Is She Bossy or Bold? – A Class Assignment

What do Beyoncé, Sheryl Sandberg, Condoleezza Rice and Jane Lynch all have in common? Well, other than being pretty awesome these women are all apart of a new movement headed up by Sandberg known as the “Ban Bossy” Campaign.

The homepage of the campaign’s website asserts itself with the statement, “when a little boy asserts himself, he is called a leader. Yet, when a little girl does the same, she risks being branded “bossy.” The idea behind the campaign is more than just banning a word; it is about addressing the real issue behind why from a young age, girls are made to feel as if they cannot or should not lead. It is an age-old problem with a new world attitude. If we consider that it was only in the last half a century that women were actually even given the right to vote, then it may appear as if we, as a society, have come very far. In many ways, this is true. Nevertheless, according to this campaign and the inspiring women behind it, we have a long way to go before true equality is a reality and this campaign could play a role in that.

 CEO of Facebook, Sheryl Sandberg, the brains of Ban Bossy, says that she wants the campaign to open a dialogue about the semantics behind the word bossy. She says that bossy “is a word that is symbolic of systematic discouragement of girls to lead.” For her and the other powerhouse women of the movement, it is not just about getting rid of the word, it is about delving into the defeating the messages behind the word that “hold [girls] back.” Standing alongside Sandberg in most of the adverts and interviews for Ban Bossy is the Executive Director of Girl Scouts of the USA, Anna Maria Chavez. For Chavez, the Ban Bossy campaign isn’t about picking boys over girls, however, it is about “ensuring that we have every capable person prepared to lead…[that] every brain cell is around decision-making tables.”

In an interview conducted with Christy Shores, a Young Life—an organization that help facilitates spiritual and personal growth in high school age women—leader from the U.S., I found that her sentiments were quite similar. She does not consider herself a feminist but she believes it is “so good to shed light on the issue and bring in the statistics of how discouraged girls can be in terms of leading.” Christy also said that this systematic discouragement of young girls leads to young women losing their voices in a way that makes us forget how to have informed and educated opinions of our own. For Christy, #banbossy means inspiring girls to have the courage to disagree, to have an argument, and win it.

Since the viral release of the Ban Bossy’s official video, Twitter has been blown up with the hashtag banbossy. There is a whole host of opinions twittering through the social media site ranging from big stars like Victoria Beckham pledging their support to world-renown magazines like Forbes questioning whether we should #banbossy or #embracebossy. Regardless of the different opinions, this campaign has definitely started a conversation about how we can continue to encourage girls to pursue leadership with confidence.

 In addition, throughout the Ban Bossy official site and unofficial Facebook page, there are more statistics and stories all pointing to ways in which the leadership qualities and ambition in women are stifled from a very young age. For example, the site says that between elementary and high school, girls’ self-esteem drops 3.5 times more than boys.’

Being a female myself, and a strong-willed one at that, I can completely identify with this statement. I may not have been specifically called “bossy” (to my face at least) but I was made fun of and picked on for having a desire to lead and the gumption to make it happen. I was picked on for really working hard in school and in extracurricular activities instead of doing what I was “supposed to be doing” as a girl i.e. flirting with boys, partying and taking up needlework. Okay, so that last one is an exaggeration. However, starting from about the age of 12 or 13, I was made to feel as if I was wrong to have ambition, to want good grades and to make my mark. It hurt then and sometimes, I still find that I question myself too often but in the end, I was able to overcome. Not every young impressionable woman can say the same and that is why this campaign is important. I guess the question is whether we should be focusing on getting rid of a word or building up the girls around us, teaching them to embrace their natural leadership and self-confidence.

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Have Love Will Travel – Part Three

So, here we are. FINALLY. At Part 3. The last trip I have been on so far. Wow. I really should keep more up to date with these sorts of things. Well, shall we dive right in then?

