Monday, August 18, 2014

Starting Over

I often find myself guilty of rushing into the next period of my life. I couldn’t wait to graduate high school, I couldn’t wait to finish my first year of college, and I currently can’t wait to go back to school.
As a new school year quickly approaches, a new beginning awaits us. Even though our long, lazy days of spending hours in the sun are coming to an end, something unexpected and thrilling inevitably awaits each of us. A chance to start over, a chance to become closer to the person we want to be, and an opportunity filled with an endless amount of hope.
It’s no surprise that new beginnings are always filled with the anticipation of being able to start over. A new semester, a birthday, a new year – are similarly all viewed as the opportunity to serve as a “life altering” turning point. But in reality, every day holds the same opportunity to begin to see the world and ourselves in a new light. We don’t need a holiday or a special occasion to start our lives over. Everyone has the power each day to start over again.
We are given each day for a reason, are you making the most of it? Are you taking advantage of the day to work towards the person you want to be? It’s always motivating and beneficial to have something to look forward to, and set attainable goals, but it’s equally important to slow down and enjoy the simple, meaningful accomplishments that we make everyday.
So, as we start this new school year, I challenge each of you to stop wishing away this moment, take a second to breathe, and take advantage of today and the precious opportunities we have to seek change and begin our lives over again!

G4G and Emily

P.S Hope you can join us next Monday for another new post! 

Monday, August 11, 2014


Quick! You have to go to a little girl's birthday party! She is turning 7 this year and you need a present and possibly a card as you make your way across town. You  walk into the nearest Target and head towards the toy aisles. Luckily for you, the toy industry giants have made it easy or you to find the toys for this birthday as there are a few rows that are blindingly pink and overrun with dolls and bead sets and make up. Your decision on what to get this little girl has more or less been made for you.

Not anymore. In the recent, there had been a lot of discussion, research and revolution regarding the toys we provide for our children; especially about boys and girls toys.

Last week, Lego proved this by coming out with it’s first set of women STEM scientists collection ( - A set of lego toys, geared towards girls, consisting of women scientists took off with some interesting headlines. 
This is not only a big deal for the feminists and all those striving for equality, but it is a big deal for the 7 year old you are trying to buy a gift for.

Research shows that many girls associate fun with toys with praise from others. For instance, dressing dolls correctly as being a "good girl" or "good mommy’s", and applying the make up in their make up kits makes them pretty and princess like.  Meanwhile, boys have trucks, GI Joe’s, building blocks, tool kits and much more. They are taught that building, creating, and working is what makes toys fun.

These are extremely different baselines for learning. For those who wonder why boys never grow up to worry about looks, it’s because their toys taught them to think about what their work looked like. And for those wondering why girls grow up obsessed with their hair and weight, it’s because they have been learning girl-skills through Barbie dolls.
And it’s not a parent’s fault. You saw it as you wondered through Target in the rows of pink and sparkle and rhinestone that there is not much diversity for girls when it comes to toys.
“But even the hardliners of that position would totally accept that there are trends which are going against the over-pinking of girls' toys.”
Remember this past Super Bowl? Do you remember the GoldieBlox ads? (Here I’ll refresh your memory.)
It is important to remember that while there is nothing wrong with little girls falling in love with pink, there is something wrong with giving them a narrow view of what they are capableable of. And that, for me, is the most important part of this Lego revolution.
To present a girl/woman in a working environment, in sensible clothes, with applicable skills… bravo, Lego.

So… as you scan through the endless pink in search of a birthday present. Remember what we are teaching them and allowing them to fulfill. Remember that a little girl will have just as much fun with a toy that lacks the glitter.

G4G & Ashley 

Monday, July 28, 2014

Beach Bodies

Beach Bodies

First, no matter how many back-to-school commercials there are, it is still summer until the very first day of school! And what is the BEST way to spend a summer day or a whole vacation? THE BEACH!!! 

I have been in love with the beach since I was little. I was a water kid (and let’s be real now I’m a water adult!). The first and ONLY thing I wanted to do was go into the ocean and dodge and get tossed by waves. When my mom or dad told me we were going to the beach for vacation, I remember being so completely beyond excited that it was as if a wave of pure joy and exhilaration crashed over of me.

