a care package filled with cards, candy and a Bible. I read in Isaiah 40 where it says “People are like the grass. Their beauty fades as quickly as the flowers in a field. The grass withers and the flowers fade but the word of our God stands forever.” I started reading Proverbs and it was talking about how money is so vain and fleeting but only true wisdom comes from the Lord. I was thinking to myself, “Why have I never thought about this before? God made me and He is bigger than me.” I feared God for the first time and stopped compromising what I knew was right such as being in

photo shoots I wasn’t comfortable with and being around the drugs that were around all the models.

desire is to teach where people have never heard who Jesus is. They may have heard who Lil Wayne is or some rapper, but not who Jesus is. I also want to help them learn how to read!”

Then, I began reading the Bible more and it said money gained in unfair ways disappears. It didn’t seem wise to do this anymore; to put everything in looks and beauty. Proverbs is telling me what I need to do to be wise. So, I told the agency I was quitting, bought a ticket to return home and started college at Mississippi College. When I went to school, the number one thing I wanted was to know God. I started reading the Bible regularly. I hung out with my sister, who is a believer and attended the same school. I joined a small group on campus and someone told me who Jesus is. I had heard about Jesus before, but I had never feared God. I never before knew my need for a Savior. Kayla explains that fearing God is to live in accordance to His plan and to respect Him. We are not to be afraid of Him, but to recognize His power. God’s way of communicating with you is through His word. He kept transforming Kayla more and more. “He stripped me of my old desires and gave me new desires,” she says. had been searching and found that money, fashion and image didn’t fill me. I finally heard Him say, “You are mine. I can fill you, I can satisfy you.” Kayla explains modeling as an endless race to a lie. “No matter how beautiful you are, in the world’s eyes, it is never enough. It’s kind of like money- it’s never enough and it’s not what it is promised to be. Part of sin’s

Practical Advice from Kayla

ꔷ Guard

your mind. And filter what the world says about you through what God says about you. When thinking about beauty, evaluate what God’s word (a.k.a. the Bible) says.

ꔷ Put

Scripture on your mirrors to fill your mind with truth and remind you of who you are.

evidence in the world today is blindness to God’s masterpieces. We are created in His image and to see flaws in us is like saying there is a flaw in God. The call of Christ is to say the truth and the truth will set you free. If you live in the freedom that you are God’s masterpiece because He is pleased with His design, we should be. We are the work of His hands and He is pleased with His creation. He is the potter and we are the clay. The world’s definition of beauty and God’s definition are different. The world says looking young is beautiful and eliminating wrinkles is key. The world wants to reverse the signs of aging. That’s like trying to stop the seasons from changing. You can’t stop a person from evolving into God’s design for them.”

My favorite verse says, “Because you are honored and precious and I love you.” I know that I’m God’s child because of Christ and because of that, it changes everything. When I see magazines in the grocery store, I might look at them and think to myself, “I want to look like that.” Just be content in the fact that the God of the universe specially created you and doesn’t want anyone else but you. Girls have a tendency to be jealous. If we grasped how much He loves us, then we wouldn’t find the need to compare and be someone else.

Kayla paints a vivid picture of the reality of a model’s life and the truth of where real beauty comes from. So next time you see a model, don’t compare yourself to her. Keep in mind that looks can be deceiving. Remember Kayla and her story of being Now, Kayla is a senior at changed from the inside out. Mississippi College majoring in elementary education. Her plan is to be a teacher. “My


Join us for Worship Sunday | 10:45 AM

3000 Hampstead Blvd Clinton, MS 39056 601.924.562 Sunday | 9:00 & 10:45 AM, 6:00 PM Wednesday | 6:00 PM Morrison Heights Baptist Church exists to proclaim the greatness of God through Jesus Christ as the eternal hope of all peoples.


Ask Jackie

True Advice

I’m starting college this year. Do you have any advice? One piece of advice that sticks out in my mind is “be careful of the freshman 15”. An average college student gains 15 pounds that first year. Why? Well, it’s your first time for freedom to stay up all night, you end up eating late then crashing. Additionally, you’re not as active as you were in high school. You probably aren’t playing sports, taking dance or cheer. So, more calories and less exercise leads you to your first battle of the bulge. Seriously, college is a place for new beginnings. You get to build a new reputation for yourself. Make sure you get involved in the activities on campus so that you’ll feel a part of the community. Many college freshman feel lonely because they have no sense of belonging to a group. On the flip side, stay true to yourself, your values, and your faith. Don’t compromise in order to fit in. Remember, many college freshmen fail their freshman year because of lack of self discipline. Those failing grades follow them throughout life and wreak havoc on their hopes to getting into a graduate program. Honestly, those who “go wild” in college are making terrible decisions that will unfortunately follow them for

a lifetime. STAY GROUNDED. Get involved with a faith based group that causes you go grow spiritually and in maturity. Go to class. Really. Your parents, a loan company (eventually you), or the government is probably paying for your education. Honor those who are paying the way and people your age in other countries who can’t afford an education but would give anything to have your opportunities. College can be the greatest experience of your life. You can go through college without entering the party scene, being sexually active, and losing who you are. Call home. Your family needs to hear from you. Learn to balance a budget. College kids are poor, this is a great time to learn to be frugal. Don't go to college looking for a MRS degree. There will be plenty of time for that afterwards. Also, don't become an educated fool- your parents or grandparents may not have fancy letters behind their names but they do have life experience as their teacher. So, don't act like a know it all because those books may not teach it all.