LONDON

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA1. Portobello Market, for sure. I have known and dreamt about this place since I was a little girl when my mom and I would watch Bedknobs & Broomsticks together. Can’t you just picture it?! It was a sunny and beautiful day! I distinctly remember sitting down on the street to soak up the sunshine. God Bless Springtime! The market was HUGE and bustling from end to end with families, cute couples, friends and even the rare individual who appeared to be a regular…I mean how else could you be confident and cool enough to walk through that place solo?! The market had everything too. My favorite were the antique shops selling old tea cups and tea pots and the many crepe stalls! NOMZ. I only wish I lived there so I could buy all the cute things. Well, maybe it’s a good thing I was just visiting.

2. The Tea House Theatre. Just a quick tube ride to Vauxhall and a short walk through a park and badabingbadaboom..you’re there! It was quite possibly the cutest cafe I’ve ever been. My friend, Amber, who I was staying with/visiting in London wanted to take us there because she loved it so much! It is, as it’s name details, a cafe that specializes in teas and cute little scones, cakes and biscuits and also doubles as a theatre and community arts venue. Like a little piece of Boone (my university town) with me across the pond. I had the Cream Tea, which is regular black tea with delicious scones, cream and jam. UMMMMM. Drooling.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA3. WICKED!! Yes, I got to see a “broadway” musical in London. And no, I don’t deserve it but I am super thankful! Amber gave us the tip to go to the ticket office at 8:30 in the morning and try to get the cheaper tickets that they had left. It was between Matilda and Wicked and we chose Wicked last-minute. No like really last-minute. The two theatres were at different stops on the tube and we were all debating whether to get off at Matilda or keep riding to Wicked even as the doors opened and closed. I remember that moment being very funny and nerve-wracking as we stared at one another anxiously! I definitely think we made the right choice though. We were first in line and got front row seats! I mean I could legitimately see the actor’s/actresses’ spit when they sang. And, I mean, there was nothing quite like the full-body chills I got when she started singing “Defying Gravity.” Lord, have mercy!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA4. Kensington Palace/Gardens. Now, for those of you who don’t know this already, I have a SERIOUS obsession with Queen Victoria. I don’t really talk about it much but inside I am teeming with love for her and her story. I did my senior thesis project on her in high school and I grew to respect her so much as a woman and a queen. Plus her love story is SO adorable and rare for that time period and for someone of her position. We got to tour the palace (where many of the royals–including William, Kate and little George–still live) and walk through the rooms Victoria roamed as a little girl and eventually a young queen. I sat at her desk and stood at the head of the table where she gave her first address as Queen. EEP. HISTORY NERD ALERT. We also got to explore the Gardens that extended far around the palace. We spent a good hour looking for the statue of Peter Pan (one of my favorite childhood characters). They sure made that boy hard to find. One sign pointed one way while another pointed in a completely different one! But, that does kind of suit the story doesn’t it? Oh, also 65% sure we saw someone famous. It was a family of 4, two kids and two parents, all clad in matching fur coats walking with their arms around each other, laughing carelessly as I imagine famous people would. I think it might have been Flavor Flav. Who knows…

5. London at night! Wow! Walking along the South bank at night and getting to watch the sun go down over Parliament as the sparkling lights of Big Ben and the Eye began to reflect in the waters of the Thames was simply enchanting. London in daytime is, of course, beautiful but it seems that this city comes alive at night. I only wish I had more time to experience it and really soak it all up but alas there are only so many hours in a…night? Well, it’s true! And if you see everything, what would there be to look forward to exploring later in life (God-willing, of course!)

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA6. Camden Market. The punky-alternative side of London. It was HUGE! I felt like I had gone down the rabbit hole a little bit when we got here. It seemed that whenever we thought we had gotten to an end at a part of the market, you turned a corner and there was a whole new world! Not only was it fun because it was teeming with life and hundreds of people (most probably tourists) but also because it seemed to be overflowing with creativity and a unique edginess that couldn’t be found in central London. From the quirky food kiosk owners and the haggling vendors to the copious amounts of vintage/antique shops and leather-clad hoodlums, Camden was a blast and a half.