So what happened? Well, being body conscious happened. After a while, I was more concerned with how I looked than the waves. I was too busy deciding how I measured up to the girls around me then building sand castles. I was too worried about how my bathing suite looked stuck to me after being soaked in the ocean then actually experiencing the waves crashing over my head while I dove under. I was too worried about how big my stomach lookedif boys were looking at me, and is my tan even?”, that I wasn’t actually enjoying myself. It was like my insecurity was as harsh as the beating sun.

I’ve come a long way since those beach-body-conscious days. I finally said to myself, “Screw it. I’m having fun.” Once I let the fun of the beach (which includes time with family and friends) overpower my insecurity, I started to truly enjoy it again. Once I decided that nothing was going to stop me from enjoying one of God’s greatest and most beautiful creations (good job on the beach God! Props!!!) it seemed as if my insecurity was washed away. Do I have my body conscious moments even now? Yes, I’m not perfect, but I don’t let it ruin my beach time - and I don’t want such negative thoughts to ruin yours. 

This past weekend I was on vacation at, you guessed it, the beach. As I was sitting in my chair enjoying the view of the ocean I saw a little girl about 10 years old, radiating happiness. She was wearing a pink 2 piece and was running, jumping and skipping to the shore line cheerfully singing, “Comeee on dadddyyyy to theeee oceannnn!!!!!” She ran into the water and launched herself into the foamy waves...and I thought to myself, "I wonder if this is the last time she’ll come to the beach this free of insecurity?” And for a second I felt like running over to that little girl, looking her straight in the eye and telling her: 

You need to put on sunblock AND insecurity block. 
Beaches are for EVERY BODY. Not just “perfect” ones. 
Don’t ever lose the joy of playing in the waves and feeling so small compared to such a big ocean.
Remember that God made each grain of sand and knows where each wave will go;
He’s the master of the universe and He MADE YOU. 
So when you come here, be grateful for it all. 
Be thankful for all He has done for you and appreciate the time you have with family and friends in such a beautiful place.
Your body is beautiful and strong, and it will always be changing like the ocean.
But keep loving it. 
Keep putting love and good things into it.
Don’t read any of those magazines that say, “Get Bikini Abs in 2 days!” Because it’s crap. 
Wear a bathing suit that makes YOU feel UNSTOPPABLE.
And lastly, don’t ever let any insecurity stop you from having fun.

I still wonder if I should have told her.

G4G and Tinamarie 

Join us next Monday for another post! 



Monday, July 14, 2014

Dealing with Bullies (even grown up ones)

Hi!  My name is Elyse. 

Throughout my middle school and high school years, I was bullied. Mostly by fellow girls, but also in some cases by guys. It was the typical kind of bullying: name calling, exclusion, meanness. But it was all verbal. I never had to deal with being pushed, shoved, or sexual harassment like some young girls and boys have to. I dreaded walking through the halls at passing time. I hated riding the bus, until I figured out that if I sat in the very front seat, no one would bother me. I counted down the years, months and days until I got my driver’s license, became a senior, graduated high school and could get out of there.

One event that has stuck with me is when my “best friend” in middle school and early high school  (I put it in quotes because friends don’t do what she did) called me fat and slow and saying that I should be in the back of the lane... in front of a bunch of other people during a swim practice. And then refused to apologize.

An acquaintance of mine freshman year of high school would attack my religion on a daily basis. He would tell me that, “You killed Jesus” because I am Catholic. And then proceed to call me names and tell me that I should get a better religion. He was mean to almost everyone, but no one ever stood up to him, and he was always especially mean to me.

Before I go into details about what you can do, I would like to take a quick moment to address something: If someone ever makes you feel physically unsafe, like they would physically assault you or attempt to do so, get in touch with your Resident Assistant, Community Assistant, Security, teacher, boss, the local police force, whatever you need to do to feel safe. Don’t wait until something happens. Your physical safety is the #1 priority!!

