Growing up, I seemed to be an irresistible target for bullies. From elementary school on, it always seemed like I had a string of kids lining up to pick on me. Some were subtle, some more cruel. But it always seemed to play out the same. They would find something irresistible to make fun of, and then the "fun" would begin. It was a painful game of trying to outlast the tormenting, to not let them know just how much they were hurting me.
Over the years, my hair got less frizzy, I grew into my large front teeth, and out of my social awkwardness. Bullies still seemed to find me, but I slowly learned how to deal with it.
Only on this side of it all can I say that facing a constant string of bullies has made me a stronger person. It made me dig deep down inside myself to find things about myself that I liked. I learned that my worth isn't found in the eyes of others, but in the Lord, and that He loves me with unconditional love. Check out Isaiah 43:4 if you don't believe me.
Like many children and adolescents who were tormented, I was convinced that once I became an adult, the bullying would magically stop; that people would magically change and be nice.
One of the most disappointing things about adulthood is that bullying still exists. The games just have higher stakes and crueler consequences.
While I was at work today, I found myself once again on the receiving end of the bullying game. A co-worker made a horribly inappropriate comment to me, and it brought on a flood of emotions.
After I got over my initial shock, I realized (for the first time) that the person saying it was miserable inside, and that their picking on me was a way to take the focus off of themselves.
I don't have the answers on how to fix the problem. But I do have words of encouragement for those going through bullying situations. Keep your chin up. Know that the horrible things they are saying aren't personal -- they are coming from a very insecure and hurting person who just wants to make someone feel as bad as they do. Their words don't mean anything. Your worth is found in the Lord, and He loves you just the way you are.
And I am always here if you need someone to listen. firstname.lastname@example.org
When I was growing up, my Sunday School teacher was Ms. Esther Carpenter. And she LOVED it when we learned Bible verses. She loved it so much that when you got your verse learned and recited it perfectly to her, she got you a book mark that had your name on it. For some reason, the store she went to never had bookmarks that said "Paula" so I always got one that said "Phyllis."
Besides the wrong name, the only other thing I remember about those bookmarks was the verse that was writtin on the bottom "A good name is rather to be chosen than great riches" (Proverbs 22:1). For years, I puzzled over my "Phyllis" bookmark with this strange verse I didn't understand. I am named after my dad (Paul) and I knew that he got to choose the name, not me. So that verse made no sense at all to my small mind.
It wasn't until college that I finally understood what this verse was talking about. My dad is the Physical Plant Director at Friends University, like his father was before him. They have spent well over 40 years in that department taking care of the physical needs of the university. In those 40 plus years, the name Winchester has grown to be very well respected. I didn't realize how much so until I started working along side my dad. People respect him and find it an honor to work with and for him. It means something special to be able to say that I am Paul's daughter, or Ray's grand-daughter.
Too many times I think we come to believe that the sign of success is having great riches. We think that flashing our riches to others means something. In reality, it is more important to be a person who is respected for their integrity; someone who is known for being a stand-up class act.
I want to be that kind of person. Someone, who when my name is mentioned, people respect. Someone people want to do business with. I want to have integrity and value truth and honesty and all things good. I also hope you are able to find those things true about me and about Simply Beadiful.
First off, CONGRATULATIONS to Marla Keating Beagley for being the winner of the sunshine giveaway. I hope you enjoy the bracelet :)
I've been thinking alot lately about what inspires me, and what I enjoy doing and making. I was walking through Kroger this week and saw the coolest bracelet. It was simple, yet spectacular. It had big glass beads in this amazing spring green color, and then had sparkly faceted crystal beads woven into a larger bead in between. I was totally inspired by it and am going to try to come up with my own version of it. I love it when inspiration finds me in the most unusual places! And, I can't wait to show you the finished product :)
If you have something that inspires you, or a design you would like to try, I would love for you to share it with me. You might just see your design on the website!
I had lunch with my dear friend Bonnie today. In between bites of our delicious mexican food, we poured over old bead catalogs in hopes of finding the right beads for a new beading project. As I was explaining the difference between different grades of pearls to her, she commented that I looked so happy about my beads. And you know what?! I am happy!! Happy about beads and everything that goes with them. And despite my sometimes reluctance to really embrace it fully, I am happy with what God has called me to do with my beads.
When I was growing up, I had no idea what I wanted to be. In the third grade, it was a toss-up between a 911 dispatcher and a storm chaser (I guess that came from being raised in tornado alley!). In the fifth grade, my hot pink lipstick inspired my soul and I was just sure I would grow up to be a cosmetologist. Seriously!! In high school I decided to become an elementary school music teacher...until I remembered that I would have to listen to hours of beginner trumpet and violin lessons. YIKES!!! And in college, I wanted to moved to a third world country and be a missionary to their people.
After three long, hot months in the barrios of Ciudad Juarez, Mexico the summer after my senior year in college, my vision of missions had changed drastically. While I still had a heart for missions, I didn't know what I supposed to do with my life. All I really knew is that I wanted to be happy and make others happy.
When I was in high school, I can remember talking to a friend about passions in life. He said something that stuck with me, and today at lunch it came back to me. He said that you will always know the exact moment when you discover someone's passion in life...their eyes light up, they break into a grin, and you realize you are about to hear everything they know about that subject :)
That was me at lunch today...the babbling idiot who would have told anyone who would listen about my love of beads and where they came from and how they are made...or how to pick the right clasp...how happy I was with my new jewelry orders and where my jewelry is headed.
I may not know exactly what I am supposed to be "when I grow up," but what I do know is this: God has called me to make jewelry. And it makes me happy. And I think it makes other people happy too, because it is a way for me to show them His love in a very real way. So even though I might not fully understand this road I am traveling down, I will continue to make jewelry for myself and others. And trust that when the time is right, God will continue to show me exactly what I am to be and do.
And since it is New Years Eve, I will mention that one of my resolutions (I very rarely ever make them so listen up!!) is to blog more. I want to discuss all kinds of things...jewelry, beauty, fashion, life, love, etc. So I hope you will join me for the ride.
Happy New Year