7. Sunday Morning! Okay, yes, Sunday mornings are always wonderful but this one was particularly fabulous. Amber and I got up earlier and went to the Flower Market on Columbia Road. Oops…another market. JUDGE ME. I love love love flowers–the colors, the smell, what they symbolize, their unique and intricate beauty–and finally getting to see them after the winter is such a blessing, like seeing water after wandering through a dessert for months. And boy, was I parched. Amber’s friends from Zimbabwe were also there with us, Emily & Gordon. They were so sweet and so in love. It made ME wanna be in love. *sigh* After the flower market, we headed to the church Amber has been going to. It reminded me a lot of my home church, The Heart. They spoke about the cross and why, even though it is a morbid symbol in many ways, it is so SO important to keep fixed upon it. It is the source of life, love and hope for all and that is not something to ponder idly now and then. It is something to hold in the center of everything we do all of the time. Now, that is not an easy task for us humans but that, my friends, is what His sweet grace is for. I am grateful for that reminder!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA8. PLATFORM 9 3/4! Oh, yes. I got to pretend that I was lucky enough to get that sweet sweet letter when I was 12 years old. I still think there was some mistake. An owl went M.I.A. or something like that. It was so fun being able to be in King’s Cross, such a historic place, and jump like a blithering idiot as I took a pic with the buggy. I geeked out hard and I am not ashamed.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA9. All the touristy things. Even though nearly every person does this when they come to London, I am not the least bit ashamed. On the first day we got to London, the girls and I walked around what felt like but surely wasn’t the whole city to see, as I said, all the touristy things. Those things being Big Ben, Parliament, Buckingham Palace, Kensington, Hyde Park, Westminster Abbey, The Eye, etc. It was beautiful & sunny out (which I was beyond thankful for) which made for a wonderful day to stroll around and take pics. We tried so hard to take a pic with a guard. I really wanted to crack a corny joke and made one of them smile but, alas, we did not get the chance. Maybe that’s a good thing, though. Now I can still think that I am funny enough to crack a palace guard without having to actually test the theory. An untarnished dream.

10. Hostel Bar. My friends from home will be surprised and probably delighted to know that this whole study abroad experience has made me way more comfortable with “going out” and meeting people that way. Oh yes, that’s right. I do that now. I am by no means a pro at making friends at bars/pubs/clubs/etc. but I am getting better, getting out of my comfort zone a little, and hostel bars are the perfect place to do it, I think. Most if not all of the people are quite young, very outgoing and all want to meet people from all over the world too (that’s why they’re there). We always seem to meet the most interesting and hilarious characters there and I hope it always stays that way! Oh and while we were there, we ran into a girl who is a friend of one of our friends in Edinburgh who is studying in Paris with her friend. SMALL WORLD. It was so fun to be able to hang out with them and get to know them a bit better! Now a few small letters: To the man who referred to my friends and I as Hobbits (or almost did until I realized that that was where the conversation was headed and cut you off), I know you meant it in a funny, making-fun-of-us kind of way, but I mean we saved Middle Earth sooo….go away. To Alfie, the sarcastic yet sweet boy from London, you were quite charming & fun to partake in witty banter with. Sorry I lost your number but I lose everything…I should have mentioned that.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA11. Getting to reconnect with and be encouraged by my sweet friend! One of the things that I have truly felt the weight of being without is my community from back in Boone. Our sweet bib stud group that is always pouring into each other and filling each other up with joy and Jesus. But, when I visited Amber, she shared sweet words and reminders with me and my heart was eased. So thank you, Amber, for reminding me what I am on this earth to be and do with your words and your actions. Oh and, of course, you are a GODDESS for letting me crash on your floor. I love you!