What do we do when the person who hurts us seems to prosper? Ugh, don’t you hate that feeling? The person who has hurt you so deeply seems to have life handed to them on a silver platter. Your heart is broken and they seem to be having the time of their lives... Yes, it happens. Yes, it hurts. My advice is WAIT. Be still, know that He is God. What is done in darkness will be brought to light. It m may take days, months or years, but I stand on Galatians 6:7 “Be not deceived, God is not mocked, whatever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.” It’s hard to see them prosper, but your heart will eventually heal and you’ll be the better person for the lesson learned. Here’s a little story that may help. In my small town, we had a gas station near my neighborhood. It was a family run business, everyone used it, old men would drink coffee there in the morning, they served old style fresh biscuits,etc. A couple of years later, a nicer commercial gas station opened ACROSS the street, literally. It had the sliding glass doors, sparkled with its neon lights and signs, etc. Eventually, the traffic

began to drift from the concrete block family gas station. The new gas station eventually gathered enough business that the little mom and pop station had to close. Did the shiny new one care that they had cause heartache, bankruptcy, etc. ? No, they cared about the bottom line, the dollar. So, they flourished for a couple of years until another commercial gas station bought the property of the mom/pop business. The new company built a building and business that not only rivaled the other commercial station, it trampled it. Guess who is out of business now?? Remember the sayings that “every dog has his day” and “give someone enough rope and they’ll hang themselves.” The question is not “why are they prospering and I’m hurting”, but instead “what can I learn through this hurt so that I don’t do this to someone else?” We only grow through pain, that’s why they are called “growing pains”. Life, time, and God will take care of the other person.



By: Neesha Roberts

ach morning I’m awakened by the traffic right outside my flat—engines revving up, go-cart sounding scooters and motorcycles breezing down the road, horns blowing endlessly, and the hum of bumper-tobumper traffic. I must say, it helps drag me out of bed in the morning. I commute to work with my roommates, and we split the fare which is roughly $2 one way. The commute allows us to observe others in their daily routines. From the auto rickshaw seat we watch dozens of children walk to school in their adorable uniforms, tethered together as they make their way through the scary traffic. Hundreds of businesses line the streets and the back alleys selling produce, jasmine flowers for women’s hair (it smells like gardenia!), and knickknacks of all sorts. Everyone’s trying to make a rupee to survive. The whole city is plastered with advertisements as if it has been dipped in glue and paper mached; and, the walls are painted with scenery and inspirational quotes but what is especially noticeable is the dress wear of Indian women, particularly, south Indian women and how their clothing reflects their culture and how their particular style of clothing has contributed to preserving their cultural identity for hundreds of years.


For everyday wear or for a formal event they wear a few different outfits: a saree (also spelled sari), a salwar set, or a churidar set – all with coordinating bangles. Sarees come in various blends of material – from silk, to silk-cotton, pure cotton, or chiffon, to name a few. It’s a piece of unstitched cloth ranging from 12 to 27 feet – that’s almost 1/10 of a football field! If you were wondering what it’s like to tie one go online and watch a demo video; it’s quite amazing to watch a simple piece of fabric turn into a beautiful dress. Most sarees are full-length, covering the upper and lower body.

Cultural Corner A salwar set is made up of a long top that falls right at the knee, with scrub-like, boot-cut pants with a matching dupatta (usually a somewhat translucent scarf) and just as the saree, there are expensive, formal salwar sets, and there are casual ones for work or home. Salwars are my favorite Indian dresswear due to their comfort and breathability. I have quite a few of my own. A Churidar set is similar to a salwar set -- being that it’s composed of a long tunic except the pants are tailored to fit tight around the ankles for a more sleek look than the salwar set. On average, these are the three types of outfits worn by Indian women. It didn’t take long to notice how women have maintained a standard in south India-- a standard that takes pride in their cultural identity. It’s clear: their clothing reflects their cultural identity and not solely a personal identity. The style of these outfits depicts gender, ethnicity, religion, wealth and social status and individual taste. Who knew clothing said so much?! In the US we primarily see clothing as an individual expression that is disconnected from wealth, religion, or family. And I dare to say, most of us (me included) have one agenda: to look cute and stylish and to gain some cute guy’s attention in the meantime. One article from Australian Science (October 2011) says, “The type of clothing completely depends on the person who is wearing it; therefore it becomes a reflection of his perception of himself, which leads us to the term – personal identity.”

