Celebrating Payton Dale

Celebrating Phenomenal Women (1)

We are kicking off the “Celebrating Phenomenal Women” series with none other than Payton Dale!

Reigning from Music City (Nashville), Payton is a wardrobe stylist, podcaster, fashion designer, and published author. Though she can’t share all of the people she has assisted, her website, The Payton Project, says that she’s worked with celebrities like Rod Stewart, Stevie Nicks (Swoon! I’m such a fan), Simon and Garfunkel, Diana Ross, Amy Grant, and even Weird Al – to name a few. Her fans felt she was the perfect choice for this series because not only is she achieving all of her dreams but because….well, I don’t want to give it away. Keep reading to find out!

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Celebrating Phenomenal Women

“Behind every successful woman is a tribe of other successful women who have her back” -Unknown

I think there is no greater need than right now, to have women come together to support each other. We’ve learned that we are stronger together and it’s been a challenge for decades to join hands because of the stereotypes society has placed on us.

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3 Ways to Survive Around Toxic People

I’m going to cut right to the chase. You do not have to put up with toxic people. Remove them from your life. You deserve better.

I know that’s easier said than done though.

Maybe that toxic person in your life is your boss, or a parent, or an extended family member. It’s easier to say bye-bye to that toxic cashier or ex-friend from college, but family? Or your boss?

If you’re like most adults in the world, you will just continue to put up with the draining, exhausting life of being friendly with a toxic. And here are a few tips I’d like to share to help you get through those days.

1| Pretend they are a homeless lady on 5th Ave. I heard this line on Being Mary Jane Paul & I couldn’t agree more. Mary Jane had a big problem with a coworker – a pro-trump, bigoted white woman who got on everyone’s nerves. Mary Jane was going crazy herself, just trying to restrain herself from saying something. Her publicist gave her this advice & I think in many cases it works. As the toxic person in your life is just spewing irritating or hateful things, just nod politely and smile, and pretend they are crazy (cause toxic people usually are).

2| Pray. I know there is some flack going around about the people that pray instead of act (like prayers for gun violence). In some cases, however, prayer is probably one of your only options. I pray that the Lord give me the strength to not strangle the toxic in my life, to soften the heart of the person, and to help me continue being a light for them.

3| Be Honest. Most of the time, if you share your feelings with a toxic person, they will make it about them. They will do the whole “woo is me” bit, or they will be sooo defensive and you’ll end up feeling like the bad guy. I understand that being honest isn’t even worth it sometimes…but you’re also giving them a platform when you lie. If they push you in a corner and ask, “Are you mad at me?”, you want to say yes, but you say no because it’s a trap. No one wins. You say yes, and you’re about to receive crap. You say no, and you get to deal with the same behavior. If it’s a lose-lose, might as well be honest, right?

4| End the Relationship. Seriously, I know I already said it and it’s impossible in many cases, but it’s the best way to survive them. I was able to use this piece of advice on one family member, but it was a hard choice. And I feel so free now. However, I have another toxic person in my life & this one will not easily end. I’m trying some new things with this person and I can’t wait to share if they worked. Stay tuned and be sure to subscribe if you haven’t already.

Do you have any advice for dealing with toxic people? We’d love to hear it! We always could use all the help we can get.

I Hate Wearing Jeans, & That’s Okay

Let’s time travel to the early 2000’s when I was a young girl, the days where I only went by Sam – notice the Orlando Bloom posted on my wall, the Barbies with red hair, and my wardrobe….

Jeans, graphic tees, my dad’s size 12 combat boots, black chain pants from Hot Topic, fake hoop earrings….

There was clearly a fashion crisis at hand. I hated floral print, hated “dressing up”, and was torn between how different cliques dressed. I never fit in with the cool kids & never had the funds to buy the wardrobe that came with that social status. I felt emotionally attached to the goth/emo, had grades like the nerds, & no hand-eye coordination for the athletes. Middle and high school was a crisis for searching for my identity.