So what can you do as a college student if you’re being bullied?
  1. First thing: you are NOT ALONE. It happens more than people would like to admit, because we’re all supposed to be mature adults here. Talk to someone. Make sure you understand your campus policy or school policy on mandated reporting (in other words, people who have to tell someone else if you give specific information about an instance of harassment that has happened to you) before you talk to your Resident Assistant, Community Assistant, or anyone in the counseling center. You can talk to friends, your priest, your parents, siblings.  Somebody cares about you. Find them and talk it out.  asdflsdjflajsdlfkjlskdjflksajdflk;laskjdflkjsaldkfjlksadjlfkjsakjasldkfjlksadjflksadjfasjdlfk;jsal;dkfjl;skdfj;k
  2. Second thing: make sure you tell the person who is bullying you:  “NO. I don’t like that. You need to STOP.” Say it forcefully, say it with meaning, none of that giggly stuff that really means keep doing it. Practice in the mirror, practice in the shower, practice everywhere until you can say it and MEAN IT. You need to be CRYSTAL CLEAR that you don’t like what the person is doing. If he or she doesn’t stop, it’s time to find out about reporting the person for harassment. Document everything. If there’s any social media interaction with this person, screen shot it. Write down any interactions you have on campus with times and dates, people that you know that saw it happen. Write down how you felt. If it’s via text message, save it. Any sort of interaction. flkasjdflkjsalkdfjlkasjdfklasjdlfkjasdldsjfkll;sadlkfskajdflkjasdklfjlsakdjflksajdfl;ksjdfl;kjsd;lkfjlsakjdfkl;sajdlfkjsdalkjflaksdjflkjdsflkjdsflkjsdl;fkjals;kdfjl;ksdajfl;kasjflkj
  3. Third thing: Reporting for Harassment. It can be a long and somewhat uncomfortable process as it requires you to talk about what this person has been doing to you. Keep in mind that everyone involved cares about you and your safety. And that safety is the #1 priority. It can seem really frustrating, especially when it’s not moving as quickly as you would like, or when it feels like the administration isn’t on your side. Keep with it, it’s worth it in the end. Keep talking to that social support person that we talked about earlier.

Remember that you are NOT ALONE, that somebody loves you even if you don’t feel like it at the moment, there is someone who does. Keep  in mind that nobody deserves the right to wipe that smile off your face.

~ Lots of love, 
G4G and Elyse

Monday, July 7, 2014

Own the Word Beautiful

Own the Word Beautiful. 
       Beauty is not something that we can buy. It is not something we can purchase at a store or makeup counter. 
Beauty is something that comes from the heart.

Contrary to what clothing companies and the beauty industry want us to think- beauty can’t be purchased because beauty is something we already own:  

  • Your smile
  • Your laugh
  • Your compassion for others
  • Your intelligence
  • Your talents 
those are the things that make you beautiful. It’s time we start remembering that. Once we realize that beauty comes from inside, we become unstoppable.  

Why? Because then we don’t need to be validated by anyone and we are free to grow into our truest and best selves. 

In the dictionary (Merriam Webster) the first definition under “beauty” is, “the quality of being physically attractive.” That’s the issue; our culture has defined beauty in a superficial way. 

With magazines flooding the shelves in checkout lines with covers that read, “10 best beauty products you’ll LOVE." and “Get a beautiful booty for summer now!” Plus, commercials that show “perfect” faces, due to retouching and editing while encouraging us to buy a face scrub to achieve the same look, it’s really no wonder we are trained to think beauty is only on the outside.

From the time we were little we were told, “You look pretty in that dress.” and “You look beautiful in those shoes.” We were never told, “You were beautiful in the way you competed in that spelling bee.” 


I know that last statement sounds a little funky? But why should it? It shouldn’t sound strange to say, “You were beautiful the way you completed those 36 push-ups!” Once again, it sounds weird but doesn’t it create depth? Doesn’t the new compliment actually mean something more?  

We have to look at ourselves and each other with this NEW definition of the word beauty. 
We have to look inside ourselves to truly see what makes us uniquely beautiful.
Then...we have to OWN IT! 