After traveling to China, Norway, Zambia, India, Thailand, and England I’ve noticed a pattern: generally men dress the same all over the world – pants and a button down shirt, but it’s women who are the trend setters, the fashionistas, or in regards to India, the preservers of cultural identity. Anthropology suggests that cultural identity and clothing go hand-in-hand, saying that even western culture, whose aim is individual expression, contains deeper social forces at work. Before living in India I never had a second thought of how my choice of clothing could be preserving American culture. But now I know: women have the power to preserve or change their cultural identity in the daily decision in what they will wear every day! What a different perspective on the power of clothing choice than what we usually adhere to here in the US! Neesha (the writer) and her friend in India


Finding Your Purpose Through Your Dreams

Getting Real: By Jessica DeHart

In the Getting Real article in the last issue, we discussed how your purpose in life is where your gifts and dreams meet the world’s needs. We defined gifts as your talents, the things you’re good at or that come easy to you. Now, let’s discover your dreams so you can understand your purpose even more. Your dreams are the ideas that inspire you and excite you. Dreams give you amazing insight to important questions in life like these. Who am I way deep down inside? Who was I born to be? How can I make the world a better place? In other words, your dreams help you discover your purpose in life. Your dreams are huge clues as to why you were born in this time in history. Having dreams is important. Not only do they give your life direction, they can also inspire you and give you hope when life gets tough. Your dreams should be compelling and so exciting that you can’t stop thinking about them. Your full life wouldn’t be complete if you didn’t make them come true. Your dreams should be so big and fantastic that you have no idea how you are going to accomplish them; you will need God to help you. So what are your dreams and aspirations? What is in your heart? Grab some paper and a pen, and let’s find out! Use as much detail as you can to complete the following statements. Write down any ideas that you think of. Don’t worry about making them perfect; JUST WRITE until you’ve run out of words! • Someday I know I will . . . • If I had all the confidence in the world, I would . . . • If I had all the money I needed, I would . . . • If I knew I’d never fail, I would . . . • A great way for me to use my gifts is . . . • Someday I think I could help . . . • My ultimate dream job is . . . • Last, have you ever thought about having your own business or a nonprofit someday? If so, o What is that business or nonprofit? o What would you be doing? o Who would you be helping?


All of the ideas you have written down are dreams of yours. Did you notice that some of your answers might have repeated? This is perfectly fine. As a matter of fact, those repeating answers tell you that you’re on to a big, important dream. Chances are, your purpose is embedded in these ideas you’ve written. So look back over your answers. Does a purpose seem to arise from your words? Is there one idea you absolutely love and must do? Or does it seem obvious that you should be doing a certain something with your life? If so, circle that great idea and even put a smiley face beside it. That idea will mean something very important to you someday. Now that you have identified a few of your dreams, it is time to start making those dreams come true. Here is how you do that: • Select three of your dreams. • Write each dream at the top of its own piece of paper. • Write down all the steps you’ll need to take in order to make each dream come true. Some dreams take only three steps, while other dreams may take thirteen steps or more. Make each step small and doable. Take the example of Haley. She is an ice skater and dreams of being a skating instructor someday: “I want to be an ice skating coach at the Ice Land Rink by 2016.” Step #1 - Complete USFSA skating tests up to level #5. Step #2 - Get certified to teach skating. Step #3 - Shadow another teacher for six months. Step #4 – Acquire my first beginning skater and I teach away! The smaller the steps you write down, the easier it will be to accomplish. So what steps do you need to take? Do you need to take a class? E-mail a mentor? Interview someone? Apply for a job? Start a blog? Study another culture? Volunteer somewhere? Google a subject? Read a certain book? Achieving great things in life takes courage, confidence, and determination. The most interesting thing about dreams is that they are designed to

