Monday, September 30, 2013

I Feel Most Beautiful When...

My weekend is so wonderful that I barely spend anytime online and completely forget to write a blog post about feeling beautiful.

If you're reading this right now, sorry, boyfriend >>>>>> blog. I will try and write a real blog post about beauty while it's still September 30th.

I feel beautiful when I wake up in the morning, my hair a mess, my mouth all dry and icky, with Beau snuggling me and whispering, "Good morning, love" in my ear.

I feel beautiful when I ask Beau if my hair looks all right, and he rolls his eyes and tells me that I know perfectly well my hair is perfect and glorious.

I feel beautiful when I'm sick, and Beau makes me hot tea and tells me he loves me.

I feel beautiful because I feel loved, I feel cherished, I feel valued.

Feeling beautiful can be about actual physical attractiveness, nice hair, pretty make-up, but mostly it's about affirmation.

Sexual attractiveness is dictated by an individual, by a culture, or by a time period, but beauty comes from God. We are made in God's image--how can we not be beautiful?

I'm not always successful in my attempts not to judge other people or make rude remarks about people's appearances. I'm trying, though. I'm trying to remember to affirm people rather than tear them down. 

I feel most beautiful when I am loved unconditionally, as God loves me unconditionally.

To find the beauty in others, I need to remember that God first loved me, and thus I should love others in turn.

When do you feel most beautiful? Link up with Betsy, me, and everyone else this week!

Friday, September 27, 2013

Book Club Friday: Fluffy Teen Reads

Y'all know me. I'm always stocking up on cheap e-books. I just can't resist a good literary bargain.

I bought several of them waaaaaay back in June, during the Summer Book Crush promotion. I also received both Forged by Greed and Forged by Magic: Origins for free from Angela Orlowski Peart, in exchange for my honest review. And then I ended up buying Forged by Legacy: Beginnings because I love Angela's series so much.

Today's book reviews are a desperate attempt to play catch up. Thus they will be short and to the point without a ton of analysis. Links are to amazon, where, for the first time ever, if you are tempted to buy a book based off my reviews, I receive a tiny tiny percentage of the profits.


Monday, September 23, 2013

My Bikini Answer: My Body Is Not Sinful

This will not be my last post on modesty, but it is my final post on bikinis. I wrote this while on vacation on a houseboat in Tennessee with Beau and his family. The delay in posting comes from technological issues, two jobs, a cold, and a last-minute attempt at intersectionality.

Tuesday night.

Beau sits on the stool next to me, studying for the Professional Engineering exam.

I'm not wearing a bra. It's not obvious with both a t-shirt and a sweatshirt on, but I'm sure if anyone in his family looked too closely earlier, with my sweatshirt discarded, they might have noticed the droopiness of my unsupported boobs or the pointiness of my uncovered nipples. 

My wardrobe thus far has been a steady rotation of three bikinis, two cover-ups, and comfy pjs completely stolen from Beau's wardrobe: Super Mario pj pants, a t-shirt from ThinkGeek, and a rotation of the three sweatshirts he packed for us to share this week.

According to the original bikini post, my "immodest" clothing choices this week cause the men around me to lust

The way we dress impacts those around us, especially guys. I don’t really want a guy to look at me and notice me for my butt, upper thighs, or chest. I’d rather him notice my smile or God-loving personality...
Girls are walking around all the time with barely any clothes on at the beach or pool! Guys can never get a break from it, even if they’re trying to see past all the bodies to find the smiles and personalities within the girls.
So really, how hard is it to not wear a bikini? If you’re like me, it might be a little disappointing. You also might have to save a little more babysitting money to buy a cute (yes, cute ones do exist) tankini or one piece. But honestly, a little disappointment and a little extra cash aren’t that hard to swallow. Especially when such things are to fulfill a God given responsibility. In his Theology of the Body, soon to be Saint John Paul II said, God has assigned as a duty to every man the dignity of every woman. He also assigns to every woman the dignity of every man. Let’s make a commitment this summer to ditch the skimpy swimsuits, earn self respect, and help our brothers in Christ.
But she, and other modesty advocates, actually say more than that.

According to them, when you read their words with a critical eye, my clothing does not cause lust--my body does. Just my revealed stomach--the main difference between a bikini and "modest" swimsuits--apparently causes lust. If a guy happens to notice my body before my personality, then he's lusting after me, and it's my fault for not covering up those curves. If my body can't be covered up to prevent lust, then my body is sinful.

I vehemently disagree.

My body is not sinful. My body cannot cause a man to lust. 

One of my favorite Bible verses is Genesis 1:27

So God created humankind in His image, in the image of God He created them; male and female He created them.

How can my body be sinful when I am made in God's own image?

Friday, September 20, 2013

Book Club Friday: Horror of Horrors

My book club might not be the best at reading a book per month and meeting exactly when we say we will, but I'm still proud of us.