I felt like I had to change who I was to fit in and I think today, most adults my age still feel that way. I formed my likes based off of what I thought would please others – like my dad, my peers, etc.

Today, I only dress for myself.

My first rule is that I am comfortable. I haven’t found a pair of jeans that are as comfy as leggings, so I don’t bother groaning over them cutting into my stomach or waist.

My second rule is that I wear what I think is cute. Skirts and dresses are my favorite – floral prints are my jam. I love sporting my comfy & worn brown leather boots but pick from an array of shoes – sandals & even high heels (though I try to stick with wedges because they are comfier and easier for my tall body to walk in).

I hate wearing bras, I hate jeans, I find it annoying to always have to use one hand to hold a purse (helloooo crossbody), bracelets always get in the way, & I get too distracted when wearing statement necklaces. I don’t feel me when I wear a face full of makeup and I absolutely hate doing my hair. I like a minimalist, natural look that won’t take me more than a few minutes to get ready for my day.

I’m happy to have embraced my personal style & though I don’t really keep up with trends, I’m happy and feel beautiful in what I wear. And that is the most important part – your confidence is what makes an outfit.

Our Adventure at Skyzone Trampoline Park

My youngest sister’s 10th birthday was on Friday & her birthday party was this weekend…at Skyzone!

Skyzone is a huge trampoline park near us – freestyle jumping, air basketball, free climbing wall, free jump into foam pit, dodgeball, etc.

We walked in & the place was chaotic and smelly. Dozens of unsupervised kids and stinky shoes laying everywhere made my aunt look like she needed an extra anxiety pill. It was quite overwhelming & given the stressful week I had, I wasn’t really interested in jumping. But I took great photos, most I won’t share because I want to protect my siblings privacy.

My mom bought a party package & was allowed 10 jumpers. The party was from 12:30-2:45. We had to wait 30 minutes to sign up and wait for all partygoers & were given one entire hour for jumping. It doesn’t seem like a long time, but yeah…after nonstop jumping, you’re pretty exhausted. At 2pm, we had access to the party room – where we were given 2 pitchers of soda and 2 sheets of pizza (which everyone agreed was amazing). Because you could bring in any extra treats for the kids, my mom rented a snow cone machine.

No lie, I had 4 snow cones. But don’t judge, I didn’t have pizza or soda.

We had 45 minutes to eat & open gifts, so time flew by and before you knew it, we were in the car and headed home.

I loved the jumping and how stress relieving it was. I wasn’t too keen on the chaos, but it was a weekend and there were 4 birthday parties before us. It was also odd because there was only one party room, so staying on schedule was a must, since all the people jumping were probably waiting until it was their hour for the room.

Would my mom do a party there again? Probably not – while jumping is something that will happen again, it could have been cheaper and less time crunched if we had jumped and then drove to a local pizza place instead.

Overall, it was a pretty great birthday party & Im happy to see my youngest sister bounce her way into the double digits.

What To Do When Society Doesn’t Agree With God’s Plan

Society tells me that I need a degree in order to succeed in my life.

My family tells me that while I don’t need a degree, I need a job & SAHM’s are not a job.

God tells me, “She must be well respected by everyone because of the good she has done. Has she brought up her children well? Has she been kind to strangers and served other believers humbly?[a] Has she helped those who are in trouble? Has she always been ready to do good?” -1 Timothy 5:10

Society tells me to chase my dreams, that the world is my oyster.

My family says, “Be practical”, pursue a career in anything but the arts.

God says,  “Don’t you realize that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, who lives in you and was given to you by God? You do not belong to yourself, for God bought you with a high price. So you must honor God with your body.” -1 Corinthians 6:19-20

Therefore, go and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. Teach these new disciples to obey all the commands I have given you. And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” -Matthew 28:19-20

Society tells me that money really does buy happiness…and friends…and fame…

My family says that money doesn’t buy you anything except a nice roof over my head and food in my belly…but they still buy lottery tickets in hope they’ll strike it rich.