challenge you, grow you, and help you reach seize the opportunity to grow. Instead, they do the your God-given potential. We were all born with opposite; they think about how inadequate they great potential and to achieve great things we are. They think, “Who was I to think I could really must grow that great potential. How do we grow do this?” Don’t listen to these negative thoughts. our potential? Simple, if you want more courage, If you get stuck while chasing your dreams, then you must act courageously - even when you take a step back and ask yourself, “What must don’t feel an ounce of courage inside of you! Yes, I do in order to push past this hard place where this is hard to do, but you can do it! When you’re I’ve gotten stuck?” You decide what it is that is taking steps to fulfill your dreams, you must feel paralyzing you at that moment and then get the the fear and take that small step anyway. By help you need. You can grow in many ways: You acting fearlessly like this, you can look back and can learn a new skill, seek more knowledge, or realize, “Hey, I did it even though I was scared. I enlist a mentor who has already accomplished did it!” Acting fearlessly assures you that you can what you are trying to accomplish. do more to make this dream come true. So you When things get hard, stay committed. Work hard do more and more and more, until you eventually to stay the course. Push yourself to be more. Get accomplish your goal. Step by step, little by little, the help you need. People love to help others who you can accomplish a big dream. are on an important mission. The world will be As you are completing your important steps and waiting for you to reach out and ask for help. things start getting hard, you may get “stuck” Dreams have the power to heal. Believe or feel paralyzed. Here’s the important it or not, if you’ve had a traumatic or a Dreams thing to know: The only reason you get difficult life situation, your dreams can stuck is because you need to grow in have the power hold a healing power for your broken some new way. Getting stuck is the best to heal. spots. It’s kind of magical: A girl who opportunity to grow your great potential. was born blind wants to write Braille You know you are stuck when you begin to books for the visually impaired. She finds make up excuses, get distracted, procrastinate, a way to use her challenges to help others live become fearful or less confident, have anxiety, feel better lives. A teen who was raped begins a inadequate, play the blame game, or in some way nonprofit foundation to help other girls who have cower down from your dreams. Think of the ice been raped – when all along, the more she tells skater, Haley. When she was 14 years old, she was her story and helps others, the more she learns to trying to master a difficult ice skating jump called cope and come to terms with her own situation. a Double Toe-Loop. Her confidence plummeted She realizes she is so much more than a rape with each unsuccessful try. After a while she began victim, and this opens her up to a full life with lots beating herself up, saying, “Hannah learns every of wonderful possibilities. Dreams have the power jump so easily. I’ll never be as good a skater as to heal you and help you move beyond difficult Hannah. Her body is taller and stronger, and she situations that would otherwise negatively affect jumps higher. No fair!” Haley felt like giving up. Truth your life. Isn’t that neat? was, a Double Toe-Loop was hard. Haley struggled No other person in the world has the same to master the jump. Remembering that skating was dreams as you. Your ideas are very important her dream, Haley did not give up. She bargained to the world right now, especially in this time in with her mom that she would do more chores to history. There are some significant ideas inside pay for two extra lessons. By getting past the stuck you that you must strive to accomplish so you can part, Haley mastered the Double Toe-Loop. do your part in making the world a better place. This stuck spot is where so many people give Allow yourself to dream. Be all you were created up. They don’t realize that all they need to do is to be, starting now!


What do you like oler “It’s getting co y.” tt re and it is p 13 , a -Emm “The colors.” –Hannah, 13

“Wearing fall colors, cardigans and warm clothes.” -Emily, 16


best about the fall? nd ther a a e w .” “The kin pie pump bie, 19 – Ab

“My bir Also, thday is thi I like the w s month. and eath the l er –Ash eaves.” anti, 14

“I like th e fact th not to o a hot or to t it is o cold.” -Made line, 14


By Em o

e nn M ar k

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Have you ever had a Have you had a friend that you B.F.F. that felt more like could spend hours a sister than a friend? with…someone If you have, I believe you’d agree with me that you could be that there is nothing yourself around quite like a real friend. and laugh God created us to uncontrollably have relationships to with? enjoy life and help us grow into the people that He desires us to be. There’s a quote that says, “Show me your friends, and I will show you your future.” Friendships can determine the course of your life, and it’s important to choose them carefully and wisely. It’s not about the quantity of friends in your life, but the quality of friends in your life that makes the difference. So, what determines a real friend and how do you choose your friends wisely? Let’s take a look.

Real friends share the same values.

One of the most significant factors of a real friend is having the same morals and values. It’s important to surround yourself with people that encourage you to live for God and don’t lead you down the wrong path. One of my favorite examples of this in the Bible is Daniel and his friends, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego, found in Daniel 1 and 3. Their names may have been funny, but let me tell you, these guys were handsome, gifted, wise, and quick learners. They had it going on! Most importantly, they were fully committed to following God. Even though they lived in a Babylonian culture that believed in false gods, they agreed not to conform to the ways of everyone else, but instead, to obey the one, true God. In Daniel 3:8-30, Daniel’s friends showed their unwavering commitment to God as they refused to worship King Nebuchadnezzar’s idols, even when faced with being thrown into a fiery furnace. God


came through for them. He even sent Jesus to stand with them in the fire and kept them completely safe from harm. When they came out of the furnace, not a hair on their heads was burned, and they didn’t even smell like smoke! In the end, God was glorified, and King Nebuchadnezzar made a decree that all people should worship the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego. They were also promoted in the province of Babylon. Real friends will always draw each other closer to God and not away from Him. A true friend will encourage you to do the right things and never compromise your faith. For example, if you’ve made the decision to walk in purity and save yourself for marriage, it’s important to have friends that will join with you in your commitment to purity and not encourage you to give up on waiting. During those times when you want to throw in the towel and give up on what you know is right, a real friend that has your values will help you stay in line and keep the faith. There’s strength in numbers, and I know that God is pleased when He sees His daughters joining together to live for Him!