I helped start my book club when I lived in New York. We met for the first time just a few weeks before I moved to Toronto, and we discussed the book I had chosen, Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil.

From there, it took us an entire year to get our act together and meet regularly again. Earlier this year, we read The Tiger's Wife, Zeitoun, and The Remains of the Day.

Most recently we read The Shining by Stephen King.

Never let anyone say our book selection isn't diverse, at the very least.

In short?

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Confessions of a (Future) Feminist Bride

If you're new here Hi, Betsy's followers! then there are a few things about me you should know.

I'm saving coitus for marriage, but not for religious reasons, although I do identify as Christian.

I'm head-over-heels in love with my boyfriend.

At my dear friend's wedding, May 2012.

I'm a feminist.

I'm obsessed with France.

What do these tidbits have to do with each other? Nothing. And everything.

My particular brand of feminism is a cross between choice feminism and radical feminism, with an emphasis on Christian feminism and sexual ethics.

Yeah, I know. It's complicated. This is why I have a blog. And twitter.

Let me break all that down.

Friday, September 13, 2013

Virginia is for Lovers: A Guest Post

The last of my guest posts this week! I have honestly been so amazed at these three women and their willingness not just to write for me, but to open up to me and my readers. Samantha Field writes about her experiences with Christian fundamentalism, Modesty Rules and purity culture at Defeating the Dragons. Y'all might remember that I've quoted from her before in my own modesty posts. She's a gigantic geek with an unabashed love for all things sci-fi/fantasy and steampunk. She also gets bounce-off-the-walls excited about feminism and theology. Aka we're kindred spirits.

We had walked around historic downtown for a few hours when we decided to just stop for a while. A granite bench, under a blossoming cherry tree, overlooking the river, called to us—it couldn’t get much more perfect. We sat, soaked up the sun, and just . . . talked. We asked about each other’s families, told some of our funniest stories, but the silence—the silence was the best. I reveled in soaking up the sun, enjoyed feeling my tense muscles melt and all the pressures of grad school slide away.

Suddenly, a spring breeze picked up and rushed through the cherry blossoms, swirling thousands of petals around us. I could feel them landing in my hair, floating over my skin. I gasped, startled by the beauty, and turned to see Handsome’s reaction. With cherry blossom petals flying everywhere he reached out, touched his fingertips under my chin, and pulled me toward him. For a moment that felt like it stretched into infinity, I could feel his heat, his fingertips on my skin.

We kissed.

And I shattered.

For the rest of the day, the only thing I could think about was his kiss. It was gentle, and wonderful, and overwhelming. I could close my eyes and be consumed. I could get lost in everything he made me feel. The only words I had were things like magical, and that felt, ridiculous, but it fit somehow. I was giddy.

I’d only ever been in one other serious relationship—a relationship that had left me broken and bleeding. It had been three years filled with every kind of abuse possible, and had convinced me that I was broken. I thought of myself as frigid, as asexual. I wasn’t interested in that—the very idea of kissing someone twisted my stomach into knots. For years, I cringed at the idea of being touched. All my girlhood day dreams of being held and cuddled had evaporated over three brutal years.

When Handsome kissed me. . . . everything changed. Everything inside fluttered, and I could feel sparklers under my skin. I was excited, and for the first time, I wanted more.


Tuesday, September 10, 2013

My Sex Story, and How I Discovered I was Good Enough: A Guest Post

I recently received a comment from a new reader, Carolynn. Apparently we both met our significant others via okcupid. After some emailing back and forth, she volunteered to write a guest post for me! Her timing was perfect since I needed some guest writers while I'm on vacation and without wifi this week. Carolynn is owner and designer behind Silver Moon Creations, and blogs at Kitty Adventures about sewing, crochet, knitting, and sometimes marriage. She loves God, biking with her husband, braiding hair, and is hopelessly addicted to instagram. 

Wearing my kitty ears!

