Commentary #63: “Awareness vs. Understanding”

Image Credit: TOBYMAC

I started following Caralyn’s awesome blog, Beauty Beyond Bones, a while back. She is an awesome, amazing woman. I love all of her posts!

She always shares something profound, or thought-provoking, every week. This past week was no exception.

Here’s the link to her post, published on February 22nd:

Caralyn’s focus is her journey after her eating disorder (ED). She’s a beautiful woman, who is an activist for so many causes. She posts recipes, too!

This particular post shined a spotlight on Weight Watchers being in the news last week, and not for a good reason.

They announced they would be offering free memberships to teens, ages 13-17.

Naturally, this caused almost immediate backlash.

I’m with Caralyn. I don’t agree with Weight Watchers offering these free memberships. Teens, ages 13-17, have enough to deal with in their lives. Yes, obesity remains a significant issue. Caralyn cited several statistics, including some from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). But, for Weight Watchers to offer these free memberships to this very vulnerable age group is not the answer.

She tied the Weight Watchers news in with National Eating Disorder Awareness Week (NEDA), which starts today, February 26th, and runs through March 3rd.

I see her point about viewing NEDA with somehow glorifying the disease, and so on. But, then she realized that the news about Weight Watchers is one reason why conversations need to be had.

And then, she hit on the Awareness vs. Understanding point, which I think is so important.

There is a difference.

Awareness is certainly important, and a good thing – Share stories, come together as a community, and so on.

However, understanding is even more paramount. With something like eating disorders, moving beyond awareness into understanding is critical.

With that said, I cannot say that I empathize with Caralyn, or say that blanket statement of “I understand” at all. I have never had an eating disorder. I know what they are, how they start, the basics. You could say that Laura Beth is aware of eating disorders.

Caralyn, however, truly understands eating disorders. She is a survivor. She is an advocate. She works hard to discuss ED, her own journey, and help others, which I find incredibly admirable. In her post, she writes that “an eating disorder is a mental illness.”

She closed her post with wanting to “foster understanding on this anorexia recovery blog” and “answering any and all questions about eating disorders, recovery, treatment, how to support. Nothing is off limits.”

I think this is wonderful! She, of all people, knows what she’s talking about. She writes beautifully and humbly, too.

So, if you’re interested in asking questions or learning more, check out her blog!


Image Credit: BeautyBeyondBones

To me, Caralyn is a source of inspiration. Thank you for being amazing!!

Until the next headline, Laura Beth 🙂


Writing Prompt #90: “52 Weeks of Gratitude Challenge” (Week 52)

Week #52: Did This Challenge Change You?

I firmly believe this challenge changed me. I enjoyed doing a post every Wednesday during 2017. It caused me to stretch my brain, use my imagination, and focus on little things. It was a great exercise throughout this year. Thanks to Kristian for inspiring me in the first place!

Someone asked me if I plan to do a similar challenge in 2018. The answer is yes! I’ve been actively researching them over the last week or so. I plan to reveal it sometime next week!

Happy New Year, everyone!

Until the next headline, Laura Beth 🙂

Writing Prompt #89: “52 Weeks of Gratitude Challenge” (Week 51)

Week #51: 100 Things To Be Thankful For.

This was a tough one! I definitely have a lot to be thankful for in my wonderful, blessed life.

  1. My amazing parents.
  2. My wonderful husband.
  3. Having a loving family.
  4. Marrying into a huge family!
  5. Being a part of the PEO sisterhood.
  6. Being a sister of Alpha Sigma Tau.
  7. The ability to travel.
  8. A beautiful house.
  9. Air conditioning and heat.
  10. A great job.
  11. Access to quality education.
  12. Being able to get fresh food.
  13. Having spending money.
  14. Building savings.
  15. Being able to access the Internet at virtually any time.
  16. Being raised in a loving church.
  17. Access to public libraries.
  18. Having a reliable car.
  19. Having the skills / ability to fix my car, and other things.
  20. Being able to communicate effectively.
  21. Having a variety of skills.
  22. Access to books.
  23. Clean air.
  24. Clean water.
  25. Having a cup of coffee every morning.
  26. Being part of a team, many times over.
  27. Learning critical thinking.
  28. Being one small part of an amazing blogging community.
  29. Freedom of the press.
  30. Freedom of religion.
  31. Freedom of speech.
  32. The right to vote.
  33. Being an American citizen.
  34. Being able to get a passport.
  35. Being able to see movies in the theaters.
  36. The opportunity to have seen so many different cities and countries already.
  37. Access to a gym to work out and keep my body healthy.
  38. Having decent health insurance.
  39. The ability to problem-solve.
  40. Stress relievers.
  41. Having a bathtub for those days where a long bath with a fizzy bath bomb is warranted.
  42. Budgeting.
  43. Having a shredder.
  44. Clearing the clutter.
  45. Improving our home.
  46. Collecting things for my American Girl dolls.
  47. Having an amazing support system.
  48. The ability to celebrate big things, and small things.
  49. Those who aren’t afraid to tell it like it is.
  50. Nostalgia.
  51. Warm hugs.
  52. Comfort food.
  53. Fleece blankets.
  54. Spending time with family and friends.
  55. Trying new things.
  56. Feeling amazing after a haircut.
  57. Being able to get a massage at the chiropractor’s office.
  58. Disney movies.
  59. Star Wars.
  60. Having a camera to explore photography.
  61. Making people smile.
  62. Making people laugh.
  63. Helping others.
  64. Giving blood.
  65. Encouraging others to give blood.
  66. Feeling satisfaction when a plan comes together.
  67. Chocolate mousse.
  68. A warm bed for sleeping.
  69. Concerts.
  70. Art.
  71. Music.
  72. Flowers.
  73. Nature.
  74. Animals.
  75. Dogs.
  76. Sending care packages.
  77. The first responders that work incredibly hard every single day – The police, firefighters, EMTs.
  78. Doctors and nurses.
  79. Everyone in our military, past and present.
  80. The times when I don’t have to set an alarm.
  81. Being able to come home to my husband every weekday.
  82. Using my talents.
  83. Trivia nights.
  84. Podcasts.
  85. National Public Radio.
  86. Popcorn.
  87. Sushi.
  88. Colorful gel pens.
  89. Amusement parks.
  90. Roller coasters.
  91. The seasons.
  92. The Muppets.
  93. Sesame Street.
  94. All the teachers in my life.
  95. Holidays.
  96. Mental health days.
  97. Surprises.
  98. Brunch.
  99. The occasional mimosa.
  100. Learning something new every single day.