Real friends are loving and wise.

“A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for adversity” (Proverbs 17:17 NKJV). Real friends walk in love towards each other and have each other’s back through the good times and the bad. First Corinthians 13 gives us a great definition of what real love looks like in action: “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 and always perseveres” (1 Corinthians 13:4-7 NIV). Now, this is a high standard for what love should be, but real friends will show

qualities like these and strive to be loving in similar ways. Don’t befriend people who get angry easily, but choose friends that show you love and compassion (see Proverbs 22:24). “Wise friends make you wise, but you hurt yourself by going around with fools” (Proverbs 13:20 CEV). It’s important to hang around people that are wise and not foolish. You can tell by the decisions that someone makes if they are wise or not. Choose friends that make good decisions and want to do what’s right. When you spend time with wise people, you will also become wise.

Real friends make each other better.

“As iron sharpens iron, so a friend sharpens a friend” (Proverbs 27:17 NKJV). Real friends help each become better people. They sharpen each other and learn from each other’s strengths and weaknesses. A real friend will always challenge you to grow in various areas of your life. One of the key characteristics of a real friend is honesty. You want friends that love you enough to tell you the truth. Even when you don’t want to hear it, they care about your life and only want the best for you. God has blessed me with amazing friends that encourage me, uplift me, challenge me, and bring me so much joy. During high school, I was usually the only Christian friend in my group, and sometimes it made it hard for me to do the right things. When I got to college at ORU, however, I allowed God to choose my friends, and He brought me the most wonderful Christian friends a girl could ever have! We are all different ethnicities, sizes, and shapes but have the most important thing in common: a passionate love for God and His kingdom. We pray together, serve God together, have fun together, and are building our families together. Without these women in my

life, I wouldn’t be the woman who I am today.

How to choose a real friend.

“The righteous should choose his friends carefully, for the way of the wicked leads them astray” (Proverbs 12:26 NKJV). Along with looking for the qualities that I mentioned above, it’s important to pray and ask God to show you who your friends should be. In John 6:12-16, Jesus spent time in prayer before selecting His disciples, who were His closest friends that He spent every day with. I encourage you to follow the example of Jesus and trust that God will lead you in the right direction. Also, if you have a friend in your life that you know is leading you down the wrong path, ask God to help you step away from that friendship. Even if it’s hard, God will help you make the right decision. It’s more important to honor Him and For more protect your future than to stay information on in a bad friendship that can what the Bible lead you away from God. has to say about As you go throughout friends, check out the school year, I want to the following encourage you to choose scriptures: your friends wisely. The John 15:14-15 relationships in your life Proverbs 18:24 will shape who you are Proverbs 16:28 today and who you will Proverbs 22:24 become in the future. You cannot choose your family, but you can choose your friends. Allow God to lead you into the friendships that He has for you this year and enjoy them! Become the friend that you would want to have and help bring value to the lives of others. Most importantly, remember that Jesus is and always will be the best friend that you can ever choose. He will always be there for you and help you live a life of joy and peace.


By McKenna Watts

With instructions of how to complete each step, you wil l be able to create a beautiful craf t that expresses your belief in God and your love for him. For this craf t you wil l need a painter’s canvas (I used a 11 x 8 sized canvas), wooden letters, acrylic paint, a hot glue gun and paintbrushes.


Have you seen a craft on a website that you have wanted to try but never had the knowhow of how to get it done? Have you ever wanted to say that you did a craft you saw somewhere and that it didn’t end up looking like your three-year-old little brother helped you?

Step 1 Paint your canvas whatever color you want. Find a color that expresses yourself or that will look good wherever you decide to hang your craft. Painting is about expressing yourself and the most important part of expressing yourself is choosing a color that is true to you.

Step 2 Paint your wooden letters a color to match your painted canvas. You can choose whatever letters you want to spell out the word of your choice. I chose the letters L,O,V, and E to spell “love” so that it would go with the Bible verse I wanted to put on my completed project. I used a glitter acrylic paint, but you can choose whatever color or texture you want to paint your wooden letters with.

Crafty Corner

Step 3

Once your letters and your canvas have dried, glue your letter to your canvas using a hot glue gun. Make sure to apply hot glue to both the canvas and the wooden letters. Make sure you lay out your letters in the position you want them before you glue them down to assure that you are happy with the outcome. Hot glue is permanent glue and you do not need to use a lot of it to make sure the letters stay on your canvas. The less glue you use, the better your craft will look at the end.