So, I'm not a virgin. I lost my virginity at 18 to a guy named Tim one night at his house. We were dating, and we had been for a year. I loved him.
Well, maybe we should back up even more. I'd been raised all my life to wait until marriage to have sex. My mom married my dad because she was pregnant with me. Now, don't think my mom was indoctrinating me with the “you-must-be-a-virgin-or-shame-will-cover-you” speech. No, she was real. She told me about her mistakes, and opened her heart to me, and really explained that sex creates a bond (and babies), and should not be taken lightly, explaining that it means something. She was a really great mom, who wasn't afraid to share her life with me. I listened and made my own choice, one that yes, I do regret, for the complicated reasons below.
Well, so Tim. We had sex, and I'll be honest, I didn't really like it much. It hurt. A lot. But he seemed to enjoy it, and I could tell he loved me. But then he broke up with me, and we haven't spoken since.
Two years into our relationship, I was raped. I was raped by a really good guy friend of mine. It's a very complicated story, that involves lies (I had told Tim I would never be alone with another guy, and obviously, I was) and pain, and broken trust (I had kissed this guy and made out with him—nothing further, a handful of times—while dating Tim). But one day, as we were kissing in his car, he moved from his seat to sit on top of me. He put his hands under my shirt. I said stop. He didn't. I said please. He didn't stop. I closed my eyes; I went limp. After it was over, I sat there completely numb, scared. But because I had kissed him, because we were alone and good friends, because he told me I wanted it--I blamed myself. And Tim said to me, after I told him the truth, "If you hadn't been alone with him..."
Anyway, the rapist, who doesn't even deserve a pseudonym, thought he loved me. He would e-mail me and text me and AIM me, until I blocked him. I did go to the hospital, but I didn't press charges. Strangely, I felt sorry for him. I didn't even understand my own feelings. This made it harder to talk about my rape, harder to not blame myself. One day I unblocked him, and he messaged me right away. He said he felt bad for hurting me. He was sorry. So I told him via AIM that I was okay. I told him I felt like it was my fault. He took all our AIMs from the previous year up to this point and showed them to Tim, who, of course, couldn't understand why I felt sorry for a man who had hurt me. Some of the messages from when we had first met, honestly, were very flirtatious (I like your smile; you looked cute today—nothing dirty).
Tim called me a whore and never spoke to me again. And I hated myself.

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Culture of the Catcall: A Guest Post

I am super-excited to introduce my friend Hayley to y’all. She was one of my first guest bloggers, and I am thrilled to have her write for me again! Hayley is a twenty-something, public relations major with a drive to conquer the world. She is currently studying Spanish in Buenos Aires, Argentina. She hopes to one day be a successful writer. In her free time she teaches swim lessons, reads, and, of course, writes! While I am working on my tan and catching up on my reading, you should check out her adventures at Classy in Argentina.

Leaving my apartment, dressed in jeans, a ponytail, and a heavy coat, I didn’t expect I would be garnering much male attention. But nonetheless, I was greeted several times by “aye chica” and “que hermosa” as I walked to my University. Such is a day in the life of a woman living in Latin America.

Before coming to Argentina, I thought I understood what the culture between men and women would be like. I knew that men would occasionally call out to you on the street, complimenting you on your striking, American beauty. In my head I had envisioned these comments coming from gorgeous men that were sure to fall in love with me. I thought I was going to feel complimented.

Friday, September 6, 2013

Off the Grid

Tomorrow, Beau and I leave early early early for a nine-day vacation on a houseboat in a lake somewhere in Tennessee. 

Guess what houseboats don't have.


Guess what houseboats possibly don't have.

Cell signal and/or 3G.

Since I'll be totally off the grid for so long, I'm featuring guest posts on my blog next week. I was surprised and humbled at the immediate response when I tweeted my request for guest writers. Three amazing and very different women ended up sending me their work to share.

Just so you know when to check in, here's a quick intro to who all will be here and when.

Hayley is blogging about street harassment in Argentina tomorrow, September 7th.

Carolynn is blogging about sexual assault, victim-blaming, virginity, and marriage on September 10th.

Finally, Samantha is blogging about intimacy, healing, and marriage on September 13th.

Since I won't be promoting incessantly all over social media, since I'll be offline, I would love some tweets or facebook posts from my loyal readers... Just throwing that out there as a suggestion. 

When I get back, look forward to my last post on modesty and bikinis, as well as a guest post over at Betsy Transatlantically, who is letting me hang out on her blog this month for a slight fee.

I will miss my online life, but I'm very excited about a whole week to READ, and write, and snuggle with Beau, and work on my tan. I plan on immodestly wearing a bikini all week long. I've packed my favorite black and white one by Freya, along with two others. 

I also think this trip will be a good test of strength and patience... Did I mention we'll be on vacation with his parents and his oldest brother the whole time? Plus his other brother and sister-in-law for part of the trip, and several other people I haven't even met yet. So... it will be interesting.

But with books, bikinis, and booze, I think I'll be all right!

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Sexy Keywords

I just realized that I haven't regaled y'all since FEBRUARY with the hilarious and/or head-scratching keywords that sometimes lead to my blog.

From Aug 27, 2013 1:00 PM – Sep 3, 2013 12:00 PM

The most exciting conclusion is that a handful of folks are searching specifically for my blog. Yay! If you're one of those seekers, have you thought about adding me on social media? I promise it's an easy way to keep up with all the latest in virginity and feminism.

 So many options to follow!

The other conclusion is that some folks are still searching for porn and finding my blog instead. There is some weird fascination with virgins and boobs. Like, I don't get it. Virgins are already enough of a fetish--do you have to be so specific in your desires?

What's the craziest keyword/phrase 
your blog has received?


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