Until the next headline, Laura Beth 🙂

Writing Prompt #88: “52 Weeks of Gratitude Challenge” (Week 50)

Week #50: Lessons Learned This Year.

I feel like I learn more things every year. This year, 2017, was no exception.

I’ve learned more about being a wife, and a homeowner.

I’ve learned more about my job, and my career aspirations. I learned how to deal with the devastation of a supervisor leaving for a better opportunity. It hurts, but I’m so happy for them.

I learned how to have fun while balancing work and school. I’m giving more time to myself to enjoy little things, like playing Roller Coaster Tycoon for a few hours on the weekend!

I’ve definitely grown this year, and looking to grow even more in 2018!

Until the next headline, Laura Beth 🙂

Writing Prompt #87: “52 Weeks of Gratitude Challenge” (Week 49)

Week #49: Things You Like About Winter.

This post comes as we’re preparing for some of the coldest weather since the beginning of the year. It was 70 degrees yesterday, and today it’s falling into the 40s! It’s possible that we will see some snow flurries on Friday night, too. That’s exciting to think about!

I’m grateful for simple things, like working heat at our house. Being cold-natured, I also love different blankets. A few years ago, a friend gave me a fleece blanket that’s red and green and Christmas-themed. It’s time to pull it out of the closet!

As much as I gripe about being cold, I enjoy seeing the snow on the trees and the ground. The cold weather also seems to make the sunrises and sunsets prettier.

We’re planning to put up our Christmas tree this week. I love listening to Christmas music while we work – Al used Spotify last year, and it was awesome! With recent car issues (All good now) and some stress at work, I’m in need of some holiday spirit.

I drink more hot chocolate in the winter. I also love making peppermint bark! Delicious!

Winter is colder, and it gets darker sooner, but I love feeling the warmth, celebrating the Christmas season, and ringing in the New Year!

Until the next headline, Laura Beth 🙂

Writing Prompt #86: “52 Weeks of Gratitude Challenge” (Week 48)

Week #48: Your Job.

I’m incredibly thankful that I was given the opportunity to come on board at Riverside five years ago. I’ve learned so much in a different field over the years. I use my Communication Studies degree nearly every day. It’s not journalism, but I’m happy to be challenged in the field of healthcare. It’s also contributed to my paralegal studies, which are almost finished.

I also enjoy the people I work with, and the people I’ve met through Riverside as an organization. I’m grateful for all the connections I’ve made so far, and I’m sure there will be many more!

Until the next headline, Laura Beth 🙂


Writing Prompt #85: “52 Weeks of Gratitude Challenge” (Week 47)

Week #47: Opportunities You’ve Been Given.

I’m grateful that so many people have come into my life, helping me open doors that I didn’t think were possible.

It’s funny, I write this post as I’m reflecting on the going-away party that we attended on Friday night for Emily and Phil. Thanks to my mother, Emily came into my life in 2010 and helped give me one of the most important opportunities of my life – The internship I needed to graduate from Longwood!

Sadly, Emily and Phil are getting ready to officially move to Texas. But, I have a feeling there will be many opportunities to go visit them!

Thinking back, I can list many opportunities that I’ve been given:

  • Learning different instruments – Piano, then viola
  • Traveling abroad – Two cruises in the 1990s, British Columbia (1998), Russia (2001), Europe (2005), Paris (2008)
  • Participating in the IB program in high school
  • Being a blood donor since 2005
  • Going to Longwood for my college career
  • Writing for and being on staff with Longwood’s student newspaper
  • Holding a variety of jobs since college
  • Gaining valuable experience through work and volunteering
  • Being accepted into several different organizations – Alpha Sigma Tau, PEO, etc.
  • Working toward a paralegal degree
  • Becoming a Certified Professional Coder
  • Participating in National Novel Writing Month three times, so far
  • Improving this little blog of mine over the last several years

For me, I think of every new day as a new opportunity to make a difference. It doesn’t have to be anything big. Think random acts of kindness. I’ve participated in a few drive-thru “pay it forward” chains before, as well as holding doors for people, thanking those in uniform for their service, and just being kind. I haven’t read the book or seen the movie yet, but I think of Wonder and I think “choose kind.”

I look forward to future opportunities, and I’m grateful for every one.

Until the next headline, Laura Beth 🙂