Hey London, I had a blast with ya. Can we do it again some time? K thanks 🙂

Have Love Will Travel – Part Two

Okay, so this post is dedicated to my top ten favorite things/memories about Isle of Skye/The Highlands of Scotland. I’ll attempt to make it more humorous then tedious for you to read considering it’s a list and all. 🙂

ISLE OF SKYE

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So, I have to say. I think that this trip may be may favorite so far! I about 7 others from Wright’s Houses (my student accommodation building) went a tour with MacBackpackers which is based in Edinburgh. At first, I really hated the idea of doing a “tour.” I wanted to be able to be independent and explore places on my own! But, let’s be real with each other here, that is mostly pride issues. And looking back I am SO thankful that I did a tour. I learned more over those 3-days than I have in my whole Scottish Culture & Society Class. Figures. Experience is always better than learning via classroom. So, on that note…THE LIST. (I really loved everything so the order is semi-irrelevant)

1. THE FAERIE GLEN. Only the most magical place I’ve ever been. It had been raining all morning but when we got to the Glen, the sun peaked its way out! The grass was the greenest color I’d ever seen and as we walked around the meadows and braes of the Glen, I couldn’t help but feel quite happy and peaceful. We walked into the “faerie castle” and even walked through the faerie circle. Legend says that if you walk in, give a gift to the faeries then walk out backwards that they will let you into the faerie world. I did just that and left a small piece of candy someone had given me a week early that I had found in my pocket. Apparently that was not sufficient for here I sit today to tell you this tale. But that’s just fine! I think I like this world most of the time. In fact, I believe that the faeries played some serious pranks on me while I was in the Glen. I am usually at least semi-coordinated but I fell I kid you not upwards 7 times. Ask anyone that was there with me…they all saw…and laughed. ALOT.

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2. Hike in Flodaigearraidh. Yeah. I don’t know how to pronounce it either so don’t worry too much about that. If I had to guess I would say “Flow – dAeg – ERAH – DAY” but I mean who really knows. Anyway, we went hiking or “hill-walking” for about 2 hours or so through what our group decided to call the road to Mordor because the entire landscape resembled the land that dear Frodo and Samwise trekked in L.O.T.R. Bless. Tolkien actually had a house on Skye so, according to our tour guide Mike, the landscape had a huge role in the inspiration for the novel. Parts of Stardust and a few other movies were also filmed here. Whilst hiking I also felt the strongest wind I have EVER felt in my whole life. We took this picture here to celebrate making it out alive. I mean, guys…I swear I was lifted into the air for a few seconds.

3.  The Bus Ride. On no other occasion will I ever say that I LOVED a bus ride but this was quite different. Not only were the seats themselves quite comfortable but the whole time the driver had music by Scottish artists of all shapes, sizes and styles playing! The Americans on the bus danced (aka some nice low-key shoulder movements…I mean we were sitting) and sang at every chance we could get while the Australians looked cool and chilled out and the Japanese slept. A few other countries were represented but their general demeanor isn’t so easily stereotyped. When the music wasn’t playing, Mike was telling us some tale relevant to the places we were driving through or headed toward and he told every story like it was an epic and hilarious adventure he had been on to a best friend at a pub. It was captivating. It made me remember what I love about history. We learned everything from the story behind how a man is actually built in to the Forth Bridge to the intensely dramatic and confusing off-and-on relationship of England and Scotland.

4. SEEING NESSIE! OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAYep, I saw her. The beast that thousands have searched for for centuries. She was quite green and had a precarious grin. And she was quite 2-D. I found her on a wall. No, but seriously, going to Loch Ness was one of THE coolest things I’ve done so far here. We also took the Whiskey Challenge where you get to swig some cheap whiskey (woo) if you take a dip in the perpetually chilly waters of Loch Ness. I had no bathing suit but I mean come on….YOU ONLY LIVE ONCE, RIGHT?! Of course, I did it. And it was freezing. No regrets.