Step 4

Once your letters are secured on your canvas, add a personalized touch by adding your favorite verse to the canvas. I used 1 Corinthians 13:13, “And the greatest of these is love.” The word “love” in the verse is what I used my letters for. If you wanted to use a verse with the word “hope” or “faith” in it, get the letters to spell out those words. You may want to use a pencil to write out the verse before you paint straight onto the canvas.

Once everything has dried, you have a completed craft and you can say you are a successful crafter. Crafting is never impossible, and of course, with God anything is possible.



- do I really need it? Flexibility is the key to having a healthy body throughout a person’s lifetime. As teens begin to see the importance of healthy body weight and age appropriate strength training, the question usually follows- “But what about flexibility?” Here are a few facts and important considerations to keep in mind as you become a “healthier, REAL girl”. First, flexibility refers to the ability to move a joint through its full range of motion. Some of you already have a sense of how flexible you are by comparing yourself with your friends. It is true that some individuals have more inherited flexibility than others, but most everyone has room to improve their own personal flexibility. Static flexibility is the ability to hold a stretch for an extended amount of time. For example, turning your head. Dynamic flexibility is the ability to move a joint through its range of motion with little or no resistance, such as throwing a ball. Second, the benefits of flexibility are enormous. Your bones, joints and muscles greatly benefit from regular stretching and improved flexibility. Flexibility might also prevent injuries and soreness, and improve

By: Suzanne McDonough, PhD performance in all your physical activities or sport endeavors. Low back pain plagues many age groups, but experts often say that lower back pain, stiffness, and chronic leg pain are often the result of poor muscle tone and lack of flexibility. Low back pain commonly occurs when a person is not very flexible and makes an attempt to perform some activity with muscles that are not conditioned for the movement. The results can include torn muscles, over stretched tendons, and pain that lasts for several days. Thirdly, flexibility helps improve your posture. As a college professor, I see many young people on a daily basis. Over the past fifteen years, I have noticed that young people have steadily diminishing Sample postural control, the ability to maintain Exercise body position Head turns/tilts during standing Towel stretch and while moving. Upper back stretch Some of this may Abdominal stretch be related to the Hip stretch overweight status in Lower Leg stretch younger adults,

Warm up 5-10 minutes


Hold stretch for 10-15

Health Matters chronic use of cell phones and computers, extended periods of sitting (the average teen spends 6 hours per day sitting), and lack of physical activity. Having a strong back, abdomen, and internal abdominal muscles (obliques) promotes good posture. Flexibility exercises greatly reduce the likelihood of having postural related problems like kyphosis, which is the rounding of the upper back you normally see in older individuals, but is now showing up in both genders in our younger populations. Finally, flexibility improves your functional capacity. This is currently the buzz word in the exercise, fitness, and wellness industry. Whatever occupation you chose in your life, everyone should want to have a healthy, able body to perform their work. In your personal life, you should want to have a body that is able to be active, allows you to enjoy doing things with your family, Program and provides you the opportunity Areas Stretched to contribute Neck positively in Triceps, shoulders, chest your community. Upper back Your chances of Trunk/abdominals maintaining a high Trunk, outer thigh, hips, functional capacity buttocks, lower back throughout your life Calf, soleus, Achilles tendon

5 seconds, 2-4 times!

will not be a problem if you lead a healthy lifestyle, eat a nutritious diet, exercise often, and pay attention to the maintenance of your body. Having functional capacity decreases your risk of having early onset of arthritis, stroke, or muscular or nervous system diseases like multiple sclerosis. So, how does one become more flexible? By making a strong effort to participate in a stretching program and setting aside at least two sessions per week to primarily focus on stretching and improving flexibility. You can improve your sense of wellbeing through using flexibility exercises, and I hope this article has given you an appreciation for flexibility and the knowledge to improve yours. A sample plan of exercises is listed below, with a few pictures of the most common stretches. These exercises and stretches are virtually risk-free if performed after a good warm-up of five to ten minutes of low intensity walking or after your regular physical activity or exercise. Most stretches should be held just to the point of slight discomfort for at least ten to fifteen seconds, working up to as much as 30 seconds. Repeat each move at least two times and as many as four times per session. The old adage “use it or lose it� holds true with regard flexibility.

Get moving, real girls!

2+ times a week!


I Choose Leadership By: Sara Jane Hope

How can you develop your leadership skills? Here are some ways to start:


Develop your credibility. Studies done by


Practice your communication skills.