G4G and Tinamarie

We hope you join us next Monday for another post!

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Religious Freedom & Womanhood

Religious Freedom & Womanhood

Religious Freedom! Women’s health! Religious Rights! Women’s Rights! 

First, let us introduce ourselves - we are G4G, which stands for Girls 4 God. We are an organization that wants to help, support, encourage and empower ALL girls and women! No girl should ever feel inferior, it's time to change that.
G4G is about helping girls and women:
  1. Know they’re beautiful inside and out
  2. Love themselves exactly as they were created to be
  3. Heal from past hurt
  4. Grow in faith
  5. Be empowered
So where do we stand on the whole God thing? Here’s what we stand by: 
  1. G4G is for EVERYONE, not just people who identify as spiritual or religious
  2. God and spirituality is all about discovering and exploring who God is, and who we are in God
  3. Faith is a journey; and it's a journey that we are not going to bog down with hot button issues, or media hype
  4. G4G is a place for dialogue (not debate) about faith and spirituality
We live in a world where our identities are created by separation: a liberal OR a conservative, popular OR unpopular, DreamWorks OR Disney, ketchup OR mustard...and most importantly to us, person of faith OR feminist. We as women of ANY faith (faith in science, Islam, completely unsure, Christianity, Judaism, Seeking, Buddhism, Hinduism...) are often faced with this dilemma; we often have to choose between our faith ideals and our feminist ideals. 

On Monday, the Supreme Court ruled “that the government cannot force certain employers to pay for birth control (1)” I personally believe in religious freedom and women’s health - but that’s not even the tip of the ice burg when it comes to that conversation.  What now? Am I a bad feminist? Am I a bad Christian? Should I just stop reading the news altogether? 

Well guess what?! At G4G we embrace confusion and uncertainty. With us, you don’t have to choose a side. It’s hard being a woman and a person of faith sometimes. But we have to take the negativity out of the complexity. Our views on womanhood and faith are beautifully complexed. We see beauty in complexity and difficult questions because that how we get closer to our God or our truths, and our best selves. 

We hope you join us every MONDAY right here on our blog for a powerful, heartfelt and honest post. Topics that range from:
  • self-confidence
  • faith
  • the way women are portrayed in the media 
  • bullying
  • ALL women’s issues (sexual assault, health, cat-calling)
  • ALL relationships (friendship, romantic, family)
G4G and Tinamarie (G4G Founder)  


Works Cited
(1) Peters, Jeremy, and Michael Shear. "A Ruling That Both Sides Can Run With." The New York Times 1 July 2014: A1. Print.

Thursday, August 1, 2013

The Cross and the Shower

I know many people won't believe me, but I just had a serious shower worship jam session- meaning I jammed out to 'How Great Thou Art' and 'Be Not Afraid' in the shower (very very loudly). As I was getting changed into my PJ's I continued to key, out of tune, and from my heart. Then something amazing happened; I actually got the song. I have been singing 'How Great Thou Art' my entire life, and for the first time this stanza truly moved me:

"That on the Cross, my burden gladly bearing,
He bled and died to take away my sin." 

Jesus gladly bled and died to take away my sin. 
But you know what else died on the cross that day? My addictions, failures, fears, anxieties, hopelessness, guilt, and mistakes. They ALL died on the cross that day, and yours did too. How can we not be totally and completely in love with a God who did all that for us?

I feel that when it comes to any religion in America today, we are too concerned with whose right and whose wrong. Have we forgotten about how great God is? Has religion become a knowledge contest? A game of who is the most right? At G4G we take the "right and wrong" part away. We believe that religion, God, and spirituality is all about discovering and exploring who God is, and who we are in God. Faith is a journey; and it's a journey that we are not going to bog down with hot button issues, or media hype. 
God died gladly to save us. He went through immense pain so that at the end of our lives we would know no pain in heaven. Faith is something we have to live everyday. It's not always easy to figure out what God and faith all mean in our lives, but at G4G we are all about finding out.