5. Getting to see all the adorable small towns up and down the East and West coasts of Scotland as we headed up to Skye and back. It was such a unique experience to be able to see each little village and get a feel for the kind of culture of that place. It made me love and appreciate Scotland even more than I already did.

6. The drive through Glen Coe. Not only was the land filled with stories of clan wars and rich cultural history but it was also stunning. I would love to go back there in the summer and camp out at the base of Ben Nevis, the biggest mountain in the U.K.

7. Hanging out at the TWO pubs in Kyleakin–the fishing village our hostel was in on Skye. This may sound like a small number of pubs but if you saw this village, the Scottish love and appreciation for the pub life would be so much clearer. This place warranted really only one pub. I’m not complaining. Saucy Mary’s was definitely my fav. It’s called that because way back in the day, when part of Skye was a Viking fortress, one of the leaders, Mary, would flash people traveling past in order to kind of make fun of them since her people now had the land. Viola! Saucy Mary’s! Besides the cool atmosphere, I loved sitting down around the table and getting to know our group and our mysterious tour guide a bit better…is he over 40? We still don’t know.

8. ALL THE RAINBOWS. I mean, what?! I think we saw at least two a day, which is a lot for rainbows. It just amplified the fact that Skye is one magical place.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA9. All the funny things we did because Mike told us it was a part of some “legend” that would bring us the best sex ever for the next 7 years, happy marriages, and faerie-guarded beautiful faces. These things included but were not limited to dunking our faces in freezing cold water for 7 seconds, never whistling or having our hands in our pockets and drinking the water from an enchanted waterfall down the mountain from the famous Old Man of Storr statue. Needless to say, the next 7 years of my life should be pretty good. Here’s to hoping.

10. Making new friends from all over the world and getting to see such a special place that has captivated the world over for centuries with its beauty and mystery.

Have Love Will Travel – Part One

So, as if I need to say it…it’s been a while since I’ve written and for that there are multiple reasons not all of which will be addressed in this post but spread out across the next few as I attempt to digest all of the thoughts, feelings and revelations I’ve been having over the past weeks.

In short, it has been AHHMMAAZING! From the people to the places I’ve been I feel like I have been living a dream. No…seriously. Someone needs to make sure I get up before noon because I would really love to see more daylight a greater amount than 4 days a week.

Okay, okay. I’m trying to be serious here but when you’re funny you just can’t help it. *all friends reading this post sigh and roll eyes*

So, anywhoo, in this particular post I am going to try and paint y’all a picture of the highlights of each of the places that I’ve been. This won’t be easy but hopefully it will be worth it. Bear with me, folks. It’s about to get grizzly….get it? Like a bear.

Oh my god, I really am sorry.

Here we go. First up is AMSTERDAM.

1.) There was WAY more Dutch in this city than people told us. We were quite confused at both the airport & the train station but we did not panic and we made it through just fine 🙂

1939790_10202632252799104_1365623412_n2.) I don’t think I’ve ever seen a prettier city. From the adorable unique houses to the gorgeous canals on what felt like every road, Amsterdam takes the cake. Or should I say the “pancake” since that’s what they are famous for.
3.) HOLY DUTCH PANCAKES. So good. And so big. Like oversized crepes. One of my favorite parts of travelling is tasting the staple foods for each place and this did not disappoint.

4.) Anne Frank Huis. Wow. Words cannot describe what it was like to walk through THE bookshelf to the Annex where Anne and her family were prisoners only to eventually become prisoners of a worse kind. We saw the photos Anne stuck on the walls and the lines that were drawn to mark her and her sister, Margot’s, growth. Now that was surreal. Something I will remember my whole life–a reminder that we can and should never forget those who suffered in the past.