Jim Kouzes and Barry Posner, authors of the Effective leaders are able to influence others best-seller The Leadership Challenge, revealed that through their words, actions, and ability to get their credibility is the number 1 characteristic that most message across to others. In order to be credible, people look for in a leader. What is credibility? It your words and actions must be communicating the means being honest and sticking to same thing. You also must sound your principles and values. It means competent so you need to use doing what you say you will do. To good grammar and pronunciation. demonstrate credibility, you need to Eliminate junk words (like uhm, ah, uh, keep the promises that you make to like, you know) from your sentences. others. You must be honest by doing Public speaking is considered the things such as completing your own number 1 fear of most adults. Leadership is not homework, telling your parents the Practice speaking in front of groups limited by gender truth about where you’ve been, and in order to build that skill. Organize not cheating on tests. or age. It also is your thoughts and prepare what not determined In addition to being honest with you want to say. Keep it simple others, you must be honest with and direct. Words can have a by financial yourself. Are you showing your tremendous power over others, so status, culture, or true self to others by demonstrating use them wisely. educational level. your values, beliefs, and principles? Anyone can be a Or, do you allow yourself to be Listen to others’ thoughts leader. Leadership influenced by others in order to be and opinions. Leaders with the “in” or “cool” crowd? skills can be don’t do all the talking, and they


Become a team player.

Leadership always involves working with a team because leaders must have followers to lead. Leadership means acquiring goals through others. Find opportunities to participate in team activities and take on roles of responsibility. Focus on encouraging others to contribute to the team and motivate them by giving positive feedback and support.


developed, as well as strengthened, by putting them into practice and by gaining experience in a leadership position.

Remember, being a team player means that you must participate. Credibility plays into this as well. Don’t sign up to be on the yearbook staff or be in the band just to get points for service or to have something on your scholarship application. Sign up for things that are important to you and that you enjoy doing so that you will be a true contributor.


don’t make all the decisions. They ask for input from others and respond to the needs of those they lead. Become known as one who is empathetic to others’ situations. Allow others to plan the activities, decide on the movie, or choose the hangout spot for the weekend.

If other people’s thoughts and opinions are radically different from what you value and believe, you have some choices to make. You can use your effective communication skills to try to influence them to have a change of heart, you can accept them as they are and value your differences, or, if you believe that what they think and want to do is wrong, you can choose to not be associated with them. Leaders learn to make the right choices for themselves.


Select your goals. The

world just watched hundreds of young athletes participate in the Olympics in London. All of them established goals for themselves at a very early age. They knew what they wanted and what they had to do in order to achieve their goal. This goal gave them focus and governed many of the decisions they made on a daily basis. They had to be disciplined in their diets, in the training they completed, the rest they got, and how they conducted themselves so that they could be part of the Olympic team. Think about your goals. Do you have long-term plans that can keep you focused? Do you know what you need to do every day so that you can achieve them?

Leaders have skills in many areas of life, and they use those skills to build their image. You can establish a positive image for yourself and have a positive influence on others by choosing to develop the right leadership skills. These six steps will give you a start on some of the skills you will need.





Habits are things we do automatically. We develop our habits by choosing to do something repeatedly until it becomes a part of us. Habits can be good (eating right, exercising, following the dress code, studying when we need to, saying please and thank-you, being on time, etc.) or they can be bad (smoking, taking drugs, being rude and disrespectful, disregarding your parent’s instructions, arriving late, etc.) We choose which actions we will take and which we will build into habits. Our habits tell others many things about our character. What do your habits say about you? Is it what you want others to think? In order to be a leader, you need to focus on those habits that will have a positive impact on you and that will set a good example for others.


Real Girl

Magazine The Lost Daughter of Easa by J. L. Mulvihill After falling through a portal, seventeenyear-old Elsie Lind awakens with amnesia and lost in a forest. She must draw on her instincts of self-preservation to escape ravenous wild beasts, goblins, demons, and a dark witch who knows the secret of her past. Locked deep within Elsie’s mind are haunting dreams and childhood memories that hold the key to her survival. She is now in the battle of her life; the struggle to claim her identity. However, bad choices and trusting in the wrong sort of guidance leave her a criminal on the run. Now, in this medieval realm where magic influences technology and beings of folklore are as real as the demons they fight, an ancient threat endangers the entire land. Her struggle allies her with two brothers conflicting with their own character flaws and dislike for each other. Between these three unlikely companions, an evil must be stopped before its power takes hold of Authora and The Lost Daughter of Easa.

About the book Blueprints of Sir Michael, a book written primarily for Michael Joseph Jackson’s fans, discusses MJJ’s journey from his birthplace of Gary, Indiana, “Moonwalking” all the way to his worldwide stardom years. The story concludes with the end of the journey for this unmatched performer, the King of Pop.

You can order Blueprints of Sir Michael through Ingram’s Books from the publisher at, at Pentimento Books or at the Clinton Visitor Center.


