Just Stay True To You
“The average teen girl gets about 180 minutes of media exposure daily …” ~ Renee Hobbs, EdD, Associate Professor of Communications, Temple University
“We’re seeing girls at younger ages starting to be dissatisfied with their bodies, proactively trying to change them, and feeling like they need to emulate something different than what their bodies can do.” ~ Elissa Gittes, MD, Pediatrician, Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh
A sense of futility.
Deceptive and unachievable images of women in media and entertainment are taking a toll on our beautiful young girls. Exquisite young minds that should be wonder-filled, loving and hopeful are instead urged to focus on unrealistic depictions of women who are, quite often, digitized and Photoshopped beyond recognition by their own families!
We celebrate “stars” who have achieved little more than being nice to look at, or worse, who have gained celebrity status for bad behavior. Just being known… or being known for outrageous behavior … is quickly becoming more important than being known for doing something of value.
Yes, I did compete in pageants and I was honored to win the title of Miss Virginia. (I can only think that the judges considered me “comic relief” and that’s why I stood out!) I’ve performed on some pretty great stages, had the opportunity to travel, meet amazing people, appear on TV and yes, wear some fabulous clothes and cosmetics. Yet, through it all, the women who have been most influential and memorable, have been those who are strong and genuine, who encouraged me to be myself, and who had their own powerful sense of confidence … a confidence that came from “who I am” and not “how I look.” These are the women who radiate absolute joy and are the kinds of people that others want to be around.
PAY IT FORWARD MUSIC LLC was created for one purpose; to share good things with others out of my sincere gratitude for the good that has been shared with me. It’s that simple.
And so, I am very excited to announce a new program for 2015.
In cities where I perform, I’ll be available to speak to groups of girls to share my experiences and ideas about real beauty, about setting goals and reaching for dreams. We’ll talk about loving ourselves no matter what the magazines and TV shows say. We’ll chat about the pressures girls feel today, and talk about solutions and what it takes to enjoy meaningful success. They’ll even get a chance to see me without all of the “fluff” … the way I really am … which is just like them! And of course, we’ll share a little music!
This is a free program because it is an important message.
I may only be a small voice in the wilderness but I want girls to know, “You are perfect just as you are.”
For more informationm to schedule or sponsor an appearance at your school, church, community center or other location, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
Reach Haiti Ministries
I am excited to announce the organization I will be spotlighting this month is called Reach Haiti Ministries. I learned about this organization when a friend of mine and her family made the decision to move over to Haiti to work with this group. Their mission is to glorify God by creating multiplying communities of obedient believers, training strong Christian leaders while rescuing abandoned and orphaned children and preparing them for life. But not just any life….a life filled with the love of Christ and a purpose!
They provide safe and secure housing, good food, an education….and love! Which so many of these little people have not had in their lives. Many of these children come to them as former restaveks, or child slaves. Many have never owned shoes, or are surviving on one small meal a day. Reach Haiti is giving these children hope for a future! Please check them out and see how you can help them grow their mission! ReachHaitiGive.com
Armstrong Family- you are such an inspiration!!
The American Widow Project
Growing up in a military family I have a very special place in my heart for the men and women who serve our country. When I say this, I don’t just mean those who are in uniform. I mean the wives and husbands who love these men and women back home and support their spouses wholeheartedly to serve our country. Many times that support ends in a sacrifice and a loss that is unfathomable. No amount of empathy, sympathy, encouragement, or support can fill the void that has been left in their lives. The phrase hero is not thrown around lightly in my opinion when it comes to them. So many are left to become the Mother AND Father to their children. After the initial show of support subsides, they are left to pick up the pieces of a shattered life and start the rebuilding. They are left to singlehandedly raise their children in a way that honors their lost hero all the while struggling to manage their own personal grief.
There are two amazing women I know back home in Virginia Beach who have lost their husbands in battle. A war they were fighting, to keep OUR freedom in tact. Their husbands, who were their best friends and the fathers of their sons, lost their lives while defending ours.
I went to school with Christopher Cabacoy and can still remember that infectious laugh and smile of his. There was a goodness about Chris that you could just feel whenever you were around him. His wife Tami Espino Cabacoy is one of those heroes who is now raising their son Aiden in a way that will honor Chris’s memory. We lost Chris on July 5, 2010 when an IED detonated near his vehicle in Kandahar, Afghanistan.
Stacey Lucas- Workman lost her husband, Navy Seal, Jason Workman on August 6, 2011 in Afghanistan when his chinook helicopter was shot down during Operation Enduring Freedom. She too has a son, Jax, who she now has the blessing of raising to be a brave and honorable man like his father, but the curse of having to do it without Jason. Although I never met Jason personally, I have known Stacey for years and can only imagine the incredible man that Jason was.
These women have carried on in a spirit of courage, strength, and grace beyond belief in the face of their worst nightmare. These are just two heroes. There are thousands like them who are having to cope with this unimaginable pain and heartache. That is why I want to spotlight The America Widow Project this month. Please visit their website and spread the word. These men and women deserve not only our time, but out continued support and gratitude for their service and sacrifice to and for this country that we so freely live in. God bless all of you heroes and your little ones. Words can not adequately express my love and respect for you.