556011_10203334061578235_1970688473_n5.) Bikes! Bikes! Bikes! This was probably one of my favorite parts of the trip. Not only because I haven’t ridden a bike in like…5 or 6 years…but because I felt like a local. I think there are more bikes than cars in that city. There was, however, two things that happened to me right when we started our day on wheels that is quite typical of a life of being me. One: right when we pulled out into the street everyone else did fine but I nearly got hit by a car. Classic. Two: I dropped my water bottle and when I got back on my bike and looked up, all my companions were gone. I stood still for about a solid 5 minutes praying and trying to calm myself down by saying, “Genny..you’re 21 years old. A strong woman. In a city that speaks “mostly” English. Without a phone. Or much money. You are SO gonna be fine.” But then, Danielle came to my rescue and all was well. If she hadn’t though. I think I may have broken down in the middle of the street. Tears were in the process of welling.

6.) The Red Light District. I didn’t actually realize we were headed that way until we were there. I distinctly remember scanning the store fronts and thinking oh my gosh look how real that mannequin looks in that red window. Oh my gosh, it moves! Oh…I see. And there we were, in the Red Light District. Some travelers may think that this part of Amsterdam is cool and quite liberal, open-minded, unique even. But, for me. It served only to freak me out and make me sad. But, I am still thankful I got to see it. It was an experience.

1904045_10203334050417956_1508763249_n7.) Numero seven goes out to the thing that I can’t write about on here. Needless to say, the nightlife and even the “daylife”  in Amsterdam was quite an adventure!

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8.) God bless all the cheese.

9.) Van Gogh Museum. It is a surreal experience to be directly in front of some of the world’s most famous works of art. Some of my favorites, though, were the one’s I’d never even heard of or seen before. I am a big art fan and love any chance to get up close and see the brush strokes of famous painters like Van Gogh!

10.) The way that Dutch sounds when it is spoken. It sounds sooo cool. I loved saying Good morning.

Goede Morgen! Picture sweet large man from Frozen. YOOHHOO Big summah blowout!

For Isle of Skye and London, see Part Deux.

The One Thing Christians Should Stop Saying

Wow. This is a powerful one. I too find myself saying the words “blessed” as easily as I say hello to a passing stranger. It makes me wonder why I consider those things blessings and how I should perhaps re-evaluate the kind of God I have created in my mind. What I should be pondering is what HE tells us it means to be blessed and regardless of all earthly circumstances remain in a state of eucharist and thankfulness.

The Accidental Missionary

I was on the phone with a good friend the other day.  After covering important topics, like disparaging each other’s mothers and retelling semi-factual tales from our college days, our conversation turned to the mundane.

“So, how’s work going?” he asked.

For those of you who don’t know, I make money by teaching leadership skills and helping people learn to get along in corporate America.  My wife says it’s all a clever disguise so I can get up in front of large groups and tell stories.

I plead the fifth.

I answered my buddy’s question with,

“Definitely feeling blessed.  Last year was the best year yet for my business.  And it looks like this year will be just as busy.”

The words rolled off my tongue without a second thought.  Like reciting the Pledge of Allegiance or placing my usual lunch order at McDonald’s.

But it was a lie.

Now…

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It Would Be Spiritual Suicide

Found this AHmazing post on The Better Man Project’s wordpress. His message is one I imagine every human on this planet since the very beginning of it has either heard, needed or here or given themselves to a friend in need.
I let fear take control far too often so it is so important to remind myself the beauty in letting go of that fear and embracing the courage I know is somewhere deep inside…deep…deep inside. I just need to find it.

Thank you for this post, Evan! The world needs more people like you.

 

It Would Be Spiritual Suicide.

| Time to Wake Up |

Dear You,

So, I just came across this video while surfing the world wide web and I have the overwhelming feeling it something to be shared.

If you’re tired, hungry, thirsty, confused, frightened, lonely, depressed, or in need..of anything…please watch this video. And, if you’re not…watch this video because I think you might find that your heart was trying to tell you something perhaps you couldn’t hear over the monotonous hum of a day-to-day routine.

Let yourself be captivated by this video. I know I was. Just close your eyes, make some tea, and sit by yourself and just listen (maybe not in that order).

Love, Genny xx