AuthorHouse ISBN-10: 1449092640 ISBN-13: 978-1449092641


Secrets from Mother

Russia By Natalia Trotter

As a young girl growing up in Russia, I was trained to believe that anything I did would greatly affect people and the society in which I lived. I tried to do my very best in school and at home to be an overachiever in everything I did, to make my family be proud of me. That is how I learned to strive for higher and better standards, because every time I accomplished something, it built my self-esteem. I was also trained to give respect and obey older people anytime, anywhere. I considered someone just 6 years older than myself to be an adult to me. In today’s world, however, self-esteem is oftentimes confused with self-image. Self-image can be taught to us by pop culture, television shows, fashion, or anything else that is “popular and cool” to do or be at the time. That happens because it makes people think financial success equals higher self-esteem. I personally know a lot of people who are successful in business. Most of them do not base their self-esteem on the amount of money they make. Most successful people who have a great self-esteem are the people who contribute to the society the most. That leads me to think, “If God created everyone equal, why do we make stereotypes, faulty assumptions of who the person is on the inside just by the way they look?” I know for a fact that girls who have beautiful features and physical appearance are intimidating to less physically attractive girls. It is also harder for attractive girls to have a date or long-term honest friendships. In my opinion, it happens when


people make assumptions such as, “I think she thinks that she is better than me.” How can you look at the frog and know how far it will jump? How can you judge the book by its cover without even reading a page? It is time to break and remake these insecurities that have to do with a person’s own selfesteem. Do you agree? There is another side of self-esteem to talk about. Our ability to cope with the basic challenges of life and seeking happiness is something we have to work on daily. Just like taking care of your body, going through the challenges and training yourself for emotional toughness should be done on a daily basis. Making physical training as part of our daily routines can greatly contribute to training yourself for higher self -esteem, because it is an accomplishment that takes a great sense of discipline and effort. You have to love and respect yourself enough to commit to taking care of your body, which means a strong body is built on a strong mind. Just three and a half years ago, I weighed 200 pounds. I was unhappy, depressed, lonely, isolated from the world by my baby’s seven-month-long illness. One day I decided that it was my time to give myself more respect and to challenge myself to accomplish something worthy in my life. I started to train on my own in my back yard. In seven months I went from 200 pounds to 129 pounds. My self-esteem shot through the roof. I rejected the voices that were telling me, “You are

❝Yes I can, Yes I can.❞ too old, get over it. You have had two children. Everybody is like that; it’s just what happens to a woman after childbirth. You are not an athlete. You are not strong enough for this.” I heard it all, but I did it anyway. It is scientifically proven that our neurological passes can be rewired through pushing your body to overcome challenges through physical advancement. All you have to think is, “Yes I can, yes I can.” And you really can overcome and become the person God created you to be. I am happy to say that I did. I knew that I wanted more out of life. I wanted to be healthy, attractive, secure, and fun to be around and that is exactly the people I wanted to have as friends. A Russian expression says, “So if the mountain can’t come to Greg, Greg is going to go to the mountain.” Just say to yourself, “If you want to make the world a better place, take a look at yourself and make a change.” Do you know this song? The recipe is simple. Whatever it is you are struggling with, make it your strength. You don’t have to climb over the mountain all at once. Just one little step at the time will do. I challenge you to do something good that you have never done before for someone else and do not ask for reward or recognition. Do it with good intentions and great expectations. You will see your self-esteem rise up higher than the mountain. I believe that there are two primary factors that can affect our self-esteem in a positive or

negative way. The first factor is, how do we treat others? Referring to the article I read in a previous issue of Real Girl Magazine, the gossip issue still seems to be a challenge for some individuals. It takes a strong and mature person to tell someone, “Hey, you know, I think you are better than that.” You will feel great about yourself if you stop gossiping about others. People will trust and feel more secure being around you. Gossip is judging whichever way you look at it. So don’t hesitate to raise your self-esteem by stopping yourself or someone else from gossiping. The second factor is how we treat ourselves. I struggled with happiness and self-esteem for a long time, until I realized that I could only control two things in my life: my thoughts and my body. When I discovered that, my whole world was changed. I accepted the fact that it was no one’s duty to make me happy and put positive thoughts into my brain. I am the architect of my environment. Because the subjects of self-esteem and personal change have been very close to me since I was seven years old, today I am inspiring others to make changes in their lives. Tomorrow is always full of opportunities to overcome. That is how I look at life. Remember, you only have one life. Use your God-given talents and help somebody else to discover theirs. Together we can make a great difference in each other’s lives! Nothing will raise your self-esteem higher than the feeling that your life mattered and that you have made a difference in the world.


Thanks to this year’s advertisers!

Blueprints of Sir Michael by Juanita Walker Cantabile Youth Chorale Cheesecakes by Sweet with a Few Nuts Collectors’ Delight Crop Connection Dr. David Henry Dentistry Floyd & Baird Engineering Lia Sophia by Beth Haygood Morrison Heights Baptist Church Paint A Picture Relive by Emily Soen Steppin’ Out Tee-Thirteen Screenprinting & Design The Lost Daughter of Easa by J.L. Mulhivill Thirty-One by Andrea Coleman VIP Nails

Be sure to check them out!

Fall 2012 issue  

How to find real friends, the truth about your worth and much more.

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