God says, “But people who long to be rich fall into temptation and are trapped by many foolish and harmful desires that plunge them into ruin and destruction.” 1 Timothy 6:9

Those who love money will never have enough. How meaningless to think that wealth brings true happiness!” -Ecclesiastes 5:10

Society tells me to put my career first. Put me first. I should have a baby before I’m 30, but I’m more likely to have a successful marriage if I wait until I’m older.

My family tells me that I should have waited to marry – experience what the world has to offer.

I say, why should marriage or motherhood prevent me from experience the world? Why can’t I share those experiences with my best friend?

God says, “Two people are better off than one, for they can help each other succeed. If one person falls, the other can reach out and help. But someone who falls alone is in real trouble. Likewise, two people lying close together can keep each other warm. But how can one be warm alone? A person standing alone can be attacked and defeated, but two can stand back-to-back and conquer. Three are even better, for a triple-braided cord is not easily broken.” –Ecclesiastes 4:9-12

Society tells me that I need to have kids before I’m 30, or I risk having a mentally disabled child.

My family tells me that I’m too young to have kids & I should wait.

God says, “Children are a gift from the Lord; they are a reward from him.” -Psalm 127:3

“But if you remain in me and my words remain in you, you may ask for anything you want, and it will be granted! When you produce much fruit, you are my true disciples. This brings great glory to my Father.” -John 15:7-8

Society tells me to embrace my sexuality – wear what I want and do who I want, but don’t hesitate to label me anyways. Either a slut or a prude.

My family says I have to cover myself or I’ll make men sin.

God says, “But the Lord said to Samuel, “Don’t judge by his appearance or height, for I have rejected him. The Lord doesn’t see things the way you see them. People judge by outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.”-1 Samuel 16:7

“Charm is deceptive, and beauty does not last; but a woman who fears the Lord will be greatly praised.” Proverbs 31:30

There hasn’t been a time in my life where I haven’t had someone butt in with their opinion about my life – I should do this, not that. I should say this, not that. I should talk to this person, not that person. I should do this with my son, not the other way.

It’s overwhelming. I feel like I’m a bridal bouquet that two women are fighting over. Or the fairy godmothers that can’t decide which color Aurora’s dress should be (blue? pink?). I’ve learned I can’t please everyone. Someone, somewhere, is offended by my choices.

A long time ago, I accepted Christ into my heart and a few years after that, I surrendered my life to Him – I was ready to pursue a life that glorified the Lord and it’s been a constant battle.

I know the plans God has for me (at lease most of them). I see the road ahead, a long twisty road full of infinite struggles, but a road that I’m positive God has set for me. And one of the biggest struggles is my family and society pulling me away from the path. As I get closer to it’s destination, the struggle increases. I can feel I’m close to where God wants me because I’m nervous, I feel deep spiritual battles in my life, and non-believers think I’m nuts.

I’d just like to share a few tips I’ve learned as I walk down my path Abba set out for me.

1| Set your eyes upon the Throne. God is the only one you should be taking advice from (and select earthly elders). It’s His path and He leads the way.

2| Consult scripture. If you are unsure about your path, open the Bible. If there’s anything that contradicts what you’re pursuing, it’s safe to say your not on the right path.

3| Take what your family says with a grain of salt. If I listened to everything my family said, I don’t know how many experiences I missed out on. Evangelizing during spring break, marrying my husband, having my son, pursing a career in writing, deciding to finish my last two years in high school in homeschool, etc. They may think they have your best interest at heart, but they can’t see the full picture. Only God can, only He knows the plans he has for you.

4| Don’t compare your experiences with others. I know it’s hard in this social media age, I do it too. When you’re single and friends are married. When you want a baby and your newsfeed is all pregnancy announcements. When your friend buys a house and you’re still living in an apartment. When your friend goes on a year mission trip to Africa. Those things might be in your future, but you have to be patient. Don’t compare paths.

“Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.” -Romans 12:2

Eulogy For My Grandfather

My grandfather, Derek, passed away this past Friday. He was born in 1939 to Joseph and Enid, on 55 Willowbrook Road…somewhere in England. As his father died in WWII when he was a toddler, he was raised by his mother and four sisters who he always said were the most feisty, brave, strong women he’d ever met. To keep him out of trouble and to make sure he was a well-educated boy, his mom sent him miles away to The Bluecoat School. From there, he joined the Army Training School and eventually, Warrant Officer for the Cheshire Regt. His time in the military brought great heartache, but it also brought amazing experiences, as he was able to travel the world. At one point, he met fellow military-men who knew his father, who saluted him, & told him how proud his father would be of the man he became.

The day he decided he should settle down, he flipped a coin – heads he’d move to the US with his sister Pat, or Australia with his sister, Rosemary. If he hadn’t flipped heads, I wouldn’t have had the opportunity to have him in my life. He got a job at P&H Mining, met my grandmother in a bar, and took on the father figure role to her young daughter, my mother. Although the three of them often butted heads and had their share of personal struggles, they loved each other deeply.

When I came into the picture, we took to each other fairly quickly – two peas in a pod, sharing similar interests. He was called by many names, but to me, he was my Papa. I looked to him as a father because he treated be with more love, compassion, and respect that my own father could provide. He knew this, and took me under his wing. We’d take trips to the library, Barnes & Noble, or Borders, marveling at copies of the greats that we hoped to have in our collection. He too, loved Harry Potter and drove around the city to find all of the books to surprise me with.

We’d sneak ice cream before dinner, and then pretend we didn’t have any, so we’d get dessert afterwards. He’d sneak me $10 bills to save for a rainy day. We read the Sunday paper as we ate our breakfast in the dining room – he read the sports and headlines, as I read the comics. As I got older, we would fight over the sections. We’d both catch each other cheating at Monopoly, snicker, and create our own Monopoly game.

I’d enjoy our long car rides, as he blared conservative talk radio, the seatbelt alarm going off, because he refused to wear one, as it cut into his large belly. We’d go on an adventure to various grocery stores to buy grandma her beloved rice pudding and he was extremely patient, as he taught me how to drive despite my anxiety.

He was the first man that didn’t treat me differently because I was a girl. He taught me how to use tools, how to build, how to maintain a home, how to hunt, how to play golf, how to mix a drink. He bought my books for college and supported my dream as an author. He’d donn a devilish grin as he shared memories of his life – like how he was friends with the Beatles before they were famous (when they played in local pubs) or the mischief he got into as a kid.

He used to scare me as a little girl, his booming voice, his large build, how the air of the room demanded respect when he walked in…but the fear slowly faded as I got to know him more. He was soft as a marshmallow on the inside. He cared deeply about his friends and family and would move the world for grandma and I. We shared each other’s company immensely and I’m saddened I don’t get to share my life with him anymore. I’ll miss the days where I’ll reach for the phone, hoping to call to tell him about the latest article I wrote or a new author I think he’d like. I’m also deeply saddened to know that my son won’t get to know him like I did, just through my own stories I’ll share with him.

With Papa in mind, I’ll introduce my son to the authors we both enjoyed, like Rudyard Kipling. I’ll think of Papa when I write a political post for work and I’ll be reminded of him when I pass the candy store where he ate all the free samples & the owners had to shoo us out.

His last words to me were, “Take care of grandma” and even that shows what kind of man he was. He always put others before him. While I didn’t have the opportunity to hear all his stories or learn more about him, I feel extremely blessed to have had him in my life and while I am wrecked by his passing, it’s exactly that…passing. This world is temporary and I’m almost a little jealous he gets to set his eyes upon Jesus before me. I can’t wait to join him, and all my other loved ones, in worshiping and rejoicing in eternity, where pain and suffering is replaced with peace and joy.